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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How to Make Video Conferencing Less Awkward for Everyone

Right now, more business than ever is now conducted over video chat. You may have found yourself using it as a tool as you work remotely. However, while these conversations may help keep your team connected to one another, the experience certainly isn’t the same as what would be found in the office conference room. Here, we’re sharing a way to get rid of one of the biggest hurdles in remote collaboration.

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Tip of the Week: Three Ways Collaboration Can Be Improved

Collaboration is critical for a business’ success, but with more teams than ever split amongst their homes, it is arguably even more crucial to their operations. For this week’s tip, we’re going over three ways that your team can collaborate more effectively while making remote operations work.

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VoIP Is a Complete Game Changer

Businesses of all types rely on their telephone systems. Today, there is an option that can revolutionize any business’ communications platform, and do so for a fraction of the cost of a traditional telephone system. Today, we’ll take a look at VoiP and why it’s such a good option for your business.

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We’ve Answered Some FAQs About Remote Workers

Worldwide, we’re a good few months into dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, with many nonessential businesses shutting their doors for the time being. Even those industries that can’t just stop their operations are seeking alternatives, leading many to turn to implementing as much of a remote workforce as possible. Many still have questions about doing so, however, so we want to do our best to help answer some of the common questions these business people might ask about remote work.

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Tip of the Week: Remote Productivity Tips

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused many businesses to enact a work-from-home policy. With so many people working from home, we thought it would be a good idea to write up some simple tips to follow to give yourself the best chance of being productive. 

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In the Age of Coronavirus, Now’s the Time to Reconsider Telework

New York State recently mandated a stay in place order, requiring only essential businesses remain open and all others have their employees stay at home. The goal is to reduce the spread of coronavirus, by increasing social distancing. The best way to do this is by having fewer employees physically in the office. For telecommuting to be successful you need to have a plan in place before you need to use it. Here are 5 steps to allow your employees to work from home in the age of coronavirus.

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Why File Sync and Share is So Important for Businesses to Have

As the coronavirus outbreak creates global health concerns, we wanted to address how it could impact businesses that lack the preparations needed to account for such an event. More specifically, we wanted to discuss why events like these add even more reasons that a file share and sync solution is an invaluable addition to your IT resources.

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Promoting Profits: Collaboration

With most businesses looking to control costs, their decision makers need to find innovative new ways to do business. One way that many firms can increase productivity without raising costs is to promote a culture of collaboration. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the useful technology that businesses can leverage to improve their output.

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File Sharing Tips from the Pros

The more time that passes the more files your business accumulates. These files need to be stored in a place where your staff has access to them. Since a lot of today’s work is collaborative, finding the right file sharing and collaboration solution is extremely important for the growing SMB. Today, we will tell you some things you need to do to maintain efficient file management systems.

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Tip of the Week: Keyboard Shortcuts for Slack

Collaboration is crucial in today’s work environment, which is one reason that solutions like Slack are so popular among businesses. Another reason that Slack is a popular option is how user-friendly it is - especially with the many shortcuts that are built in. We’ll go over a few of these shortcuts.

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Fuel Productivity with Collaboration Tools

The modern perspective of productivity would not be possible without the use of collaboration tools. Some of them are so game changing that they can completely revolutionize the way you hold meetings, deal with clients, and manage in-house processes. We’ll discuss how you can implement collaboration tools that work for your business, as well as use them to overcome the many challenges you might face in a business environment.

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Tip of the Week: How to Encourage Collaboration

Collaboration is a crucial business process in many ways, which means you need to be sure that your entire team is on board and prepared to participate. This week, we’re offering some tips to help you accomplish just this in six simple steps.

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Tip of the Week: Excelling at Teamwork

How well do your employees collaborate with one another? Teamwork is essential to the success of any business, but it’s often something that doesn’t come naturally to some users. These days, there are ways you can make communication and teamwork more effective and efficient for your workforce. This week’s tip is dedicated to making this work.

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How to Adjust Your Business for Collaboration

Collaborative work is pushing organizations forward faster today than ever before. With the use of more dynamic and option-rich technology, your organization can benefit from the improved productivity that comes from enhancing your collaborative strategies. Today, we look at some of the technologies used by organizations that prioritize collaborative work.

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Use Innovative Technologies to Help Your Business

When it comes to innovation, you’d be surprised at what you might be capable of with the right solution. Collaboration in particular opens the floodgates to productivity, and with the right kind of collaborative and innovative technology, you’ll be able to unlock a whole new level of progress for your business. We’ll discuss some of the most important aspects of innovative collaboration and how your business can start taking advantage of it.

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Communications Are a Big Part of New Productivity Software

When people find new reasons to collaborate, it typically results in something positive. There is some new software that is now making collaboration easier, while still providing people the tools they need to stay productive. These collaboration tools are changing the face of business. Today, we take a look at them and how your organization can use these new collaboration tools to move business ahead faster.

