Archive for the ‘Scheduling Software’ Category

Check out the new technology for checking in

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Do you ever stop to think about the way you handle visitor management in your business or organisation? For that matter, do you know what visitor management is? Of course you do. You probably use it all the time, without even knowing what it’s called.

In its simplest form, Visitor Management is little more than the book that you use to sign in at reception when you visit someone else’s business premises. There is actually nothing new about that.

What is new is the way technology now handles more aspects of Visitor Management, registering visitors in advance of their arrival, then recording not just who is entering or leaving the premises, but also factors such as their exact whereabouts while they are there and the facilities they are using. It handles building security and access control.

Visitor Management is equally about making preparation for the visit in advance with items like pre-printed ID badges, then being prepared for a visitor’s needs, from the required size of a meeting room to the needs for catering.

Visitor management is becoming easier and more sophisticated, with technology replacing the traditional receptionist. But at what cost to your organisation? The question is, are you trading efficiency for less personal contact and an undifferentiated experience? Does the technology make visitors feel less human and more like items to be processed?

The trick is to find a common ground, to embrace the technology without the technology taking over. To do that you need to look at how visitor management has progressed in recent years and how to make the latest technology work best for you.

To address these issues and more, NFS Technology Group have introduced a new series of three White Papers on Visitor Management. Part 1, The Traditional Model is available now.  Download it here.



Make those meetings more meaningful

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Meetings are a big part of business life these days. Some are very useful. Others can be a waste of time and energy. Behind every meeting, there is a kind of psychology. Get it right, and your meetings will be more meaningful. Here’s a ten-point check list to help you do just that.

1. Ask yourself if the meeting is really necessary. Could the same result be achieved with memos and emails?

2. Check with attendees to find a mutually agreeable meeting time that doesn’t affect the workflow of someone’s whole day.

3. Don’t be ruled by specific time slots. If the meeting needs to be long, let it run. If not, cut it short.

4. Discuss the agenda at the start to assign what is most important. Use the agenda to attain defined goals and don’t deviate from it.

5. Get involved. Don’t look or act bored. If you disagree with something, say so. Don’t sit there bottling it up until the meeting has ended.

6. Appoint a good chairperson who will invite discussion in a logical way, without repetition or deviation from the subject in hand, and who knows when it’s time to move to next business.

7. Think about whether the meeting should be conducted sitting down or standing up. Sit-down meetings might last longer than stand-up meetings, but be no more productive.

8. If you want to add a little humour into the proceedings, do it subtly. Don’t get yourself a name as someone who fails to take things seriously.

9. If the meeting involves a group of strangers, some or all of whom have not met before, take time before the start to meet and socialise a little.

10. Ask for feedback and act on it for the next meeting.

To address these issues and more, NFS Technology Group has introduced a new series of three White Papers under the general heading of The Psychology of Booking and Running Meetings. A supplemental to part 3, Ten Tips for Better Meetings is available now. Download it here



When picking a partner strengthens your business

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

It might sometimes be good to be known as one of a kind, but there are times when two heads are better than one.

Take the NFS Technology Group, for example. Many of their clients think of them as one of a kind, in the way they supply software solutions that improve business efficiency and reduce costs while helping to grow revenue. But NFS also see the strength from putting their heads together with others and forming strategic partnerships.

Earlier this year, the UK-based company got together with Amnet in the US, recognising the way combining the different yet compatible strengths of the two companies would come together to offer reliability and ease of use to the next generation of video conferencing management.

Now, NFS has entered into a strategic partnership, this time with groupVision in Spain and Portugal. This new partner specialises in groupware – hardware and software tools that help groups access and share the information they need to meet, train or teach. As such, the company was very keen to offer NFS’ Rendezvous suite of software throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

The benefits of such a partnership are obvious: groupVision gets to market a new product, with the proven assurance of quality and reliability, while NFS reaches new markets in the knowledge that the people selling their product have the required depth of knowledge needed for the purpose. And, between them the two companies can give 24/7 technical support to customers throughout the UK and Europe.

So what’s better – to be one of a kind or part of a partnership? The answer is probably both. The trick is to recognise when the strengths of two companies can combine to be a benefit to each.




