4 Big Challenges that Small Businesses Face

Business Face Challenges

Entrepreneurs must undergo a plethora of challenges when they start their own business, because small businesses need to be nurtured properly to flourish. Every small business, irrespective of what industry it belongs to, faces challenges it must overcome to ensure its survival and growth. These can range from building your brand, hiring talented employees, and cutting down on overhead expenditure.

The state of the economy isn’t kind for small businesses, and they must deal with the challenges in the appropriate manner to have any chance of survival. Small businesses must face both small and big challenges, which will determine the success and survival of the enterprise. Business owners must identify these challenges beforehand so that they can solve the problems and guide their business down the right path.

Most entrepreneurs tend to struggle with a new business, simply because they don’t understand the scope of the challenge and aren’t prepared to solve the problems they will encounter. The first part of resolving any problem is to identify and understand it. So, if you’re running a small business or thinking about starting one, here are the four biggest challenges that your small business will face.

1.    The Tiredness Factor

As a small business owner, it is going to be all hands-on deck during the first couple of years. You must do everything yourself, which means long hours, intense pressure, and mental fatigue. Most business owners don’t account for the tiredness factor in running a small business, and by the time they realize the problem, they have already made grave mistakes.

Fatigue can cripple the thinking of any entrepreneur, since it makes you cranky, inattentive, forgetful, and disorganized, which can spell disaster for your small business. That is why you must pace yourself, and embrace the challenge of running a tight ship during the first couple of years. The enthusiasm, motivation, and energy you extend when running your small business will quickly evaporate if you don’t delegate tasks to other employees. Don’t try handling everything yourself, and it is better to only focus on things where your expertise lies.

While it is important that you remain on top of things, it shouldn’t come at the cost of overworking yourself or burning out. You can hire specialists and delegate crucial tasks related to legal matters, and accounting to them. It will not only help save time, but will save you a lot of stress and headaches. Come up with a plan and stick to it, so that you are not only running your business smoothly, but can also manage a healthy work-life balance.

2.    Problems with Cash Flow

Another important challenge that all small businesses must deal with is the cash flow issue. You will invariably have money problems, which is why it is important that you plan and budget well in advance. Your small business is not going to start turning over profits in the beginning, and you must account for errors, mistakes, and unaccounted for expenditures during the first couple of years.

Small businesses generally face issues with outstanding bills, clients stalling payments, and unexpected costs, which can cripple it financially. That is why you must have a plan in place to deal with this problem, and there are lots of money management tools available that can help you with that. Managing your cash flow is going to prove to be a challenge initially, which is why you need all the help you can get.

3.    Motivating Your Employees

Any small business that wants to make a name for itself needs to have highly motivated employees. Your employees should buy into the business vision of your organization, since that is the only way they are going to take their jobs seriously and make a serious impact. To motivate your employees, you will need to invest some time to understand them, more importantly what motivates them, and how to get the most out of them.

Boosting employee morale will lead to more engagement within the organization, which will translate into a smooth-running operation. Good companies nurture an open and relaxed atmosphere, where the staff feel comfortable in talking and voicing concerns to management. Including perks like Christmas parties, free snacks and free coffee for the staff will also help motivate employees.

To gauge the proper method for motivating your employees it is necessary that you communicate with them, and acquire employee feedback. This will help you understand their needs, which is critical in getting everyone on board the organization. Businesses that ignore what their employees want, and assume everything is fine, are often left wondering why they are suffering from high-staff turnover. This is a common small business problem that must be dealt with.

4.    Finding and Retaining Profitable Customers

There is a business term that states that to ensure success for your business, you must find customers with a problem and offer them a solution that works in their favor. That can prove to be a difficult task, because in general you won’t be the only business in your industry with the solution. That is why you need to work on identifying your unique selling point, and then market yourself effectively to your audience. This is the best way to find profitable customers, but that is only the beginning, the hard part is retaining those customers.

The only way you will be successful here is if you start researching about your customer base, and learn about their characteristics. This way you will be able to identify their best customers, and you can then easily analyze the value they bring to your organization. After doing so, you will be able to expand your efforts into attracting new clients that will help bring value to your business.

Conclusion

These challenges are faced by all small businesses, and rather than fear them, entrepreneurs should embrace them and prepare for them. One of the worst mistakes any business owner can make is not account for the challenges that their business will face. That is why we have tried to make things easier by highlighting the 4 biggest challenges that small businesses face.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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A Guide to Windows 10 Security Settings

Windows 10 offers users a host of different security settings to help them keep their sensitive data and information safe and away from Windows 10prying eyes looking to leak them onto the internet or give to one of your competitors if you are a business owner.

However, you would think the developers would have made it easier and less complicated for businesses to fully comprehend the security features of Windows 10. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When trying to access the security settings, users need to navigate from one window to another, thus resulting in confusion.

It would have been ten times better if every security setting was in one place, but no, it is scattered all over the place. Not to worry, we are here to help! Use the following guide to learn how to make Windows 10 secure:

1.     Access Windows 10 Security Settings

To access Windows 10 security settings, select the “Windows Key,” and click “Settings.” Return to the “Home Window,” select the “Gear Icon,” located in the upper left-hand corner, and select “Update and Security.”

2.     Update Windows

Under “Update and Security,” you will find “Windows Update.” Windows 10 checks and installs updates automatically. In doing so, it creates instability and can even create security risks. You have the option to manually uninstall an update. To prevent your computer from installing the update again, use this Microsoft tool.