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Instant Messaging Is a Valuable Tool for Businesses

Once thought to just be a cool feature of the Internet--or the entirety of the Internet to your Great Aunt Maddie--instant messaging has a long history on the web. In fact, one could argue that it was the first great Internet-based application. Today, we take a look back at the history of Instant Messaging and how your organization can use it to create a better business.

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Improving Your Collaboration Can Improve Performance

With the exception of a sole proprietorship, a business of any size relies on its team in order to function properly. As a result, this team needs to be able to work together towards a common goal in order to succeed. To accomplish this, collaboration technologies are becoming more and more common in office environments, and generally benefit the performance of the business in its operations.

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Backup and Recovery of Collaborative Environments

As the cloud is being utilized by more individuals and organizations to meet their computing needs, more very important data is hosted outside of local computer networks. As a result, people utilize cloud storage for their backup and recovery strategies. In fact, it has become the primary use of cloud-hosted platforms, but just how does backup and recovery from these collaborative cloud-based platforms work?

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Tip of the Week: Using Microsoft OneNote for Collaboration

Have you tried using Microsoft OneNote recently? It’s a great solution for a business setting, as it can provide your organization with plenty of features and capabilities that keep your staff organized and efficient. Thankfully, these features can allow your business to pass OneNote off as a project management tool. We’ll show you how it’s done.

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From the Law Office to the Courtroom: IT’s Role in Criminal Justice

With information technology touching nearly every part of modern culture, it isn’t a surprise that it is being utilized by sectors of industry where you may not expect. One of those sectors that may not register as one of the most IT-centric is the criminal justice system. This is largely because it is traditionally thought to be filled with jobs that seemingly haven’t changed much in centuries. Today, we’ll take a look at the technology that fuels today’s criminal justice system and see how municipalities and companies, alike, are benefiting from technology solutions.

 

Police

To start the journey through the legal system, we’ll start with the people whose job is defined by exercising moral authority: the police. The first thing that anyone needs to know about their investment in IT and their use of technology systems is that, since the police gets a majority of their funding from public money, IT budgets aren’t always in line with a private business’. In fact, some police departments don’t see the point in more IT when good cops are being laid off so they will deliberately cut their IT budgets in line with the budget they get from their municipality.

While IT isn’t always a priority for the police, it can be effective at providing exceptional departmental productivity gains. With the remote nature of the job, most police cars today are outfitted with laptops and Internet accessibility. This allows officers to access motor vehicle and individual information stored on useful databases, but since these machines are hardwired into a car dock, they only get a partial benefit of mobility. Innovative solutions are now being used where police are outfitted with department-owned smartphones and tablets so that officers can access relevant information from outside of their cars.

There are several parts of the job where police can benefit from new technology. Along with the in-car computer networking, and potentially mobile device networking, IT can compliment a lot of what a police officer does. The right IT solution can boost communication, augment (or completely run) operational capabilities, and effectively reduce costs by providing information faster and speeding up procedure. After all, a large percentage of effective policing has to do with having actionable information. As a result, by implementing IT solutions, the public welfare improves--which is the situation that any citizen can ask from their officers of the peace.

From a software perspective, here are three types the typical police department can’t do without:

  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) - An application that assists dispatchers route police resources to places of priority need.
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) -  An application that provides in-depth geographic information to provide dispatchers and officers a comprehensive view of the landscape.
  • Records Management System (RMS) - An application that provides officers with access to reliable information to assist them in their duties.

 

Lawyers

Moving on to the lawyers, we’ll find a professional that is torn between the past and the future. Many lawyers understand that IT can benefit them, but at the same time the simply don’t have time to monkey with technology that, for some, can do more harm than good. The average lawyer that works criminal cases, whether they are prosecutors, defense attorneys, or specialists, understands how to effectively utilize certain technologies to provide their clients the best service possible. After all, they deal with a lot of sensitive information, and have a responsibility to protect it.

Some of the technologies that law firms typically utilize come in the form of business-type solutions that enhance their productivity, efficiency, and data redundancy. Others, however, are best utilized by a business like a law practice. Most practices need strong collaborative systems that allow multiple people to share files, the ability to print off documents, and a central database that has access to documents. These requirements make computing solutions in the cloud a perfect fit for the modern law office. Cloud computing can offer these organizations a way to host all their necessary software, while also providing virtual hardware and redundant storage capabilities without having to pay huge upfront costs.

Lawyers typically use the following software:

  • Practice Management - An application that is designed to help lawyers and their staff manage the large quantity of work they are inundated with.
  • eDiscovery - An application that makes finding, collection, identifying, and sharing relevant information easy.
  • Video Conferencing - Lawyers are extraordinarily busy and often don’t have time for face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing helps fill the void by allowing them to meet with clients, colleagues, and staff from anywhere with an Internet connection.

