Technology should be reliable, increase productivity, un-complicate work and evolve with your business. At BCA we provide the services to make that happen! Contact us today!

Business Computer Associates, Inc provides TOTALCare IT Managed Services and is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solutions Provider for businesses throughout South Florida.

Since 1990, we have worked with progressive companies and organizations that know the value of technology and want to get the most out of their IT Services and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) investments. BCA currently provides services to thousands of users and hundreds of small and medium sized business throughout South Florida.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – BCA is a Sage Software Gold Development Partner and a Top Sage Reseller / Select Business Partner. As one of the top Sage resellers in the Southeast, with over 300 implementations, BCA has the expertise to help you with the installation, training, and support of Sage products. BCA is your partner in achieving greater success through advanced scalable, integrated accounting and business management solutions from Dade County to Broward County.

IT Services – Business Computer Associates provides the specialized Computer Support that can help you achieve your business goals. Our flexible Network Services can allow you to focus on your business, instead of the technology you need to keep it running. As a trusted partner in technology, we are dedicated to providing a range of Computer Support, Network Services and IT Consulting in Miami, Doral, Broward, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Miami Lakes, Medley, Miami Springs, Miami Gardens, Pinecrest, Aventura, Hialeah, North Miami, Fort Lauderdale.

Local experts who can visit on-site: Miami Computer Support, Doral Backup and Data Recovery, Broward IT Consulting, Coconut Grove Cloud Computing, Miami Lakes Network Services, Medley Email and Spam Protection, Doral Computer Support, Broward Network Services, Miami IT Consulting, and Coconut Grove Vendor Management.

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January 22nd, 2015

socialmedia_Jan20_ASocial media has been increasing in popularity amongst business owners more than ever before. From LinkedIn to Twitter and Facebook, social media has enhanced ways in which businesses communicate with one another, leading to quicker connections and even stronger relationships. Is it time you took a look at different ways social media can help drive your business development?

In most cases, a business development manager already has an idea of the kind of company with which to partner. Their next step is to contact that company via a phone call or email. However, this can be an unreliable way to reach out, especially when your potential partner has never heard of you. Social media speeds up this process by identifying the best person to contact, as well as determining if you have any mutual connections.

Simply put, social media lets you understand the background of different companies and gives you an idea of the different players involved, before you even engage in a dialogue. With this in mind, let’s take a look at four ways you can utilize information available on social media to enhance your business development success.

  1. Social media is an extra pair of eyes
    Social media allows you to see first-hand what potential partners, competitors, and customers are doing, which is a major asset when it comes to your business development and performance. This can also reveal business-relationship possibilities or even warn where it is best to stay away. It’s crucial to position yourself and your company as industry experts by sharing mind-blowing content as well as highlighting recent successes.
  2. There’s no universal message in social media
    The way people behave and connect across different social media platforms varies, therefore it is important to adjust accordingly. For instance, you might use Twitter to promote ongoing marketing campaigns, share content, and direct customer service requests. You may use Facebook for larger marketing initiatives, such as showcasing a company’s culture and resources. It’s important to remember that there’s no universal rule to utilizing social media and that it is beneficial to be flexible. Think about what your individual goals are and work out which social media platform is the best avenue to explore.
  3. Leverage employee relationships
    If you’re looking to connect with an individual in a specific company, make it a habit to check and see if anyone in your company has a pre-existing relationship with that person. Social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn make it fairly easy to spot mutual connections, so it is a good idea to get into the habit of checking. Whether you ask your colleague to help make an introduction or to arrange a meeting, a mutual connection gives you the competitive edge in effective business development.
  4. Use social media as a touchpoint
    Social media is not only essential to business development, but also complements other more traditional practices, such as when you’ve sent an email or voicemail to a business prospect that has gone unanswered. It’s understandable that people get so busy they can delay, forget or pass over an inquiry, but instead of passively waiting for a reply, why not make it standard practice to follow up separately via LinkedIn or other social media platforms? This way you can build additional opportunities with potential partners, increase the likelihood of a response, and even forge a future business relationship.

