Microsoft To Do was an unknown to me until my friend Neil who runs another I.T. company over at Total ICT mentioned it, that is.
Like many other professionals, I struggled with keeping tabs on tasks, when I had to do them and so on.
I’ve been using Microsoft To Do successfully (in my opinion!) for several months now and I felt it time to shed a little light on this gem of an application.
Below you’ll find some screenshots and video of how to use the application. But here in this overview, I’ll quickly explain what it can do.
Microsoft To Do can be installed onto most computers, mobile devices and tablets that I know of. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be available on Linux operating systems.
It is, however, available on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices.
Once you have the application installed, sign in with your email account, possibly your personal Hotmail, Live or Outlook account. Or if like me you have an Office 365 for Business subscription, sign in with that one. Often called a ‘Workplace or School’ account by Microsoft.
Microsoft To Do allows you to create Tasks. Well, that’s good Jonathan! Thanks! Yeah, okay. But it does more than that of course. You can add details to each task, set reminders, set due dates, assign someone else (in your organisation, add a file, links, star a task to make it important, flag an email in your email account to bring it into Microsoft To Do ‘Flagged Items’, repeat tasks and more.
Suffice to say, it should satisfy most of us whether we are a worker, a hobbyist, or just want something plain and simple to manage home life.
The fact that you can install Microsoft To Do on your home computer and on your phone and see the same information replicated across those devices is a very useful feature. Out and about? Perhaps with a customer? Or shopping at the supermarket? Check the Microsoft To Do task you created earlier while at home. The information is there.
So, without further ado, here’s how to use the app including a short video. Enjoy.
How to use Microsoft To Do
When you Add to your Day, the task will appear on your home screen, your My Day screen
You can create Groups which contain Lists which contain Tasks. Lists can have their own icon/emoji
Planned tasks show up when a task has a Due date or a Reminder
Here is what the app looks like on my iPhone 7 Plus phone
Since my screenshots contain real information I thought it best to hide some of the lists!
That’s a quick introduction to Microsoft To Do. I like it. I hope you do too.
How does the coronavirus outbreak affect the service that Anything I.T. provides its customers? Note: When I talk about Anything I.T. I’m also talking about its collaborators in the Geek Collective: Comtec ICT and Hello Simon.
What effect? Hopefully very little!
Much of what we do at Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective is proactive work which thankfully can be carried out from the ‘comfort’ of our home offices.
Of course, some services cannot be reasonably carried out at this time without breaking the governments ‘stay at home‘ statement of the 23rd March 2020. Those services might be the installation of a new telephone system, network cabling to an office or fixing a broken computer.
Aside from a few limitations, Anything I.T. can still help your business come out the other side by helping you work proactively on the technical aspects of your business.
Article by: Jonathan Burrows Date: 23/03/2020 Length: 5 minutes
Quote: “When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Here are a few technical tips and things to do while at home to support your business through coronavirus.
For most businesses, this is at best a trying time, one in which it will be hard to get through unscathed. But what would life for your business be like when you come out the other end?
That’s up to you, of course, however, there are some technical things you can do to put your business in a much better place when we say goodbye to COVID-19. At least from a technical standpoint.
No excuses, it’s time to learn!
What we will cover
SEO for your website
Learn something new
Probably most of you will have some sort of cloud storage in place. This is where you save files to a specific folder on your computer hard drive (such as OneDrive – Personal, and the file is automatically uploaded to the cloud.
If you can only work with files by using Microsoft Office, then consider OneDrive since some plans come with a subscription to Office 365.
Dropbox has a web version of Office built in so that’s handy too. Google Drive has its own version of web programs to create and edit documents and spreadsheets.
The point about this post though is to encourage you to look into cloud storage if you haven’t got it and to take a closer look if you do.
Tip: Check folders on your computer that are outside the cloud storage folders such as your Desktop as these are not synchronised by default. If you lost your computer or the hard drive died then those files will be lost!
Have a look at the way you communicate with your potential customers and existing customers. Here are several things to look into and research yourself:
Move your phone system away from antiquated and immovable hard-wired systems into your office/home (such as a BT line) to cloud-based telecommunications such as Number Club by Hello Comtec. Contact them on their website or us here at Anything I.T.
Facebook Page Messaging
You can have your Facebook Page (you do have a Facebook Page don’t you?) automatically reply with a customised message to anyone that starts a conversation. You can also setup Frequently Asked Questions so visitors can get the answers they need quickly without having to wait for you to respond.
You might want to also integrate Instagram into your Facebook since you can receive and reply to messages all in one place.
Improve your email communications with Office 365 for Business
Office 365 for Business comes with business-class email. A stable and full-featured product. More on that elsewhere.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your website
Now that you are stuck at home for a few weeks, why not focus a little on your website?
