Category: business


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In the fast-moving world of online marketing change is the only constant, emerging technologies, tough competition and increased consumer expectations have created plenty of uncertainty.

Many digital agencies are confused about how to deliver relevant ad experiences moving forward. However, in that uncertainty there are also tremendous opportunities to leverage data and deliver the personalized ad experiences consumers prefer. Advertisers can make the most of this and position themselves for long-term success – if they’re willing to question some longstanding assumptions.

Executing ad campaigns today takes a different set of skills and real-time bidding (a strategy search marketers have used for years) is now feasible for display, social, mobile, video, text, radio advertising and even TV.”

Executing search and display campaigns, for instance, used to require completely different skill sets. Now programmatic technologys merging them.

“Search and display are uniting under a common theme: leveraging data to target consumers with the right message, in the right place, at the right time.”

This creates huge opportunities (IDC estimates real-time advertising is growing 59 percent per year) only if agencies and marketers are willing to develop new skills and reassess how they’re delivering ad experiences.

The media buyer and agencies that win today -and tomorrow – have started to look a lot different than successful media buyers from the past.”

In understanding and developing the ability to buy in real time, traditionally, display media buyers negotiated with sellers to run ads for a fixed number of impressions or amount of time. All the terms were worked out beforehand in a conversational, delayed executed setting. Programmatic technologies allow advertisers to be more nimble. Instead of committing a significant chunk of their ad spend before seeing any results, advertisers can make small-scale buys, generate feedback and make adjustments in real time.

Buying becomes an ongoing process. Kellogg’s used real-time targeting to increase its ROI between five and six times.”

This creates enormous opportunities to maximize the ROI on every campaign. Buyers can use feedback to optimize campaigns on the fly – scaling successful ad buys and ceasing unsuccessful ones.

To develop analytical skills and strong technical knowledges,
the analytical skills could become increasingly important in executing successful ad campaigns. Seventy-five percent of CMOs are already using customer analytics to mine data. Acquiring these skills might seem intimidating for some media experts, but it offers huge advantages as advertising technology evolves.

“Going forward, successful media buyers will behave more like stock traders. They’ll analyze large sets of data, cross-reference them and run regression models.”


But they won’t stop there. It will be up to them to “translate” those numbers into actionable insights to best optimize ad campaigns.


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Latest News & Developments in Business Strategy Practice

The idea that one can go through life without conflict or issues arising is unrealistic. Some might dream of a frictionless ride through the world as the ideal journey, but without some form of pushback, growth is impossible. It is these problems that we face which build our character, engage our creativity and build humility.

Events all over the world are being cancelled and organizers face the difficult question of how to carry on. How to manage in times of Coronavirus! Currently, the Coronavirus is troubling all industries. Professional and personal events all over the world are being cancelled and organizers face the difficult question of how to carry on.

TO MANTAIN AND DEVELOP SKILLS TO REACH PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL PURPOSE, IT IS ALWAYS USEFUL TO READ AROUND A TOPIC!


Books are the only thing you can buy that gives you wealth, as well as the specific references below, particularly highlighting: https://yourdaynewscoffeetime.wordpress.com/media/

Other reading suggestions to keep your interest up on new ways of thinking! Let’s try this together!

Outthink The Future

 

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One of the most reasons for this failure rate is that entrepreneurs don’t identify their target demographic correctly. Without clarifying your core customers, selling is ultimately a function of individual, heroic efforts within the field, not a scalable platform for growth.
The following four steps can reverse this downward trend:

1.Assemble and analyze customer data
Every firm should know the way customer attributes link to core selling metrics, including profitability, cost of customer acquisition and customer-lifetime value. While this information is usually scattered across multiple functions during a company, it’s worth pulling together to determine a standard language of customer value across functions.

2.Get the sector involved
 People in frontline positions hold the simplest understanding of customer behavior because it relates to the seller’s cost implications and will be involved in reviewing the information gathered. What can they tell us about profitable or unprofitable customer attributes? What else could be driving customer acquisition costs during a segment? What are the implications for the organizational change?

3.Determine who actually generates cash
 Implications from deeper understanding of your customers typically involve changes in how you measure sales effectiveness, performance reviews, incentives, product mix, channels and sometimes “addition by subtraction,” or the method of improving performance by not selling to certain styles of customers. the prices of serving customers, for instance, can vary dramatically for the vendor. Some customers require more calls, some buy few large production-efficient order quantities et al may buy more in overall volume but with many just-in-time orders, impacting delivery and other cost-to-serve elements.
Sales people are often dogged optimists in their call patterns, often assuming that there must be a pony in there somewhere. Yet by knowing who the purchasers that generate cash really are, you’re ready to clarify the worth proposition embedded during a strategy and align resources accordingly.

4.Communicate your criteria

The breadth of potential changes means communication is critical. Leaders must devote time and energy to discussing the rationale and what they mean for the business. In practice, most companies don’t take customer selection seriously until things go sour. However, communicating customer criteria now can contribute to faster deciding and greater profit later. The marketplace has no responsibility to tell you whether or not your sales people are barking up the incorrect tree.

It’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to think through and clarify your customer selection criteria. Done correctly, it can provide a scalable sales model, focus resources and establish an ongoing process for adapting your criteria within the face of inevitable market changes.


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NEWS & OVERVIEW DISCUSSIONS IN DIFFERENT MARKET INDUSTRIES

Connecting Successes


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In challenge, success is based on others success.
The adage that two brains are better than one may explain why a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners, create partnerships. However, it’s not just those brains that should work well together. Partners’ personalities need to get along too.

If you are a serial entrepreneur who’s launched many companies, making a number of partnerships in the long way, this could brought the learning of some priceless lessons when creating those partnerships.
Among the most helpful tips that they are to be discovered, a reliable one îs making sure that you get along with your business partner. It’s important to find someone who complements your skills, but don’t underestimate the importance liking one another.
Communication is another big part of a business relationship
There’s a great article from earlier this year about a long-lasting business partnership and communication is a theme that runs throughout.
You can learn many things about creating and maintaining partnerships during this past two decades. Although there are dozens of tips, here are five key lessons:

  • Partnership agreements: As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, a good thing to do is to have the right agreements in place. It’s important for business partners to have clear partnership agreements drafted by attorneys.
  • Clear expectations: I’ve also suggested to avoid the hard way thinking people, including business partners that can not predict the next step. I believe business partners should consistently set their expectations with each other.
  • Think about your clients: When evaluating a potential business partnership, I look at weaknesses. I also think about clients and what type of partnership would benefit them.
  • Mutually beneficial: It might sound obvious, but still should be noted. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial. In my experience, both sides need to gain something from the relationship for it to be worthwhile.
  • It’s ok to walk away: Like any relationship, a business partnership holds a great deal of promise. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out. That’s alright. Don’t stay in a business partnership if you believe it’s no longer viable. I’ve learned that it’s better to end the partnership and regroup than to force something that’s not working.

“For a better understanding to how to get started in achieving good partnerships, is taking in consideration the history in the early 1700s when workers gave way to machine operations and then the 1800s Henry Ford in mass production changed manufacturing forever, then came robotics, computers, lean manufacturing and the lean sigma. “

Each success is connected to get products out the door and now we got a connected understanding.


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The Latest News On Contemporary Developments in Business Strategy Practise


How Marketers Can Connect Profit and Purpose
It takes time for a big idea to make its way into business practice. Six years ago, Harvard’s Michael Porter and FSG’s Mark Kramer made the bold statement that shared value —the idea that the purpose of a company is to achieve both shareholder profit and social purpose —

To reinvent capitalism.

They encouraged companies to go beyond CSR (corporate social responsibility) and integrate social impact into companies’ competitive strategy. And, Nathaniel Foote and Russ Eisenstat proposed

“ A better way to manage in the 21st century.

They found “higher-ambition” leaders achieved superior performance by doing well and doing good. For the last six years, they have worked with a group of top marketing executives and business leaders in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area from companies large and small. Each year they assess the issues that are most top-of-mind. From digital platforms to customer experience to crisis management, these priorities have been a bellwether for what would soon dominate boardroom discussions and headline business publications.
This year the issue of profit and propose came to the fore, echoing the earlier manifestos. To understand the connections and applications, interviews with over 20 CMOs and CEOs, finding a remarkably similar pattern across a highly diverse set of companies. To find widespread agreement that having great products and services and being a “good corporate citizen” are table stakes in a world of empowered citizens and consumers.
Melissa Waters, CMO of Lyft, says,

Any customer these days is asking for transparency on what a company stands for and why they operate. But you can’t exist just to make the world a better place.

