Apr 12

Social media appeal for the business world

Social media is now a tremendous fascination for the world of business.

social medidaSocial media is much more than a marketing tool. Businesses are beginning to realize the power of integrating social media teams (and their insights) into other parts of the business. Why? Because as social media marketers, we are one of the first points of contact with customers both directly and indirectly. We have an front row to candid, public conversations and troves of audience data that can be used to create a better experience for the customer.


Product Development

If your business is based on a physical product, take into account any positive or negative comments to help you develop your next crowd pleaser.  Which leads me to…


Feedback on anything. Ask your customers questions about what they didn’t like, what they want to see, where you can improve and create surveys related to your product. Your audience is a gold mine of information, all you have to do is ask!

Extend the Life of Content

Social media is a perfect way to extent the life of evergreen content, or give you ideas to refresh old pieces. Use networks like Twitter to link back to older content pieces that provide info that is still relevant (remember to switch up the messaging!). You can also fill content gaps with older content. Take a look at the social chatter happening in your audience – you may have an old piece that may just need a few statistics updates and new graphics to share.

Testing & Borrowing Content for Offline Initiatives

If your company put together a great video, or created an infographic that got a lot of buzz, use it offline! Test commercials on YouTube or Facebook, include online testimonials in brochures,use that popular infographic for conference materials. Not all digital content will cross over – but looking at what you already have could make your job a little easier

source : www.dharilo.com

Jul 16

Startup and small businesses do not always think to facebook

source : wordpress.com

source : wordpress.com

For the sake of developing the ‘startup’ and small businesses, do not always think the effort was developed only with facebook.

Last weekend I wanted to try a new bagel shop I heard about down the road from my place. So I looked for it online. After searching, all I could find was their Facebook page.

No menu, no opening hours, so I didn’t bother even checking them out.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed businesses that only have an online presence through Facebook. That’s probably because for years it has been drilled into small business owners that social media is the best way to engage with their customers.

Facebook is attractive to small business owners because it is quick, easy, and it opens up their brand to the massive international user base. In the abstract it’s great, but when you dive in you’ll find Facebook can seriously limit the ability of your business to grow and reach new people

Is it a good idea to leave the traditional dot com website in favour of a single Facebook page?

In short: no. Here’s why:


Facebook isn’t the internet. Keep in mind more people worldwide aren’t on Facebook than are on it. Relying on it exclusively means your business’ profitability and audience is at the whims of a Facebook algorithm change.

A recent Forrester research study shows that top brands on Facebook are reaching only 2% of their fans, and only 0.07% of followers actually engage with each post. Facebook is geared in a way that even if someone ‘likes’ your business, they don’t necessarily see all of your posts unless you pay for an ad to boost your content. Traditional websites don’t need ads to grow an audience.

Facebook no longer holds the social media monopoly, with users now branching out and using other platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. If your fans move on to another social network, migrating to another platform would be challenging, and in some instances impossible.

Another side effect of having everything on Facebook as images is that those who are vision impaired cannot get that information easily – nearly 400,000 people in Australia are blind or have low vision. Putting content these people can’t access is telling potential customers you don’t care about them or their needs.


If people are searching for a local cafe, restaurant or dry cleaning business, it’s more than likely that they will search Google first rather than logging into Facebook.

Users can’t find the content they’re after through searching by genre or category like you can in Google. They want to see what a business offers, the opening times and contact details without having to sift through Facebook for 10 minutes, or worse, get distracted by content that their friends post instead of viewing your business’ page.

Websites offer a way for search engines, and the people who use them, to find your site based on the keywords/phrases you use. Ultimately Facebook controls the way your page is discovered, and they can change it any time, potentially killing your business traffic overnight.


If you isolate your online strategy to Facebook, it’s going to be difficult to grow the business beyond the confines of your own friends without paying significant fees to boost your page.

Another important thing to be mindful of is that by exclusively having a Facebook page you’re limiting your identity and credibility as a brand as you’re essentially riding their wave.

Whilst you are able to slightly personalise your page with a cover photo and profile picture, you become a faceless brand; it doesn’t have the same individuality as a website uniquely designed for a business.

The tools that are out there today are absolutely stunning and even those who aren’t particularly tech savvy can build stylish, usable and easy to edit websites in less than an hour. Services like Squarespace and Wix are cheap and really user friendly.

Don’t let Facebook dictate how you sell your business online, put your own flair and spark into it, your customers will love you for it.

source : www.startupsmart.com.au

Jul 03

The importance of innovation culture

innovation-cultureIn a company culture of innovation is very important. It is important to encourage employee performance to get ahead.

Many companies want to establish a culture of innovation, one that will encourage employees to take risks that lead to breakthrough products. But how exactly to build this type of culture often eludes senior leaders — threatening the success of their innovation initiatives.

