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Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

3 Ways Technology Can Instantly Improve Your Small Business

If you want to carve out an authoritative reputation for your business in its niche field, it is absolutely imperative that you provide a cutting-edge level of service to your clients. At all conceivable points, you must go above and beyond to optimize the way in which you reach, engage, and serve your core consumer base. Should you fail to operate in this highly optimized fashion, your customers will soon start to question your ability to tend to their wants and needs. Before too long, this will result in them ditching your company in favor of your competitors. Unfortunately, this will then have a profound negative effect on your organization’s position in its market.

Quite simply, if you want to protect both your brand image and your profit turnover going forward, you need to provide a top-of-the-line service time and time again. With the right technological tools at your disposal, you will have the capacity to do just that.

Here are three ways technology can improve your business:

Live chat tools enhance customer service

The way in which you communicate with your clientele will have a profound impact on whether or not they choose to stick with your company going forward. Your product/service range may be unrivalled in their eyes, but they still will not feel comfortable bringing their custom to you if you fail to make them feel valued. It is for this reason that you must go qabove and beyond to provide your clients with a hyper-personalized and timely level of customer service.

With Windows live chat technology at your disposal, you will have the capacity to do just that. This cutting-edge tech tool will allow your consumers to communicate with your business in their own time. But they will not be chatting to an AI-powered chatbot that does not understand their unique human wants and needs… no, their queries will be answered by a real-life member of your customer service department. Ultimately, live chat technology will help you to strike the perfect balance between time-efficiency and individual client personalization.

Video content increases brand awareness

If you are to stand a chance at drawing a steady stream of consumers over a sustained period of time, you need to position your business as an expert, insightful, and authoritative figure in its market. To achieve this all-mighty reputation, you are going to need to increase the overall awareness of your brand image.

Your brand awareness plays a significant role in your ability to generate leads and, in turn, convert these leads into customers, which is why you must make an effort to enhance it. There are a whole host of routes that you can take to perform this crucial task, producing quality videos being one of the most effective. Once you start producing this type of online content, you will be sure to inject some much-needed personality into your marketing campaigns. This personal touch will be sure to resonate with your audience members and, ultimately, make them feel more compelled to bring you their custom.

When you decide to take on the challenge of coming up with a killer video content strategy, be sure to put the following advice into practice:

1. Understand your audience and adhere to their wants, needs, and specifications

2. Seek feedback from your audience members and respond to their pain points

3. Create video scripts… but do not be afraid to deviate from them depending on the emotive response that you garner from previous content uploads

4. Spotlight your company’s humanity by filming your human workforce (but be sure to ask for prior approval before filming any of your employees)

5. Aim to capture viewer attention within the first 8 seconds of your videos

6. Never outstay your welcome — choose a runtime that is sure to keep your target audience engaged throughout the entire course of each video that you upload

7. Set yourself a realistic budget that will cover both your pre- and post-production costs

Productivity apps… do a lot more than increase productivity!

As their name suggests, productivity apps are designed to increase the overall productivity levels found in your workplace. When used correctly, these powerful tools can help to keep your employees engaged and focused throughout the course of each working day.

Productivity apps go way beyond increasing workforce efficiency, though. With this type of tech at hand, you will be sure to reap the following benefits on a regular basis:

1. Instant collaboration

When they all have access to the same productivity platform, your employees will be able to check the status of their team projects with ease. With the click of a button, they will be able to check in with their co-workers to ensure that everything is going to plan with regard to their shared schedule.

2. Accessible analytics

Your employees are only human — they will make mistakes from time to time. Fortunately, thanks to the rise of productivity apps, they now have the capacity to learn from their previous errors in a timely and efficient fashion. These apps provide instant access to crucial performance analytics, which means that your staff members can now tweak the way in which they operate in real-time.

3. Enhanced morale

Productivity apps are designed to simplify and streamline a whole host of daily processes. Once they are afforded access to this comprehensive level of assistance, your employees will find it much easier to remain on top of their daily workloads. This will relieve the pressure that they face in your working environment, which in turn will be sure to greatly enhance their overall morale

When harnessed correctly, technology has the power to enhance your business in a plethora of different ways. Tech can be used to grow, develop, and scale your existing operations, and it can be used to integrate new cutting-edge processes into your service range.

Are you determined to catapult your business right to the very pinnacle of its field? If so, you need to start embracing the wonders of modern technology — pronto! 

