The following infographic highlights the top eight areas that executives and management teams need to review when conducting Digital Transformation business planning. It's a helpful way to evaluate your current technology situation and give you and your team a simple plan to successfully move forward in digitally transforming your business.Read More
"By 2020, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey… The prey will remain Digital Dinosaurs, unable to evolve their proven business model until it’s too late”
- Forrester Research
In other words, NOW is the time for you, as a small or midsize business (SMB) to embrace Digital Transformation. Doing so will have a dramatic impact on your business and its bottom-line. It’s crucial that you evolve, stay relevant and use the right technologies to keep you competitive, make your people more productive and grow your business.Read More
An executive who understands and invests in this Digital Transformation process will reduce their business risk, save time and result in a much higher success rate over their competition.
Check out the Infographic below featuring the Five Key Steps you need to take for a successful Digital Transformation implementation of your business. We can help you in any (or all) of the five steps.Read More
It should be no surprise to hear that millions of jobs in business today won't be around in the future. Digital Transformation and advanced technology will profoundly change the job market (in particular, Customer Success / Customer Service jobs) over the next 10 years.
Many of these lower level jobs will be replaced by robots or computers with artificial intelligence (that mimics human response and behavior) and machine learning (that develops with self-learning algorithms).*
According to a research study about the future of jobs by the University of Oxford/NPR in September 2013, Customer Service Reps have a 99% chance of seeing their jobs replaced by robots (see bar chart below for some of the other top jobs projected to disappear):Read More
Apple rolled out the new iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina in November 2013 and many of the reporters and analysts complained that there was nothing new or exciting in the new products. They questioned if Apple still had it....
Well, I beg to differ with them!
Here are five technology reasons why the new iPads are really HOT and why you should consider buying them.
- A7 CPU Chip - Specially designed by Apple. It's a new 64-bit processor. Only Mainframe computers and Engineering Workstations used this type of chip before this year. Prior to this 64-bit chip, all major tablets (and smartphones) had 32-bit chips or smaller. Why is this important? Starting in 2013, just about all the developers are writing and rewriting new Applications for this new 64-bit chip... allowing for much more powerful and larger tablet (and smartphone) applications for business and for personal use. In 2014, look for amazing new apps and new solutions that were never thought of before for a tablet.
- M7 Motion Chip - Specially designed by Apple. The M7 does two things: increase battery life (up to 10 hours) and add the ability to monitor and report internal sensors (It measures motion from your iPad by pulling data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass) and in the future external sensors (devices). In the next 3-5 years there's going to be an explosion of wearable computers, office sensors, home sensors, retail shopping sensors and sensor monitoring apps. Again, look for new exciting apps and solutions that never existed before... starting in 2014.
- Retina Screens - Both Tablets now have high-resolution screens to help see display information. Your ability to read text and see numbers on spreadsheets just improved. The iPad Mini Screen is bigger than most other similar sized tablets. It makes a big difference when reading web pages. You have less scrolling up and down while you view information.
- New Apple iWorks Apps - Apple's version of MS Office (Word, Excel & Powerpoint) are now Free with the purchase of any new Apple Tablet (or iPhone). iWorks (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) auto syncs with each Apple iPad, iPhone, Mac Computer and the Cloud Storage (iCloud). The user interface for iWorks Apps is wonderful. The iWorks Apps are not perfect... but a great addition to the iPad world.
- Weight, Size & Feel - The weight and size was dramatically reduced in the iPad Air. You just have to pick the iPads up and use them to truly understand the improvement. There are lots of great tablets out in the marketplace. However, when you pick up and feel an iPad there's just something just different about the whole experience. Try it!
The new technology in both these Apple tablets should be good for the next 3-5 years. Overall, a very smart business or personal investment.
Note: This article is only focused on the new Apple iPad technology. We do not try to compare the iPad with the other tablets.
