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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How the stock markets can help a business grow

In the public mindset, investing in or making use of the stock market is something that only small-scale, individual investors do. However, it’s also possible for companies and organizations to make the most of it: whether it’s by offering your own firm to other investors through an IPO or using company cash to buy shares in other firms, there are a lot of options.

Initial public offerings

Perhaps the main way that the stock market can be used to a company’s benefit is through a market float, or an initial public offering (IPO). Most American companies are owned by private investors, which means that the general public or wider investor market can’t simply buy shares in the way that they usually can for one on the stock market. An IPO changes that: it means that a company offers some or all of its value for the public to buy, which in turn means a big cash injection.

The key to a successful IPO is research, as it’s only by doing this that a firm can find out the right time to strike. In almost every case, a company will choose to employ a specialist who can manage the IPO process for them – but company staff should still be as aware as possible of market movements. A stock events calendar should be used to locate occasions and dates to be avoided, while keeping a keen eye on news stories about previous IPOs in publications such as the Financial Times will help you build up some perspective on how it works.

Cash investment destination

For businesses that aren’t quite ready to float their value on the stock market just yet, one alternative is to invest any spare cash they have in the stock market. It’s not just retail or individual investors who invest in stocks and shares – companies can also do it. Beware of any tax implications of doing this, though: speak to your retained accountant first before making any moves.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways that a company can invest in the stock market is through its pension funds. When employees pay into a pension pot, it needs to be invested somewhere in order to grow – and the stock market is one option. Whatever your reason for investing company cash in the stock market, though, you should always seek professional advice to mitigate the risk of losses – and when it comes to using employee pension cash, you should only do it through a pensions professional who can manage it all for you.

While it may seem at first glance like investing in the stock market is simply something that only retail investors do, firms can also use this asset class to their advantage. Whether your firm puts its cash to work by buying shares in other companies for speculative purposes or it goes as far as adding its own value to the stock market for general sale, there are plenty of ways you can go.

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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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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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Home Insurance when Working From Home

home insurance when working from home

Working from home has a number of great benefits. No commute, flexible schedule and lower stress are just some of the advantages of running your business from your house. However, it also comes with certain complications. Protecting your home from ruin is now tied up with protecting your business from going bust. You need to make sure you have both business and home insurance when working from home. When it comes to home insurance, have you taken into account your business insurance needs as well? You’ve built your dream home office, now make sure everything is covered!

home insurance when working from home

Theft and Fire Insurance

Working from home can have its perks in the world of insurance. Your home is actually significantly safer with you being there most of the time. When purchasing home insurance when working from home insurance from your chosen provider, be sure to let them know that you spend your working day occupying the house.

Your presence will deter burglars and mean that you can stop the spread of a fire. This should lower your premiums. If you are buying home insurance in New Jersey, you will already have a lower premium compared to a state such as New Mexico. This is because of differing state by state crime rates. However, being home all day reduces the risk of theft even further.

Public Liability Insurance

Unfortunately, there may be some extra costs that come with running a business from home. If you have customers and clients regularly visiting, then you may need to invest in public liability insurance. This means that if anyone is injured in your home (if they’re there on business), your insurance company will pick up the cost instead of you.

Your home insurance won’t be enough to cover this. So if part of your business is having members of the public over, be sure to cover yourself. Otherwise you could be facing a pricey court case.

Dedicated Business Insurance

Beyond public liability insurance, you will need home insurance with a dedicated business service. Home insurance when working from home may not automatically cover your business entirely. If you have employees working in your home, then they need to be insured. Likewise, your home insurance may not cover specialist work equipment. If your business relies on any technology or machinery, then it makes sense to cover this under a dedicated business insurance plan.

Running your business from home is increasingly common and makes financial sense.  Working from home is the future! However, remember that your home insurance may not cover business costs. Get dedicated business and public liability insurance to keep your company protected. You can also use the fact that you are always home to try and get a discount on your regular home insurance.