Check your SEO
Check your SEO for your site by using tools such as Ubersuggest. Once you get familiar with this tool you can then work on your site content to reflect your goals.
Blogging and article writing
Now is the time to create a few articles or blogs of useful information to help your website visitors.
By creating several blogs you can improve the way Google (etc) see your website and therefore improve the visibility of it on search results.
You can normally set each blog with a publish date sometime in the future so you could write about future events coming up and delay their publishing until later.
The important thing here is to write useful information that people will read.
You might also want to try creating video blogs too.
Update your main pages
Take a look at the content on your website pages also. Tweak and improve them. Make sure the content is relevant to what the topic is about. Google likes to see websites updated regularly.
Google My Business
Do you have a Google My Business listing?
Seeing your business in what some people call the ‘map’ section of results can be quite important. Google My Business is yet another way you can improve your online visibility.
If your business has a physical address, then that will help how you appear on the map but the address will need to be verified, usually by way of a postcard sent by Google to the address with a code that needs to be entered into your Google My Business console.
How secure are your computers and the data they have stored on them? Perhaps they should be removed from public view?
Who has access to business files and documents? Did you forget to remove sharing for someone who left the company? Check it now.
Are your anti-virus programs up-to-date? Check them.
What about GDPR? In most small businesses you can check what you have to do to be compliant at the ICO website. There is a Registration self-assessment on the ICO website which will take you through some steps to help you decide if you need to pay a fee or not.
Learn something new
Learn something new. For me, I’m self-teaching myself a new programming language called React. For you? Maybe you have always wanted to get to know more about SEO, or HTML, or how to speed up your computer or to understand your computer network.
Now is the time and there is plenty of information and tutorial websites to help you. Here are just a few:
Lynda.com (Business, Higher Education, Programming, Photography, Business and much more)
Do you find yourself asking the question: “How can I improve the SEO of my website?”. Does Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) seem like a black art? Does it seem like whatever you do, nothing improves?
Perhaps you feel you don’t have time to contribute to the growth of your website?
Naturally, there are hundreds of areas that Google (and other search engines) look at when ranking your website. Many are beyond your control such as the location of the user carrying out the search or the popularity of competitor websites. There are some things you can do that are in your power though.
Read on for three tips to improve the SEO of your website.
1. Provide better content
Search engines know how long a visitor stays on your site. When a visitor stays on your site for more than just a few seconds, it can suggest that the content is interesting enough to potentially provide the information the visitor was looking for.
You are the expert
You are the expert in your field, not me. So I will leave the examples up to you to consider. BUT, what if you wrote content for your site that satisfied the visitor? Perhaps you are answering a question that they need to know the answer too? Maybe it’s a special vegetarian recipe? Perhaps your content explains to the visitor how to make a better golf swing?
Whatever it is, it is down to you to provide the information in a legible way so that your site visitor does not depart quickly going back to Google for alternative answers.
Think about the websites you visit that answer your questions or you simply enjoy reading. What is it about them that makes the site tick?
Content that answers specific questions
When answering specific questions such as pricing details, or the location of your premises, make it clear and obvious. Provide a table of pricing for your pricing structure or a map of your location with the address clearly visible.
There’s nothing worse than a searcher landing on your website to find the address of your premises, not finding it so going back to Google and clicking on another website (say Yell for instance) that does show your address. What do you think Google is thinking about that simple question? It’s not good.
Some sites sell stuff online. So, okay writing stories or articles for these sites might not be the best way forward, but you should ensure that each product text is well written and clear. This will help people stay on the site and encourage people to stay longer and even purchase!
Be the giver
Providing good content in Google’s eyes has a lot to do with what you give the visitor. If you write stuff that is useful then you are one step closer to SEO heaven. Google will also look at links you provide in your copy. you need to create internal links (links to other pages on your site) in your copy, and also links to external sources that might enhance what you have written.
For instance, in SEO circles I often refer to Neil Patel since he is undoubtedly an expert in this field. Some of the videos he produces are spot on so it’s worth checking him out.
2. Consider the structure of your content
Don’t write content that is hard to read. Here’s hoping that this post can be read easily otherwise I’m in trouble!
What I mean by structure is that you should write content that is broken up nicely into paragraphs and sectioned off with appropriately titled headings.
Don’t write a 1000 word article with no paragraphs!
Maybe it needs images or a video to help get your point across. Images can break up the content making it easier on the eyes. Try it!
3. Write more often, and regularly
You think it’s okay to write a new article every six months, do you? Sorry, but if you want to have a non-technical impact on your website, then you need to produce new content or update old content at regular intervals.
Not all websites benefit from writing content such as news stories, articles or tips and tricks. But, if you are not an SEO expert then writing could be the way forward for you. See below about how it has affect our website for a real-life example
How often should I create new content?
