Data and Analytics Play an Important Role in Digital Transformation. Here’s Why.

 

The world is forever evolving and changing. New technologies are being developed, behavioural patterns are changing, and businesses with the desire to avoid extinction have to evolve along with everything around them. As a result of modern technology, access to information is easier than it has ever been. Through digital innovations like artificial intelligence, cloud computing and many others, customers now have access to a wealth of information about whatever business or service they’re searching for. This raises the bar for existing businesses (adapt or lose everything).

Digital transformation involves restructuring existing business models, strategies, processes and so on, to suit consumer needs using current technology. The important thing to note about digital transformation is that it is consumer-focused, aimed at giving the consumer the best experience possible, while also making managing operations easier for business owners (CIO from IDG).

Consumer behaviour is constantly changing, and, as a result, organisations have recognised the need to shift from data generation to being data powered. Today, data and analytics are used to identify behavioural patterns through extracted data, analyse said data and use the results to improve business processes (Techopedia). Qualitative and quantitative data are gathered simply through using web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Open Web Analytics, Clicktale and many others.

Data and analytics are important to digital transformation, as they are key aspects of strategy development. Different aspects of every business produce data, and some aspects provide a larger amount of data than others. As your business produces data, your competitor’s business also does the same. The difference in both cases lies in the goals of each organisation, how data is interpreted, and how the results acquired are developed into strategies that can help improve business processes and operations (Centric Digital).

One of the beneficial aspects of data and analytics, relating to digital transformation, is machine learning. Machine learning involves getting computers to learn and act like humans, by feeding them data and information in the form of real-life observations and interactions. This helps in making more intelligent and informed decisions. For example, selecting alternate routes to avoid traffic, in turn preventing the late delivery of goods or products.

Analytics help companies understand the data at their disposal and help them make better business decisions, resulting in decisions with benefits such as cutting down maintenance costs and improving business operations (Search Business Analytics).

Cloud platforms are also agents of digital transformation, which do not make access to information easier for just the customer, but also for the organisation and its employees. Cloud computing is built around hardware and software that can be accessed through any web browser. They store information and programs for businesses, which can be accessed through a secure connection (iomart).

Analytics in cloud computing involve activities such as tracking social media engagement and statistics.  Analytics deal with a large amount of data which requires plenty of processing power and storage space. Cloud computing thus possesses the space to hold large amounts of data, while also making data accessible from remote locations. This is what makes cloud computing and data analytics a great fit (Forbes).

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The Evolving Role of Human Resources Within the E-Commerce Industry

 

The human resource department has always been an essential component of any company, whether it runs online or from a brick-and-mortar location. Employee well-being is the responsibility of the HR department, which controls everything from hiring employees, setting pay rates and keeping track of payroll, deciding employee benefits, deciding how to fire employees, keeping up with tax laws and more. The HR department is basically the backbone of any successful business venture.

Basic human resource functions have been working behind the scenes for ages, but within the ever-expanding e-commerce industry, the role of HR has had to evolve and become more dynamic, and it’s still doing so today. Successful e-commerce fashion retailers, JJ’s House and VeryVoga, have shared some insight on the major points of HR evolution within their organizations. Read on to find out how e-commerce is modernizing its old conventions to sync up with a contemporary workforce.

Contemporary Hiring Trends

Today’s e-commerce businesses have to deal with a massive influx of advanced systems and technologies. It can get so complicated that many entrepreneurs who start online marketplaces actually consider them to be tech enterprises. HR managers have to employ some innovative hiring trends to fill in positions with worthy candidates.

HR managers in the e-commerce industry are expected to work around-the-clock. One of their most formidable tasks is to find the right candidates for open positions. In e-commerce, employees must not only possess a pleasant attitude and relevant work experience, they must also have the technical knowledge to perform their tasks properly.

