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October 27th, 2015

Section 170 DeductionSection 179 Can Augment Your Buying Power On Technology Investments!
But You Have To Act FAST…

Please forgive the headline if it seems a bit “sensational,” but I really needed a way to get your attention about a perfectly legal way to save quite a bit of money on taxes while updating outdated computer equipment that is going to quickly pass you by if you don’t act soon.

Thanks to the recently updated tax deduction titled “Section 179 election” (see www.section179.org for details), the Federal Government allows you to buy up to $25,000 in machinery, computers, software, office furniture, vehicles or other tangible goods and take the full expense deduction in the current year, thereby REDUCING your taxable income on your current year’s tax return which, depending on your effective tax bracket, could save you up to $10,500.00.

Additionally, since it covers new and used equipment or software, you can get the equipment you need now, take the full tax benefit now, and spread your expense over a multi-year financing term, thus significantly reducing your true cost of ownership.

Consider this example for equipment costing $50,000.00:

2014 section 179 tax deduction write off

Here are links to help you determine if your intended purchase would qualify for Section 179.

Qualifying Property

Nonqualifying Property

Section 179 presents a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to make investments that will be to their benefit for years to come.

As with all tax matters, make sure you contact your tax professional to ensure your business can benefit from this tax deduction. Most businesses can, but you should make sure you know for certain now so you can begin preparing to take advantage of it before its too late.

To learn more about Section 179 and how you can use it to augment your business’s buying power, contact us at (623) 444-2395 or by sending an email to ask@aztechworks.com.


October 23rd, 2015

Windows_Aug26_BHey Cortana! Saying this phrase to your Windows 10-installed laptop or PC will bring up your very own digital voice assistant. While you might not think much of it, utilizing Cortana can help you save valuable time and energy. Whether you’re looking for a specific file or wanting to send an e-mail, Cortana can assist you. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick guide to help get you going.

If you are using Windows 10, it’s likely you have come across Cortana at least once or twice. While you might fear that the effort involved in setting up the feature isn’t worth the time you will save once Cortana is up and running, you would be mistaken. Configuring her is quite simple and she is more helpful than you might realize.


For starters, you will want to have your microphone turned on if you plan on using voice commands, and all the privacy and locations settings enabled. Cortana will not work if these have not been activated. From there, she will give you a brief overview of her capabilities and ask you a few questions to get to know you better.

Once that is completed, you are going to want to spend a few minutes testing her out and seeing what she can do for you. This awkward, getting-to-know-you stage might seem like a waste of time but, once you have a good feel for Cortana, you’ll be more inclined to use her in the future.

Maximize Cortana

Now that Cortana is ready to assist you, it’s important to utilize her as a personal assistant. Here are a few areas she can really come in handy:

Find that document – Ever saved a document somewhere to later forget where it was stored? Simply ask Cortana to look for it by saying, “Hey Cortana, find (file name),” and she will bring it up for you. Let’s say you are looking for Word documents located in multiple folders on your computer; all you have to say is, “Hey Cortana, find my Word documents,” to have her pull up all your Word files.

Easily start tasks – Football season is nearly upon us and that means fantasy football season is here. Utilizing Cortana could give you the extra edge needed to win your league this year. If you want to check on Tony Romo’s status, say, “search for Tony Romo injury,” and the search results will pop up for you. Want to make a sneaky trade offer to John before your rivals? Say “email John Fantasy Football,” and a window with his e-mail address will pop-up. Of course, these features are universal and you don’t have to like or even know what fantasy football is to use them.

Answer your questions – One of the coolest features about Cortana is the fact that when you ask her a question she will not only show you the answer, but speak it as well. Want to know what the weather is like in Denver? Just say, “Hey Cortana, what’s the weather in Denver,” and she’ll give you the lowdown on it. Need to know when your next meeting is taking place? Ask Cortana and she’ll reply with the answer. This is especially nice when you’re in your office but away from the computer.

Talking to Cortana is nice, but speaking with a person about your IT is better. Contact us today for all your technology needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
October 22nd, 2015

BusinessValue_Jun16_CAs a small or medium-sized business owner, breaking into the market and trying to encourage people to buy your products or services can be a daunting task, because you’ll have to compete with all the big names out there. That’s where online marketing comes in. If implemented properly, you will be able to cost-effectively attract new customers. But if you jump in without a plan, you may end up losing more money than you bargained for. Here are some effective marketing tips to ensure your advertising campaigns are a total success.

