Tools Are Not Strategy

To be successful at anything you first need a strategy.  Then, you need to find the right tools to accomplish that strategy.

Tools that are easy to use, effective, efficient and fit nicely within your budget are what you need to find.

Too often people start with the wrong technology tools and spend way too much time and money trying to make their square peg fit the round hole that they strategically needed to fill.

This wastes a lot of time, creates complexity which makes the strategy prone to fail, costs a ton of money and generates a lot of frustration.

Example/Nightmare

Imagine a C-level director that travels extensively and needs to have easy access to documents, spreadsheets and presentations that their support staff collaborate on no matter where they are.

Having on-demand and up-to-date access to shared information to keep up with minute-by-minute changing circumstances is their strategy.

The classic tool often recommended by a Microsoft “Partner” is a Microsoft Windows File Server with a VPN.  Within the file server you share files and folders between privileged staff people and the director using mapped folders/drives using login profiles and permissions.

But, often the traveling director finds getting access to the VPN problematic or even broken by an update.  So they frequently end up using out of date materials.

The use of drive mapped shared folders can be confusing.  Especially if there are different drive letters mapped on different staff PC’s.

I’ve even seen an overworked director put mission critical documents into folders that that the support staff didn’t have access to.

For a small team, the initial purchase price, setup costs, and ongoing maintenance costs for a Microsoft Windows File Server can be very daunting especially when you look at it on a per person basis.

Solution/Easy Button

Have an independent consultant take a fresh look at the problem.  In the above example, that independent consultant might determine a very different, yet effective, efficient and much less expensive solution.

Yes, I’m an independent consultant.  Surprise!  🙂

How Would I Solve This Example?

Strategy Recap
The director always needs the latest documents and spreadsheets that the staff works on collaboratively. Both groups need to be able to update and access the files no matter where they are and no matter what computer they are using, even if the traveling director’s laptop was broken or lost.

Tools Suggested
In this case, I would probably suggest that we use an online cloud data storage service that allowed the director and support staff to have instant access to their shared files.  

However, we could go with a simple rock-solid NAS device like a Synology NAS that creates a private cloud server if the dozens of other features it has can provide additional value.

Benefits
Either way, even if their PC was lost, forgotten or broken, the director could log in securely via another PC to get access to the files needed.

Both of these strategic uses of modern tools would save hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars in initial purchase, labor and upgrades per year versus using a classic Windows File Server.

In addition, both are brain-dead simple for the director and their staff to keep everything synced and easily accessible.

I Am Here to Help

With over 25+ years of professional technical support and consulting experience let me help you grow.  If you are struggling with technology and strategy, I can help.

Because Market Street is an independent consulting agency I go a step further than most and actually show you simple ways you can use technology for better results.  I don’t try to sell you a square peg simply because we want to sell you a product that I make profit off of.

In addition, I’ll give you as much education as possible to help you do what you want without having to come back for help.  

Whether you are a non-profit organization or a for-profit business, big or small, Market Street can help you make strategic use of technology, save money, reduce frustration and become more effective and efficient doing so.  

Market Street helps you work smarter, not harder.  

Get in touch if you want to grow.