Getting to know your System Settings

Getting to know your System Settings

All tools or systems you use have settings or configurations that you can modify to suit your specific needs. Some systems have very complex settings and others may only have one or two settings that you can modify. 

When getting started with a new system or testing out something new you are interested in using, be sure to take a look at the settings. Some settings or features may be turned off by default. If you never go into your settings you may not even realize the full potential of what your system can do.

Anytime I start working with a new system, the first thing I do is look at the settings. Often I first need to update my profile or change many settings to be relevant to my geographical location. Many systems default things like currency, time zones and date formats to US standards. A quick look at the settings may allow you to change how certain values are displayed.

Understanding your system’s settings is the key to feeling comfortable with using your system. Let’s take a look at some different types of settings, and how to play with them safely!

 

Types of Settings

 

 

Settings for your application can usually be categorized into the following areas:

#1: Account Settings

 Account settings are where you will usually find the account holder’s information. In most smaller organizations, that’s probably the same as the primary user of the system. Some other terms you may find used are Admin Profile, Company Settings or Billing Info. These settings will likely define elements such as the account name, a brand logo, billing details and renewal information.

Some of this information may only be accessible if the account owner is logged in. Other users may only see limited info on this page, or may not see it at all. If you created multiple accounts to keep your account info separate from your personal user account and you can’t find the account settings, you may be in the wrong account.

 

#2: Site Settings 

These may also be known as Global Configurations, Default Settings or may be included under the Account Settings. These settings usually define defaults and formatting for values used across the entire application and will affect all users. These settings would include things like I mentioned before: currency format, time zones and date formats.

Depending on the application you may find additional settings specific to the functionality or features available. For example, you may be able to define specific drop-down values to categorize records. This may also be where you can turn entire features on and off for all users.

Site Settings may also include the ability to customize design elements. Some systems allow you to add logos or images to specific areas, change the default font displayed, banner messages or change the background color to match your brand.

 

#3: User Settings

 When a tool or application is geared towards a team of users, each individual user may be able to further customize how they use the application. Some tools refer to this as User Profile or Personal Settings. Often users are able to upload a profile image, edit their name, add a profile description and contact information.

Some systems allow users to further have individual settings that will only apply to themselves when they are logged in with their personal user account. Often the Site Settings can be overridden so that users can specify their own settings. This is very useful for teams that are geographically dispersed and may need to have time zone or currency settings specific to their area.

 

#4: Other Settings

 Depending on the application you use, there may be other settings you can change as well. These can be displayed in a variety of different ways. For example, you may find ‘Event Settings’ if you are using an event planning app. The list is almost endless, so we won’t get into them here.

 

How to ‘play’ with your settings safely.

If you want to fool around and try out settings to see what they do there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

 

#1: Check the Help Guide

 Most apps nowadays have an easy-to-use help guide. Be sure to review it before getting too deep into changing your settings so that you have an understanding of what they will do. Often the help guides will give you warnings of common pitfalls to avoid, or if another setting needs to be modified in order to get the desired result.

 

#2: Save your old settings

 Not all applications save a history of your settings. And it’s rare you can restore a backup of your settings to a previous version like you can when you make changes to a Google Doc or Sheet. With a more advanced system, you may have an activity log of what was changed. But, there are ways to get around that. Before you make any major changes or try something new, take a screenshot of your settings. This will at least give you something to refer back to if you need to revert back to previous settings. Keep in mind that sometimes there are ‘sub-settings’ within a setting that you may also need to take a screenshot of as well.

 

 #3: Use test records in your system to validate

 If you’ve made changes to settings that affect workflow, or a process, it’s a good idea to set up a test record to see how those changes affect it. You don’t want to mistakenly apply a setting or downstream change to ‘real’ (or what we call in the biz ‘Production’) records. Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson and the entire Marvel case have been long-standing records in all the databases I’ve played around with.

 

#4: Use a test account

 If you are using a free version of a tool or application, you can also create an entire test account to play around with changes. This could act as your ‘test’ or ‘dummy’ environment where you won’t have to worry about messing anything up. Once you’re confident about your changes, you can update your settings to the same in your ‘Production’ account. (Those screenshots come in handy here too!). The trick will be to keep things in sync to truly replicate your environments. Most entrepreneurs and smaller businesses don’t usually need to go to this level.

 

#5: Reach out for help

Go beyond the help guide and reach out for help if you aren’t sure. Most applications have some level of support if you get stuck, aren’t sure about something or are looking to try something new. Start with the application’s support line, but if you aren’t getting the help you need, there are a few other things you can try. Reach out to your network on Social Media and use hashtags to represent the system (#GoogleWorkspace or #ZohoOne) and also include other relevant hashtags like #HELPME. Many experts in that specific application will keep an eye out for hashtags and may respond with some valuable advice.

 

You’re not alone!

