Saturday, November 10, 2012

Top Tips for Choosing a Task Scheduling Partner

Effective task scheduling is a complicated process for many businesses with a mobile workforce no matter how many engineers or field based staff they employ. When scheduling tasks for field based employees there are so many parameters to consider such as: skills; parts; location; travelling time; time to complete previous jobs; traffic; road closures; customer service level agreements; planned and reactive tasks; holiday; medical appointments and more, making the life of a planner a daily challenge. Automating task scheduling is the best possible way of ensuring that all of your customer jobs are completed in the most efficient manner for your business. Developments in task scheduling software mean that there are a wide variety of options when it comes to selecting the best possible solution for your organisation. By evaluating potential partners thoroughly and following a few top tips you could transform your task scheduling, make your planners life a lot easier and uncover a technology partner for life.

First of all you need to decide as an organisation what you are hoping to achieve by implementing task scheduling technology. By communicating your objectives to potential vendors they will be able to tailor their demonstration to show you how their task scheduling would help your business.

Potential partners should always dig down to understand in detail how your business works. This level of evaluation will enable them to draw on previous experience in similar organisations and offer alternatives to the way you currently operate. Keep an open mind, vendors will often offer a fresh set of eyes when it comes to streamlining your processes and making your business more efficient as a result.

Get your engineers or field based staff involved early, not only will it help with implementation at a later date by reducing resistance they will also be a source of great ideas. Your field based staff will prove invaluable when discussing amending processes and with their first hand experience they can tell you what will work and what won't. Task scheduling is about making things easier for your field based teams so be sure to ask them for their suggestions and ensure that you have their buy in before rolling out new technology.

Don't tie yourselves in to an inflexible solution. Your business will evolve and you want to be sure that your task scheduling solution is agile enough to evolve with your business. Try to find a provider who can offer a range of scheduling software, from simple drag and drop solutions to fully automated and dynamic scheduling. Even the very basic task scheduling software will offer significant benefits in terms of return on investment (ROI), however in the future you may want to increase the functionality to increase your ROI. Get this right and you will never need to change your task scheduling provider again.

Find out what support is available to you and your teams and make sure support is accessible when you need it. Is the support UK based? Is it available around the clock? If your teams are responding to emergency call outs 24/7 then you want a partner who is available at all times. Are there different levels of support available? For example, who will complete training prior to implementing task scheduling? Who should you contact should your requirements change? Get the information upfront and make sure it meets your needs.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Effective Ways For a CEO to Relieve Stress

Business meetings, tight schedules, business development activities, conferences, product launches and a heap of other responsibilities leave the CEO and associated management team exhausted, stressed and wanting for some relief out of physical and mental stress.

Here we are some discussing some ways and techniques that can help CEO to relieve stress and tension:

Beautify the Surroundings

A chaotic, dimly lit and disheveled office creates negativity and turns the atmosphere gloomy. On the contrary, a well decorated, adequately illuminated and clutter-free office is all you want for a happy beginning of the day. Some simple Feng Shui tips or adding some living plants to office interior can be enough to make you feel vibrant and energetic the whole day.

Minimize Tech Meltdowns

Technological glitches - system failure, data loss, and slowness - always add to the agony and frustration of the CEOs and the management team. Hire expert engineers and technicians so as to minimize the downtime due to technical issues. Make sure your office computers are updated with data recovery systems, latest firewalls and security software.

It will make you feel relaxed and tension-free as far as technical problems are concerned.

Take Time to Relax and Play

Our body and mind has limitations. You cannot expect your body and mind to work continuously day and night. Give a break to your mind from the hectic work schedule. Indulge yourself in different relaxing activities like exercise, playing and meditation etc.

Here are some effective practices that facilitate healthy and stress-free leaving:

Exercise - Regular exercising help you stay fit and improves your physical and mental health. Endorphins released as a result of physical activities make you to feel good and enhance your efficiency and performance.

Meditation - According to different researches, meditation helps you live happier, healthier and longer. It has also proved its effectiveness in reducing anxiety and stress hence enabling you to feel good from within.

Don't make decisions in haste: Doing so many things at a time leave your mind confused leading to a poor decision-making - the most complicated challenge a CEO faces every day. To deal with this problem, take 5-minute walk around the block, clear your head, breathe deeply, and exhale some tension out of your mind.

When you get back to your workplace a few minutes later you'll feel re-energized, less tensed, and charged up with more creative thoughts.

