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January 11th, 2016

AndroidPhone_Jan1_AIf you’re one of the many people who decided to make the switch from Apple to Android over the holiday season you’re probably wondering just what you need to do in order to get your iTunes Library on your new phone. We won’t lie, the process isn’t straightforward, but you don’t need to be a computer science major to figure it out either. Here are a few different ways you can finally enjoy all your music on your Android phone.

One of the concerns former Apple users have when they make the switch to Android is the fear of losing all the music they currently have stored in their iTunes library. Most people have hundreds if not thousands of songs currently saved on their iPhone or iPod. Sure there are music streaming services available, but these cannot entirely replace your music library.

However, there are several methods you can use to put the songs saved in your iTunes Library onto your Android phone. These aren’t the easiest methods in the world but with a little gumption you can soon be able to enjoy your favorite songs from your iTunes account on any Android phone.

Drag and Drop

The most straightforward method of moving music involves a task you're probably already familiar with, dragging and dropping files. Alternatively, you can also copy and paste them, the choice is yours.

Start by connecting your Android phone to your laptop. From there, you will need to create a new folder on your Android phone from your laptop where you will place your music and open it up. Once that is completed, you should then open iTunes and highlight the songs you want to move. From there you can either drag and drop the files directly into the newly created folder on your Android phone, or select copy and then paste them into the folder. The results will be the same either way and your music will transfer over to your phone. Remember, if your laptop is a Mac you will need the Android File Transfer app available from Android in order to do this.

Apple Music

Apple Music recently made its way to Android and in addition to the streaming music service you are also able to access the songs you have purchased through iTunes. When you open up the Apple Music app you should be able to see your playlists from your iTunes Library show up when you go to My Music > My Playlists. There are two things you will want to take note of when considering Apple Music for Android. First, it is $10 a month to subscribe to the service and use the app. Second, the app is still new and Apple has not quite worked out all the kinks just yet according to reports.

Google Play Music

If you don’t need the physical files on your phone and are happy having access to your music via the cloud, then Google Play Music is a solution you might want to consider. For starters, it comes pre-loaded on all Android phones so the first step is already taken care of for you. You’ll need to download the Google Music Play app on your laptop (it's compatible with both Mac and PC), and then connect it to your iTunes library which will help you during the setup process. You can store up to 20,000 songs on your Google cloud at any given time which should be enough space for most people.

The downside of Google Play Music is that you’ll need to be connected to the Internet in order to have access to your music, which means this solution isn’t ideal if you’re on a plane for a long time or in another scenario where Internet access isn’t readily available.

If you’re thinking about switching from iOS to Android phones for your business then why not give our experts a call. We can help make sure your transition a smooth one.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 7th, 2016

BusinessIntelligence_Dec28_AUnderstanding how your visitors are using your website is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your online presence and generate more leads and revenue. Google Analytics remains the top analytic tool, allowing you to keep track. Yet many companies tend to focus on the overall performance without taking the time to understand other key metrics that contribute to the end result. Here, we’ve compiled a list of Google Analytics’ metrics that are worth knowing about.

What exactly is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free website analytic product offered by Google. It is an application that collates visitor data from your website and provides basic statistics and analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO). The data is used to generate reports that give you insights as to how your visitors are engaging with your website.

With Google Analytics, you can analyze your traffic to discover whether your target market is finding your website, how they’re finding it, and if they’re taking the actions you expect them to take while on your site. By tracking and analyzing your traffic you can increase the engagement and enhance your marketing strategies.

Google Analytics’ Key Metrics

Navigating Google Analytics can be mind-numbing, since you are likely to get lost in its many features, variables, and settings. Check out these basic key metrics that will help you analyze your website traffic.

Unique Visitors Most people tend to confuse this metric with “Visits”. The Unique Visitors metric can give you an accurate number as to how much real traffic you receive on a daily basis because, unlike the Visits metric, it doesn’t solely rely on cookies to count. This means any of your visitors would be counted once, even if they cleared their computer of cookies.

Pageviews The Pageviews metric should increase in direct proportion to the numbers shown in Unique Visitors. This metric represents how deep your unique visitors go into your website pages. If the percentage is low, your content may not be engaging enough to encourage visitors to explore the your website further than the home or landing page.

