When it comes to digital marketing, most SMEs don't go far beyond the basics: SEO, social media, and content creation. Most don't even do it themselves. They find a great agency, hand them the reins, and wait for the customers to roll in. While that does yield good results for most businesses, it also causes many of them to abdicate their primary role in the process, which is providing the customer insight one only gains through direct relationships.
The thing is, though, the movement towards digital platforms has made such direct relationships rarer. They've been replaced with things like emails, customer service chats, and online reviews. That has made it easier for businesses to handle a larger volume of customers with fewer resources. It's also made it harder for businesses to really get to know their customers.
As it turns out, lacking a personal understanding of customers can cripple digital marketing efforts just as much as it did in the age of cold calls and blanket mailers. To combat this modern problem, businesses have two choices: ramp up human, one to one contact, or turn to technology. IBM believes that the latter is the right way to go. That's why they've developed the Watson Personality Insights service. Here are some of the advantages it provides that should have digital businesses begging to make it a core part of their digital marketing efforts.
Supercharging Digital Advertising
Up until now, businesses have approached digital advertising much the same as they did for television and print. It's all about demographics, reach, and timing. The reality is, though, that AI-derived personality insights can enable a kind of ad targeting that nobody could have imagined a few years ago. Imagine delivering an advertisement to specific customers grouped by personality type. Now imagine doing it by allowing an AI solution to comb through text from that customer's social media posts, blog entries, and interactions with the company to figure out what kind of person they are to deliver an ad with the right tone for them. Research has shown that such targeting can double advertising ROI – and Watson can do it for you.
Zeroing in on Customer Behavior
One of the most elusive goals in digital marketing is delivering the right message at the right time to induce specific behavior from customers. That's because getting it right is less about what the company wants, and more about understanding what the customer is likely to do. For example, studies have linked people with neurotic personalities to impulse buying. Through personality insights, a business could detect customers with this likely trait and target them for promotions they won't be able to resist. Watson can tell you who to target, when, and with what kind of sale or promotion. It can also help you identify which customers aren't likely to respond to things like flash sales and limited-time offers so you can target them in other more effective ways.
Choosing the Right Influencers
Today, another critical component of any digital marketing strategy is using social media to spread your business message far and wide. Personality insights can help there, too. Analyzing customer text data can provide critical clues to what kinds of people they identify with and if they're likely to respond to influencers on social media. That can help your business choose influencers that are a good fit for your specific customers, instead of relying on things like follower counts and overall popularity. That's the idea behind Influential.co, which uses the Watson Personality Insights API to perform a detailed analysis of social media posts. The insights gleaned help their customers to identify which social media influencers to work with, and which customers they'll need to target in other ways. Again, it's another advantage that would be impossible without Watson.
Reinventing Customer Understanding
By now, it should be quite clear why Watson-powered personality insights can make such a valuable addition to a business's digital marketing arsenal. In ways large in small, it can provide detailed guidance on what to do to reach each individual customer or group. It also helps to eliminate wasteful marketing spend by preventing campaigns that won't be effective for targeted groups. In the new digital environment, it's reinventing the way businesses can understand their customers. Just like the salesman's instinct of old, Watson provides vital personality clues that can feed a business's bottom line and connect the right people with the right messaging. No modern business should do without it.
Ever since the Great Depression overwhelmed the global economy in the 1930s and forced most of the major democracies to reexamine their methods of providing a social safety net to their populations, various constituencies have been at war over just how to pay for it. Here in the US, that debate began with the New Deal programs of Franklin Roosevelt, ran through Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs in the 1960s, and continues to this day.
Today, however, as federal deficits grow and the national debt spirals into multiple trillions of dollars – it seems that those who argue in favor of cutting or eliminating such social programs are winning the argument. Projections of the federal budget reveal that social spending is on the decline as a share of GDP, which is a trend set to continue until at least the year 2029. That means that social welfare agencies at all levels, from federal to local, are going to have to start learning to do more with less.
One thing that they have going for them is a raft of new technologies that are helping to streamline social services operations, helping agencies to spend more of their budgets helping people and less on overhead. Here's an overview of some of the ways that's happening.
Social Success in an Unexpected Place
If you're familiar with Sonoma County in California, you likely know it to be a beautiful place dotted with vineyards and picturesque coastal views. It isn't without problems, however. Although going unseen by outsiders, the county does have one of the largest homeless populations of any county of its type nationwide. That problem was magnified by a series of wildfires beginning in 2017, which destroyed homes throughout the region and created even more vulnerable populations.
The county, for its part, knew that their existing siloed data approach to social services couldn't hope to cope with the scale of the problems, so they turned to IBM to build a unified data system based on its IBM Health and Human Services Connect 360 platform. It was intended to deliver Watson-powered insights to drive personalized services and support to the citizens that need it most. The initial version of the system produced insights into 90,000 individual case files, allowing workers to take a more proactive approach to provisioning services by reaching out to those in the most need.
Expanding Use of Existing Programs
It is an unfortunate reality that many locales that have comprehensive social services programs still have difficulty getting those eligible to participate in them. Sometimes, that's a matter of a perceived social stigma associated with the programs, and in other cases, it's a simple lack of awareness of what's available. In Illinois, however, one program faced a very different problem: an application backlog that rendered it ineffective.
The program, which extends tax credits to companies that hire individuals from certain populations, such as veterans, those receiving public assistance, and ex-felons, had no shortage of businesses willing to take advantage of it. With an application backlog that stretched to as long as several years, however, there was no way for them to do so. That's when the state government turned to B2B data firm Adeptia for help. Together, they built an automated system to accept and process tax credit applications using the firm's data integration suite – a system that eliminated the entire backlog in a few days and now processes most applications in under a minute. The automation has given the Illinois Department of Employment Security the ability to handle up to ten times the previous workload with no increase in staff.
Doing More Good
By overhauling the way that governments provide services and support for those in need, it should be possible to both minimize costs and increase participation rates. To those in the social services field, that's as close to finding a holy grail as one could hope. It's also becoming possible while budgetary constraints are making things considerably harder at all levels of government – so it couldn't be coming at a more opportune time. With any luck, technology should let us do more good for more people while meeting our fiscal goals – and we'll all be better off for that.
