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Cloud Compute, From ATI
Considering the cloud? We are your …As A Service technology experts. Schedule a Cloud Consultation today.

There are hundreds of cloud solutions… So how do you choose the right one? We’ve met, vetted, toured data centers & learned the strengths & weaknesses of all the major providers… So, you don’t have to. Cloud Migration? Public or Private? Security & Compliance? Schedule a Cloud Consultation w ATI and we’ll walk you through each.

From ATI

  1. Vet Providers – As a trusted consultant for over 35 years we’ve had the opportunity to meet, vet, demo, and tour data centers for over 100 of the leading providers
  2. Determine Strengths – With numerous installs under our belt, we compile matrices detailing strengths & weaknesses of providers based on numerous criteria
  3. Discovery – We ask the right questions to uncover your business pains and needs
  4. Propose Solution – Combine our knowledge of your discovery with our vetting process
  5. Analyze Pricing – We work on your behalf to negotiate the best pricing amongst the proposed vendors
  6. Project Management – We work out all the kinks to eliminate unnecessary issues when we go live. Coordinating with our internal PM’s, your  team and your chosen provider.
  7. Installation – Combined 100+ years of experience
  8. Ongoing Support – We support our product offerings throughout their lifetime, while consulting your team on new technology

From ATI
Meet the new ATI, though in reality not much has changed, we are still your go to technology partner for all your business communications needs. However with the cloud we can now do so much more such as: Managed Security, Disaster Recovery, Office 365, and SD-WAN.

From ATI
ATI was recently featured in the RingCentral Partner Spotlight Series. We’re excited to continue our relationship with RingCentral and to provide great voice service to our customers.

View the full PR here:

ATI seeks reliable, built-in-cloud provider, finds that and much more with RingCentral Partner Program

Based in the Chicago area, ATI has been connecting its customers with the right products and solutions since 1983. Its solid base of customers has trusted ATI to recommend, sell, and install phone systems, as well as to handle all of the ongoing support, for many years.


The value of cloud—and RingCentral partner

ATI knew it needed to add a unified cloud communications solution with a customer- and partner-focused provider to its portfolio in order to meet client demand while capitalizing on an exponentially growing market. After careful evaluation to determine which solutions are up to snuff and to the immaculate standards of its ownteam, ATI chose to add RingCentral to its portfolio for its complete solution set.


Winning together

ATI and RingCentral worked together to close a complex, on-premises replacement deal within an 88-day sales cycle. How did they close such a difficult deal so quickly? ATI differentiated itself by bringing engineering resources to the table, performing consulting services, helping with the install, and finding extraneous technology costs that could be displaced with RingCentral’s all inclusive solution, which replaced the customer’s end-of-life Cisco system. “We provided this customer with onsite service and support and worked with RingCentral in a unique way to ultimately cinch this deal,” says Mike Bergin, Sr. Sales Executive at ATI. ATI partnered with RingCentral to perform the implementation and adoption services for this customer and trained the users on how to use the new technology to ensure a smooth transition away from the previous provider.


A partner and a customer

As of last month, ATI is now a RingCentral customer itself. Previously a ShoreTel onpremises customer, ATI performed its own due diligence to determine who the best provider is in the market and who the team would be most comfortable migrating to while moving offices, and ATI determined that its ideal solution is RingCentral. “It certainly goes a long way when we talk to customers and we say ‘Hey, we were with ShoreTel but now we’re moving in a month and we’re migrating to RingCentral,'” says Bergin. “There’s definitely a good story there.” So, as ATI moves into its new facilities, every team member will be on the RingCentral platform. The transition will be simple and straightforward, as well. With on-premises, it would have been extremely expensive and taken a significant amount of time—and we all know the negative effects that down time has on businesses. Fortunately, RingCentral Office® is quick and easy to configure compared to conventional on-site business phone hardware. A three-step onboarding process helps with details such as network configuration and transferring numbers. This comprehensive process ensures that cloud phone service is implemented quickly and with minimal business disruption. It’s a true partnership that benefits RingCentral Partners and their customers.

Learn more about RingCentral here.