The fundamentals of business development are strong relationships with a partner or companies with a good reputation, who will have a positive impact on your business, such as marketing an initiative collaboratively. Social media can get this whole process started, so the next time you’re looking to contact a business prospect or potential partner, start by visiting their social media channels to get the heads up to help you in your quest.

Looking to learn more about the benefits of social media in business? Contact us today.

January 22nd, 2015

Facebook_Jan20_AYou just got a Facebook message from a close friend. You sign on to read it, and suddenly you’re assaulted with photos from high school pals you haven’t seen in ages and cryptic status updates from your 40-year-old brother-in-law who still lives with his parents. Before you know it, you find yourself scrolling through travel pics of a former employee, and you have yet to get to that message from your actual friend. If this distracting scenario sounds familiar, it’s time to take control of your Facebook News Feed with these five tips.

1. Become good friends with the “Unfollow” button

If you haven’t heard, there’s this amazing little tab that instantly allows a person to disappear from your News Feed. It’s called the “Unfollow” tab, and you’ll soon become best buddies with it.

Don’t worry though, when you unfollow someone, you’re not unfriending him or her. And they’ll never even know you did it (unless you tell them). It just keeps their TMI and updates about visiting the grocery store out of your feed.

To unfollow a person, click on the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of whomever’s post and click “Unfollow [Name]”

An alternative option is to visit said person’s profile and click on the “Following” button at the bottom-right corner of their cover photo. Once you click, it will change from “Following” to “Follow.” Goodbye happy hashtag Sarah. #solongSarah #won’tbemissed

2. Avoid content from Facebook Pages

What if you don’t want to unfollow someone but are sick of all the links they share? Not a problem. No more seeing surveys from Anotherdumbsurvey.net about which Hunger Games character you are or what baked good best describes your personality.

If you want to say goodbye to a page’s content you’re not interested in, click on that same top-right arrow in the upper right hand corner of the post and hit the “Hide all from [Page Name]” option.

3. Tell Facebook what posts annoy you

Sometimes you need to speak directly to the Facebook gods. Maybe you’re tired of seeing all those Facebook check ins, event spam, and baby pictures of little Tommy’s first experience eating cake…

To stop seeing posts you’re not interested in, hit that same drop-down arrow and select “I don’t want to see this.” In theory, and if you do it enough times to the same type of content, this should put an end to all those baby updates for good.

4. Complete a Facebook survey

Yes, they do exist. And well, they kind of seem to work. We’ve tested this feature out, and it appears that some of the more spammy/annoying posts have disappeared. So back to the top-right arrow we go.

Click on it and the very last option is “Take a survey to make News Feed better.” You’ll click through 15 screenshots and rate how much they look like an advertisement.

5. Adjust your News Feed preferences

At the top of your home page is a little arrow that, when clicked on, shows you the option to choose your “News Feed Preferences.” When you open it, you’ll see the content you’ve viewed most and what you’re currently following. Opt out of what you don’t want to see anymore.

Don’t get sucked into the online lives of people you rarely see in real life. Take action and control your News Feed today. If you’re looking to learn more about Facebook and its features, contact us and learn how we can help.

January 20th, 2015

AppleMacOS_Jan16_AThe New Year is a great time to brush up on skills that can drive greater productivity and efficiency, or just save you time in completing routine IT tasks. Whether you are a long-term Mac user or have recently converted to the Apple way, it can be easy to fall into a rut of thinking you know your way around your system, when in fact there is always something new to learn. So by learning these tips, your Mac will be taking you to increased work effectiveness in no time!

Make searching easier

Need to hunt down a file? You can make the process easier by not searching for just one word, or even a series of words in sequence, but by instead searching for a logical combination of terms as a Boolean expression. Boolean expressions combine search terms with conditions like ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘not’ to specify whether you want results that contain all, or only some, of your search terms. These expressions are supported by native Mac apps including Spotlight, Mail and Calendar, and by plenty of third-party apps too.

For instance, if you wanted to track down client invoices that have not yet been marked as paid, you might begin by searching for files containing the word ‘invoice’. This term alone would bring up plenty of results you had no interest in, but by using a Boolean expression which takes the terms ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘not’ to create a logical statement, you could run a search for ‘invoice NOT paid’.