In today's business world, technology can make the ultimate difference between success and failure. That's one of the reasons that you'd be hard-pressed to find a business of any kind that isn't running or starting some kind of technology initiative, ranging from AI to big data and everything in between. That has had a profound effect on the labor markets in almost every developed economy – creating a well-known talent shortage across the technology spectrum.
That shortage is putting an increasing amount of pressure on businesses, and SMEs in particular, as they look for candidates with the skills they need to support their technology goals. Fortunately, there are several ways that SMEs can meet their talent needs, even within such a difficult environment. To elaborate, here are three vital tactics for SMEs to overcome the tech talent shortage and fill their ranks with the skilled employees they need.
Training From Within
The first thing that SMEs must realize when addressing their tech talent needs is that every company's in the same boat. That's because some of today's technology is so new, that there simply aren't very many qualified candidates to choose from. That's why it's a great idea for SMEs to train existing employees in the skills they require. First, this allows an SME to acquire the exact skill set they need, without having to hire a potentially overqualified candidate. Second, existing staff already have an intimate understanding of the business's inner workings, needs, and strategic goals, so they'll have a far easier time applying their new knowledge to the greatest effect. Some of today's biggest tech firms have already adopted a hire first, train later approach to filling their talent pools – and if it works for them, it will also work for the average SME.
Find Candidates Where They Are
Unlike the broader workforce, technology professionals tend to travel in tighter and more overlapping circles, which often makes them harder to find for SMEs hunting for the right candidate. To overcome this reality, SMEs must learn to look in places where top tech talent tends to congregate, like on a icrunchdata which is a tech job board, or sites like Github and Linkedin. By getting established within those kinds of online communities, an SME can build a reputation that will draw talented candidates in, especially if they're recruiting for interesting and challenging projects. It's important to remember that the best way for an SME to make this tactic effective is to get involved in tech communities before a specific need for talent arises. That way, they'll be regarded as a trusted community member, rather than a mere headhunter.
Be Open To Remote Workers
Even though it's still not common practice in the SME world, one of the best ways to find and acquire necessary tech talent is to expand the search to include remote workers. That simple shift in tactics can allow an SME to draw from a global talent pool, rather than just a local one. Many companies avoid doing this because they fear the management complications that come with offsite employees, or believe that the technology infrastructure necessary to support remote staff is going to cost too much or be too difficult to maintain. In truth, those are outdated notions. Today, an SME can conduct the majority of their technology initiatives completely in the cloud, which means even local employees will be using remote access to do their work. Even in cases where there's on-site infrastructure, the investment required to use an open-source solution like OpenVPN is minimal. In short, there's no real reason that SMEs shouldn't avail themselves of the widest talent pool possible – and those that don't are selling themselves short.
Staff Up For Success
By putting these three tactics into effect, any SME, and indeed any business, can keep their tech needs satisfied without resorting to a desperate bidding war for scarce talent. They'll also end up with a workforce that is better suited to their specific requirements, which is a pleasant and welcome side effect of these strategies. The bottom line is, it's more than possible for an SME to thrive even in today's difficult tech hiring environment – as long as they are willing to eschew the tried-and-true recruiting strategies of yesteryear and embrace a new, more modern skill acquisition paradigm.
Embedded software in its basic nature is a software used to control devices not fully regarded as computers, these types of devices are called embedded systems. Synonym for such software is sometimes referred to as firmware.
With such devices, there are specific challenges and issues in their function. And where are issues, there is an embedded software development company that is specialized in resolving those problems.
In the following lines, we will address some of the major challenges of ESD in short notes.
Challenge #1 Stability
Stability is of supreme and greatest importance in the proper functioning of embedded systems. Unexpected behavior of a system poses some serious risks. End users are expecting proper functioning of embedded systems and their uniform behavior in order to perform necessary tasks without disruption.
Challenge #2 Safety
Safety is a specific feature of ES (embedded systems) due to their use associated with functionality in condemnatory environments. Software Development Life cycle specialized for embedded software is described by strict needs and constraints regarding quality and engineering expertise.
Challenge #3 Security
Security a major paramount of the digital world is getting more attention with every security breach and scandal in an online world. Risks are growing increasingly, especially for IoT devices which are getting more and more popular worldwide. Modern home appliances like washing machines, refrigerators are having connectivity features built in by default.
Challenge #4 Launch Phase
Tough indicators in embedded system development are most definitely time-to-market and time-to-revenue specifically for IoT branches. For this reason, applications and platforms are expected to support billions of IoT systems which are expected to circulate by 2020. Extreme flexibility and integration are required for fabrication of hardware components that are housing embedded systems. Longer IoT device lifespan, future updates, and releases are becoming an issue for component designers.
Challenge #5 Design Limitations
Most of the challenges in designing embedded systems have almost always been in the identical limiting requirements:
- Small-scale form factor.
- Low energy.
- Prolonged stable performance without upkeep.
Expanding market is demanding from designers to create more processing power and prolong the battery lives into spaces that are more compact, which is most of the time a tradeoff. Ultimately, in comparison of applications in IoT, there is an increasing demand for creating very scalable processor units ranging from inexpensive and low power consumption to topmost performance that are highly configurable. There is an identical demand for performance of system buses and memory caches.
Challenge #6 Integrity and Compatibility
Estimations are showing that currently most of the applications on the market are created and published by businesses younger than 3 years old. With their expertise in developing software, a good number of them are lacking experience in implementing and pushing updates to their applications in IoT environment, especially in regard to security regulations.
Expansion of IoT devices on the background of connectivity creates more pressure on their adaptive capability. Users need to be capable of managing the application via a simple UI and all available channels including over the air software updates that need ultimate compatibility through the entire ecosystem.
Integrity becomes a function of safety. To protect the IoT from attacks or being compromised, security must be implemented inside each of the devices at every level.
Key Issues of Embedded Software Development
Whether we like it or not, by 2021 the number of wirelessly connected devices by certain estimations will grow to 25 billion across the globe. Embedded solution developers are being faced with many issues throughout this way. We will not be covering the entirety of them in detail. So let’s just have a look at a few of them.
Pre-engineered software stacks are resolving the complexity of connectivity but only partially, the issue still remains for programmers to have enough skill and knowledge to understand a problem if certain modifications are required.
With IoT devices, the updates have to be delivered and pushed on their own without any of the users’ intervention.