Interestingly, it may be that their focus on culture is what’s holding them back. They are thinking about the big picture, instead of instituting the changes that would actually enable that picture to exist. Culture is the net effect of shared behaviors, and therefore adopting innovative behaviors must come first. You change the culture by becoming more innovative — not the other way around.

As Jon Katzenbach has written, companies should focus on changing a few critical behaviors — “a small number of important behaviors that would have great impact if put into practice by a significant number of people.” When it comes to innovation, adopting the following five behaviors can help your organization to make the leap.

  1. Build collaboration across your ecosystem. Innovation is a team sport. It requires excellent collaboration among siloed business and functional units and across geographies, as well as with external partners. Finding the best resources inside and outside your organization and combining them is a hallmark of successful innovation.

Internally, to find the best solutions, you need to leverage the full range of expertise across your organization. This requires you to pull capabilities from across the company; this doesn’t happen when people are working separately instead of collaboratively.

External collaboration is equally important, because there are billions of IQ points outside your company. If you can harness them, you will establish a significant competitive advantage over those who can’t. The best solutions come from working with customers to create a breakthrough product.

  1. Measure and motivate your intrapreneurs. Intrapreneurs are the folks in larger organizations who couple an entrepreneurial mind-set with the ability to leverage company assets such as channels, brand, and market savvy. To enable intrapreneurs to succeed, you’ll need to measure and recognize their innovative efforts. Three metrics play special roles.The first are leading indicators such as the percentage of employees trained in innovation processes and the size and strength of the internal collaborative ecosystem. The second type of metric measures the process. How many meaningful ideas are in your pipeline? Is your portfolio balanced and robust? Are you commercializing your ideas at a fast pace? Finally, there are lagging indicators, which are the ones most people think about first. These metrics focus on the revenues from new products, the impact on profit, and the effect of innovation on brand.

Metrics fuel motivation: You need to give public recognition to innovators. Bonuses are great, but they’re private — no one in the organization sees the check. However, when you promote someone based on their contribution to and collaboration on successful innovations, coworkers take note. Moreover, it signals management’s commitment to the people who demonstrate truly innovative behavior.

3. Emphasize speed and agility. Innovation happens best when people move quickly. This doesn’t mean slapdash product development. Innovation requires a blend of real-time data gathering and smart decisions on whether to invest more now or change course.

Successful startups seem to know this intuitively, and that agility often helps them disrupt established companies that have far more resources. For big organizations, it’s important to develop similar methods to quickly identify and select ideas and then commercialize them through prototyping.

  1. Think like a venture capitalist (VC). VCs tend to focus on big ideas that make the risk worth taking. You should do the same. When you hear a new idea, ask if it can make a significant difference. If not, hand it to someone in operations; it’s still a good idea, but you’re looking for the next big thing.

When you find an idea that matters, the next question in a traditional mind-set would be: What are the risks? This is where most companies get stuck, because managers tend to say things like “we’ve never done that before” or “that would mean big changes to the way we work.” But the questions you want to ask regarding big ideas are: What are the challenges we need to address to achieve the breakthrough? Which of those could kill the idea? How will we mitigate them?

  1. Balance operational excellence with innovation. Some experts think big companies can’t prevail in the face of disruptive innovation, even if they excel in operations. The truth is they not only can, but must. The tension that comes from balancing operations with innovation drives true success in today’s world. A recent PwC survey of CEOs (pdf) worldwide found that 64 percent think innovation and operational effectiveness are equally important. Companies have proven they can achieve operational excellence, lift profits, and grow revenue from existing products while also ideating and developing products that help to reshape their own markets. In fact, innovation can help to bulletproof your company from disruption. Authors Charles O’Reilly III and Michael Tushman have for years championed the notion of ambidextrous managers at companies like Fuji, which thrived in the era of digital photography even as the shrinking film market left Kodak far behind.

Of course, not everyone at your company is ready to change their behavior today. That’s to be expected. But companies that build strong cultures of innovation don’t wait for that to happen. Their leaders take charge and demonstrate that innovative behaviors generate undeniable value to the business — and before long, others will follow.

source : www.strategy-business.com

Jun 24

LinkedIn agreed to be acquired by Microsoft for US$26.2 billion

Internet world again surprised with linkedin acquisition by Microsoft.

source : http://www.thefrontierpost.com/

source : http://www.thefrontierpost.com/

On Monday, LinkedIn agreed to be acquired by Microsoft for US$26.2 billion in cash — once again proving the old adage that who you know matters as much as what you know. (Oh, and congratulations to LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, an s+b contributor!)

That may seem a counterintuitive conclusion in our 21st-century knowledge economy, in which unlimited bandwidth, pervasive connectivity, and transparency should theoretically allow professional talent to meet professional talent acquirers without an intermediary. At some level, LinkedIn, which enables people to establish connections with friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers for the purpose of professional development, shouldn’t have to exist in the 2010s.