Keeping Employees Happy

Since the need to retain top talent is arguably more significant in e-commerce than in any other industry, it’s imperative for HR to come up with ways to rethink employee retention. They must keep employees happy in order to avoid rapid reorganization, consolidation and a host of other hurdles that comes with losing an essential employee.

It’s the responsibility of the HR department to create a positive employee experience and provide an unparalleled, exclusive work-life experience by incorporating dynamics like an open work culture, relaxed hierarchy and other employee-friendly policies.

Introducing the SME

Where training and development are concerned, human resource departments use something called subject matter experts, or SMEs, to get the job done right in today’s e-commerce industry. SMEs are trained to help enable aptitude development and intensive skills within the workforce. These experts can also help improve communication between employees, initiate open thought channels, open new avenues of knowledge for employees and help them become seasoned professionals. Ultimately, they help employees feel nurtured and important within the organization so that they appreciate being part of the company and are naturally inclined to be more productive.

Successful e-commerce operations like JJ’s House and VeryVoga wouldn’t exist without a strong and modernized HR department to back them up. Anyone working in the e-commerce industry must employ a strong HR department by considering the points above. When a business has a solid HR department in place, all other aspects of the business should function well too.

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Start-ups: Don’t buy into all of the myths

Over the last few years it would be fair to say that the start-up culture has really come into its own. Whether it was the economic dip, or a completely unrelated reason, we’re not going to speculate. However, start-ups are popping up in all sorts of places, and entrepreneurs are constantly being bred.

At the same time, the surge in start-up culture has led to a lot of misinformation being published about new businesses. Myths have been developed and as the title of today’s post might have already suggested, we are today going to scrutinize some of these misconceptions and reveal the real truths behind them.

Myth #1 – You need too much capital

Once upon a time, this was completely true. After all, most new businesses were started in a bricks-and-mortar form, and this in itself added more costs. However, through the power of the internet there is no doubt that this myth has been reset so to speak, and you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of capital to get going.

Of course, there are exceptions. If a bricks-and-mortar store is going to be at the forefront of your enterprise, you do need some form of funding. However, don’t be put off by the suggestion that items such as point-of-sale terminals are going to hike up your costs – these are low cost, or even free, to install with vendors making their money on small transaction fees (that will barely touch your bottom line).

Myth #2 – Customers will flock to your great store or product

This next misconception is at the other side of the spectrum. A lot of new businesses are under the belief that customers will flock to their new product, under the “build it and they will come” philosophy. Without trying to be party-poopers, this isn’t going to happen. Sure, you may have released the best product of its kind on the market, but if nobody knows about it this is all for nothing.

You need a solid marketing plan in place long before your product hits the shelves. People need to be aware of it and without this awareness, you really will be on a hiding to nothing.

Myth #3 – You can do it all yourself

With funding low initially, this next myth is hardly surprising. However, as much as you might want to carry out every task yourself, we would advise exercising caution. Sure, you’re not going to be in a position to afford full time staff, but the rise of the freelance economy means that there are a whole host of skilled, temporary workers out there who can help you with everything from marketing to product design.

Remember, if you do it yourself you might save money, but by just having one extra pair of hands you can effectively double your output.

Myth #4 – Big companies eat start-ups for breakfast

It can be hard to not be scared by the big competitors in your field, but this should only occur if you can’t differentiate yourselves from them. If your service is the same, you are destined to fail. If you can offer differences, and ultimately an advantage to the customer, this is where you can prosper.

Remember, some customers are just scared and put off by big brands – and this is a unique advantage that you hold in itself. You can give a personal service, which is something that is greatly appreciated in the modern-day market.

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Employee development: The term on the tip of company tongues right now

If we were to wind back the clock a couple of decades ago, we would assume that the term “employee development” did not exist. Even if companies were aware of its meaning, the chances of them implementing its philosophies would be slim to say the least.

However, over recent times there has really been a shift in culture in relation to this. Big companies in particular are happier to invest in the development of their employees, whether it’s through training programs or even just sending them to industry conferences.

