What is an IT Strategy and How Can Your Business Benefit from One?

Air Date: 04/14/2020

What is an IT Strategy and How Can Your Business Benefit from One?


How Can Your Business Benefit from an IT Strategy?


Speaker 1: So this is News Talk 1260 WFTW Fort Walton Beach, a Cumulus station. The following program is paid for by Bit Wizards Information Technology Solutions.

Dan: It's 8:30 it's time for a Bit Wizards Tip of the Wand. On the phone with me today I've got Vince and Sam. Good morning guys.

Sam: Good morning.

Vince: Good morning, Dan. How are you?

Dan: I'm doing fantastic. How are you doing?

Sam: Very well.

Vince: Doing fantastic.

Dan: Oh, come on.

Vince: I got some latest COVID-19 news for you.

Dan: Okay. What is it?

Vince: All right, so a New York man is the latest COVID-19 victim. Then it's got a picture of a bear mauling a dude, and it says, " Man mauled by bear is latest death attributed to COVID-19." And the hashtags are # unbearable, # sosad, # winnietheflu.

Dan: Okay, well these people are keeping some what of a sense of humor. That's kind of crazy though, but a sense of humor ... You know, to get through almost anything, you need a little bit of a sense of humor because this is just a horrible thing that's going on. We're glad to see you got a sense of humor. Vince. You know, you've always, you guys always have a good sense of humor though.

Vince: We like to have fun.

Dan: Yeah, you do. You really do. So everybody's staying safe? Families all good?

Vince: Everybody's good.

Sam: Absolutely.

Dan: I'm glad to hear that. Anything new guys? Any new Wizards?

Sam: You doing all right?

Dan: Yeah, yeah, we're doing okay over here. So far so good. Can't do any major complaining, not that anybody would care or listen, but you know how that goes.

Sam: Yeah, well you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Dan: Or the boot.

Sam: Or the boot, yeah.

Dan: Welcome to my life. All right guys. You guys ready to get rolling?

Sam: We're ready.

Dan: Yeah, let's do this.

Speaker 6: Bit Wizards Bits and Bytes, bits and bytes.

Vince: So this morning on Bits and Bytes, we wanted to talk a little bit about some of the news. This pertains to the changing face of payment technology, which is applicable to small business. The first one that I wanted to call out was that Apple Pay is overtaking Starbucks as the top mobile payment app. Now there's 30. 3 million users this past year and Apple's pulled ahead of Starbucks as the most popular mobile payment app, it's been revealed from a recent data from E-marketer. The reason for the growth is due to more point of sales terminals starting to access what we call NFC or Near Field Communication based apps. Basically people can walk up and tap their smartphone close to. According to the data about 39.4% of the proximity mobile payment users will be Starbucks users while Apple has about 47.3%. Then along with that you've got Google Pay and Samsung Pay, which are also benefiting from the upgrade of point of sales terminals.

Dan: You know, I don't know anything about that really. I don't use that. I guess that's very convenient though.

Sam: It is. It's really interesting technology, the way it works. The same way when you swipe your card at your hotel room to get into the door is essentially the same technology happening there. There's a small passive chip sitting inside that card and it has a big radio antenna around it. When you get near enough to the reader, it's powerful enough to send a charge that lights up the chip and the chip sends back a response. And that's built into all of our phones now. At first it was a little gimmicky. You could share your contact information with a friend by bumping your phone against their phone and it was enough to trigger the NFC, this Near Field Communication, the little chip inside there and push some information across. They figured out how to make a secure transaction happen through this and so now it's tied to your bank account or to a credit card. It actually seems to be good for everybody on multiple levels, being able to do this, paying with your phone or paying with your watch. Apart from the fact that every time I do it, I feel like I'm living in the future, I love that each transaction is a unique ID. Every single time I swipe my phone instead of swiping my credit card, it's essentially giving it a brand new credit card number. It's the equivalent of giving it a brand new credit card number. You know credit card companies charge higher fees if the card isn't present at the time when you swipe it. That's why when you go into the store they want you to swipe your card rather than ordering stuff online. The great thing about this is it is guaranteeing that that swipe is in your hands so they know that it's not a stolen card as well. So benefits across the board, not least of which right now is that it's one less surface for us to keep touching when we're out at the store buying groceries.

Dan: You had to throw that in there, didn't you?

Vince: You can just wave your phone over it.

Sam: Well I like that being the germaphobe that I am. I just wave my phone, wave my watch near the reader and it takes the payment right then and there. It's amazing technology. It just takes a while to take off. Finally now it's getting to where a lot of places you don't have to have your wallet on you anymore. You just have to have your mobile device to be able to make a mobile device payment.

Vince: The other thing too is that not only does it make it more convenient, but the transaction happens almost instantly. It's very, very quick versus you know, where somebody's got a credit card terminal and it automatically ties in because it uses some of the technology built into your cellular technology to do that transaction between the two items. It's amazing that it pops up. The other thing that I've done with that FinTech is to be able to go back and tie it into my phone with all my credit cards. As soon as my card is used, it makes my wife upset, I can tell that the card's been used. Then I can call her on the telephone and say, " What did you just spend at Public's?"

Dan: " What are you doing?" Oh, I'll bet she loves that. Big brother's watching. Now it's, big husband watching. Oh, that's funny. Oh no.

Sam: It is amazing how far we've come. We've come such a long way in methods of payment in just the last few years. It wasn't that long ago that if you had a credit card, they had that swipey swipe machine on the countertops that you put the carbon copy paper in there and slide your card underneath and then roll that roller across it and right back again so they had a record of your ... Then you have to sign a yellow slip of paper to show that you had actually paid through your credit card. We've come so far now since then, that gives opportunity of businesses to get ahead of the curve technology-wise.