Purpose today goes well beyond corporate social responsibility. According to Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP,

Purpose can’t be viewed as a department or initiative. It must be woven into a company’s operational fabric. Purpose is a lodestar guiding and inspiring everyone to create economic and societal value together.”

In a sense, purpose is following the path that digital has taken in the enterprise.


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News & Economic Trends

Comercial Leaders


What it truly comes down to the employee-employer relationship? Information discharged by Virgin Pulse uncovers precisely what representatives got to cherish in their job – and expansive portion reveal that excellence comes from a great relationship with their boss.

In fact, nearly 60 percent of the more than 1,000 full-time employees surveyed said that their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work, and 44 percent said it positively impacts their stress levels.

Considering nearly 50 percent of the 7,200 adults surveyed in a recent Gallup study left a job,

to get away from their manager.”

1. Open communication

The key to any great relationship is communication that goes both ways. Tragically, representatives don’t feel like their bosses are truly tuning in. A later study of more than 1,000 U.S. representatives by 15 Five appeared a unimportant 15 percent of workers are fulfilled with the quality of working environment communication.

great relationship is communication that goes both ways. Tragically, representatives don’t feel like their bosses are truly tuning in. A later study of more than 1,000 U.S. representatives by 15 Five appeared a unimportant 15 percent of workers are fulfilled with the quality of working environment communication.

What’s more, that same study found that 81 percent of employees would rather join a company that values “open communication” than one that offers great perks.

To create a work environment that supports open communication, consider implementing a web-based feedback platform. According to the survey by 15Five, 70 percent of employees said they’d be more likely to share information with managers if they could enter comments into an online feedback system.

2. Opportunities and investments

In a perfect world, both parties bring something in, and get something out from their relationships. For managers, the benefits of a great employee-employer relationship incorporates a workforce that’s exceedingly locked in the beneficials and fulfillement for their parts inside the organization. An viable and efficient workforce is nice for any business. For workers, the focal points of the relationship ought to go in the past to the paycheck and benefits that bundles into incorporate individualized training.

3. Gratitude and appreciation

It’s in our nature to need to be lauded for a work well done – a result of accepting “gold stars” amid our schoolyard days, no question. It consoles, propels and gives us the fuel we got to proceed doing what we do well.

In fact, Globoforce and SHRM’s 2015 Employee Recognition Report showed 86 percent of the 823 HR professionals surveyed said values-based recognition increased employee happiness at work, so don’t hold back on the “thank you” notes and pats.Employees will appreciate the recognition, and the employee-employer relationship will get a much-needed boost.

4. Interest in life outside of work

The employee-employer relationship ought to be proficient, but that doesn’t cruel bosses shouldn’t take the time to urge to know the individual behind the work. Endeavor treat workers as individuals, not fair worker bees. The key is to require an intrigued in employees’ lives exterior of work. What are employees’ individual and proficient objectives? Where do they trust to be in five a long time? Do they have a family? What do they like to do once the workday is over?

Questions like these help employers to know their employees on a more personal level. That helps them make sense of individual employee actions and preferences, and forms a much stronger bond between employers and their employees.


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Latest News for Strategy Business Developments

Scientific management


 

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No tyrant or slave driver in the ecstasy of his most delirious dream ever sought to place upon abject slaves a condition more repugnant.

There’s small space for Taylor’s thoughts in today’s world of freewheeling collaboration. But the works of individuals such as Michael Doorman and Michael Pound, with their accentuation on breaking commerce down into quantifiable (and controllable) exercises, hold more than a swoon resound of Taylor’s thoughts.

Taylor was the first man in history who did not take work for granted, but looked at it and studied it. His approach to work is still the basic foundation.


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The Latest News & Developments in Business Strategy Practice

Dealing With Diversity

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As a result of the suits and the reputation encompassing it, worker particularly directors must go to sessions approximately the preferences of a multiracial clientele.

reputation encompassing it, worker particularly directors must go to sessions approximately the preferences of a multiracial clientele.

The reasons, over and over human tolerability, are practical. One is the moving confront of the workforce, as guys, who utilized to be the overwhelming gather, are getting to be a minority.

A overview of a few hundred companies found that more than three-quarters of unused worker were from distinctive teritories – a statistic move that’s too reflected to a large expand within the changing pool of clients.

Another reason is the expanding require for universal companies to have representative who not as it were put any inclination aside to appreciate individuals from different societies (and markets) but too turn that appreciation to competitive advantage.

A third inspiration is the potential natural product of differences, in terms of increased collective inventiveness and entrepreneurial vitality. All this implies means implies that the culture of an association must alter in conclusion to cultivate resilience, indeed in case person predispositions stay.

Expect change

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Commerce streams is within substantial amounts of foreign trade and hence movements of currency, result from the activities of very large multinationals companies or enterprises.

One sign of this the number of companies from the developing countries shows up within the Fortune 500 list of the world’s greatest companies.

Substantial amounts of foreign trade and hence movements of currency, result from the activities of very large multinationals companies or enterprises.

The transnationality list gives the degree of an MNE’s inclusion overseas by looking at three proportions remote asset/total resources, remote sales/total deals and remote employment. As such it captures the significance of outside exercises in its in general exercises. These multinationals are tremendous associations and their showcase esteem regularly surpass the GNP of numerous of the nations in which they work.

There are over 60000 MNE’s around the world and they are estimated to account for a quarter of the world’s output.

The development in MNE’s is due to unwinding on trade controls, making it simpler to move cash between nations, and the enhancements in communication, which makes it conceivable to run a world-wide commerce from one nation.


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The power of systems

In selling directing through distributors and collaborate with installers and contributors for project service distribution, putting a system engagement employee it’s a solution that allows you to access information and make it available to your organisation.

An article from Harvart Business Reviews with the headline “The Digital Transformation of Business”, where they surveyed 537 of their customers that were asked about the most important place where they can begin in making investment, and there answer is in customers facing technology.
Although the four “megatrends” of cloud, big data, mobile and social technologies are clearly having a positive impact, industry watchers who believe that only a few early adopters have been able to transform their organizations with these technologies are mistaken.
Digital transformation is occurring rapidly at a majority of public and private sector organizations.

Business leaders are not simply deploying the four technologies to boost efficiency or otherwise cut costs. Instead, research shows that firms are embracing the megatrends to craft new business models, develop new revenue streams, or drive other material changes that lead to an increase in the top or bottom lines.

It’s a full-fledged mobile sales terminal for the whole customer experience,”

says Greenbaum.
Eventually, the mobile devices—together with a growing number of in-seat flat screen TVs—will enable Delta to sell higher-value seats, book new flights, reserve hotel rooms, or rent cars while in flight, delivering new services and new sources of revenue.
In addition, the airline says it will eventually provide flight attendants with customer-specific information from Delta’s customer relationship management (CRM) system on their mobile devices to enable more personalized service.

That’s pretty transformational,”

says Greenbaum.
The widespread use of mobile technologies is also having an impact on the public sector. For example, the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom wanted to dramatically improve the way suspects brought into the police station were processed.
Aside from the fact that the suspects weren’t always cooperative, the technology used to capture photos of the suspects was aging, and image capture had to be performed in a fixed manner by trained specialists in a specified location. At the end of the day “it was a cumbersome and difficult process,” says Richard Thwaite, chief information officer of the Metropolitan Police.

A. MOBILE CONNECTS EMPLOYEES TO THEIR WORK AND EACH OTHER

Benefits of using mobile devices and applications

To improve its booking process, the agency deployed tablets with specialized mobile applications to police officers so they themselves could capture multiple images and video clips of the suspects, including tattoos or clothing, in a less confrontational manner, and enter it into their systems quickly.

Other innovations the Metropolitan Police is pursuing include cameras on officers and a text messaging service to reduce emergency calls.

We are going to use technology to stop crime, arrest offenders, or help victims. We need to keep police officers out of police stations and reduce bureaucracy,”

says Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

Digital policing will help us to do this.”