Additionally, you can instruct Windows 10 to not install updates automatically or update a driver without permission. To prevent Windows 10 from automatically installing drivers, select “Windows Key,” type “Device Installation,” but without the quotes, select the first search result at the top, select the second “Radio Button” to get several options, click the second option to instruct Windows 10 to ignore all future updates for drivers.

Return to the “Windows Update” settings and select “Advanced Options” to modify how Windows 10 delivers system updates to you. You can specify a time you want Windows 10 to install system updates or instruct to install the updates when you are not using the computer. To remove an update or see a list of error messages, click on “View Your Update History,” located at the top.

3.     Manage Windows Defender

Under “Update and Security,” located in the left-hand section of the “Settings,” you can manage Windows Defender. Windows Defender is an anti-malware software, which you cannot completely disable, but can disable it for a certain duration. It offers real-time protection and you can leave the default settings as is.

4.     Backup Controls

Windows 10 offers backup controls for users to create backups for their data. However, the backups of data you create are not protected by a password. It is recommended you use the external hard drive’s backup software. Without passwords, you risk having your security breached and your data stolen and leaked.

If you want to recover your data after an error, select the “Tool,” select “System Image Backup,” located in the lower left hand side,” and select “Create a System Image,” located on the left. You can create the image backup on a USB, burn it on a DVD, or save to another drive.

5.     Protecting Backups with Passwords

The system image backup you created earlier is not protected by a password. If your run Windows 10 Professional on your computer, you can manually add a password. Right click a file, click “Properties,” select the “Advanced” button, and click the box next to “Encrypt Contents to Secure Data.”

To decrypt the file, enter the password. If you are using Windows 10 Home, you need to use WinZip or WinRar, as the option to encrypt a file is greyed out. Make sure you remember the password because these options do not offer you a way to recover your password.

6.     Securing Your Wi-Fi Sense

Return to the “Settings,” window, select “Network and Internet,” scroll down to the bottom, and select “Manage Wi-Fi Settings.” You can either connect to the recommended hotspots, but it is not advised, as hackers can easily gain access to your system.

The second option is network sharing. If you share your network with other people, which you would in a business setting, click that option to enable it, but do not give the password to your employees or anyone else for that matter. For this reason, businesses have security administrators who enter the password for employees to gain access to the internet.

7.     Cloud Data and Cortana

Windows 10

Cortana is a virtual assistant that helps users find information. You can communicate with Cortana by speaking to it or messaging it. By default, Cortana is disabled in Windows 10. If your focus is on security, do not turn on Cortana.

By turning on Microsoft’s assistant on, you allow it to collect data and information, which it then stores in the cloud. You can manage the information Cortana stores though. Select the “Windows Key,” type “Cortana,” but without the quotes, select “Cortana and Search Settings,” and select “Manage what Cortana Knows About Me in the Cloud.”

Doing this will take you to a website on Bing. Sign in to your Microsoft account. This will take you to the “Personalisation” section on Bing. You have the option to clean your history or “Interests,” which holds details on everything you have clicked on while using MSN, Bing, and Cortana.

In addition to this, you have the option to clean your entire search history on Bing as well as any data Cortana has recorded and stored such as calendar entries, contacts, location history, and browsing history. On the same page, you can disable the function that stores your search history. You can also clear all data stored in Bing Maps.

If you go to the bottom, you will come across several options. Use those options to manage how your system uses the data collected and stored from Xbox, Outlook, OneDrive, and Microsoft’s own platform for advertising.

It is important for both individuals and businesses to take measures to protect their information and data from potential hackers who might try to infiltrate the system, steal it, and misuse it.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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3D Printing for Better Development

3D PrintingConsidered as a subgroup of additive manufacturing, 3D printing has transformed the manufacturing process by creating parts a traditional manufacturing would not be able to create. 3D printing enables businesses to design prototypes and parts for their products in a more efficient and productive manner. Business owners trying to think of ideas to streamline their business operations should choose 3D printing for better development.

3D Printing — A Revolutionary Manufacturing Process

Businesses that incorporate 3D printing technology into their manufacturing process witness several notable changes during the design and development phase of their products. Here are a few ways the revolutionary manufacturing process benefits businesses:

  • Shortens the Manufacturing Process
  • Creates Personalised Products
  • Reduces the Assembly Time
  • Simplifies Logistics and Supply Chains
  • Minimises Waste
  • Eliminates the Need to Design Products or Parts in Large Quantities
  • Requires Less Energy
  • Designs Spare and Complex Parts on Demand
  • Allows Businesses to Go Straight from the Design Process to the Manufacturing Process
  • Promotes a Go Green Culture
  • Replaces Parts for Legacy Systems

Even though 3D printing offers businesses several benefits, it is in no way replacing the traditional manufacturing process instead it is adding on to it. It is advancing the traditional manufacturing process, making it more adept than before by allowing businesses to design parts for products that traditional marketing cannot create.

Therefore, it is essential for us to look at the major benefits 3D printing services offer businesses so they too can incorporate it into their manufacturing process and cut down the time it takes them to create a finished product.

The 5 Benefits of 3D Printing for Businesses

Earlier, we mentioned a host of benefits 3D printing design services provide businesses. However, out of all those benefits, there are five key benefits 3D printing offers businesses, which deserve a closer look and a detailed explanation.

1.     Avoid Mass Production; Save Money!

Additive manufacturing is not a new concept. Businesses have been using it for several years now to design products quickly and without the added expense of ordering costly factory manufactured models in bulk. The introduction of 3D printing designs has advanced additive manufacturing, allowing them to manufacture the exact number of finished products instead of mass producing them.

