The best tech investment your business can make

A few IT hints and tricks can significantly improve your staff’s productivity. PAUL WALLBANK

By Paul Wallbank

Paul Wallbank Tech Talk blog

Last weekend I was reminded why most businesses don’t get the full value from their computer systems.

Browsing the exhibitor’s stalls during the breaks at the National Speakers Association of Australia’s annual conference on the weekend it struck me just how technology reliant the speaking business is.

That even such a people skills industry as professional speaking depends on computers shows how important technology is to every business. Yet most computer users are self taught and don’t know a fraction of what their computers can do.

So it wasn’t surprising that one of the best received speakers over the weekend was productivity expert Debbie Mayo-Smith ( with her tips on managing Excel spreadsheets and the email functions in Microsoft Word.

Debbie’s tricks were simple and effective. Every single one used features built into the Mac and PC versions of Microsoft Office. It knocked the audience’s socks off and people were still mentioning them to me the following day.

Almost all the audience simply didn’t know those tools were sitting in the software they use every day. Yet those functions would save hours of work and frustration for probably every person in the room.

It’s not just true for smaller businesses. All business, big and small, don’t do enough to train their staff on using computers. As a consequence, most computer users are self taught.

Teaching yourself to use computers is a great experience and for anyone with more than a little curiosity it’s a rich and rewarding process. But you can pick up some bad habits along the way.

Take those poor habits into an office which already has strange ways of doing things and some bad, not mention expensive, things happen.

The worst case I’ve seen was an investment company on Sydney’s Upper North Shore some years ago. People in this office believed you had to shut down every computer on the network each time you printed a document. This was costing the owner over $25,000 in lost time each year.

While most businesses won’t make savings like that, just a few hours instruction can save each employee a couple of hours of lost time a week. Not to mention being able to do things that just weren’t done before.

The whole aim of computers is to improve your business productivity so it’s madness not be training you and your staff to use these tools properly.

In this time poor world it’s essential to get your technology doing its best for you and your business. Talk to your IT department or tech advisor and see about getting some training. A bit of basic computer instruction for your staff is one of the best investments a business can make.

This blog will answer common computer problems, help you choose internet providers, cut your IT costs, manage staff use of IT and help you find the best deals in small business technology. Paul Wallbank is a speaker, writer and broadcaster on technology issues. Through his website PC Rescue he’s answered thousands of computer questions over the last 12 years. His latest book is the Australian edition of PCs for Dummies and his new presentation on 10 ways technology can revolutionise your business will be launched next week.

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