In the olden days, you know, like, before the Internet, it really was the case that the people you knew directly had a significant influence on your ability to make a living, or even to get into the workforce. People forget, but it was difficult to get noticed professionally in the 1980s and early 1990s. Professional circles tended to be small, geographically confined, and closed. If you were, for example, a reporter on a small regional newspaper, there was essentially no way for a big-shot editor at a major New York newspaper to see your work. Larger law firms in Chicago had virtually no method to keep tabs on crackerjack litigators in Wichita. And if you were a fantastic coder in Minneapolis, it wasn’t particularly easy to demonstrate your portfolio of work.

As a result, it was tough to break in to many spheres: politics, entertainment, media, law, investment banking. That is, unless you had connections. Unless you knew people. And if you wanted to become known to those in your industry, you had to step out of your shell and show up at events, cold call, write letters, or ask friends and family for introductions.

The Internet and social media changed all of that, of course. As media went online, brilliant bloggers could let their work do the talking for them — and get them discovered. Lawyers could easily create email lists to distribute news of the latest transaction or case they handled. Coders could effectively display their work on the functional websites they built. On a more level playing field, people could demonstrate their competencies, and companies could find the exact professional talent they needed. And emails took a lot of the awkwardness out of telephone calls.

That was the theory. In practice, however, generations of experience (and eons of evolution) have turned people into social creatures. We like to feel connections to individuals. Most people spend as much of their waking life in the workplace as they do at home. And we’re simply more comfortable giving an assignment, or an interview, to people whom we feel we know.

And that’s where LinkedIn came in. The site set itself up as a place where personal networking could be easy and painless — it took a lot of the awkward personal interaction out of the process. You could ping somebody, and if she didn’t want to be connected to you, no big deal. You could keep tabs on friends, former colleagues, and frenemies without having to pick up the phone. If you weren’t comfortable walking into a room full of 40 strangers and striking up conversations, you could reach out to a person who works in the same office as your best friend from college. LinkedIn would also alert you to people in your network who switched jobs, companies, or even careers. Which meant that your network expanded even if you just sat still. You could figure out whether you knew people at an innovative new startup, or whether someone you had once worked with and admired might be interested in an opening you were trying to fill.

Yes, LinkedIn is far from perfect. Many of the connection requests I receive from around the world are from people whose professional arcs and interests will never intersect with mine. Many of the pieces written by the company’s band of influencers (disclosure: I’m one) are full of bromides. As it has evolved from a hiring and professional networking company into a media and sharing company — like Facebook for work — LinkedIn has demanded more time and commitment from its users. And they haven’t always proven willing to engage.

Even so, the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft caps off a remarkable run for its founders and executives. And the value of LinkedIn — to its shareholders, to Microsoft, and to its 433 million members — highlights the enduring strength of human, personal connections in an age of drones, robots, and algorithms.

source : www.strategy-business.com

Jun 11

Choosing the right pricing strategy can make or break your business

Choosing the right pricing strategy can make or break your business.
Pricing can make or break a small business. Focus on the value you are delivering and don’t offer regular discounts.

hoptomologyChoosing the right pricing strategy can make or break your business. Pitch your price right and you’ve got a decent profit margin, but get it wrong and your brand could suffer irreparable damage. So what pitfalls should you avoid when building a pricing strategy?

The most important aspect of working out your price is deciding whether you’re a cheap commodity business or a premium enterprise, says Carl Reader, author of The Startup Coach. Without clarity on your market your pricing will be wrong from the start.

“Avoid getting caught in the middle at all costs – no one wants to be too cheap to be considered a prestige product but too expensive to appeal to those saving every penny,” he says. Next, look at the market rate for your offering and make sure you can make a profit.

Pricing low is a temptation for many small businesses but it’s rarely a good move according to Stephen Nightingale, founder of online jewellery firm nightingaleonline.com. “Don’t try to ‘buy’ sales by pricing too low at the expense of your profit margin,” he says. “Breaking even won’t make a contribution to business growth and if you price too low, your profit’s gone.”

“” Pricing low is a temptation for many small businesses but it’s rarely a good move “”

Slashing prices is a tactic often employed by small businesses trying to get pricing right and though it can increase sales and help cashflow in the short-term, marketing consultant Claire Boyles cautions against falling into the pattern of offering discounts. “Your customers will soon work out that to get a bargain all they have to do is wait for you to reduce the price, and then you’ll have much lower sales in terms of cash actually going into your business.”

But there are exceptions to that rule, and introductory pricing can open doors for small businesses trying to get established. Lindsey Bauer launched Otti Prams with her husband Angus in October 2015. They design limited-edition travel system pushchairs stocked by House of Fraser and independents.

Bauer says the firm’s original price of £375 (including VAT) per pram proved cost prohibitive for a new business entering such a strong, competitive market so they set a special introductory price of £225 (including VAT) per pram. They have been running the introductory offer since last Christmas.

