Author: Jonathan

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Integrated I.T. Support Service

What the heck is 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

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.

Uniqueness

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.

  1. Employ or outsource the work to relevant skilled people (such as website developers; I.T. professionals)
  2. 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.

I.T. Support

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?

Social Media

Setup, advice, advertising. You name it, we do it. Social Media

Telecoms

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.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

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.

OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM for Plymouth businesses

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.

What do you get for your money (check latest prices here)?

  • BUSINESS CLASS EMAIL
  • ONE DRIVE
  • OFFICE SOFTWARE
  • SHAREPOINT
  • MICROSOFT TEAMS

BUSINESS CLASS EMAIL

What does “BUSINESS CLASS EMAIL” mean?

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.

ONE DRIVE

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.

OFFICE SOFTWARE

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.

SHAREPOINT

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.”

MICROSOFT TEAMS

Collaborate, chat and communicate about documents and projects your Team is working on.

Associated resources

Be sure to check out the resources below for more information.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

New Price List

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.

It can be found on the Pricing page

Please, if you have any questions or queries, do let us know.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

New (for 2019-2020) Bryce Properties website launched

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!

2008

Sadly, we don’t have any screenshots of this iteration of the site. Probably a good thing!

2013

The 2013 iteration of the  Bryce Properties website
2013 version of the site

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!

2016

The 2016 iteration of the  Bryce Properties website
2016 version of the site

Some improvements over 2013 we agree, but still not great compared to today’s version.

2018

2018 Bryce Properties website
2018 Bryce Properties website

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.

2019 – Today

Link to the site (as it is today)

Bryce Properties 2019-2020 website
Bryce Properties 2019-2020 website – Home page

This years’ version of the site is a much-improved one. Some of the new features are listed below. The main ones are that it now looks great on large-screen monitors as well as smaller mobile devices.

Check it out yourself

Features

  • Looks great on large screens
  • Looks great on mobile and tablet devices
  • (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
Top navigation bar(stays at the top during the visit)
  • Completely secure with SSL encryption
Visiting the site is secure via SSL encryption
  • Virtual tours of 15 properties included
Viewing a virtual tour of one of the student houses
  • 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
Email example received from the website
  • Each property has a tabbed interface providing different information in an easy to navigate way.
Tabbed interface for each property displayed

Technical

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.

CSS Framework

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!

5253 files in the site!

Finally

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.

Questions?

Contact us for more information or if you would be interested in us helping you on your website project.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

FREE Excel Spreadsheet Template – Recording Hours Worked

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“Recording Worked Hours” (by Client/Project)

We all like free stuff don’t we? Especially if it proves useful! Here on this page, I’m offering you free of charge a useful spreadsheet template I created for recording hours worked.

“Recording Hours Worked.xlsx”

It’s a spreadsheet I’m using myself so I’m getting first-hand experience of using the file. In that way, I hope you also find it beneficial.

No strings attached!

Though coffee and a doughnut would be nice!

If you like it, let me know. If you share it with others, please let them know where the spreadsheet came from!

It’s probably most useful for those self-employed people out there who need a simple way of recording hours worked. It’s intended for recording hours worked for their clients, but it can be used for other business scenarios such as projects. If you use it in larger scenarios, I’d be very interested to find out how. Would you let me know? 

All I ask is that you sign up to the Anything I.T. mailing list or Like our Facebook Page. We don’t spam with numerous emails. In fact, you will likely only get between 1-2 a month! I’m not even going to force you to provide an email address. The file is just there, at the bottom of the page, ready to use.

Disclaimer/Warning

To make this work, you may need a basic understanding of Excel documents. if you break your copy, you can ask me for help, but please don’t blame me!

Explaining the Document

Summary sheet

Below are a couple of screenshots of the SUMMARY sheet of the spreadsheet (or workbook whichever you like to call it). You will notice there are a number of sheets, all named the months of the year, as well as the SUMMARY sheet.

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheetIn this example, we have a sheet that summarises the data across the year and the individual months.

On this, the SUMMARY sheet, we enter the client/project on the left-hand side. These names are automatically populated to the other individual sheets. This is important as it ensures no typing mistakes are made by the user (and thereby providing accurate data).

The SUMMARY sheet provides not only a, ermmmm, summary, of hours worked each month and for each client/project, but money made (if you use this as the basis for your invoicing).

The financial aspect is optional and for me at least, it is primarily used for giving me an idea of where I am with certain clients.

You will also note the columns which I hope are self-explanatory:

  • Total Hours
  • Total £
  • The individual months (each with Hours and £)

On the far right-hand side, you will see a list of rates. Enter your own here. These rates are used on the individual month sheets (more on this below).