Bounce Rate The Bounce Rate metric will tell you the percentage of visitors who left your website after viewing only one page. High bounce rates can mean that your website is not appealing to visitors in certain aspects such as the design, content, navigation, and so on. Tracking your website’s bounce rate will quickly help you identify things that are not working well on your website, so you can fix the problem accordingly and ensure you grab visitors' attention from the first click.

Traffic Sources This metric shows which sources drive the most and least traffic to your website. Generally there are four types of metrics: Referral, Direct, Organic Search, and Social.

  • Referral traffic - These visitors found your site via your off-page marketing efforts, such as backlinks and blog articles on other websites.
  • Direct traffic - These visitors are highly targeted, since they type your URL directly into their web browser.
  • Organic search - These visitors discover your site after searching a keyword in a search engine, usually from Google.
  • Social traffic - These visitors came from social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
These are the metrics that matter to tracking your website’s visitors. They consist of basic numbers that are easy to understand and interpret. Once you get a handle of these metrics, you can make your way to more advanced metrics that provider deeper level and more accurate insight.

For more tips on how to utilize your business data with Google Analytics, contact our specialists today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 5th, 2016

BusinessContinuity_Jan4_AWhen people think of the causes of downtime and the need for a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), they tend to think big. Powerful storms, massive blizzards, fires and floods are usually what springs to mind when business continuity is mentioned. And while these disasters can disrupt your business, a small power outage can be just as problematic if you’re not prepared. Here’s what to do to make sure your company isn’t halted when a power outage occurs.

Power outages are one of the only disasters that can strike just about anywhere in the United States. If you are in Seattle chances are tropical storms are not going to be an issue and if you’re in Miami you aren’t going to fret over a blizzard, but losing power can occur anywhere, at any time and without warning.

A Department of Energy report noted that power outages cost American businesses nearly $150 billion in 2014 and added that increasing demand for energy coupled with an aging infrastructure could see the number of blackouts increase. While weather-related events are the most common cause of power outages in the U.S., it is far from the only thing that can disrupt energy service.

Since this is a problem that will continue to plague businesses, especially those ones that are unprepared, it’s important to be ready should a blackout strike. Here are a few things you should consider when it comes to power outages.

Power outages hurt in more ways than you think

The most notable issue a business faces when a power outage occurs is an inability to work. Employees often times sit around unable to do anything until the power is turned back on. Once the power does return, additional time is needed to safely turn everything back on and to check if all your files are still there.

There are also numerous indirect consequences that your business may face either during or after a power outage. These include a loss of revenue from potential sales, a decrease in customer satisfaction and a drop in your company’s reputation. The more your company is prepared for a power outage, the better continuity you will see and the less damage will be done. While it may be impossible to completely avoid issues caused by blackouts, you can minimize their impact.

Be ready in case of an outage

One of the biggest sources of frustration for employees during a blackout is losing files they had been working on. Autosave features do help prevent this but sometimes you’ll still lose that one important note or sentence you didn’t have the chance to save. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are one way to buy your employees a little extra time should the power go out. You're able to plug your computer into these devices and they will operate as a battery when the power goes out. The life of these power stations is anywhere from ten minutes to an hour for some models which should give you enough time to save your work and properly shutdown your computer.

If you want to stay in business during a power outage, a standby commercial generator can help. These normally run on propane or natural gas and immediately switch on as soon as your main power supply goes out. If you aren’t concerned about the lights but want to keep your employees productive, equipping them 4G enabled devices with Office 365 or Google Apps will let them continue to work on files that have been saved and stored on the cloud.

Always test your outage plans

Regardless of what your company's plans are during a power outage, you will need to test them on a regular basis to ensure everything runs smoothly when the real thing does happen. If you utilize a UPS or standby generator, you will want to test these out every six months at the very least to make sure they function properly. If your business has special plans for what employees need to do during a power outage, you should run a practice drill on a yearly basis to ensure everyone is up to speed on their duties.

They key to business continuity is preparation. Let our team of experts help prepare your business for anything thrown its way in 2016 and beyond.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 4th, 2016

More and more people are clamouring for the ability to communicate with their doctor through email and social media. In fact, a recent study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that 37 percent of patients have emailed their doctor while 18 percent used Facebook to get in touch with their physician. It behooves medical professionals to embrace electronic communication with patients but it’s important to be smart about it.