For instance, you are creating a product for a niche market, you can produce them in low quantities instead of being forced to produce them in bulk, which would be the case if you were ONLY using a traditional manufacturing method.

2.     Easily Design Complex Parts

3D technology enables businesses to design and scan complex and complicated shapes on a computer. You can create illogical or distorted shapes and designs that would be impossible for a machine to create. This ability of 3D technology has opened new doors for businesses. If you are a business owner and you aspire to create a product with a unique shape, you can use 3D printing to design it. With 3D technology, there is no limit to creativity and innovation!

3.     Personalise Products

Businesses can offer their customers 3D printing personalisation services. For instance, you can connect 3D printing technology to the internet and allow your customers to create their own products, personalising them to suit their requirements and vision. Perhaps, one day, customers can design and download their products from home

However, it is a complicated process, as companies need to take several factors into consideration such as intellectual property and how to give customers access to 3D printing technology from home. One thing is for sure, 3D printing technology will continue to evolve with time.

4.     Go Green

Businesses wanting to opt for an environmental friendly manufacturing method should opt for 3D printing. For instance, your company supplies products to another company or delivers them to another city within your country. Instead of transporting the products via road or airplane, you will send them the design, which they will print in their own facility using 3D technology.

In doing so, you save money on transportation and reduce fuel emissions. That is not the only way you give back to the environment. You also reduce the need to produce more raw materials to create lightweight and basic parts.

5.     Reduce the Supply Chain Risks

A traditional supply chain begins with market research, the product development phase, launching the product, selling the product, and delivering the product. 3D printing technology has made the entire supply chain process simpler and less complicated.

For instance, before you had to produce several products with only two out of the twenty you made selling, thus resulting in a loss. With 3D printing, you don’t need to produce in bulk, but only need to design it when you receive an order from a customer. You can always outsource 3D printing services to other businesses if you don’t have access to 3D technology. If you are big business with a large facility, you should invest in 3D technology.

Conclusion

Whether you are a large or a small business, investing in 3D printing technology is a lucrative investment. You will no longer need to fill up warehouses with products, but can create products that customers order. You also shorten the time it takes to create a product. Instead of taking weeks to manufacture a product, you only need one week or less to manufacture a product and deliver it to your customer.

In addition to this, you save operational costs up to 70 percent. You can conceptualise unique and innovative designs for your products, which will definitely make you stand out from your competitors. More importantly, not only will you be designing better, improved, and out-of-the-box products, you will also be using 3D design services for business promotions. Create 3D business cards to hand out to your customers. In short, 3D printing for better development is the future and more businesses should get on board and invest in 3D technology.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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Understanding the Everything On-Demand Concept

We want everything instantaneously and our hunger for the instantaneous is only going to grow. To ensure truly immediate gratification, On-Deamndautomated task completion and immediate access will be employed in the future. In that future, how we spend our time and what we expect from experiences is bound to change.  From streaming in VR to printing in 3D, everything will be available on demand to fulfill our desires. And, we could be telling our grandchildren: once upon a time we had to wait!

Understanding the ‘On-Demand’ Economy and How it is Revolutionizing Consumer Behavior

Created by tech companies that meet customer demand through the immediate provision of goods and services, the on-demand economy is revolutionizing consumer behavior around the world. In an on-demand economy, advances in technology drive supply. An accelerating pace is what the growth of the industry, the categories represented and the number of companies at expanding at. The evolution in consumer behavior and the years of technological innovation manifestation is what the businesses in this new economy represent.

When it comes to the on-demand economy, people ask all sorts of questions including is this a fad? Is this a bubble? Will the hyper-growth we’re currently witnessing slow down? The simple and categorical answer to all the aforementioned-questions is No. Consumers have embraced the new on-demand models with an unprecedented frequency because they’ve opened the door to real full-time fulfillment of goods and services.

The question is no longer if the on-demand economy will revolutionize consumer behavior and create thousands of opportunities rather the question is ‘when’ will the consumers outside of the tech-savvy, early adopters start to utilize the services offered in the above-mentioned economy. When that does happen, the aforementioned-economy will force a paradigm shift similar to the one witnessed during the advent of the internet in the late 1990s.

Technologies that Encouraged the On-Demand Economy

On-DemandOur world is being transformed in both major and minor ways by on-demand companies. According to the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the ride-sharing services of Uber and Lyft could minimize the number of cars on the road by seventy-five percent. Fewer vehicles on the road automatically translates to reduced carbo emissions, less traffic and potentially fewer accidents.

While not every on-demand company is saving the world, the on-demand economy has changed how we book trips, purchase groceries, and adopt pets. Just a few taps and you can fulfill your daily needs and desires and that too with little or human interaction. For many people, this is like a dream come true.

As they become extremely accustomed to the convenience of on-demand services, many people have started to take the complex technology powering these services for granted. To ensure that you don’t do the same, following are three technologies powering seamless experiences in the on-demand economy.

Payment Options

Easy payments for developers and users are facilitated by commerce-based APIs such as Stripe and Braintree. Thanks to the simple interfaces of these payment options, customers need to provide credit or debit card information only once before checking out with a right click. Moreover, with the knowledge that payments are transferred across secure platforms, developers can easily integrate these APIs into their apps. Many varying payment setups including one-off and subscription options are offered by Commerce APIs. Finally, the playing field is leveled for established brands and startups in emerging markets by the low barrier to entry.

