Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Effective Tips To Choose An Effective Website Development Professional

The experienced web development company is going to have a really important role in making the brand name of a company more visible and increasing online reputation. Brand success on the internet does rely a lot on the experience of the web developer. Business managers from all around realize the importance of website development and try to find those companies that can actually bring in the best results for clients.

If you look on the internet, you will quickly realize the fact that there are dozens of web design firms that look great and that you can choose from. Locating one that you can trust is not easy. You will always need to consider the following in order to find an experienced website development Sydney professional.

Receptiveness

Contrary to what you may think right now, the most important fact when choosing the company is how receptive it is. Most of the web developers these days are capable of delivering the work that you need but just those that are highly receptive are going to be able to actually understand what you need.

As an extra tip that is connected to this topic, try to avoid those firms that delay replies, especially before a contract is signed. This is just a sign that long term responsiveness is not going to be what you actually need.

Is There An Advisor On Staff?

Those companies that do offer the best possible web development service will always have an advisor that is capable of understanding requirements and that will advise clients about changes that may be necessary for a site to be more effective. A web developer that does take the time to analyze the wishes of the client and that does recommend some modifications based on past experience is always going to be preferred and should be considered.

Previous Projects

You have to be sure that you analyze the previous projects that were done by the considered development company. That will show you exactly what quality can be offered. If possible, get in touch with past clients. See how work went and see if there were problems you need to know about.

Talking With The Actual Developer

In most situations the person that you talk with from a considered company is not actually the web developer that will get the job done for you. That is definitely not great. You do want to be able to get in touch with the web development team so that you can actually end up faced with a clear understanding of who the work is done by.

Consider Legal Aspects

This is the last thing that should be considered as it is really important. Ask who will own the website code. That counts because it will highlight dependence on the considered firm. If you do not own the website code, you will be forced to keep coming back to the firm whenever a change is needed. If you do own the site code, you can make changes and work with other professionals whenever you want to switch firms.

10 best free project management software programs

1. Best free project management software: Trello

Trello utilises a project-management system developed by a former Toyota vice president, Taiichi Ohno. Every task is represented as a card, which allows you to create a visual representation of what is happening with a project. It is surprisingly effective And free if you can live with only 10MB of storage. https://trello.com/

 

2. Best free project management software: Freedcamp

A more traditional type of project-management tool, Freedcamp is great for scaling up a business. It works perfectly well as a free tool for when you are starting a business, and costs very little to build on, with multiple paid-for bolt ons enabling new features as you go. It offers good admin tools, fleet management, and customer relationship management. Great for collaborating with colleagues and clients. https://freedcamp.com/

 

3. Best free project management software: Producteev

Producteev is rare in that it offers unlimited users and projects even on the free version. We can see no good reason to pay to upgrade, so if you want a long-term free project-management tool that is easy to use and flexible, look no further. https://www.producteev.com/

 

4. Best free project management software: GanttProject

Our first open-source project management tool, GanttProject offers all the features you could ever need, but has a reputation for being somewhat complex. You will never need to pay for it, however. And if you want project management software that can flex to your needs it comes recommended. http://www.ganttproject.biz/

 

5. Best free project management software: Asana

Designed by Facebook founder Dustin Moskovitz, Asana benefits from a social-network-like level of untuition and ease. It is both simple, and effective, and offers a visual style that will help you get things done. Some users complain that it lacks the full feature set of some of the others mentioned here. https://asana.com/

 

7. Best free project management software: 2-Plan Team

2-Plan offers great features for no cost, but navigating the way the software works can be tricky. In essence, get everyone working using 2-Plan Desktop, and then merge up the projects with 2-Plan Team. You won’t regret it. http://2-plan.com/

 

8. Best free project management software: Bitrix24

Ideal for small businesses, Bitrix24 remains free forever, so long as you don’t exceed 12 users. Other great small- or home office features include the ability to communicate across multiple locations, and free cloud storage for your projects. https://www.bitrix24.com/

 

9. Best free project management software: BamBam!

Another tip for which we thank blog.capterra.com, BamBam! is free for up to 10 users, and allows unlimited projects and storage for those 10 users. https://www.dobambam.com/

10. Best free project management software: Zoho Projects

Unlimited in terms of users and projects, the free version of Zoho Projects is limited to only 10MB of storage. http://www.zoho.com/projects/

5 Ways to Interact Better with Customers

Having a real relationship with your customers is vitally important, so here are 5 great ways you can interact better with them.

  1. Make Interactions Easy

The first place to start is by looking at how interactions between your business and its customers take place. If they are messy and complicated, people are not going to have any interest in communicating with you, so make things easier.

When your customers have a problem, your team needs to be able to sort things out quickly, otherwise you might end up losing the customer forever. Let them file complaints in person, on the phone, via email or over social media. This variety of options makes the process easier for them.

