Category: Business

All the latest news and updates from the Graftman team

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A Service Level Agreement, or SLA, is a document which specifies a set amount of time for a task to reach a certain state, such as ensuring that an incident is closed or resolved within a few business days. The success rate can be recorded, and events can be triggered at different times during the SLA’s life-span.

Many businesses these days are involved in service-level agreements with their customers to ensure certain standards of duty are met within specified timeframes. SLAs are attractive to customers, as they let them know exactly where they stand in regard to the services they can expect. Meeting these criteria is more essential to customer satisfaction than ever before.

Setting the right benchmarks within your SLA can make all the difference in gaining new business. It is a clear indication to potential clients as to what they can expect, allowing them to make direct comparisons with competitors in your field.

These benchmarks can range from the response time for help desk enquiries, to the completion of a long term contract. When drawing up an SLA, it is essential to consider the needs of your clients and how you can help to fulfil them.

SLAs measure the service provider’s performance and quality in a number of ways. Some benchmarks that an SLA could determine include:

  • Times of availability – the hours of the day or percentage of the time the files are available
  • Time taken for a response to an enquiry or request
  • A plan for warning in advance of system changes that could affect clients
  • Usage and/or performance statistics
  • Potential penalties and compensation of obligations are not met

Having an IT system to manage these responsibilities is vital to many modern organisations, automatically informing employees of tasks and deadlines on one hand, and customers of appointments and costs on the other.

Graftman’s RAG (Red, Amber, Green) feature provides an excellent automated solution for SLA compliance. Tasks in the system are clearly categorised as either red, amber or green according to how urgently they need to be moved onto the next stage. All appointment statuses start as green, and ideally stay that way until completion.

For example, a task could move from green to amber if a customer request hasn’t been resolved within 2 hours, then moved into red after 4 hours. Amber and red alerts can be configured to trigger messages to the various parties involved, depending on their level of urgency, to indicate that action is required.

Graftman can ensure you don’t miss deadlines and can respond to your customers needs in a timely manner, improving customer satisfaction, and in turn increasing your probability and growth potential. Get in touch today.

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Data Security can be a daunting proposition for small businesses, how can you be sure your data is protected without access to the resources and expertise available to larger firms? The following tips provide good business practices anyone can follow.

Educate

The key to good security practice is ensuring that every member of your team understands why it is so important. Establish set procedures, such as regularly updating passwords, setting a lock screen and virus-checking downloads. The rise of social media has increased connectivity, but has also brought risks, make sure your staff don’t give away sensitive information over Facebook, Twitter or image sharing apps like Instagram. Stress the need to keep physical IT assets such as USB sticks and laptops safe from theft or loss.

Protect

Finding the right virus protection and spyware blocking software is more important than ever, due to the ever increasing sophistication of hacking and information fishing tools used by criminals. Anti-virus software must be regularly updated, as new threats are constantly emerging. Most of these programs automatically update, so keep them set to do so. Be wary of files from sites and emails that you are not familiar with, always download with caution. Is your Wifi secure? Set a strong password for it and be careful who you allow access.

Prioritise

It’s a good idea to consider what are your most valuable assets are and how to protect them. Databases are crucial to modern businesses, not only for information storage but also the day-to-day operation of IT systems. Email messages often contain confidential business information, that you definitely don’t want falling into the wrong hands. Decide your priorities for data security early on, and make sure you have a plan for business-critical failures or breaches.

Copy

If the worst case scenario does happen, then at least be able to carry on with copies of essential files. Backup files as often as is feasible and make sure your copies are safe and accessible. Cloud-based backup services store your data on a secure server, saving you the cost and effort of hosting it yourself. Think about when the best time to back up is. Many firms will do this outside of business hours, as not to interfere with work. There are options to automate these processes, an attractive proposition for busy small business owners.

Graftman offers secure, cloud-based Case Management, keeping your case and staff related data safe and centralised in one program. Get in touch today.

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Businesses are familiar with the statistics relating to their accounts: profit and loss, turnover, sales, etc. But fewer actively measure and track the actual activity of the day-to-day processes they engage in.

Large firms have taken advantage of analytical software in order to make savings and streamline their processes to increase profits. Business analysts are paid high salaries to interpret this data and implement changes in company policy. One striking example is WalMart’s “Just In Time” inventory strategy, which saved them millions by cutting down on the amount of storage space required by the firm.

Isolating a particular process, with the time taken and cost to you, can help to analyse whether it needs to be streamlined, expanded, or dropped altogether. The most profitable products and services provided by your business can be focused on, while there may be others you decide are not worth continuing with at all. Statistics can help you evaluate the return on investment from outgoings such as fuel costs, rent, new equipment, storage and man-hours put into specific tasks.

Gathering and interpreting this business data can be difficult, time consuming and sometimes expensive, so the best solution is automatic generation of statistics and reports. But as a small business, you may feel the technology and software required is beyond your means, or too complex to use without IT expertise.

Graftman offers an easy to use, reasonably priced solution to the smaller business. At various points in your case workflow, data is collected and logged, with secure records kept for you to access at any point in the future. Graphs and reports can be generated from this information with criteria and time periods decided on by you. All of this is achieved with one software product, rather than juggling spreadsheets, databases and messaging across multiple programs.

To see how Graftman can help you benefit from keeping track of vital business statistics, get in touch today.