Tag Archives: technology

CloudTalk: Shred the WebiGnar

Carving through the epic trees at Vail you’ll find Connor McKeown — a self-proclaimed weekend warrior with a yen for the Colorado outdoors. On any given powder day, skiing is his full-time job. However, between snowstorms we have him and his team to thank for their steadfast engineering and infrastructural support of ReadyTalk. Here are his reflections on reaching a company milestone, plus the stand-out stories of the office we know and love.   

Q: Looking back at your time here, what was the most impressive moment for your team?

A: There are many that come to mind but one in particular I will never forget. Throughout 2015, we had a company goal of hitting 60,000 active ReadyTalk access codes in a rolling 30-day period. In other words, 60,000 individuals with ReadyTalk login credentials were using their accounts within a 30-day window. In November of that year, we hit our goal. It was exciting — both for the new guys like me and for the ReadyTalkers that worked so hard to achieve it. So, as you’d expect, we ended up at our favorite local spot to celebrate. The party fell on my first day at ReadyTalk — talk about a warm welcome.

Q: Can you think of a time when you had to react quickly to a technical problem?

A: Not long ago our engineering team had a scheduled boot drive upgrade for a subset of our production system infrastructure. That’s tech speak for “new hardware.” Even though it was on the calendar with plenty of attention and preparation beforehand, it did not go smoothly. A handful of us were up all night working though our contingency plans — several of which failed as a result of a third-party installation. Although this caused an overnight snafu at the time, it brought out the best in everyone from our team. When all hands were on deck during this unforeseen event, it definitely made me proud of my colleagues. We work with vendors that supply some of our infrastructure services; which are essential for ReadyTalk to run at full capacity. Sometimes the glitch is out of your control, but our engineers know how to pull through in a tough situation to keep our services operating at the level our customers expect.

Q: What makes ReadyTalk such a great place to work?

A: It’s true that we have a lot of fun while at the office, but we also like to do off-site events. Several teams find their way to Top Golf for team outings. One of my teams made 150 sack lunches to give out to homeless people and then we followed up the good deed with a Rockies game that afternoon. A common thread that ties our company together is the idea of getting to know each other. Not just someone’s “working self” but building actual friendships that strengthen our professional identities. It works very well and transcends our daily work responsibilities. On the engineering side, our systems that support ReadyTalk products are quite complicated, but my peers are great at explaining things clearly so that anyone in the business can understand. I truly love being associated with some of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Hopefully one of these days it rubs off on me haha.

CloudTalk: Bend the Ear of an Engineer

Nick Bitzer cut his teeth as a ReadyTalk engineer three years ago when he began on the Q/A and release team. Now, he’s responsible for maintaining backend reliability that makes our ReadyTalk products possible. He’s armed with an acute sense of our tech DNA, and a sleeve tattoo of a steamship anchor repping his Florida roots.

Q: What was your most memorable day at ReadyTalk?

A: The first day I got here. Haha seriously. It was a great introduction to the company culture and my whole team. Definitely a whirlwind of events that day. My first impression was how inviting and welcoming everyone was. Also, sometimes the formalities of meeting managers can seem awkward and forced on your first day. It was NOT that way at ReadyTalk. My questions were heard and answered, I was able to meet even the highest level directors and C-level executives. The access to people and resources was really an eye opener. I definitely felt the culture was dropped in my lap on day one. Plus, we crushed it at happy hour that evening, so that didn’t hurt either. It did hurt the next day.   

Q: What’s your most unpredictable type of work day?

A: The catch 22 is that the bad or difficult days are the most rewarding. Once in awhile, unforeseen production issues may cause a hiccup and I have to get up early to put out a fire. It just happens, as with any other service on the market. Even though these events are high pressure, I do enjoy solving the problem and identifying why something went wrong. I think that’s when I’m at my best because my teammates and I need a resolution ASAP.

Q: Even though you work on the backend in engineering, how does your work affect customers?

A: Since I’ve worked on a lot of our bug fixes and product enhancements, I enjoy acting on the concerns of our customers and delivering additions to our services. In this case, the engineering team works with the customer care department to remedy different components, or to stay competitive in the market by adding product features. This was especially true when I worked on the release team because we were building automation that verified our products. We pushed out the changes every six weeks so that definitely kept us busy. This relates to ongoing projects that reflect the voice of the customer, so it might not always impact my day-to-day flow. Rather, the bigger picture across the company as we get feedback about maximizing the user experience.

Q: I noticed that you have an exposed tattoo. Does that make it hard getting a table at a nice restaurant?

A: No. Absolutely not. It helps.

Your Technology, Your Communications, Your Culture

Your company’s communication strategy, culture and technology usage all interconnect and depend on each other in many different ways. This may include ensuring user adoption based on office culture and internal communications, or having employee beliefs and wants drive the integration of new software. Essentially, technology, communications and culture need to closely align at your business to be effective.