While patients would like to be able to communicate with their doctors via electronic channels, physicians have been slow to adapt to this. Some healthcare professionals have embraced this by using email, Facebook or specialized healthcare communication apps to better engage with their patients.

The results have been positive as patients have easier access to their physicians using technology they are comfortable with. Of course, if your practice or healthcare organization is thinking about embracing doctor-patient electronic communication, it is important to set up guidelines to make sure both sides fully understand the process. Here are a few things you should consider before using electronic communication to chat to patients.

Open the right line of communication

Chances are you don’t want patients bombarding your email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media profiles you might have with queries about their health. Before engaging patients using electronic communication, establish what media you wish to have patients contact you through. Email is the most reliable method while setting up a professional Facebook page is also a viable option. Whatever you do, make sure you keep your personal and professional social media and email accounts separate. If a patient ever tries to contact you through a personal account, direct them to your professional one.

Setup response time frames

A lot of people believe using social media, email or other channels of electronic communication should lead to fast, if not immediate, response times. As a healthcare professional, you probably won’t be able to answer most questions as soon as they land in your inbox. Establish an acceptable response time within your electronic communication guidelines that lets patients know when they can expect to hear back from you. Something between 24 to 48 hours is ideal in most cases.

Keep things secure

Security is always important especially when it comes to the exchange of health information. You will always want to check that you are sending the right information to the correct individual. It is also a good idea to have one email address or account from which patients can ask you questions from. This will help eliminate possible fraudulent activity. If you do think one of your patients has had their account hacked, or the information you need to share is sensitive, it is best to have them call or come into the office.

Don’t get overwhelmed

One of the main issues from a doctor’s perspective when it comes to electronic communications is what you will and will not answer. For starters, you don’t want to be fielding questions about appointments, payments or the weather. You also don’t want to be giving away medical advice and opinions on a free basis as people will stop coming to your practice altogether and just solicit you for free information online. One policy to consider is to only answer questions from patients based on upcoming or completed visits. This will help eliminate frivolous queries from your patients.

Alternatives

If you don’t feel comfortable using email or social media to talk to patients or you want a system that is a little more comprehensive, there are several applications on the market designed specifically for healthcare providers. Not only do these enhance doctor-patient communication using mobile devices, but can also allow for video chat, scheduling and a host of other features along with direct messaging. These often tend to be more secure than email and social media as well.

Communication between physicians and patients will continue to move from traditional channels to electronic ones. Failing to adapt will only frustrate your current patients and make new patients less likely to consider you. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about how electronic communication in regards to healthcare works and what you can do to embrace it successfully.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 31st, 2015

 The functionality of Microsoft Office has yet to be beaten. And while it is known for its straightforward productivity, there are quite a few add-ins for your favorite Office application that just might improve your experience further. Whether you want to add a cool infographic to an Excel spreadsheet or need to set an Uber reminder from Outlook, here are four add-ins that can help change the way you use Office.

You probably use Microsoft Office on a daily basis but, if you aren’t utilizing plug-ins, you are missing out on a world of cool features that can improve your favorite applications. Microsoft calls them Office Add-ins, and they can be found in the Office Store. Log into your Microsoft account and download the Office Add-ins you want. After that, open the Office application the add-in is meant for. Once open, go to Insert > My Add-ins, and then pick the one you want. That’s it.

Of course, knowing how to do it is just the first step of the equation. You also have to know which add-ins are worth installing. If you are using Office 2013 or later, here are some of the add-ins you might want to check out.

People Graph

For: Excel Price: Free Excel is a great way to share numbers and vital data. However, your traditional spreadsheet can look a bit boring, and in particular it can fall short if you need certain figures to stand out. Apart from making them bold or larger, there aren’t a ton of options at your disposal. This is where People Graph comes in. This add-in lets you take those simple numbers and transform them into an engaging infographic that lets the data really stand out.