  1. Train Your Staff in Basic Customer Service Skills

Every business needs to know how to deal with customers, but this is no good unless your employees know how to get the basics of customer services right too. If they don’t, you need to focus on training them so that they do.

You can send them away on a training course, or, if that’s too expensive, you can train them by yourself. It’s really not that complicated. There are certain questions and situations that arise when working in customer services departments, so make sure these areas are covered.

  1. Participate in Community Events

Talking to customers and people in the community isn’t something that should only be done when you’re trying to sell something to them. You should try to prove to people that you’re interested in being part of the wider community.

So, get out there and participate in all the different community events that bring people together and get people talking. It will improve your business too though. If people get to know your business and like you as a business owner, they’ll want to buy from you more.

  1. Keep People Up to Date

Customers need to be kept up to date with regards to changes that might be relevant to them. It’s a way of keeping them in the loop rather than shutting them out of things. It’s also a great way of reminding people that you’re still out there and open for business.

You can do this by sending out a weekly or monthly e-newsletter. To do this, you first need to build up a collection of email addresses. Ask people to submit their email address when they land on your homepage to collect as many as possible.

  1. Create a Blog

If you need to build up a community around your brand and attract new people to the business, you should start your own blog. You’ll be able to prove to people that you’re an authority in your sector.

All you need to do is make sure you’re creating blog posts that are filled with relevant facts that can engage the kind of people who are important to a business like yours. It might seem challenging at first, but you’ll get there.

Customer interaction is vital, so consider each of the above tips

A Simple Guide to Business Phone Systems and VoIP

Hands up if you take your business phone system for granted.

If that’s the case, it’s time to take a look at what’s new in the world of business phone systems, what’s available and why they still matter.

Why do businesses need phone systems?

Unless you’re a sole trader with clients happy to contact you on your mobile, all businesses need a landline to meet customers expectations.

Luckily, a business landline can help:

  • A landline gives your business credibility.
  • If you get a high call volume, you can use features such as call management and call hold music scripts to manage expectations and prevent the dreaded ‘no answer’.
  • For businesses with a number of employees that clients may contact directly, voicemail is equally important so that customers know they have left a message with the correct person and that their enquiry will be dealt with quickly.
  • Customers expect businesses not to be sharing handsets between employees but to enjoy instant call transfer when required.
  • Customers are used to their calls being recorded, which is very useful for business training or complaint tracking.
  • Most customers now expect businesses to have an up to date account of their relationship with them. Integration with a CRM system is now par for the course with many businesses and allows staff to see every client’s communication history with the company.

So how does your phone system stack up against that?

The Role of the Internet

Access to high speed broadband has made it possible for businesses to put more and more of their business operations and processes online.

If you’re familiar with Cloud Computing, then you’ll already know about the ways it can save your business time and money. A Cloud Telephony solution such as VoIP can do likewise.

VoIP

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is where calls are carried over the Internet and you don’t need a separate traditional phone line.

Advantages of Hosted VoIP

  • Considerably cheaper set-up costs, with a much shorter implementation time vs. a traditional phone system
  • Cheaper ongoing costs with no maintenance fees
  • No costly upgrades as all system maintenance and platform upgrades are included in the per user, per month cost#
  • Cheaper call rates, in most cases calls are inclusive of the per user, per month cost
  • Flexibility to add new users as the business grows with out expensive install installs or phone system expansion
  • Phone number flexibility, add direct dials and other geographical phone numbers to the system for free
  • Complete flexibility if you move premises, no need to change phone numbers or routing plans, simply plug in your Hosted VoIP handset at your new office and it will continue to work
  • Many advanced features to allow for future growth, like mobile applications, desktop integration and call recording
  • No hardware to maintain/move/upgrade, as Abica will provide free replacements for faulty handsets for the lifetime of our agreement

More Advantages…

  • All standard phone system features, hunt groups, call transfers, hold (with music), call waiting, call forwarding and much more
  • Use call recording for audit trails, training and compliance
  • Improve collaboration with instant group calls
  • Twin your mobile number, for a complete unified communication solution
  • Call Parking, allows you park the call and collect it on a different handset if you have to move desks during your call
  • Use Presence or Pre-set Availability Profiles to manage incoming calls
  • Scale up and down based on the requirements of your business
  • Use Call History to view all calls made, received and missed
  • Additional functionality including hot desking, desktop integration and inclusive call recording
  • Inclusive free calls to all UK Landlines

Hosted or Not Hosted?

Hosted VoIP simply means that your call calling capabilities sit on your supplier servers and will require an Internet connection to access them. Your supplier will handle all software updates and maintenance so that your organisation can simply take it for granted that it works with no system down periods.

On-Premise VoIP means that your business hosts the necessary hardware on an internal server and your IT department is responsible for the routine updates, software upgrades, regular maintenance, system backups and data monitoring.