In order to bring these three elements together, start by technology, community, culturedefining your organization’s culture. While established companies may have already fully defined what they are, this may not be the case for small businesses or startups. Therefore, take the time to find what makes your company unique and then celebrate this. Defining your organization’s culture will not only improve your client relationships, but it can also give your employees a renewed sense of purpose and drive at your company.

Once you have determined your organization’s culture, you can then develop a communication strategy and leverage certain technology tools to turn this plan into a reality. For example, if you want to improve internal communications, consider implementing a collaborative software that allows employees to organize and manage internal communications through one unified platform. Instead of losing track of documents and information in lengthily email chains or chats, your employees will appreciate the simplicity of a collaborative solution.

Meanwhile, if you want to bring your entire team together into one place but employ a remote workforce, consider updating your audio and video conferencing tools. This way, you can easily improve your current communication approach, benefit from new technology and maintain your company’s culture – all from your computer or tablet.

4 Tech Tools IT Needs to Rethink

There are a few tools and workplace strategies today’s employees may not be using properly, and may not know it. These tools may be wasting money, gathering dust or not relevant anymore. Or worse, maybe all of those together at once! Don’t waste time, money and tech.

4 tech tools IT needs to rethinkAnd while you’re at it, consider how the workforce is changing and has already changed. Your employees are working remotely; that’s only increasing in frequency. Sales people are often at the office of your prospects and customers. IT personnel are working on servers at the data center. Marketing professionals are meeting with prospects at a trade show across the country. That doesn’t include all the doctor’s visits, dentist appointments, kids’ parties and more your employees are attending. Going mobile will increase productivity and ensure your workforce is still connected.

That’s why you need to rethink this technology in the office:

1. Desk phones

We live and work in a highly mobile world now, so there is no longer a need for the vast majority of employees to have and use desk phones. Instead, employers should empower their workers by providing them with work smartphones or implementing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy and reimbursing them for any added expenses.

Using smartphones, companies can use cloud communications, like hosted voice, to ensure people are contacted on their mobile device. It’s affordable and efficient.

2. Hard drive storage

Businesses thrive on easy access to necessary information. If your employees are storing their documents on outdated hard drives – or worse, on their desktop computer – your IT department is not only behind the times, but may also be putting your data at risk.

Hard drives are not a secure storage option, which is why your company should consider updating to the cloud. It’s secure. It’s affordable. And it’s usually saving your IT personnel time.

3. Email and instant message (IM)

A large portion of companies use free or low-cost email service providers. While convenient, these tools don’t maximize worker efficiency. Consider adding instant message (IM) to the mix to enable employees to easily contact each other. Again, cloud communications make that easy. Because let’s face it, there are a times a quick text is better than getting an email, especially when you’re on-the-go.

4. Video conferencing tools

If you aren’t using video conferencing tools to connect with employees, talk with prospects or get customer feedback, you’re missing out. It’s efficient and effective. Face-to-face communication is always best and video gets you one step closer, even as your workforce is busy. There are lightweight solutions that are affordable, like FoxDen, a product powered by ReadyTalk.

Great Tech and Good Causes Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

One of the most common schools of thought today regarding nonprofit versus for-profit work is that you can either do what you love for less or do what you hate and earn a lot. For many IT professionals, great technology and good causes also seem to be mutually exclusive.

Their work is challenging because of their conflicting desire to digitally revolutionize their office with their nonprofit’s limited budget. But what if we said that innovative technology and meaningful work don’t have to be at odds?

Save donor money and support your organization

nonprofit, collaboration, technology

While dynamic software tools, such as CRM and data collection solutions, are on the rise, even for small nonprofits across world, you may need to find

more cost-effective ways to help your nonprofit succeed without emptying out the company bank account. Here are just a couple ways you can achieve this goal:

Revamp your website, email marketing and social media approach.

Maybe your website is too cluttered or not interactive enough to promote easy donation. Perhaps you are inconsistent with your email marketing campaign or posting onto your organization’s Facebook or Twitter pages. Whatever is the case, you need to get serious and leverage these technologies for your nonprofit’s best interest. As there are plenty of free or low cost websites, social media platforms and marketing software available, you should take advantage of them to raise brand awareness and donations for your organization!

Revolutionize the collaborative work environment.

As a nonprofit, you most likely have multiple offices across the country or world that you need to keep track on. This is why ReadyTalk’s FoxDen video conferencing solution will solve any of your communication, productivity, connection or employee engagement issues at the click of your mouse. Instead of relying on poor connections and streaming services, our web, mobile app and in-house hardware web conferencing solutions will provide your employees with flawless resolution and connections, making meetings a breeze – no matter where you are. Not only is it secure and data is easily stored on the cloud, but it’s an affordable solution that will keep your organization succeeding and collaborating for years to come.