The applications that you select will determine the type of hardware that is required. No matter what application solutions you choose, at your office you will need: redundant communication lines, firewalls, switches, good cabling and end-user devices including copiers, printers, scanners, computers, tablets and smartphones. If you have local storage needs, then you have two major choices: On-Premise Private Cloud or a Hosted Private Cloud. An on-premise private cloud could be built using traditional local area networking technology, virtualization of servers, Terminal Services, Citrix Services or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) using tools like Citrix XenDesktop or VMware View. Wise installers are making all applications run conveniently and securely for remote users.
More Than One Right Way To Do This
We muse over consultants, pundits and experts who strive to convince you that their way is the “only way” or solutions based on their experience is “best practice” for the industry. We are more convinced than ever that there are multiple right ways to solve both client and firm problems and that your knowledge of your client base will lead you to look for solutions to these issues. The way you select and implement solutions will lead to your success. Focusing on the smooth implementation and training of your people to get your procedures right can pay the highest reward.
Consistency of procedures will contribute the most to quality work products that are reproducible and have a minimum amount of time and effort involved. If you can focus some of your attention and expertise on reducing the steps and effort to solve a problem, document and teach team members about these processes, and help all team members understand the philosophical approach you are using to solve the problem, you should get better decisions made at all levels. A checklist approach may work, but fewer flexible steps with smart guidance and training will promote better client satisfaction and a better work product. All of these factors together should drive out time used and increase realization, too.
One large caution: a trap that many firms experience is letting each partner or manager do things “their way,” resulting in dozens of ways to solve a single problem in a firm. This results in higher costs and work inefficiencies that are frequently not correctly costed, charged or attributed to the upper level manager causing the problem. We like flexibility, but we do not like inconsistency. If you want inconsistency in the firm – many small firms or firms with “books of business” do – then expect profitability to be lower. It is your business and you are welcome to make that choice. We just want you to be acutely aware your choice is likely causing you and your people to work harder while your income is lower.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to think about the issue of planning for the future is to assume that you were starting your business today and had no clients, hardware, software or employees. How would you build the firm to accomplish what clients want and what you want? Most of us would not choose what our tools have evolved into. Why not start the transition with a vision of what you want your firm “to be,” and begin the migration now? You and your firm will become what you dream of sooner than you “think.”