“Our sales and profile have since surged, creating the sustainability to allow future price increases such as when we extend the range this summer,” says Bauer. The couple will increase their prices for their new models in the next couple of months.

Understanding the pricing strategy of your competitors is also vital. “Customers will compare your prices with the competition – if your price is lower, they’ll ask what they’re missing out on and if it’s higher, they’ll ask whether you are taking advantage or genuinely providing a better product,” says Tom Meehan, founder of hotel management software firm Minibarra. “For your customers to chose you over the competition, you have to answer those questions better than they do.”

Competing on price isn’t always the right approach for a small business, however. “Bigger companies have got price nailed – they can deliver quality products quicker and cheaper because they benefit from economies of scale so the greater the volume they process, the lower the cost per unit is,” says Boyles.

As a small business you’re more likely to be successful if you differentiate based on unique features and benefits or scarcity rather than competing on price, Boyles says. “Think of the value of diamonds, attributed to their rarity (or the control of the number of diamonds on the market). The higher the demand, the higher the price people are willing to pay – if what you’re selling is rare, special or unique.”

That strategy works for textile artist Cath Janes, founder of online accessories boutique Kraken Kreations. She advises against comparing your price with competitors, especially those who “charge knock-down prices and are ready to undercut for a tiny profit margin” because it can undermine your own sense of worth.

“Instead, I show my customers the various stages of my products from scribbles on paper through to fabric choices, pattern cutting, stitching and packing,” she says. “It helps them understand why I charge the way I do, and appreciate that I’ll never be cheaper than Amazon but will always produce products that are worth the money.”

Undercutting your competition is also inadvisable, according to Dawn Baird of communication consultancy Sensei. Instead of attracting customers, it can put them off. “Charging less than the going rate can create a perception that you’re less experienced or don’t believe in the quality of your own work, so why should the client?”

In a competitive market where consumers have everything they need, an effective pricing strategy needs to be based on the value your product brings to the customer rather than market trends or what the competition charges, says brand specialist Kubi Springer of She Builds Brands.

“A value-based pricing strategy entails communicating how your product will improve your customer’s life so, for example, a technology brand might explain how the product will save the customer time or make their lives easier rather than focusing on how it works,” she says.

This is also true for businesses that sell services to other businesses. Mukarram Bhaiji, a pricing strategy specialist at KPMG, advises firms to consider the benefits they are providing for clients, for example, helping them to sell more or reduce their costs. Once you are clear where you are bringing value, how much value you are delivering, and how that compares with your competitors, it is easier to price your services appropriately.

“As a small business owner you need to understand the sources of value your service brings to your customers,” says Bhaiji. “Unless you understand that you will mis-price your service.”

What about when the price is wrong? Meehan says it’s always easier to reduce your price but it is sometimes possible to increase it. He recommends three steps: “Ensure sure your customers are satisfied with your current product before you increase the price; add extras and improvements to justify it; and prepare for a backlash.”

Dropping or increasing your price isn’t the only route to recovery when you get it wrong. “Consider cross-sales (think the grocer who sells cream when strawberry sales are poor), down-sales (selling a cheaper product now on the basis that your customer might return for a more expensive one later) and up-sales (adding a more expensive element to a baseline package),” advises Springer. “Creating a strategic partnership with another brand that enables you to cross-sell products can also be a wise move.”

The right pricing strategy takes into account the actual costs of running your business and prioritises profit margin, but it also safeguards the future, says Richard Taylor, founder of software development firm ISArc. “Your profit margin is what keeps you afloat and pricing well allows you to forward plan, whether that’s replacing expensive equipment three years from now or helping you prepare for the unforeseen events that can otherwise set a small business back.”

source : www.theguardian.com

Jun 05

Why People Still Without Internet

Life Without InternetApproximately in this world if there were not yet felt the internet. I think a lot.

Three obstacles to extending the reach of the Web — and thereby reducing poverty in developing countries — can be fixed.

One of the most effective ways to reduce poverty in developing countries is to extend the reach of the Internet. Over the last 20 years, the online world has created millions of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity. Entire new sectors have emerged, such as e-commerce, social media, and data analytics. In developing countries, the Internet is even more powerful than it is elsewhere. It can connect people who have known only subsistence to the modern economy, and provide them with opportunities for social and economic advancement. Yet most people in developing countries, some 56 percent of the world’s population, still do not use the Internet.

Why has progress been so slow? There is a temptation for policy makers to blame protectionism, especially when the telecommunications sector is involved. From this perspective, some decision makers are constraining Internet development because they fear it will invite foreign competitors, who will compete unfairly with local Internet service providers or telecom operators. These are important issues, but they do not sufficiently explain why so many people aren’t online.

