Tag Archives: Green Technology

Non Traditional Cost Reduction Experiences.

Written by: Dan O’Toole President

“A penny saved is a penny earned” so the saying goes. Ben Franklin expressed this thought many years ago and it continues to bear fruit today. Our organization has undertaken significant growth over the past ten years, both in product offering and geographically.  As we continued to expand, we found overhead expenses growing, sometimes disproportionate to our sales.  Something had to be done to reverse this trend.

A key cost centre in our company is telecommunications. Amongst other products and services, we depend on WebEx and GoToMeeting for both internal and customer communication on a daily basis.  The cost of these services has been more than significant.  A way to reduce these costs had to be found.  Coincidently, we bought into video conferencing back in the 1990s as a means of managing travel and meeting costs.  The technology works great but adoption had been a challenge, at least until now.

The opportunity afforded to us, improve adoption of key technology and reduce overhead expenses.

The introduction of a new player in the video conference world has led our company to a double win. Not only have we experienced significant improvement in internal/external adoption, we’ve totally replaced WebEx and GoToMeeting, savings of over $40k per annum.  In April alone our teams engaged in 350+ meetings with over 930 participants, totalling 34,000 minutes of calling time.  So what was the difference in adoption?  The very same design feature that allowed Apple to capture a huge market with their iPad, ease of use.

By reducing the complexity of our organization and improving adoption, we’re more streamlined, cost efficient and maybe most important, more EFFECTIVE. Zoom is proving to be the fastest adopted collaboration technology for our teams at Phoenix Systems.

Reduce costs, improve efficiency; to coin another phrase, “You can have your cake and eat it too”.


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Annual IT Budget ~ What to keep in mind..

Written by Larry Hack.

It strikes me every year how the IT budget, capital and services, is either ignored by companies, or underestimated. Further, the successful operation of an ERP/Accounting system on an up to date IT infrastructure will add hugely to the value of your company, however, this too is underestimated. Why is this?

If one Googles “IT Budget for companies” there are many tools to be had to assist in planning your budget. There are also sites which recommend how much spending there should be on IT. It is suggested that an average of 5.2% of annual revenue should be spent in this area. Some say between 4% and 6%. I read a white paper put out by American STRUCTUREPOINT Inc. which states:

Deciding on a budget requires more than just flinging numbers onto a spreadsheet. Today, businesses are confused and uncertain as to what an appropriate IT budget is, and they don’t have a clear vision for how these funds should be spent”

In my experience many clients wait to the last minute to replace hardware. Then the upgrade ERP decision often rests on the hardware decision as old ERP is usually not supported on current technology.

Some of the driving factors to stay current with your ERP and update your servers/IT infrastructure every 3 to 4 years include the following:

ERP: Annual license fees are paid which ensures access to continuously improving software not only in new functionality but also in the areas of performance and optimization. The old saying “If it ain’t broke let’s not touch it” is less true these days as I would suggest that there is more benefit to be gained by upgrading your software. Take advantage of reviewing your business processes and retraining you staff. Usually with staff turnover it is common to find that newer staff has had minimal exposure to how to use the software properly nor have any understanding of its capabilities, never having been shown properly. Often there is frustration and lack of adoption of the software purely because of lack of knowledge. This leads to staff using “side systems” such as Excel and others and this in itself creates inefficiency  and reporting is done outside of the ERP system with resulting duplication of effort and various “versions of the truth”.

IT side: Security, Security, Security. (Internet threats, access by which members of staff to which data, remote access by offices in other locations local or worldwide. Working from home? A huge topic these days! This requires careful setup and maintenance. What about backups? More disk space is needed as so much data is collected. We do not want to purge history as we want to be able to analyze this more and more. Then we need multiple servers because we want TEST companies, upgrade companies and so on. Server virtualizations, dual processors, SQL databases and Microsoft operating systems upgrades.  This is a lot to comprehend!  Then we have new “Cloud” and “Mobility” solutions to factor in together with needs you may have for bar-coding solutions from an IT standpoint.

American STRUCTUREPOINT urges one to consider IT as an investment into the operations and flow of communications, rather than a cost of doing business. With proper budgeting, your company’s systems can be deployed in a way that enhances your ability to respond to varying changes in the competitive business environment. At least pause and re-consider your approach to this topic as we move forward into 2016. We at Phoenix Systems are of the same view and would like to help you with this process, if you would allow us.

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The Paperless Office

People have been talking up paperless offices ever since the dawn of the digital age.

It’s easy to see why: there are a lot of benefits to going paper-free. Doing so can seriously cut the costs of your firm’s consumables. It can also enable easier collaboration, especially if you maintain an easy-to-access repository for all digital files.



As cloud-storage options become more sophisticated and secure, you’d think every firm would be keen to virtualize their paper trails. However, paper consumption has increased more than 20% over the past two decades, even as new and better tools become available to reduce it. Seems companies just can’t get enough of paper, and many of these are firms that are trying to be paper-free.

Why Do Some Paperless Offices Fail?

Despite good intentions, most firms are still buried in hard copies. So why the disconnect? Phoenix Systems knows the answer:

Because most companies simply don’t think through how they’ll actually go paperless.

Phoenix Systems has helped customers successfully go paperless, but many others make one or more of the following missteps. Avoid them and you’ll have much better odds of finally quashing your firm’s paper addiction.

1. Waiting For the Perfect Moment

As with all changes that are difficult, people tend to put off doing it until conditions are just so. As a result, you find many entrepreneurs vowing to go paperless…just as soon as they have more time, maybe next fall, or when this major project is done. The trouble is, that time never comes.

  2. Becoming Overwhelmed by the Backlog

When a firm decides to go paperless, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the endeavor. Does “paperless” mean no paper on hand at all? What does that mean for those cabinets full of old invoices and purchase orders? Do you have to scan them all?

It’s easy to get daunted by this proposition, but the best way to ease in a paperless mandate is to do it gradually. Scan all new documents, and tackle old documents on an ongoing basis.

If you really do want all your archives digitized, there are some pretty inexpensive ways to do it. Desktop scanners are cheaper and faster than ever and some models can process up to 40 pages per minute. Armed with this equipment, an intern or part-timer can digitize the contents of an entire filing cabinet in a few hours.

3. Failing To Set Document-Management Rules

If you’re going to go paperless, it’s in your best interest to set some rules about what your organization needs to keep, and for how long.

A good document-management policy will define all these factors, and will factor in legal considerations (e.g., define how long you must hold on to receipts for tax purposes), as well as company preferences (e.g. determining whether certain types of files aren’t worth keeping).

4. Clinging On To Paper Copies

Nothing quite defeats the purpose of virtualizing all documents like keeping hard copies around, too. Blame discomfort with reading on a screen, blame the standard “we’ve always done it this way” attitudes, but far too many paperless initiatives are sidelined when staffers insist on clinging on to paper copies.

For more information on how to go paperless, contact your Phoenix Systems sales rep.



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