Photo credits: Apple
Over the last few years, technology has changed rapidly. As a result, we have old used technology equipment lying around our closets and drawers at our office and home. During our Spring Cleaning and End-of-Year Clean-Out Projects, we get rid of the old stuff - some we give away to family and friends, others we recycle and some we sell.
We researched and listed below our Top 10 Places to Sell Used Technology, including: Laptop, Desktop, Game Consoles, Smartphone, eBook Reader or Tablet. At the bottom of this list is a link to another article that lists the Top 10 places to just recycle the old stuff.
Amazon Trade-In The Amazon Trade-In Program allows customers to receive an Amazon.com Gift Card in exchange for over a million eligible items including DVDs, CDs, video games, electronics, and books. The process is easy and convenient with free shipping, an immediate offer, and no required registration or listing.
Apple Recycling If you like Apple products, send them your old iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC for reuse or recycling. If it has monetary value, they’ll apply that toward an Apple Gift Card. If not, they can recycle it responsibly for you.
BuyBackWorld They offer consumers and businesses a “cash for electronics” buying service that offers fair and accurate price quotes, speedy payment times, free shipping, a zero landfill policy, and data erasure for privacy protection.
Craigslist One of our favorite places to locally sell (and buy) smaller equipment fast. Safety Tip: We always meet buyers in a coffee shop.
eBay InstaSale No Longer Available
Gazelle Buys and Sells used Smartphones and Tablets. They have a very big presence in Apple products.
Nextdoor - The private social network for your neighborhood.
NetWorth They originally started off with the iPod and iPhone and now they’re taking in old BlackBerrys, digital cameras, GPS units, video games and video game consoles
uSell Their price comparison engine finds the best offers for your old electronics.
YouRenew They buy iPhone, Blackberries, Laptops and more
Equipment Recycling Tip If you don't want to bother with selling your old products, you can always just recycle them.Here's a list of more places to just Recycle or Donate Your Old Products (not sell)
Good luck with your Spring Cleaning and End-of-Year Clean-Outs! Hope this info helps.
Photo Credits: freedigitalphotos.net by cooldesign and Teerapun
Please share any other tips you have with our readers below.
In 2013, there is a much larger opportunity than in the last few years for non-technology oriented Small Businesses to implement the latest technology. All of them will help you increase your sales and/or reduce your costs. In addition, technology prices have dropped like a rock and they are so much easier to use (and learn) than ever before. This article was written for the non-technical owner or manager of a Home or Small Business.
Here are the 10 Key Small Business Trends:
Marketing Videos are being Added to Websites to Increase Sales Leads These days, most prospects want to watch a short 30- to 90-second video about your products or services on your website. Many don't have time to read a long white paper or product description during their first visit to your site. You can thank the use of YouTube and Smartphones for this change. The good news is that the cost of creating videos has dramatically gone down in the last few years. You can create them yourself or hire professionals to publish them. This will reduce your cost of Sales and Marketing and increase the number of your Sales / Marketing Presentations to prospects over the next 12 months.
Lead Nurturing Programs are Increasing Sales Prospects while Reducing the Cost of the Lead Process Send (or Scan) all Leads including: Trade Show Leads, Business Cards and Paper Lead Forms into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System or a dedicated "Marketing Automation" system. You can then use "Lead Nurturing" Campaigns to better qualify sales leads before sending them to expensive outside Sales / Account Managers. Sales and Marketing Productivity both go up.
Smartphones are Replacing Basic (Feature) Phones I know many Small Business Owners don't believe this. However, a Smartphone is NOT a "Nice to Have" product anymore. It is a "Need to Have" It's simple... If your competition have Smartphones and you don't, you will be less responsive to your customers and you will lose sales over time. Thanks to eMail, Texting, Instant Messaging, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, you need to respond to your sales prospects and customers much faster than even two years ago. You can also use a Smartphone to process credit card orders in the field. There are several companies that provide Free Apps and Credit Card Readers. Smartphones let you and your employees respond to Customers, Partners, Managers and Prospects as quickly as your Competition... or faster.
