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Thursday, April 28, 2016

What to ask before you decide to invest in a business process management system (BPMS)

By Amira Chugunova

Business process management systems (BPMS) focus on helping an organization improve their efficiency and productivity. BPM systems strives for business process optimization, helping businesses to minimize their costs and maximize employees’ time and, eventually, increase their profits.

A lot of organizations spend a significant amount of time analyzing various business process management solutions, in search for the perfect match. Most of them end up finding a solution but they are not sure which processes should be automated in their workplace.

An issue arises when an organization is unsure whether to start by automating the easiest or complex processes. Finding out which processes will benefit most from automation can be tedious.
This article presents you with five questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision. Keep in mind that BPM solutions are offering a solution to your existing issues. As such, you should not choose a BPM system that is the most complex and not fully applicable to your organization’s needs (a good discussion on this topic is found here at LowCodeBPM.com).

business process management
How business processes are structured and integrated impacts overall operational efficiency

Is a paperless office more efficient and beneficial to bottom lines?

The first question that should be asked is if your business is very reliant on paper processes. To help you out with this one, a paper process could be a form that is sent around the office to multiple employees as part of a task.

Does delayed access to information cost your business money?

Question two is how long your employees spend searching for paperwork, documents, files, and forms necessary to complete their daily tasks. If they are spending a lot of time on such a basic tasks, you will benefit by using BPM system since it keeps all of your data and files in one place.

Is data duplication and transposing worthwhile?

A third question to ask is if some of the business processes require data multiplication by manually copying information from one system to another. For example, if your employees spend significant time transferring contact information of your clients from one system into another.

Do business process glitches waste time?

Fourthly, ask if you have ever been a part of, or heard of a situation in your work environment where a task is interrupted because an email “didn’t go through”. That email could have been crucial for the next step of the task. If this happens, BPM software is your system solution because all communication happens in one place, just as data and files are stored in the same place.

How many tasks are redundant?

How many repetitive, routine tasks consume a lot of your employees’ time. If an email needs to be manually sent out each day to remind clients of their payments, then you might as well implement an automatic process. The time you save can be put to great use in other parts of your business.

If you said “yes” to just one of these questions, you will certainly benefit from investing and implementing BPM in your organization. You can also speak to your employees and ask for their opinion. If a majority finds BPM solution to be beneficial, then you have a clear sign that BPM system will help your company. Most of the employees’ might have already used their creativity and created their own automated solutions. Why not help them out and unite your whole workforce with a unique BPM system that can be used across different departments.

About the author: Amira Chugunova is a business writer with an interest in Business Process Management solutions, such as JobTraQ.

Image: NIH.gov, USGov-PD

Things to look out for in a boiler room fraud

boiler room fraud

Fraudsters seek to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers
By Andrew Reilly

Knowing what to look out for with respect to boiler room fraud is very important and this information may be exactly what you need to know in order to stay safe and not become a victim of fraud.

If you receive a call or contact out of the blue

The first warning sign that something isn’t right comes with receiving a call or communication out of the blue. If this is the first time that the company has contacted you, you should be wary. Why are they deciding to contact you and why have you been singled out to receive this offer. There will likely be an excuse given to you as to why you have been selected, so it is important for you to evaluate this reasoning.

Does it sound plausible? If you don’t think that the explanation provided to you by the fraudster is sensible or likely to be true, you should be very cautious. In fact, you should probably look to end the conversation as quickly as you can.

Be aware if the person on the other end of the line is knowledgeable

One thing that many boiler room fraud victims say is that they were taken in by the fact that the fraudster was well-spoken and knowledgeable about the suspect. The thing is, as this is a very lucrative crime, it makes sense for the fraudster to increase their chances of success. If you were talking to someone who claimed to represent a high standing shares company but the person spoke in slang or didn’t seem to understand the concept of shares, you would be suspicious. In fact, you would think that you’d be mad to give your time, let alone your money, to this person, so you would cut the conversation short.

Fraudsters know this and this means that the people who carry out the call are likely to come across as genuine. This doesn’t help you differentiate between genuine callers and fraudsters but it should prevent you from thinking that every legitimate sounding caller is legitimate. There is nothing wrong with being cautious or hesitant, even when dealing with genuine firms so don’t let a well-spoken person con or fool you.

Be aware if the person is persistent

A common feature of boiler room fraud is the fraudster being very persistent when it comes to getting you to sign up or agree the deal. Even if you politely decline or try to end the conversation, you may find that the person on the other end of the line will keep on at you in an attempt to conclude a deal.

If you under pressure or stressed about their actions, then tell them so and stop the call. If they continue to persist or make you feel concerned, just hang up. A lot of people worry about being seen as acting rude, and this is why they would rather not terminate a call in this manner. However, given that a person is harassing you and is not acceding to your wishes, you are well within your rights to terminate the call as you wish. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, make sure you take control and end the conversation.

If you have agreed, be wary of the fraudster threatening police action

If you have handed over money or you have provide banking information to someone and you now have concerns about this information, it is up to you to inform the relevant authorities. You should know that calling the authorities is a tactic that is available to you, but it isn’t one that any fraudster will undertake.

If you have agreed a deal and then decide against it, you’ll find that the fraudster is very reluctant to let this be the end of the matter. They may threaten you with police action but you should be confident that a fraudster will not do this. They will threaten you with this action but given that a fraudster has a lot more to lose by involving the police than you do, you’ll find that a fraudster will not contact the police.