Mapping APIs

Today, maps are used by virtually every on-demand service. For the developers interested in enabling map functionality and real-time navigation within their apps, Mapping interfaces like Mapbox make available a host of features. As people enjoy tracking their orders in real time, people providing the services require features that provide delivery directions and locations. While enabling developers to build interactive map for end users, the aforementioned -Mapping API provides estimates arrival times, traffic updates and directions.

Front-End Frameworks

In addition to being easy to manipulate, front-end frameworks such as Angular2 and React are fully customizable. To allow developers to create responsive, reliable experiences, these platforms make many user interface elements available. Moreover, they’re compatible with a range of operating systems and devices. Applications must be able to accommodate the platforms embraced by customers as new devices enter and grow in these markets. Additionally, companies must have the ability to deliver instantly and provide great customer experiences in today’s competitive world where consumers have personal drivers and gourmet meals at their fingertips. Further integrating tech in the on-demand economy, APIs allow companies to do that.

There you have it—the 3 technologies that encouraged the on-demand economy. With that discussed, let’s take a quick look at how the on-demand economy is impacting the world today before calling it wraps.

The On-Demand Economy and Its impact on the World Today

Many people say that now is the best to be a consumer and it’s hard to argue that. Only a few clicks and you can order almost anything from the comfort of your home. However, the benefit isn’t just limited to the shopper. It goes far beyond that. According to a recent study, about a third of America’s workforce are associated with the on-demand economy. This figure includes drivers of the ride-sharing service Uber but it includes other people as well. Other people that associated with the on-demand economy include independent contractors and adjunct professors. A new economic class is being created by all these temporary and part-time employees and it is only a matter of time before they start to rule the roost in the on-demand world.

Final Word!

The on-demand economy has made our lives increasingly convenient and this trend is only going to get bigger over time.

 

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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Machine Learning: What it is and Why It Matters

Machine LearningOften used interchangeably, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) are two very hot buzzwords right now. Though they aren’t the same thing, the perception that they are can sometimes lead to some confusion. For this reason, writing to explain the difference is ‘worth the while.’

Terms that crop up very frequently when the topic is Big Data or analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two varying concepts.  AI is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart”. On the other hand, Machine Learning is a current application of Artificial Intelligence based around the idea that we should really just be able to give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.

Renewed Interest in Machine Learning

Machine Learning is making a comeback. In the last few years, there has been renewed interest in machine learning. The revival seems to be driven by strong fundamentals—an incredible amount of data being emitted by sensors across the globe, with cheap storage and lowest ever computational costs! However, not everyone understands what machine learning is. So, it’s important to explain what machine learning is and why it matters.

Understanding the Concept of Machine Learning

A part of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning enables computers to learn by themselves without being specifically programmed. Upon coming across new data, computer programs learn, change, develop and grow by themselves. A data analysis method, machine learning turn analytical model building into an automated process. Thanks to machine learning and algorithms that constantly learn from data, computers can find insightful information without being programmed to do so.

The concept of machine learning is not new. However, using complicated mathematical calculations for big data has become popular only recently. Cyber fraud detection, offers recommendations from Amazon, Google’s self-driving car, Netflix movie recommendations and friend recommendations in Facebook are some of the instances where machine learning is applied.

The above testifies the vital role that machine learning is playing today. According to a recent McKinsey Global report, machine learning will drive innovation and technological advancement in coming times. Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of machine learning.

Where Machine Learning came from

A concept that was born at the same time as AI, machine learning over the years included the following algorithmic approaches:

  • Decision tree learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Inductive logic programming
  • Bayesian networks
  • Clustering

You may or may not be aware of this but none of the aforementioned-approaches achieved AI’s ultimate objective. In fact, for many early ML approaches, even narrow artificial intelligence was out of bounds. Though, there was one ML approach that turned out well: computer vision. But, even that approach had a problem: to perform the job, one had to do a considerable amount of hand-coding.

Using their bare hands, programmers would write classifiers such as edge detection filters to enable the program to identify the starting and ending point of an object. Using the classifiers, the program would develop algorithms to understand the image and how to determine the stop sign. This was good but still far off from what was expected from machine learning or artificial intelligence. Until recently, the aforementioned qualities of machine learning were nowhere near ‘human abilities’. However, time and, the appropriate learning algorithms have turned things around.

How Businesses are Using Machine Learning

Machine learning is at the top of the ‘hype curve’ and there’s no denying it. Machine learning is already forcing massive changes in the way businesses operate. Today, machine learning is helping many businesses to run more efficiently and make more money. Following are some of the ways businesses are using machine learning today.

Making User-Generated Content Valuable

Awful is the word I’d use for the average piece of user-generated content (UGC). To be honest, it’s way worse than you think, with misspellings, vulgarity or flat-out wrong information everywhere. However, by identifying the best and worst UGC, machine-learning can filter out the bad bubble up the good without needing a real person to tag each piece of content.

Find Products Faster

Today, all businesses need smart search results. To show high-quality content to their users, most successful online businesses employ machine learning. Also, there are some businesses that employ machine-learning strategies to give their online customers the benefits of machine learning when they are browsing for products.

Understand Customer Behavior

Sentiment analysis is something machine learning excels at. In fact, machine learning drives a lot of customer-related decisions today. For example, social media listening through machine learning has become standard operating procedure for many businesses today.

What the Future Hold for Machine Learning

To automate their decision processes, many organizations today are using machine-learning based tools. In 2017, corporate investment in artificial intelligence is expected to triple. Moreover, it is predicted to become a $100 billion market by 2025, with machine learning boasting a sizeable share. In 2016 alone, $5 billion were invested in machine learning venture and the numbers are expected to increase each year. So, we can conclude by saying that the future is bright for machine learning and every business that adopts it!