Prioritize blogging

Blogging is an excellent marketing tool for businesses. Unfortunately most companies don’t spend much time or effort developing their blogs, which is a huge mistake. To get the most out of your blog, you will need to write quality content that adds value for your website visitors. The benefits of having a blog increase tenfold if you publish regularly, since potential customers will see you as an expert in your field, and are more likely to purchase what you have to offer.

Advertise in the right places

There are a number of online advertising channels out there, among them Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and Youtube Ads. The question is whether you know which one is the right fit for your business. You need to spend your marketing budget on the right advertising method to gain the highest return on investment. Do some research about your potential customers and determine who they are, and what they read, watch and listen to. This way you can pinpoint the best advertising platform to ensure that you reach your target market.

Start using videos

Videos offer an excellent way to market your business. Studies show that customers are more likely to buy if they see a video about your product or service on your landing pages, so make sure you include one if you can. Be creative when you’re making videos to promote your business; you could start building an online reputation by creating instructional videos that help your potential customers solve common problems. Commenting on videos relevant to your niche is also an effective way to increase your brand visibility.

Be active on social media

Prudent businesses are aware of the importance of establishing a social media presence through the main social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But simply posting articles or links is not going to offer many marketing benefits for your business. You’ll need to go the extra mile to maximize the benefits of social media. Some tips include taking the time to respond to your followers’ comments, keeping your profile updated and fresh with new information, and following and sharing content from other users.

Make sure your website is responsive

More and more of us are using mobile devices to browse the Internet and look for local products and services. Make the effort to ensure your website is mobile-friendly and automatically scales to fit all screen sizes, so that it is accessible and functional for mobile users. Major search engines now penalize non-responsive websites by lowering their search rankings when viewed on mobile devices, so you’ll need to adapt accordingly to avoid their wrath.

Contact us today and learn how our IT services can help you gain more customers and add value to your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
October 21st, 2015

As technology continues to evolve in the healthcare industry, new developments are being made to improve the quality of delivering patient care. Breakthroughs in treatments, communication systems, and information gathering have provided healthcare practitioners with new tools to better serve patients. With that said, here are some of the biggest impacts technology has made in healthcare.

Enhanced information access

There’s no doubt that more and more people are using the Internet to research their medical issues. The introduction of Internet has allowed countless people to look up symptoms, exploring treatments and medicines on the web. Now that’s not to say that paying a visit to a doctor is a bad idea. But browsing for information online has enabled patients to understand what kind of symptoms they’re having, and allowed them to make better decisions about what to do next.

Better treatments and less suffering

Technology has also brought about new and innovative machines, medicines, and treatments that have the potential to save lives and improve the chance of recovery for billions. Not only can sophisticated technologies help patients heal and recover directly, they have also assisted researchers to make healthcare even more effective.

Take surgery for example. The invention of new medical tools and treatments, such as anesthetics, has enabled doctors to perform operations that were not possible before. They can undertake surgeries slowly and carefully, without worrying that their patients might feel pain or have their body give up altogether.

Improved patient care and staff efficiency

Electronic medical records have made patient care safer and more reliable than ever before. Physicians and nurses use portable devices to store patients’ medical records and check that they are administering the correct treatment. What’s more, results of lab tests, medicine orders, and patient information are all electronically stored in the main database, allowing for future reference.

Healthcare staff also benefit from technology – they have instant access to thousands of case studies, medical textbooks, and detailed patient history. Technology has also created telemedicine, a practice that enables doctors to consult with professionals from all over the world to diagnose, treat, and research conditions more effectively.

Major search engines are now capable of predicting medical trends such as epidemics and flu outbreaks, based on the health information that users search for. Although not everyone who searches for “flu” is actually sick, these search queries tend to be popular when flu season is happening. The queries are added together to estimate how much flu is circulating in countries around the world. Medical experts are able to apply this information to take preventative measures and respond to outbreaks quickly.

Technology is paving the way for patients to live healthier lives. If you’re looking for efficient technology solutions to propel your healthcare business forward, don’t hesitate to contact our experts today – we have the perfect tools for all your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
October 20th, 2015

BusinessContinuity_Aug10_CBusiness continuity planning (BCP) is critical to all companies regardless of size. If disaster were to strike, an effective BCP would protect your valuable data and prevent your company from falling on its knees. Yet the implementation of a BCP presents challenges in itself. You need to address the following issues to ensure that your organization is on the right track to build and maintain a successful business continuity plan.

Challenge #1: Prohibitive costs

Business continuity planning has become exponentially expensive as availability requirements increase. Many solutions require substantial investments on the installation and maintenance of additional hardware, software, and data center infrastructure. These requirements drive up the cost of business continuity, and many company owners are reluctant to invest in protective measures.

