Category Archives: News

How iSupportU Became a B Corp & Why It Matters (Really)

Since we started, iSupportU has evolved from providing basic computer repair services to individuals, to delivering full IT support and services to people and companies. Our approach has always been to focus on de-mystifying the information technology issues people face and operate in an environmentally aware and sustainable way. But, deep down, we knew there was even more that our business could do. And there was.

b corpiSupportU is proud to have become a Certified B Corporation, or B Corp. We are committed to being a for-profit business that is dedicated to social and environmental issues. Sure, the words “social” and “environmental” are how you may have heard many companies describe themselves. For us, it was critical that these words not only express who we already are, but we also wanted to invest and commit to making these traits formal aspects of our organization.

B Corp certification is granted by B Lab, a U.S.-based nonprofit that serves a global movement working to transition companies from being the best in the world to being the best for the world. The vision is grand, but the belief is practical.

By encouraging organizations voluntarily to examine their role in a larger community, businesses have the opportunity to ensure their operations align with their beliefs. iSupportU started with this premise from its inception, so we were delighted to discover that there was a certifiable process that both acknowledges our approach and gives us a way to integrate this officially into our organization.

The process of B Corp certification was rigorous and took many months to achieve. iSupportU was evaluated on a range of operational aspects from energy efficiency to environmental performance to social and legal accountability. Following a phone interview with company leadership, we submitted documentation supporting our efforts and policies. We took the opportunity also to reevaluate and adjust our operating principles to ensure our commitment was evident.

The areas we have been evaluated on, and the commitment our organization has shown, are important to our company. To be certified that we meet the highest standards demonstrates to our many partners that they can rely on the best quality service delivered with the maximum commitment to positive social and environmental impact.

SM-Stamp_B-Circle-Original

What does B Corp certification mean for our customers, employees, vendors, and stakeholders? We believe it means a lot. Not unlike companies that receive a USDA Organization certification for milk or buildings that achieve a U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification, certified B Corp companies show commitment and provide assurance to everyone that works with us that we are committed to something above and beyond profits. We are proud to be part of about 1,600 companies from 42 countries around the world that make up the growing B Corp certification network.

But it’s not over. Because the process for certification is strenuous and must be regularly certified (B Lab doesn’t expect any organization ever to achieve the highest score), we are continually striving to look for ways and areas in which to improve. We seek opportunities to raise our social and environmental performance as well as increase our transparency and accountability. When it comes to reaching a high level of standard of practice, there’s always more to do, and we embrace this.

From the outset, we were committed to providing exceptional IT service and support, but we also knew we could offer more and be a better company. iSupportU sought to be an organization that could achieve continuous business, environmental, and social improvement. B Corp certification provides not an end to reaching this goal, but a roadmap to reach a destination. And that really matters.

Get to Know Your IT Support: 4 Reasons You Should Hire iSupportU in Boulder

If you’ve worked with an IT Support company in the past, chances are that pieces of the following scenarios will sound familiar to you:

Scenario A) You call your IT tech support in a panic when your system goes down, you are rerouted to a different country, and you are given complicated explanations that fly over your head before you finally throw up your hands and say something to the effect of, “Okay, well, can you just fix it so I can get on with my life?”

Scenario B) You call your IT tech support and have the line answered by a machine. The machine reads you all the options you can select, but none of those options align with your needs. Everyone in your office is panicking because your email is down, and so you just start pressing buttons on your phone, hoping one of them will connect you with a live person. Somehow, that strategy works, and a human finally picks up the phone! You tell them what happened, and they say that you reached the wrong department. You’re put on hold while they transfer you…

Scenario C) Your IT support only works through tickets, which you have to submit online. You go onto their website and follow the example posted, spend time composing it, hit submit, then wait. After what feels like eternity — because running your business depends on your computers functioning properly — you receive a curt and unhelpful response to the ticket you submitted. You scour the website for a phone number and finally have to submit another ticket asking to be called. You then wait for 24 hours to be called and they ask you what’s the issue.

Be in Control of Your IT Support with iSupportU

These things don’t happen with iSupportU because we are like no other Business IT Support and Consulting company. We pride ourselves on being personable, accessible, proactive, and prominent members of the Boulder and Denver communities.