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Self Employed Home Owners and Mortgages

Mortgages are an incredibly useful tool for anyone to set a foundation for owning a home. Unfortunately, lenders have made it difficult for the self-employed to get a mortgage. What this means is that – on average – for every 10 quotes someone gets in a salaried position, a self-employed person will only get 6.

At times it can feel impossible to prove that you have the income and stability to be an attractive prospect to a mortgage lender. What, then, can a self-employed person do to get mortgaged? Don’t fret – there are plenty of ways to convince lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.

Types of Lender

The good news is that since the financial crash of 2008 and the ensuing recovery, lending has been relaxed once again (to a degree). Accordingly, there’s been an upwards trend in new lending businesses and also a diversification in the types and size of loans offered by the established companies.

The result is that there’s a great depth of mortgage companies each with their own benefits and particular areas of expertise. If you do a good bit of research and are willing to put time and focus into finding the right company, there should be a company out there that will listen to the case you make.

Preparing Your Documents

Keep an absolutely comprehensive record of all of your incoming and outgoing funds is essential. What is more, you may also want to look into hiring a qualified accountant to help you go over your books. If you’re able to find one with a specialization and experience in dealing with mortgage lenders, you will be able to create a targeted document to ensure you get a good deal.

Income Reporting

Given the various tax loopholes and allowances, you need to take advantage of getting the most out of your income as a self-employed person; many self-employed people will report income differently. Whilst this is often necessary, it can affect your chances of getting a mortgage if it appears that your income is lower than it should be.

Again, you need to find balance. Get quotes and advice from the lenders, and assess your financial management scheme to make sure that you’re maximizing your income without jeopardizing the superficial appearance of your accounts.

Self employed people have historically suffered when asking for credit. Similarly, the financial crash brought about less favourable conditions. However, banks are tentatively dipping their toes back in the water, and if you have a solid case, you can get yourself the funding you need for your new home.

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Here are 6 Most Frustrating Driving Habits Revealed by UK Drivers

There is no such person as a perfect driver. Irrespective of your driving skills and experience, it is likely that you find in other road drivers infuriating habits. A recent survey of over 20000 drivers outlined the most frustrating driving habits exhibited by drivers in the UK.

Driving is ordinarily enjoyable but a combination of heavy traffic congestion, inadequate parking space, and bad drivers can combine to make driving a pain rather pleasure. Bad drivers exhibit varied driving habits that get on the nerve of other road users, for instance, litter dropped out of the car window can make a fellow driver suddenly swerve. So, what are the bad driving habits exhibited by other drivers on the road?

Tailgating

Tailgating is an aggressive and distressing behaviour for the driver ahead. It is also dangerous as a sudden break by the car in front can cause multiple accidents. Using the 3-second rule helps you avoid the dangerous habit of tailgating. If you want to overtake the car ahead, using your flash lights is preferable to trying to forceful push them out of the road.

Failure to indicate

Failure to indicate properly affects not allow the drivers behind but also pedestrians. Pedestrians must wait for a car to indicate properly before crossing the road. A study on failure to indicate showed that more than 2 million accidents are caused per year when drivers suddenly change lanes or make a turn.

Using mobile phones while driving

Laws on mobile phone use while driving has been in existence for several years and indeed, the fines against such behaviour was increased recently to curb motorists who can’t resist using their phones while driving. It is a dangerous habit and not without reasons, as research has shown that drivers are four times more likely to have an accident when using the phone while driving and texting doubles reaction times. The number of drivers using mobile phones while driving has tripled between 2014 to 2016.

Hasty exiting

Swooping across lanes, although generally regarded as an innocent error to take a road exit or join the fast lane is an irresponsible and distressing behaviour for other drivers. Mostly, the swooping driver is viewed as reckless and idiotic.

Hogging the middle lane

Hogging the middle lane is an irritating habit and has its dangers. Middle lane huggers often drive without a care in the world delaying other drivers who would love to speed along. If you are not speeding, move over to the left side of the road.