The solution
Instead of relying on costly physical servers to accommodate your backups, consider using efficient and affordable cloud computing solutions. You can transfer your important business files to the cloud and eliminate the expense of having to install and manage hardware infrastructure and software licenses.

Challenge #2: High complexity

Traditional business continuity planning is complex to implement, manage and execute. From managing the recovery infrastructure to updating disaster recovery documentation and testing the BCP to find and close potential loopholes, the prospect of embarking on a BCP project can be daunting, and the whole experience can prove time consuming. Combine with the pressure of your ordinary day-to-day duties, it can seem almost impossible to focus your attention on initiating a BCP.

The solution
With all this in mind, it makes more sense to hire a professional IT service provider to plan, implement, and execute your business continuity plan. This way you can leverage their experience and expertise to ensure that, in the event of a disaster, your company will be able to get back on its feet and resume business operations as quickly as possible.

Challenge #3: Lack of staff involvement

There are so many requirements to be considered in a business continuity plan. And the more employees your organization has, the more difficult it is to relay the essence of the plan for everyone to understand. Staff involvement isn’t an option – it’s an absolute necessity if you wish for a successful BCP implementation!

The solution
Depending on the size of your organization, you can either hold a company meeting to announce the essentials of your BCP, or schedule a meeting with key staff members who take an active role in the planning process. To create a long-lasting BCP program, you need to get everyone on the same page by emphasizing the importance of the plan in an easy-to-understand way.

Business continuity planning is one of the most important things you need to have in place. You never know when, or in what form, a disaster will strike – all the more reason to take a preventative approach to securing your company and all you’ve worked for.

Need a reliable partner to take care of all your business continuity planning needs? Get in touch with us today – we have exactly what you need to prepare and protect your company.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
October 19th, 2015

Browsers_Aug20_CYou might be among the growing core of users who primarily surf the web with Google’s Chrome browser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally have cause to use one of its competitors. Whether that’s Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer, and whether you do so out of necessity (because your device doesn’t have Chrome installed) or simply because you prefer the browsing experience, you still want to have access to your usual Chrome bookmarks. This tip shows you how to access your Chrome bookmarks from anywhere.

Whereas in the past it was possible to sync bookmarks saved in Chrome to your Google Docs account, this ceased with the transition from Google Docs to Google Drive. You can still save your bookmarks, but they are now only accessible on other devices if you use Chrome there too. Go online with Firefox or one of the other alternatives and you’ll be left without the easy bookmark access you rely on. The alternative is to use the Bookmarks Anywhere browser extension, which syncs your Chrome bookmarks to your other browsers and updates them live as you add to the list. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Within Chrome on the device that contains the bookmarks you want to sync, download the Bookmarks Anywhere extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Once the extension has been added, a popup will appear. If you’re not already logged in, sign in to the Google account you use in Chrome; you’ll then need to grant Bookmarks Anywhere the browser permissions it requires.
  3. Your Chrome bookmarks will now be synced to the Bookmarks Anywhere site. To access them from non-Chrome browsers on your other devices, just sign in to www.bookmarksany.com using your Google account and a list of your bookmarks will appear. You can also manually add new bookmarks from this page, though these don’t appear to sync back to your Chrome bookmarks menu.

If you want to discover other simple ways to boost your productivity through better use of IT, give us a call and we’ll show you how. 623-444-2395 or ash@aztechworks.com

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic browsers
October 16th, 2015

164_SM_CIf you’ve been in the online marketing game for some time now, you likely know the value of an email list. It can be the difference between a prosperous business and one that doesn’t go anywhere. What you may not know, however, is that social media can be an instrumental tool in the growth of your list. Here’s how you can use it to gain more subscribers.

Post and share your emails publicly

If you create great content for your email list and no one sees it except your subscribers, how are your non-subscribers going to know what they’re missing out on? They won’t, which is exactly why you should give your social media fans and followers a taste of the valuable content that awaits them after sign up.

Now let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean you should share every single email you send out to your list. If you did, there would be less of a need to subscribe. Instead, try sharing or posting an email once every few weeks or once a month.

Make it easy to sign up

Let’s face it. Many of us will take the easier, simpler path whenever possible. This is just as true in marketing as it is in other more primal aspects of human nature. Take eating, for example: if you’re short on time and have a choice between two restaurants for lunch, and one delivers and the other doesn’t, which one are you going to take? Likely the delivery. Even if you prefer the one that doesn’t deliver slightly better, you’d probably still take the delivery for the simple fact that they’ve made it easier for you.