Protect your passwords

We’ve all heard the recommendation that our passwords should be long, difficult to guess and full of unnatural-feeling characters like mixed-case letters, numbers and punctuation – easier said than put into practice. Add to that the fact that, if we want to be truly secure, we shouldn’t use the same password for more than one account, and suddenly creating hack-proof passwords becomes a real challenge. Even once you’ve invented them, how on earth are you supposed to remember all of these different passwords?

Well, there’s an app for that. Or several, to be precise – the Apple-specific iCloud Keychain syncs your passwords across your devices and then fills them in when necessary, remembering what you can’t. On other operating systems, 1Password and LastPass are good alternatives.

Simplify your coding

Does your day-to-day work involve writing of some kind? You can make your job simpler by forgetting often difficult to read HTML code in favour of much friendlier, more attractive and easier to work with Markdown code. Based on plain text, Markdown is compatible with almost all word processors, meaning you don’t need to worry about using a specific text editor for fear of risking the corruption of your code. Simplified codes, such as Marketing to create a hyperlink, are transformed into formatted documents by a converter that takes the effort out of writing.

Numerous versions of Markdown have expanded upon the original idea to add additional features and bring further design richness to your finished document, but all of them offer the basics you’ll need to produce in your writing. Examples of apps that act as dedicated Markdown editors are Marked 2, iA Writer and Editorial.

If you’re looking to learn more about productivity tips or other Mac features, get in touch today and see what we can do to help.

Newsletter Sign Up! Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 14th, 2015

GoogleApps_Jan12_ATime is at a premium for every small business owner and, for all its benefits in modern communication, email is one of the major drains on your schedule. If you’re feeling choked by the amount of time you spend dealing with email on a day-to-day basis, try some of these Gmail productivity hacks to give your schedule a new lease of life in 2015.

Customize your email address and harness filters

Did you know that, if you use Gmail, you can customize your existing email address? Whether you have a regular @gmail.com or @company.com address, you can adjust your username depending on who you are giving it to and what you are likely to receive. For example, if your basic address is theboss@company.com, you could give theboss+friends@company.com to friends and use theboss+blog@company.com to invite blog comments.

Combine this feature with Gmail’s native filters to add labels to emails depending on which address they are sent to – so you can keep work and play separate, or file blog comments to deal with at a set time. Don’t want to see Facebook email notifications? Change your profile to use the email address theboss+spam@company.com and set up a filter to direct those messages to the trash. Your email is compartmentalized and you can see what you need to, when you really need to.

Can frequent responses to save time

Do you get similar email enquiries every day? If you currently pen a fresh reply to each message that arrives, then kick that habit right now and save yourself a heap of time. Gmail’s built in Canned Responses function allows you to store messages that you frequently send so they are ready to use at the touch of a button.

Enable Canned Responses from the Labs tab of the Gmail settings page, then when composing a new message just click the arrow icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and select Canned Responses. From here you can use an existing canned response or add a new one. Then just hit send!

Schedule emails and reminders with Boomerang

The Boomerang add-on, which comes as a web extension for Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers and as an Android app, enables you to bounce new emails right out of your inbox and schedule their return when it suits you. The emails are stored remotely, freeing you up to concentrate on more urgent tasks.

Likewise, if you need to send one or more emails at a specific time but won’t be at your desk, with Boomerang you can schedule the emails in advance to send automatically when you need them to. You can also put this feature to use to schedule emails to send to yourself that act as task reminders.

Quick question? Chat instead

Don’t underestimate the value of Gmail’s chat system, or Hangouts as it is known in the age of Google+. Save yourself the time spent composing a long-form email, and the back-and-forth of conversation between recipients, by penning a brief chat message when you just need to ask a question.

Chances are too that colleagues will be less daunted by an instant message than an email, and more likely to respond right away than put it off. Hangouts need not be limited to one-to-one conversations – to start a group chat, open a chat with one colleague and then click the stick person icon beneath their name. You’ll see a list of contacts that you can add to the conversation.