Social Marketing is Reducing Telemarketing & List Buying Costs If you are still only using Telemarketing, Buying Cold Call Lists and Sending Paper Mailers, you are missing a lot of sales prospects, spending more money than the competition and falling behind in productivity. If you outsource your telemarketing overseas to save money, you very likely have other issues. Your "under 40" prospects, don't talk as much on the phone as before. It's time to start learning and testing Social Networking... yes Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs and more....
Small Business Applications are Moving from old Client / Servers to Web or "Cloud Computing" If you need to replace or upgrade an old application or computer system this year, you should seriously consider replacing the application with a cloud computing application. The new Cloud Apps are designed to work with the new Smartphones and Tablets. Sales Leads are delivered real-time to your Sales Teams and Channel Partners which will increase the number of sales contacts per day. As a small business, you can also save significant money over the next three years by moving to this newer technology. You can usually reduce your start-up, training and conversion costs for employees. If you are new to Cloud Computing, this article and video should help explain this basics: ABC News Brief Article: "What is the Cloud?" YouTube Short Video: Computer Basics: What is the Cloud?
Web Training Programs will Increase the Professional Skills of your Employees Technology is rapidly changing almost all industries. Some companies are being turned upside down due to these changes. You need to help your people keep up (and get ahead) of all the changes.... or you may NOT be in business in the future. Web-based Training is ideal for remote sales teams working out of their homes or small offices. Affordable Web-based training can now keep your costs down, your peoples' skills up and improve sales productivity.
Web-based Meetings/Events Increase the number of Sales Calls, Demos & Seminars per month Web-based Meetings and Event technology is now used by most larger companies on a daily basis. The cost of Web-based Meetings and Events has dramatically decreased and Small Businesses can now take advantage of this technology. It also reduces their cost of sales significantly. ROI is in months, not years.
iPads are Increasing Sales Productivity A dirty little secret is that many Sales Reps still leave their laptops at home, in the hotel room or in the trunk of a car when they make sales calls. The Tablet is replacing the need to carry around a laptop for everyone. Tablets also lower the cost of training remote staff and laptop maintenance. I recently traveled to Europe for two weeks with an Apple iPhone, iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. It's the first time I ever traveled without my laptop and I never missed it for a minute. One strategy is to keep your old desktops and laptops for another year. Invest in new tablets for your key people this year and run pilot tests on how to improve productivity.
Web Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is Replacing Old PC and Client Server CRM The modern Web-based CRM Systems were developed for the Web / Cloud and Mobile Apps. Older systems just do not work as well with the new Smartphones and Tablets. This increases your maintenance costs and many of the real-time updates are just not available to your employees.
Evaluate Replacing or Supplementing MS Office with Google Office to Reduce Costs & Improve Collaboration Most employees only use 10-25% of the features in Microsoft Office. As more Applications are moving to the Web / Cloud, there is less and less need to buy and upgrade expensive Microsoft Office Applications for everyone in the company. Note: Google Office is less polished and has fewer features when compared to Microsoft Office. Many Small Businesses are moving to Google Office (@ $50 per person per year) or Zoho Office or other solutions to save money, and improve staff, client and partner collaboration.
If you have any questions or comments, please give us a call @or comment in the field below.
Image above courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Please share your comments below on any other key trends that you think are important in 2013.
Are you starting to think about planning for next year? Do you have any feel for the top cost-effective new technology that will boost your company sales and productivity? During the fourth quarter, we asked Small Business Executives, Managers or Owners to share the Top 3-4 NEW Technologies that they were thinking about implementing in 2012. Based on the survey, the following are the top 4 technologies for 2012:
- Upgrading the Company Website with the Latest Technology
- Implementing Smartphones and Tablets
- Testing and Implementing Social Marketing
- Adding Video Content for the Website including: Customer Demos, New Product Announcements, Success Stories and Best Practice Tips
Note: The votes were anonymous and we do NOT collecting any personal info. All poll results are available now.
Please share the poll results with other managers or owners... and add any comments or questions in the comment field below.