Whether or not this is the case for smaller companies, who perhaps have more constraints in relation to budgets, is debatable. However, business education is shifting; whether it’s from single day training courses or online MBA programs.

Following on from the above, let’s now take a look at some of the reasons more companies are getting more comfortable with employee development, and how you might decide to follow the same pathway.

The employee turnover numbers

Any company that has a high turnover of employees is asking for trouble. Let’s not forget that the recruitment business is an expensive game. Positions tend to be left open for long periods of time, leading to unproductivity, while once you do find your star candidate there is every chance that you might have to pay a recruiter fee or something else to guarantee their signature.

As such, training is a means of keeping employees and ultimately making your business a much nicer place to work. It is regarded as a “perk”, and a way of showing your employees that you respect their career. It’s something that will tend to breed loyalty and ultimately, weaken the chances of them jumping ship at the first opportunity.

It becomes easier to promote from within

This follows a similar vein to the previous point we looked at. As anyone who has been involved in recruitment will testify, as soon as you start looking to fill more senior positions the business becomes much tougher. There are far fewer candidates out there, while their higher salaries naturally means it’s a bigger risk.

If someone is trained internally meanwhile, the process can be made much easier. They already know the culture of your company, while you already know all about them so the risk is much smaller.

Employees tend to be more engaged at work

This next benefit works in several ways. Firstly, an employee who is picking up new skills suddenly has a lot more options available at work. They can apply themselves in different ways and this should, theoretically at least, prevent boredom occurring.

Then, there is the training itself. Once upon a time training courses were one of those things that everyone tried to avoid – they were boring to say the least. Now, the outlook has changed, and an interactive way of learning means that employees actually look forward to them, and see them as a positive to their daily routine.

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BUNDESLIGA CHAMPIONS BORUSSIA DORTMUND IN MARKETING PARTNERSHIP WITH GMO TRADING

June 29, 2018 – GMO Trading is proud to announce that it has entered into a partnership with Borussia Dortmund the Bundesliga Football powerhouse for the 2018-19 football season.

GMO Trading is a worldwide investment firm that has created a secure and simple to operate trading platform for traders of all skill levels. The platform meets the needs of clients for a platform that can be accessed anywhere and at any time during the day. Reception to the platform has been outstanding by customers throughout Europe.

From GMO Trading: “We are delighted to be a regional sponsor of Borussia Dortmund, one of the Bundesliga’s finest football teams. As home of the ninth largest stock exchange in the world, Germany is an important trading market and presents a key growth area for GMO Trading. This partnership will help raise awareness of our offering among European business leaders.”

Beginning in August of this year, Borussia Dortmund and GMO Trading will work together to market GMO Trading to markets in Europe outside of Germany.

The partnership will allow clients of GMO Trading the chance to participate in a range of exclusive offers and benefits from the club, and the chance to get VIP tickets and official merchandise.

GMO Trading will use social media and its website to introduce Borussia Dortmund branded initiatives to the market. To discover how you could benefit from GMO Trading’s services, please visit www.gmotrading.com.

For more information, please email Rebecca Wharmby – Rebecca.Wharmby@Threepipe.co.uk

About GMO Trading

GMO Trading brand name of Royal Forex a Cyprus Investment Firm, regulated by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission

The GMO Trading platform offers clients an unmatched trading environment and superior service, allowing them to access global trading arenas with great security and comfort.

GMO Trading puts at its clients’ disposal an unsurpassed variety of account options that can perfectly fit any trader’s requests. Clients benefit from innovative trading tools that delivers them the possibility to turn their trading desires into reality.

For more information, visit the GMO Trading website at www.gmotrading.com or  visit its Facebook at www.facebook.com/gmotrading/.

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Leadership: Putting an end to the Classic Myths

It’s become something of a buzzword in the industry over the last few years, with umpteen autobiographies and business journals really putting a spin on the term “leadership”.

In truth, this isn’t something that you can pick up a book and learn in a flash. Sure, if you were to turn to the best online MBA, you would probably see some real progress, but a lot of people rely on pure experience over a long period of time.