DocuSign

For: Word Price: Free Trial (subscription required after trial) If you need to sign a lot of documents, the process can be a complicated one. DocuSign removes all the hassles by letting you drag and drop your eSignature right there in Word. No longer will you have to print out a document, sign it, and then scan it back onto the computer. DocuSign also meets all legal standards when it comes to eSignatures, so security or validity won’t be an issue.

Uber Ride Reminder

For: Outlook Price: Free Raise your hand if you’ve scheduled an Uber ride, only to then forget about it. Chances are there are a lot of hands in the air, ours included. With the Uber Ride Reminder add-in, you won’t have to worry about that happening again. When you schedule a ride, you can place it in your Outlook calendar, and also have the option to setup a mobile reminder from the add-in. New users of the add-in might even be eligible for a free ride, too!

Translator

For: Word Price: Free If you work with bilingual clients, or simply want to quickly translate some text into another language, it normally involves a lot of copying and pasting from Word to an internet browser and back again. The Translator add-in cuts out the middle man, and lets you perform translations in over 40 languages right there in Word. While we can’t always vouch for the accuracy of the translations, it can at least help you get the gist of the message.

Believe it or not, there are tons of tools, tips and tricks out there that will let you and your employees get more out of Microsoft Office. Let our expert team show you how your company can get the most out of them and other Office features.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 29th, 2015

Security_Dec14_AThere are numerous strains of malware out there, but one particularly unpleasant one is ransomware. While this malicious software has been around for some time, recently a newer, nastier upgrade was discovered. Posing a threat to businesses of all sizes, the program, called Chimera, has upped the ante when it comes to scaring its victims out of their hard-earned cash. But what exactly is this malware, and what do you need to look out for?

Business is booming in the world of cyber crime, and scammers, extortionists, phishers and hackers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to exploit our fears and naivety in order to boost their bank accounts, steal our data, or simply cause us mayhem for their own twisted pleasure. One of worst types of malware for playing with our emotions - and therefore increasing the likelihood of us capitulating to its demands - is ransomware. If you don’t know how this program works, read on for an introduction.

If your computer has been infected by ransomware, the first sign that something is wrong is normally discovering that you are unable to open one or more of your files. That’s because the malware encrypts them, rendering them completely inaccessible. The next thing you see will be a ‘ransom note’, either in the form of an email or a notice that appears directly on your screen. You will be told that if you want to see your files again you will need to pay a sum of money. After making payment you will (allegedly) be sent a code that will allow you to decrypt your files.

Some types of ransomware up the fear factor even further by pretending that the FBI, CIA or other national law enforcement or government agency is behind the ‘kidnapping’. You will be told that your files are being held hostage because you have downloaded pirated software or files, or visited an illegal or illicit website - such as those depicting extreme pornography or threatening national security. Regardless of whether or not you are guilty of any of the above - be it a visit to an x-rated website, or downloading a pirated copy of the latest episode of The Walking Dead, your first instinct is probably to panic. The thought of no longer having access to any of our information, files or data is enough to make most of us break out into a cold sweat. If you haven’t backed up, everything from your vacation pictures to your company’s data could be lost for good.

The problem for ransomware creators, however, is that many users have wisened up to their tactics, and are refusing to pay, instead calling in an IT specialist to try and restore their encrypted files. This has left cyber criminals needing to find a way to boost ‘trade’. And that is where Chimera comes in. Christened by the Anti-Botnet Advisory Centre - a part of Germany’s Association of the Internet Industry - unlike previous forms of ransomware, which were indiscriminate when choosing their victims, this latest threat primarily targets businesses.

An employee will receive an email, purporting to be an application for a job within your firm, or some kind of corporate deal. This email will include a link ostensibly to the applicant’s resume or to details of the offer, but will in fact go to an infected file stored in Dropbox. Chimera then infects the user’s computer and encrypts any local files. Once the PC has been rebooted, the ransom note will be displayed on the desktop. Payment is usually set at around $680 USD, which must be paid in Bitcoins. And in order to further scare the victim into paying, the note will also state that failure to make payment will result in the user’s files being published online.