If you’re tired of battling it out with your average IT company, here are four good reasons why you should choose iSupportU:

  1.     Whereas the attitude of most other IT companies is impersonal at best, and downright rude and condescending at the worst, iSupportU regards itself as people-centric. We believe that to form successful, lasting relationships, it’s important to get to know our clients, your business, and how we can be your best ally. After all, if we don’t understand what you need and the direction in which you want to grow your company, how can we intuitively support you? For this reason, iSupportU doesn’t offer a standard business plan for our clients. We know that the key factor in being a successful company is that you’re different from the rest. So a one-size-fits-all plan would never work. The first thing we do when working with you, as a new client, is to sit down with you for a free consultation. We assess your business goals and the issues you typically face with your current systems, and we decide together whether we’d be a good fit.
  2.     When you choose to work with iSupportU, you won’t feel alone when technical difficulties come up. No more spending hours on the phone or sitting in front of your computer, waiting for someone to respond to you when it’s convenient for them. Because we’re local and people-centric, we’re there for you when you have a problem. If there’s an issue, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at (303) 895-2222.
    Further, when you need our help, we want you to understand what we’re saying, so that you feel included on the process and can even quickly and effectively fix the problem on your own, should it happen again.
  3.     When working with iSupportU, you might not ever find yourself calling our support line in a panic. Part of what makes us stand out from other IT Business and Consulting companies is that we are huge proponents of preventive care. Just like when it comes to your personal health, it’s important to address any potential issues or technical problems with your business systems before or when they first arise — this will keep them from growing and causing other, more severe problems. If a business is interested, we schedule an IT support technician to visit your office once a week or month. When you can’t afford to have your own IT department, regular on-site upkeep is the next best thing.
  4.     iSupportU isn’t just local; we’re locally conscientious. This means we take care of our community in ways that extend far beyond IT services. E-waste — waste from electronics and technological devices — has become a gigantic nightmare for third-world countries. Wetlands, parks, rivers, forests — you name it — have been transformed into toxic dumping grounds for the discarded e-waste of more prosperous nations. iSupportU not only refuses to be party to this egregious lack of responsibility, but we have teamed up with Magic Recycling to ensure responsible recycling of e-waste. The processing is done in the US and most of it is done right here in Colorado. The iSupportU team supports a green lifestyle and office environment — we love our bikes and support the local non-profit CarShare, and our focus on cloud-based solutions means we don’t require an overwhelming amount of energy to power in-house servers. We even participate in zero-waste programs and use LED office lighting.

At iSupportU, all of our energy goes into how we can best serve our clients and our community. When you hire us, you’ll be working with a tightly knit team of sharp, intuitive, and friendly technicians, who are excited about what they do and the businesses they work with. We love our clients, and they love us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

iPhone 6

“One More Thing” – A Recap of Apple’s Live Reveal

If you didn’t have a chance to keep up with the tweets and live streaming earlier this week of Tim Cook’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Apple Pay and Apple Watch reveal, we’ve compiled a few key points worth noting. Here are the highlights of the next big things in tech right now:

iPhone 6

4.7” screen // 16 GB iPhone 6: $199: (on sale 9/19)iphone 6 and iphone 6 plus

  • 8 MP rear camera and an updated 2.1 MP front camera – that’s up to 240 frames per second.
  • Available in gold, white and “space gray”

iPhone 6 Plus

5.5” screen // 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $299 & 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $399 (on sale 9/19)

  • Apple’s new A8 processor
  • Retina HD screen with a 1920 x 1080p resolution
  • 8 MP rear camera and an updated 2.1 MP front camera – that’s up to 240 frames per second.
  • Available in gold, white and “space gray”

Apple Pay

Available in October

  • Apple PayiPhone 6 and 6 Plus users will be able to scan their credit cards using the Passbook App by creating a unique code stored in your device
  • Compatible with Visa, Mastercard or AMEX
  • Can be used at 200,000 + supported merchants – basically all you have to do is take our your phone and place it within the merchant sensors reach (the same way your scan your groceries at self checkout.)
  • Security + Privacy- no personal information on your purchases or billing info is collected by Apple or merchants

Apple Watch aka “One More Thing” aka NOT the iWatch

$349, Available in 2015

  • Navigation – touch screen and a “digital crown” wheel on the side of the watch – allowing for simple, precise adjustments and movements throughout the device
  • Hardware – Flexible and durable touch screen to allow for “hard press”
  • WatchKit – platform dedicated to the development of Apple Watch compatible apps
  • Customizable – 6 stylish interchangeable bands
  • The full collection details:
    • Apple Watch: stainless steel and space black stainless steel cases, sapphire crystal display collection,band choices include leather bands, a link bracelet, a Milanese loop, and a band made from high-performance fluoroelastomer
    • Apple Watch Sport: a light-weight aluminum case, durable display with ION X glass and fluoroelastomer band in 5 bright colors.
    • Apple Watch Edition: Six different 18-karat gold cases, display protected with highly polished sapphire crystal and a uniquely designed band for the fashion forward techie.

