The Road Ahead: The Cave Consulting Blog

Cave Consulting raises the bar for EDC website developers

Added December 3, 2017

For over 16 years, Cave Consulting has been pioneering innovative ways of helping cities improve their operations so they can offer better services to their communities, improve employee productivity, increase data security, be better prepared for a disaster and waste less money.

Now, with the relaunch of the Pilot Point EDC website, we are officially announcing another specialized focus - making economic development corporations more impactful and cost-effective. 

Consider some of the Cave Consulting EDC website features: 

  • Online Forms and Registrations with robust backend databases for data management and manipulation.
  • Online Payment with popular tools such as Pay Pal that can integrate into financial programs such as Quickbooks. 
  • Posts that feed to Social Media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, etc...
  • Available Properties Page that synchronizes a Property address with a Google Map 
  • A calendar that integrates into an EDC's core productivity tools (email, calendar, contacts, calendar, documents, etc...)
  • Ability to let people "subscribe" to elements of the website such as posts, new properties, bids, etc...
  • Tools for website visitors to "Build a Report" of all of the relevant information they want to take with them
  • Newsletter creation, signup, and subscription to push promotional materials to prospective businesses
  • Management Tools that don't require you remember passwords - "Login with Google" 
  • Ability to manage website content form a mobile app

Just as our Municipal Websites are very competitively priced, so too are our EDC websites.

Making them even more cost-effective is the fact that they can tightly integrate into an EDC's core operations when running on the G Suite platform. So, instead of a "siloed" website that has built-in, proprietary features such as document storage and calendars, Cave Consulting websites leverage applications such as Google Drive which can serve to manage all of an EDC's internal and website documents, and Google Calendar which can be used to manage all of their events, both internal and website related. 

Plus, Cave Consulting can move an EDC's entire operation (email, documents, calendar, phone, SMS, forms, collaboration, specialty applications) into the cloud where employees can securely work anywhere, anytime on any device and costs associated with local networks and servers can be eliminated.

Cave Consulting can also help EDC's track prospects and manage projects with powerful tools that consolidate information into a single location so entire EDC teams can work on closing deals together with milestones and tasks automatically generated, assigned and placed on each user's calendar.

Combine all of this with some of the other services like SEO, marketing, advertising, broadband, cloud computing and economic development grants and plans, also available from Cave Consultilng, and it is easy to see how any EDC with a serious desire to grow would benefit from giving Cave Consulting a look when considering their next website.

Microsoft Ends Support - Again

Added October 12, 2017

On October 10, 2017, Microsoft terminated all support for Outlook 2007 and Office 2007.

That means no more security updates, feature updates, support or technical notes for the products, which Microsoft has supported for the past decade. 

In addition, Office 365 users that use Outlook 2007 will not be able to access Exchange Online mailboxes through the Office 365 portal. 
 

Most Outlook users are accustomed to constantly paying thousands of dollars for licenses, servers and IT support, so many will continue pumping money into this never-ending money pit, unaware that there is a better option that millions of businesses, cities, schools and other organizations have already discovered.

It's called G Suite, and Cave Consulting specializes in transitioning organizations onto this platform and showing them how to tailor it to help automate their specific workflows so they can get projects done faster, with less effort and with fewer resources.
 

With G Suite, organizations don't have to upgrade Microsoft Office to use their email and they are able to eliminate all expenses related to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, saving thousands of dollars!
 

And, since G Suite is 100% "cloud-based", it works on virtually any internet connected device, requires no special software installations and eliminates the need for IT setup for devices to access remotely.




Plus, G Suite is packed with many other productivity applications that can save an organization thousands of dollars in document storage/management and IT costs and can help teams drastically increase productivity.



And with G Suite, local network data is much safer as it does not run on Microsoft Windows or require Microsoft Outlook, two of the primary ways malware attacks occur and spread.   



Cave Consulting is currently offering to migrate affected user's email, contacts and calendar events onto the G Suite platform at no charge through the end of December, 2017 (limitations apply).

Disaster Recovery or Disaster Preparedness

Added August 31, 2017

Southeast Texas and Louisianna are currently experiencing, what the National FEMA director says, is probably the worst disaster in Texas history. 

Police officers and firefighters have been plucking people from floodwaters with the help of thousands of state and national guardsmen. Houses and roads have been inundated with water or washed away and several people have already lost their lives. And the storm has not finished wreaking havoc. 