The old adage of ‘How long is a piece of string’ comes to mind. It’s whatever suits you and your business. if your content is long and complex to write, then once or twice a month might be enough. If you writer shorter snippets of copy, then several times a week might be the way to go.
What we have done
For us, at Anything I.T. we had several aims one year ago to raise our standing on the search engines. I’m happy to say that we are making excellent progress towards these goals.
The number of visitors has risen by twofold and our rankings for chosen keyword phrases have increased to the point where two are consistently on page 1 of Google results and the others are slowly rising as well.
Below is a search result for “IT Support Plymouth”. It’s lovely to see our site second only to the University of Plymouth (after the adverts and location results of course). One year ago we were on page 10!
How have we done this?
You might notice from the Blog section of our site that we have written around 17 blogs in the last year and a bit. Most of which are fairly in-depth technical articles and tips. FREE stuff we want to share with other small business owners out there.
Not only do we write these blogs but we share them on social media and encourage discussion by asking questions that don’t prompt yes or no answers. Getting into discussion with people and providing free stuff for others has been one of the aims of the blog writing.
Like I said earlier, blogging is not for everyone but I would strongly suggest looking at it.
Quote: “The Geek Collective is an established and credible body of industry professionals who are expert in their specific arena. We are distinct in how we deliver our services and we have come together as professional individuals, to provide our highly trusted services as one collective.” Source: https://geekcollective.co.uk/
Considerations, Types of Backups, Implications, Assessments, Restoration
Note: A PDF version of this post can be found here: Automated Backup Service This document will likely be updated from time to time so information is up-to-date and current.
This post contains questions which are not necessarily answered here but provide an opportunity to create a proper plan to keep company data safe. Liaising with Anything I.T. to do this can save time, money and stress.
Consider the following when planning a backup strategy.
Is an ‘on-premises’ backup sufficient?
Is a manual periodic/random backup taken off-site enough?
Does the nature of the business expect any off-site backups (such as remote backups) to be encrypted?
How much space in Gigabytes will be required (see Assessments below)? Think future-proofing an increase in disk space.
Choice of types of backups (see below Types of Backups).
How often should a backup be taken?
Who oversees/performs the backups? If it is an external company, do you get reports from them regarding current status?
Consider hard copy documents such as signed paperwork. Should these be scanned and saved into a folder that gets backed up?
Is there sensitive information within the files being backed up? Does your company GDPR policy take into account the remote storage of this information?
Are files containing sensitive information stored in a secure Cloud location such as Dropbox, OneDrive for Business or Google Drive?
If a file is corrupted somehow (perhaps by virus or computer malfunction), how do you plan to re-create that file? Or is that not possible?
Are email mailboxes backed up? Typically, Gmail, Office 365 is not backed up by the provider
Types of Backups
Essentially, there are three types of backups:
A Full Backup
This backup when it runs, backups up every file that is
selected in the backup job. Backups can often take a long time since we are
backing up every file regardless of whether that file has changed since the
This backup job backs up every file that has been changed or newly created since the last Incremental backup. This kind of backup is faster to implement but it can take longer to find specific files if lost since they could be anywhere amongst any number of Incremental backups.
A differential backup backs up change or newly created files
since the last full backup.
What is a valuable document, file, email, or resource in
this description? Usually, one that would cause either a little distress at
losing the resource (the effort to re-create it) or significant distress due to
the nature of the resource (a signed PDF contract document, or an accounting
database for instance) and/or a significant effort to recreate the resource.
Often, the information contained in this files is a ‘one-off’ such as that
might be contained in an email or a signed document.
Re-creating the resource
The implication of re-creating a resource can have a
negative impact on a business. Firstly, by way of the time spent to re-create
the resource, and secondly, by way of the negative impact on the individual’s
well-being (“I already created this document, it took me two days”).
In the case of loss of an accounting database, then this loss would be significant and the knock-on effect on the business should not be underestimated.
To come up with a purchase plan for Anything I.T. remote backup, we need to find out how much disk space the client is currently using for valuable documents
How much disk space usage per user will be
Which are the most valuable files/folders (and
where they are located)?
Record which are sensitive files/folders (and
where they are located)
Are email mailboxes being backed up?
Who and How?
How are restores carried out?
Who provides this service?
Is there an additional cost in the case of
Anything I.T. carries out the restoration of individual lost
or corrupted files as part of the monthly cost of the service (see price list
or quote provided).
In the case of a disaster (complete catastrophic loss of data), there is a charge of £75 (as at Feb 2020) per hour to recover. For up-to-date pricing, please refer to our price list.
