Having the right tools makes all the difference, , , improves your productivity, makes life easier, and most importantly can reduce a lot of stress. Many of the tools in my IT Manager ToolKit were developed with these ideas specifically in mind.
For example, I have a Class To Do List that lists everything I need to do to prepare to deliver one of my IT Manager Institute programs, , , from ordering the class materials and arranging for flight and hotel, , , to getting a haircut and going to the bank before I leave town. I can tell you from personal experience that this little tool eliminates my showing up for class and not being fully prepared. It also eliminates any stress in preparing for the class because I know with a quick glance exactly what is left to be done.
There are other tools I use in my business that might be of value to you in your management role. Here is a quick list:
WordPress – One of the best communication tools I’ve found and it’s free. You should look into this one as a means to share information within your company, even with clients outside the company. IT can be the leader in introducing a great tool like this to Human Resources, Marketing and Sales, or your Operations groups in your company. www.wordpress.com
iContact – I produce and distribute my monthly Practical IT Manager Newsletter to 20,000 IT managers from all over the world using iContact. If you send lots of email on a regular basis, you need good List Management Software and I’ve been very pleased with iContact. Free trial at www.icontact.com
Mimeo – What a great find this was. If you need to prepare documents like class materials, brochures, books, pamphlets, etc, , , Mimeo is super, , , plus they can get your documents anywhere in the US the next day and anywhere in the world in 2-4 days. This service probably saved my marriage (just kidding). But preparing all the materials for my IT Manager Institute takes me all of 10 minutes now. In the early days of delivering the Institute, this step took many hours and was quite a pain. Better quality, good price, and quick response all make preparation for my class mighty easy – I love it. www.mimeo.com
IDPhoneCard – When I’m out of the country, I save hundreds of dollars on every trip by using the IDPhoneCard service to talk to my family every day. On my first “out of country” trip, I came back to a little surprise in our next phone bill – an extra $400.00 charge for long distance overseas calls. OUCH!! Now, I pay a few cents a minute for calls versus $2.00 or more per minute. This service has easily saved me over $5,000.00 in the last 6 years. If you travel overseas or need to make calls to other countries, this service can be a great benefit. http://www.idphonecard.com
Another tip – Be aware that when you are overseas and your cell phone is on and roaming for messages you are getting charged a premium fee, , , unless you have a true International Plan with your cell phone carrier. If you do not have an International Plan with a fixed monthly cost, you may want to put your iPhone in Airplane Mode (or whatever shuts down your particular phone) to avoid these charges.
Articulate – PowerPoint plug-in that adds nice features plus gives you the ability to publish your presentation in flash to the web, a CD, and other options. Our 20 Minute IT Manager sessions and my IT Manager Institute Self Study were created with Articulate – great product. I also use Articulate Online to host my IT Manager Institute Self Study www.articulate.com
ProShow Producer – When I want to create a quick slideshow of photos with special effects and background music, this is what I use. Quick to use, inexpensive, and lots of capabilities. www.photodex.com
Xara3D – This is my tool of choice to create 3D text and graphics. Inexpensive and does a lot for me. This company has many products, but Xara3D is the one I use most. www.xara.com
UltraSnap – From time to time, you need to capture an image of your screen or maybe a portion of your screen. I always had a problem getting good quality images until I discovered UltraSnap many years ago. It’s a “snap”, and I use UltraSnap PRO all the time. Click here for info.
Skype – Make phone calls from your PC to anyone who has a Skype account, , , and no charge. If I’m going to be on a long call and can do it from the Internet, this works nicely. www.skype.com
PDF995 – Convert any document to a PDF file quickly and easily. Installs as a printer on your system and when you print your file, simply select the PDF995 printer to create a PDF file. It’s free or you can upgrade to eliminate the ads. www.pdf995.com
Well, this is a quick list of some of my favorites. We use many more tools in our business as you might expect, but these are some of the jewels we have found over the years.
Got a favorite tool you would like to share? Make a comment and give us a brief description and link to go see it.