 

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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3 Benefits of iOS 11 for businesses

iOS 11iOS 11: Software with a Bunch of Exciting New Features

On Monday, June 5, Apple, the tech company headquartered in Cupertino, California, announced its newest iOS operating software at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. While iPhone users will start to benefit from Apple’s annual update this fall, you can try iOS 11, the software that will power the next iPhone, right now. On June 26, twenty days after making the announcement, Apple made the beta for iOS 11 to everyone, not just software developers.

The new software from Apple features several improvements. So, you have all the reasons to get excited and brag about the update in front of Android fans. iOS 11, the new Apple software launched in early June, clearly indicates that the next iPhone batch will be something ‘special’. If you think that the iOS 11 is just another iterative update that brings small tweaks and improvements, then think again because the software is so much more. Containing a bunch of exciting new features, iOS 11 will improve your iOS experience on both the iPhone and the iPad. Following are some of the most noticeable changes in the iOS 11 and how they’ll improve your iOS experience.

Control Center

One of the most important and noticeable changes in the iOS 11 is the Control Center. User customizable, the Control Center received a massive overhaul this year. Now, in addition to the default ones that Apple won’t allow you to change, you can add the toggles you want to the Control Center screen. Boasting a 3D touch support, iOS 11’s Control Center contains more options than ever before. Moreover, it contains secret features such as screen recording.

Notes

A useful iPhone tool for business owners, especially business owners, is Notes. Apple always improves the application with each iOS update, bringing it closer to other word editors. In iOS 11, you will be able number of useful functions in Notes including a built-in scanner, support for drag and drop, a tool to add tables to your notes and mark up tools. And, I’m talking about the updates in iPhone. iPad is going to have even more Notes features.

Maps

Another feature upgraded in iOS 11 is Apple Maps. Users of iOS 11 will be able to easily navigate to the local places and view the places with a better experience using the 3D feature. Moreover, the lines have been brought outdoors by the update. In addition to the guidance warnings and speed limits, you will get information on where to turn.

The New App Store

Something that should have happened years ago, is finally happening now. Apple is set to change the App store in iOS 11 like users long wanted. The new App store will offer a rich discovery experience and games will be separated from other apps in it.

There you have—four of the most important and noticeable changes in iOS 11. With that discussed, it’s time to look at how the iOS update can help your business.

How iOS 11 Can Benefit Your Business

Some businesses rejoice the launch of a new software while others are disappointed by it. A software change that has impacted businesses, in particular small businesses, in recent times is the launch of new iOS operating system. Whether they are good or bad, major changes occur in Apple devices whenever a new iOS system is launched. Often, not transitioning to the new iOS system is detrimental to users, especially if the user happens to be a business. On the other hand, making a smooth transition to the new software allows users, especially businesses, to reap the many benefits of iOS system update. Following are 3 ways iOS 11 can benefit your business.

Make and Receive Payment through Apple Pay

The ability to transfer money using Apple Pay is one of the best things about iOS 11. To do this, you need to open Apple Pay via the Messages app and then send money from credit or debit card through your Apple Wallet. Siri may suggest you to use Apple Pay to send or receive money if money is discussed on the Messages app. Moreover, you can ask Siri voice commands to pay someone.

When you receive payment in iOS 11, your Apple Pay Cash account will automatically be updated and the additional money will appear in your account. You can use the money in your account to make purchases in stores, apps and on the web. By fall 2017, the P2P payments and Apple Pay Cash will be available in the U.S to users of iPhone 6 and later, iPhone SE, iPad mini 3, iPad Air 2, iPad 5th generation and Apple Watch.

News App Update

All business owners want to the know the latest and trending news in their industry. This is something Apple has ensure with iOS 11 updates. In the iOS operating system, the News App will feature a new Spotlight Tab. Now, you will be able to view the best videos of the day related to your industry or other related industries under the ‘Today View’. This will surely make it easy for you to keep tabs on the latest developments, which in turn will help you innovate and grow your business.

Better Storage

Today, many business owners need to store a lot of data and files in their iPhones. For all such people, Apple has some good news: in addition to informing you about the data cluttering your iPhone’s memory, the storage menu in the iOS 11 will automatically free up space that you’re not using.

There you have it—the 3 benefits of iOS 11 for businesses.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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3 Big Challenges that Small Businesses Face

Small business owners have to make many decisions each day. Most of these decisions are small and have minor impact. However, there are some big decisions that have to be made as well. And, this is where the challenge lies for small business owners.

Today, we live in a rapidly changing world, and this is especially true for businesses. In this day and age, businesses have to decide how to invest in and utilize new technologies, adapt to entirely new marketing channels, and compete on a global stage—all at the same time.

Percento Business - Information TechnologyIn today’s competitive world, the theory ‘survival of the fittest’ fits really well. There are 150 million startups in the world today with fifty million new startups launching every year. This means that an average of 137,000 startups emerge every single day. If these numbers don’t make you anxious, I don’t know what will!

For small businesses in the U.S, times are tough, as they face issues that are unique to their situation in an economy that still looks and feels as if it’s suffering through a recession.  Today, small businesses face a number of key challenges that recur over and over as major problem areas. Ask any small business owner and they’ll tell you: running a small business is anything but small.

