• Automating important but tedious IT chores

    We don’t just do help desk, projects and maintenance. A significant part of our work is administration:

    • Setting up new starters
    • Processing leavers
    • Changing job titles, names and phone numbers,

    There are often multiple systems on which to make these changes: PCs, Servers, Printers, Cloud services etc. It can take hours!

    We do these tedious but important tasks for our customers, and because they’re tedious and susceptible to human error we optimize them and automate them!

    For an accountant

    Before we got involved, a staff member was taking over an hour to set up each new starter. We got the process down to 5 minutes.

    For a school

    We automated the annual class intake process. Creating the new student accounts, year group transitions, class memberships and archiving the leavers.

    Other areas we have improved with automation

    • Email signatures
    • Changing properties on mass - such as brand names etc
    • Pushing out wifi credentials
    • Adding key websites to web browser favourites
    • Mapped drives
    • Deploying software
    • Deploying new hardware

    Spending too much time on tedious but important IT chores, or avoiding them altogether?

  • Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet?

    Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet or Skype

    Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet are three of the leading video conferencing solutions. But what is the difference, which one should you use and what about the others?

    Microsoft Teams

    Teams is the new communication and collaborative working tool that is part of the Office 365 family. It has instant chat, meetings, video calls, voice calls as well as screen and file sharing. They are adding new features all the time and there are already plugins to many Microsoft and third party services. It replaces Skype for business, which will be removed from the Microsoft offering soon (and had nothing to do with Skype).

    We are making effective use of teams whilst working from home to keep in contact with each other, have meetings and share information. It is a great tool for inter-business communications.

    But it is also good for communicating with contacts outside your business too. You can invite a non-team contact to an online meeting and they can join via a web link - without the need for teams to be installed or even a teams account.

    If your email system is on Office 365 chances are you already have teams and you should try it.


    Has rocketed in popularity during the the current lockdown (Even my children use it to keep in contact with their classmates) Currently, there is a basic free subscription and higher levels with more features, which are summarized here It is easy to use and some nice features. Such as break-out rooms so you can have a smaller, more private sub-meeting. There are add-ons to expand its functionality beyond just video conferencing.

    Google Meet

    Google meet is the video conferencing solution built into G suite. It has a host of teleconferencing features and it integrates with the rest of the google family of products. You can display any google docs and collaborative work on them in the meeting. You can schedule meetings and invite others who do not have a google account to join.

    If your email is on the g-suite platform this is definitely one to try.

    What about the others?

    Google hangouts

    You can use this with a free gmail account, it is a cut down version of google meet (see above).


    Skype one of the largest communication platforms it allows you to communicate via voice, video or chat with other Skype users. It’s been around since 2003 is now owned by Microsoft, who merged their MSN messenger into the platform. Its features are aimed at consumers rather than business but there is a Skype meeting functionality where participants do not need a Skype account, but a lot of people have Skype accounts. It might be a good option if you primarily need business to consumer communications.

    Apple Facetime

    This is an apple-apple video calling tool - All participants have to have an Apple device, really a consumer tool - but could have business to consumer uses.

    Google Duo

    This is Google’s answer to Facetime (video calling tool) - All participants have to have Google accounts. It is really a consumer tool - but could have business to consumer uses.

    Which one to use?

    If none of the unique features have stood out to you and you are not sure where to start:

    If you already have Office 365 - try Microsoft Teams

    If you’re on the G suite platform - try Google Meet.

    If your email system is not on either - and want online meetings with lots of participants give zoom a try. (also contact us to discuss upgrading your email system!)

  • Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks

    We have put together 11 top tips and tricks we think everyone using Microsoft Teams will find useful.

    Tip 1 - Save important messages

    1. Locate the message you want to save
    2. Hover your mouse over the top right of the message
    3. Click on the three-dot icon
    4. Click Save this message

    To find a saved message

    1. Click on your profile icon in the top right corner
    2. Click Saved

    Tip 2 - Learn some simple commands in Teams

    1. Click in the search bar at the top of Teams
    2. Type the following character: /
    3. All the commands you can use will show

    For example /saved will take you to your saved items

    Tip 3 - Grab someone's attention in a post

    1. Type the following character: @
    2. Immediately start typing the person's name
    3. A list will appear, select the appropriate person

    You can also remove their surname by pressing backspace once

    Tip 4 - Add someone new to your team

    1. Go to the Teams section
    2. Right-click on the team you want to add someone to
    3. Click on Add Member
    4. Search for the user and select them
    5. Click the Add button