Similarly, the growing ubiquity of mobile technologies is having a transformative impact by helping to deliver healthcare services to underserved populations.

None quarter of all stillborn births happen in India—600,000 a year in that country alone—largely because so many expectant mothers live too far away from sources of good maternal and obstetric care.

Wipro, a system integration services company, looked at the inefficiencies in delivery of medical care to these women in India and decided that there were several areas where technology could dramatically improve the process.

Last year, Wipro unveiled a system that enabled healthcare providers to deliver remote prenatal and cardiac care using mobile technologies.

The AssureHealth platform combines a mobile application, integrated medical devices, analytics, and cloud services. A wireless monitor records heart rates or uterine activity and delivers the information via Bluetooth to the mobile device.

The device sends the data to the cloud, where it is analyzed, and a doctor hundreds of miles away can download the results and provide an assessment in real time. In areas of India where health services aren’t readily available, explains T.K. Padmanabha, CTO of Wipro,

what is available is the phone.”

With regard to the risks involved in deploying mobile technologies, the survey found that data security far outpaces other concerns.
Survey respondents who said mobile technologies are a critical part of their infrastructure are also likely to name data security as their number one worry.

Employees have access to your data on a device they can—and will—lose,”

says David Chappell, principal with technology consultancy Chappell & Associates.

The portability of data and apps, plus the use of personal devices, raises red flags.

B.SECURITY RISKS ARE RELATIVE

Data security ranks as an important risk, especially for mobile and cloud

Security is an important concern with all four of the megatrends. When it comes to the public cloud, for example, security is

“a trust issue,”

says Chappell.

And it takes time to build that trust.”

Greenbaum notes that executives are more aware of security issues these days because of recent events, including revelations about the U.S. government’s National Security Agency (NSA) snooping, massive data breaches at Target and other retailers, and the Heartbleed bug that exposed vulnerabilities in a widely used web security protocol.
Leading companies are dealing with the security risks associated with the widespread adoption of mobile technologies by developing sound BYOD strategies.
They are adopting device encryption and two-factor authentication, as well as using Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to wipe out corporate data on devices if they are lost or stolen.

C. CLOUD COMPUTING DRIVES BUSINESS AGILITY

According to the study, 53 percent of respondents said that the cloud’s ability to deliver flexible capacity as needed is the technology’s leading benefit, followed by 50 percent of respondents who said that increased business agility was its main benefit.

Forty-three percent pointed to lower fixed costs from using cloud-based solutions as its key benefit. Going forward, cloud computing is primed to have a powerful impact on businesses in 2015.

More than three-fifths (62 percent) of respondents say cloud will transform their businesses in the next 12 months, up from 47 percent who say it’s doing so today. It will also change the way people work, according to 56 percent of those surveyed.

While cloud technologies have clearly had an impact on IT departments, companies are doing more with them than revamping IT operations.

We’re beyond the first generation of cloud transformation, which was just facilitating the move from capital to operating expense. Now we’re looking at ways in which we can more easily enable collaboration and deploy services in elastic fashion,”

offers Greenbaum.

D. CLOUD MAKES BUSINESS FLEXIBLE AND COST EFFECTIVE

Benefits of cloud computing

Companies need to be agile, flexible, and fast to meet customer expectations. Cloud computing can be key to that responsiveness.

We have customers who give us 90 days to get something up and running,”

observes Padmanabha of Wipro.

There’s no way I can do that in my traditional data center.”

The public cloud delivers a time-to-market advantage that’s hard for enterprises to beat.

“We see a lot of traction with customers who have projects that have a short window of time to deliver results,”

Padmanabha says.
Wu Feng, a professor of computer science, electrical & computer engineering, and health sciences at Virginia Tech, concurs that the flexible capacity of cloud-based solutions can enable dramatic increases in performance that weren’t available previously.

Next-generation sequencers are capable of doubling the amount of data that they generate every eight or nine months.

We’re generating data faster than we can analyze it,”

Feng says.

A cloud solution, which optimizes data management and data transfer, delivers better performance and access to DNA sequencing tools and resources, leading to faster advancements in medical research.
As with mobile, security issues and privacy concerns are the main barriers that inhibit cloud adoption.

“I’m in a highly regulated business. Beyond that, I’m in a consumer-facing business where I’m accountable for the stewardship of personally identifiable customer data,”

says Ray Voelker, CIO of Progressive Insurance.

Because encrypting data in the cloud would slow down the speed of analytics, Voelker says he’s evaluating hybrid cloud solutions.

Most companies look at a hybrid environment,”

says Greenbaum.

“They don’t do everything in the cloud. But as new services and capabilities and opportunities come up, they look to do that via cloud services.”

Despite some hesitation, the study identified strong support for cloud-based solutions as more than just a way to reduce IT infrastructure and personnel spending.

The study found that leading companies are using the rise of public and private cloud computing to create new business models and services in addition to taking advantage of the greater cost efficiencies and scalability features that the cloud provides.

E. BIG DATA HELPS COMPANIES INNOVATE

The advent of new data analysis solutions such as in-memory computing, along with the ability to host many of these solutions in the cloud, is enabling enterprises to overcome the traditional barriers to big data analysis.

Organizations today have the ability to process and analyze large quantities of structured and unstructured data to generate business insight in real time. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT)—including wearable computing, connected cars, and smart cities—the amount of data organizations have available to analyze is set to increase exponentially.
Even now, just over half (54 percent) of respondents say that big data has transformed their organizations; 70 percent expect it to do so going forward.

For those who master big data, the biggest payoffs are allowing the integration of more data into decision making processes (according to 62 percent) and enabling faster generation of insights (cited by 52 percent).
Progressive has collected more than 178 terabytes of data via Snapshot—11 times the amount of all data stored by the Library of Congress.

It provides for a much more accurate pricing method for Progressive than estimating a customer’s potential for loss based on information like age, gender, and type of car, says Voelker.

What’s more, it has enabled an entirely new and successful product category—usage-based auto insurance.

It’s revolutionary to us,”

says Voelker.

Every time we find a more powerful segmentation variable, it drives more growth.”

Another example of a leading organization using big data to innovate comes from Auckland Transport, New Zealand’s public transport agency.
The agency analyzes four terabytes of operational data, including bus ridership, to discover the most popular routes, identify routes to expand, and improve the customer experience.

It’s a substantial undertaking,”

says Roger Jones, Auckland Transport’s manager of IT and business systems.

We have to figure out how to transform that data to information and then make that information relevant to the customer.”

In the future, Auckland Transport plans to analyze images from around the city to understand where traffic congestion occurs or to assist with public safety.

Ultimately, the agency will deliver personalized alerts to citizens letting them know their bus is running late or that there’s increased traffic on their usual route to work.
Despite the promise of big data, however, it remains hard to manage, hard to interpret, and hard to integrate into day-to-day business operations and decision making. Further, success doesn’t happen overnight.

The companies that are good at [big data] have been working on it for quite a while,”

says Thomas H. Davenport, professor of IT and Management at Babson College and author of Big Data @ Work.

Davenport points out that one of the earliest users of business analytics—UPS—has been working on telematics to track its packages and delivery trucks for 25 years but only recently announced plans for analytics-based dynamic routing (itself a project 10 years in development).

Further, skilled data analysts and scientists, who understand both the statistical modeling and the business applications of big data, are hard to find.
Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) say that a lack of data analysis skills is the biggest barrier to big data. Even those who regard big data as a critical part of their operations find it difficult to hire the necessary talent.

Leading companies are addressing this talent shortage by hiring skilled contractors or working with consulting firms that have big data practices.
Some are getting more creative. Jones, at Auckland Transport, is addressing the talent shortage by working with data scientists at local universities.

There’s a wealth of opportunity for PhDs who might unearth something interesting mixing our data sets with other data sets,”

There’s a wealth of opportunity for PhDs who might unearth something interesting mixing our data sets with other data sets,”


he explains.

The department is also sponsoring a hackathon.

It’s about exposing some of our data feeds so others can analyze it in ways we might not be able to internally.”

Further, the study results highlight that successful organizations are those that adopt a big data mind-set.

Business leaders must create a culture that embraces the intelligence big data delivers, agrees Donald A. Marchand, professor of strategy execution and information management at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).