Make Room for Fun

Some fun-filled moments help you get rid of tensions and stress. Allocate some time for weekly or fortnightly fun activities in the office. Events like office parties, sports pools, sponsored lunches, fun games, and athletic leagues relieve the stress and facilitate innovative thinking.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How Do You Vote for Your Business?

U.S. citizens cast their vote for the next President, Vice-President, and a host of congressional leaders this week. Attention focuses on this once-every-four-years activity with a virtual obsession.

Yet, there is a more important vote you as a business professional cast and more often than every four years. While government leaders are important, your leadership in business has a significant, daily impact on you and the people around you.

How do you vote for your business to increase sales with greater productivity so you can get out of the office earlier to do what you love with those you love?

Here are three significant ways to vote for your business daily:

Vote with Your Attention

You discover ways to make money daily, but have you made any time or energy lately?

These two components comprise your attention. The strategic use of your attention is paramount to achieving your business dreams.

Vote for your business by paying attention to these two most important Work Positive factors:

Positive Thoughts

Avoid the TV remote and cast your vote for positive reading or listening material in the morning. Visualize the day's schedule with positive outcomes. You shape your mental attitude for the day as you do.

Positive People

Who are those customers, team members, and suppliers that bring positive value to your business? Cast your vote for them, offering little time or attention to the negative squeaky wheels.

Vote with Your Intention

Somewhere along the way of choosing your current business profession, you aligned yourself with the mission, vision, and values of an organization. Whether your own business or another's, these guiding principles steer decisions and drive outcomes. Whether written or oral, they are partisan magnets for your intentions.

Orient your intention to the company mission, vision, and values. Vote along those party lines with your intention and attention for maximum productivity. Otherwise, your intention is the road to nowhere.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Does Your Business Have a Mobile App Strategy Yet?

There was a time not that long ago when small businesses wondered if they needed a website. After a company site became an absolute necessity, then came the question whether small businesses needed a presence on the top social media sites. While most business owners maintain an active social media profile for their companies, now there is a new question that many are asking. That is whether your business has a mobile app as yet?

While many of the bigger companies have already started or even completed creating their business app, the smaller business owners are the ones who are faced with the dilemma of investing in an app. Most companies know that the Smartphone or tablet market has exploded and hundreds of millions of users now access internet via their mobile devices. However, creating an app is still quite expensive with developers charging several thousand dollars and this does not include future maintenance of the app. In a case like this where small business owners realize an app is now a necessity but they do not have the funds to create the app, they need to work out an app strategy for their business.

To begin with, small business owners should look for online services that allow any company owner to register and build their own app. Of course the service provider would charge a nominal monthly fee but this completely beats spending thousands of dollars in development and then in maintenance of the app. There are several services now that have already created the most important must have features for an app and anyone registering for their service can simply drag and drop the features in to their own business app. This could include creating GPS coupons, providing GPS directions to your place of business, sending a message to all app users, adding important information about the business and latest events etc.

The easiest thing to do would be to go through the feature list offered by the online service provider and ask which features your target market would use the most. Once you know what your customer wants, simply add them to your app and ask your service provider to publish the app. Now for some users a do-it yourself mobile app creator could feel too technical and something they would either not prefer doing or simply do not have the time to design an app. In this case, look for an online app service provider that also offers app management at no extra cost. While this is rare for companies to offer, it is not entirely impossible to find.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why Your Enterprise Cannot Migrate Without Planning

Every major enterprise that is starting or planning a Microsoft Office upgrade hears that most of their files will upgrade just fine, roughly 90% will upgrade without issue. But that leaves 10% that won't. Let's assume you have 1 million files and 90% will migrate without issue. That leaves 100,000 files that need to be remediated. Associate the cost of manual remediation (find, test, open and fix) with that number and you'll have a bit of a surprise. Now, what if you have 5 million or 10 million files, like a lot of enterprises do?

It's uncertain how many companies think about these problem files and how will them affect their migration. Most business managers don't even know how many files they have and if you ask IT, they'll quote you terabytes of data. Just remember that you have to budget for these kind of issues, as it can get pretty expensive.

So now you know about the problem, but how do you fix it? First, start quantifying the files you have, map your file landscape. How many files are archived? How many duplicates do you have? How many should you really fix and which are less important?

Before running your discovery, identify within each group the major document owners and make sure either yourself or they can run discovery and have the necessary permissions to get the information you're looking for. An IT specialist may not have access to the files the Financial department has, for example.

Also, there's the issue of who really owns the files that are in a company? If you ask IT, they'll tell you that they didn't create them, therefore the business unit owns them. But if you're going through a migration, the files automatically become IT's responsibility, and if the files have an issue post-migration, it will be the IT department that will need to fix them.