If there is a slight silver lining to the Chimera cloud, it is that the Anti-Botnet Advisory Centre has not found any proof that files have been published - at least not yet. In fact, it is still unknown whether the ransomware does actually take the encrypted files or if it is just an empty threat. Regardless, it is still a threat which could easily convince many users to pay the ransom. And should Chimera make good on its threats, the ramifications for a business are huge - and that’s without taking into consideration the nightmare of having your files encrypted in the first place. With Chimera targeting businesses of all sizes, and random employees within the business at that, isn’t it time you took another good look at your organization’s security posture?

Contact us today and talk to one of our security experts. We’ll be more than happy to help ensure that your small or medium-sized business isn’t taken hostage by Chimera or any other type of ransomware.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
December 29th, 2015

MobileGeneral_Dec22_AWhile it is impossible to predict the future, it looks as if 2016 is shaping up to be a year in which new phone releases take center stage. This also means consumers need to be educated and savvy about buying a new device this year. You might have your heart set on a certain brand, but there will be a lot of competition on the market, and other models might sport different features and possibly a lower price tag. We take a look at some of the new phones scheduled for release in 2016.

Apple iPhone 7

There have been plenty of rumors about what the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will feature, such as the elimination of the headphone jack, but not a whole lot more than that is known at the moment. These phones are expected to be thinner, and to feature common upgrades like a higher-resolution camera and a speedier processor. Everything else about the phone floating around at the moment is just hearsay. If Apple follows precedent, the iPhone 7 will be released in September.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung fans won’t have to wait all that long to get their hands on the new line of Galaxy phones, with the Galaxy S7 expected to hit stores in February. While the Galaxy S6 and, in particular, the Galaxy S6 Edge had supply issues that made it hard for consumers to get their hands on one, the International Business Times reports that, this time around, five million devices will be available at launch. New features for the Galaxy include a 4k display and a pressure-sensitive touch screen. A retina scanner could also be included, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Windows Surface Phone

The Windows Phone has not been widely embraced by consumers for either business or personal use; however, the Windows Surface tablet has been a massive success for the company. It should come as no surprise to learn that Windows has decided to ditch the Windows Phone, and instead release a Surface Phone incorporating many of the user-friendly features found on the tablet, including seamless Windows 10 integration and full versions of Microsoft Office applications. The release date is still very much up in the air, but reports suggest that it should be launched some time in the second half of 2016.

Google Nexus 6 2016

Seeing as 2016 is in the name, it would be surprising if Google’s new line of signature phones did not make its way onto the market at some point in the upcoming year. Gizmo China reports that Google will once again team up with Chinese manufacturer Huawei for the handset, which will run Android N, the latest Android operating system. The two worked together on the Nexus 6P, the last phone released by Google. But the new phone is anticipated to have Qualcomm’s recently released Snapdragon 820 chipset, as opposed to Huawei’s in-house chipset.

Figuring out which phone you need for yourself or your employees can be a headache-inducing task. Let our experts help explain the pros and cons of each new phone, and how it can help your business and its bottom line.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 28th, 2015

Security_Dec24_AOnline security has probably never been such a hotly debated subject as it was in 2015. From recent numerous high-profile attacks on Sony and others, to this year’s leaking of data stolen from the extramarital-affair-facilitating website Ashley Madison website, have pushed cyber security firmly into the spotlight. So what can we expect from 2016? Experts predict that this year will only see cyber crime increasing yet further. Here’s what you need to know.

If you think that only big corporations and prominent organizations are targeted by cyber criminals, you are making a deadly mistake. It might be tempting to sweep cyber crime under the carpet and assume that you are flying below the average hacker’s radar, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, it’s the polar opposite, since smaller enterprises are actually far more likely to be at risk than larger ones, owing to their typically less sturdy security postures.

So where does that leave you as a small or medium-sized business owner or manager? Does it mean you need to be taking your cyber security even more seriously? You can bet your bottom dollar it does, as industry experts predict that 2016 is only going to become more of a minefield when it comes to online crime.

The headline trend that IT security professionals pinpointed this year was that no longer were criminals hacking into websites purely to bolster their bank accounts. 2015 has seen the emergence of another strain of hackers, launching cyber attacks as part of a moral crusade. These people are not purely after money although in some cases this may also be a contributing factor - instead, their claimed motivation is revenge, or righting what they perceive as wrong. It is this diversification in the hacking community that has led security watchers to predict that, as we enter 2016, we are likely to see some different behavior from hackers.