Getting off the ground requires dedication and lots of hard work, but creating your own profitable business can be beyond rewarding. However, to transition from ‘small business’ to ‘large enterprise’, you’ll have to face some growing pains. If you’re small business owner or even an aspiring entrepreneur, start planning for some of the potential obstacles ahead if you want your venture to be successful.

Businesses, in particular small businesses, face a myriad of challenges today. Throughout the course of managing their business, small business owners encounter many problems. As a small business owner, you must be prepared to take on and solve the problems that come your way. However, this is easier said than done.

Generally, small business owners, in particular new entrepreneurs, are not prepared for the problems coming their way. If you’re one of them then you need to understand that problems are an everyday part of every business and you need to face each problem with determination and a proper solution.

So, what are the problems that you’ll need to overcome as a business owner? Following are 3 big challenges that small businesses face today.

Your Finances are Numero Uno!

Cash is King! Businesses exist to make money and most small business owners run their finances without adequate planning or oversight. While they do monitor expenses, accounts receivables and bank balances, many small businesses today don’t have a basic financial forecasting and reporting/monitoring structure in place.

Also, many of them don’t have the luxury of a line of credit or other funding sources to help them remain creditworthy when the inevitable financial speed bump occurs. To overcome the challenges in the financial area, consider using the following ‘best practices’:

  • Use QuickBooks or accounting software of your choice to create a basic financial reporting structure
  • To assure timely reporting and item entries that you and your employees will follow, document financial reporting guidelines
  • Create a forecast of all important financial data, such as key expense types, accounts receivables, and revenues.
  • Commit to a set schedule to review the reports, comparing your results to forecasts and previous time periods
  • Research short-term financial options such as a line of credit, silent investors, credit card, or other personal funds

Customers Can’t Find You Online

People are turning to the web for just about everything and there’s no denying it. Without a professional online presence, your business is already a step behind. The good news is that putting your business online and developing a strong online presence isn’t as difficult or costly as it was five, ten, or 15 years back. Following are some easy and inexpensive ways to create a strong online presence, allowing customers to easily find you online.

Get a Professional Business Website

Percento Websites for BusinessesTo create a strong online presence, one of the most important things that you need to do is get a professional business website. Now, you can create your website yourself, even if you have little or no technical knowledge. But, it’s better that you get your website made by a professional web designing service that’ll optimize your website for mobile and beef up its SEO. This will ensure that, no matter what device your customers are on, they’ll be able to find you.

Have a Social Media Presence

Find out which social networking sites your target audience frequently visit, and set up a professional account on them. To help drive traffic to your website and ultimately grow your business, creating and maintaining a social presence is crucial. Engaging audiences is the name of the game now, and social media is your ticket for doing just that.

Try Email Marketing

Using e-newsletters, keep in touch with your contacts and customers. By using e-letters to keep in touch with them, you’ll remind customers about the online presence of your business.

A Fast-Paced Market

Technology moves at an incredibly rapid pace, and keeping up with the changes can be a challenge for many small business owners. In today’s competitive world, small businesses must be able to anticipate the next wave of major opportunities that technology will create for the customers. And then build into that future with new products that delivery truly unique value.

While you should strive for innovation, you can easily become distracted by new technology, projects and markets, losing sight of your niche market that makes your business valuable. So, the key is to stay ultrafocused on the core.

Small businesses face a myriad of challenges today. If you don’t take a step up, you could drown in the noise.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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How Automation Is Helping Business Operations

business automationCreating a profitable business is what every entrepreneur wants to do. However, for most entrepreneurs this remains a pipe dream. A major reason for this is the go all-out, hands-on approach that many business owners take.

It’s simple: if you want your business to grow then you need to ditch the hands-on approach—for good. What you need instead is a way to leverage, and a way to scale. Automation may well be that way.

Used to create a profitable business, automation allows you to ditch hands-on approach to handling business operations. Today, business competition is fierce and the path to glory is somewhat like a roller coaster ride. By automating your business operations, you’ll allow a few processes to pass through automatically without your involvement. This in turn will free up precious time, time you can leverage to make more money and grow your business.

Is Automation a New Concept?

Contrary to popular belief, automation is not a new concept. In fact, long before the term ‘automation’ was first coined, the idea of a mechanized world flourished. Proof of this is Electro, a robot exhibited at the World’s fair in 1939. The star of the exhibit, Electro could talk, walk and count on its fingers. Unfortunately, Electro and his kind never evolved and thus, were relegated to mere exhibits that we come across while scampering through the history pages.

Luckily, Electro was not the last of the ‘automated bots’ that the world would bear witness to. Fast forward twenty year to to the 60s and we had something far more useful—the computer.

Most businesses saw computer, the latest technology, as a welcome addition to the business world. However, the variety of software required to perform key functions challenged and created a problem for operations management.

Human operators were the drivers of the initial solutions and their salaries consumed a big chunk of the IT budget. A monster that had to be constantly fed, operations required support from the entire administrative structure. This led to a system that was prone to errors, increasing in expense and complexity. Soon, the situation was out of control and something had to be done. This is when the concept of automated computer operations was born.

The Birth of Automated Operations

Over four decades ago, IBM introduced the OS/360 operating system and this was when automated computer operations were born. A supervisory program, the OS/360 managed system resources and enabled automatic transition from one job to another. This was referred to as batch processing. While it could run them, OS/360’s control over the sequence of the batch jobs was limited. Moreover, it didn’t have the ability to schedule future jobs and required a high level of operator involvement.

The need to continually perform complex, labor-intensive tasks led software developers to begin developing automated operations software. Today, this software can schedule future jobs without much operator involvement. However, this is just one of the many ways automated operations software is making life easy for business owners and operations managers.