How would you go about finding and discovering files on individual user's desktop? These files aren't in the company's network, they're stored locally, on each user's PC. Do you have a methodology for this? Discovery can go about and find files like these, even for those who do not have back-ups in the network.

Once you identify and quantify your files, take a moment to think of the type of files you have. Do you honestly need to upgrade all of these? Sort them by date: date created/ date last modified/ last opened. If no one has opened a file in over 2 years, it's safe to say your employees might not need it immediately. So focus on the ones that were opened or modified in the past year and a half. You can either leave the other files on the former platform, or upgrade them later.

But what if you're already in the office deployment process and you have encountered all these issue? Most likely you have no budget for remediation, as you haven't anticipated these issues. And in most enterprises you can't take certain files down for a week or so. Your employees depend on them in order to do their jobs. So you can't afford remediation and you can't afford not to have them work. This is why planning is crucial.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Efficiently Manage Your Organization Using Salesforce Integration Services

One of the major hurdles faced by both small and large-sized companies is the customer relationship management. Companies have been spending millions for developing the customer management and offering better services in an efficient manner. However, with the introduction of Software as a Service (SaaS), this challenging job has been streamlined. The SaaS offers an excellent platform for efficiently managing data within mutual database. As Salesforce Company offers SaaS applications, you can take help of the Salesforce integration services for simplifying the data management and customer management process.

Manually managing data has become a tiresome process and is significantly hampering both productivity and development of a company. Since managing large quantities of data is gradually becoming a time-consuming task, the demand for efficient data integration services are on rise. The cloud-based SaaS application provider offers customized salesforce connector that helps organizations in maintaining large database, records, importing sales leads and exporting data and generating reports for analysis and assessment, on daily, weekly or monthly basis. Using the integrator, you can bring up more accuracy in your work, minimizing the use of paper and saving precious time.

The salesforce integrator offers online solutions with greater efficiency that can help in synchronizing data. All the users from nook and corner can access the services without any obstacles. Companies can easily share data across various other channels and sources, 24x7. As the SaaS applications are generally very user-friendly, they can easily be adapted by employees within any company.

How it benefits Company?

Salesforce integration services are the best alternatives for any company using cloud-based solutions, where they have to deal with large amount of data. It offers an instant and faultless process in managing and channelizing data with the other sources used by the company. The integrator offers various companies and businesses, the much required independency as well as flexibility for executing their operations in a seamless manner. By employing a cloud-based solution, companies can offer their employees, an opportunity to access large range of data applications online, hence avoiding all the circumstances that are caused owing to geographical restrictions.

The Art of Leadership Development

In a business, you absolutely need leadership development, but saying it and getting it are two very different things. Within your business you might have a number of people who are well suited for leadership positions, but the question remains as to whether or not they can successfully conduct management training. Some people are cut out for teaching positions, and some are not.

What can you do about this? Even if your company had individuals ready and willing to train others, could you really take the time out of your busy day or it? Could you really afford to have training staff on standby? Obviously this is going to be a problem, but leadership development does not have to be impossible.

The next question you might ask, is what skills one needs to be a great leader. First of all, you need to be able to think outside of the box. You need to have the ability to think and generate new ideas and possibilities -- and not just anyone can do this. In addition to that, you need to be able to take risks. This will allow you to move through your fears and any obstacles. In the end you will bring about change -- change for the better. This is a huge part of leadership!

The solution of course is to outsource your leadership training. There are plenty of companies out there that will be more than willing to undertake the task of strengthening your leadership and ensuring that individual performance is maximized. Overall, you need your employees to expand their self awareness and be ready to believe that they can make a positive change in the workplace.

There are plenty of companies out there who will be more than willing to help with your leadership development. From executive coaching, to team coaching, all the way to facilitator training, these companies will bring your staff to where they need to be. It might sound a bit excessive, but when you are dealing with the promotion of individuals to management positions, you do not want to take any chances.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Become Successful Through Consulting Skills Training

If you plan on being successful in sales consulting, then you need to have the skills in place that will ensure you continue to bring in sales. For this, you need to understand that only part of the process will be having luck on your side and there are things you can actually do to land sales. What you will find is that while past experience can help you with this, group facilitation experience can also help you to shine.

The first and most important pieces of sales consulting will be the ability to communicate with others, when you aren't face to face with them. You need to have the ability to control the conversation and have it result in return calls. For this, you will find that everything from the way you talk on the phone, to referencing benefits from the start of the conversation can be important. Some of this may come naturally; other parts of it will come from your consulting skills training.