Now that you have the lowdown on the latest gadgets, you are fully equipped to talk tech with your friends without skipping a beat. And if you want to get a quick feel for the live event, check out this video from Mashable for a 90 second recap that basically repeats what we said above but in much cooler “Apple” style.

Planning Your Company’s IT Budget

As your company prepares for 2014, and the daunting task of budgeting begins to close-in, there are a few worthwhile considerations to be made around next year’s IT budget. Here are some of the points we think might make the process a little easier:

    • Start Early: It is important to begin thinking about your IT budget sooner than the end of the year. Starting 6 months before budget is due with a basic outline of your objectives is key to developing a well thought out approach to resource allocation.
    • Long-Term Needs: Taking into consideration the big picture is vital. Rather than addressing only the immediate and obvious needs of the IT department, take a look at the company as a whole and how IT might improve or benefit each department and project.
    • budgetDiverse Involvement: Include input from all departments, especially senior management and department heads. Again, incorporating ideas from every perspective will ensure a full and applicable analysis. For example: the management team may suggest finding a more intuitive CRM system while the accounting department might want a better accounts payable software to work with.
    • Outsourcing: Employing an external IT company not only strengthens your overall IT condition but is typically more financially feasible than relying solely on in-house support. An external IT company is more capable of providing deeper insights and benefits than the needs that a small in-house team is able to address. However, (and this should go without saying,) input on IT budgets should be included by both in-house and any external IT support your company may have.
    • Use Last Year’s Budget: Assess the successes and failures of last year’s IT budget and make improvements. While it is important to understand that IT budgets fluctuate from year to year and to avoid exact emulation, using a previously implemented budget as a foundation is the perfect place to start your planning.
    • Areas to Consider: Successful budget planning asses each and every area of IT needs. You should create a list similar to this and conduct thorough research and analysis on every topic:

Support/Maintenance
vendor costs, internal training, IT salaries, outsourced service costs

Hardware
computers, firewalls, licenses, cabling, routers, etc.

Software
anti-virus, backups, renewals, server, laptop, etc.

Systems/Programs
backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity

Projects
planning, equipment etc.

Emergency support
cost of previous unforeseen events, problem areas, aftermath plans etc.

Remember: Budgets are never a sure thing. Even with all the planning and careful analytics, budgets in any department are unpredictable. It is important to provide flexibility throughout the company budget to account for sudden dire situations, especially when it comes to the technology that supports your entire business.

Contact iSupportU to learn more about our Managed IT Services and any other Business IT needs we can help you with.

wordpress update

WordPress 3.8 is out!

iSupportU’s web development CMS software of choice, WordPress, recently released its latest software update, WordPress 3.8. Named “Parker” and described as a modern new design, the update focuses on two overarching improvements of usability and appealing design. Here is an overview of the new features WordPress has to brag about:

    • Interface Design: Straying away from the boring gray appearance, 3.8 has added splashes of color to the original design and essentially uncluttered the entire dashboard. In addition, the dashboard’s text has been changed to a font that is more easily viewable on both desktop and mobile devices, allowing for easier navigation throughout.

design

  • themes overview twentyfourteenUsability: WordPress is continuing their efforts to perfecting the switch from one device to another, providing improved usability on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. The update highlights the introduction of vector-based icons which are easily scalable, making the speed and clarity much better no matter what device you are using.
  • Color Schemes: “Parker” is the first update that allows users to completely change the color scheme of their Dashboard interface. Users can choose from 8 different options including deep purples, teals and crimson reds. Available to be changed in the “Profile” section, these new color schemes further promote a customized experience with WordPress.
  • Theme Management: With an improved theme management section, 3.8 allows users to preview themes at a glance before clicking to get more info and an in-depth experience. Also, widgets have been given a make-over. Th restructure makes widgets stackable to better utilize monitor space of any size, greatly adding to the system’s accessibility. If users are on a tablet, they simply tap to add a widget.
  • Twenty Fourteen: With the 3.8 update, WordPress introduced the newest theme, Twenty Fourteen, which has the appearance of a magazine. The theme draws on the simplistic ideals of WordPress’s design and includes a slide bar or grid option, 3 widget areas and different page templates.

 

Contact iSupportU if you’d like our talented web team to review your WordPress site and get it up-to-date with WordPress 3.8!

If you *don’t* have a WordPress website – why not?? Fill out this Web Project Inquiry Form with information about your needs, and we’ll contact you to set up a free consultation! We love WordPress – and know you will too!