Many embedded software developers state that each embedded project incurs additional costs for debugging taking roughly 40% of devs’ time.
Embedded systems are getting increasingly more independent from the hardware which they are placed into. They will no longer be characterized by hardware obstructions, becoming capable of doing any operation to achieve a certain objective. Hopefully, points described in this article will help you to understand some of the key issues and challenges ESD has and possibly make you more aware of how to tackle them.
Ruby on Rails has common language and English-like syntax that makes it feel logical and native that some parts of the code are easy to understand. This turns Ruby into a self-documenting readability code. This also reduces the burden of writing help text or separate comments.
Both managers and programmers can read each other's code quickly and easily. This allows them to know the ongoings of a specific project. While it's not required to know Ruby on Rails, but it's important for you to understand Ruby as you learn about Rails. It's one of the easiest programming languages to learn.
However, the transition into the Ruby on Rails isn't going to be easy. That's why it's important to become a part of the Ruby on Rails community. The online community is open and welcoming to beginners and provides helpful information. This framework also has built-in solutions to common problems that most web developers face. If not, you can find an expert in the Ruby on Rails community who can help you out.
Faster Web Development
Ruby on Rails decreases the amount of time spent on web development by 25 to 50% compared ot other programming frameworks. Sometimes you're required to have a project online within hours. Web development with Ruby on Rails is made faster with a lean code base, modular design, and an open-source code helped developed by the Ruby on Rails community. It also provides a wide variety of features and plug-in solutions for future development.
Ruby on Rails requires fewer lines of code. One line of code can sometimes amount to six lines of Java code. One of the biggest advantages of Ruby on Rails is that the ability the develop a prototype is faster than other frameworks. This allows you to check the usability of a project and correct any errors early on, which helps with mitigating tasks.
Easy Code Maintenance & Updates
Ruby on Rails is also known for its predictability and stability, both of which are good things. Editing the existing code and adding new features have never been easier. This is valuable when working on a long-term project or a startup. If you have to make updates to an application or refractor its code, the Ruby on Rails conventions can help you learn everything in a timely manner. Since most startups have a low retention rate, it's good to know that the substitution of a team member isn't a concern when you choose Ruby on Rails web development.
Ruby on Rails is also known for its cost-effectiveness. If your business on a budget, you probably want to avoid the licensing costs for convention languages. Fortunately, Ruby on Rails is free for individuals and corporations to use. It can also run on the open-source Linux and can be used with many free databases and web servers.
There are a wide variety of libraries that help save you save time and effort, and many of these libraries are free to use. Your application can be deployed, developed, and maintained by various developers who have different rates. The ability of Ruby on Rails is to save time and money. And while the code updates and development process are performed quickly, you'll spend less money on the development of your website as well as its upgrades.
Ruby on Rails can help you save time and money while you ensure high quality. The maturity of your website will lead to fewer risks. This allows developers to create websites that follow the practices of good development. They don't have to boilerplate every type of code thanks to the use of high-quality libraries. All they have to do is focus on your business needs and help you develop a better product.
Ruby on Rails also comes with testing automation, which helps you create better software. In the end, it helps you make web applications and sites look more appealing. Potential uses are numerous, for example it’s great if you want to make a music app and maintain its features in the future - and also, with Ruby you’ll be able to develop a MVP (minimum viable product) much faster than with other frameworks. You can modify the application and add updates to improve its speed and performance.
Suitable for all Industries
Ruby on Rails was originally intended as a general-purpose solution. This full-stack framework includes front- and back-end design. The Ruby on Rails community has been focused on web development since its inception. The framework has grown more diverse in recent years.
The Ruby on Rails community is using this programming for a wide variety of purposes. Some of those purposes include advertising, back-end for mobile applications, content management systems, e-commerce, e-learning, FinTech, marketplaces, science, social networking, and more. Both startups and established businesses of all sizes have experienced the speed and agility of Ruby on Rails. While Ruby on Rails can be used for a wide variety of businesses, most of its products are web applications.
As you can see, Ruby on Rails is a development platform that's dedicated to building database back-end applications for businesses of all sizes and is suitable for many industries. The benefits of the Ruby programming language is that it provides easy to understand and quick web development. Its benefits reduces configuration code and allows Ruby developers to write code in less time. All of these benefits make Ruby on Rails an efficient and quick way to create websites and web applications.
Modified by PhilipP.
Small business owners know that there's always something to be done, and you often don't have the staff needed to take on important chores. Between putting together a sales plan and managing contracts, the IT department's to-do list can quickly get forgotten about. This means your firm could be missing out on needed improvements. In the worst case scenario, your company's custom apps and eCommerce tools might actually be insecure as a result of deferred updates.
Outsourcing your company's needs to a remote teams of software developers can help your personnel focus on these other pressing matters. A large number of larger enterprise-level businesses have recently started outsourcing IT support and code development chores to Eastern Europe because of the following benefits. There's no reason that smaller firms shouldn't be able to take advantage of these five following highlights as well.
1) Dramatic Cost Reduction
Almost every company that shops work out to another organization is looking to save money. This is true whether they're working with domestic coders or people located overseas. Firms often can't afford to hire a full staff of people, and they, therefore, have to look elsewhere. Training and maintaining in-house IT staff is prohibitively expensive, especially for firms that only need to write code once in a while.
Labor costs in Eastern European nations tend to be much lower than those in Western states, which makes it a particularly attractive region to find programmers in. In spite of the fact that these programmers are located in a geographical area that's thousands of miles away from the physical plant of the companies that they're working for, it's still easy to keep in touch with them.
Remote devs can use secure HTTPS and FTP servers to transfer files to and from the agencies that hired them, so you won't even have to worry about your code getting leaked in the process.
2) Consistency of Knowledge & Experience
When you put together your own IT team, you have to ensure that they're all familiar with the kind of software and hardware they're going to be working with. More than likely, your company manages a number of unrelated platforms that all have to be maintained.
By hiring teams of software developers, you take all of the guesswork out of this equation. Eastern European service agencies follow a strict procedure of documenting your IT environment. They make this knowledge visible across your organization and match you with specialists who have experience with the kind of technology you're working with. Since these agencies fulfill orders for so many different Western businesses, they're able to maintain massive teams that have the experience to support a wide variety of programming languages and libraries.