Treat your email like a relay race

Of course, the best way to save time on email is to limit the amount of time you spend on it – one great way is by using the browser extension Mail Timer. This nifty add-on allows you to set yourself a maximum amount of time – say two minutes – to respond to each email. After that, a pop-up message will let you know you’re out of time and encourage you to continue to your next message. Not only will Mail Timer train you to be more concise in crafting emails, but it is a great way to get into the habit of swiftly clearing your inbox of messages that only need a brief reply – you can archive others to deal with at a set time (or use Boomerang to bring them back automatically when it suits you).

If you would like to learn more about using Gmail, or any other Google app, please get in touch with us today.

Newsletter Sign Up! Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 14th, 2015

Security_Jan12_CThe scale of the recent security breaches at Sony, which led to the cancellation of The Interview’s theatrical release, can make the company’s problems seem beyond the realm of the average small business. But the security mishaps that created the circumstances for the hack are as applicable to modest local and regional companies as they are to multimillion dollar corporations. These three tips will take you back to security basics and help avert your own big-screen drama.

Don’t let basic security habits slip

Our modern-day instinct tells us that the answer to potential security breaches is to install new layers of antivirus software, firewalls and further encryption systems. While these are all worthy additions to your company’s armor of security shields, they will do little to help if good old-fashioned protective habits are allowed to slide.

Instill a disciplined, security-conscious mentality in your organization, and keep the messages simple so that staff remember and follow them. Focus on regularly changing passwords and keeping them secret, being vigilant about avoiding unexpected links in email messages, and limiting network access for the likes of external contractors to that which is absolutely necessary.

One of the ways hackers made their way into the Sony network was by tricking administrators into thinking they had a legitimate need for access: teach your staff to be careful, and praise cautiousness even if it turns out access is warranted. Encourage staff to flag up potential security lapses, and make sure they know that reports will be followed up and loopholes closed.

Take a flexible and agile approach to IT

IT changes, and so do the ways best suited to keeping it safe. This means it is vitally important to keep your IT systems up to date, and where necessary to do away with outdated practices that could leave your business technology exposed. This involves more than just ensuring that your network is running updated antivirus software to catch the latest bugs and worms – it means staying abreast of emerging methods to mitigate potential threats from hackers worldwide.

All of this uses staff and resources that your small business might not have – which is where outsourced managed services come in. Using a managed service provider as an add-on to your own IT team can give you extra flexibility and the ability to keep abreast of industry security developments, even when you lack the time to do so yourself.

Equally, know when it is time to ditch data – think of emerging social networks like Snapchat, which set messages to self-destruct after a set time, as your cue to make your data retention policy less permanent, particularly in relation to email. If you no longer have a business need or a regulatory requirement to retain information, then delete it – in the process you can limit the possible damage even if the worst should occur and you fall victim to an external attack.

Backup, backup, backup

The last thing you want in the event of a security breach is for it to hit your day-to-day operations – the potential damage caused by the hack itself is likely to give you enough to worry about. But that is exactly the situation Sony found itself in after its latest hack, with its email system down and staff forced to return to the days of pen, paper and even the fax machine.

As well as ensuring alternative means of communication remain open to your business in the aftermath of a possible attack, it is also vital to make sure that you retain access to the information most critical to your work. Regular, secured backups help ensure that, whatever happens, the show is able to go on and your firm’s productivity and revenue are not unduly hit. Engaging professionals to undertake your backups on a managed service basis also means this can happen routinely and without fail, while you stay focused on running your business.

Want to learn more about how to reduce your IT network’s vulnerability to attack? Get in touch with us today.

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January 14th, 2015

office365_jan12_CData loss prevention is being expanded to encompass the growing use of collaborative tools with Office 365 users. Important and often sensitive data is shared via SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Windows File Share and Office apps and this information needs a strong layer of security protection. Plans are ready to roll out to improve control over this shared data in real-time.