In the online marketing world, the same concept works for gaining subscribers. This is why you need to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up after they’ve read your publicly shared email. To do this, simply add a sign-up link to the emails you share.

Create valuable content

You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king”. However, whoever came up with this catchphrase left out a very important keyword. It should instead read “valuable content is king.” If you’re shelling out dozens of blog posts, emails, podcasts or videos a month but the content is useless to the reader, you’re not going to make any traction with your email list.

When trying to gain subscribers, always ask yourself, “what’s in it for them if they sign up?” If you simply have a signup box on your website or social media page, but no valuable content to go along with it, why would someone sign up? Would you sign up? The point is that there needs to be a reason for someone to subscribe to your email list. And valuable content is a very good reason.

Lastly, don’t forget to demonstrate why it’s more valuable for your future audience to subscribe rather than simply follow you on social media. To do this, give them an incentive to sign up. This could be in the form of an exclusive offer or a free ebook, course, report, or something similar.

Want more tips on leveraging social media to grow your business? Send us a message today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Social Media
October 15th, 2015

HealthcareGeneral_Aug7_AThe healthcare industry is undertaking a transition from paper-based to paperless medical records, resulting in an expansion of electronic medical records (EMR) market worldwide. According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research (TMR), a global market intelligence company, the trend for virtualization in the healthcare industry will continue to rise until 2020.

The rising trend of EMR

EMR is a digital version of a wide range of health-related information, such as patients’ medical history, medications, laboratory test results, and diagnostic images. The system grants physicians and staff access to this data from virtually anywhere, allowing them to collaborate and work more efficiently, as well as being able to provide better patient care.

The adoption of EMR systems is increasing across healthcare facilities worldwide. In the past, EMR remained more prevalent among medium to large-sized hospitals than smaller ones, primarily because of budget differences. However, with the development of modern EMR systems, even smaller medical institutions are now able to benefit from the latest healthcare technology, and the market for EMR systems is expected to grow at a significant rate.

Causes for EMR growth

Some of the major factors contributing to the growth of the market are the significant advantages of EMR systems and financial incentives from governments. The benefits of implementing an EMR system include more accurate and up-to-date patient information, reduced operational costs in the long term, reduced medical errors from poor handwriting and coordination, quick access to patient data, increased patient participation, and the improved efficiency of healthcare providers. These advantages encourage healthcare providers to switch from traditional paper-based systems to a more advanced EMR system.

Another cause for EMR market growth is the financial incentive programs initiated by governments of various countries. For instance, the U.S. federal government allocated $27 billion in an attempt to encourage EMR adoption across the nation. As a result of this incentive program, more and more healthcare providers are implementing EMR, and the numbers are on the rise.

EMR market segmentation

According to TMR, about 42 percent of the total EMR market was held by North America in 2013. The second largest market was Europe, followed by Asia Pacific. These rankings are unlikely to change within the next few years, but the EMR market is seeing a steady growth in some Asian countries.

EMR is here to stay, and it’s important that healthcare organizations implement it properly. Get in touch with one of our experts today and learn more about how EMR can benefit your healthcare practice.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
October 14th, 2015

MobileGeneral_Aug04_CAlmost behind us are the days when you had to adapt your language to suit the limited capabilities of your computer – like searching online for “current time Dubai” and not simply “what time is it now in Dubai?” But developments in this area haven’t come to a stop yet; if anything, the pace is picking up. The use of Natural Language Processing (NLP), just one element of artificial intelligence, is becoming ever more widespread. Here are the facts.

There’s more to Natural Language Processing than voice recognition

Voice recognition might be among the most well-known practical uses of NLP in the technology we encounter in everyday life – but that likely has more to do with the popularity of the services that employ it, like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, than the merits of voice recognition in comparison to other NLP functions that tend to stay out of the limelight.

Truth be told, there’s a whole lot more to artificial intelligence than NLP. In fact, NLP is more effective in analyzing text data than it is sounds, which is precisely why digital assistant apps first use voice recognition to turn your commands into text data, and then use other NLP capabilities to search online for related information.

Natural Language Processing has already moved beyond its infancy

It’s tempting to believe that elements of artificial intelligence like NLP are still in the realm of the sci-fi movies, and that they are a long way from being useful to the technology we use in our everyday personal and business lives. It’s tempting, but further from reality than you might realize. That said, it’s true that to date there has been no commercial use of NLP that has truly exploited its full capabilities; even its deployment in a recently launched project to automate customer service only really scratches the surface.

