‘Tis the season to be thankful! I’m often asked what business technologies I rely on and how they help me in my professional life. In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here are business technologies to be thankful for.
1. Mobile Tools
I’m always on the go. Mobile tools (coupled with the flexible work schedule my employer, Kalleo Technologies, offers me) are the driving force behind my productivity. My go-to tools are my iPhone and my Surface Pro 4 tablet. My iPhone helps me keep my personal and professional life in sync. I use it as many of you do: for email, texts, and traditional phone calls. I also use it when I’m out of the office for group chat, video conferencing and quick review of documents.
My Surface Pro is a lightweight but powerful tablet. Some users worry about replacing their laptop with a tablet. The Surface Pro is an excellent tool for me. I lost nothing in terms of productivity in my transition to it from my old Dell laptop. I’d even call it the best laptop I’ve ever used. It’s ultra-thin, weighs only about two pounds, but has a professional operating system and business class applications. It has a touch screen and digital pen input for when I want to use it as a tablet, and built in kickstand and full size removable keyboard for when I want to use it as a laptop. I take it with me everywhere.
When I’m away from the office or my home, and internet access is a requirement, these two mobile tools work beautifully together. The hotspot on my iPhone allows me to connect my Surface Pro to the internet securely. Cloud technology provided by Microsoft’s OneDrive provides me with access to all my working documents. Should I need to access Kalleo’s corporate network, my secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) client provides a tunnel back to the office enabling me to work just as if I were sitting at my desk within the office.
2. My Go-To Software Tools
Office 365 is one of the software suites I use every single day. I use many of the same productivity tools that you likely use throughout your workday: Microsoft Word for penning articles and blogs, Microsoft Excel for building marketing lists and creating and managing budgets, and Microsoft PowerPoint for preparing presentations. Office 365 is Office in the cloud. While I have the fully functional Office suite installed on my laptop, my Office 365 subscription also gives me web-based access to the Office suite allowing me to access and edit all of my documents from any device, including my iPhone.
As a blogger and digital marketer, WordPress is a technology I am thankful for. WordPress is a website and content management platform. It requires no coding experience to maintain an attractive web presence. I can make updates quickly and easily. An array of plug-ins are available through the WordPress Store that connects my website to applications that track website and blog performance metrics and assist me with my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) goals for our corporate blog and website. To keep my blog and website pages visually attractive I use Pixabay, an online, royalty-free image database. Their search friendly catalog of web and press-ready images is available at no charge via their website.
3. Social Media & Communication Tools
My position requires me to form and maintain relationships with business professionals all over the country. Long distance relationships can be hard to maintain without the right communication tools. An added challenge is the complexity of the digital world we live in. Some of my contacts “live” in LinkedIn while others engage in Twitter. Some rely on traditional communication tools like phone and email while others prefer video chat to feel more closely connected. A person could lose their mind trying to be part of every platform their contacts are a part of. That’s why I am thankful for tools that consolidate my efforts across multiple platforms.
Hootsuite is a powerful social media management tool. I engage with my contacts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from a single console. It’s time-consuming to share updates manually across three networks, especially when you post every business day of the week. Hootsuite allows me to manage all of my networks simultaneously from one interface. This tool also enables me to review all social media engagements and pull my social media statistics from one location.
MailChimp is email marketing software that helps me to create my monthly digital newsletters for my newsletter subscribers and share them across my social network. Not only is the system powerful and easy to use, it’s free until you have 2,000 subscribers or have a need send over 12,000 emails a month.
4. Smart People.
The final “technology” that I’m thankful for is the shared brain power of the smart people I have the privilege of learning from every day. I work in an industry where the environment changes at lightning speed. Technology can be overwhelming, especially if it’s not the industry you work in. Find smart people to teach you what you need to learn. Ask questions. Try something new. You’ll grow in ways you cannot imagine.