Beyond email security

There has long been an awareness of security when it comes to email content and Office 365 incorporated data loss prevention in Exchange and Outlook, as well as Outlook Web App. It is understandable that when you write an email you don’t want the information within it to be seen by anyone else, and whilst Google maintains its email scanning policies, data loss prevention tools can help stop hackers from getting a glimpse of your private data. This is all well and good but sharing critical data via email is not the only way to exchange information and Microsoft’s latest data loss prevention strategy recognizes these changes.

Collaboration needs to be safe

Microsoft has enhanced collaboration capabilities with Office 365 but along with these new ways of sharing data, there needs to be solid security measures in place too. Documents in Word and spreadsheets in Excel are created using applications and then shared via various collaboration tools. To ensure this data is safe, access restrictions and permissions need to be activated.

Data loss prevention in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

Recently eDiscovery has allowed users of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business to identify sensitive information within collaborative content. This security is set to expand to policies on restricting and blocking access, user education and to include email notifications.

Data loss prevention in Windows File Share

Windows File Server already has file classification infrastructure in place, whereby the server scans files to identify sensitive data. This data is then tagged and classified according to the definitions users set, with an ability to initiate action on these identified or classified files. The latest security, or data loss prevention, measures involve this content classification being extended to Office files in Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. In time, this will continue to grow to include centrally managed policies and allow for greater user education within companies.

Data loss prevention in Office applications

This protection is being expanded to Microsoft applications so that when content is created users will be able to set up policies with regard to sharing permissions at the same time. Tips connected to the policies that have been established will then be offered as well. Initially, Excel will benefit from this expansion, with Word and PowerPoint being included later in the year.

The importance of data loss prevention

With so many different ways to create and share content, it is essential that business leaders can take advantage of a stable strategy for preventing data loss. If sensitive and crucial information is allowed to leak out this could potentially be incredibly damaging to a business and put productivity and profitability in jeopardy. With greater collaborative tools comes greater risk and the latest plans for Office 365 data loss prevention are a welcome layer of security to protect against data dangers.

Find out more about how Office 365 can benefit your business. Get in touch today.

January 13th, 2015

iPad_Jan12_AEver since the first iPad came out, many people have wanted to use it as their second computer monitor to help boost efficiency and productivity. The only problem was that most software that makes the transfer possible uses Wi-Fi which comes paralleled with a lagging screen and inconsistency. However, a new application that will seamlessly turn your iPad into your second Mac screen is now available.

Duet Display, developed by a former Apple engineer, Rahul Dewan, will turn your iPad into an external screen for your Mac, and does so using a cable that you already use to charge and sync your iPad. To be precise, it’s actually two apps — one for your iOS device and a companion app for your Mac that lets it recognize an iPad or iPhone as a second screen.

How does Duet Display work?

  1. Download Duet Display from the Apple Store for $14.99
  2. Install Duet Display for OS X
  3. Duet Display will add a little settings icon to the right side of your menu bar and requires a password when you’re installing it on your Mac. This is because the app needs to install display drivers.
  4. Open the Duet Display app on your iPad and plug it into your Mac with a lightning cable (or a 30-pin cable if you’ve got an older iPad that’s still supported).
  5. Now you can enjoy working with two screens!

Because your iPad is plugged in, you won’t have to worry about your iPad’s battery. And while you’re using Duet Display on the iPad, you’ll still get your regular iOS notifications. You can also set your computer to use all the pixels on your iPad’s Retina display (2,048×1,536 pixel resolution), or you can set your iPad to regular resolution too. Duet Display works with all Macs running on OS X Yosemite and any iPads or iPhones running iOS 5.1.1 or above, meaning it will work with your old iPad. The only downside is you can only connect a single iOS device for now.

The growing number of applications in the App Store means there are often new ways to make use of your iPad being introduced. Looking to learn more about the iPad and its capabilities? Contact us and see how we can help.

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January 7th, 2015

web_Dec26_AEvery business, regardless of size and industry, needs to have an online presence these days. The first step to take, when establishing this, is to create a website. While developing your site, you are going to need to find a way to establish it online using a Web host. If this is an area you are unfamiliar with then here is an overview of what exactly a Web host is, and the two most common types of hosting.

What exactly is a Web host?