3) Guaranteed Levels of Service
When you sign a service contract, all of the relevant details are spelled out to you in great detail so you'll know exactly what you're getting. According to anecdotal evidence provided by technology experts at NCube, problems can occur at any time of the day. By having an IT service contract with a reputable Eastern European agency, you'll always have ready access to help even if it’s the middle of the night.
4) Access to Additional Resources
A majority of companies outsource their technical support and product development departments. This has made the marketplace more competitive than ever. In order to gain an edge in the international community, many Eastern European agencies have added cloud storage, cryptographic ledger auditing, and other services to their software development packages. This means your company might gain access to more products than you'd even originally hoped for.
5) A Renewed Focus on Business
Perhaps the most important service these organizations can provide is the ability for your personnel to focus on running your company. By taking care of all the behind the scenes details inherent in doing business in the digital age, an Eastern European agency can free your crews up to better serve your customers.
Academics in Eastern Europe have heavily emphasized computer literacy in recent decades, which has led to a large number of trained engineers willing to fulfill the terms of decent contracts. Regardless of why your company needs to look overseas to hire technical leaders, you may find what you're looking for in this region of the world.
If you run a small business, you know there's always something to do. Between finances, marketing, operations, and sales, IT security can quickly become an afterthought. As IT development prices out West increases and the in-house teams get busier, more small businesses are turning to the concept of outsourcing.
Outsourcing to a group of dedicated software developers can help you focus on these other tasks. What's the use of having the latest technology if your business isn't equipped to manage and use it? Here are some reasons why small businesses have been outsourcing their IT support and solutions to East Europe.
You know that training and maintaining your in-house IT team can get expensive. Even some of the most basic IT professionals from the West are costly. Labor costs aside, the costs for backup programs, network monitoring, security software, and software licensing can quickly amount. Implementing and maintaining your computers, firewalls, network, servers, storage, wireless connection, and more can exceed your business's capital. Outsourcing your IT team can turn those fixed capital costs into variable operating costs, which allows you to budget accordingly. You only pay for the services that you use.
Focus on Business
Outsourcing your IT team also allows you to focus on your business. It's difficult to wear many hats. The accounting department should be focused on A/R instead of trying to backup Quickbooks. Your marketing agency should focus on creating brand awareness, not trying to figure how to sync their calendars to their smartphones.
Distractions such as these decrease employee productivity and make it impossible to meet your bottom line. Outsourcing an IT team means they're accountable for their own tasks, not your employees. They handle all of the IT tasks so your employees don't have to worry about them.
When you hire an in-house IT tech team, you know how much money, time, and commitment it takes to hire and train them so they're up to speed on your IT systems. What happens if they happen to leave your company for a lucrative position? Outsourcing solves this problem by following the strict processes of documenting your IT environment and making this knowledge known across your organization.
This means no one person has control of your IT systems. An entire team of IT professionals know the ins and outs of your business, including its processes, systems, and requirements. If you ever have to part ways with your IT team, it's important for them to transfer that knowledge to another someone else within your organization.
Every business will carry a certain level of risk in their lives. The increasing concern over competitors, economic conditions, government regulations, and technologies make this the case. Companies that provide IT support know about this risk and work hard to reduce it. They have the industry knowledge and expertise on compliance and security issues. With their knowledge and skills, they can avoid potential risks.
Guaranteed Service Levels
Do you ever find yourself in the need of IT support after hours? Things can go wrong anytime of the day, including nights and weekends. An in-house IT team isn't going to be there all the time. Outsourcing provides you with the processes and staff to guarantee that your issues will be addressed and resolved in a timely manner. Outsourcing companies provide you with a staff that works around the clock to ensure these issues are handled as soon as they happen.
Access to Expanded Resources
While corporations have the resources required to maintain modern technologies and services themselves, smaller businesses aren't as lucky. Not only does outsourcing provide you with a diverse pool of technical talent, it allows you to develop relationships with IT vendors. Small businesses can establish a relationship with their outsourcing company to get access to additional services such as Cloud Hosted Servers, Desktops and Applications as a Service, and Mobile Device Management. Outsourcing your IT support to East Europe has too many advantages to ignore, especially for small businesses. Some businesses are never sure about outsourcing due to cost reasons. When determining your IT costs, don't forget to add in costs like data loss, employee productivity, and other risks involved with an in-house IT team. Outsourcing is more affordable than you think.
Planned obsolescence is also known as built-in obsolescence is an economic or industrial measure of designing a device or a product with timed in or designated lifespan to increase revenue for the company in the near future.
There is no doubt that car makers, appliance producers, software companies and other manufacturers knowingly design their products to last to a certain extent of time. One of the best ways to fight and curtail this practice is to repair and maintain your product, either by yourself or using professional services such as https://zeto.ua. And finally, if consumers and general public doesn’t push against this practice, it is likely to continue.
That is why it’s important to raise your voice about this, stop supporting companies that are the worst offenders, and demand durability. We had it before, and we can have it again. But for now, let’s dive deeper into what this trend is.
Simply put, contrived durability is a market strategy abbreviating the products lifetime prior to market release, by a quicker deterioration.
The strategy of abbreviated durability is mostly not approved by the law. On the other side, manufacturers have the freedom to determine the durability of their product.
This strategy is also known as stylistic obsolescence. In other words, it occurs when designers alter the stylistic perception of the product in order to lure customers in more stylish and fashionable products, thus making increased purchases.
An increasing amount of products are desired for their looks and aesthetic compared to their functional benefits making perceived obsolescence one of the top strategies in planned obsolescence.
Systematic obsolescence is the intentional disablement of a product to prevent its functionality, thus forcing the consumer to purchase a substitution. One of the popular examples is the situation when inkjet producers create a placement of smart chips in their ink cartridges for further prevention of operability after a designated threshold. This is labeled as “programmed systematic obsolescence” for there is no random component giving a contribution to a functional decline.
Planned obsolescence today
A perfect example of such practice is the popular “Apple performance scheme”. The company has acknowledged what the customers were getting aware of. They admitted of slowing down the performance of outdated iPhone devices.
Reason to justify this as it was stated is that performance curtailment was put in place to compensate for battery degradation. An obvious reason for this is to force consumers to upgrade to a newer model, just to face the same issue in the near future. Hence repeating the process in order to create an increasing amount of yearly profit for the company.