Are you still worried about playing with your settings? I understand! It’s very common to fear the unknown. I try to help my clients take the fear out of systems. So, if you still are wary about playing with your settings, or need help understanding what your system can do for you, book a call with me and I’ll do my best to help you. Or, connect with me on LinkedIn and join me for Transformation Tuesdays where I’ll be answering questions live over lunch every other week!

 

Systems Don’t Need to Be Scary

Systems Don’t Need to Be Scary

One of the most common reason clients reach out to me is because they are scared to implement new tools and systems themselves.   We are always more comfortable doing the same things we are used to instead of trying something new and uncertain.  

The way most tools and systems are built these days, it’s a lot more difficult to mess things up than it used to be.  Early on in my career I worked with systems that had to be installed on your actual PC and upgrading them was scary.  There were often blocks of code that were referred to as a ‘black box’ because no one really knew how it worked and chances are if you fix one thing, something else would break.  

That is much less the case these days with many of the cloud-based tools we use.  Coding practices have changed and become much more robust and efficient.  In fact, systems and tools are coded to account for users trying to do things they shouldnt.  A simple example, is that you may not be able to add a duplicate record if it already exists somewhere.  Or you can’t submit a form or finish creating a record until certain fields are filled in.  Or, my favourite, you can’t delete a record without clicking two other buttons to make sure it’s what you really want to do.

So, don’t be afraid to play around with your systems and tools to see what they are really capable of.  You’d be surprised at what they can do for you if you take some time to get to know them.

#1: Create test records to play around with so you can see how data will flow throughout the system.

Before you start putting in your ‘real’ data, create some sample test records and go through some typical workflows of how you intend to use the system. It really helps if you have some of your processes and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) already documented so that you can follow along and make sure that you cover your most common scenarios.

#2: Don’t be afraid to play around with your settings.

When getting started with a new system, or testing out something new you are interested in using, be sure to take a look at the settings. Some settings or features may be turned off by default. If you never go into your settings you may not even realize the full potential of what your system can do.

#3: Use the Help and training guides provided

Help and training guides available for most software and apps are a good starting point when trying to get to know a new system, or figure out how to do something in something you may have been using for some time. You may find that some systems have guides that are not very user-friendly, and don’t provide much valuable information. That can often be the case when using free versions of some tools. On the other hand, some systems come with very comprehensive help and user guides and it can be overwhelming to find what you may need. Try to use the search features on the tool’s support site to find what you need.

#4: Google your specific problem to find a solution, ideally on YouTube

If you are getting stuck in step 3, then Google can be your friend! There are many videos and help guides that others have created to fill in the gaps. Some can be very specific to solve for a certain issue, and others may be very generic and not helpful. But if you take the time, you may be able to find what you are looking for.

#5: You are not alone.  Reach out to your community to look for help. 

If you still can’t find what you are looking for, reach out to your communities. Find a helpful online Facebook or LinkedIn Group and ask your question. Maybe someone else has had a similar issue and can help you out.

And if you are still stuck. Not to worry! You are not alone. Book a one-on-one training/consulting with me. We can customize your hour to meet your specific needs, or add time as needed. I can walk you through a test account of most systems, or we can use your own.

Grab a beverage of your choice, put aside an hour or two, get cozy and just have fun with it! Hopefully these steps will take away some of the fear you may have with working with systems or implementing a new one.

What Are the Benefits of a Digital Workplace, Anyways?

What Are the Benefits of a Digital Workplace, Anyways?

You’ve probably heard the term “digital workplace,” but what does it mean to you and your team? For those unfamiliar with the concept of a digital workplace, it’s basically an organization’s transition from using a physical workplace to using a combination of digital services. A digital workplace makes your business more efficient by letting you access all company information from one place. This also saves you time and money because there will be less paper and travel involved in your workday.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the benefits that your business can get from having a Digital Workplace. We’ll discuss how it might help you with your productivity and efficiency, as well as how you can use it to improve your team’s communication, and ultimately make your business more successful than ever before!

Time Savings

A digital workplace saves time in many ways. Your staff doesn’t have to spend time shuffling paperwork around and they can access the information they need quickly and easily. This means they are more productive and can get more done in less time.

Business continuity

Having a digital workplace enables your business to withstand problems better than ever before. If someone loses data on their computer, or if there’s a power outage at the office, all of your files will still be accessible online from anywhere at any time.

Information Accessibility

A digital workplace allows you to store important information in one central location where it is easily accessible by everyone on your team. This allows you to avoid miscommunication and mistakes caused by employees not having the correct information at their fingertips.

Reduced costs

Because of the increased productivity, you might not need as many employees in order to get the same amount of work done. This can reduce your overhead costs greatly and allow you to pass those savings on to your customers.