From ATI

From ATI
It’s easy to let technology hinder your time management with so many distractions at your fingertips. But if you want to make time management and productivity a priority, technology can be a major help as well. From wireless solutions to cutting-edge apps and good old-fashioned (or new-fashioned) calendars, there are a myriad of ways to make sure you’re managing you time better.

Do a Productivity Assessment

To get a handle on time management, it’s a good idea to start with an assessment of how you actually spend your days. Time tracking applications like RescueTime will run in the background of your computer or browser to track how much time you spend on different sites and with different programs, allowing you to see just how many minutes (or hours!) you spend each day on social media, email, or other sites that may not be helping you with productivity. Time tracking apps like Toggl may also be helpful, though they require you to start and stop a timer to determine where your time is being spent.

Block Time

Once you have figured out where your time is going, consider using an application to layout how you would ideally be spending your hours at work. Time blocking can be a particularly effective way to do this with one blogger estimating it leads to 50% more productivity each week, turning a 40-hour workweek into 60 hours without spending any extra time. The process involves spending a bit of time at the end of each day to plan out the next work day, thereby dividing your day into blocks of productivity. You can do this simply, and offline, using a paper calendar or just a notebook. But for something a bit more technologically advanced, consider using a calendar app, whether it’s your Outlook calendar, Google calendar, or an app like Sunrise. Schedule out your daily tasks as if they were a meeting and end

Stay Organized

It probably goes without saying that being organized goes hand in hand with time management, but it’s also important to not spend so much time making to-do lists that you actually damage your productivity. Instead, set aside a small amount of time at the beginning of each day to identify 3 key tasks that you must complete before the end of the day. By narrowing things down significantly, you can need every day feeling accomplished and motivated. To Do apps like Remember the Milk and notebook apps like Evernote can be helpful in this pursuit, keeping tasks in one spot for easy review.

Improve Focus

You can’t make more time in the day, but you can improve your focus during the hours you do have. Time management techniques like Pomodoro allow you to work for a set period (generally 25 to 30 minutes) and then rest for a shorter period (5 to 15 minutes). This method can actually help you to be more creative and more productive throughout the day. Use pomodoro tracking apps like Pomotodo to keep track of your time and watch your productivity increase.

Change of Scenery

Need a creativity boost and a bit more focus? Consider taking a walk or sitting outside near your office. Being outdoors has been shown to encourage sharper thinking and spikes in creativity. Plus, with the right wireless solutions, working outside can be just as easy as working at your desk. Work on your mobile phone or bring a laptop and connect to your office wireless network for portability and productivity. In the end, managing your time so that you can be more productive is not just about getting more work done. When you manage your work schedule effectively, it means you have more time to spend outside of work not thinking about what’s coming up at the office. Good time management skills can actually lead to a happier life. When you let technology help you along the way, it’s that much easier. If time management still gives you a few issues check out this video and learn how a phone system can help fill in the gaps.

From ATI
The continual advancement of technology as an integral part of the majority of businesses has meant an expanded role for CIOs. With that territory has to come a necessarily closer working relationship and shared understanding with the CFO as well. In fact, 42% of IT departments report directly to the CFO (that number is a whopping 60% at smaller businesses). Clearly, a relationship must exist between the CIO and CFO that supports active communication and effective collaboration. Keep reading to find out some of the best ways that CIOs can work to build these kinds of relationships and ultimately support the overarching business goals of their company.

The CIO CFO Relationship

In one recent survey from CIO Magazine, only 13% of CIOs reported being seen as a “business leader” while 38% were seen as a “service provider.” Both leadership and partnership and important elements of the CIO/CFO relationship. In order to establish themselves as someone deserving of a seat at the executive table, CIOs need to be business leaders and partners as much as they need to be technical contributors. Technical know-how is certainly essential to the CIO role, but business acumen is also a critical skill. Showing how investments in new technology can impact core company goals, growth objectives, and ultimately the bottom line is the best way for CIOs to earn and maintain attention from the CFO.

Solving Communication Issues

Great communication skills are key for virtually every level of employee, but when it comes to top executives, they become even more important. Going forward, it will be key for CIOs to not only have great ideas as to how technology can lead towards business goals but to be able to communicate these ideas to other executives in a way that everyone can understand. This means overcoming those communications issues that can sometimes hinder relationships between technical and non-technical departments. Leadership training and perseverance is key here, in order to find common language with which to describe the technical needs of the company.