Categories
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Top 10 Digital Challenges and How To Overcome Them

With the ever-rising dependence of organizations on technology for performing daily tasks, primarily through the internet and cloud, digital transformation is no longer a choice but a vital need. For most organizations, the condition of the hour is “to go digital or die”.

Digital transformation is a process that necessitates investment in newer technologies, processes, people, and systems to transform how businesses function in the digital economy. It is, in fact, the transformation of the whole culture of the office where the process becomes more automated and digitalized and affects every unit of an organization.

Digital transformation, therefore, is not always an easy undertaking for organizations, irrespective of sizes – big or small. Businesses face several digital challenges as they attempt to change the way of doing business. This article identifies the top challenges faced by them, moreover the steps to resolve them.

1. Finding the Right Leadership

One of the biggest challenges that businesses are facing today revolves around finding effective leadership. Without an influential leader – whether that be a department or an individual – companies will struggle to complete even the most mundane tasks. This is especially true when considering digital transformation. Businesses attempting to embrace the new digital economy and the change that comes with it will quickly realize the importance of an experienced leader with good judgment and action-oriented values.

Above all, business leaders must be able to adopt a positive digital mindset. They must be able to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape and embrace new operating and business models. This is vital for constant engagement with investors, employees, customers, and suppliers via cross-channel connectivity. For an effective transformation process, a top executive in the organization tree needs to set the tone of what to be expected. The style employed will determine if it will go well or badly with the company’s growth.

2. Enhancing Customer Experience

Modern-day customers expect a lot from businesses. They demand responsiveness and a streamlined customer journey across touchpoints. Moreover, customers wish to receive help in real-time, i.e., exactly when they need it. If the customer can interact with a brand online and order products from home — nothing can be better. Standing in the long queues is a thing of the past as digitalization slowly and gradually takes over. 

Many businesses are not well-equipped to enhance the customer experience and provide the kind of service and attention that customers expect. This is because their core values and business practices are far way back the time, and they’re finding it difficult to innovate and catch up with the trends.

If the digital transformation is not embraced – if businesses do not begin to adapt their mindset and adjust their business practices to align with the shift – the gap between what customers want and what the company has to offer will keep growing. In today’s competitive economy, this could utterly destabilize an organization.

3. Engagement of Employees

Earlier, there have been a relatively well-defined set of groups within an organization. These units tended to interact within themselves and typically didn’t go out of their way to interact with others beyond the bare minimum required for completing projects. We can say the same about power hierarchy.

A few decades ago, it was more likely for the employees to communicate with their organization’s head personally. With particular groups, inter-communication throughout the organization, particularly a large one, was not a necessity.

Today, employees have access to a whole host of different tools for contacting their employers or coworkers. While it’s certainly true that not every employee has had personal conversations with their CEO, it is equally valid that the likelihood of such a conversation has increased exponentially with the dawn of the digital transformation.

4. Dealing with Competition

It is important to note that digital transformation is not restricted to a single country, demography, or particular generation. On the contrary, globalization seems to blend quite well with the demands of digital transformation. As this trend continues and each process begins to become popular, businesses with digital innovation will soon find themselves with increased competition from all over the world.

Consumers accustomed to the digital economy and the digital transformation and globalization processes can now purchase from almost anywhere in the world. With the increasingly advanced shipping methodologies, a user in North America could make an order for an item in Africa and receive it within a few days, provided, they are willing to pay for the privilege. This means brands are becoming progressively drawn to the idea of becoming a “super brand”.

Superbrands cover a large swath of the market by offering various services and products that span from cell phones to sporting gear. As these brands gain strength and become more prevalent, “regular” businesses might find themselves at a loss when attracting and keeping their target audience’s attention.

5. Handling the Talent Confrontation

As the business landscape continues to change and shift into something new and unprecedented, individuals will develop specific skills and experience, which are very important. Likely, there won’t be enough of these individuals initially to meet demands, which means that businesses will find themselves at war with one another in the fight for talent acquisition.

Possibly, businesses will aggressively pursue the individuals they believe can help transform their company for the digital era and do so at both the talent and managerial levels. It will become quite tricky to hang on to these employees until the supply increases to meet the demand – or until the demand shifts entirely.

 6. Changing the Company Culture

As has been discussed extensively throughout this paper, digital transformation will affect businesses on all levels. It includes sections like employee role and production, as well as inter-company communication and marketing strategy. Because the change must be so all-encompassing, the company culture must align with the new values dictated by the digital transformation and the digital economy.