Atomic Habits is a book I’m currently reading and it just makes perfect sense! James Clear talks about how these small decisions or habits can be amazing catalysts in the long run to boost your business.
So how can you make small atomic decisions? Read on!
Small habitual actions
Small habitual actions producing long-term, sustainable results. Success in I.T. is often about making small decisions and changes, rather than high-impact decisions.
As you read this article consider what actions you take automatically that perhaps haven’t been beneficial to you and your business.
Atomic habits in I.T – Just make stopping and thinking a habit before making a decision.
Keeping the future of your business in mind when making technology decisions will not only help reduce embarrassing future high expenses but provide a fantastic tech platform for growth.
I wrote on my personal blog about the concept of Future Thinking. It needs a little more work but I believe the ideas are extremely pertinent to business too.
Small (yet important) choices
Small choices can make all the difference. Did you decide to put off upgrading your file storage systems, web and email hosting last year? Maybe, you now pay the price by:
Website reliability and speed issues
An inordinate amount of spam in your inbox(es)
Too much time taken up with getting colleagues information which they could have had access to with an upgraded system. This could also include failure to provide important contacts with the right information quickly enough, losing sales or important deals in the process
Loss of documents or other data due to failure to implement a good backup strategy (by the way, syncing services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are not good enough, I’ll explain later)
Concerns of present costs should not outweigh future-benefits
Are you in this for the long-term or not? Do you intend to be in business for more than a year? I should hope so! Then you need to spend some serious mental energies on your IT/web/telecoms systems. Making the right decision doesn’t even need to be expensive!
Before the nitty-gritty details, here are a couple of questions that must be considered:
How do I know I’m making the right decisions?
How do I know that everything is connecting and ‘hanging together’ correctly?
Seek trusted advice and making atomic decisions. That’s the answer
Consider all your business tech requirements under the following headings:
Bespoke (to your business) Systems
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
I.T. systems are the things that you use every day such as turning on the computer and loading a program to carry out our duties. It could be sending and receiving emails, writing letters and printing them, entering data into a finance package, and so on. I.T. systems would include the wireless and cabled Internet connections, printers, webcams and microphones for meetings, the list goes on.
Everything about your I.T. systems must work well. The beauty of a good I.T. system is that you hardly know it’s there because it rarely goes wrong. Poor quality systems often throw up little annoying errors which compound over time and disrupt the flow.
In business, flow is so important (I see another blog post in my future) and choosing the right system to enable better flow is one of those crucial atomic choices you can make.
Network cabling from your router to your PC’s and the correct choice of equipment is essential. From wireless access points to routers, PC’s to Macs, door entry systems to CCTV’s. It’s all got to hang together somehow.
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
These might include the hosting service for your website, the email platform, and how they all interlink with each other.
There are several very good server platforms to host websites and email applications. Amazon Web Services (AWS) being one such. AWS takes the level of server capabilities to another level. AWS might not be the right one for you though. Word of warning, you will need to have a really good understanding of AWS and server technologies to make this work.
You might be better off choosing a hoster who can offer at the very least unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space, and great support when/if things do go wrong.
Many providers of website design and hosting services offer monthly payment options. Anything I.T. and our partner Hello Simon (award-winning freelancer) offer this as a way for our clients to spread the costs of what would normally be a large outlay.
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
Ask your current provider if your website is hosted on the latest (and speedy) hard disk technology, known as SSD. These hard drives on web servers are super fast, much faster than ‘older’ drives.
Should you choose a website made with WordPress or one that is custom-coded (hand-written programming)? Around a third of websites made today are made with WordPress.
WordPress is now extremely popular because it not only provides the business owner with a way of creating and editing pages on their site but it has a wide range of ‘plugins’ providing versatility.
Sometimes that is not enough and you need someone to program a website for you. That’s okay. Handwriting a website provides an opportunity to make it do exactly what you want, BUT can be a lot more expensive than a WordPress created site.
Please also consider how you market your site. Likely, you will need an SEO service like that provider by Hello Simon (SEO). Again, this can be paid for on a monthly basis. In fact, this is highly recommended since SEO is best planned for the long-term.
Gone are the days when a fully-featured telephone system costs the earth. I remember not so long ago it would cost a minimum of £1,000 to get started. That was just for the hardware!
Perhaps thousands of pounds plus huge ongoing support costs just so you could put calls on hold, play them a message so they could choose the right department, or transfer calls to another team member. Then you had the BT line and call expenses on top! You’d need ISDN which was expensive as well.
Nowadays, you can pay as little as £20 per team member with unlimited calls with all the features, and more, of a state-of-the-art telephone system! All this in ‘the cloud’ so no expensive BT lines required.
The system we provide is by a very accomplished provider called Wildix.
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
From a distance, this looks daunting and you’d be forgiven if you don’t see how this fits in with the topic of atomic habits.