Following are five ways automation is helping business operations.

Improved Organization

The seamless distribution of information is what automation makes possible. For instance, all the information related to the project will be in

business automation

the same place when you automatically create a quote for a new project and can invoice it from the same system.

Looking across multiple systems to get the information you need is no longer required. By automatically sending the information where you need it, automation keeps your data current and prevents your team from spending a lot of time looking for it.

Increased Productivity

Automated operations resolve productivity issues in several ways. For example, by automating the production batch schedule, job scheduling software increases batch throughput. In the past, the speed with which operators could reset switches on the console limited computer throughput. Today, the solution is not allowing the computer to stay frivolous while waiting for the operator to release the next job.

By minimizing operator intervention and eliminating idle time between jobs, automated operations save businesses time and money. In some cases, you can use automation to reduce your process hours, allowing you to process more work and significantly improve system use.

Well-Established Processes

Setting up specific workflows and processes in advance is what makes automation possible. To set up these workflows and processes, you need to consider best practices as well as how your team actually works. Once implemented, these processes can help make your operations consistent and efficient.

Moreover, by making it easier to accomplish more in less time, these documented, repeatable processes can help you scale. When they no longer need to spend time worrying about the process itself, your team can focus on areas that actually help grow your business such as performing jobs efficiently and providing excellent customer service.

Increased Accountability

Determining exactly what is happening at every moment can be difficult when you have many different systems in place. For example, if employees wanted to eliminate tasks they didn’t want to perform, you’d need processes to know this was going on.

What if the eliminated/deleted task was an accident?  How would you know that something was deleted accidently and you can get the information back?  By providing a digital paper trail for your entire operation in one place, automation reduced human errors. This increases the accountability for every employee’s actions across different systems, eliminating issues such as the one mentioned above.

While automation isn’t a new concept, its use in business operations is a relatively new practice. By providing the aforementioned benefits, automation is helping business operations and making the life of business owners and operations manager a whole lot easier.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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4 Technology Tools for Business Meetings

Business Meetings

I am sure that every business owner looks forward to in-house meetings or meetings with clients, right? Often, that is not the case. Ever get the feeling that you’re wasting your and your employees’ time in business meetings?

If yes, then you’re not alone. Many times, business meetings become housekeeping lists, presentations on topics, with little interaction among employees. The good news is that there are some tech tools that you can harness to make the most of your limited—and valuable—time.

The Need for Advanced Communication Technology

Today, communication technology is advancing each day. In such times, no business can be successful until its improves its communication tools. By ensuring the flow of information, communication accelerates the rate of decision-making in an organization or business. Talking about communication, an increasingly popular trend in the business world is virtual meetings. To save time, many organizations and business owners are resorting to virtual meetings.

By making communication easy, technology is improving business meetings. Today, to communicate with employees, customers, suppliers and business partners, business owners/managers can use web-conferencing tools. These tools support video chat which allows both parties to see each other, making the communication real and effective. Participants will need to install web conference software on their devices before they can benefit from the virtual conferencing tools.

You can start holding/attending meetings via your smartphone after you download a virtual meeting mobile application: it’s as simple as that!

The Need for Business Meeting Tools

Business Meetings Raise your hand if you find business meetings a waste of time? If you did raise your hand then you’re not alone.  According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll for Clarizen, 3 out 5 five employed adults in the United States spend more time preparing for a status meeting than attending the meeting itself. The results of the survey further revealed that about a third of the people attending meetings find them a waste of time and almost half of the respondents felt that watching paint dry or going to the DMV is more productive than sitting in a meeting.

The survey mentioned above isn’t the only study that puts forth the case for using tech tools in business meetings. Research by Bain Consulting, published in the Harvard Business Review, revealed a case where people at one company spent three hundred thousand hours a year either in or supporting the weekly executive committee meetings.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that tapping into the tech tools, apps and services that can save time by making meetings less frequent, less annoying and more efficient is beneficial for businesses. So, without further ado, let’s look at the 4 technology tools that can make your business meeting less frequent and more productive.

Google Docs/Drive

If you want to collaborate with your team to make awesome documents, then Google Docs is what you need. However, it is good for non-document purposes too. Your team can work all at once on forms, presentations, spreadsheets and more using Google Docs.  Moreover, Google Docs allows you to leave yourselves a note for later or leave a note on someone else’s work to request a change.

Google Drive, a key feature of Google Docs, allows your team to set up your own file storage system. Also, keeping everything in one central location should not be a problem for you as you have 15 GB of free space available to you. Compared to using a flash drive or emailing documents back and forth, this is a far better system.

Dropbox

The repeated misplacement of his USB flash drive while he was a student at MIT, prompted Drew Houston, the co-founder of Dropbox, to develop the Dropbox concept. The recipient of many awards, Dropbox is a simple and easy to use file hosting service. Dropbox offers file synchronization and cloud storage. Moreover, it can house documents, photos and videos. As these materials will show up on all synced devices, your team can access them from anywhere.

One of the most useful features of Dropbox is the ability to share large files and backups. A basic account with 20 GB of traffic per day and two GB of online storage is free. To increase capacity, users can upgrade their accounts by paying a fee.

Appear.in

Often, it isn’t possible for all your team members to be in the same place at the same time. For such times, when you need to discuss matters over a video call, Appear.in can solve all your problems. A favorite app of many people, this business meeting tool allows you to create a meeting room in your browser and host up to eight people.

