One of the great things about opening a new office is the ability to start from scratch. You are no longer limited by the way things have always been done! Here are some things to consider when researching your technology needs for your new office.
A paperless office can certainly be done. The question is, how realistic is it? If you are opening a law office, is your court system paperless yet? Most courts are moving (albiet slowly) in that direction so if you haven't considered it, you really need to. At the very least, you should consider checking into what will be required to be submitted and how. You should also consider the needs of your clients; how much paper can be eliminated on the client end? Do you plan on having completely digital internal files? Before you open, determine what your paper printing, copying and scanning needs will be.
One of the great things about current technology is that it's making it possible to work from anywhere! Is the mobile office something you are interested in? For whom? Everyone? Management? Lawyers or salespeople? Determine WHO you want to be able to work from anywhere and then ask their opinion (if you already have potential employees lined up) on how they would like to do it (tablet, smartphones, laptops, etc) and where. You might determine that having a cell phone with unlimited data is useful for income generating employees like salespeople or lawyers. Or maybe you could just buy a cell network card for employee laptops.
Another great option is the online office. What do I mean by that? Well, basically that as much of the software be online (or cloud based) as possible. You can have your accounting software online, your invoicing, ticketing, job scheduling, email, calendar and even your office document software can be online. Why? Well, it makes it much easier to replace computers when they break. You aren't spending days for a new computer to arrive at your office and then another day just trying to load the needed software back on. And that doesn't even address what happened to the data that was on it! The more you have on the cloud, the easier it is to deal with hardware issues.
Jen Steed writes about technology, travel and more. You can find her writing for various online and print publications. To talk to Jen or see all of her articles as they are published, you can follow Jen on Google+.
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