If you suspect that you have been contacted with respect to this style of fraud, or that you have been a victim of this style of fraud, it is vital that you contact the authorities as quickly as possible. The sooner you provide relevant information, the greater the chance there will be of catching the criminal. There will also be an improved chance of ensuring other people aren’t victims of the same crime or from the same gang. This may not sound like much of a comfort to you but if someone else had reported previous crimes, you may not have been a victim. While providing information that prevents other people from suffering won’t really help you recover your money or feel better, it can help other people avoid feeling as bad as you do.

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: Got Credit/Flickr; "Fraud Button" CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How important is your management team?

Business management
Effective management achieves business objectives while coordinating employee team work

By  Amira Chugunova

Your business growth is a direct result of the effectiveness of your business management. Management should be able to create profit and employment opportunities. These opportunities should ensure future growth of the business and provide financial security to the business. However, most of the people don’t see the importance of management processes and they focus mainly on the end product and output.

Benefits of motivating employees are much higher than strictly focusing on product quality improvement and delivering more output by minimizing costs. In the short-term, this will increase profits but in the long-term, it will negatively affect the workplace environment.

Most of the businesses highlight amazing creations and ideas by company founders, yet they tend to forget a crucial role that management plays in these environments. Managers engage in a series of planning processes to develop an idea and create a successful company. This planning phase is equally important for small businesses as it is for large businesses.

Stress balance

Today, our work life can easily create unnecessary stress in our lives. Employees are required to do more within their work day that can disrupt their personal life and greatly affect their performance and productivity. Management should be able to tackle this issue and create a balance in employees’ life. A more productive environment ensures business growth and benefits everyone in return. Because of this, managers should be able to effectively delegate tasks with respect to people’s personal life and obligations.

Effective communication

Communicating effectively has a major role in making the business successful. Employees should feel comfortable to share their opinions about changes and how it affects their work. Open communication is the best way to learn about employees’ reaction to changes and find a way to solve any evolving issues before it’s too late.

Management needs to be able to communicate with employees and respond effectively if there is a concern. Ineffective and unresponsive management is a major sign of instability within your firm. Management should also be able to respond quickly to any market changes. Otherwise, your business might be heading for a failure. You can develop a checklist of frequent issues raised by employees that should be addressed by the management. The sooner you address these issues, the quicker your firm will grow. If management is inefficient in their work, adjustments to the management should be made.

Building a team

A well-organized and productive team is the key for proper functioning of an organization. Your organization should strive to accomplish respect for the team leader and for the skills that team members offer. Members should work well together and help each other in areas of weaknesses. All members should understand the importance of their role in a company and in a specific project. There should be a visible sense of team spirit during projects.

Conflict resolution

Regardless of your company and team members, conflict is more than likely to happen within your organization. Management should be able to control the conflict and resolve any issues within the organization. Implementing specific procedures and policies helps in controlling conflicts. However, management is the key to establish long-term good relations between employees and control the conflict energy from spilling into all areas of an organization. This is the true measure of organization’s health and success.

A firm will survive and prosper if management is capable of motivating, rewarding and encouraging employees to be a part of a bigger picture. Management needs to show the importance of a team and each employees’ contributions to ensure long-term work satisfaction and company’s profitable performance.

About the author: Amira Chugunova is a business and technology writer with a focus on team productivity and collaboration.

Image: Pixabay/Geralt; CC0, US-PD

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Data centers and the need for them to be more eco-friendly

eco-friendly data centers
Earth-friendly data centers reduce the industrial carbon footprint
By Katrina

According to President Obama, we each have a role to play in the battle to be more earth – friendly. We need to turn off lights when they aren’t being used and unplug chargers when our devices are charged. In case you forget, all of our instant connectivity, entertainment and information right at our fingertips – all of this requires massive amounts of energy. The more that people connect to the web, the larger the job is for data centers. See, the bigger job that the data centers have, the more energy is necessary for them to operate…this then means that data centers are constantly running the risk of increasing instead of decreasing their carbon footprint. Consider this…behind all of our online experiences are global networks, cloud based services and data centers that are hosted on massive servers across the planet. Each of these online activities has a price tag when it comes to energy and a detrimental effect on our planet’s health.

Data centers that are Web scaled – Such as the government – are committed to being green

Last year, in March, Obama signed an executive order that laid out what his vision of sustainability is for the coming decade. It began this fiscal year. This executive order only targeted government facilities and their infrastructure and the part that concerned improving the energy efficiency of data centers made a bold statement regarding green initiatives. His measures called for federal CIOs to promote energy optimization for data centers in terms of their performance and efficiency. It also stated that the government would be responsible for installing and monitoring advanced energy meters in every data center by the beginning of fiscal year 2018. It also established PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) targets from 1.2 – 1.4 for brand new data centers and PUE targets of less than 1,5 for data centers already in existence.

Private sector

In this area, there is an aggressive push for green data centers. Companies such as Intel, Google and Facebook are moving to expand mobile web use and connectivity while they are also working towards decreasing their carbon footprint.

Do the right thing

These developments are definitely a bit of good news, there are also green strategies that data center operators can employ right now that will have a great impact on reducing the consumption of energy as well as on expenditures for cooling.

For one thing, boosting the management of airflow can give data centers a reduction in their consumption of energy by 40%. They can also consolidate their servers, which is stipulated in the executive order, and this will give them a reduction in the consumption of energy from 10% to 40%. Cooling costs can be cut by a whopping 60% simply by raising the internal temperatures for the data centers. If they explored and implemented some of the more innovative technologies for cooling, they can actually end up using 95% less when it comes to energy.

This is not just a good thing…it is the right thing for both the professional and the personal activities that we have on the Internet. It is also the right thing for the metropolises, towns, and neighborhoods that make up our global environment and community.

About the author: Katrina is a product specialist, solving issues for your computer server and power needs at Racksolutions.com

Image: Author owned and licensed