A.I. is changing industries. Resistance is futile.

Is artificial intelligence going to replace your job or business? If you don’t pivot now, A.I. will absolutely change your industry and before long could render your job and business obsolete.

Before we get into that though, let me explain a little more about how A.I. works. Artificial intelligence acts as a glorified button pusher. Under this condition it pulls that lever and afterwards takes these steps to gauge success. Conceptually, it’s not that complicated. The real power behind A.I. comes when you give it more “levers” to play with.

Let’s take a car as an example. What levers could we give an A.I. control of while driving? We could let it accelerate, break, steer left, steer right, etc.

The concept of a lever expands to businesses as well. Unfortunately in business, those levers replace people (and sometimes entire businesses or industries).

Deep-fried automation.

Story time. Before I was the technology guru we all know and love, I managed a quick server burger restaurant in the frigid North. Fun fact about quick serve: you live and die by your fryer operator. Fries take 3 minutes to cook. They’re only good for 5 minutes. Cook too many and you’re wasting money. It takes a talented individual to keep that fryer working efficiently.

And that individual is a lever operator. The levers they manipulate include: when to cook fries, how much to cook, how far to prep ahead.

Even as we speak, technology companies are looking to replace this pivotal role with artificial intelligence. In 2019 McDonalds started testing automated fryers with the goal of increasing product quality and speed of delivery while also decreasing labor costs. It won’t be long before your entire dining experience is automated!

Skilled service won’t survive.

That last example was a pretty clear example of A.I. replacing humans in the workforce, but a fryer operator is a low skill job. Obviously artificial intelligence can’t replace more skilled, service based businesses. Right?

Wrong. Jobs once thought safe are quickly being overtaken by technology.

Let’s take another career field we’re pretty familiar with: digital marketing. A skilled digital marketing specialist can net you massive returns on your marketing investments. They know the perfect time to run your ads, they know the exact audience you need to reach, and they know just the perfect mix of budget and pacing to keep your business growing. And A.I. is better at it.

When to run ads, which ads to run, how much money to spend on ad placement, where to place ads, how to gauge campaign success. The levers are more sophisticated, but they are levers nonetheless, and the technology to replace the human pulling them is already here. Whether it’s generating copy, scaling your audience, creating e-blasts, or simply managing ad budget, A.I. has found its way into all facets of this service-based business. One local marketing firm has even gone so far as to create a marketing A.I. that controls the entire process! Their team simply guides the machine, feeding it data on an as-needed basis.

It’s coming for you too, creatives.

Well, things are looking bleak, but luckily technology has nothing on the creative works. Or does it?

Before you go dusting off that old art degree, know that even more artistic-inclined fields are seeing artificial intelligence quickly encroach. Technology companies are teaching A.I. powered chatbots to adopt unique personalities and adapt their conversation to the tone and mood of the user. Imagine if they turned this technology towards the field of film script generation.

Oh sorry, disregard, that’s already being done. And here’s an A.I. painting (with its creation selling for more than $400,000). And here’s another A.I. composing music.

Creative works such as design and artistry are more difficult for an A.I. to reproduce, but they are not impossible to reproduce. The data channels are different, but not immeasurable. Instead of gauging financial success, we’re looking at user satisfaction.

A.I. is coming for your jobs too, creatives.

So what do you do?

Well, that was bleak. The good news is, there’s something you can do. You simply need to pivot. Don’t be the business that is made redundant by technology. Become the business that provides the technology. Become a technology provider. Get in contact today to get started.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Server Edition

Why does your business still own a server? With the accessibility of cloud technology, having a physical on-premises server represents a point of vulnerability and liability for your business.

The Good

The benefits of cloud-based servers and desktops are endless: anytime and anywhere access, predictable operating expenses, worry-free IT maintenance, high level digital and physical security (the CIA uses it!), and the list goes on. What wins special attention in this issue of GBU though is Amazon’s introduction of the WorkSpaces product. Access your desktop from anywhere without that clunky and finicky remote desktop setup.