Emphasis on Security

Security is one of the top issues facing IT departments in 2015, but it is chief among CFO challenges since security breaches can be hugely expensive. Therefore, moving forward one of the important CIO jobs will be to utilize his or her communication skills in order to explain security risks and present business savvy solutions to protecting the company from these kinds of breaches. As with any big financial investment, financial transparency will also be key here. CFOs want to be protected against security risks, but also want to know what they are paying for, making clear cost breakdowns and technical explanations of different expenditures essential. A mutually beneficial relationship between CIOs and CFOs can have a hugely positive influence on a business overall. The more CIOs can work with CFOs and other executives, the better the outcomes.

From ATI
According to the 2015 ECP Compensation Study, office managers who are responsible for multiple-location practices are earning, on average, 31.5% more than those managing single offices. The reason for this is likely due to the fact that multiple locations come with a great deal of work and responsibilities. Different time zones, environments, and personalities can create unique challenges for each business location. Managers need to find ways to encourage cohesiveness so everyone feels a part of the team no matter what location they work in. So how can you more effectively manage multiple locations? Consider these tips:

Tip #1: Embrace New Technology

The reason people are able to work so effectively from virtually anywhere today is due to solid internet connections and helpful applications that ensure we are still able to communicate effectively despite distance limitations. If you aren’t able to embrace technology and how it can help your business, you are creating more work for yourself as a manager, and that list of office manager duties will only get longer and harder to navigate. Although custom-built software and VPN systems have served as helpful tools before, there are many viable options available that are robust and require far less IT and financial commitment. Here are a few more commonly used applications that help multiple locations communicate more effectively:
  • com: Collaborate about your sales and opportunities in real-time with this popular CRM tool.
  • Basecamp: This project management tool gives you the ability to manage a variety of projects with a simplistic and easy-to-use web platform.
  • Google Gmail/Documents/Calendar: Give your employees access to their work documents from anywhere using Google. Having instant access to appointment information, email, and important business-related documents will enable your employees to easily get what they need right when they need it.

Tip #2 Make Communication King

Tools can help, but real communication tops them all. Every office should feel equally involved in how the business functions, and the only way to do that is through effective communication. A robust phone system like ShoreTel Connect Cloud should be accessible for every employee so they can connect quickly and easily. The CEO or owner of the business should make regular trips to each location to connect and hear employee concerns. A weekly team meeting where everyone participates should be a priority. And lastly, plan to have the entire team together at least once a year to participate in brainstorm sessions and team building events.

Tip #3 Get Systems in Order

Systems provide the ability to duplicate offices and reduce the amount of supervision needed to get work done. Establishing roles, responsibilities, and authority helps prevent possible issues caused by confused employees. Ensure each employee knows what the organizational structure of the business is, as well as what they are responsible for and measured upon. This encourages a clear sense of accountability no matter where someone is working. Implementing the proper systems and new technologies partnered with effective communication can help you navigate the growing list of office manager duties.

From ATI
While small business owners definitely face a lot of challenges on a daily basis, one that can have a major impact on whether the business is able to thrive or not is communication. Between vendors, employees and customers, great communication can be a big hurdle. After all, great writing skills and perfect oration are hardly a prerequisite for the dream of owning your own company. Following are five communication issues that are common among small business owners as well as the communication solutions that can help to ease this daily stressor.

1. Missing Communication

A lack of communication is always a problem. When employees or vendors are simply not communicating, small issues can quickly snowball into insurmountable stresses simply because no one knows what is going on. More communication seems like the simple answer here, but a better way to frame it is setting expectations. Whether that means scheduling check ins with remote employees or freelancers or asking for reports from vendors it is important that everyone is on the same page about how often they are expected to communicate progress to you.

