I will confess right now that part of the issue is technology. We're upgrading to a new server and in the process we will also be implementing 2 replacement work stations. Which means we need to upgrade software . . . which means we have to convert old data files . . .which means those files don't talk to the website anymore . . . which means we need to fix the translation . . . which means . . . .
I am learning way more about software and hardware than I truly ever wanted to.
On the plus side--this transition has been much easier thanks to the expertise of chamber members. Knowing I have great go-to resources to ask questions, get advice and help implementing has made this so much easier.
Jackie Kopp, ATD Solutions is helping us upgrade our Quickbooks software and in the process helping us categorize classes to improve the ease of event program and project reports. She and Steve Hyer, IGD Solutions are helping us coordinate the newest release of Quickbooks with our online registration system.
The end result will be very nice for our members and reduce the bookkeeping time required to re-enter registrations. A direct sync with the online payments will save a lot of time!
It will also allow us to go to online invoicing and statements--saving postage. And we are looking into ACH processing as an option in addition to credit cards.
As part of this upgrade--we're also replacing our server. It's nearly 10 years old and has performed well. Periodic piecemeal upgrades have extended it's life--but it's time is done. It needs to be retired.
PC Miracles (who does our off site back ups) is taking care of the server and also the two new workstations. The computer workstations will replace our oldest machines . . . which . . . we got used from Clarkston Schools 5 years ago. These two units have had major failures this winter--and were recovered enough to limp along while we coordinated the replacement plan.
The new hardware, means we will be upgrading operating systems and therefore upgrading our database management systems. Which is where I learned that the upgraded software doesn't talk to our website . . . yet . . . but it will.
This black hole of interrelated technology woes could have been avoided with a regular technology upgrade plan.
I will admit to being, at times, too thrifty. If there's a mile left in that baby--I'm going to run it that mile! The motivation has been simple--out of necessity, I've needed to get the biggest bang for every dollar. The budget has been squeaky tight.
The thrill of dancing close to total technology failure, though, is not in the best interest of the Chamber--or you--our members. While I don't care for the adage "penny wise, pound foolish" it does apply here.
The board of directors supports and is funding a technology plan that includes regular upgrades and replacements--before we have catastrophic failures.
So if you're reading this . . . (thanks, by the way) . . . consider what you're doing to keep your data safe, your productivity high and your future clear.
- Invest in offsite back up services for your data. It will help you sleep at night. Trust me.
- Take time to inventory what your technology status is right now--today. And pay special attention to how old your hardware is and whether or not your software has the latest updated version.
- Make a plan for your recommended replacement schedule.
- Include in that plan an annual check up--where you update your technology audit.
And just do it.
Saving a few pennies today will be of little comfort when your technology decides to die.