You don’t need to create an account and this tool doesn’t require any downloads or plugins. All you need to do is claim a meeting room as your own and everyone can connect via a text chat, audio or video. Also, you can share your screen, which makes Appear.in the perfect meeting tool when everyone’s located at different places.

Slack

A team messaging tool, Slack eliminates the need for long email threads and links by bringing all types of communication together. By reducing internal email, slack helps users streamline work and become more productive. Also, for particular departments or projects, you can organize team conversations into open or private channels.

An app that can be loaded onto both desktops and mobile devices, Slack integrates with file sharing programs such as Dropbox as well as with all social media platforms. Using this tool, you can drag, drop and share documents, PDFs, images and spreadsheets. Also, you can add flag messages or comments for future reference.

 

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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3 Business Tablets for Entrepreneurs

Tablets for BusinessWhy Tablets are a Good Choice for Entrepreneurs

Technology is changing our lives and making it a whole lot easier. When it comes to running a business, making the transition to technology is extremely important. Now, you don’t need to do something extravagant or fancy. In fact, you can take your business to the next level with something as simple as an 8’’ tablet.  Provided you use the right tablet for your business, a business tablet can help you boost your revenue.

Today, many business owners are in awe of the business tablet and who can blame them—the impressive large screen, the powerful processor and the numerous productivity applications to choose from are good reasons to be impressed.

When it comes to the choice for business owners, it’s pretty evident that tablets are giving laptops a good run for their money. While you can conduct your business effectively from either device, the convenience offered by a tablet makes it our winner.

Following are some reasons business tablets are a viable choice for entrepreneurs.

Creating and Sharing Visual Presentations

As a business owner, one of the best ways for you to grow your business is offering your customers a visual experience of your business, products and/or services. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Depending on the nature of your business, you no longer need to use programs like excel to prepare visuals for customers. Tablets owners have several awesome tools available to them which they can use to create engaging infographics in less than five minutes. As they help them to come across as experts in their niche, infographics are one of the best visuals that entrepreneurs can create for their customers.

Boost Interaction

One area where small businesses can compete with the larger firms is personal interactions. When it comes to personal interactions with customers, business tablets can greatly help the smaller businesses. Unlike a few years ago when you needed a desktop PC to take notes and enter information while conversing with the client, you can now talk to your client while maintaining eye contact using a tablet PC. Thanks to these personalized consultations, you can establish greater trust and rapport with clients.

Maintain Your Website on The Go

A website is essential for most small businesses. However, maintaining it on a day-to-day basis can be tough, especially if you work alone or are always out and about. Here’s an interesting observation: while most business owners spend a considerable amount of time looking for cost-effective marketing methods, they rarely consider their tablets as website management tools. For instance, if you can’t afford a content writing service then you’ll have to do your blog yourself. With a tablet, you can easily manage this. Even while travelling, you can keep your clients updated by using a business tablet to access your WordPress or Blogger website.

There you have it—four reasons business tablets are a viable choice for entrepreneurs. With that discussed, it’s time to look at the 5 best business tablets for entrepreneurs.

The Best Business Tablets for Entrepreneurs

With so many tablets on the market, choosing the right tablet for your business can be tough. Whether you want a powerhouse that can replace your desktop computer or an affordable tablet for checking email, you can easily find a tablet that fulfills your unique business needs.

Following are the 3 best tablets for entrepreneurs available today.

Apple iPad Pro

On hearing the word ‘tablet’, the first thing or name that comes to mind is Apple’s iPad. Having the best app support on the market, the iPad is an extremely secure tablet. However, the 12.0-inch Apple’s iPad, the most commonly used iPad is a bit pricy. For this reason, the

Business Tablets

recommended iPad for entrepreneurs is the 9.7 inch iPad Pro. Cheaper than the 12.9 inch iPad, the iPad pro has a small screen and is extremely portable. Costing between $700 and $1300, the iPad Pro is a relatively affordable tablet that comes with most, if not all, of the features required by entrepreneurs.

Microsoft Surface 4

Over time, most business owners get used to having Microsoft Office, Outlook, and other Windows apps at their disposal. And many of them don’t want to sacrifice that familiarity for a portable tablet. If you’re one of them, then here’s some good news for you: The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has made it possible for you to get the Windows ‘desktop experience’ on a tablet. Unlike other business tablets, this tablet from Microsoft runs a full version of Windows, ensuring a familiar feeling about the interface and availability of programs.

To make things better, the Surface Pro 4 is available with optional keyboard for typing and a pen for note-taking. You’ll have to pay $129 and $100 respectively for the upgrades though. Today, many business owners are ditching their bulky desktops and laptops for the sleek, lightweight Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Android Tablets

Every bit as good as the Apple equivalent, an Android tablet is an affordable choice for entrepreneurs. However, as the android world is a very much a mixed bunch, you need to know what you are getting. The plus points of getting an android tablet include the ease of transfer from PC or Mac to Android tablet and the Universal USB support. Some good android tablet options include Google’s Pixel C, the Sony Experia Z4 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

As they allow to manage your business on the go, business tablets are a great option for you to have as an entrepreneur. With a good tablet in tow, you can manage and grow your business like never before.

by Bobby J Davidson

As the President of Percento Technologies, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the company.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a Business Technology | Anytime | Anywhere for organizations in need of Managed IT ServicesProfessional IT Consulting, and Infrastructure Projects. We have a fantastic suite of boutique-managed Cloud Servers to choose, along with Network Cabling and high end professional website services.

We personalize the IT experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including banking, legal, health-care, energy and corporate business.

Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.
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