When the market becomes competitive field lifespans of the commodities are inclined to increase. A supreme example is when Japanese automobiles back in the 60s and 70s were imported to America with increased lifespan compared to the American. The American car industry was forced to put out a more durable product on the market.
In 2015, as large civil movements continue to fight companies and product makers in their goal to create an impermanent product across the European Union, different countries including France have passed law legislation obliging that appliance producers and distributors declare the considered product lifespan. In some cases, mandatory warranties of two years are applied.
Let us not forget the software
Software companies from time to time discontinue the practice of customer support in their older created software in an ever-increasing attempt to pressurize the users to update to more advanced systems. Software that is discontinued or cast aside is often referred to as abandonware.
Modified by PhilipP.
With a steady growth of its use, software is becoming one of the major contenders for market share and such requires specific regulations with licensing system applied by many tech companies.
It is indisputable that for a great number of sprouting StartUps and companies superior management of software licenses poses an important objective to work for since having a throughout process of the licensing system proved to be essential for the future.
Software licensing is a legal tool for authorizing consumers to operate or redistribute the software. Licensing may present itself as a complicated concept, consumers should undertake and learn the notions in order to improve software upheaval.
Besides practices that will be unveiled in this article to give you a broader perspective on the process best way to ensure that your software stays compliant with all the latest trends is to apply some of license key management software.
Collect your software licenses & pertinent data
Create a sheet of all your software licenses and deposit them in a general repository. Doing this you will gain an important insight into your license entitlement, giving you a better perspective which licenses you to have the legal means to assign to your members of the workforce. In this day and age this includes desktop applications and every cloud subscription so keep in mind you are cover in all areas. Adding to the previously gathered licenses collect all related data that will be of importance to have when you when the need occurs. Some of the data may be pieces of information about purchase expenditures, maintenance contracts, and various types of service fees.
Create a solid proof
After creating a repository with all the relevant data, it is of the highest importance that you are able to create a proof of your entitlement to them. As described in the paragraph above, this means keeping in reserve all your licenses but all related contracts and information. Should your company be examined, you are required to provide proof of every purchase, and this may be variable based on different vendors. You assuredly don’t want to have any touch with the issues of the law providing proof of your assets.
Track your costs and spending
A large number of companies find themselves that they are unintentionally misspending their capital on licenses for their lack of understanding in managing these costs. Doing a summarization of your software expenditure you will have a clearer perspective of all costs per user. Also create an accord to have a better awareness of future, current and past expenditure for future reference and planning.
These accords can prove a valuable reference in optimizing your budget in time to come.
Create a schedule
During the busy business days, it can certainly be strenuous to memorize all of the duties and tasks that are needed to be completed. Similar to creating an every day task list or a schedule on your mobile phone or desktop start practicing a process for license reminders.
Maintenance times, license subscription resumption and approvals need to be set as reminders through a service of your preferability. Without these daily reminders, crucial events may go slip unnoticed, which will unquestionably appear that you fall behind with the compliance and latest license management.
Make a software license management a crucial part of your business
Last but not least, making license management a top business priority is one of the highest markers in successful company administration. Essentially this represents informing all obligatory employees of necessary steps to be taken, and directly outlining the procedure to others, even if other departments are involved. The IT team is obliged to take the reins and create processes and procedures to be used by other teams.
Modified by PhilipP.
Unarguably, 2017 was a huge year for Blockchain - we have witnessed incredible growth with obscene ICO investments, alongside public regulations and security hacks. We are sure that many are trying to follow Blockchain news, since Bitcoins reached record-breaking exploits this year. But following such a phenomena may seem complicated, especially if you are new to the topic, since it is developing with a lightning-speed. That’s why we decided to list some of the latest Blockchain trends, for your better understanding of this profiting madness.
Bitcoins have broke every possible record
Let us start with an elephant in the room. For anyone living under a rock lately, we answer - yes, Bitcoins are a thing, and year 2017 will be remembered as a year, when it became a rising star. Its price has grown for more than 1700% during past year. Remember 2011, when Bitcoins were traded for $1 each? Well, in December 2017 the price has already passed $20K mark. And with financial giants like CME already starting Bitcoin futures trading, it is definitely not the end.
ICO makes money
Record number of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) with more than $5 billion funding since the start of the year. Companies like Bancor, Filecoin and Tenzos has become one of the best projects for the last year, raising hundreds of million dollars. Of course not every ICO can raise its minimal goal, but judging by the latest successful campaigns, we see no problem for future projects to sell all the available tokens quickly.
Decentralized Exchanges are the future
With the rise of the cryptocurrencies it was only a matter of time when people will start to think about exchanging coins without entrusting them to a third party service. This is basically the core of Decentralized Exchanges. You are always directly in control of your coins and can conduct transactions directly with someone you’re trading. This system is completely anonymous with excluded server downtime risks. Some examples of modern Decentralized Exchanges are Bitsquare and NXT.
Era of Hacks, Frauds and Regulations
We also cannot forget to raise all the risks and problems that became highlighted, as a result of Blockchain success, during the last year:
- Since ICO works similarly to crowdfunding but without its regulations it opened a window for some fraud companies that pushed ICO’s for the projects they never had interest in developing. As the result, companies like Confido and Moolah simply robbed their clients and disappeared with their money.
- Earlier this year, ICO did not hold any regulations whatsoever, but situation is changing rapidly. Countries like China, for example, already banned all cryptocurrency exchanges. We will see what regulations will be shaped in the majority of the Western countries.
While blockchain technology already enjoys undeniably advanced features by the end of 2017, Blockchain can go even further and be used to track supply chain movements. It is going to be a really big step towards a secure global network freedom. Already some banks, like IBM, starting to implement blockchain based payment technology to make their own transactions safer.
Blockchain can be implemented directly into any city infostructure, creating a “Smart City” of some sort. Commerce, energy, security - all can be tied together, operated and enabled by Blockchain. And don’t forget about real currencies - digital tokens for Dollars, Euros and Yuans are coming.
Also, we will probably see some massive improvements in terms of scaling transactions. Currently Bitcoin can only work with a certain transaction number in a given time. This can change with an increase of Bitcoin trade, since transaction fees will drop, giving new solutions an opportunity to make future transactions better.
