Feb 26

Free guide to getting the most out of new ITC contracts

Don’t just sign on the dotted line …   There are a number of ways IT companies try to maximise your expenditure, so here is our free ten point guide to showing you what to look for, and what to insist on, new or upcoming IT contracts.   New Hardware. Unless it’s already part of your plan or budget, be wary of spending on new hardware as part of your upgrade or solution. More often or not, your current hardware can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost. Reselling. If you really do need new hardware, only let your IT supplier bill you for it if they can demonstrate …

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Mar 11

Building A Business Case for Upgrading from XP

Build a business case for upgrading from XP

Me ‘n XP go way back … Windows XP has been running for 12 years now. When it came out, George ‘W’ had just been sworn into office, Jeffrey Archer was starting 4 years at Her Majesty’s pleasure for perjury, and everyone would remember where they were when they heard about the Twin Towers. Yup, 12 years ago. And that is a hell of a long time in the tech world. XP is still very popular. Particularly, in my experience, with the charity sector. Its good, there is no denying that. Solid, reliable and dependable. But there are good reasons for this. Those annoying, nagging little updates that you always …

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Feb 28

Ransomeware strikes…

This ain’t the movies, kid… There’s a lot of things Hollywood gets very wrong about computers, viruses and hacking. User interfaces of the most popular hacking tools tend to look like very old versions of Windows, and nothing like The Matrix at all. And nine times out of ten, your reflexes have little, if anything to do with it. So this attack was quite unusual, in a number of ways. It started in the morning, very quietly and without anyone suspecting that anything had happened. A link and slipped through to someone in an email, and they clicked on it. Internet Explorer 8 popped up, they got an error message, …

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Apr 04

Do you have a BYOD policy? Do you know if it’s happening in your organisation?

Mobile phones have come a long way in the last 40 years!

What is BYOD? Bring your own device, or BYOD, is a rising trend among all sorts of organisations these days. And it’s not going to go away. In fact, you may already be implementing it already without realizing it. People checking work emails on their private mobiles or tablets? Remote workers using their own laptops to check work webmail or with VPN access?  That’s all BYOD. In many ways, the rise of BYOD was inevitable. Increased personal computing power and the rise of the smartphone and tablets is part of the answer. The other aspect is how mobile we are these days, and the need to connect wherever we are, be it …

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Jan 31

The Evil that is you Printer … part 2, saving money

Save on printing costs

So now we know how printers are designed to bleed you dry, it’s time to start saving money on your printer costs. Forgive me, but I am going to assume that you are already finding ways to avoid printing as much as possible so these tips are designed to save you money on those times you really do need to print. What’s the first step? No matter the size of your organisation, the first step is to know how much you are spending already. Larger charities probably already have this at their fingertips. By which I mean they can send an email to their finance/accounts department, and after an audible …

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Jan 25

The Evil that is your Printer… part 1

Evil printers

Back in 2010 you may remember that the police, acting on a tip-off from Saudi intelligence, found a printer at East Midlands airport, sent from Yemen and destined for the US, packed with explosives. My first reaction was – as if printers weren’t evil enough already. They have certainly come along way in the past ten years alone, but I bet the average office manager still spends a good few hours a year pulling out trapped paper, and silently cursing whoever replaced the  ink cartridges without telling anyone they had used the last one. Printers are an interesting example of two economic and marketing phenomena. Both designed to make you …

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Dec 04

Saving money with the ‘Z-Principle’

The Z Principal

When CharityLabs Analytics (CL Analytics), the business end of this blog, sets out to do a procurement review, one of the first things we look at is unit costs. This, as we say, is generally what people first think of when they want to saving money. And they’re right! It’s the cost of the bits-and-bobs you use to ensure the smooth running of your office. Everything from paper and pens to toner and tape! This is officially called your ‘indirect procurement’. It’s not the only part we look at, of course. But we are not going into Resource Matching and Forward Efficiencies just here.     One of the best …

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Nov 26

The Christmas Office Party – CharityLabs style!

Office Christmas Party season is here!

Christmas is coming … the lights are up in Oxford Street, the shops are full with the normal baubles, and we are all ready to engage in economically unproductive Christmas gift giving. So lets find someways to entertain everyone efficiently and amusingly! Sorry, no more humbug, I promise. If you are still struggling to find efficient ways to celebrate, bring the team together and generally have a laugh, I thought I put down some tried and tested ways for you to pick and choose from. Bearing in mind, of course, that this is for smaller organisations with a limited budget. Food Part and parcel of Christmas is the overconsumption of …

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Nov 19

Fear and Paralysis – taking risks in a bad economy

Fear of change

We mentioned before that loss aversion can lead people to make decisions that are not in their best interest. And given the current economic climate, we can be pretty sure that most people are scared stiff. Whether or not the current malaise remains a ‘new normal’, and despite the often devastating statutory cuts many organisations are feeling, the natural reaction to retreat, post pone and cancel projects can, in fact, make things worse. Let’s look at the worst case scenario – things are bad, income is down, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.   You try and make savings by cutting things that ‘appear’ to be less …

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Nov 05

Overcoming our attachment to attachments. How the cloud is leading to true collaboration.

Collaboration in the cloud

Cultural Change Recently I helped a charity make the switch to Google Apps when I came across a common stumbling block. It wasn’t to do with the differences between Google and legacy systems such as MS Outlook, but a cultural change in the biggest difference to the way we work since email itself. It was to do with collaboration. Now you may think that you are using technology to collaborate already, using email to share information and work on documents. But the truth is, using email is as much a hindrance as a help in many ways, and I thought I would share why this is. I took the information from two …

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