Among the unpleasant predictions being made, a number of experts agree that hacks of a destructive nature will be on the rise. The fact that hackers are using attacks for retribution rather than simple monetary gain means that a wider cross-section of organizations may well find themselves being preyed upon, all the way from government agencies - traditionally ignored by hackers - to online retailers and other commercial websites.

Remember when Snapchat got hacked back in October 2014, and the hackers threatened to make public as many as 200,000 photos? Well, the bad news is that apps are going to continue to be targeted. In particular, those mobile apps that request access to your list of contacts, emails and messages can, in the wrong hands, be used to create the kind of portal that enables a cyber criminal to steal data or gain access to a company’s entire network. All this means that in 2016, hackers could be taking advantage of apps to do more than just steal your social media photos - they might have in mind the takedown of your entire company.

As a local business owner, social engineering - a means of tricking an individual into disclosing revealing or personal information about themselves or their company - is something you definitely need to be concerned about. You might pride yourself on being too savvy to fall for a cyber criminal’s tricks, but what about your employees? Can you be sure that each and every one of them exhibits the same amount of self control, cynicism, and wariness that you do? Not only that but, as we enter a new era of online threats, the criminals that use social engineering are growing in confidence and creativity. Dodgy emails from a bizarrely named sender containing a link to an unheard-of website are yesterday’s news. Modern social engineering is highly evolved and extremely cunning, and has the potential to convince even the most streetwise internet user.

How confident are you that your entire team of employees would be completely infallible in the face of a stealth attack from a seemingly innocent source? Could you trust them to restrain from divulging not only their personal details but also information pertaining to your company? Multiply the number of employees in your company by the number of phone apps they potentially use, and add to that the fact that any one of them could at any time be targeted by a social engineering scam, and the end result is a less-than-perfect security posture.

The sad fact is that there are people who want to do you harm - regardless of whether you hold confidential information about celebrity salaries, or are privy to a database full of cheating spouses. People, no matter how well meaning or vigilant, are the weakest link in any security chain, which means that ensuring your business’s safety necessitates educating your staff and ensuring that your network is impenetrable.

Professional training and a vulnerability assessment are two great places to start, so why not get in touch with us? We’ll make sure your business is as hack-proof as it can be.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
December 28th, 2015

WindowsPhone_Dec16_AThere are over 600,000 Windows Phone applications that have been produced to date. Yes, many of these apps are of bad quality and outdated but, if you look through the Windows Phone Store carefully, you’ll find that it has everything you need for your day-to-day business activities. There are apps for you whether you’re looking to stay productive when you’re away from the office, schedule meetings with business contacts, or store files securely in the cloud. Here’s a list of our top recommended Windows Phones business apps.

Box

As the name implies, Box is an application that handles all of your file storage needs. The free version gives you 10GB free storage and supports over 100 file formats, including Word, Excel, PDF, PSD, and more. Box makes it easy for you to securely store, manage, and work with all of your files and documents whenever and wherever you are, whether it’s from your desktop, smartphone, or tablet.

GMaps+

While many smartphone users are familiar with the famous Google Maps application, it is not available on the Windows Phone platform. But GMaps+ is a great alternative, offering users a complete Google Maps experience with many additional features, including a revamped design, 3D maps and 3D compass mode, live traffic conditions, the ability to view directions through third-party apps such as Waze and Nokia Drive, and so much more.

LastPass

Do you have trouble trying to memorize all the passwords for your various online services and email accounts? Then LastPass can be a real lifesaver, with its ability to securely store access credentials on your Windows Phone. LastPass features multi-factor authentication, password generation, and password sync. The only password you have to remember is LastPass’s master password, because it will fill your account IDs and passwords for you.

CamScanner

The CamScanner app essentially transforms your Windows Phone into a portable scanner, allowing you to scan, store, sync, and collaborate on paper documents, bills, receipts, physical business cards, and more. Recognized as the industry’s most powerful document scanning and sharing app, CamScanner truly makes digitizing physical documents as easy as opening the app and taking a picture.