The Bad

After factoring in “hidden costs” such as storage costs, labor, and lost productivity (from server outages and communication with your IT team), the average monthly cost of maintaining a physical server is $1,476 per month. Gross, right? Have you ever stopped to think how much are you paying in hidden costs?

We put a lot of trust in our IT providers. We lean on them to provide us with business continuity. Sometimes that trust backfires when on-premises servers are in the mix. Hancock Regional Hospital’s operations were crippled in recent years by a ransomware attack targeting their physical servers through a security hole introduced by their IT partner, costing hundreds of thousands in recovery costs. They have since begun moving their operations to the cloud.

The Ugly

Quotable

“Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies.’”

- Vivek Kundra, former Federal CIO, speaks to the security of cloud server technology.

So what's next?

At Stickboy, we leverage our software development knowledge and background to bring our clients into the twenty-first century. Our unique Technology Partnership focuses on divesting our clients of the liability of physical hardware. Contact us today and let’s talk about true business continuity!

239.206.1193 | hello@stickboy.ai

The Dirty Secrets Your IT
Provider Isn’t Telling You

Spoiler Alert: If your company’s technology budget is going exclusively to IT and MSP services, you’re wasting money. But we’ll come back to that.

Managed Services Demystified

What is an MSP? Simply put, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is responsible for maintaining and improving your business operations through the strategic application of software technologies. From your email to your backups, to your wireless Internet: many things can fall under the umbrella of “managed services”.

The bigger question: Does your MSP really want to help you transform your business or are their recommendations actually holding you back?

Dirty Secrets From The IT World

Secret No. 1: MSPs are selling you the wrong software.
Let’s be real: You’re not a technology expert. Unfortunately, many MSPs recognize this and are taking advantage of that fact. Let’s look at a quick list of software and services. Do any of these look familiar?

  • ConnectWise
  • Webroot
  • ShadowProtect

What we’ve listed out above are a remote device manager, an antivirus, and backup software. Pretty innocuous, right? Not so much.

These services and many others, offer MSP incentives (also known as kickbacks) for your IT provider to use them. What that means is that your trusted technology partner is putting together a plan that leads to higher bills and poorly executed solutions.

When building out your technology plan, the focus for many MSPs is more on their bottom line than your needs.

Secret No. 2: MSPs are selling you dangerous software.
Cost isn’t even the primary concern here. Even more alarming: many of these technologies are downright dangerous! (Go ahead and click on some of those links. It’s scary out there!)

Did you notice an uptick in strange, potentially worrisome communication from your MSP in 2019? Perhaps long rambling emails, discussing cybersecurity. Were you subjected to surprise “security audits” without any context or followup? Or worse, were you the victim of a data breach?

In 2019 alone, ConnectWise (a device management software used by many MSPs) was subject to at least three separate cybersecurity attacks. These attacks compromised thousands of businesses, large and small, leading to spikes in data leaks and ransomware.

The average cost of a ransomware attack is $84,000. What damage could this mass-market device management software be doing to your business?

Secret No. 3: MSPs are inflating your bill with unnecessary hardware.
Let us ask a sensitive question: Why do you own a server? Seriously, what purpose does your server fulfill? Your firewall? That rat’s nest of USBs and cords?

Chances are, you didn’t ask for all that equipment. Many MSPs are keen to recommend hardware that a) you’ll purchase from them at a nice markup, and b) you’ll pay them monthly to maintain.

The secret they don’t want you to know? There’s a better solution.

We Do Technology Smarter

Stickboy started its life as a software development company, driving innovation within each business it touched. We’re bringing that same mindset to IT.

We don’t believe in funneling your technology budget and dollars into more and more hardware. You won’t catch us selling you lackluster services just because it puts a few more pennies in our pocket. That’s a gross way to run your business.

Instead, here at Stickboy we strive to downsize your IT and hardware needs. Fewer hardware costs means you can put those savings towards smarter technology investments, including software and cloud-based infrastructure. That expensive dark web monitoring package your MSP tried to sell you? We include that free of charge. Cybersecurity? We have it on lockdown, with artificial-intelligence powered protection software keeping you safer.