Sometimes businesses need to run software that is pertinent to their business. There are countless numbers of them!
From accounting systems to property management portals (by the way, Anything I.T. make one called Posidacious), care home software, car sales.
There are sales systems that help you gain leads and sales sometimes called funnels. Once again, monthly payments are the norm here so if you budget well based on your income then you should do well.
You name it, if you have a business, there’s probably some bespoke software that’s been made for you.
Just be aware of the costs such software as they can be crippling. Maybe you could commission a company to make your own! If you do, you might want to consider something that is cloud-based rather than a piece of software that is installed on your PC.
As for the support of such software, in most cases, you will need to pay for support from the provider, rather than outsource support to a company like Comtec ICT or Anything I.T.
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
Ask us how bespoke software impacts on your I.T. systems though.
Cloud-based business-class web and I.T. systems
Here are some examples of business-class software and systems that you really should consider, but with relative low-cost impact on your business.
Xero – cloud accounting package, paid monthly, invoices, quotes, reminders, pay directly from the invoice and much more
Canva – Make marketing images for social media, business cards and more. There’s a free version and a paid-for version
Hootsuite – Manage multiple social media accounts from one program
WordPress – A content management system for your website – A WordPress support and management service can be purchased through Anything I.T. – See Price List
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
I know I’ve repeated myself about making small decisions throughout this post. It bears repeating though! You don’t need to make big, expensive decisions when considering technology. Just a small one here and there to nudge your business in the right direction.
The benefits will astound you. Once more:
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
An introduction to Number Club, what it is and why it can be a ‘life-changer’, or should we say ‘business-changer‘ for small businesses.
High-end Unified Communications, priced for small businesses
What the heck does that mean?
In as concise a sentence as possible, Unified Communications are where you communicate (phone call, conference call, messaging and so on) via any device, whether that be a mobile phone, tablet, desktop PC or ‘proper’ desk phone.
The benefit to small businesses if they can enable this is that regardless of where they are sat (or standing!), they can make and receive calls ‘as their business’, transfer calls to another team member, message team members and so on.
With Number Club, there is a lot more to it than that which we will explain later in this post. For now, rest assured that Number Club is truly a high-end telephone and communications system that small businesses can afford.
Number Club – The gory details
Number Club is an offering by Anything I.T. and its partner Comtec ICT. It’s been designed to provide all the features of a modern PBX system (including Unified Communications) at an affordable price.
Communicate via desk phone; web browser, tablet, mobile phone, all while appearing to come from your business landline
Transfer calls between the team
Place calls on hold
Set day/night times
Customised call routing (press 1 for sales, 2 for support and so on)
Voicemail (including transcripts by email)
Shared contact lists (for your team)
Mobile phone app
Chat messaging within the team
Leave Post-it notes for other team members
Individual ‘Available‘, ‘Away‘, ‘Do not Disturb‘ statuses
PLUS – a direct extension number to our team
A range of desk phones and accessories
£20per (premium licensed) user (some user types are less, please ask), per month on a minimum 12-month contract.
This provides you with a business landline number (actually several if required) in your area (i.e. Plymouth would be 01752 xxxxxx), and full access to the features listed above.
Not only do you get all that, but you also get unlimited UK landline and mobile calls! (it does not include premium-rate numbers) in the £20 per month/per user price.
You do not need a physical desk phone for the system to work. That’s just one of the features that make this a great value system. However, if your business requires desk phones and other equipment, these are available at affordable prices. Please ask us for the latest pricing. Here are some images of products available:
You can even carry out calls via your computer’s web browser. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, then this is a real lifesaver.
Making calls from your business number while sat at your PC is very useful, including messaging colleagues and website visitors (if you have something called WebRTC set up), conference calls and screen sharing.
Not only is useful, it is a professional way of communicating.
Then there is the mobile phone app! From the app you can make and receive calls (again, from and to your landline number).
From the app you can also carry on a chat conversation, check your voicemails and set a status.
By status, I mean you can set yourself to busy of offline which means you will not be disturbed by calls when you don’t want to be. Perhaps you are in a meeting or don’t want to be awakened by unwanted calls at night?
A little but useful feature
if you take on Number Club as your phone service, you get an extension number for each user (let’s say you have extension 3076), you have the ability to dial an extension number for Anything I.T. or Hello Comtec. Right there from your phone! Nice and easy support at your fingertips.
In essence, Number Club is a high quality, full of features cloud based telecoms system which is affordable and scalable as your business grows.
In a moment, I’ll go into some detail about the three ‘geeks’ behind the Geek Collective. For now here is a quick summary of how the Geek Collective can benefit you, the customer.