 

The Court

Since its main purpose is to be a place to hear arguments, the courtroom doesn’t need all the technology that the police and lawyers use to keep things rolling efficiently along. In fact, most of the technology that is utilized in the duration of a criminal trial would be traditionally provided by the prosecution or defense. This simply isn’t so today. The courtroom of the information age is seeing a major shift, and changing the nature of litigation completely.

The biggest change to the modern courtroom is in the availability of data. Since data is now able to be securely broadcast from cloud servers to devices such as laptops and tablets, the notoriously slow court proceedings’ pace has quickened somewhat. Other technologies like wireless Internet connections and charging ports add to the connected courtroom effectiveness.

Along with the technology people bring in to the courtroom, there are major changes in the technology inside the courtroom itself, too. The modern courtroom features video displays--either in the form of a mounted screen and a LCD projector or smaller, individual screens in the jury box--to provide juries a resource to see evidence. Many courtrooms also have individual witness monitors and annotation monitors.

Since the courtroom only has a couple of static employees, software isn’t typically necessary to manage the staff or used for productivity, but some software is available. There are titles for court and case management, e-filing, and audio-visual that are all found in the modern courtroom.

Corrections

The criminal justice system ends with institutional corrections (prisons and jails) and community corrections (probation and parole). Like the other parts of the system, the corrections system has become dependant on the use of technology, especially for communication. Internet-based databases help corrections professionals track and maintain records on offender rehabilitation, while also helping provide an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. This provides the public significant cost savings, while also providing correction officers the ability to effectively monitor and manage offender probation.

Since budgetary considerations can really put a damper on the amount of acceptable innovation in corrections, the use of standard information technology is extremely important. It is making prisons and jails safer, and community corrections more effective. No better example of this than then the use of asset tracking technology through an automated offender management system.

The automated offender management system allows multiple users to access (and alter) an offender’s record simultaneously.with other users. This real-time information sharing improves efficiency, as the more information that’s available between multiple elements of the criminal justice system (and in this case, the corrections system) the better the entire system moves. Additionally, by providing real-time inmate information to corrections officers, it will reduce security risks.

 

If the technologically puerile criminal justice system is utilizing technology to improve operations, your business can, too. To see how Directive’s knowledgeable IT consultants can make technology work for your organization, call us today at 607.433.2200.

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Solid Communications Provide Businesses with Strong Collaboration Options

Is there anything more important to your business’ success than communication? If you’re not ready to communicate, it becomes difficult to collaborate and make strides on major projects. Thankfully, like many topics in business, technology allows for more effective communication and collaboration than ever before. Let’s take a moment to review some of the best technologies to streamline communication in the office.

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Identifying Personality Types will Help Your Networking Efforts

One experience that almost everyone has been involved in is the clashing of personalities. This is only natural, as different people are born with different predispositions and are raised in differing environments. However, in the business world, one should do their best to keep personal differences from affecting the professional relationships they form.

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Collaboration is Priority in These Updates

Collaboration is a key part of business today, which has led to many developers and providers entering the business of collaboration. These developers are in deep competition with each other, each trying to update their offering to be better than the others’. Recently, Facebook Workplace, Slack, and Google’s Gmail each received collaboration-boosting updates.

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How To Co-Author A Microsoft Word Document

As one would expect, a business will run a lot more smoothly when its employees have the resources to work cohesively toward a common goal. This is why collaborative solutions are becoming a staple in many office environments. Today, we’ll examine how one of these solutions, Microsoft Office 365, can help a workforce to achieve its goals.

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When Employees Argue, Quality Suffers. Here’s What You Can Do About It

When you talk about your employees, you hopefully often refer to them as a department, or a “team.” These terms often come with predetermined assumptions, with one of them being that the employees work together to accomplish something specific. However, it’s often not so simple. If your employees aren’t working together as a team, how can you fix this dilemma?

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Find Out if Microsoft SharePoint is Right For Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_introduction_to_sharepoint_400.jpgThere are several options on the market that you can deploy to securely store, organize, share, and access your information for your staff. SharePoint, Microsoft’s intranet solution, is worth considering for your data access and sharing needs.

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People are the X Factor for a Successful Technology Strategy

b2ap3_thumbnail_company_collaboration_400.jpgBusinesses look to technology to solve their problems and make operations more efficient, and rightfully so, after all, technology is synonymous with “solution.” Although, just purchasing new technology isn’t enough to automatically see the desired results. New technology must be accompanied by intentional implementation efforts, which includes adapting it to your company’s culture. In other words, working with people.

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New Office Trend “Hoteling” Provides Workers a Collaborative Work Environment

b2ap3_thumbnail_hoteling_office_trend_400.jpgEveryone is well aware of how mobile technology is changing everything. Therefore, it's a matter of time before we see new tech drastically change the office layout. This is what's happening in forward-thinking offices with a trend called "hoteling." If your business enjoys mobile technology and you want to get the most collaboration out of your staff, then hoteling is right for you.

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