Vince: And not only does this tie into working with your customers and taking payments from your customers, but Visa just announced that they launched their new Visa Infinite Business. What they're basically doing is they're trying to expand their business card products suite, because 52% of all small businesses now leverage their credit cards in order to manage and run their business. Well, there's also a growing demand for them to pay their suppliers electronically versus having to cut a check. I know like here at Bit Wizards, we put everything that we possibly can on our American Express and then we reconcile that each month and import the transactions directly into QuickBooks. Then that way I don't have to write checks. We can track all of the expenses, categorize them in an electronic way. I can set up all of my automatic recurring payments that we have for the business that need to come out. Then we just kind of go back and track those on a regular basis. The new Visa Infinite Business stuff there is giving customers or businesses access to higher limits for those credit cards so that they can continue to do those payments and things like that, kind of like the way that we are. Some of the added benefits to some of those things are as like with our American Express, we get points that we use for our Delta Sky Miles and things like that. So if you're spending a significant amount of money each month, those points add up and they can help defray costs in other areas. Most businesses are trying to move away from making cash or check payments to suppliers and buyers and gravitate more towards electronic processes.

Dan: That sounds very, very efficient and very, very easy. Well not easy, but it sounds efficient and very, very less time consuming than the old fashioned way of doing that. Now just let me ask you this. There's probably a lot of folks that are listening, thinking, " You know, that sounds great, but how secure really is that, so nobody hacks in when I'm trying to pay from my bank to another company, pay bills?" Like you said, have the bills taken out every month. How how secure is that?

Vince: Well, the transaction process is actually very secure. The credit card companies don't want to deal with fraud. They don't want those things to happen. They use a point to point encryption. There's a lot of different things that are done to make sure that those transactions are secure. The biggest problem with this is you not doing things that you should be doing, like making sure that you use top of the type of passwords, passwords that can't be hacked. You protecting your own personal information, not clicking on things inside of emails that you don't know that they come from, that type of thing.

Dan: Okay, that's how they do that, we're calling phishing? Is that the phishing ones?

Vince: Yeah, that's the phishing model and you want to keep away from those types of things. Generally the sites are very secure. They're secured with HTTPS, with an SSL certificate, which encrypts that. Then when you make the transaction from point to point between where you are in either your web browser or via your phone, it's got those things in there. Then often the phone, depending upon which one that you're using, ties in biometrics inside of that as well so that it's tied back to you personally.

Dan: Hmm, and you help your customers set this sort of thing up, I guess, with VPNs? Do VPNs fall into play with any of this if they're doing it from their machines?

Vince: Not in this particular case. Those are usually done over a credit card. I think Sam wanted to add something to that.

Sam: Well it's a sort of VPM because the transactions themselves are secure through what we call an SSL certificate. So it is encrypting all of that traffic back and forth between someone swiping their card and by the time it gets to the bank. It's all been heavily encrypted in a system that would be just about impossible to reverse and to try to back out of it. It's not even just businesses. I know a lot of nonprofits right now are relying heavily on these online payments or these digital payments. I know a lot of churches that are continuing to hold their services. Even though they're not able to really congregate in a single building, they're holding their service online. So now more than ever a lot of the nonprofits are having to rely on not an offering plate being passed around on a Sunday morning, but on their congregation being able to stay in touch and still be a part of the ministry. That's where Apple Pay and Square and Stripe and PayPal and all of these systems are coming into play, even right now becoming critical to people keeping their jobs in the nonprofit sector.

Vince: And I think the key thing there is to make sure that when you pick small business payment technology that you're using a reputable type of service, mainstream ones like Sam mentioned, Apple pay, Square, Stripe, PayPal, authorize. net, BrainTree, Tocheckout, We Pay, Heartland Payment Systems, Digital River. Those are some of the things that we help our customers choose, what's the right thing, what helps them out, help them get the right ... Different ones of those have different fees. Some of them are top of the line point of sale systems that have that near field communication or the stripe reader right there. It makes it very convenient for customers. I try to tell people nowadays that every business is a technology company. What says more about your business? Is it using a cash register in your business from the 1980s where you're plugging mechanical keys? Or where you pull out a three-page carbon copy order receipt booklet and you hand write out a sale? Or, better off, checking out with a modern point of sale system. A system that's going to track your customer's purchase, checks out in seconds. It updates your inventory, e-mails a receipt. It solicits reviews from the customer. It gets permission to send offer to engage the customer on a personal level after the fact. These are critical pieces that technology can do for you. I know a lot of small business owners, they're afraid. Not only are they afraid but they don't think they're cost effective. A lot of them are very, very cost-effective. They may cost you some transaction fees but you get your money a lot quicker. Most of the time they settle in 24 to 48 hours and as everybody in business knows cash flow is very, very important. Getting that money in your bank account so you can utilize it as quickly as possible, so that you can either pay your employees or buy more inventory or even take out a little bit of profit for yourself or to reinvest in your business. That's absolutely critical. Again, from Bit Wizard's standpoint, we understand that technology's the tools to help your business be more efficient and to serve your customers. It's not technology for technology's sake. As I said, every business today is a technology business and you need someone to help you implement, manage, monitor, control and maintain it. Our managed IT services is a perfect way to go. Even if you don't utilize us, you need to get some professional help. There's too many choices out there, there's too many decisions to be made. You need that professional help, somebody that really understands these types of systems and how to implement them to make your business better.

Dan: Yeah, it sounds to me like you guys could make life so much easier for so many people that are doing it the old school way.

Sam: Yeah, old school sounds great. And I know a lot of folks out there feel like, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But here's the deal. The business climate's littered with companies that didn't react to technology or changes in ... We have worked with them for a long time. We are so proud to work with them and so happy to provide for their IT needs