The problem with a lot of the autobiographies is that they are very opinion-based. In the business world especially, there are a lot of opinions doing the round. This, in turn, creates a lot of misconceptions which can cloud the issue of leadership somewhat.

Bearing this in mind, today’s post is going to tackle some of these leadership myths, and highlight what’s really true about the elusive L-word.

“Leaders have to be born”

This is one of the most ridiculous myths of all. There’s no doubt that every person in the world is born with a different personality, and some of these personality types will be associated with leadership more than others.

However, to suggest that leaders can’t be made would be a gross inaccuracy. Many believe that leaders are created through the circumstances that they find themselves in. There will be occasions when they naturally find themselves in said circumstances, and others where they strategically place themselves in these situations to try and develop themselves. To coin the same example, studying for an MBA is a case of someone aiming to creep out of their comfort zone and ultimately develop their leadership qualities.

“Leaders will never delegate the important tasks”

This is another myth that couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the most important things that a leader needs to be able to do successfully is delegate. This is a point that few would disagree with.

It’s plain wrong to suggest that leaders won’t delegate the most important tasks on their agenda though. On the contrary, they will find the right person to do the job. In some situations, this might involve them carrying out the task themselves, but on others they will be more than happy to delegate accordingly.

“Leaders are imposing and charismatic”

One of the biggest stereotypes of leaders is that they are imposing figures that are full of charisma. The main reason behind this misconception is that it’s these types of leaders which tend to find themselves in the public domain. In other words, they put themselves in the shop-window, and everyone else thinks that there is no other way to be a leader.

However, if we were to view leaders around the world, the overriding characteristic would be influence. Some might do this through more vocal ways than others, but the key attribute beneath everything is the ability to influence others. Others will respect them, and it’s not necessarily for the way that they portray their ideas.

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8 Things to Research Before Becoming A Franchise Owner

If you’ve decided that you’d rather buy into an already-successful franchise than risk starting your own business, there are some things you should know before you go ahead with your decision. Fast food franchises, such as Quiznos, Checkers and Wendys, for example often encourage individuals like you to buy into the franchise, but it’s up to you to do your homework before investing. You would own your own location, run your own store and be your own boss. You would be responsible for hiring and firing employees, and you would get to learn how to run a business. You’d of course have to pay a royalty to the franchise corporation, but the rest of the profits from your location’s sales would belong to you. Opportunities are abundant when it comes to being a franchise owner, and you just have to do your research to ensure that you are buying into a reputable franchise with strong brand power and a loyal customer base. If you need help with your market research, get in touch with a company such as Circle Research who will answer any of your questions.

Here are 8 things you need to research about a franchise before buying into it.

  1. Do customers love them? It’s crucial that you research how popular this franchise is before buying into it. Do the customers love it? Do customers leave positive reviews about the food? Quiznos, for examples, is known for its quality and customers can’t stop talking about how fresh the ingredients are and how flavorful the sandwiches are. And yes, there currently are Quiznos franchise opportunities.
  2. How strong is their brand power? In other words, how well known are they? How strong is their brand? How successful are their marketing campaigns? If their brand is in good standing, reputable, widely recognized and positively regarded, that’s a great thing.
  3. How many franchises do they have? It’s better to buy into a franchise that doesn’t have too many locations. For example, there’s a Starbucks on every corner, and several Starbucks locations compete with each other (they compete with their neighbor two blocks away). If there are less locations, there is less competition.
  4. What locations are available? When it comes to owning a franchise, three words come to mind: location, location, location. It definitely matters what location is available for you to buy. It would be amazing to get a location near a business district (hello, lunch breaks!) or near a university, or on a busy street that gets a lot of foot traffic. Sometimes the locations that are off of a busy highway do quite well also. Definitely put some serious time into researching the location.
  5. How reasonable are the costs? Owning a franchise comes with costs. You’ll have to pay for employees, inventory, equipment and more. You’ll also have to pay a royalty (franchise fee) to the franchise corporation. Research these costs to make sure they aren’t completely unreasonable. You should decipher what your total investment costs will be before you make your decision.
  6. How long will it take to break even? Since owning a franchise involves some up-front costs, you should research how long it will take to break even. The reason this is important is because you don’t truly start profiting from the business until you break even. Sometimes, this can take awhile. You have to be willing to wait to see the profits.
  7. What is the earning potential? Your research should include an attempt to figure out how well a franchise owner in a comparable location is doing. You should ask leading questions to figure out what your earning potential could be if you buy into this franchise.
  8. What level of support does the franchise corporation offer? Support is key, and many franchise corporations offer an incredible level of support to their individual franchise owners. Support comes in the form of instructions, guidance, materials, deals on equipment, negotiations on your behalf, advice, etc. Ask the franchise corporation what they offer in terms of support.