Currently there are not many Blockchain experts on the market, but with a further increase of the technology we can safely predict that more and more specialists will be trained and hired by companies in a variety of industries.
Essentially, blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has potential not only of disrupting financial services, but also of solving issues of trust and reducing costs in various industries that highly depend on intermediaries. In fact, it can bring a paradigm shift in the way all digital transactions perform. As the blockchain fever has heated up in 2017, we can definitely expect a steady increase in application of blockchain-related processes in companies that continue to harness the concept, by linking their businesses to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. New potential applications of a technology are being explored every day, and all of us, the governments, consumers and businesses will feel the impact. Perhaps, we are at the brink of the next digital revolution, after the birth of the Internet.
Throughout 2018 the cryptocurrency world has been in something of a tailspin. Billions of dollars in investor capital have evaporated, with Bitcoin itself losing over 70% of its value. Within the industry, there's little consensus as to where the bottom of the market will ultimately be, and the uncertainty is calling the long term viability of cryptocurrencies into question.
The one bright spot, if there is one to be found, is the fact that the blockchain – which undergirds all cryptocurrencies – is continuing to garner plenty of interest as a revolutionary, adaptable tool by industries of all kinds. IBM, in particular, has helped lead the way in blockchain development over the past year. The company has approximately 1600 employees focused on developing new blockchain-powered platforms and use cases, many of which are already beginning to bear fruit. Here's a look at IBM's blockchain platform and two major projects, which could have broad and revolutionary implications for the industries they're meant to serve.
IBM Hyperledger Fabric
IBM's blockchain projects build upon an open-source implementation of blockchain known as Hyperledger, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation. The core of the code contributed by IBM is known as Hyperledger Fabric, which is a modular blockchain system aimed at enterprise-grade use as a secure data storage and authentication system. Unlike many other blockchain platforms, Hyperledger Fabric is permissioned, meaning that it supports multi-tiered access. That enables the use of conditional data access based upon permission level, making the system suitable for multi-company sharing. It's also built for speed and is capable of more than 1000 transactions per second, which compares quite favorably to other commercial blockchain platforms. All together, Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain system built with business use cases in mind, and provides a solid foundation upon which to build customized applications – and that's just what IBM has been doing.
IBM Food Trust
One of the most visible blockchain projects IBM's been working on to date is their IBM Food Trust platform. It is a blockchain-based system that enables end-to-end tracing of food products in the global supply chain in real time. The idea behind the project is to provide a shared platform that all food supply chain participants can access to keep up-to-the-minute track of products – beginning on farms and in manufacturing facilities, all the way to the retail point of sale. In October of 2018, the platform emerged from testing and is now open to use all around the world for food industry businesses that choose to implement it. With big name players like Walmart in the fold, it seems that IBM's fledgling platform will be off to a great start in 2019 and beyond, and could go a long way towards assuring the safety and security of food products for sale in retail outlets.
ADNOC Energy Accounting
Another IBM blockchain project that looks to be a potential game changer is their collaboration with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The recently implemented system will allow the state energy company to automate the transactions that occur between its subsidiary companies and streamline their internal accounting processes. In a commodity industry, that's no easy task, since the associated values for the products traversing the supply chain can change on a regular basis. That's why the system is expected to save the company untold millions in labor and related costs with no reduction in the quality or transparency of their asset accounting. The project is especially significant because it will represent a real-world accounting use case in a high-frequency environment, which could bode well for future blockchain implementations in everything from stock markets down to small business accounting systems.
All of the energy and resources that IBM has been devoting to blockchain development are helping Big Blue to establish itself as a technology leader in the space, at a time when other tech companies remain cautious about the future of blockchain. If the projects detailed here and the others that IBM has in the pipeline prove successful, IBM will be well positioned to lead yet another technology revolution, as it has so many times in its illustrious history. Altogether, it's a promising and forward-thinking initiative from one of tech's oldest companies that could have a transformative effect on a variety of markets that should make IBM's customers, investors, and fans very happy.
As with all flaws that lead to catastrophe, the spotlight on tech companies and government agencies skirting moral boundaries on the use of consumer data has only entered the public lexicon after a stories history of poor judgement, leaks and outright abuse. IBM is pivoting towards a near future with proper consumer protections in place, which may be the kind of push regulators need to get the ball rolling.
A measured response to privacy meltdowns
Describing what she saw as a "trust crisis" between tech companies and end users, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has joined Apple CEO Tim Cook in calling for tighter regulations for tech companies that routinely handle customer information. She described various companies as having taken advantage of consumer trust without directly naming any guilty parties while simultaneously calling for a more thorough set of restrictions for how data can be accrued, handled and possibly even sold.
Much of the backlash currently targeted at tech companies comes in the wake of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the harvesting and misuse of personal data became the new go-to example for data aggregation gone horribly awry. While Facebook has begun fighting the backlash in a wholly predictable move to save face, the wave of concern brought to light by just one company's data handling procedures may have opened the floodgates to regulation the industry isn't ready to adapt to.
Back in August, tech companies began pushing the notion of self-directed regulation in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a means of curbing damage before it became too great. In essence, the companies responsible for recent security breaches also wanted to be responsible for the legislation that would stop privacy breaches; To many, this served as little more than a red flag of concern regarding intentions and how effective those measures might actually be.
California passed its own data privacy laws that allow users to see just how a company is using its data, which helped prompt such a quick industry response.
Privacy pushes in an era of public paranoia
These concerns come from a very real place. As it stands, more Americans show concern for their privacy than they do for healthcare according to Harris Poll data. 65 percent of respondents cited data privacy as their most pressing concern, with health care and supporting military veterans close behind. With more eyes fixed squarely on these concerns, every leak and scandal both big and small is receiving attention it may not have received just five years ago.
Concerns regarding the efficacy of self-regulation have been running wild and the last outbreak of privacy breaches and data abuse have started to show the world why a lack of proper regulation regarding what is essentially the Wild West of the digital age can come back to haunt us as time goes on. When boundaries are soft and yielding, more companies are willing to ride that line until it breaks; After that point, finding individuals concerned about their data and its well-being is about as difficult as looking at an NBN availability map.
To try and combat public education issues regarding privacy as well as to help shape future policy, an IBM-affiliated security expert has been brought in to the UK's data protection watchdog group to provide insight. The Information Commissioner’s Office entered the public eye following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, necessitating an increase in both funding and available experts on the topics of security and regulation.