Unfortunately, changing a company’s culture is not easy. It’s cited as one of the biggest challenges the digital transformation present-day businesses are facing. 

After all, that shouldn’t be surprising; company culture is deeply ingrained into every employee and helps a company feel united. The idea of changing that culture, then, becomes a daunting task full of new rules, new mission statements, new advertising campaigns and training methods, and much more.

It’s a big undertaking. However, it’s a vital one. Companies that don’t find a way to align their company culture with digital transformation will have a more challenging time adapting to new business models and new ideas about employees’ changing roles.

7. Ensuring Availability of Resources

While briefly touched upon above, the topic of resources and availability is an important one and warrants its section. As the digital transformation continues to change the way business is done, there will emerge areas of expertise required to thrive in the new business landscape. The skills and techniques that go along will quickly come into high demand as companies strive to adjust rapidly and thoroughly to the digital transformation and digital economy.

While individuals can always learn new skills to help fill the rising demand,

this takes time and money. All businesses will most likely pursue those who already possess the knowledge. Hiring one of them shall be a difficult task.

Likewise, as technology changes and continues to innovate the business landscape, businesses are likely to find themselves vying for the “latest and greatest” bit of technology available. Those resources shall be more functional than others – and due to high demand, they might not be available at all.

8. Employee Pushback

It’s possible of employees not liking the change, and a digital transformation will be a significant change. 

It is natural for employees to be wary of any substantial change. They might be concerned about potential job loss, additional work responsibilities, changes to their role, inability to keep up with the new processes etc. 

While planning to move forward with a digital transformation in a company, it must have solutions ready to help employees accept and even embrace this move.

Take time to evaluate and understand the goals necessary for adapting digital shift and inform how it might impact each organization’s section. The more informed the employees are, the less likely it is for them to push back.

9. Pace

Keeping up with the latest technology while still understanding and adapting to the digital shift is demanding. Rapid transformations are regularly occurring internally. Technology complements human work rather than simply replacing it, therefore rather than taking it as a challenge. One should look to utilize it as a tool to engage collaboration and smooth running of projects. Instead of displacing jobs, these new tools should pioneer a way to engage individuals and push further the collaboration with the technology. Investing in a digital strategy is very crucial to staying ahead of the growth curve because the challenge to maintain the pace is genuine.

10. Security

The transformation of security is important for a successful digital transformation. Some of the largest companies have fallen victim to cyber-attacks.

COVID-19 forced businesses, large and small, to finally shift all data and functioning to the cloud. Cloud migration takes application security to the next level, primarily when all of your software systems reside in a singular, unifying Digital Adoption Platform.  

Sometimes companies choose to delay strengthening their security systems, which might lead-heavy exploited vulnerabilities.

Rather than seeing digital security as a challenge, one should leverage it to accelerate digital transformation initiatives.

 However, there are things to stay ahead of the curve.

How Businesses Can Overcome These Challenges

Initially, this might seem like businesses face trouble with little hope of effective restructuring to meet the digital transformation’s growing needs. It is quite possible to embrace new company culture and create the kind of customer and employee experience that will serve the business well long into the future. It requires a little forethought and creative thinking, which isn’t hard to generate.

When looking at customer experience, it’s essential to keep in mind the issues of good leadership, company culture, and customer engagement. All of these issues are interrelated.

Suppose a business has a great leader who attempts to roll out innovative and practical ideas about improving customer experience but has employees who are not engaged and couldn’t care less about the company or its culture. In that case, the customer experience will likely remain subpar.

Likewise, if a company has poor leadership and culture, it doesn’t matter how skilled their employees are – their ability to ensure a great customer experience will be pretty limited.

However,  Companies can fix these issues more or less at the same time. Businesses should embrace their employees’ new role and use them as brand advocates who regularly interact with customers on social media and professional channels. This shall help create engaged employees and customers who have access to the attention and service they have come to expect of today’s businesses.

A great leader can help pull all of this together – and while it might take some time to locate the perfect candidate, they do exist. Businesses can make the search easier by clearly highlighting what their leader will need to do and what skills will be most important.

This will help them narrow down the applicants and close in on a leader who will fit their needs and their company. Additionally, a business with a good leader and engaged employees is likely to embrace a changing company culture much more readily than others.