Use dashboards to drive Business Intelligence

Monday, January 21st, 2013

If you thought a dashboard was something you found only in your car, think again. Dashboards are becoming increasingly important in the computer world – not to drive cars, but to drive Business Intelligence.

Dashboards, in the computer sense, take real-time information and display it in a quick and easy-to-read graphical format. For example, a computer dashboard might include an instrument to measure the flow of visitors in and out of building. The Dashboard’s indicator creeps up as someone checks in, falls back as a person checks out, automatically giving exact real-time information about the number of visitors to that building at any one precise moment.

Such information can prove invaluable to departments that include reception, corporate real estate, central reservation teams and service staff, all of whom can check and then export data to allow further manipulation without the need for re-keying. It allows information to be taken away for easy distribution – and removes the opportunity for human error.

Different departments will have different Dashboard needs. Whilst one department might need instant information about the number of visitors in the building, another will be looking at how rooms are being used, whether room utilisation is greater in the morning or the afternoon. Meanwhile, reservation teams might need to examine who are the worst offenders in booking room space, but then not turning up to use it.

Data can be exported as PDF, Word or Excel files at the click of a button, allowing for further data manipulation before importing into a different application.

Dashboards on computer desktops to relay live statistics in easy-to-read graphics can be a component of Rendezvous Workspace scheduling software from NFS Technology Group.

Find out more about how Dashboards and Exports can work for you.

Read more about how Rendezvous Workspace can revolutionise your way of working.


Is space wastage costing your business too much?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

How can you measure what you can’t see? That’s one of the problems faced by facilities managers trying to measure, justify and eventually cost the way space is used in their organisation.

Many facilities management costs can be easily measured – rent, rates, utilities and energy charges, for example. But relating the cost of space to the way it is utilised is a lot less tangible and more difficult to measure, simply because we often don’t understand how well we are utilising space.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a room which can be used for eight hours in a working day with a seat capacity of ten people. If this room is booked for seven different meetings of one hour each with two people present each time, the impression might be that the room has been well utilised all day. But, in fact, the utilisation has only been 14 seat hours, for a room that has a possible maximum of 80 seat hours in a day.

What about desks that remain empty when the designated owner is away travelling on business, on holiday or sick? In an age when hot desking is becoming more popular, could they be utilised better?

Are you using rooms with video conferencing and telepresence facilities for meetings that don’t require those resources, when someone else in your organisation might be putting that room to better use?

Would your business benefit from conversion of some of the available space? Would it prevent people using big rooms for small meetings? Would more available space help cut costs through having to sometimes book external space in hotels for meetings?

The fact is that occupancy level in the average organisation runs at between 40% and 70%. That means you could be paying rent, rates, energy and utilities charges for at least 30% and, at the worst, 60% of unoccupied space. Reduce unoccupied space and you’ll see the impact on your net profit.

Facilities managers need to understand how space within their organisation is used, by examining the culture and psychology of staff and actual space booking processes. Only then can they align the requirements for each type of meeting with the resources available.

How to understand and measure space utilisation, and maximise its potential, is the subject of a new White Paper from NFS Technology Group. Download it here.



Global communication: big solutions for a small world

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The world is getting smaller, as video conferencing and telepresence have made global meetings an everyday aspect of business life.

So why, in this age of instant communication, and an “always on” culture, do some people find organising a global meeting such a challenge? Maybe it’s because there are so many factors to consider, organise and bring together: multiple time zones, people and space availability, scheduling, communications and notifications.

It can be so overwhelming that people do not even want to begin the process. But the good news is that today’s technology can take the burden off your shoulders and bring together many of those otherwise difficult to manage aspects.

Consider the tools you need to plan a global meeting. The core toolkit should include the following:

• Availability of participants

• Availability of space

• Ability to book/request resources

• Communications and notifications, linking all service providers

• Activity management, with prompts and reminders to deal with a plethora of tasks.

Today, the browser-based Rendezvous Room and Resource Scheduling Solution from NFS Technology Group provides instant information on space and resource availability, critical to the effective planning of global meetings. But, when choosing a solution like this, do not fall into the trap of limiting the scope of the toolkit to local property management. The game is now being played at the enterprise level, so select the technology solutions that deliver multi-location information and deal with key business issues such as time zone management.