We dug deeper to understand the factors that keep more than 4 billion people unconnected. Using the Internet is daunting for many people in developing countries for three main reasons: Access is too expensive; the Internet lacks content that is relevant to them; and the Internet is too unfamiliar. The consequences are that many people can’t easily connect, they give up trying too soon, or they don’t attempt to connect in the first place because they cannot appreciate how it might help them.

The first barrier, affordability, is the most important — and may offer the most significant opportunity for change. Assuming that Internet usage means consuming 500 megabytes of data per month at current prices, only 17 percent of people in South Asia and 11 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa can afford to use the Internet. (This amount, although considered reasonable in developing countries, is still less than an average mobile data user consumes in developed countries.) To make the Internet affordable to everybody, global prices would need to fall by an average of 90 percent — which is implausible with current infrastructure costs. At today’s prices, the margins on data are negative for many connectivity suppliers in developing countries.

To remove the affordability barrier, we need to make access cheaper and more efficient. This can be accomplished by modernizing the data infrastructure — specifically, by replacing 2G, which was designed for voice and text but not for data, with more up-to-date 4G and 5G broadband systems. The most cost-effective way to upgrade is to repurpose frequencies currently occupied by 2G, which would automatically move existing subscribers to speedier access.

Modernization also means building more data centers and Internet exchange points (IXPs) in developing countries. This would provide the critical infrastructure that knits together national and international networks, and that makes connections faster and cheaper. At present, the more populous developing world has just a fraction of the international infrastructure of the developed north. In North America, for example, each IXP serves just 4.1 million people. By contrast, in South Asia, each IXP must handle 215 million (see exhibit). If the number of IXPs in developing countries rose, access to information, employment opportunities, and economic growth would also rise.

Which brings us to the second barrier: relevance. We know that when the price of data falls, the market for Internet-based content and entertainment in developing countries grows quickly. Many “work-around” enterprises already exist, helping people sidestep the constraints of streaming on mobile bandwidth and retrieve information at a lower cost. In Nigeria, for example, Kiora, a content developer and distributor, allows a user to download a full-length film in a few minutes by connecting to a hot spot. He or she then has 48 hours to watch the video.

People in developing countries are more likely to spend their scarce income going online if they see it improving their lives through education and commerce. Some people in developing countries are willing to spend money on online education because the colleges and schools near them are of poor quality or unreliable. Additionally, they find it cheaper to obtain the latest edition of digitized textbooks through shared terminals than to buy hard copies.

E-government services can also bring people online, especially those living in remote areas. Travel to government offices can be difficult and expensive, and face-to-face interactions often expose individuals to corruption. The Indian government’s Common Services Centres Scheme currently reaches 199,000 villages, with the ultimate aim of reaching 2.5 million rural locations. The centers give people access to official services such as identity documents and passports; business services, including mobile plan top-ups and financial products; education services; weather information; and soil information.

To be sure, many people in developing countries either have not heard of the Internet or associate it with expensive computers, smartphones, and telephone contracts. This is the third barrier. One way to remove this obstacle is through a consultative approach, such as meeting in local communities with potential Internet users, and offering them the training and validation they need to feel less wary about going online. In Sri Lanka, for example, local entrepreneurs run training centers that educate people in Internet use and let them experience the benefits of online communication.

Which groups can put these actions in place? All the stakeholders in the digital ecosystem can play a part: governments, telecom operators, Internet service providers, development institutions, and businesses.

  • Governments can attract more people to the Internet by increasing the availability of e-government services.
  • Telecom operators and Internet service providers can help by adjusting their contracts to simplify the value proposition so that consumers pay by the experience, such as for each app they use. This is cheaper and easier to understand than the current model, in which people living on just a few dollars a day have to commit to a long-term contract before knowing what they will find online, making Internet access a financial risk.
  • Development institutions can provide support for the costly international infrastructure that leads to faster and cheaper access. For example, the World Bank contributed to the funding of the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), which became operational in July 2010 and drastically cut wholesale and retail Internet prices.
  • Consumer brands can accentuate their access to “the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” by subsidizing Internet access. In India, Hindustan Unilever operates a free radio-on-demand service to remote villages that lie beyond traditional media coverage. The company now provides close to 43 million people with free news and entertainment, while advertising its brands.

The benefits are clear for each of these stakeholders. Getting the world online can reduce world poverty by 7 percent by expanding world output, creating millions of jobs, and giving today’s poor the chance to advance socially and economically. People will go online as much for edification as gratification. It will alter the character of the Internet, creating billions of Web pages in languages that are today marginalized. And it will lay the groundwork for a global society in which economic opportunities can expand more freely, widely, and productively than they do today.

source : www.strategy-business.com

Jun 04

How to implementing big data analytics in your business

daimplementing big data analytics in your business is important thing.

