Dean Heuman is an Edmonton-based entrepreneur in the public relations business. He is the co-owner of Focus Communications, and has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, public relations, communications, internal communications and event management. Over the years his primary areas of work have included strategic marketing methodologies, analysis of current trends, market and target audience assessments, and developing effective delivery systems that focus on key objectives of organizations.
1. How do you use technology in your day to day business?
I use it literally 24/7 365 says a year. As an owner of PR business I am never far away from my smart phone. It is my link to my clients, staff, the office if I am away. I also use it for research, looking up weather for events, the uses are endless. Obviously it keeps my schedule, I make notes on it in short it is the most important thing I carry with me at all time.
All of these link to my social media connections, I load and take documents with me electronically, I can file notes from anywhere and I use them to keep track of news and events that affect our clients and me.
2. What are the devices you use the most and why?
In addition to the smart phone I have Asus Tablet that I love, windows integrated, I take hand written notes in meetings in one note, I have blue tooth keyboard and mouse so it turns into a laptop set up and with my 4G cell modem it works anywhere. It has become my go to as a mobile office.
When I am in the office I have desktop with 2 24” monitors. I use to work on one screen and monitor social feeds on the other including email. I average 100 emails a day not including SPAM or junk so I feel between the 3 tools I have I am never disconnected.
3. Which devices do you hate and which do you adore?
I want a new solution for my smart phone, I am not an iphone guy, so right now I use a Blackberry 7 Torch. It is okay, however it has limitations I would rather not put up with. I have high hopes for Windows 8 phones coming out this fall and expect to be moving in that direction.
I do adore my Asus EE Slate, I think it is a precursor to a Microsoft tablet coming this fall. I like the integration, ease of use, and compatibility. I also have an IT guy who works for us part time, but his whole world is Microsoft.
By using technology to access social media we have grown our business, we have met more people, we have made connections, we have accessed resources that a few years ago would have been impossible. We work more regionally and nationally now because of technology. On the upside it help us always be connected, on the down side, we are always connected.
5. Which web-based services or desktop programs do you use on a regular or daily basis? Why?
We use Microsoft Office, Twitter apps, Facebook, Linkedin, email, and web function of time tracking and process mapping. We use Intuit programs for accounting. We have 3 sets of CS5 in our office, however I do not have it on my computer.
We use what is easy for us to get the job done, I don’t have a lots of games or fun apps on my machines. Just keeping up is enough for me. I do not event have a game console at home. I get enough with the pieces of technology I have use everyday.
We use things like Dropbox, and we also run an SME server for our email and file server. I love this program, however development has slowed and we are looking at other options at this time.
6. Do you create regular backups? On-site or off-site? Which off-site service do you use, if any?
We do not do enough of this, we have back ups on other hard drives so if one fails we can get info off another HD but that is about it. It is something we need to take care of and as prices have come down we will use an off site service. No problems to date have made us too comfortable.
7. What are some of the frustrations you face with your technology in your business?
Keeping up and the costs, as software providers move to release new programs we have to weigh cost vs benefit, and if our clients will be going to it. For example we have moved to all non Adobe PDF software on machines that do no have CS5, it’s too expensive to have on every machine. We run office 2007, but 2010 will likely be a pass.
Space is the other frustration. We save too much, and it is hard to take time to clean it out so we buy bigger storage and we save more. There needs to be some culture of only saving what is useful and most businesses only do that when the IT department puts a lid on the storage.
8. What process do you go through when choosing an I.T. provider when having problems with your technology?
We have a part time person, he is my brother but his day job is IT for the Federal Gov. I have not had to go on the open market but like our other suppliers, it is about service, its about a relationship of trust where I can put forth a problem and know that I am getting good solutions but not the most expensive solution. We need good reliable technology to do our work and I am not afraid to pay but I want to ensure we make good decisions and things that matter. For example I spend more on keyboards and monitors than avg. Our staff sit here and have to work I want it to be as comfortable as possible. Most staff not doing heavy graphics work don’t care about the what processor they have just that the computer does the job as quickly as possible. It is important to remember that as boss. Are the IT decision your are making helping or hindering your employees.