For the most part, the Geek Collective is an unseen entity (for now) because it’s just three guys in Plymouth (UK) who are techies and whose skills cross a large range of technical areas. Each running their own business.
But how does this benefit you, the customer?
Simply put it means there is a support network behind the business you choose to implement some sort of technical service.
Be it website design through Anything I.T. or Hello Simon, or implementing a modern (and yet cost-efficient) telecoms system through Hello Comtec. Or still more an I.T. Support service through Anything I.T. or Hello Comtec!
Because of the way everything technical works these days, there is a natural crossover between all the supposedly separate areas.
But this is not true in reality.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you want a nice new website made by an award-winning designer (that’s Simon at Hello Simon by the way). That’s great because he will design you a smashing site fit for purpose.
But what if you also said, I need help with the emails on the domain name we own as well. Or perhaps you also mention to Simon that you are moving to a new office and could do with help setting up the technical aspects such as network cabling, broadband and router, new PC’s and so on.
The good news is Simon won’t answer you by saying, “Sorry I can’t help”, he’ll say, I’ve got just the person! And he will pass you on to one of the other two in our little network.
Why would we do this?
First of all, it’s great to be able to offer each of our customers that we can literally do ‘anything I.T.’ related.
But quite frankly it’s really nice to have other geek friends to work with whom we trust.
Trust is an important thing in friendships and also in business. Especially since some of the services we offer could be construed as a competitive crossover into one of the other businesses!
But that doesn’t stop us because we know that the benefits to us and our clients is huge.
More about the three of us and what we offer
You can obviously find out more from our websites and Facebook/LinkedIn pages so here is a summary of each:
Jonathan Burrows of Anything I.T.
Browse this site for more about what we can do and also our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
Anything I.T. was set up by Jonathan Burrows in a rejuvenated format during 2019 having let the business idle along since the mid-noughties!
Jonathan got into computing in the early ’90s when his uncle brought him a PC. He was very excited about this until he opened up the box, only to find that the PC needed putting together first!
In those days without the World-Wide Web, he had to rely on books to help him build his first Windows 3.11 computer. Fun times!
This led to Jonathan eventually changing career path from one of Retail into the Technology sector including time as a Technical Consultant for a FTSE 500 company and later on a Systems Analyst for a large company in the South West of the UK.
Now, Jonathan is excited about the various opportunities coming his way, including the Geek Collective.
Neil’s comprehensive understanding of the technology & communications arena has taken him around the world. With an extensive client portfolio and a commitment to reliability, his knowledge of technology systems is something that he doesn’t need to boast about.
Simon has been creating digital content for well over ten years, alongside his role as a Computer Science Teacher. His portfolio is considerable and works with notable individuals in the music, sport and military arenas.
He is now working hard as a freelance creative and studies the dark arts of search engine optimisation.
So, finally, if you’ve read this far, I commend your efforts! Suffice to say, you are in safe, reliable, technically knowledgeable hands if you choose to use one (or more!) of the Geek Collective to provide technical services for your business/ We are based in Plymouth (UK).
We all love healthy growth in our business. It’s exciting and exhilarating! It can also be a little scary and stressful if you don’t get it right.
Sometimes growth can be quick and sometimes a little slower over a period of time. In either case, if you do not have the processes and framework in place to accommodate the growth, things could go awry.
One area of critical importance is ‘Web/IT/Telecoms’. I’ve grouped them here because if they all hang together nicely then healthy growth can be made so much easier.
Taking an intelligent view and proper planning of your I.T. services can be all the difference to healthy growth and, well, not healthy growth!
How can Anything I.T. help?
Jonathan at Anything I.T. has been a techie since the early 1990’s (showing his age!). With help from collaborators such as Comtec ICT, Anything I.T. can help in all the technical areas of web, IT, telecoms, and indeed other technical services such as door entry systems, CCTV.
We pride ourselves on having an understanding of where our clients are in their cycle of growth. Respecting budgets and areas where they are comfortable.
Aside: Doughnuts can help!
On this point of being comfortable with IT, if a small business is comfortable with a certain aspect of their IT, we are not going to forcibly recommend another way. We will work with our customers in the best way possible. Of course, if the customer is using dated, slow computers not up to the job, then, of course, we will make recommendations.
Some business growth scenarios require the ability to work anywhere. Anything I.T. can set up systems where you can easily access your business emails and files. Also, with telecoms systems such as Wildix (from Comtec ICT), your communications with customers can be seamless and still business-like through web browsers, apps and desktop phones.
When a business goes through change, there are many factors that the business owner needs to plan for. Employees, office setup and costs, informing customers of the change and so much more.
One aspect that is often overlooked is the web and I.T. the business uses. This could be anything from network cabling in the office to website changes. From the headache of changing email accounts and telecoms (and broadband) providers.
