Information Technology

Technology is constantly changing, so how can you be sure your systems are up-to-date?  We can help you learn how to manage and use the technological tools you need to operate efficiently.  You'll also find easy and affordable ways to outsource your information technology needs, ensuring the security and optimal effectiveness of your systems.  Because let's face it ... unless you are in the IT business, you probably need some help.

Cyber Security Resources

cyber threatsThe threat of a cyber attack on your small business is very real.

SBAM has put together a variety of resources to help you become informed. Click here for details.


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With the proper technology and implementation team, your company can realize dramatic productivity and profitability gains. NuWave Technology Partners' unique approach provides clients with a single point-of-contact for all their telephone and data needs, and covers the spectrum from servicing existing phone systems to complete new installations.

Related News

Yes, Social Media is even for you, and you and you!

Social media marketing is growing in popularity and is being used by companies small and large. Through the networks for social media marketing, people share information, share opinions, tell people what they think about products, share their positive and negative experiences with brands or products and services that they’ve bought, and even influence buying decisions of their buddies who are on these networks. That’s why social networks have become a powerful tool for companies of all sizes to listen to, learn, and understand what their target audience may be saying about them or their products and services.

Social media marketing is fun. Social media marketing is addictive. And Social media marketing is labor intensive. Social media marketing is a huge opportunity for small business owners because it helps level the playing field. Small business owners can reach global audiences and extend their reach just as if they were a larger company because they can leverage the Internet to do so.

Impact of Social Media on Our Daily Lives
Our daily lingo has changed to include cryptic phrases like “tweet me,” “hit me up online,” and “skype me.” If you haven’t succumbed to this cryptic phraseology, Congratulations! But then again, don’t get too happy, you’re going to start talking in the same weird lingo very, very soon!

As if the weird lingo (including short forms such as LOL, ROFL, BTW, L8TR, etc.) isn’t enough of a shock to deal with, almost on a daily basis our emails are bombarded with invitations to join this social network or that. Yes, I know right! There’s barely enough time in the day to do our work, never mind join yet another network!

The Business Owner Dilemma
To go online or not? To engage on social media platforms or not? How to find the time? How to determine how much time to spend online? Who to assign to do the online marketing? Hire an outsider or give it to the admin to do it as part of her job? Do it themselves or hire an intern? How to calculate ROI (return on investment) of their online investment? And so on and on and on…you get the point!

Social Media is Just Another Channel
As a business owner, you must look at Internet Marketing as “yet another channel and the MOST cost-effective channel” to promote your business.

If we could all afford to place an ad on a billboard that is on the most popular highway in town, we’d all do it, right? Similarly if as business owners we could afford radio and television advertisement, we’d all do it in a jiffy. But those media are all expensive and not really cost-effective for most of us.

This is where people are flocking to search, recommend, discuss, and influence buying decisions. So why shouldn’t you be there?

Social Media for Lead Generation
You go to networking events to meet people in person to help showcase your business. The more you meet them the more you learn about them and their business. Over a period of time, this becomes your trusted network for leads and new business opportunities.
Similarly, social media websites allow business owners to conduct networking except it is online so it provides ease of use and allows you to reach a wider audience. The purpose however remains the same as face to face networking: build relation-ships with others, create a trusted network, find new referral sources, and influence buying decisions.

Traditional Marketing Versus New Media
Internet marketing doesn’t replace the need for traditional marketing activities that still do work. There are traditional marketing methods that do work such as email marketing (Yes, I call it traditional), radio, television, and yes even billboards and direct mail. These traditional marketing methods can complement your social media activity or vice versa.

The “Smart” (Phone) Money Is on Apps to Win & Tablets to Show!

(By John Westra is Director, NuWave Government Solutions. From the Small Business Association of Michigan’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.)

Why are (apps) running on iPhones, iPads and Android powered Phones & Tablets fast becoming an indispensible part of every “Smart” Small Business Toolkit?

In the past 24 months, we’ve witnessed an explosive growth in the use of “Smart Phones.” In 2007 an In-Stat study, commissioned by CIO magazine, estimated “The number of smart phones in use throughout the world will increase by an average of 33 percent each year through 2012.” A report released this November by Canalys, a company that tracks technology market data, reveals 3rd quarter 2010 smart phone sales “grew by 95 percent, compared with the same period last year, with total sales for the quarter reaching 81 million devices!”