You have to treat bad news as good news and be willing to act on it,”


he says.

You need the ability to see that the way you thought about things in the past may not be productive in the future.”

And this point of view has to be pervasive—from the C-suite to sales and product development to the front lines.

F. SOCIAL TRANSFORMS CORE BUSINESS PROCESSES

According to the survey, the consulting and business services sector is the most transformed by social media—more than half of that sector’s respondents indicated that they had already experienced a transformational effect from social. Early business successes with social networking are most visible in outbound marketing activities: 51 percent of respondents say that social media has increased their company’s ability to effectively communicate with its customers.

G. THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF BUSINESS

Industry experts observe that social media is becoming a core aspect of modern digital marketing strategies, and they see potential for it to radically transform the marketing function.

But forward-thinking organizations are not using social networks only to listen to and better understand customer sentiment about products, brands, and companies as a whole.

They are also using social technologies for recruiting and HR management, and for collaboration and communication with employees, partners and suppliers. The survey findings indicate that social technology is positioned to have a broad impact.

Survey respondents who deem social technology to be critical to their infrastructure (22 percent) are significantly more likely than their peers to say they benefit from an increased ability to innovate.
Even businesses that haven’t yet embraced social media anticipate its potential. More than half of all respondents say that social technology will transform their organizations (57 percent) and the way they work (58 percent) in the next few years.
Four years ago, Ask.com, a leading online brand for questions and answers, hired Eric McKirdy to improve the customer support experience and improve the support team’s internal operations.

By deploying a CRM application that integrates mobile social media listening capabilities, the company has transformed both. One key change in how Ask.com’s customer support team works is that they can now manage support tickets, including those generated through social media, entirely by smartphone, without being tethered to a laptop or an office.
Similarly, Auckland Transport is evaluating social tools to listen and respond quickly to citizen comments and even prevent security dangers.

The agency plans to mine that unstructured data, analyze it, and feed it to the operations team to respond to—and someday prevent— transportation problems. Like Ask.com, Auckland Transport eventually plans to create service requests from complaints posted on social networks, feed them into a CRM system, and manage them proactively.

Business leaders note, however, that it isn’t always clear how best to incorporate social media into core business operations.
Social technologies are often not integrated with core operational systems, and the data they generate is unstructured.

As far as enabling line of business transactions and being used beyond boosting marketing and the employment brand,”

says Progressive Insurance’s Voelker,

says Progressive Insurance’s Voelker,

“it’s less mature as a business tool.”

The main concerns survey respondents have about social technology include the time spent by employees using it (cited by 45 percent) and employee information overload (cited by 40 percent).

But leading companies are using social in their core lines of business, turning to social tools that provide a greater level of integration with their mission critical business systems.

For example, McKirdy of Ask.com said the company once used a variety of social media monitoring and communication tools to identify and respond to issues. But now that Ask.com uses one social module in a cloud-based CRM system,

We monitor all major social media channels and can respond with the click of a mouse,”

says McKirdy.
While it is clear that each of the four technology megatrends has had a tremendous impact independently, the study finds that deploying integrated solutions is where the greatest impact is achieved.

The most important trends, the most interesting things, are happening at the intersections of these four different technologies,”

asserts Babson College’s Davenport.

Similarly, Horrom, of the Detroit Lions, says,

There’s less value to the Lions in having big data coming in if we don’t have a method of compute in the cloud or on premises to interact in real time with our fans via a mobile platform.”

The survey found the likelihood that organizations are being transformed to be significantly greater among those that deem multiple technologies to be critical.

Among “multi-adopters”— organizations that view at least three of the megatrends as playing a critical role in operations— more than two-thirds (67 percent) report they have transformed, compared to as few as onethird (34 percent) of single adopters.

Even dual-adopters (using two technologies in critical areas) are better poised to reap the benefits that sit at the nexus of these technology trends.
Most importantly, the innovation and improved agility described in the examples above are not simply a result of spending more on IT.

At this point in cloud, mobile, social media, and analytics development, C-level and senior line of business executives should be assessing the various business capabilities of their organizations and developing a strategy and a road map to improve and differentiate their core capabilities with these digital technologies.

The firms that take advantage of the new capabilities can not only transform themselves but also achieve success in the 21st century.

None of the changes enabled by these technologies comes without accompanying organizational changes—management mind-sets, organizational behavior, operating cultures,”

says Marchand of IMD.

Deep change over time coupled with these technologies is where transformation happens.


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Even though there is widespead acceptance, entrepreneurs often ask how to value the sweat equity invested in their startup. A quick and easy response:

It’s worth whatever your investors tell you it’s worth.”

But over the years, come to realize that sweat equity isn’t the same thing as market value for your startup.

“Investors have no idea how to value sweat equity, and I now believe it’s a bad idea to let them tell you how to do it.”

At a minimum, they could use this as a negotiating tool to undervalue your startup.When you’re getting started, sweat equity is often a critical component of your negotiating leverage with co-founders, early stage employees and others who aren’t paid market wages to help you grow your business.As the business owner, you should be the expert on valuing sweat equity, not your investors, accountants or lawyers. Here are some tools for tackling the challenge.When determining the value of the sweat equity provided by an employee or potential co-founder, first assess these three characteristics of the person in question:

  1. Commitment:Is he or she committed to being a founding partner for the long haul?
  2. Unique contribution:Does he or she bring specialized knowledge, skills, leadership ability or experiences that you don’t have?
  3. Hopes and dreams:Are his or her hopes and dreams for personal wealth, business success and autonomy the same as yours? If not, are the differences substantial enough that they’ll pull the company apart?

Then, start thinking about the numbers.
1. Market value doesn’t equal the sum of sweat equity invested by you and your partners.

If you have invested $100,000 worth of your time in writing a business plan, and your partner, a young engineering student, has invested $25,000 worth of her time in building a prototype, it doesn’t mean the market value of your startup is $125,000.

In fact, it could be worth much more. Sweat equity is just one component of early-stage valuation. In a previous column, I discussed how valuing a startup is more driven by market conditions, comparable companies, exit potential, future capital needs and many other factors.
2. Foregone wages for an engineer aren’t the same as foregone wages for a prototype designer.

In the example described above, the $25,000 estimated by your business partner is likely to be based on wages that she could have earned in a full-time job. This is the typical way that a founder determines sweat equity: foregone wages.

However, your partner could just as easily have argued that her sweat equity is worth $250,000 since that’s what a prototype would have cost you to make had you hired a prototype development firm. Or she could argue that the prototype is so critical to the business that she should get 50 percent of the company’s stock.
In my experience, this is the basis for much of the negotiation that CEOs will have with their early-stage employees and co-founder. You need to determine the principle applied for valuing services invested in a nascent business. Foregone wages tends to be the anchor that keeps valuation negotiations from sailing into oblivion.Don’t be tempted to dole out equity to everyone who helps you found the company–even it makes you feel good to have co-founders. (Being an entrepreneur is lonely, but there are better ways to make friends or build a community of credible supporters than by giving early-stage equity to people who make small contributions to your business.)
One simple solution is to “pay” a slight premium for sweat equity to early-stage employees. For example, when valuing the sweat equity invested by your prototype designer, use $30,000 rather than $25,000 as a valuation figure and explain that you’re paying a 20 percent premium because of the risks associated with being paid in equity rather than cash.
3. Employees and founders are motivated by different things.

How should you decide if your prototype designer should be a co-founder who deserves 50 percent of your company or deserves $30,000 in sweat equity for her work as an employee or consultant?

Too often, I see entrepreneurs make this critical decision by trusting the opinion of their investors–or potential investors-rather than determining what their business will actually need. First-time entrepreneurs often think,

“If I approach a VC with a chief technology officer or chief prototype designer in place, then I’m more likely to get funded.”

So they end up getting a co-founder and parting with 50 percent of their company, even if their CTO is really a young prototype designer who will get discouraged or fired a few months later. Using a restricted stock agreement, you can mitigate risk, building in a buy-back right for the partner’s equity grant.Ultimately, it’s up to you. You get to decide what you need to give up to keep or get an invaluable partner on board.



Businesses existed before there were computers, fax machines, telephones and copiers, but few entrepreneurs these days would want to try to grow a company without the advantages modern information technology can bring.