This can further be smoothed over by allowing the leader to collaborate with coworkers to design a new set of values and mission statements to be distributed among company employees. Various training sessions and seminars can help more firmly entrench the idea of unique values in everyone who works.

 Effective Business Models

Throughout this paper, there have been discussions regarding the necessity for reconfiguring business methods and approaches, but not much about what kind of approach would work best to adapt to the digital transformation. The best thing that today’s businesses can do is change their business models to place a greater emphasis on digital technology trends, partner & customer collaboration and interaction.

This kind of model serves as a hybrid of sorts, branching the physical and digital to help a business provide excellent, focused service to all of its customers. It’s also one that can be further adapted in the future, making it an ideal choice for businesses that intend to ride out the digital transformation and see it through to the end.

Conclusion

When it comes to ensuring the availability of talent and technology, a bit of forethought is necessary. Businesses must consider where they believe the market is headed and keep an eye out for individuals who possess the required skills to succeed.

They should anticipate the need for new and evolving job positions and be selective in their hiring selection. This will help ensure they are not behind the curve when it comes to talent acquisition. The same can be said for technology. Businesses must consider what innovations are likely to change their fields and attempt to “future proof” their technology investments as much as possible.

Categories
Apple iOS News Operating System (Computer or Mobile)

Spring Reloaded: The Three Major Announcements at Apple’s Spring Event

Apple unveiled its hotly anticipated AirTags, iMacs and iPad pros featuring the ARM-based M1 chip on Tuesday. 

It’s Springtime in Cupertino, California and almost time for commerce to blossom. 

Apple’s April 20 ‘Spring Loaded’ event stayed true to its moniker and turned out to be loaded with product announcements. Here are the three major arrivals at the Apple Store. 

The New ARM iMac

The New ARM iMac
The newly released Apple ARM iMac at the Apple Spring Event.

Flaunting a squared-off design, millimetre-thin side profile and an array of colours—the new iMac is sporty, sleek, and imbuing all hues. Enabled by an octa-core M1 processor featuring four performance cores, the new iMac can crunch through any tasks thrown at it—and then perhaps a few more.  

The new, redesigned Apple desktops will come with a stunning 4.5K Retina display, an in-built 1080p camera for FaceTiming in full HD, and a revamped wireless keyboard with Touch ID support. 

The new iMac will start at $1,299 and will be available for preorder on April 30. 


AirTags

Apple AirTags Lets You Track Your Valuables With Ease
Apple AirTags lets you track your valuables with ease. It doesn’t matter where you kept them, just have the Apple Airtags on, you are good to go!

The AirTag is perhaps Apple’s worst kept secret in its history—as a matter of fact, American YouTuber Filip Koroy in a September 2020 video described the tech giant’s coin-sized tracking device in depth. 

Nevertheless, the AirTag is out, and it’s immensely utilitarian if you keep losing track of your valuables. 

The $29 accessory can tap into Apple’s proprietary ‘Find My’ network (seamlessly integrable across the Apple ecosystem) and help you locate your valuables, including keys, handbags, luggage—anything that you can pin the coin to. 

The AirTags care about your privacy too, according to Apple. The location data is kept anonymous and private with end-to-end encryption—implying only the user can access and locate the AirTag linked to the iDevice. 

Apple will ship AirTags for $29 each and offer free personalized engravings at the price. The AirTags can also be purchased in packs of four, amounting to $99. 

The New iPad Pro

What is there not to love in the New iPad Pro from Apple?
What is there not to love in the New iPad Pro from Apple? It is sleeky, attractive and sexy!

The suave, slender aluminum body of the iPad Pro meets the lightning-fast M1 chip—now with 5G support. What’s there to not love? 

The 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro will feature a Liquid Retina XDR display (like the new iPhone 12 line-up) and light up your workflow in High Dynamic Range colours. With 1600 nits of peak brightness and a million to one contrast ratio, textures, movies and graphics come to life on the display of the new iPad Pro. Like its predecessor, the 2021 iPad will feature a ProMotion display allowing refresh rates up to 120Hz for a fluidic experience. 

The iPad Pro starts from $799 for the Wi-Fi and $999 for the 5G-enabled model. 

Is the iPad Pro an easy, no-brainer purchase for anyone looking for a tablet PC, or does the $549 Samsung Galaxy S7 have it beat? 

Or would you rather not compare Apples and oranges?