Anything I.T. has experience in the area of business change and could be the one factor that makes things go smoothly for you.
Just a few examples of areas we can help when your business goes through change:
Routers and modems
Patch panels and network switches
Setting up secure Wi-fi
Phone systems (Maybe you should consider one that can move office with you with minimum fuss?)
What the heck is an Integrated I.T. Support Service? It’s a unique service offered to businesses in the Plymouth area only by Anything I.T. Read on to find out why it is so different and why it can be so beneficial to your business.
Partnering with you and your business to create a sustainable long-term I.T. framework. One that can grow with your business without damaging your business finances.
We work alongside you to create a solution that not only satisfies your business need to have trouble-free tech but to accommodate where your business is financially speaking.
Why is this service different to other I.T. businesses out there?
I.T., Web & Telecoms support services provided by I.T. professionals are often based on a monthly fee to monitor the existing tech setup in your business.
If problems arise, you might call the I.T. company and get them to fix said problem. Later on, maybe months or even years later, another issue or project arises. Perhaps the upgrade of PC’s to a new operating system?
There is a problem that can surface with this rather distant nature of support. That is that the technology in the business is not growing or organically changing with the business as it in itself grows or changes.
In turn, this can cause unwelcome surprises of unexpected costs and critical downtime to the business.
A lot of I.T./Web/Telecoms support assumes a ‘one-size-fits-all’. Unfortunately, that just won’t cut it in this day and age. Anything I.T. assess the current and potential future needs of its clients and works out a solution from there.
No ‘unwelcome surprises’
With our integrated I.T. service, these unwelcome surprises are negated by the very fact that we work much more closely with your business and therefore can anticipate expected changes or growth. This then leads us to be able to inform you of what you might need to do and spend to enable the changes.
Any increase in expenditure (for instance) happens incrementally rather than in one big shock moment.
Not only does this help the business from a financial standpoint but encourages a stress-free peace of mind environment.
With this service, you are getting an ‘IT Manager’ at a fraction of the cost.
Regular communication is a key factor also. We keep in touch with the client often and encourage regular reach outs and meetings with our clients. Requests such as a new spreadsheet to be designed or an email signature made up are all part of this close relationship we wish to build. All helping towards those goals of efficiency and growth.
How integrated I.T. helps your business grow or change
These days businesses have so many technical demands on them. Websites, email accounts, online advertising, analytics, desktop computers (Windows, Mac, Linux), mobile and tablet devices, telephone systems such as PBX’s, social media pages, broadband and Wi-fi, not to mention cybersecurity, door entry and CCTV systems! The list goes on and on.
There are two approaches that a business can take to these scenarios.
Employ or outsource the work to relevant skilled people (such as website developers; I.T. professionals)
Do most of it (or even all) if you are skilled enough and have time yourself with outsourcing some tasks to others
There are potential issues in both situations which I won’t go into too much detail here except to say that scenario one can be fragmented and involved a lot of unnecessary communicating, and scenario two puts a stupid amount of pressure on the business owner whether they enjoy the work or not.
So, to answer point 1 above, using the Anything I.T. Integrated I.T. Support Services service means one point of contact for ALL your tech-related questions, support and demands, thereby cutting out the communication issues mentioned above.
In answer to point 2 above, let’s take the pressure off you so you can concentrate on building your business. I’m not afraid to say it but often those business owners who have some tech knowledge may fiddle and do okay but when push comes to shove may find their skills lacking.
Using this unique service also provides you with a trusted partner in your business to help it grow and change. An I.T. provider which works with you on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to ensure things go smoothly.
Here’s a list (by no means a definitive one!) of products and services we can help you with:
Website Design and Hosting
Need a website? Need another website? Need help with keeping your site(s) up-to-date and compliant? Just one area that is included in our integrated I.T. Support service. More details on what we do web wise here.
Cloud Email and Storage
Reliable and secure email and file storage is now a top priority for businesses everywhere. From 50Gb mailboxes to SharePoint server helping you collaborate with colleagues. Check our recent blog post on the subject.
Having available to the team four clever and enthusiastic guys (well, two youngsters and two, err experienced chaps), Anything I.T. offers IT skills built up since 1994! Need more information on our I.T. Support service?
Setup, advice, advertising. You name it, we do it. Social Media
By collaborating with our partner Comtec ICT, Anything I.T. can now truly provide a fully integrated I.T. service for its clients. Now (incredibly), our clients have a direct extension number to us from their desk phones, mobiles (via the app) and browser! This includes useful chat, conferencing, video calling and screen sharing features
More information can be found on the Hello Comtec website or our Telecoms page here.
How much does it cost?
Without sounding like a politician, it varies greatly from customer to customer!