Merely having access to the internet- with its myriad opportunities for finding customers, building brands, researching suppliers and communicating with employees and others – can easily justify updating the technology in your office.

For many companies, having the appropriate office technology can mean the difference between a successful expansion and one that falls flat on its face.
Managing technology and taking advantage of the opportunities it provides can prove daunting-particularly for small-business owners who lack an extensive budget and a dedicated IT department.
After all, achieving success in this technology-dominant era is far more complicated than putting a personal computer and a printer on a desk. You now have to understand how to take advantage of an IT infrastructure, including a robust network, to compete more effectively.

Ultimately, it’s as much about vision-and developing a viable strategy-as it is about actual computing. Too often, companies jump from one system or application to another but never realize the full benefit of their technology.

Without a defined strategy, they make poor buying decisions, adopt ineffective tools, and often experience a high level of frustration. Businesses that excel typically establish technology strategies that help them gain a competitive advantage through cost savings, process improvements, faster time to market, and improved quality and service levels.

These firms often exceed the expectations of customers, business partners and employees.

A. Developing a Tech Strategy


The smartest companies embrace a process for evaluating their technology goals and requirements before implementation. Your first step is to conduct an IT/network audit to document the technologies you already have in place and how they match your goals. You’ll want to determine the strengths and shortcomings of your current systems and their relative importance to your business objectives. The audit should cover the following areas:

  • Your company’s business requirements paired with the corresponding technology hardware/software/services solutions that address them.
  • A timeline for investment and deployment, showing how the timeline tracks to the priorities in the overall company business plan.
  • A design for a robust network architecture, which should include a network map of where your company is today technically–and how you plan to build your network in an evolutionary way.
  • Metrics and ways to measure the success of the IT investments.

Technology is vital to your business, but that doesn’t mean you always have to have the latest, greatest piece of equipment or software. Here’s how to evaluate your current technology to see whether it’s time to upgrade:
Computers are most likely to need upgrading as a result of a software update. If you’ve recently begun using a new version of an important software package and your computers’ performance seems unsatisfactorily slow, it may be time to buy new hardware. Otherwise, you can-and probably should-make do with what you have. Don’t delay buying new computers just because the ones you have are only a few years old, though. During that span of time, performance of the models on the market typically doubles. Forcing customers and employees to wait on slow computers can cost you far more than a new system would.
Telephone systems should be upgraded quickly if a problem develops because they’re your lifeline to customers and suppliers. If customers complain about being kept on hold, about phones not ringing or calls not being answered, you may need to add lines, improve your answering system, or perhaps hire more telephone operators.

If you expect your call volume to surge sharply-perhaps because of an upcoming new product launch or seasonal buying-you may want to upgrade your phone system before trouble starts, making sure you have enough time to implement a new system, train employees and work out all the bugs.
High-end copiers can cost more than a whole office full of computers. Today’s models are increasingly interchangeable with printers, thanks to the new generation of digital, network-ready copiers. Some late-model digital copiers will also scan documents and send faxes. But fancy features don’t mean you need one of these costly machines. Upgrade your copiers when you experience or foresee a significant increase in the volume of copies you produce. Adding extras such as automatic document feeders and staplers are nice but probably don’t justify an upgrade.
The great thing about the march of technology is not so much that the equipment keeps getting cheaper, it’s that it keeps getting better. And while you don’t want to be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, one exception is when you absolutely need a specific technology that has been introduced very recently.

Most new gadgets go through a steep price decline after an initial phase of high pricing. If you need something that’s currently the latest thing but you can live without it for a while, you can save significant amounts of money by waiting to purchase until several months after it debuts.

B. What About Upgrading?

Even when you can’t justify purchasing new equipment, that doesn’t mean your old tech has to languish. You can always improve your office computers by making upgrades–adding memory or purchasing external storage devices or faster processors. Many people would rather prolong the lives of their computers than get rid of them, and upgrading piece by piece can also eliminate the learning curve needed to adjust to a new machine.

You’ll need to be somewhat tech-savvy to take care of these upgrades yourself–or have access to a tech savvy employee or friend.
Here are some of the most effective and least expensive items you may want to buy to bring your older computers back up to speed:

  • Hard Drives. One of the most important features of any computer is its ability to store large amounts of data. Many systems today come standard with 20 to 40 gigabytes (GB) of storage, but with the growing interest in digital music and digital video, even 40GB may not be enough.
  • Whether you need desktop drives to back up your primary hard drives or store your digital video files, or a portable large-capacity drive to carry a hefty business presentation, there are several solutions that may help meet your needs. Consumer hard drives, such as FireWire and FireWire/USB combo hard drives, offer anywhere from an extra 20GB to upwards of more than 300GB of storage capacity. Such external drives allow for quick transfer rates between systems and other drives. Most come with accessories and are easy to install, making the upgrade process quick and painless. And when you’re ready to invest in new computers for the office, you’ll always have the extra digital storage space on hand should you need it.
  • CD-ROM/R/RW and DVD-ROM/R/RW Drives. If you regularly use your computer’s original CD drive to install or run software, listen to music and so on, you’ve probably noticed that it isn’t as fast as it used to be. You’ll find that CD-R/RW and DVD-R/RW drives are a good option because they allow you to burn large amounts of data, making them an ideal storage solution.
  • Processor Upgrades and Accelerators.Perhaps you’re simply looking for a little more “zoom.” Processor upgrades and accelerators allow you to increase the overall performance of a computer by allowing it to process information faster. Accelerators do this by shifting operational functionality and providing additional cache memory, thereby freeing up the computer’s main processor so it can do its real job–running software applications. And with recently released processor upgrades available at great values that enable older computers to perform at faster clock speeds, anyone planning to replace office computers simply because “new ones are faster” should seriously reconsider.
  • Memory. While everything that’s already been mentioned can help increase the usability of your current computers, one of the most tried-and-true ways to improve performance is to simply install more random access memory (RAM). If your office is running applications that require large portions of system resources, upgrading the amount and/or type of memory can speed up those applications and allow you to run more programs with less strain on your hardware. And with memory prices currently near bargain-basement levels, upgrading a computer’s RAM is one of the most affordable options you have to prolong its life.

The bottom line is that even with computer prices dropping, the more you can do to upgrade your existing machines, the more money you’re going to save until you’re ready to purchase the new machines. In the long run, upgrading one piece at a time allows you to further extend the effective lives of your computers without cutting out chunks of your bottom line.

C. Purchasing New Technology

If you’ve absolutely decided that you need to do more than upgrade your current equipment and software, however, it’s important to answer a few questions when considering making a new technology purchase:

  • Can my business achieve an immediate gain from the technology?
  • What benefits are possible and how long will it take us to achieve success?
  • What resources are required to implement and manage the technology?
  • Does the hardware or application support a foundation for future growth?

Once you know what you really need, you can start shopping around. One of the most common tech products entrepreneurs consider purchasing is new software.

But before you rush off to buy any new programs, keep in mind that you have several factors to consider other than just the capabilities and costs of the software. Your selections should be based on your company’s size, industry, internal organization, computing environment, technical expertise and, of course, the ever-important user interface. Even a great product can end up being a nuisance if it’s not intuitive to you as a user.
Before you go shopping, be sure to evaluate your company’s staple software. For each program, draw up a wish list of features or enhancements that would make using the package easier. Often, the solution may be as simple as an upgrade to the latest version available. Consider hiring an IT professional to examine your system and business needs and tell you whether you even need to upgrade. Getting an expert opinion can be a money-saving move for small-business owners who would prefer to spend time keeping up on the latest developments in their industries than on the latest in software.

Once you decide you need something new, try it before you buy it:

Check out software company websites for downloadable demos that can help you better gauge how easy their products are to use. If a demo version isn’t available, there’s usually a detailed online tour that gives you a lot more information than a paper brochure.

And before you buy the package outright, check with the software company to see if it’s bundled with other software or equipment that you might be in the market to buy anyway. If you’re shopping for a new accounting package or other critical software, consider doing a “scripted demo,” where you enter your data and run through test scenarios specific to your business’s transactions. It may be time-consuming, but if you buy the wrong software, it will be more costly later.

Take a good look at your business and pinpoint those activities that take more time than you’d like-the ones that make you mutter to yourself.