    Tip 5 - Make a high priority channel more visible

    1. Go to the Teams section
    2. Right-click on a channel name
    3. Click Pin

    The channel will then move to the top of all your teams

    Tip 6 - Find posts you have been mentioned in

    1. Go to the Activity section
    2. Click on the filter icon
    3. Click on the three-dot icon
    4. Click Mentions


    In the command bar in the top type the following: /mentions

    Tip 7 - Use a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm in a meeting

    Note: This only works in a meeting not a call
    1. When in the meeting click the share button
    2. Click on Microsoft whiteboard
    3. If this is the first time you have used it clickUse whiteboard in Teams instead

    The whiteboard will then load up for everyone to see and use

    Tip 8 - Start a group chat

    1. Click on the new chat icon, in the top left of teams
    2. In the To: bar, enter each person’s name
    3. Type a message in the bottom
    4. Press enter or click the send button

    Tip 9 - Add more functionality your channels

    1. Go to the channel you want to enhance
    2. Along the top, next to the other tabs, click the + button
    3. Select the app you want to add e.g. Planner

    Experiment with the available apps, you can add simple files like Word and Excel, link to YouTube videos, or integrate information from other cloud services.

    Tip 10 - Share your sound when sharing your screen

    Note: By default when you share your screen it does not share your sound

    1. Click the Share button
    2. Tick the include system audio box
    3. Select the screen you want to share

    If you forget to tick that before sharing your screen you can click this icon on the presenting bar along the top of your screen.

    Tip 11 - Add a virtual background to your video calls

    Note: This video effect requires a processor with Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) support so the option might not be available.

    1. In a video call click the three-dot icon
    2. Then click Show background effects
    3. Select the image you want
    4. Click Apply
  • Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks Part II

    We have put together 7 more top tips and tricks we think everyone using Microsoft Teams will find useful.

    Click here for the first 11 tips
  • Tales from our helpdesk: New client with system grinding issue

    We recently won a new client with a very serious issue. Every day, every hour on the hour for 15 minutes their whole system would come to a grinding halt. Employees couldn’t send emails, take calls or do their job! Basically, the employees were only able to work for 75% of the day. Their previous IT provider had given up trying to fix this issue.

    We ran extensive diagnostics and discovered their antivirus was causing their server to become non-responsive! Uninstalling the antivirus and re-installing the latest version rectified the issue allowing their employees to work 100% of the day.

    If you would like to talk to us about how we can help your business please get in touch.

  • The IT Productivity Paradox and how to fight it.


    "You see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics" - Robert Solow

    It doesn't make sense, does it? The fact that even though we live in the most advanced technological breakthrough in the history of mankind, we should see an exponential curve in productivity; but we don't. It has even been argued to be in decline. With the birth of global communication and easily accessed off-the-shelf technology and software that is designed to maximise efficiency, it's hard to believe that this is the case.

    But it is. Matt Richel, for the New York Times, writes, “statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused."

    He goes on to explain that the big Silicon Valley firms have a monster of their own creation wrecking havoc in the productivity statistics, with employees checking emails up to 77 times a day, with mundane tasks taking up large amounts of time e.g. group emails and attachments. According to Basex, the United States alone loses up to $650bn a year due to unnecessary tasks and delays that could potentially be remedied by more efficient IT systems being implemented.

    So what on earth is going on?

    The answer is actually remarkably simple and is known as The Productivity Paradox, which has taken countless victims over the years. It is the unusual observation that despite further investment in IT technology to improve productivity, worker efficiency has hardly budged. This is not an anomaly however; the same technology 'paradox' has been seen before in the early 20th century.

    Put yourself back to 1881. You work in a dark, humid and hot factory powered by a steam engine. The sound of mechanical machinery is deafening. Labour turnover is at an all time high due to dangerous working conditions and disease. Then, out of nowhere, Thomas Edison arrives to save the day with his brand new electrical motor! You would of thought businesses would of jumped straight onto it, no?


    By 1900, less than 5% of factories used electrical power and instead opted for the traditional method. It took until the 1920s, over 40 years, for 50% of factories to use electrical technology. From this, we can see that despite new and exciting technology that could revolutionise the way we think and work, we still hesitate to use it - and for quite some time.

    Why? Because change is difficult and stagnation is easy.

    We as humans are hardwired to resist and fight change. And so, with such a radical change needed to push through required electrical motor legislation (or in this case, computer technology) and despite us knowing the immediate and long term benefits of adopting a 'new way' to do things, it's still uncomfortable for us because it will completely upend the way we think - which is understandable to an extent.

    But in truth, we all need to get over ourselves and take the initiative. We live in a world of easily accessed software that is a click away. Think of it this way - you have a document you need to distribute and get multiple colleagues to append. Would your business send it on Google Documents, with live editing powered by the cloud and automatic saving? Or would your business use the same method that has been around since the 1990's, requiring all users to send you a separate document and for you to compile it all together manually? 

    Now ask yourself - which of these solutions is the steam engine and which is the electrical motor?

    If your business is using the steam engine, telanova is at hand to help you join the IT Revolution. 

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