What is clear is the shape that future uses of NLP will need to take. We already know that NLP alone doesn’t always judge context well, since it needs to learn about its environment first – without turning to other sources, for example, one app employing NLP would struggle to differentiate between providing traffic information and diagnosing a health complaint. The key, at least for now, is to restrict the scope in which NLP operates – by limiting its use to a travel app, for instance, NLP could learn about the various travel arrangements you make and then devise itineraries for you.

It works with more than just large-scale data

While it’s undeniable that NLP can be put to great use in analyzing vast swathes of aggregated information, for example taking masses of social media data and being able to assess the feelings of users towards the subject in question, that’s not the limit of its capabilities. Contrary to popular belief, NLP can also be used to interpret much smaller-scale data in real time. This is where its true value comes into play in terms of being able to take natural-language user input, in an app setting for example, and make decisions that add value to our mobile experience.

Whether for automated customer service or comprehensive sales applications, it’s clear that Natural Language Processing – and other aspects of artificial intelligence – hold the potential to be of value-adding benefit to the business world in the near future. It’s an area that’s very much still in development – and so even more exciting, and important to watch – but now is the time to discover how best to implement NLP technologies into your company. By getting ahead now, you can offer a customer experience that truly sets you apart from the competition. To find out how we can help you achieve just that, and at the same time maximize the value you drive from mobile technologies more generally, give us a call at 623-444-2395 or email us at ask@aztechworks.com

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
October 14th, 2015

BusinessContinuity_Jun25_CBusinesses today are relying on data to run their day-to-day operations. We use it to build client relationships, generate sales reports, develop marketing strategies, and so much more. But if something were to happen to it, a devastating disaster for example, you could risk losing your whole business if you haven’t properly backed up. With that in mind you should take necessary precautions to protect your data in the event of a crisis. Let’s take a look at some devices you can use to keep your information out of harm’s way.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to data backups. You’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each of the backup devices below before making a purchase.

USB stick

USB flash drives are basically miniature hard drives that you connect to your computer using a USB port. The drives are extremely cheap, with prices depending on their capacity. They’re also portable, and can be used to backup information from several computers to the same drive.

Although USB sticks are highly convenient, they’re still not a complete backup solution, and are best suited for intermediate backups, such as storing file recovery programs or temporary storage of critical business documents. It is not recommended that you depend on this as your company backup.

External hard drive

An external hard drive is perfect when used as backup storage media. It has the lowest cost per gigabyte when compared to the other backup devices out there. External hard drives use the same plug-and-play functionality as USB sticks, so you can plug the drive into your computer and immediately start selecting the files you want to backup. The transfer rate is also very fast, and you can backup a large amount of data within seconds.

One of the evident drawbacks of using an external hard drive is that you’ll need to update your backups on a regular basis, or else new files won’t be included. There’s also the risk of the device being stolen or misused. For instance, a colleague may take your drive when you’re away from your desk, or a disgruntled employee may copy all of your important business files and take it with them when quitting. We’ve had instances of cars that were stolen or broken into and the hard drives were lost with tons of valuable corporate data on them. Not to mention the damaging stress of taking drives in and out of the office in our hot Phoenix climate.

Network attached storage

Network attached storage, or NAS for short, is a dedicated device with its own IP address.  Usually they have more than one hard drive in them. It can be used as a multimedia server, and can function as an email or lightweight database server. NAS offers data redundancy, meaning if one of its drives fail (depending on how the drives were configured), the data is still good.

The main downside of NAS is its inability to scale beyond the limits of the system; you have to purchase additional hard drive bays when you need more capacity. You also have to take full responsibility for data security if you’re implementing NAS.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is becoming more and more popular among businesses of all sizes, due to its many benefits such as allowing users to access data anywhere such as smartphone devices, tablets, and laptop computers, as well as enabling you to work with the most current hardware and up-to-date software. It is also affordable, since you’ll only have to pay for what you use. What’s more, cloud computing is very convenient, because your service provider will take care of the installation, management, and maintenance processes.

On the downside, some cloud service providers don’t employ sufficient security measures on their systems, so your data could be exposed to potential cybersecurity threats. This means that it is not always the ideal solution for companies dealing with very sensitive data – medical practices and law firms, for example. Predicting costs can also be hard; if your business is growing rapidly, then you might find you have not adequately planned for incremental costs.

Choosing the best system for backup is a critical decision that will impact your business on a daily basis. There are trade-offs among backup devices, which is why you need to choose the solution – or solutions – best suited to your business. Contact us today and our experts will assess your company’s needs and provide the best backup solutions for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.