DeGroote’s Ali Reza Montazemi spoke on the subject of “Big Data Analytics in Support of Evidenced-Based Management” during a recent Knowledge @ DeGroote cocktail event at The National Club in Toronto. The following article is a takeaway from his presentation:

What is digital transformation? It’s the act of changing your organization through technology. It has many different pieces — one of them is collecting big unstructured data, which is called “big data analytics.” Organizations can use big data analytics to help make evidence-based decisions and refine their business processes. Big data analytics present novel ways to approach business strategy through the ability to offer new information, insights, and action. As organizations develop the capacity to implement big data analytics solutions, they will encounter obstacles as well as opportunities. Here are my Top 3 Tips on how to go about enacting big data analytics into an organization.

  1. Extending the business strategy toolbox

Big data analytics should be linked to the organizational strategy. In order for organizations to implement big data analytics successfully, they need to create information and decision processes that will allow for real-time execution. In order to execute this, the organizations need the people and talent who are skilled in digital tools and who work effectively in teams. Organizations can use cross-functional teams that are in constant contact in decision spheres to respond to real-time big data analytics inputs such as customer sentiments and requirements. For example, Whirlpool leverages big data when they embed sensors in their products to track actual product usage. They mine social media for customer sentiment, and gather customer-produced content (e.g., customers will post videos of themselves using a company product to the product Facebook page) to understand customer preferences and behaviour. Armed with new data, Whirlpool can advance by generating insight into the needs of its customers for product and services.

  1. Integrated enterprise systems

Enterprise system applications and technologies are becoming quite advanced. They can speed up activities, provide intelligent and autonomous decision-making processes, and enable collaborations and distributed operations. Having an integrated enterprise system is critical to successful use and implementation of big data analytics. Enterprise systems can provide digital options that help organizations adapt to:

Changing requirements more quickly by changing information-based value propositions. For example, 7-Eleven Japan owns and manages a chain of small convenience stores focused on selling a variety of fresh and prepared foods. Stores order and receive deliveries of fresh foods three times per day, with each store’s clerk responsible for ordering the fresh food. 7-Eleven Japan invested in big data (e.g., detailed sales and customer records from its integrated enterprise system, and other sources of data like weather trends) and placed these metrics and trends into the hands of its store clerks using intuitive dashboard technology. This data has given the store clerks a handle on the preferences of its customers: Each year, 70 per cent of all the products sold are new products to the chain as a whole, and 7-Eleven Japan is the country’s most profitable retailer.

Forging value-chain collaborations with partners. For example, when customers make a purchase from anywhere in the world using eBay’s online auctions, the firm’s sales process integrates with a variety of partner processes that include payment processes (e.g., PayPal), shipping processes (e.g., FedEx), and other partners internal processes (e.g., online retailers who sell through eBay).

Rapidly exploiting market niches. For example, eBay customers are its de facto product development team because they post an average of 10,000 messages each week to share tips, point out glitches, and lobby for change.

  1. IT governance

A lot of value comes from combining data from different sources — both inside and outside a company. However, more often than not, resistance to sharing and combining this data often arises. Organizations need to give power to their digital experts so they can generate new insights from big data. This shift in power is necessary to accomplish the changes that are needed to fully embed the big data analytics capability. IT governance is responsible for overseeing this change. As part of IT governance, top managers are regarded as coaches and champions. It’s their responsibility to create and maintain “change readiness” by using a proactive approach to help teach employees the value of a big data business process. It’s important to note that organizations differ in their capacities to apply, integrate, build, and reconfigure IT resources concurrently with structure (organizational business process) and people. Application of big data analytics must be in line with the organizational IT capabilities in order to succeed.

source : www.degroote.mcmaster.ca


May 31

difficult to fill a job in the U.S

I can not imagine finding a job in the United States what it is. must be very hard competition possible.

jobsIt’s difficult to fill a job in the U.S. today. As I’ve noted — and lamented — there were a record 5.8 million jobs open in the U.S. at the end of March. It can take weeks or months to fill an open position. There are many reasons that account for this state of affairs. The labor market is tight. Internal bureaucratic procedures can further delay the process. The first person who is offered the job may decline it — or use it as a bargaining tool to get better terms from her current employer.

And of course, there’s the issue of a skills mismatch. Companies often find that the people in the available labor pool lack the specific skills required for a particular position. This is particularly acute in certain industries. Last year, the American Trucking Associations reported (pdf) that it expected a shortage of 48,000 truck drivers for 2015. As the American population ages, there are rising concerns about a shortage of nurses. And Silicon Valley can never seem to find enough software developers.

Is it possible the apparent shortages can be chalked up to the way in which we think about employees? Could semantics — and not the shortcomings of America’s education system — be partially at fault?

Consider this. Today, it is de rigueur for companies to talk about talent as a synonym for personnel. The recruiter in many companies is referred to as a talent-acquisition specialist.