2. Micromanagement

On the other end of the spectrum is micromanagement. When you hover over employees and try to manage every aspect of their job, you are not only fostering an adversarial and distrustful environment, you are wasting everyone’s time. There are a few ways to solve micromanagement – or overcommunication – issues. In the long run, it is essential to hire people that you trust and allow them to do the job you hired them for. Sometimes, communication can feel like micromanagement when it isn’t and this is an easier fix. For example, when you’re constantly calling an employee or scheduling meetings, they feel compelled to stop whatever they’re doing to address your needs and it can weigh them down and cost everyone efficiency. If what you have to say can be communicated in an email instead, the employee has the option to respond at their convenience. This simple assessment of the best technology for certain communications can have a big impact on relationships and overall communication efficacy.

3. No Down Time

Overcommunication isn’t limited to micromanagement. A chief complaint among many employees and managers/business owners is that they feel as if they are always connected. The advent of the smartphone has made it impossible for people to unplug. In fact, only 25% of people with paid vacation time take all of it during the year. As a communication solution for this particular issue, be sure to encourage employees to take down time. This can range from actual vacations to simply turning off email notifications or phone calls for the time when they are not on the job. This can lead to overall happier and more productive employees in the long run.

4. Maximizing Meeting Efficacy

Scheduling regular meetings is an essential part of managing any team, no matter what the size. But inefficient meetings can lead to to a lot of frustration for those that have to attend them – not to mention the damage they can cause to overall productivity. One study suggests that employees can waste an average of 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. Setting expectations can be a great communication solution for this particular issue as well. Have a meeting agenda and stick to it. There are plenty of business advice books and programs that can give you a good framework for scheduling meetings. Find one that works for you and make sure no one is dreading your next staff meeting.

5. Scattered Employee Base

Utilizing freelancers and offsite employees can be a great option for small business owners who need to cut down on overhead. You don’t have to find office space or even computers for these employees. But a scattered base of employees can create some difficult communication problems for you as well as for your customers. A unified communications solution can be a way to make sure that remote employees feel part of the team and are able to contribute seamlessly. UC options like VoIP can make it possible for people to answer customer calls from home as if they were in the office with access to all the same features and reliability. No matter what the size of your business, when you are able to communicate effectively with your team and your customers, you will be able to more effectively accomplish your bigger business goals.

From ATI
Did you know that according to the National Business Research Institute, they estimate that an engaged employee will save their company 5% or more off the costs they’re responsible for? That kind of savings can add up quickly when more and more employees become engaged with the financial future of their organization. This statistic is powerful, and should motivate more CFO’s to look into creative solutions as to how they can create a more financially engaged workforce at their organization. But how can they do it? Consider these employee motivation ideas:

Name a “CFO of the Day”

What better way to get employees to understand the financials of the company than to put them in the shoes of the person who manages it? The employee selected will have to present figures at a weekly or monthly staff meeting regarding the financial matters of the business. As each staff member hears from others’ who are serving in the temporary role, it will motivate them to improve the statistics they are presenting about when they are taking on the position. Because the employees now understand how the company operates from a financial perspective, they will be motivated to make small adjustments to improve the overall bottom line.

Consider the Removal of Standardized Performance Reviews

Make a commitment to your employees by showing that you care about the environment in which they work. Consider the possibility of doing away with the more formal performance reviews that stress highly corporate processes that establish a “pass or fail” mentality.  Most of these reviews focus solely on performance and disregard many of the other accomplishments or outside struggles of that review time frame. It can often be perceived by employees as a demoralizing process where the boss serves as their judge. Instead, start an interactive coaching program that guides the person towards improvement, learning, as well as how they can bring their productivity to the next level.

Showcase Employee Success and Contribution

People generally love playing a role in something that is bigger than themselves rather than just collecting a paycheck. If work is considered to be a waste of time and effort, they are demotivated almost instantly. CFO’s should align the work of the employee with the day-to-day operations to foster value and success for both the organization and employee.

Encourage Positivity

ARS Research shows that employees with a high level of enthusiasm, confidence, and inspiration are 5 times more engaged than employees with negative tone and emotions. To encourage more enthusiastic employees, CFO’s and other leaders should always lean toward an optimistic approach rather than a negative tone. Leaders should be a trusting source of the organization, they need to focus on consistency and transparency as well as avoid inter-office gossip and negativity. Doing so will encourage employees to do the same. We hope you found these employee motivation ideas helpful as you look to improve your CFO engagement and improve productivity at your business.