 

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Working in the West: Traveling for Business has Plenty of Perks and Colorado Springs Offers some Great Venues to Visit During Your Trip

If you happen to be traveling to the Colorado Springs area on business you have to try and make the most of the opportunity to enjoy some leisure time around your busy work schedule.

Here are some of the must-see venues that deserve your attention if you are working in the West.

Inspirational views

There are some great hotels in the area to stay at like the Colorado Springs Marriott, for example, and as well as enjoying comfortable accommodation you will also be within close proximity of some very worthwhile attractions.

If you want to witness one of the most photogenic landscapes you are likely to see anywhere the one place that should be on your leisure itinerary is the Garden of the Gods.

These awesome and distinctive rock formations are a major draw in Colorado Springs and you can take a segway or jeep tour around the area if you want to enjoy as much of the scenery in the time you have available.

A bit of time for hanging about

If you are seeking an adrenaline rush and want an aerial view of Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs a good way to do that would be by being suspended in mid-air and getting ready for your zipline adventure.

The Manitou Springs Zipline Adventure experience is well worth considering as the five different ziplines give you an amazing view of the area from the air, that’s if you can focus while soaring across this spectacular alpine canyon location.

Soak up a bit of history

If you would prefer your leisure time to be more sedate and educational a good attraction to visit would be the National Museum of World War II Aviation.

As well as enjoying an inspirational journey that tells you all about the history of the aircraft and the role they played in the war you can also visit neighboring WestPac Restoration and see how they are restoring some original aircraft to their former glory and ready to take to the skies again.

A challenging escape from work

Escape rooms are a popular new phenomenon in a lot of places and Colorado Springs has at least 11 different experiences to choose from.

The idea behind these escape rooms is to work out the clues and find your way out of the rooms within a limited amount of time. There are a variety of themes from “Escape from Hellscream”, which has a horror twist to the game, to “Planet Deadline” which will appeal to sci-fi fans.

If you want to escape from work for an hour and like a challenge, try one of the escape rooms located in Colorado Springs.

Whether you want to enjoy the amazing natural scenery or enjoy some man-made entertainment you won’t be short of options when it’s time to take a break from work during your stay in Colorado Springs.

Make sure you try and squeeze some of these attractions into your itinerary.

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Everything You Need to Know About Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a division of Amazon best known for serving up a massive online marketplace for just about everything. In a Forbes article, Jason Bloomberg noted that “AWS is reinventing what it means to be a software vendor for all the markets it serves, including consumer, developer, SMB, and enterprise.” If you’re looking for a powerful cloud service provider, you’ll find that AWS is one of the most innovative and expansive options available with a growing suite of web tools that go above and beyond the standard offerings.

The Basics of AWS

Image via Flickr by magerleagues

At its core, AWS is a cloud computing service that gives business owners the computing power they need with remote storage and maintenance. AWS delivers powerful functionality that’s designed for flexibility and scalability. This service offers all the benefits of any cloud storage provider along with a host of other perks. AWS offers a serverless reference architecture for everything from the Internet of Things to web apps to image recognition. AWS has also announced services that will expand into artificial intelligence, databases, and more.