Littering and driving slowly

Nonchalantly dropping litter on the road while driving is a big distraction to other motorists. This may cause an accident when drivers need to swerve to avoid it hitting their vehicle.

Conclusion

The pains of driving make motorists go through a rough day behind the wheel. Most importantly, always remember this driving lesson: to anticipate the actions of other road users and to remain calm when they exhibit such bad habits.

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Workspace Wonders: How to Design Your Dream Home Office

When you work from home, it can be tricky to separate your living space from your working space. Creating a home office is a great first step in making sure you can tune into a working mindset when you have things to do, and back into a relaxed state when it’s time to spend time with family or de-stress. Designing your home office can be as big a project as you want, and the energy you put into it can help you be more productive and professional. Depending on the nature of your work, organizing your desk area, incorporating shelving and storage, and making the space inspirational are all important in varying degrees. It’s good to experiment to see what works best for you and suits your personal needs, but there are a few constants that hold true for almost all home offices and working spaces.

1. Create a focused space. 

Make sure your office or work room is clearly designated as a space different from all others in your home. Ensure you have a door or curtain that can shut and as much as possible avoid storing cleaning supplies, old clothes, or other clutter in your work space. Not only will it distract you and remind you of other responsibilities, but it can make it harder to find important documents and tools if they’re sharing space with shoes, bottles or boxes. If you have too much junk that you need to get rid off, get in touch with a waste removal company such as Kwik Sweep.

2. Separate work from life. 

Treat a home office like you would a cubicle in a busy office building. Keep it tidy, have a family photo or two, and decorate it in a simple, professional way. Your office might be at home, but the more you treat it as separate, the easier it will be to tune in when there’s work to do, and to decompress when you’re finished. Stock your office with everything you might need to avoid having to leave and grab something, which can take you out of your productive state and introduce all sorts of distractions.

3. Use soothing colors and decorations.

Working buildings and professional spaces often put a lot of effort into furnishings that promote productivity. Clean lines and neutral colours reduce distractions and can have distinct psychological effects. The colour blue acts as a relaxant, as well as an appetite suppressant, so consider painting the room a shade of blue or using blue furnishings. Keeping the space cool can promote brain function and focus, so make sure you can control the room’s temperature. Comfortable ergonomic chairs and desks reduce fatigue and long term damage like back problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. Incorporate as many of these as you can to help you be more productive, and promote well being.

4. Incorporate tools for focus.

A home office doesn’t need to feel like a jail cell, so using design elements like fountains, zen gardens, or executive toys can help break up the monotony without throwing your focus. A simple indoor fountain can help freshen the space up, and the sounds of running water not only relaxes, but it can act as white noise to drown out the sounds you might expect if you have kids, neighbours, or heavy traffic near your house.

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Why Seniors Citizens are Thinking About Starting a Home Business

Most people think that senior citizens should continue to live a life of leisure as they’ve earned the right to take it easy. However, some people who are at an advanced age may not be inclined to do so as they prefer to find other ways to stay engaged with the world.

Extra Cash In Retirement 

Some active seniors who live at home, and even those who reside in assisted living communities, often find that the monotony of doing nothing at all can lead to boredom or loneliness. While a steady or part-time job may be out of the question at this point in their lives, some find that starting a small business is the perfect way to pass the time while making a bit of money in their golden years.

For seniors who have the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to have a small home business or online business has nothing to do with accumulating more wealth. Cash may be an important determinant of a person’s life satisfaction, but its effect declines over the age of 75. For business-minded seniors, acquiring more money is not the purpose of any endeavor – it’s about doing something meaningful to fill their days.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Some seniors have even become so passionate about what they do that they became successful later in life. There’s Col. Harland David Sanders, who franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 62. Then there’s 82-year-old Dorrie Jacobson, who started a very successful fashion blog to inspire women over 60 and has become the darling of the fashion world.  