Now, when it comes to its traditional and most common usage, talent is something that people have — it’s particularly so when we talk about athletics, or musicianship, or writing. Sure, it can be nurtured, polished, and cultivated. Violin prodigies need lessons, and even the most naturally gifted basketball players need coaching to develop their techniques to their fullest abilities. But typically, talent is something you have when you show up on the scene — at birth, at school, on the first day of work.

So if companies are seeking to acquire innate talent — instead of hiring people who can be taught to do a job — they might take a more deliberate approach. One of the unspoken assumptions underlying this framing is that not everybody can do any job, and that because the stakes are so high, firms really have to spend the time to make sure they get it right. As a result, recruiters talent-acquisition associates will tend to focus on people who have exhibited the abilities needed for the position. That leads them to try to hire people away from their existing jobs, which can often be a time-consuming and expensive proposition. Or they may focus on finding people who are likely to possess the requisite talents, even if they haven’t showed them yet. And that requires an extensive array of interviews and tests, which can throw more sand into the hiring gears.

The talent approach contrasts with the 20th-century notion of training people. Yes, old-school firms and organizations wanted to make sure people were qualified for their positions. But instead of painstakingly trying to identify those with the right talents, companies would bring new workers onto the factory floor, or into the law firm, or the television station. The raw recruits may have never worked in these environments before and may not have displayed the necessary talents. But the companies presumed that they would teach them the necessary skills while they were on the job, that those skills would be useful in the years to come, and that employees would stick around to apply those skills.


That sort of thinking has gone out the window for a variety of reasons. Matching talent to jobs ahead of time can avert a lot of poor hiring decisions. Since employees have the most to gain over their productive lifetime from building and updating skills, they should take some responsibility for making sure they are maximally employable.

More broadly, many companies prefer not to invest directly in training, or to invest less in training. In an age of focus, many firms realize that training may not be their core competency. In an age of outsourcing and specialization, training makes even less sense. Rather than spend the time and resources teaching people how to write software, just hire a company that specializes in writing software and let it worry about its employees’ credentials. What’s more, companies can’t always be sure that they will get a return on their investment. Skills can quickly become obsolete. And if you spend thousands of dollars training someone to become, say, a truck driver, what’s to stop them from walking across the street for a slightly higher wage once they get their license? In that instance, you’ve spent money to create talent that someone else will acquire.

This isn’t to argue that companies should discard their focus on talent. (As a prospective employee, it is flattering to be told you are being considered as talent.) But it is clear that there is a price to be paid for focusing on acquiring talent rather than on molding potential into talent. And now that we’ve entered a period in which workers may have the upper hand, that price is rising. Companies that really need to fill open positions may have to be prepared to train the new talent to do the job.

Of course — and this is a subject for a future column — training would be the beginning, not the end. Companies that focus more on training will want to protect their investment, so they’ll have to work harder on creating an environment in which people with upgraded skills will want to stay, or devising compensation schemes that reward longevity. Talent-acquisition specialists may have to morph into talent-retention specialists.

source : www.strategy-business.com

Apr 30

Importance of Talent Assessment Strategy for business

Here’s why businesses need talent assessment strategy.

With CEOs paying more attention to both people and metrics, a data-driven talent assessment strategy should be a no-brainer in an organization’s hiring process.

However, for many executives, a talent assessment strategy is an afterthought, and is almost never considered a strategic tool that can have a measured, positive impact on a business.

In Friday’s blog post, I discussed five benefits of a well-rounded talent assessment strategy. Below, I’ll dive into four more, and how you can demonstrate the large-scale benefits that will get your execs in your corner.

  1. Assessments Embed a Realistic Job Preview into the Hiring Process

Raise your hand if you’ve recruited a candidate, taken the time to get them through the hiring process, trained them for 20 days, then gotten them on the floor only to have them to quit a week later, telling you that they had no idea the job was “like this.”

You would be surprised at how often I hear this. An assessment company that develops multimedia job simulations can completely strike this issue. By using a multimedia job simulation as part of the hiring process (think: gamification), your candidate gets a realistic job preview while t your company is provided with highly accurate data regarding the candidate’s skills, abilities, and motivations.

Want to know how they will do typing and listing to a customer at the same time?


Want to know how well they will be able to navigate the computer systems and tabs?

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You can’t measure these skills with an in-person interview. You can, however, measure them accurately with a job simulation.

  1. Pre-Hire Assessments are Better than Interviews

If your company relies exclusively on a traditional in-person interview process, checking mental boxes as the applicant answers the same old questions, it’s probably time for a change. Research shows interviews alone aren’t an accurate way to get a grasp of the candidate’s skills and abilities. You know there’s probably a more effective way of determining who the best fit is…and you’re right.

The data generated in the assessment process provides real information to discuss with the candidate. The assessment will tell you his strengths are, and what areas where he can improve. Use this information to create a meaningful interview. If the assessment has identified that the candidate might struggle working with a team, discuss that in the interview!