All we would suggest is get in touch for a pressure-free chat.
Who is it for?
Certainly for business in the local area of Plymouth and further afield if the circumstances suit both our business and our clients’.
It is also likely that businesses with several employees and/or a decent turnover would benefit most.
Office 365 is becoming Microsoft 365. The blog post below describes products as they were named before 9th April 2020.
The full list of new names of the products are as follows:
Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic Office 365 Business Premium (this post) is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for business Office 365 ProPlus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM
Anything I.T. offers a superb range of products and services to help small businesses. Products such as OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM can provide efficiency and a quick way to access certain information.
Why would that be important?
Because having trouble-free/speedy access to information and the ability to get the right information to your customers is essential to run an efficient business.
Used well, the business can profitably grow and the products Anything I.T. offers can grow with you too. In other words, you won’t have to change the product or services when you grow from 4 employees to 10. Or from 10 to 50.
OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM is one such product (or service if you like) that can grow with your business.
Your mailbox is hosted on Microsoft’s Exchange servers, one of the best business-class email hosting platforms around. Typically, if you purchased your own domain name and set up an email address, it likely will be a simple mailbox accessed by a protocol called POP3
You get 50GB of storage in your mailbox! That’s huge! Some mailboxes today can be as small as 100Mb (that’s 500 times smaller!). If you went for a Gmail mailbox, you might get 15Gb of space which is pretty good.
The default maximum size for sending and receiving emails is around 35Mb which is a lot larger than your typical mailbox which might be 10Mb or sometimes 20Mb per email. This 35Mb allows you to send larger attachments between co-workers or others you work with. And why not? In this day and age of superfast broadband, sending a 30Mb design document to your co-worker to look over should not be an issue.
With OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM, you also benefit from the 1TB ONE DRIVE.
This is plenty enough space for most business users to store documents and files in the Cloud.
With One Drive installed on your PC, mobile and via a web browser, you can access your files from literally almost anywhere.
All the main desktop office software you need including: Microsoft:- Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, Access
Via a web browser: Web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint
One license covers 5 phones, 5 tablets, 5 PCs (or Macs) per user. Plenty enough devices capable of accessing your information.
Quote from the Microsoft SharePoint site:
“Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device.”
Collaborate, chat and communicate about documents and projects your Team is working on.
Be sure to check out the resources below for more information.
We have introduced a price list in PDF format that our customers (and indeed prospective customers) can download and view at their leisure.
The list shows most of our popular products and services, if you do not see something then it does not mean we do not provide that service or product. Just ask for more information on what you require.
The list will likely be updated on a regular basis.
A few days ago we launched the new Bryce Properties website! The customer is super happy and that is very pleasing for us.
We’ve been working with Bryce Properties for a number of years. In fact, the first version of their website was back in 2008! How time flies!
Who/What is Bryce Properties?
Bryce Properties is a local (to Plymouth – UK) business that rents the highest quality accommodation to students looking for rooms in Plymouth. They have a range of property sizes from one-bedroom flats to ten-bedroom houses.
Eleven years – The evolution of a website.
Have a look at the difference eleven years makes!
Sadly, we don’t have any screenshots of this iteration of the site. Probably a good thing!
Wow, 2013 was rudimentary by comparison to the 2019 version! Very linear and not a lot going on. I’m not sure about the lurid pink now!
Some improvements over 2013 we agree, but still not great compared to today’s version.
In 2018, we made serious improvements to the site. Much more mobile-friendly than previous versions and the introduction of the CSS framework Bootstrap 4 to provide a base to work on.
(Expands nicely as the user stretches and decreases the width of the browser window)
A top navigation bar providing quick links to different sized properties stays visible regardless of where the visitor is on the page or indeed on the whole site
Completely secure with SSL encryption
Virtual tours of 15 properties included
When enquiring about a specific property, an email is sent to the office team with the property details enquired-for as well as the visitor’s name and contact details. Making it easy for the Bryce team to communicate back to the prospective tenant
Each property has a tabbed interface providing different information in an easy to navigate way.
For those who really want to know!
Scripting (the programming side of things) – PHP
The scripting language used is PHP. A long-time used scripting language for web developers around the world. This is what enables some of the useful features such as the customised emails that come through to the office.
Bootstrap 4 is a CSS framework. Basically, it comes with a pre-made look-and-feel, providing items such as buttons and tabs. Bootstrap certainly provides a very handy starting point. However, there is a lot of coding necessary none-the-less! This site contains 5253 files!
We hope you like the site. It’s just one type of site we work on and in this case, providing regular on-going support and changes.
Other types of websites include WordPress sites where the customer is able to manage the content of their site once it is live, and Shopify, a fully-functional online shop site.
Contact us for more information or if you would be interested in us helping you on your website project.
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