If you’re a senior citizen and are thinking about starting a small home or online business, you’re in luck – there are lots of opportunities out there for you that aren’t physically demanding. Even if you’re in an assisted living facility and have impaired mobility of movement, there are other things that you can do that don’t require you to move around as much.

Here are a few business ideas if you’re planning to start a home or online business:

  • ·         Take a call center job. This is a great online job if you have low mobility as all you need to do is talk on the phone.
  • ·         Follow in Jacobson’s footsteps and start a blog where you can give expert advice. Pick a topic that you know and start writing. If you aren’t tech savvy, there are tons of tutorials out there to get you started.
  • ·         Do you love to sew? You can start an alteration business or take on small sewing jobs from your neighbors.
  • ·         If you’re into crafts or DIY projects, you can sell your wares at craft markets or at an online shop, such as Etsy. Many seniors earn a decent amount of money by selling handmade soaps, lotions, knitwear, and other items on this site.
  • ·         Got a winning cookie or pie recipe? You can sell baked goods at home or online. You can ask younger members of the family to scout for places where you can sell your food if you want to earn more.

There are many small businesses that you can launch from the comfort of home. All you have to do is to find one that you’d enjoy doing, and most importantly, one which will give you happiness and a sense of fulfillment.

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Net Worth: Why You Should Track it closely for Financial Success

A person’s net worth is the ultimate determinant of their sum wealth. The net worth is the result of deducting liabilities from the assets. Calculating the net worth gives one a clear picture of the total cost and earned and spent in a lifetime. Tracking the net worth helps one keep their goals and perspective in check. For example, if a person’s total amount of assets amounts to $200,000 and liabilities equals $300,000, the individual will have a negative net worth of -$100,000. It is crucial to establish the financial status of a person or an enterprise so as not to accrue a deluded sense of net worth and fail to achieve success.

Reasons why it is imperative to track the net worth 

1. Considering that net worth is the honest reflection of a person’s wealth, it is a perfect way to determine if one is making positive or negative financial progress. Bob Berger of Forbes.com, states that a constant or increasing net worth is a sign that investments are bringing positive returns. A declining net worth means that one should deduce which activity is draining the money and work towards adjusting the situation.

2. A clear picture of the net worth eliminates the notion that income is equal to one’s wealth status. A person earning $500,000 per year with liabilities amounting to $200,000 in a year is worth $300,000. The same result applies to an individual making $350,000 with liabilities amounting to $ 50,000 annually. With this concept in mind, it is easier for one to plan the steps towards realizing financial success by reducing liabilities to increase the net worth. Besides, considering the assets only when establishing net value, such as a home or a successful investment, is a misguided way to achieve success. The difference between the property and the liabilities like debt determines the exact net worth.

3. When applying for a loan, most banks and lending firms will evaluate the borrower’s sum net worth to determine credibility. A bad credit loan automatically disqualifies one from receiving the cash. Keeping a positive net worth helps one acquire a higher credit limit that can be helpful in expanding one’s investments and ultimately reach goals.

4. A good net worth is essential in keeping the debt status in perspective. A significant amount of loan offsets a lot of people. However, if one’s net value exceed the amount, then it is clear that the debt level is not extreme. A loan that exceeds the net worth means that one should probably cut down on the amount borrowed and live within affordable ways to amass wealth. A low net value to loan ratio is also a great motivation for one to find means to realize a higher rate that translates to increased prosperity.

According to Investopedia.com, the net worth is bound to experience fluctuations just like the financial health of any other industry. As a result, the net worth will reflect the status of the financial health of the various assets and liabilities. It can be difficult to establish one’s long term goals and short term goals without a clear picture of the money owed and money earned. Determining the ultimate net worth with the help of a financial analyst, or a convenient net worth determining software application will save one the stress that comes from tapping into savings and investments, and accumulating unwarranted debt.

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