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

The ‘Month’ sheets – Entering in your hours worked

On each ‘month’ sheet, you should see on the left, the area where you need to enter four pieces of data:

  • Date (the date of course!)
  • For Whom/What (See below for an explanation)
  • Description (Whatever you want in here to describe the work carried out)
  • Hours (The number of hours obviously. Can work in parts of hours too, such as ‘1.5’.

Recording Hours Worked

For Whom/What

Your client name or project name. Clicking into this cell reveals a dropdown arrow which picks up the client names/project names you entered in on the SUMMARY sheet. Adding a client name or project name on the SUMMARY sheet automatically adds it to the dropdown options.

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

This cell is configured so that you must enter in (or select from the dropdown) an exact match from the list. Trying to type in ABC1234lhalhdlahdl (if it doesn’t exist on your SUMMARY sheet) will produce an error.

Type in a description and enter how many hours work, or indeed a decimal of an hour (0.1 would be 6 minutes, 0.25 would be quarter of an hour, 0.33 would be 20 minutes, 0.5 half an hour, and so on).

The ‘Month’ sheets – Client/Project auto-summarisation

On the right-hand side, you will notice the client names (or your project names) automatically populated.

Important: Do not try to type into these cells. Only the rate column of cells is editable (but you will still need to enter valid data).

Additionally, the hours worked for each client/project is auto-calculated based on the data on the left-hand side so do not try to edit this directly.

Option: You can also choose a rate for this client/project. If you do, then the amount in currency is automatically calculated. It could be useful for you if you need to generate invoices based on time worked.

Recording Hours Worked

The rate is also chosen via a dropdown menu. The rates are configured on the SUMMARY sheet to the far right-hand side.

Like the other dropdown, you must select a valid option otherwise it will display an error.

Protected Cells

In the blank version below, some cells are protected. This is because we don’t want anyone accidentally overwriting the formulas within the cells by mistake and wondering why it’s not working!

If you feel competent enough, you can unlock the cells via unlocking the spreadsheet by clicking the ‘Review‘ tab on the Ribbon and clicking Unprotect Sheet and entering the password doughnut5 (hint hint).

 

Ribbon

Potential Future Enhancements

I’m considering adding the following columns on the ‘month’ sheets next to the amount (£) column:

  • Invoice #
  • Sent (date)
  • Paid (Amount £) – Colours Red (Unpaid), Orange (Partially paid), Green (Fully paid)

Colours of cells would change depending on invoice status, Sent, and Paid column.

Summarisation and Downloads

So, I hope you find this spreadsheet useful. I certainly do!

There’s a blanked out version to download below as well as one containing some sample data.

If you have ideas for improvements feel free to send a message via the contact page on this site, or via the Anything I.T. Facebook, or by directly emailing me: support@anythingit.net.

The files


by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

How to run two Chrome browser windows, each with a different colour theme

Ever thought it would be useful to have two Chrome browser windows running, one for your personal websites (such as social media, personal email and news), the other for your business websites (business email, productivity and customer relations management)?

Each with its own colour theme?

Of course, you can do that with the default Chrome experience by opening two Chrome windows, but what if you wanted to change the colour theme for each so that they are easily distinguishable from each other?

If you head over to the Chrome web store > Themes, you can certainly change the colour of the window, and in fact you can change the look completely with a range of image-based themes.

The only snag is that every Chrome window will change, not just the current one.

So how do you change things so that each Chrome window has it’s own theme or colours?

Two Chrome windows, each with its own colour theme

What you need to do is set up another ‘User’ of the Chrome browser. Google Chrome allows you to add users of its browser so more than one person can use the browser and have their own bookmarks, history, and yes, themes.

At the top right of the browser window will be a small round user icon. If you are signed in to the Google network with your email address, then you will likely see your profile image. Here’s my profile the icon with my mugshot below.

Clicking this will bring up a similar menu to this one:

Click on the Manage People icon to show this new window:

From here you can Add Person:

Choose a name for this Profile and an avatar/icon, and click Add.

Optional: The setup of the new user will ask if you want to sign in to Google Chrome with another user. Perhaps you have a personal email account and a business one?

Each account can then be synchronised (bookmarks, history, colour theme) to other computers you use! Just sign in (or create an account) for the additional user and you are done!

That’s it! Now you can click again on the top right profile icon:

In the example below, I’m signed in with my business email (jonathan@anythingit.net), and there is an option in the menu to open a new browser window with my personal user ‘Jabbs’.

To change colours. You can visit the Chrome web store in each window to choose a theme for each ‘user’.

That’s how you can do this:

Any questions? As always, get in touch!

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