Increased security and compliance

Information stored electronically is much safer than data kept on paper, so if something happens to your office building or if someone leaves with a stack of papers, you don’t have to worry about all your sensitive information being compromised at once.

Collaboration

Faster collaboration and communication with clients, suppliers and partners. By using digital tools like email, calendars and document sharing, you can connect with everyone who needs to know what’s going on with your business in real-time rather than waiting for a pile of paperwork to get delivered.

Connects Everyone

Digital workplaces make it easier for employees to stay up-to-date on company news and information, including events and meetings. It also makes it easier for workers to connect with each other and share ideas while they’re working together or apart. You can also set up a digital workplace so that employees can share documents without emailing attachments back and forth. It’s easier for your business to operate when everyone is connected in one (virtual) place and can communicate with each other easily.

Flexibility

Employees can work from anywhere they have an internet connection and set their own hours. This allows them to work around other obligations such as child care or running errands.

Cost-Effective

The cost of having an office space can be a huge overhead for small businesses. By moving to a digital workplace, employees can save their employers money on rent and utilities.”

Conclusion

The benefits of a digital workplace are numerous. It allows your employees to work where they want to, when they want to, while also increasing productivity and efficiency. A digital workspace can act as a platform for collaboration among teams, thus building stronger relationships between colleagues who may not interact on a daily basis. Digital workplaces also help with retaining talent by allowing workers to work remotely and not feel tied down to an office location or commute.

One of the biggest challenges of implementing a digital workplace is finding the right technology that supports your business needs while also being user-friendly and cost-effective. To determine the best type of solution for your company, you must understand where you are with your current systems and processes, evaluate what it is you want to achieve from your digital workspace, know your budget and goals for the future, and then start a digital workplace assessment to determine the best final solution design.

Kids Learning Technology

Kids Learning Technology

This may not be relevant for all of you, but I need to take a moment to chat about how impressed I am with my ten and eleven year old girls and their ability to quickly grasp and adapt to new technology. The educational changes that came with this pandemic quickly forced them to become VERY tech savvy in order to succeed at online learning. Both agreed that they didn’t want to take the risk of being in a classroom during this time. While they deeply miss their friends, they have been adapting well to the changes.

I couldn’t even imagine the power of computing technology at their age. I’m impressed with their ability to pick up and quickly understand web based applications like Google Classroom. They both also completely self-taught themselves a few other apps so they could draw, animate and create You Tube videos. Then there are the games… both on the tablet and PS4.

Anyhow.. I’m getting carried away. The main reason for this post, is that when this all hit, and everyone had to move to online learning, I wanted to do my part to help parents in my community whose kids were younger and not so tech-savy. I put together the deck below to provide them with tips and tricks to help them navigate this brave new world of technology. If you find it useful, please let me know … and feel free to share it!

FREE SSL Certificates and why you need one

FREE SSL Certificates and why you need one

Have you ever visited a website and noticed that the site was not secure. Did you give that site any personal information, sign up for their newsletter or purchase a product? Probably not. Most of us by now, know to check in the address bar of the browser to make sure that little padlock is locked up tight and secure before we engage with new websites.

How secure do your customers feel when they visit your website? If you are a DIYer when it comes to your website and marketing, chances are it isn’t running secure. One way to quickly check is to type in your website address with https:// at the beginning. If your site is secure, you will connect. If you can only access your website using http:// then you need an SSL Certificate.

But good news! You can get an SSL Certificate for FREE from Let’sEncrpyt and use WP Encrypt to make it easy to install and maintain. Of course, you can also pay for one through your domain provider if you prefer. I bet you’re wondering what the difference is? Generally speaking, (as I’m not a full out cybersecurity expert), it comes down to maintenance and additional validation.

Ready to get your own free SSL Certificate? Check out WP Encrypt! Download the plugin and install it on your WordPress website. Follow the instructions.

FREE SSL Certificates provide basically the same security as paid SSL Certificates. The paid ones bring additional value in being valid for longer periods of time, and additional business (real-life) validation to give visitors extra reassurance that the website is owned by a real business. Paid certificates are usually required for larger, high transactional businesses or government agencies. Most small businesses that have some basic tech abilities can install and manage their own SSL Certificates for free. Using WP Encrypt makes it easier to maintain your free SSL Certificate.

DOES THE PHRASE ‘INSTALL IT ON YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE’ CAUSE YOU ANXIETY?
Then, I highly recommend paying the extra $40 for the lifetime PRO version. With the Free version, you need to be prepared to re-install the certificates every three months. With the PRO Version.. you just set it up once and you are done!

Disclosure, this is an Affiliate Link. I only endorse things I believe in and have seen provide value to my business or my clients. This is a great product and I do recommend it! I think the $40 it costs to save the time and hassle of remembering to update your certificate every three months pays for itself pretty quickly!

Are you still confused as to what an SSL Certificate is and why you need one? Check out this video that explains it better than I can!