Time Stamp

Time Stamp is a powerful work time tracker app that has an intuitive user interface and is rich in functionality. It allows you to track your work time in just two taps on your Windows Phone device. Time Stamp’s detailed reports show your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly work time accrual. You can also use Time Stamp to track overtime work, record public holidays and leave days, and export data in Excel format.

Zoho Expense

For many companies, expense reporting and reimbursement processes come with many challenges, such as lost receipts, long processing times, and violations of expense policies. With Zoho Expense, you can easily automate business and travel expense management, dramatically reducing the time required to record receipts and prepare expense reports by digitizing your papers. Zoho Expense is ideal for sales reps, managers, and finance departments.

Want to learn how to implement Windows Phone into your business? Contact us today - we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 25th, 2015

Satisfied man holding two money bagsOne of the biggest, buzziest phrases making the rounds in corporate circles at the moment is “big data”. But what does big data actually mean? What is it and, more importantly, what can it do for your business or organization? The good news is that it’s not just another tired old buzz word that actually has very little meaning (“pushing the envelope”, we’re looking at you!) Using big data within your company can actually help you increase profit. Let’s take a look at how.

So, we’ve established that big data is causing a stir and creating a buzz in companies that are in the know. In fact, it’s become hip to bandy about the phrase whenever one is trying to impress their boss, senior management or fellow co-workers. But like any lingo or jargon that is currently cool, it really doesn’t count for a whole lot if it doesn’t mean anything, particularly in the workplace.

The good news is that, unlike some of the more hackneyed expressions thrown around by those colleagues that are so desperate to impress their seniors, big data does actually mean something. And, more to the point, it can help your business thrive. Big data can help you achieve that end result that everyone in business is chasing: profit.

This is why big data is trending so sharply at the moment - after all, every owner or manager of a small or medium-sized business wants to grow their bottom line. Times are hard in many industries: increasing competition from abroad, the threat of the internet to bricks-and-mortar stores, a difficult economic climate - the list goes on. But what if something as simple as using your business’s data could push you heads and shoulders above the competition, and help turn around that downwards or flatlining arrow on your sales chart and point it upwards in the direction of success?

But before we get to that; what actually is “big data”? Why is it big? Well, we may have said that using data to grow profit is simple but, in actual fact, it’s really not as easy as all that. Big data is used to refer to various sets of data that are so huge and so complex that the traditional methods of processing data are virtually useless. Database management tools and other processing applications become redundant and are just not up to the task of capturing, storing, searching for, sharing, transferring, analyzing, and visualizing data.

Instead of looking at separate small sets of data, big data - as the name implies - looks at larger sets that contain far more information. This enables anyone analyzing the results to cross-check the sets and pinpoint trends, both positive and negative, across the entire business. As a result, owners and managers can make more informed decisions that affect the company in a more beneficial way than is possible by merely looking at small, isolated sets of data.

Big data therefore plays a valuable role in strategy and planning, and also helps troubleshoot worrying or problematic trends that threaten the performance and profitability of the business. Put simply, using big data to assist in making decisions for your company is about being able to see the bigger picture (to use another tired corporate buzz phrase). Decisions made with all the facts at hand will naturally help increase revenue, as opposed to blindly feeling in the dark and making changes to one area or department that may negatively affect another.

There are a number of ways that you can use big data analytics to make better decisions and increase profit. Crucially, it allows you to see what really makes your customers tick. Nowadays many businesses offer different ways for their customers to communicate with them. From email to a website, to phone calls and human interaction, all of these present you with meaningful information about your clients’ behavior. Knowing what your customers rely on you for, how they interact with you, and where they may hesitate or stumble when using your services, provides a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be mined. However, a lot of this data is unstructured and therefore cannot be analyzed using traditional means. That’s where big data comes in: it can help you uncover the information you need to really understand your customers.

Of course it goes without saying that a deeper understating of your customers can help you grow your customer base, increase repeat business, heighten customer loyalty, and reduce bounce rates and the number of dissatisfied customers. But that’s not all - analyzing this data will allow you to develop new products or services, create stronger, more effective marketing campaigns, and create an all-round better experience for the people that matter most – the people you serve.

Want to learn more about big data, and find out how it can have a seriously positive impact on your business’s revenue? Talk to us today - we have the knowledge and experience to help you really get the most out of your company’s intel.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.