When creating a website, you are going to need to find a way to get the files and pages that make up your site online and available for all Internet users to see. In order to do this, you are going to need to work with a Web host who provides space on a server for you to host your website files (what the user sees when they visit your site).

A good way to think of a Web host is as being similar to a company that businesses rent premises from. You pay the company to rent space to host your Website so that you can run your business. Many Web hosts also offer a service called domain hosting, which allows you to create a Web address so users can access your website e.g., google.com, inc.com, etc. Combine these two services together and you have the main foundations for your website.

Beyond simply hosting your website, Web hosts often host domain-based email addresses, website databases, videos, etc. Essentially, whatever needs to go on your website will need to be stored with your Web host.

When you sign up with a Web host you will usually pay a monthly fee, which the company uses to maintain and invest in new servers for hosting, decreased access speeds, and better services.

What are the two most common types of Web hosting?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of Web hosts around the world, but you can fit almost all of them in one of two categories:

  1. Shared hosting - Hosting where multiple, different websites are stored on one physical hosting server. Sites avet their own partition (section of storage) that is kept separate from other sites on the same server.
  2. Dedicated hosting - Hosting where one website is hosted per server. This means you have all of the server’s capacity to yourself. No other websites beyond yours and the other sites you run are hosted.

Which one is best for my business website?

The vast majority of websites on the Internet are hosted via shared hosting services. This is because this way is more affordable, while still offering generally stable access and access speeds. For almost all small to medium businesses who want fairly simple websites, or sites with minimal features, a shared host is ideal.

If your website is going to be large, e.g., thousands of pages, and you are going to need to host complex features like advanced ecommerce, streaming, etc., then it would be best to opt for a dedicated hosting service.

As a general rule of thumb, for most business needs a shared hosting service is sufficient. Dedicated hosting is more suitable for large sites like Google, Amazon, government sites, etc.

There are a wide-variety of Web hosts out there and it can be a challenge to select one that works well for your business. What we recommend is contacting us. With our expertise and solutions, we can help find a Web host that will work best for your website and business needs. Contact us today to shine the spotlight on your online presence.

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January 7th, 2015

Office365_Dec15_AWhat is employee self-service? You hear that term a lot, but if you are a relatively small employer and/or new to the HR role, do you really know? I didn’t until someone explained the concept and informed me that there was actually a product that could tie into my core HRMS to do the things I had been doing manually for years, then disseminate the necessary information to my managers and executives for approval or notification. Wow, talk about a surprise! How many personnel action forms have you completed for address changes, emergency contacts, phone number changes, and so on? You know the drill. A PA form is needed for everything! Plus, as HR, we are taught to “document” everything for use at some later point in time. Imagine … Employees key in their changes to personal information from the comfort of their desks (or even their homes), then, these changes follow some type of logical expression or pathway that you’ve preset in the system to automatically route to the appropriate individual(s) for approval or notification. Employees are able to access other pieces of HR information, which includes skills, job history, and performance reviews. Managers have instant access to employee data for both direct and indirect reports. They can review attendance information, employee performance, salary history, time off requested and much more. Really, the possibilities are endless.  Again … .whoaaaaa, cool! For some companies I’ve worked for, I was the person actually introducing and/or creating the PA form. What I mean by creating the PA form is taking a form and actually crafting it into an MS Word or other application (that is similar to being an artist or graphic designer using the computer), then training everyone on the PA form use, or just offering to complete the PA form for the managers to save them time for whatever change it is they needed to make within the HRMS. Can you say time consuming? Have you ever held that role? If you work in a small company, sure you have!

So, what’s the lesson learned or key takeaway here? Employee self-service products really can and do save you time and money. More importantly, though, they yield a healthy Return on Employee Investment by creating the best circumstances for each individual in the organization to perform at his or her best potential. For some employees within the organization empowerment makes all the difference in the world. By giving your employees ownership of their personal information and enabling them to input their own changes directly into the HRMS when it’s convenient for them to do so, you promote workplace satisfaction, thereby increasing your Return on Employee Investment. In addition, by encouraging your employees to use employee self-service to gain access to the relevant information they need when they need it, you can begin to enhance company communication and improve motivation. Plus, increasing employee engagement correlates directly with a positive impact on key metrics within the business, which will ultimately help the organization reach its goals.