Yet there's a very real chance that this industry response is too late to properly curb the public's distrust for how data is being handled in the business landscape. Every mistake and breach whether well-intentioned or deliberate has chipped away at public trust and the reality is that the tech sector may not fully recover. Chasing after regulation to assuage fears may be too little, too late.
Modified by JeffreyRuhl
Businesses world over have been known to thrive on monopoly, where there is little or no competition. Such businesses usually dictate absolutely all aspects of inputs and outputs, ranging from labor, supply, price, quantity, and even the market.
Since the world became a global village, however, such undue advantages have been thrown overboard. Any business that actually wants to impact the world market must do a very serious behind the scene work.
A business that does not meet up with developmental trends in the world market will fizzle out or be swallowed up by the bigger, hungrier, and more tech savvy organizations.
Only the companies that have solid strategies on the ground, will not be rollercoastered and bulldozed into oblivion by the highly intensive competition that is currently playing out in the world market.
To be able to survive and impact the world market, there is every need to re-strategize with the aim of evolving innovative ideas that will firmly and effectively stamp your business outfit or organization on the world market.
Let’s look at some ways you can go about achieving this.
1. Create an efficient R&D section
What has virtually taken a lot of organizations to the doldrums is the failure and inability to carry out researches. Most setups don’t have the section and some that do, have completely underfunded them to the extent that they are practically impotent.
Some organizations view money spent on research and development as money sent down the drain. This view is pure balderdash.
Organizations that have become household names today have highly packed R&D sections that are very efficient. They make sure that the section gets a very good budget to be able to carry out its works without any hindrance,
Top riding organizations see the R&D section as the engine room of the establishment and accord their opinions and works all the respect that is due, they realize that they do not only enjoy competitive advantage but also survive as a result of R&D.
For a business setup to command respect and be among those that call the shots in the world market today, the R&D section must be very viable and capable to spew out innovations at regular intervals.
2. Make concerted effort at rebranding
Just as it will be completely wrong to put new wine in an old wine skin, it will be utterly unproductive to expect that the new ideas and innovations brought up by the R&D will impact the market with the old ads and commercials.
It is highly important that you give the organization a new look that translates to the trends in the globe. You can’t afford to be seen as antiquated. There must be the shine and glow in the outlook of the organization.
It won’t be a bad idea if seasoned and experienced members of the staff are made to handle the customer outreach position. The position is very vital as regards how customers view the organization.
The position must not be seen as lowly, that will be a very dangerous move and has the potency to make or mar the company.
3. Outsource for competent hands
Quite unlike before, the opportunity now abounds for you to engage competent hands from anywhere in the world. The social media has absolutely put anybody you want at your reach. Even with your smartphone, all it requires is just a click and you are right there.
Nicholas Dutko the CEO at Auto Transport Quotes and Car Shipping Carriers gave an insight into the power of the social media when he said “Having the ability to have all access at all time whether it be from a laptop, smartphone or smart watch has changed how companies do business and it has put businesses in a greater advantage than ever before.”
Overhead is one of the stumbling blocks any organization grapples with and every pro out there knows you can easily reach out to others in the field. This has created a healthy competition and vis-a-vis a relatively cheaper but highly efficient labor.
You need to understand that just because something is considered cheap doesn’t make it less of a service.
What has actually brought down the price of your service or product is the margin you have as a result of the better, quicker, and efficient manpower. You can easily afford this luxury because you waved the magic wand by outsourcing.
In conclusion, all the arsenal you need to re-strategize your business to meet up with the competitive market is easily at your disposal. By activating them, you will be building a very solid foundation for the organization.
It’s never an easy task to build a business past the start-up level; it requires exceptional skills and technical know-how, besides doggedness and hard work.
Also, to be taken into consideration are the dynamics involved especially as they pertain to liabilities and assets, but then a startup shouldn’t be seen as an innovation but rather as a deja vu.
To attain the status of a startup, all that is needed to be done is to be resolutely in charge of the business that was started, peg revenue to below $20 million, and have less than 80 employees.
For businesses aiming to leave the startup level and build multi-million dollar ventures, some certain approaches, actions, and inactions have to be exercised.
Below are 6 benefits that will help businesses take these crucial actions and be able to upgrade their startups to a start-up graduate in no time.
1. Availability of role models
A few years back a startup didn’t have a roll call of trailblazers, but today you can have your choices and pick from an array of them. As if that was not enough, the social media has put many of them at your reach.
An added advantage is that most of them are quite willing to talk about their achievement, so getting one to be your role model can’t be an uphill task. All you need do is to network with them.
Annie Lawless was very forthcoming on how she made multi millions before the age of 30.
2. A great opportunity for outsourcing
You can not bottle up yourself in a hole and expect to succeed. You must engage the services of a crack team made up of hardened professionals. Fortunately for you and your business, the world has gone tech-savvy; and as a global village, you can acquire the services you need from any part of the globe within seconds.
You now have the opportunity of delegating responsibility and authority; for instance, you don’t have to be web developer, graphics designer, or have exceptional coding knowledge to build yourself a good business website -- with easily-customizable theme platforms, plugins, widgets and so on, or with on-standby professionals to outsource to, you’ll have your site up and running in no time.
This means you can acquire free resources from all around the web, or easily create a team made up of professionals from different parts of the world. A lot of startups that are more than 20 years of age didn’t have such opportunity.
3. Opportunity for VC’s backing
You don’t need a loan for your startup, you are not into a grocery business. What you need is a venture capitalist (VC). Don’t attempt a cold email, it isn’t going to work. You rather need a referral through a sound connection.
Venture capitalists apart from funding the company, tend to play a more active role in whatever company they are backing, quite unlike banks.
Philip Kingston, founder of Trimantium Capital said, “Venture capitalists want to back people whose unique insights challenge the status quo.”
4. Accessibility to the world market
What you actually need to be a startup and eventually a start-up graduate is a vibrant market. The revolution in the social media has given a mammoth leap to businesses.
Apart from the “old generation” social media, the oldest among the newer ones is the Google, which came up on the 27th of September 1998, all the others like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype, and LinkedIn are relatively younger. Each of them is less than 20 years.