For a more detailed review of your business phone system and whether VoIP is right for your business, give us a call on 0141 404 8008.

Is Your Wi-Fi Security Up To Par? How To Stay Safe On Public Wi-Fi Networks

When online you are often as safe as you are cautious. Similar to the real world in that you can go your whole life without ever being mugged if you are careful about what you look like, what you carry and where you go. Or you could visit a rough neighbourhood wearing your Rolex watch. The same is true if you turn off your firewall and then use a public Wi-Fi network. Staying safe and engaging with public Wi-Fi security protocols on a public Wi-Fi network means taking the time every few months to see what new Wi-Fi security threats exist, and to then act to avoid as much risk as possible.

How Bad Can It Get?

There are varying degrees of being hacked. Having your systems shut down is bad enough, especially if a virus or malware has found its way through. More serious than that are your passwords or financial details being stolen and used. One of the worst things that could happen though is that the hacker sets up a backdoor to enter your system whenever he or she likes. He or she may gain access to every account you enter a password into, and even accounts that you enter with biometrics. The hacker could also see everything on your computer and the worst part is that you will know nothing about it. The hacker could sell off your passwords, accounts and financial details to the highest bidder without you even knowing.

Turn Off Sharing

It is recommended that you turn off sharing when you are on a public network. Turn your settings to private and people will have a harder time hacking you. Unfortunately there are still some users that don’t set up passwords so even non-hackers can gain access to their systems. Sharing is not a setting that pops up or riles up your virus checker though. If a program is chewing up your CPU power, then your virus checker may highlight it, but it is not going to mention your sharing settings. Change your settings if you are using public networks.

Turn Off Network Discovery

When you are turning your sharing setting to private, you can also turn off network discovery. It means that others can’t see your machine on the network, which in turn means you are less likely to be targeted. It is also known as “Stealth mode.” It is a good public Wi-Fi security precaution.

Use HTTPS and SSL If Possible

A number of regular website connections still use HTTP exchange, which is fine, but HTTPS and SSL are safer. Have SSL enabled, and if at all possible try to stick to websites that use HTTPS and you will increase your level of Wi-Fi security.

Consider Using VPN

VPN stand for Virtual Private Network. In simple terms, it passes all of your web use through a server that is somewhere else. For example, you could pick a location in Japan, and then as far as hackers are concerned, you are in Japan. This makes it more difficult for anyone trying to hack your computer. It also gives you added protection from the websites you visit because they will have a hard time tracking you down and figuring out where you are browsing from.

Turn Off Your Wi-Fi When You Not Using It

Chances are, hackers are going to try to crack your passwords at some point. It can be done with a computer that very quickly tries a large number of variations in a short space of time. If you turn off your Wi-Fi though, then they have a smaller window of time in which to crack your passwords.

What Impact Does The Latest Change to 0800 Numbers Have For Businesses?

Ofcom recently announced that 0800 and 0808 freephone numbers can now be called free from mobiles. At the same time, service providers and phone companies also have to make their access charges for the 084, 087, 118, and 09 business telephone numbers more transparent.

Good for the consumer

There are some 175-million business telephone numbers which could benefit from either the no-charge changes; or find their services more in demand when mobile subscribers know exactly what their costs will be.

From now on, instead of the small print saying, ‘calls from mobiles may cost considerably more,’ the service provider’s charge has to be shown (5 pence per minute) plus the phone company’s access charge (20 pence per minute). In this case, a call to the numbers using these tariffs would be 25 pence a minute. Clarity is also the name of the game when consumers receive their bills. From now on service number charges and access costs have to be clearly shown. Normal landline calls, or those made to standard 07 mobile numbers will be unaffected.

Ofcom believe that these changes will prove to be beneficial to consumers and in an increasingly competitive market, falling prices should result. Some mobile service providers are not particularly impressed with the changes though. UK consumers over a year make 250 million calls to business telephone numbers 084, 087, 09, and 118, spending over £900m.

The likely effects on business

With the massive increase in smartphone use across the UK, the changes implemented by Ofcom could have a beneficial effect for businesses using these non-geographic business telephone numbers (084, 087, 09, or 118).

The latest figures show that over two-thirds of the population now own a smartphone. Of those, 33% say their mobile is now their favourite tool to access the internet, with just 30% sticking with their trusty laptop. Much of this increase is attributed to the faster access available from 4G broadband, which saw a staggering increase in use from just under 3 million subscribers at the end of 2013, to nearly 24 million by the end of this year.

This increased use is occurring right across the age spectrum and as a result, business telephone numbers should begin to see an increase in usage from customers with the charges now being made clearer.

Companies using service numbers

For businesses using service numbers, changes to website and advertising material will have to be made to show the cost to the consumer of using each. There is no requirement to change the service numbers in use, however as changes have to be made to website and advertising material anyway, contacting your call provider to discuss rates and numbers is always an option.