The first step you need to take, though, is actually seeing an employee self-service product in action and then talking to a few people who are similarly situated to you with respect to the size of your organization and your specific role within it. It’s really that simple. I admit I was reluctant to the process at first because I thought I’d been doing a pretty good job of things on my own; however, once I realized (and saw for myself) that I could streamline this process entirely, while empowering my employees in the process, then I could begin to retool the next big labor intensive HR process.

Take the first step and learn more about how an HRMS product can help you by contacting us today.

January 6th, 2015

osx_Dec25_AAs we look ahead to new tech developments for 2015, we also appreciate what an interesting past year it has been for Apple, with new versions of iOS, OS X, iPhones, and iPads released. The company has undoubtedly a lot to offer businesses, but the question is, with such a good year in 2014, what can we expect from Apple in the year ahead?

1. Apple focuses more on business solutions

Early in 2014, Apple announced that they would be entering a long-term partnership with enterprise giant IBM. The idea behind this was that Apple would work with IBM to develop a better way to bring mobile solutions to businesses and whole industries.

Up until now there has been little announced beyond this initial partnership. However, you can expect that both IBM and Apple are working on big developments that could debut in 2015. One indicator of this is the way many Apple products, mobile devices especially, are being integrated into businesses. Most devices, like the iPad, enter the business via an employee bringing them to the office (BYOD), and using their own device for work.

While this has worked well for many companies, the business side (apps, marketing, company-wide management, etc.) has largely been lacking or unsupported. It is a fair belief to think that Apple will continue to develop products in 2015, but leverage the IBM partnership to make devices easier to use and integrate into business; while also taking advantage of IBM’s wide industry expertise to launch industry-specific apps and services.

2. A larger iPad

Rumors started to fly about Apple developing a larger iPad for release some time in 2015. The word is that they are working on a 12.9 inch device that is supposedly being slated to be a replacement for low-end PC’s small netbooks.
This device could be great for businesses, especially those with employees who are on the road a lot, or who work directly with clients. Think about it: A highly portable tablet with enough screen space to run most apps, combined with a subscription to Office 365 or Google Apps, with a possible keyboard case. It could very well be a great solution for many businesses.

We can’t say when, or 100% for sure if this device will be released, but signs and rumors are pointing to a likely launch in 2015.

3. Apple Watch

This prediction is pretty much a no-brainer, largely because it has already been announced. Scheduled to be released in the spring of 2015, the Apple Watch should be the accessory of the year. Like most other Apple products, this will no doubt be a popular product with high demand from the domestic market.

At this time however, it really doesn’t look like there will be much use for this product for businesses for the time being. Sure, it provides a convenient way to interact with your phone, but many businesses will likely see it as more of a distraction than a help. That being said, some employees will probably purchase one privately so you do need to aware of this device, especially when it comes to your BYOD program and if the device is used for business activities.

4. An incremental update to the iPhone

With 2014 seeing the release of both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple brought some high-powered devices to the market that were a big step up over even the iPhone 5. In 2015, Apple will likely have a hard time outdoing the iPhone 6, so will possibly introduce a small update to the phone instead.

This version will probably have an improved processor and some small improvements that will make the phone a little more competitive against other devices released in the coming year. We don’t however expect an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus this year.

5. A smaller update to OS X

The past two years have seen back-to-back big versions of OS X drop. The most recent version, Yosemite, was a new design introduced along with a number of new features that brought the desktop operating system closer to Apple’s mobile operating system iOS.

In 2015 you can expect a new version of OS X to be unveiled and likely released, but we are pretty sure that it won’t be as big of an update as the last two. From what Apple has said about these systems, it looks like most features introduced in the next version of OS X will bring the iOS and OS X even closer together.

We’re curious to know what you would like to see from Apple in 2015. Let us know! And if you would like to learn more about implementing any existing Apple devices into your business, contact us today.

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