As bad as the pictures and videos are, there is another silent, but an equally disastrous effect of this storm. That is the damage it has done and is doing to businesses, local governments, schools and other organizations who have had their critical data literally washed away and have been paralyzed, unable to conduct business because their buildings are underwater or worse, no longer exist!

Hundreds and probably thousands of organizations are going to be "recovering" from this natural disaster, trying to deal with lost data and lost customers. Sadly, many businesses won't ever open their doors again as it is been widely reported that 80% of all businesses hit by a disaster will go out of businesses. Likewise, while public entities like city governments, counties and schools won't go out of business, they often will lose historical data and will be unable to provide service to their respective communities.

Many just accept that this outcome is inevitable during and after a natural disaster because paper documents stored on site are susceptible to loss and servers, computer networks and software are typically stored and used in the building(s) that are affected by the disaster. When a tragedy like a flood, fire or tornado hits, it is just accepted that you need to find a way to "recover".

But what if you focused on "disaster preparedness" rather than "disaster recovery"? 

  • Would you lose as many paper documents? - NO
  • Would you lose any electronic files? - NO
  • Would your business processes stop? - NO
  • Would recovery be faster? YES
  • Would it cost less to recover? YES

Sound too good to be true? Well, it's not and it is called "Cloud Computing".

What is Cloud Computing?

Well, think about your email. If you use a program like Gmail or Yahoo, then you are using a "Cloud Application". In other words, you don't have to have any software or special hardware installed at your office. All you need is a browser or mobile device to use. This is where the modern "Digital Workforce" lives!

How does Cloud Computing make a difference?

First, using the browser and mobile device to run your business operations, means you can work from anywhere, so operations can continue, even if your building is incapacitated or otherwise destroyed.

Second, the more than 30-year-old server, office computer, and local network model lends itself to generating more paper which gets stored in the buildings which eventually get destroyed by a disaster.

Third, true cloud applications can work on virtually any computer or mobile device which means organizations that lose their buildings don't have to spend thousands of dollars to rebuild their servers and computer networks and they can use inexpensive browser-based machines that require no expensive software to be installed and little to no IT setup or maintenance.  

While the "cloud" may seem foreign and scary to some, the fact is that by 2018, it is estimated that 80% of all IT budgets will be committed to cloud applications and solutions. Moreover, the US Government recently mandated that all federal agencies move their data to the cloud because it is more secure.

Since 2010, Cave Consulting has been committed to helping cities, businesses, schools and other organizations leverage the browser and the mobile device, with an exclusive focus on G Suite and the Google Ecosystem which includes Android Phones and the Chrome Browser.

Our solutions are cost-effective and designed to allow people to work "anywhere", "anytime", from "any device", which, if employed, can greatly improve employee productivity, lower overhead and prepare an organization for a disaster, which is much better than having to recover from one.

Terrell's New Website - the Tip of the Iceburg

Added July 1, 2017

Don't be fooled by the City of Terrell, Texas' new municipal website which was designed by Cave Consulting. Sure it is beautiful, easy to use, information rich and mobile-friendly. But behind the scenes, is where it really shines!

Fully integrated with the City's productivity platform (G Suite), each City Department controls their own website documents in a folder that will soon sit side by side with all of the rest of their documents and the website calendar already works with the same tool that controls their office calendars.

Now, instead of uploading "copies" of documents to their website, their "originals" are automatically available on the website as soon as they save them and instead of having to log in to a website editor to add calendar events, they can now do it the same calendar they use the office, which works in the browser and on the mobile device.


 

Cave Consulting was also able to show the City how to utilize built-in tools such as Google Drive to "streamline" their agenda posting and minute archiving processes. These improved processes are drastically reducing the time and effort currently needed to create, distribute and archive the documents.  



 

Because of Cave Consulting's mastery of the Google Ecosystem, Browser and Mobile device, they were also able to help the City automate many of their online PDF forms and setup notification subscription services with free G Suite applications such as Google Forms and Google Sites as well as free 3rd party applications such as MailChimp.



The City of Terrell was simply seeking a new website. What they got was a beautiful, professional and transparent website PLUS a new toolkit that will help them become more efficient and greatly increase their productivity, data security, and disaster preparedness, all through the browser and the mobile device.