Helpful Training and Certification Services

Amazon supplies a comprehensive suite of digital training services to help users understand all the features of AWS. You can enroll in free courses, develop new technical skills, and validate what you’ve learned for AWS certification. This is an outstanding offering as the full functionality of AWS is far too expansive for a new user to grasp without seriously studying some of the innovative new technologies that have rolled out with this service.

Reliable Security

Cloud security has long been a major concern for business owners as they transition to this business approach. AWS secures its data centers with network firewalls and uses in-transit transcription across all services. Using the service’s provided tools, users can trace the who, what, and where of calls for maximum visibility. Businesses can also incorporate their own security layers and mobile threat defence within AWS for additional protection on top of what’s already available.

Powerful Scalability for Computing

AWS Lambda is a computing service that enhances the capabilities of AWS, allowing you to run code without provisioning your own server space for the activity. AWS Lambda responds to user requests and provides the necessary capacity and infrastructure to run your code on a per-use basis. This means that you don’t have to supply an abundance of servers for prospective users who may not begin using your code immediately.

AWS Lambda scales seamlessly, so you’re prepared for anything from a slow start to a sudden rush of activity. You pay only for the compute time that you consume and pay nothing when your code isn’t running. This functionality is a key example of how Amazon’s web services are structured to streamline your business activities in the most efficient way possible.

Whether you’re looking for convenient cloud storage or access to a serverless application repository, you can find the features and functionality that you’re looking for with AWS. Designed to serve as a catch-all for all your cloud needs, this solution is meeting its goal admirably.

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Are Your Products Flowing Smoothly? : Supply Chain Management is Important to Your Business

Most people in business recognize that supply chain management is crucial to their success, profitability and customer satisfaction. There are numerous benefits to ensuring your supply chain is properly managed and serves to provide a structure to your business that is efficient, productive and progressive. There is also the fact that as business has become more competitive in recent years; it’s now harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. Supply chain management is integral to achieving this as it provides a solid structure from which to offer a high-quality service to your buyers.

Here we take a closer look at the distinct advantages of good supply chain management:

Improves Customer Service

Everyone knows that the customer is king when it comes to business and delivering good quality products, goods or services in an efficient and cost-effective way, ensures repeat business going forward. Customers want to know their orders will be delivered to the right location at a time that is convenient to them and without having to wait too long. Ensuring your operation is streamlined to deal effectively with individual orders will keep your customers happy and more importantly, make them come back for more.

Reduces Operating Costs

Your supply chain is as important to your retailers and suppliers as it is to your business. Keeping a close eye on product inventory in terms of stock and distribution should be well managed as part of your supply chain strategy to ensure consistent and smooth flowing fulfillment of orders. If you have a product that is particularly popular at any given time, your supply chain should be set up to make sure there’s enough stock at outlets to meet demand. If your supply chain is efficiently managed, you can significantly reduce your operating costs.

Improves your Financial Position

An efficient supply chain is often a good way to streamline costs and boost cost-effectiveness of your operation. Naturally, it goes without saying that if you are making savings in one area of your business, you’ll notice a corresponding increase in revenue. Good supply chain management protects your business from overstocking and wastage and consequently boosts your bottom line.

Increases your Cash Flow

A good supply chain is responsive to orders as they arrive, so that they are fulfilled within the quickest time. Obviously, if you can get your goods to your customers in ten days rather than twenty-eight days, you can invoice them sooner and benefit your cash flow.

How to Achieve Good Supply Chain Management?

You understand how your business works better than anyone and also the buying behavior of your customers too. In order to understand how to best organize your supply chain, you need to undertake some supply chain analytics, to help you create a clearer picture of how you can best serve your customers by improving your supply chain. The difference between good and bad supply chain management can mean the success or failure of a business and so this is an aspect that requires closer attention.

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