There must be something out there that can do this quicker than I can.”

No doubt, there probably is. For that matter, think about those activities you never seem to have time to do. From tools for creating websites to time-billing software, new products could provide brilliant solutions to problems you haven’t yet resolved. Make sure, though, that the solutions are worth the money and time you’ll have to spend to implement them successfully.
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can help you streamline customer service, simplify sales and marketing efforts, find new customers and generate more revenue from existing customers.

You can record customer interactions with sales and customer service personnel and keep a centralized database with current customer information that everyone in your company can access.

This will allow your entire organization to understand what each customer wants and needs and give you a 360-degree view of your business 24/7, which will help you keep customers happy and boost your bottom line.

D. Improving Your Network

While setting up a traditional wired network for your computers and peripherals is still a viable option, wireless networks are becoming faster, more affordable and easier to adopt than ever.

Growing small businesses that have adopted a wireless solution are already reporting immediate paybacks in higher productivity, flexible application mobility and greater worker satisfaction.
A wireless infrastructure can make it easier to reconfigure your office space as your company grows and changes. Also, the total cost of a wireless local area network (LAN) is relatively inexpensive–it’s become very affordable in the past few years and prices are continuing to drop. And a wireless network can help you improve your productivity:
Multiple computers can share printers and a single broadband internet connection without the hassle of running cables through walls. You can access your customer database whether you’re in your office or meeting clients in a conference room. Employees in the stockroom can update your inventory database in real-time using wireless PDAs. When you take into account productivity gains, both inside the office and at public “hot spots,” going wireless is an obvious choice, especially when compared to the cost of running a Cat 5 network LAN cable throughout a building.
However, since wireless networks transmit data over radio waves, which can potentially be intercepted, it’s important to have a security strategy for your wireless network. An unprotected wireless network is like an unlocked door–and too many small businesses are leaving their doors wide open. Below are some steps small businesses can take to make their wireless connection more secure:

  • Change your device’s default password. Wireless access points/routers come with default passwords set by the factory. Once entered, the password gives you access to change the device’s settings. Hackers know these default passwords and can use them to access your wireless access point/router and change its settings, for instance, turning off security features. To prevent unauthorized access to your wireless network equipment, change the device’s password to something difficult to guess. This password should preferably be an alphanumeric combination longer than 10 characters.
  • Change the default SSID
  • A service set identifier (SSID) is the name used to identify your wireless network. Your wireless access point/router came with a default, preset SSID. Hackers often look specifically for these preset SSIDs when scanning for networks, because they’re considered easy targets. As soon as possible, change the default SSID to something unique and, for extra security, change it regularly.
  • Don’t broadcast the SSIDBy default, wireless access points/routers broadcast SSIDs, making it easy for legitimate users–as well as hackers–to find and join a wireless network. However, you can choose not to broadcast your network’s SSID. Devices such as wireless computers and PDAs that require access to the network can be configured to automatically connect to your network’s SSID, so they don’t need the SSID to be broadcast to hook up.
  • Keep your wireless hardware’s firmware updatedThe software that enables access points/routers to operate properly, called firmware, is frequently updated by the device manufacturer. Often, updates include enhanced security. Updated firmware is available for free downloading online. Check your device manufacturer’s website support area regularly to ensure you have the most current firmware version installed.
  • Enable MAC address filteringA media access control (MAC) address is a unique series of numbers and letters assigned to every network device. You can configure your wireless access point/router to only allow access to specified MAC addresses (such as the addresses of each wireless computer on your network). MAC address filtering makes it much more difficult for hackers to access your network. The downside: It’s also more difficult to give wireless network access to clients, partners or others visiting your offices or locations. But protecting your system may be worth it.
  • Set a wireless policyCreate a clear but simple wireless network usage policy for all your employees to follow. The policy should include guidelines on the use of passwords, personal devices, such as wireless PDAs, and public Wi-Fi hot spots.

E. Disposing of Old Tech

Old PCs don’t die, and they don’t fade away, either. The average PC will run almost forever, and the harmful chemicals inside it will survive in your local landfill for even longer. How many long-lived-but-obsolete computers is your company moving around among staffers? There’s definitely a point of diminishing returns in holding on to PCs past their prime, as well as hidden costs in just about any disposal method you choose. Recycling, selling them to employees or giving them to charity are all viable options, but they all have costs attached–many of which may surprise you. It’s a good idea to have an exit strategy for your old hardware–and it should be in place long before the intrinsic value of your PCs hits zero.
Complete depreciation is often here before you know it, but there’s good news in that respect: The average middle-of-the-road PC now has a useful life of about three years; a high-end desktop, about four years. But be careful: Nurse an old PC along for too long, and productivity suffers–for low-level staffers as well as managers. Worker efficiency declines along with equipment efficiency, so when software takes longer to load, screens take longer to redraw and incompatibilities start to occur, memory upgrades need to be deployed. Most old PCs have years of utility left in them–just not for you. There are tons of schools, community groups, senior homes and other needy institutions that would be happy to take them off your hands.

Unfortunately, donation is another of the more costly disposal options. By the time you get done with moving, temporarily storing, shipping, tax record-keeping, making contractual arrangements with the beneficiary, possible testing and repair, and, of course, facing the ever-present legal exposure, IDC figures it will cost you $344 for each PC donated.
And the legal exposure is real. You could get sued for donating a defective or virus-infected computer, or you may be asked to defend the tax deduction. On the upside, the infrastructure for charitable donations is well-advanced, making this option less time-consuming.
One popular option for PC disposal is selling them. IDC says your net out-of-pocket per PC is $272 if you can sell it to an employee for $100, and $119 if you sell it to a third-party broker for $200. (Remember, costs vary among disposal options and you’ll still need to scrub the machines of company information.) The good news is, the PC is gone. But in both cases, you have to sell the PC before its value reaches zero. And those three years for a mid-range PC and four years for a high-end box go by quickly. Of course, brands vary. You can look up the residual value of your PC in the Orion Computer Blue Book. You can purchase the latest version of the Blue Book with the most recent prices from the Orion Research website. You also can look up prices for individual PCs online at $3.99 per shot.
In general, a lot of PC disposal costs are realized in soft dollars, and a certain amount of those are fixed. IDC says it will cost companies at least $150 for every PC taken out of service. First, there’s the labor involved in physically removing a system and its network components, disconnecting peripherals and scrubbing the hard drive of software, passwords and sensitive company files. Then there’s the downtime for employees during the move. After that, your costs will vary depending on how you choose to dispose of the old PC and may include payment for things like testing and repair or, in many cases, contractual or other legal costs.
And don’t even think about tossing them in the trash. Old PCs have chlorinated and brominated substances, Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), heavy metals, gases, acids and plastic additives–and that’s just for starters. All those chemicals have incredibly long half-lives. You want your new house sitting on top of this stuff? Not to mention, the EPA will be all over you if you’re discovered throwing PCs in the trash.

F. Training


Buying new technology is usually just the beginning. If employees aren’t trained on how to use the new equipment, your business won’t get the full benefit of your investment. You can get employees trained in almost any technology, at any level and any subject. Even highly experienced users may need training to use the latest programming and networking tools.

Start your search for training by quizzing the company that sold you the technology. Many vendors have on-staff professional trainers who can come to your site to train employees on using new technologies. If not, they can probably refer you to a local firm that offers appropriate training. You can also look in the business Yellow Pages under “Training Programs” and “Training Consultants.” You can choose from various types of training: Classroom training with a live instructor can be done at your business or off-site, in the form of a short tutorial or continuing series of classroom lessons. Having an instructor on hand helps learners get questions answered.
If you can do without a live teacher, check out video-based training. Class starts when you insert a pre-recorded tape or DVD into a VCR or DVD player. Students take notes and follow along in workbooks, just like with live teachers. Video courses can be repeated any time and are low in cost. Computerized training can be delivered in a classroom with PCs, or via the web. Internet classes let students choose the time, place and pace of learning. Some are taught by an instructor who communicates over the internet. Students can mix, mingle and discuss lessons in online chat rooms.

