Information Technology – Saving and Retrieving Critical Data
The small business owner, no matter what the business, will enjoy greater success if they have their information technology under control and working for them. How you capture, store, and retrieve information to conduct your business can make a huge difference in your efficiency and time management. That is not to mention that critical bit of data you know you have but you cannot seem to find when you need it.
The good news is that today’s information technology is light years ahead of the old paper files and cabinets or Rolodex solutions. There are several information technology solutions that help you to gather, store, organize, and retrieve information critical to your business. The top three, according to many sources, are Evernote, Google Keep, and Microsoft OneNote. Which is best for your small business depends upon the features, and most importantly how easy it is to capture and then retrieve the information later.
The busy business owner has a lot going on in their business day, and often the only way in which they can reliably capture and store important notes is if they have a system or solution that makes it easy to do in multiple ways. There are times when the only way in which important data can be captured is if there is a fast and easy way to do so and have it automatically stored for easy retrieval when you need it. Here are some considerations when selecting the right solution for your needs.
You Are Not Always Online – Your Information Technology Must be Available Offline
It is true that working in the office and even via mobile can often be done online with today’s broadband and mobile access to the Internet. However, even the most connected of individuals will not be able to access their information technology online all the time. The system or solution you use to capture, store, and retrieve data should have both online and offline access to your files.
Information Technology for Capture in the Office
Today’s business world involves a lot of time doing research and office tasks on the computer. Developing a workflow that makes efficient use of your time is important, and that should involve efficient information capture while working online or with software. Does the solution allow capture of information both online and when working in software?
• Capture of Web pages – Easy capture of the URL address of a website page should be fast and easy with only a click or two that does not unduly interrupt workflow. It should offer fast selection of file folders or notebooks to organize information, all through just a few seconds of time and two or three clicks.
• Partial page capture – Suppose you are checking out a competitor’s website and see something of interest you want to work with or research more in depth later. Highlighting some of the text/images on a page and capturing just that portion with the URL address should be fast and easy as well.
• Capture of notes in software – While working in software offline, can you capture a piece of information or saved file reference while working? An example may be working in accounting or bookkeeping software and wanting to capture a reminder to take some action later. Can you quickly with a couple of clicks make a note referenced to that software that will remind you later?
• Drag and drop – The three previous ways of capture can be accessed with a browser addon or through right-click while working, but can you also drag and drop highlighted information, a document reference, or other information right into the information technology solution?
Those are “at-your-desk” information capture activities, and they can save you immense amounts of time while helping you to capture more information than ever before.
Information Technology for Capture On the Go
Even the local brick and mortar business owner is out and about during the business day. When it comes to remote workers, real estate agents, mobile workers, or others, they are mobile much of the time. Capturing information on the go is just as important or perhaps more so for these businesspeople. Ways in which you may want to capture information include:
• Taking photos – Making sending an image to your file system a single-step process is a timesaver. When the information technology tool you choose allows you to do that, perhaps through an in-app camera choice, you can grab images on the go and have them in your file system quickly. For the real estate agent, or others who may take photos of signs or other things with text in them, a solution that offers text recognition and conversion is a plus. For instance, perhaps a construction worker would want to take photos of portions of building plans.
• Capture audio – If you often take audio notes, perhaps you have been using a digital voice recorder. However, that requires other processing if you want those audio notes in your computer later. If you can use your smartphone to take an audio note directly into your information technology solution, you have saved time and steps. If an option is offered to convert audio to text, you may find that of value as well.
• Drawings or sketches – If your business would benefit from your ability to make drawings on the go, maybe on a tablet, sending a drawing to your file system may be of value.
A busy business owner can become much more efficient and save more valuable information with the proper mobile resource for your needs.
Email as a Information Technology Capture and Retrieval Tool
Sure, whatever email system you use will allow you to go back and search for emails. Some of the search features are more robust than others, but they are part of almost every email system. However, with the huge amount of email that you probably process each business day, there are usually only a few that rise to the point of being important for special filing and retrieval later. Sometimes it would be a reminder to act on the content of the email.
An effective information technology tool would allow you to forward an email into your system and use keywords or tagging to properly file it for fast retrieval later. How many times have you received an email and made a mental note to go back to it later for action? The ability to send it to a system where it would reside in an Action file or folder would be of value.
Today’s business world is a busy one, and information has value. Check out information technology tools for one that will meet your needs for information storage and retrieval.