The key factor driving this incredible growth in smart phones is Mobile Applications (Apps). People have fallen in love with the incredible variety of personal and business applications at their fingertips. These mobile apps keep them constantly connected to their friends, business associates and an ever-expanding wealth of information in the Internet Cloud. People also love the touch-oriented user interface of mobile applications that allows them to quickly touch, flip, drag and click their way to the information they want.

These mobile applications are so popular; they are also driving record sales of a whole new class of mobile device, the “Tablet Computer.” Tablet computers like the iPad and Android-powered Samsung Galaxy are listed as the most frequently asked for technology item for Christmas 2010. They are so popular, they are expected to outsell netbooks, the smaller less powerful cousins of laptops and the darling of Christmas 2009, by a ratio of 2:1!
Tablet computers and apps offer the same type of “instant-on,” touch-based user interface as smart phones, with the advantage of increased screen real-estate and more peripheral options. These peripheral options, which are also available for some smart phones, include wireless keyboards, mice, external storage and docking stations that offer a quick connection to larger displays, wired network connections, printers, etc.

Between their use on smart phones and tablets, the number of apps being downloaded is staggering. Earlier this year, Steve Jobs of Apple was quoted as saying: “Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months – this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.” The market for Android applications is no different, with the main Android app Market reporting over 100,000 applications available for download as of October 2010, and tens of thousands downloaded each day.

Although iPhones and Androidbased (Droid) phones are the fasted growing mobile application platforms, Rim (BlackBerry) still has the largest installed base of legacy smart phones. Their latest Torch (smart phone) and PlayBook (tablet) offerings are the first BlackBerry devices to include a touch-style application interface. Nokia, another once dominant smart phone vendor, uses the Symbian touch-style interface on their latest phones. Microsoft has just introduced their Windows Phone 7 series that sports a unique style of touch interface that may or may not appear on future tablet devices. Unless there is some type of divine intervention, the pioneering Palm (HP WebOS) smartphone platform is dead (R.I.P.).

So what does this mad rush towards mobile applications have to do with Small Business? Mobile applications give you and your team the ability to be productive and stay connected to each other, clients/customers and prospects 24/7/365, limited only by increasingly ubiquitous carrier and WiFi access. Mobile applications are also transforming the way people connect with advertisers in a way the traditional media channels of Print, Radio, TV an

QR Codes

By John Westra, Director, NuWave Government Solutions. From the Small Business Association of Michigan’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.


You’ve probably noticed codes like the one shown here. They are popping up on in-store displays, print media and even Real Estate signs. They are called QR Codes and are a type of 2D scan code/tag. Next to the more familiar 1D barcode, QR codes are the most widely adopted form of scan code being used today. Microsoft has a competing and colorful 2D solution called Microsoft Tags, but very few content publishers have adopted it.


Besides linking to online web content, you can use QR codes for:
  • Contact information that will create a contact record on most phones
  • Email address that will open the smart phones email client and fill in the “To” address
  • Geographic (GIS) information that will allow people to quickly navigate to a destination
  • Almost any other free-form data you want people to have.

As the number of people using smart phones increases, you are going to see more of these QR codes being used. Like any other new technology, the greatest rewards will come to those who find a way to use it to add value, before their competitors!

Ready to get started? Connect to the Internet with your Smart Phone and point your mobile web browser to www.scanlife.com. The website will automatically detect if your phone is supported and you will be prompted to download the ScanLife software.

Cardiac emergencies can happen anywhere to anyone. Is your workplace prepared?

If someone collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest in your workplace today, would you know what to do? Would your employees know how to increase a co-worker’s chance of survival? With each minute of elapsed time before defibrillation, the chances of survival diminish by approximately 10 percent.

The fact is, employers are required by OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.151 to have a person or persons adequately trained to render first aid for worksites that are not in or near proximity to an infirmary, clinic, or hospital.

Thankfully, The Red Cross has an Alliance with OSHA signed in 2005 to work together to help employers train employees. The Red Cross is the leading provider of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training and services. For the cost of a laptop computer, a lifesaving AED could be installed at any facility. Businesses with AEDs and people trained to use them save lives when every second counts.