Charges will be capped

While the 0800 and 0808 numbers will be free from mobiles and the directory-enquiries 118 numbers unaffected, other numbers will have a tariff cap. The 084 range will be capped at 7p, the 087 numbers at 13p and the 09 numbers will be capped at £3/minute as well as £5 per call (All figures include VAT).

A large number of businesses use the 08, 09, and 118 service numbers when making outbound calls, however at the moment, the new charges only apply to calls from consumer mobiles and private residential landlines. It is believed though that service providers may well extend the same pricing structure to business telephone numbers at a later date.

Use of these numbers, and how charges are displayed will continue to be monitored by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Phonepay Plus. Penalties for failing to comply with the new regulations can be found on their websites.

If you are concerned about the cost of using 08 numbers, contact us to find out more about our Non-Geographic Platinum numbers to carry unlimited call traffic for a fixed monthly fee.

Top Enterprise Platform Trends to Keep Your Eyes On

With a variety of different cloud-based applications making their mark in the enterprise software market, it looks like this industry is in for some accelerated growth. Efficiency improvements from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) deployments have prompted roughly 70 percent of businesses to prepare heavy investments in cloud-based enterprise platforms over the next three years.

Because of increasing affordability, scalability, and return on investment (ROI), smaller businesses are starting to adopt enterprise platforms, pushing the growth of apps like ERP and CRM platforms to a level it has never reached before. It is expected that 78 percent of small businesses will fully adopt cloud-based enterprise apps by 2020 compared to today’s paltry 37 percent.

The steady uptake of business apps is beginning to create exciting new trends. Let’s look at a few of them.

Increased Automation

Cloud-based enterprise application services like Panaya are taking off amid the keen interest in automating business processes with big data inputs. For enterprises, it will no longer be viable to go through the trouble of manually implementing enterprise updates and upgrades each time a new enhancement package is available.

Automation impacts productivity by streamlining processes. This makes tasks and projects easier to manage and, as a result, less costly. With scale, automation has an even bigger impact, especially when it comes to big enterprises that have complex data and process structures. The efficiency and productivity returns from automating business processes are a particularly strong incentive for adoption.

Cloud Platforms Are a Clear Winner

As the cloud refocuses resources from costly infrastructure investments onto operational expenditure, businesses are becoming keen on gaining the cost advantages. Much of this investment is going to be in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) implementations, which are seeing an increase in overall total cloud workload, up from 41% projected to 59% in 2018. From $13.5 billion back in 2011, the SaaS market is expected to grow by 243 percent to $32.8 billion by that time.

The increase in demand for SaaS solutions has also spurred a large revenue stream for many startup companies. Today, developers reach the $50 million milestone much earlier  than in 1998, according to Tomasz Tunguz, a venture capitalist at Redpoint who has compiled various analyses of the market’s evolution over time.

IoT Makes Its Way Forward, Dragging Wearables Along

Given the distributed nature of cloud computing, applications are beginning to fit into smaller spaces. The Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon has received a significant amount of attention for the useful applications in various industries around the world. The market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.72 percent by 2019. The relevance of IoT in freight tracking and any other business application that requires sensors has created the conditions for new business models to flourish, giving rise to creative means of acquiring, processing and analyzing data.

Wearables are also catching up, albeit more modestly. In this year, only one percent of all wearables shipped were destined for workplaces. By 2020, this number is expected to increase to 17 percent. The effects of this phenomenon are numerous, from enhanced workplace monitoring to higher productivity, as a result of the convenience offered by these devices on their own.

Cloud Applications are Complicating IT Security

While the cloud makes connectivity more convenient, it also comes with privacy and security risks. Because users – and even businesses –are surrendering privacy to third parties, there is a concern among business owners and IT professionals that employees may be inappropriately using data or resources.

Half of all organizations in the last 12 months have had at least one security incident, a trend expected to continue unless businesses start taking an improved approach to data security. Costs are beginning to reach astronomical levels, with the cost of data breaches reaching an average of $3.8 million per incident, up from $3.5 million one year ago.

The worrying increase in both the frequency and cost of data breaches has to do with the poor access control and data protection found in “vanilla” cloud applications adopted by a majority of businesses, especially startups, “solopreneurships” and small businesses. As a response, using solutions like Skyfence.com coupled with very prudent data access policies and procedures could help reduce this trend considerably. This particular platform provides IT departments the added control to ensure sensitive data is not intentionally or inadvertently leaked on public cloud.

Conclusion

The enterprise application market is on a path to fast and sustainable growth. Businesses can leverage these platforms in optimizing their operations for improved efficiency and productivity. Automation, enhanced security, and a move to cloud-based solutions will help improve agility, thus enabling companies to likewise focus on attaining their business goals.

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