If people were able to acquire the status of startups without the enhancement created by the social media as far back as 30 or more years ago, what will stop you from being a startup graduate in a few years after you must have set up your company?
The world market you need is just a click away, from your kitchen, on your smartphone, you can access any information. People before now had to do a lot of crisscrossing, traversing continents but still became household names.
A case in point is Apple that came into limelight on the 1st of April 1976, while Microsoft is 42 years having come into the limelight on the 4th of April 1975.
5. Ability to grow
A lot of small and medium scale outfits are usually consumed and acquired by bigger corporations especially when they start doing well in business. This, however, can never be the case of a startup that is going mega.
The sole reason is that the VCs who invested their capital are usually on ground to monitor, advise and chaperone the company since they want to recoup their investment within a short time frame and also make the attendant profit.
For this sole reason, it will work against their interest if they allow the goose that lays the golden egg to be swallowed up by a shark. The ultimate is for them to work tirelessly to make sure their baby company grows quickly and blossoms into the status of a start-up graduate.
6. Opportunity to learn new tricks
The VCs usually see the founders as their proteges and apart from shepherding them off harm’s way resort to coaching them. This gives the founder a sort of insight into things and issues that were probably hidden.
It is not a hidden fact that most angel investors were seasoned entrepreneurs who had toed the line and emerged unscathed. They know the rules of the game and a willing founder can only get better at it.
They will be very ready to pour out all the experience they have stockpiled over the years since a lot is at stake here.
How are you poised to utilize the opportunities you have to make yourself a household name? The growth potential in the world market today is quite overwhelming, not with the world population hitting the 7.5 billion mark and still growing without any sign of relenting soon.
All you need is a crack team to take hard decisions and very fast for that matter, and you will be smiling to the bank.
The take off of any business venture can be a herculean task and mind boggling, especially if one considers the inherent and attendant hiccups.
Since any business is usually capital intensive, it won’t be out of place to expect somebody venturing into it to have a second thought.
Some thoughts that’ll pass through the mind of such a person will include how to source for funds, the number of people to employ and how to pay their salaries, the office space needed, how the goods or services will be accepted in the market, and how to outsmart competitors.
If the business venture is aimed at the status of a startup, the problems become more burdening. As a startup, you are expected to be resolutely in charge of the business that was started, generating revenue below $20 million, and have less than 80 employees.
This by any standard is not a mean feat and can knock the Lilly-minded under. However, quite unlike a small or medium scale business, a startup does not need to run to the bank hat in hand.
Grants and loans are not used to run a startup. What you need is a venture capitalist.
Philip Kingston, founder of Trimantium Capital in the piece “4 Ways for Startups to Attract VCs,” gave an insight into how to resolve the problem of funding for a startup.
How then can you capitalize on venture capitalists to grow your startup?
If your company has promising technologies or products that will drive value in either the public market or the eyes of the acquirers, then the venture capitalists are the people for your startup.
There are however some basic requirements you must have before your startup can access the capitalization from any VC.
How do you get connected to a VC? Most VCs expect to be reached through emails or better still, through a relationship with a member of the team. In the instance of an email, they prefer it isn’t a cold email. There must be a referral to the connection.
The company’s founder/ CEO will then be invited to a formal pitch meeting. The outcome of the pitch meeting determines the fate of the company and most times it depends on the composure of the CEO and how questions put across are handled.
The company’s strong point
The company’s views and a strong point has a great deal of role to play in securing the funding. What you intend to go into must not be what every other Jick and Harry out there does.
Your view must be different, sound, interesting, and also challenging. It mustn’t be something for all comers. There should be a tinge of adventure as well as innovation in it. The company must have a kind of uniqueness and also a marketable feature that will easily distinguish it from imitators.
Non-reliance on assumption
Absolute effort must be made to ensure there is no reliance on assumption. Experiments and trials must have been conducted to arrive at foolproof ideas. Cocksure and tested results must be presented to the VC’s team.
Companies are picked for funding after considering their visions. A company that has a clearly marked out program for the future has better opportunities of being funded. The vision is expected to be bold.
“I think the first measure for a startup is: is it something new--a process, a product, a category, a business model, an ecosystem.” - Ayah Bdeir
Besides having a unique business idea like the case of Facebook, Microsoft, Apple or even Colorlib for WordPress theme platforms, a bold vision will help you build a great business blueprint that’ll guide you and potential VCs to take the right risks and make the right investments as the big picture and the expected turn-out is always in mind.
Get a lead partner
It will be hugely beneficial if the founder is able to get a lead partner among the VC’s team. The team is expectedly made up of human beings and nothing does the magic better than someone dropping a nice word here and there for you.
Individuals tend to have their strong and weak points. A team member may be more inclined in the tool's direction, while another may favor clinical materials, a kind word may bring about a more favorable consideration.
Set up a crack team
It is expected that the VC team will carry out a wholesome investigation about the founder, for this reason, a crack team of professionals must be on the ground. A beautiful idea will not execute itself.
No individual can single handedly transform an idea into a money spinning venture. The team will want to see a set of ambitious and credible men and women who will convince them of their ability to deliver before they can cough out the money.
Receptiveness to coaching
VCs don’t just drop the money and scram only to appear on pay day. Definitely, that’s not how they operate. They mostly take part in the processes of the company.
Some VCs even have team members as members of the Board of Directors, between 25 to 55 percent equity ownership of the company is usually required by VCs.
Since they are going to be part owners of the company, they expect that the founder must be amenable to coaching and receptive to instructions and innovative ideas.
One factor that seriously affects the outcome of the founder’s performance at the pitch meeting is the composure.
Lakshmi Balachandra, an assistant professor at Babson college in the piece: “How Venture Capitalists Really Assess a Pitch.” explained that passion should not be over-emphasized. She rather called for a calm demeanor, which would portray sound leadership strength.
The founder should not exhibit over enthusiasm and exaggerated sense of hardworking. It will be wrong to send the signal that you are dying to do this job to the VC team at the pitch meeting.
To conclude, it is rather obvious that a determined founder has now got a leeway of overcoming the bottlenecks that are encountered when setting up a business, especially as regards funding.
What the founder sets out to do is, to work tediously to meet up with the demands of the VCs. A thorough and painstaking work will afford the company the opportunity of capitalizing on VCs for the growth of its startup.