Customizable Training

The American Red Cross suggests that the first-aid program for a particular workplace be designed to reflect the known and anticipated risks of the specific work environment. Consultation with local emergency medical experts and providers of first-aid training is encouraged when developing a first-aid program. It’s also required that the program must comply with all applicable OSHA standards and regulations. In fact, OSHA requires certain employers to have CPR-trained rescuers on site.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a potential risk at all worksites, regardless of the type of work. Serious consideration should be given to establishing a workplace AED program. There are a few important factors to consider:
1. First-aid supplies must be available in adequate quantities and readily accessible.
2. First-aid training courses should include instruction in general and workplace hazard-specific knowledge and skills.
3. CPR training should incorporate AED training.
4. An AED should be available at the worksite.
5. First-aid training should be repeated periodically to maintain and update knowledge and skills.
6. Management commitment and worker involvement is vital in developing a strong workplace safety program.

You can schedule an authorized OSHA instructor to come to your workplace or hold the OSHA 10 or 30 course at your local chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross can customize the OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 courses to meet your occupational needs, while covering all the required topics. The OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 courses have mandatory topics that will be covered in addition to elective course topics as needed or requested by the employer.

Whether you need to train two employees or 1000 employees, the Red Cross can help by providing quality safety training when and where you need it. Flexible service delivery methods will help you meet OSHA Guidelines and prepare your employees to save lives. For more information contact your local American Red Cross Chapter, www.redcross.org/where.

The author, Alison Bono,  is the American Red Cross Mid-Michigan Chapter Regional Director of Communications and Marketing. She can be contacted at abono@midmichiganredcross.org.

How Social Media and GOV 2.0 are Revolutionizing Public/Private Sector Collaboration

By John Westra is Director, NuWave Government Solutions. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.

Ask any small business owner about their “relationship” with government and you are likely to get an earful. Listen to small business owners carefully and you will hear one key complaint repeated over and over: “government doesn’t pay attention to us or listen to our needs.”

In fact, if it were not for the well organized advocacy efforts of SBAM, the voices of Michigan’s small businesses would be a whisper in comparison to the deep pocketed lobbying efforts and slick PR and marketing campaigns of national and international corporations. The good news; the explosive growth of Social Media, coupled with a push for government to use the Internet to be more open, responsive and accountable (GOV 2.0) is leveling the playing field and revolutionizing Public/Private Sector collaboration!

Social Networking is a phrase that for many brings to mind an afternoon on the golf course or a cup of coffee at the local diner. But to the more than 142 million Social Media users of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and various blogs, it means spending “an average of six plus hours per month, connecting with and expanding their online community of “friends.”” (Nielsen, June 2010)

Social media can be defined as “The social interaction, creation and distribution of content, including text, photos, audio and video, via highly accessible Internet-based applications.”
The main catalyst for the adoption of social media by government is politics. After the press credited social media for helping President Obama win, the flood gates of social media adoption by politicians opened wide. Although not all of them “get it,” virtually all current and would-be elected officials now have a Facebook page, with many having a presence on all the major social media platforms.

Rick Snyder is a great example of someone who understands the power of social media. Rick, who admittedly bills himself as “One Tough Nerd,” has seen his Facebook following go from a few hundred to over 31,000 followers in a matter of months.

Rick Snyder was quoted as saying “Social media provides new and more effective ways for government to directly communicate with citizens and involve them with the day to day operations of the state, offering opportunities to have their voices and feedback heard…Effectively communicating with citizens is an essential aspect of customer service government.”

So how does this translate into a value proposition for small businesses? The answer to this question can be summed up in three words: Access, Engagement and Influence.
Access to the people we’ve elected to represent us is the holy grail of representative democracy. In years past, campaign communication was one way. Elected officials could simply dismantle their campaign centers and walk away, effectively putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their office doors. Social media has made that impossible. Politicians who walk away from their social media network(s) would face an instant negative backlash.
An ongoing commitment to maintaining their connections to citizens and stakeholders (small business), translates into a defacto “open door” policy that benefits everyone. This is the type of access that previously cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in lobbying to maintain.

Engagement is the “secret” ingredient for any effective communication and another reason why social media and Government 2.0 (GOV 2.0) applications are growing so rapidly. Before I talk about the importance of engagement, let’s first define what GOV 2.0 is.
“Government 2.0 or “e-government” is the philosophy of transparent, efficient and accountable governance, facilitated by the use of ubiquitous, easy to access and interactive Internet-enabled applications.”
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