At Stickboy, we’re crazy about making your business run smarter.

So What Now?

The world of IT and managed services can be a confusing one, but Stickboy specializes in emerging technologies that focus on taking businesses to the next level. It’s easier than ever to take action and innovate for your business and your team.

First, ask yourself whether you are paying too much for outdated technology.

Then, bring in the bill from your current IT provider and let’s see how much money you could save every month!

Contact us today.

239.206.1193 | hello@stickboy.ai

My Favorite Email Productivity Hack: A One-Two Punch

Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day, right? You feel like you’re in the middle of an email storm and it’s impossible to find your way out.

Until today.

A few years ago I was turned onto a tool called Follow Up Then, and loved how it allowed me to automate when I follow up with someone (for free!). If I want to make sure I reach out to someone next week, I just have to bcc “1week@followupthen.com” and next week it’ll pop back in my inbox. Done and out of my mind.

But then I added a piece to this email management puzzle, almost by accident, really.

We do a lot of process automation here at Stickboy, but I was honestly surprised at how well this was working for my email productivity. What was the trick?

Adding a calendar.

jonah_hill_yes

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3 Things A Business Metrics Dashboard Needs To Be Awesome

Graphic with text 3 Things A Business Metrics Dashboard Needs To Be AwesomeDo you want your business tools to be second-rate?

No! You want them to be awesome! You want your company to be using the most streamlined and modern software around, and your dashboards should be no different.

When building your business metrics dashboard, there are nearly an unlimited number of things that it can do.

But the important thing is to focus on what it should do.

Read More “3 Things A Business Metrics Dashboard Needs To Be Awesome”

Workflow Automation Software’s Hidden Benefits

Workflow-Automation-Softwares-Hidden-BenefitsThere’s a lot of benefits to software automation.

Beyond the obvious gains like efficiency, more profitable employees, and better quality control, there are some hidden a little deeper if you look past the surface.

When weighing your options on automating your workflows, it’s important to be informed on what else can happen to your company. How can you make sure you’re picking the right software, or weighing the costs correctly?

You want to stay competitive in your market, automating your workflows is a great way to do it. This post will show you more benefits that you should know about.

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Automated Scheduling: How To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Automated-Scheduling--Shorten-Your-Sales-CycleImagine what would happen to your revenue if your sales cycle was shorter.

How many more sales could you close in a quarter? What would happen to your sales funnel if leads were converting faster?

What if you could eliminate one time-consuming aspect of the ‘back and forth’ that happens with scheduling new leads and get them on the phone faster? Not only that but what if they worked out the schedule for you?

What is it? Automated scheduling.

How do you do it? With a single link.

Intrigued? Read on.
Read More “Automated Scheduling: How To Shorten Your Sales Cycle”

What Workflow Automation Software Won’t Solve: The Best 3 Examples

Graphic with text What Workflow Automation Software Wont Solve The Best 3 ExamplesYou know that automating your workflows can raise the ceiling on your business’ growth.

But workflow automation software is only as smart as the foundation that built it. 

Here’s the thing: before you even begin looking to automate your processes, you need to make sure these three things aren’t lurking in the background.

Because no matter how hard you try, workflow automation software won’t solve them.
Read More “What Workflow Automation Software Won’t Solve: The Best 3 Examples”

The Big 3 Benefits of Business Process Automation [Video]

What if you could increase efficiency, decrease mistakes, and gain valuable insight into the functions of your business? The answer is called Business Process Automation, and it’s benefits can help you reach your business goals in record time.

If you picture one of your business’s processes, it seems simple enough: get customer approval, send to legal, copy accounts and marketing, once approved send to the project managers, etc. Each of these steps is probably done by a person who is responsible for moving that item along the chain.

The-Big-3-Benefits-of-Business-Process-Automation

The problem is that humans are flawed. Many businesses are finding ways to automate this workflow and streamline their processes from manually to automatically driven. Watch our video below as we break down 3 big benefits of business process automation.

Read More “The Big 3 Benefits of Business Process Automation [Video]”