Just as important as communicating over the phone is important, listening to what others are saying will also have some impact. You need to be able to hear what people aren't saying when they are communicating with you and understanding that the perceptions of others can also be how you will eventually sell them on a point. The goal is to listen to them and allow them to believe their concerns are new to you and that you are taking a fresh perspective to this viewpoint. What consulting skills training can show you is that if you present information according to a script, it will push people away, no matter how valuable the information is.

Another point to keep in mind is that when you are doing group facilitation, you know that the more knowledge you have, the more you can guide the conversation. This is why you need to ensure that you know the ins and outs of the sales consulting benefits and options that there are. This can help to provide customers with accurate information, while gaining their trust and their full respect as you are going over the options that are available.

Of course, just as important as it can be to close a sale, you also need to know the dead ends when you find them. Sometimes, you can spend endless hours speaking to people who will never be interested in what you have to sell them and they may communicate with you because they are lonely, while others don't have the heart to tell you no. With your consulting skills training, you can spot these individuals and break off the communication and stop wasting your time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Focus on Success With Strategic Planning Training

Any company looking to further their success, while find that strategic planning training will be essential. As part of the facilitator training that their supervisory team goes through, the company will experience an improvement in how the company operates and the company will continue to thrive and develop in other areas.

Take for example a company that provides strategic planning training to its training staff. These individuals who provide the education to your future staff will have a better understanding to enhance adult education and ensure that they retain more of the information that is presented to them. They can also successfully address areas where people struggle when entering your company and ensure that they are setup to succeed, rather than fail. If you do find that there is an area of weakness, this will be the time to start thinking about how you can make improvements that can get you closer to the right direction.

This facilitator training can also help with personal development of individuals. Those who go through the training process will learn how they can be proactive and further enhance the skills and understanding they have so they can further advance in the company. This helps them to become valuable assets to the organization as a whole and enhances productivity and success.

Another benefit those who go through the strategic planning training will find is that they gain a better understanding of how to work with others. This makes networking within the company more effective and there is more of a chance of people being open to learning from each other. Along with this, the ability to establish future professional relationships can be important as new departments are formed to further strengthen the business.

While going through this process, employers will also discover who has the ability and potential to become a successful supervisor. This can help those who might not otherwise begin to shine and find that they are rewarded for the areas that they excel in. This will mean a stronger staff and supervisory system that will be dedicated to taking your business to your next set of goals faster.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Meeting Facilitation For Positive End Results

A great deal of time is typically invested in meetings, but the sad truth is that much of that time is wasted when someone is not in charge of meeting facilitation. Meetings provide the opportunity to share ideas about project launches, suggest solutions, and then reach an agreement about how to proceed. A facilitation training course may be in order prior to embarking on this type of meeting.

In an effort to ensure a smooth transition between beginning and ending, meetings should be well organized and include meeting facilitation techniques. Otherwise it may end up wasting valuable human resources, and being unproductive overall.

Icebreakers are well worth the effort because they engage attendees by either helping them to learn about each other, or by providing a specific message. The atmosphere of meetings is improved through the effective use of icebreakers. An example of an icebreaker would begin with meeting facilitation personnel asking members to share information about themselves in the room.

There is a tendency in some leaders to ask a question and then move on before anyone has the chance to give an answer. By simply giving attendees seven seconds to comprehend the question and then respond, greater understanding is accomplished. Valuable insights are gathered when members are offered the opportunity to share their thoughts.

Guidelines should always be in place for meetings so that team members understand what is, and what acceptable behavior is not. This will help bring about an honored consensus and shifts the ownership of the project to the group. It should take little time to set up the rules at the initial meeting and less time to acknowledge them during follow up meetings.

Meeting facilitation provides the opportunity to delegate different team members with various roles in the group thus allowing them to see that the leader/facilitator is not the only source for ideas or solutions to problems. Valuable alternative solutions and viewpoints are brought out when leaders facilitate the in-gathering of ideas. Often times meetings end before a documented plan has been devised for the next action that must be taken for improvement. Team members must be held responsible for taking actions and being accountable for completing the project on time. Resources are squandered when meetings come to an end without a plan of action being in place.

Getting back to the basics of meeting facilitation has nothing to do with high intelligence. It is just common sense. Leaders have the ability to change the way groups look at expectations. Working cultures are changed by effective leadership tactics. When done correctly, this builds success.