G. Managing Your Technology Costs

Many business owners today tend to set their tech budgets without having done adequate research–and therefore have unrealistic expectations about how much technology really costs. In fact, many businesses don’t have a good understanding of the total cost of ownership of their technology. When making decisions about technology budgets, businesses should focus less on the technology itself and make decisions about how technology complements other areas of the business. Figure out what you need to do to run your business better, and then go find the tools to support it.
Steps you can take to lower technology cost include timely purchases, clever negotiation and internal controls can help businesses save megabucks. You can renegotiate existing contracts for services such as network support and consulting.

Telecom is especially ripe for bargains. You can start by setting bench marks for rates and auditing bills to ensure you’re not overpaying. And instead of buying all long-distance, local phone and other telecom services from one vendor, dual-source it.
You should also make sure you need whatever new technology you do buy. Inventory all PCs, printers and software. Look for opportunities to consolidate purchases, standardize configurations and root out duplication. Set up a system to keep doing it. Pick a team of people from IT and other departments, and meet with them regularly to discuss what they need and how to save on it.
Another way to save money on tech purchases is buying refurbished hardware. Many online manufacturers and retailers have sections of their websites devoted to clearance outlets. You may have to poke around the site to find them, but it’s worth checking into when you’re on a tight budget. Refurbished items are usually returns that have been looked over and checked for functionality. As with auctions, check to see if all documentation and software is included. Compare prices to what is normally charged to see if the savings is worthwhile. Often warranties are shortened. What might have originally come with a one-year warranty may only include a 90-day warranty when it’s sold as refurbished. If you’re comfortable with that, go ahead and save some money.
Looking online for deals is also a great way to save money on your tech budget. And bargain hunting over the Internet doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Web sites such as PriceGrabber.com, PriceSCAN.com and MySimon.comare hubs for price comparisons. They’re especially handy if you already know what you want and are just looking for the lowest price. Don’t be blinded by what seem to be incredible bargains. Always check into an online retailer’s reputation if you’re not already familiar with it. You probably know this already, but always use a credit card for your purchases in case you have to dispute charges later.
Another great resource for hardware is eBay. You can pick up a wide array of products-from extra cell phone batteries to monitors and ink cartridges-at prices that would make some retailers blush. But eBay is no utopia. You still have to check into the seller’s reputation. Also check to see if the product you’re buying is refurbished, if it comes with an original warranty or tech support, and if all documentation and pieces are included. Some entrepreneurs may decide that the savings are worth living without some or all of those things. It’s not good or bad, it’s just a matter of deciding what you feel comfortable with.
If you’re the type of person who likes to “handle the merchandise” before you buy, find a local retailer you can visit in person. Prices may be a little higher when you just walk into a store, but you also have the security of having a physical location to return the product to in case of a problem. The Sunday ads are a good place to compare prices, and you should keep an eye out for specials and rebates at your local stores.

H.Buy or Lease?

As quickly as technology becomes obsolete, it sometimes makes sense to rent instead of buy your next round of upgrades. You can rent or lease most kinds of office technology, including computers, printers, copiers and phone systems. Here’s how your options stack up:

I. Leasing


If you’re like many small businesses, you’re willing to lease costly technology that’s likely to become quickly outdated. Leasing lets you get higher-end, more costly gear while reducing upfront outlays. Monthly payments will also usually be lower than those for credit-purchased equipment. Maybe most important, however, you’re transferring the risk of obsolescence to somebody else. If that high-end PC is a clunker by lease’s end, just hand it back to the owner and get a new model. Check the terms of your lease carefully. Scrutinize your options for the end of the lease. You may be able to buy the equipment for a small additional fee if you want to.

The ability to have the latest equipment is leasing’s number-one perceived benefit and you’ll have predictable monthly expenses. With a lease, you have a pre-determined monthly line item, which can help you budget more effectively. Many small businesses struggle with cash flow and must keep their coffers as full as possible, and leasing means you won’t have to invest cash up front. Because leases rarely require a down payment, you can acquire new equipment without tapping much-needed funds.
The downside of leasing is that you’ll pay more in the long run. Ultimately, leasing is almost always more expensive than purchasing. For example, a $4,000 computer would cost a total of $5,760 if leased for three years at $160 per month, but only $4,000 (plus sales tax) if purchased outright.
And you’re obligated to keep paying even if you stop using the equipment. Depending on the lease terms, you may have to make payments for the entire lease period, even if you no longer need the equipment, which can happen if your business changes.

J. Buying


Buying your equipment costs more upfront. If you’re buying on an installment plan rather than paying cash, monthly payments are usually higher. It may be comforting to know you own your equipment rather than rent it, but you may find yourself with an out-of-date machine right as you put the last check in the mail. One of the benefits of buying is that it’s easier than leasing. Buying equipment is easy–you decide what you need, then go out and buy it. Taking out a lease, however, involves at least some paperwork, as leasing companies often ask for detailed, updated financial information. They may also ask how and where the leased equipment will be used. Also, lease terms can be complicated to negotiate. And if you don’t negotiate properly, you could end up paying more than you should or receive unfavorable terms.

When you purchase equipment, you call the shots regarding maintenance. Equipment leases often require you to maintain equipment according to the leasing company’s specifications, and that can get expensive. When you buy the equipment outright, you determine the maintenance schedule yourself. Buying equipment is also tax deductible. Section 179 of the IRS code lets you deduct the full cost of newly purchased assets, such as computer equipment, in the first year. With most leases favored by small businesses–called operating leases–you can only deduct the monthly payment.
The disadvantages of buying equipment is that the initial outlay may be too much. Your business may have to tie up lines of credit or cough up a hefty sum to acquire the equipment it needs. Those lines of credit and funds could be used elsewhere for marketing, advertising or other functions that can help grow your business.
And eventually, you’re stuck with outdated equipment. As mentioned earlier, computer technology becomes outdated quickly. A growing small business may need to refresh its technology in some areas every 18 months. That means you’re eventually stuck with outdated equipment that you must donate, sell or recycle.

K. Contingency Plan


You never know how much you depend on technology until you don’t have access to it anymore. If a disaster strikes, you may not only suffer direct losses of data and hardware, but indirect losses due to downtime. But with some foresight and planning, you can avoid sustained downtime–and lost profits.

First, create a broad, holistic plan to ensure business continuity, not just disaster recovery. This plan should involve every part of your business, such as processes, operations, assets, employees and so on. Your overall goal: to prevent business disruption–then minimize it if it does occur. To this end, you should:

  • Conduct an impact analysis. How much downtime, loss of productivity, loss of data, loss of revenues and so on can your company sustain? For how long?
  • Develop a plan for dealing with mission-critical (revenue-impacting, customer-facing) functions and business-critical (back office, supply chain, e-mail) functions under various disruptive scenarios. Determine which business technologies to employ.
  • Educate your workers about the plan before a crisis occurs.
  • From time to time, revisit the plan to make sure it remains practicable and viable.

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All sorts of organisations use the vocabulary of strategy. Compare these extracts from the statements of communications giants Nokia and Kingston University, a public institution based in London with 200.000 students.

“Nokia’s vision and mission believes in communicating, sharing, and in the awesome potential in connecting the 2 billion who do with 4 bilion who don’t. Connecting is about helping people to feel close to what matters.”

If we focus on people, and use technology to help people, than growth will follow. In a world where everyone can be connected, Nokia takes a human approach to technology.
Nokia’s priority is to be the most proffered partner to operators , retailers and enterprises. A strategy where customers remain our top priority.

In line with this priorities, Nokia ‘s business portfolio strategy focusses on five areas, with each have long-term objectives: create winning devices; embrace customer Internet services; deliver enterprise solutions; build scale in networks, expand professional services.
There are three strategic assets that Nokia will invest in and prioritize:

1. Brand and design

2. Costumer engagement and fulfilment

3. Technology and architecture.

“Kingston University’s mission is to promote participation in higher education, which it regards as a democratic entitlement; to strive for excellence in learning,teaching and research, to realise the creative potential and fire the imagination of all its members.”

The vision is to be comprehensive and to create by present possibilities, with a grander and more aspirational vision of the future.
The University’s goals are to provide all students equal opportunities to:

🔹Realise their learning ambitions;

🔹Create authority in research and professional practice for the benefit of individuals, society and economy

🔹Develop collaborative links with providers and stakeholders within the region, nationally and internationally;

🔹Manage and develop its human, physical and financial resource to achieve the best possible academic value and value for money.