  1. Talent Assessment Software Helps You Discover Skills and Knowledge Gaps

In addition to being a great interviewing guide, the results provided by talent assessment software can help the business identify which hires will need training in specific areas. This knowledge can be used to develop an ongoing training program designed to give her practice in the areas she needs it most, straight from day one.

  1. Talent Selection Tools Allow You to be a Cheetah, Not a Sloth

Most companies don’t have data to understand exactly where their hiring and retention problems are coming from. Is it that our sales training is bad, or are we not identifying high-quality candidates in the hiring process? Are we losing people because of our pay, or are we losing people who aren’t a good fit in the first place?

I find that customers who don’t routinely work with an assessment company on updating job profiles can end up with attrition rates as high as 125%, and have no idea how it got so bad, so fast.

It gets this bad because of lack of oversight and course correction.

Many of our customers built job profiles for the job months, or even years ago. It’s equivalent to relying on medical advice from 1970. Yes, it was relevant and the best advice at the time…but times have changed.

In cases like this, an assessment company that has a strong analytics program can be a game-changer. Many of our customers are able to use real data – their data – to create a month-over-month view on what is going on within the business. This view allows organizations to see how assessments are impacting job performance real time. Both the business and the assessment company can have frequent discussions to identify areas of needed improvement and do so quickly.

It’s important to note here that not all assessment companies are created equal. Many assessment companies rely on annual reviews, or wait until contract renewal to see how assessments are performing. You should never hire on a profile that was outdated six months ago.
Assessments should be adjusted post-implementation to accommodate:

Adjusted hiring volumes
Changes in the labor market
New metrics or qualities required for the position
A change in business objectives

An old profile can cause major issues for a business and lead you into more trouble than you had in the first place. By adapting to change quickly, you can steer the ship in a different direction when needed, and do so before you hit the iceberg – not after.

5. The Best Way to Get the Buy-In? Get Executives Involved Early.

Get your executives involved early in the process by including them in conversations with the assessment companies. If you already have an assessment process that your team is reluctant to change, gather data on why it’s not working and compare what you’re getting compared to these nine points. Ultimately, if your assessment vendor does not approach you about making improvements before you complain, that’s an issue.

Communicating the advantages of a talent assessment strategy with your team can help you get the funding you need for an assessment project, and make you look like a real rock star in the process!

source : www.business2community.com

Apr 30

Business directory part of SEO Strategy

Did you know, there is a business directory that is an important part of the ‘SEO strategy‘.

seo1The idea that business directories are obsolete is shortsighted. Just because you have a killer website and a brilliant social media strategy doesn’t mean you can afford to overlook one of the easiest ways to improve your online visibility.

Business directories are an integral part of your local SEO strategy, improving branding and helping you dominate local search. And considering that many of the most popular directories are generating thousands of visitors a day and they allow you to promote your business for free, it makes no sense to pass on this opportunity. However, not all business directories are created equal.

Here are 3 business directories your local business needs to survive.

Google My Business

Google is the number one search engine in the world which makes a listing on Google My Business crucial.

When you are listed in Google My Business, you automatically show up in Google Search and Google Maps, making it easier for customers to find your contact information and location.

You can easily update your information from any device, maintaining a fresh and current online presence. Google My Business also allows you to add photos to your listing and respond to reviews. The analytical tools that are synonymous with Google give you insight into how people are finding and interacting with your business online.

Google My Business is the business directory that tops ALL business directories – you can’t afford to ignore it.

Bing Places for Business

As Googles number one competitor, Microsoft’s Bing does it’s best to match the search giant step for step and Bing Places for Business is the companies answer to Google My Business.

Like its rival, Bing Places gives businesses who list their business with them an advantage over those who do not by helping to boost visibility and search engine ranking.

If you want ultimate visibility you can get more traffic and drive more sales by optimizing your Bing Places for Business page.

Managing your account is easy! You can control all of your listing content from the user-friendly dashboard, including contact information, images, hours, media and links to your social media accounts.

A basic listing in Bing Places for Business is totally free – so what are you waiting for?

Yahoo Local

Although Yahoo is no longer the search engine powerhouse it once was, listing your business on Yahoo Local (with the help of Yext) still makes sense.

As the third most popular search engine, behind Google and Bing, lots of people still rely on Yahoo to find what they’re looking for.

A listing on Yahoo Local will help you rank high when people are searching for what you offer on Yahoo. There aren’t too many difference between Yahoo Local and its two major competitors. By offering all of the same features, including the ability to change information from anywhere, respond to fans and upload graphics to your listing, it’s an easy decision to add your business to Yahoo Local.

Establishing credibility with today’s major search engines gives you the best chance to leverage the power that these business directories can offer your business. The amount of time it takes to list your business in Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local is minimal and considering what it can do for your visibility, it is time well spent.

source : www.business2community.com