As changes happen, communication plays an important role in global meeting organisation. There too, the Rendezvous Scheduling Solution lends support.

Information is available on factors such as the availability of a video conferencing room across all locations on the date and time required.

The capability to automatically communicate with service providers, such as catering and AV, in a structured manner is also available.

If a meeting room is changed in one location relevant parties can be informed, using the appropriate communications and can be received on their devices – iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android.

Select the Rendezvous Scheduling Solution to support your global meetings, design the process to make it simple for all involved, and you will be ready to expect the unexpected.

Learn more about how NFS can help with your scheduling needs.



A message for rooms and resources organisers: DON’T PANIC!

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Have you ever been in one of those situations when an urgent meeting has been called and, suddenly, everyone starts to panic? An available room must be found, resources such as laptops or AV arranged, catering will be required, and it all has to be organised… NOW!

Time was when all this fell onto the hapless shoulders of some poor secretary or PA – who also had a hundred and one other urgent jobs to do. Consequently, things didn’t happen fast enough and, if they did, something inevitably went wrong.

Luckily, thanks to the latest technology, all that is a thing of the past. Take, for example, the End User Interface solution from NFS Hospitality that works with the same company’s Rendezvous Workspace software.

It allows staff to easily request or book rooms, arrange for catering and request other resources such as laptops, but still uphold an approval process if necessary. Based on the familiar Windows desktop, Rendezvous’ web/intranet solution offers easy integration with corporate intranets and provides a simplified process for making a request. Authorised users can create, amend and/or cancel bookings 24 hours a day, based on business rules set by any administrators.

You might think that such powerful functionality is difficult to understand, to learn, or to use. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Rendezvous End User Interface is easy to use and can be configured to handle meeting room availability, online booking and the necessary resource requests – all without the booking office having to re-key initial booking information.

Result: all those last-minute panics that were once so much a part of meeting room and resource planning have become a thing of the past.

The Rendezvous End User Interface is the subject of a new Component Paper from NFS Hospitality. Download it here. Then watch out for three more to come soon, dealing in more detail with online booking, resource requests and overcoming restrictions.


Total control of your meetings – on the move

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

At one time, people went to work in an office. These days, they are more apt to take the office with them to somewhere more remote. It makes working easy, but how easy is it to arrange meetings, book room space and arrange the peripheries necessary to go with any meeting, whilst on the move?

The answer is, very easy, thanks to the latest Workspace Mobile solution and the Workspace Smart monitor from NFS Technology group.

Workspace works perfectly with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera, meaning the system can be accessed from practically any device that has a web browser and internet connection.

The Workspace Smart monitor enables staff to make quick decisions on a room booking or a room move, knowing that relevant colleagues will be notified and services will be automatically arranged/re-arranged as a background task.

Full details can be found in a new Workspace Agile Working White Paper from NFS. Download it here.


Video conferencing do’s and don’ts

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Video conferencing isn’t just about technology. It’s about etiquette too. Have you ever been involved in a video conference and noticed someone on the screen in front of you who is fidgeting, who hasn’t bothered to think about their appearance, or is even yawning? Okay, you get the message. Perhaps you’ve even been guilty of similar behaviour yourself.

When a video conference starts and you’re in the zone, it’s easy to forget that people you are speaking to are not in the same room, might not even be in the same country. Equally, you should remember that others can still see you, even though they are not actually sitting in front of you.

That’s why NFS Technology Group have put together a white paper to back up their Video Conferencing eBooks, with hints and tips on what to do and what not to do when taking part in a video conference.

Download it here


Making a start with video conferencing

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

So you want to get into video conferencing, but don’t know where to start?

Well, you could start by thinking about reliability, versatility and security. You need to consider ease of use, accessibility, cost effectiveness, who will use it and how.

Confused? Don’t be. It’s for that very reason that NFS Technology Group have put together a white paper to back up their Video Conferencing eBooks, with tips on are the important points that you need to consider and ask about when you meet your video conferencing supplier.

Download it here