“Strategy is part of every day language of work.”

Strategy vocabulary therefore is used in many different contexts for many different purposes.


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Latest News for Strategy Business Developments


A new branding around the initiative is to make it more visible to the organisations.

“To succeed with SEO you need trust.Trust is the core component of Google’s relevancy-oriented search. Without trust, you’re simply not relevant. “


Yet, building trust is a double-edged sword and somewhat of a catch-22. For newcomers, especially, gaining visibility without trust has become incredibly difficult.
However, without visibility, how are people supposed to garner those all-important shares and links to your content?

If someone can’t discover your products, how are they supposed to engage with it and like it enough to send it to their friends or share it on social media?

Clearly, in the beginning, the odds are stacked up against us. But there is a way forward. Trust is most certainly the pathway to Google’s heart, if there ever was such a thing. And by leveraging this understanding of trust, we can succeed with SEO to make money online, build passive income streams and build a successful business in the long term – as long as we play by Google’s many rules.
At the core of Google’s relevancy equation, trust itself is created through three fundamental pillars. Within those three pillars, there are more than 200 different factors that help to comprise the search giant’s core algorithms.

Once you understand these fundamental pillars, you can work on building up your trust across each of these areas. But before I launch into a discussion about that – and convey some of the strategies that will allow you to explode your presence by using the inherent power of search engine optimization -let me give you a bit of history.

You see, the reason why it’s so difficult to dominate Google’s search results is because the search engine has been scorned once too often. As Google’s search grew over the years and turned into the dominant player that it is today, people realized the importance of ranking high organically.
Clearly, the near-limitless amount of free traffic can send any business into the stratosphere. Everyone knows that, and because of it, everyone is drawn to it.Yet, over time, as people understood how the system worked, they began to take advantage of certain less-than-scrupulous strategies that allowed them to rank their content quickly at the top of Google’s search.

These weren’t the most relevant search results, which enraged Google. Because of that, Google knew things had to change. As an upshot, SEO has seen some dramatic upheavals in recent years at the behest of Google and its core mission to cultivate an internet to wield more inherent value for the global populous.

And while things have calmed down recently, the last five years has seen a massive overhaul in the way Google determines what the most relevant search result is.

A. SEO algorithm updates

Before you can really understand what it takes to rocket up Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you have to digest what’s changed. The reason? The changes are integral to the bigger picture and just what Google’s intentions are with the web. Google’s main aim is to deliver the most relevant search result in the quickest manner possible.

“Clearly, it’s perfected that. So much so that it digitally obliterated its competition, vastly skewing the major market share towards its powerful search, while making the company a household name in the process. “

The algorithm updates that have been put in play have gone by names like Panda, Penguin, and more recently, Hummingbird, amongst droves of others. These algorithm updates have been intended to improve the user experience, eliminate spam and scams, and to increase the overall relevancy of search. By understanding what’s changed, you can gain perspective into Google’s intentions on what it’s attempting to achieve. It desires content that helps to improve the lives of others, delivers value and that users want to engage with. Those are the most relevant search results.

That’s what Google is after. But for years, it got quite the opposite. It dealt with unscrupulous individuals attempting to “game” the system.

B. How to dominate SEO

In a book entitled SEO, Master Search Engine Optimization, I lay the groundwork for Google’s trust, which is represented by three fundamental pillars. These pillars are integral to Google’s relevancy equation, and if you fail to address each of these pillars of trust, you’ll find yourself floundering in a sea of competition, unable to gain the precious visibility that you’re after.

1. Age

Age is more than a number. Google relies on its relationship with you over time to judge just how much it can trust you. The longer it’s known about you and the more often it sees you creating high-quality content that delivers tremendous amounts of value, the more it’s going to trust you. Age also doesn’t rely on the date you first purchased your domain. Age refers to the indexed age, meaning when Google actually discovered your domain. If you buy a domain and leave it dormant for years, that won’t help you. You have to actually do something with it.

2. Authority

The second pillar of trust is authority. Google relies on other sites that it already trusts to determine what newcomers should be trusted. If you have a site with great content, and other websites that Google already trusts are linking to you organically, your trust will naturally increase over time.

“However, building authority is incredibly difficult at the outset.”


When you’re new, and you’re unable to get discovered at the top of Google’s SERPs, how are people supposed to find you and subsequently link to you? Unless you quite literally go viral, you have a steep uphill battle ahead of you, but authority is also incredibly important to your overall ability to rank.

3. Content

The third underlying component of trust is content. Your content plays a large role in your visibility on Google’s SERPs. Simply put, you can’t push out subpar content and expect to gain traction. Your content has to deliver enormous amounts of value if you’re serious about attaining the search giant’s attention. But it’s not just about one-off content. You need to regularly deliver great content on your site, the kind that people want to share and engage with. Without great content, you have nothing, and no matter what SEO strategy you employ, it will fail. No one will link to a site with poor content. Don’t waste your time by trying to cut corners or take shorcuts. Content is most certainly still king.

C. Five SEO strategies to help you rank

Beyond these three pillars of trust, there are more than 200 ranking factors that are involved in Google’s search. These ranking factors run the gamut from obvious to obscure. For example, one such ranking factor is just how long remains before your domain name expires.
The rationale is that domains that are registered for a short period – such as a year – are more likely fly-by-night sites. The longer the domain is registered for, the more likely it’s going to be to stick around. While this is a small relevancy signal, it just goes to show you some of the obscurity involved in ranking factors of Google’s algorithms.

Strategy 1 –

Market your content

One of the most important SEO strategies to use in 2017 is content marketing. At the heart of this strategy is high-quality content that delivers a tremendous amount of value.

This so-called “anchor content” is located on your website. However, it doesn’t end there. You need to market that content on authority sites such as Quora, Reddit, WiseLike, LinkedIn and other highly-trafficked destinations on the web.
Engaging in content marketing is not easy by any measure, but this single SEO strategy will help you rocket just about any of your listings to the top of Google’s SERPs over time, as long as it’s done the right way.

To do this, there’s a very specific method. You have to ensure that you build similar and relevant content that’s keyword specific on authority sites such as Medium.com, LinkedIn.com and Quora.com, and that the content has a single link from the authority site back to the main anchor content on your primary domain.

Strategy 2 –

Improve page speed

The page speed of your site has a big influence on the user’s experience. Slow-loading pages take away from the user experience, while fast-loading pages help to add to it. Google is acutely concerned with the user’s overall experience, and improving the page speed is one such way you can drastically improve that experience.
Use tools such as Google’s Page Speed, GTMetrix or Varvy’s Page Speed Tool to run insights and gain suggestions on how to improve your site’s page speed. If you’re not technically savvy, you might need to enlist the help of a web developer to optimize your site’s page speed.

Strategy 3 –

Focus on mobile and AMP

Google has made a concerted push to mobile. Considering that mobile searches are now far surpassing desktop searches, it’s no wonder the search giant is so focused on mobile. However, most people are still behind the curve when it comes to mobile. Their sites load properly on desktop browsers, but not on mobile devices or even tablets.
Leverage a responsive design for your site, if you presently don’t have one right now, to ensure that your site is optimized for mobile devices. Google has also recently launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which further increases mobile load times. You can learn more about the AMP specification here.

Strategy 4 –

Leverage the power of videos

videos

Whether, for that matter, every SEO strategy needs the power of video marketing. Videos take your content into the stratosphere due to the popularity of video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. Creating useful tutorials and other informative videos are also a great way to deliver real value to people in a multimedia format that’s easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone camera.
Build relevant videos to further deliver the point made in a particular article on your site, and ensure that the description is keyword rich – but not keyword stuffed. Leverage elements such as the title and tags to fuse the keyword-centric nature of your video content.

Strategy 5 –

Be social and engage with others

Authority is built up over time, but it also can’t be built up unless you’re social and you engage with others. In the beginning, they won’t come to you. In fact, what you’ve likely noticed is that it’s incredibly hard to rank any content at the outset. That’s because most newcomers have very little age and very little authority. So you have to get out there and build it.
This isn’t just about sharing your content repeatedly with others. You can’t simply cheerlead your own cause and expect to get ahead. You need to be social, add value to conversations, follow others and take an interest in what those people are doing if you want them to take an interest in you.


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