After my last blog post on finding a trusted advisor, I ran across the blog I have linked below. This was posted from a company called, Ultimus, and discussed how sales representatives from software technology companies treat and should treat customers. The writer of the blog discussed how we need to communicate differently to our customers by not using the technology lingo that only the people in our office understand. I thought this was a good addition to my previous post and wanted to share it with you.
I recently read a press release from the IT research analyst company Gartner. They discussed a study of 1600 CIO’s who were asked about 2010 IT budgets, technology priorities and business priorities. While the response on budgets was flat at best, I thought their business priorities echoed what I have been seeing in the marketplace. The top three business priorities were as follows:
1. Business Process Improvement
2. Reducing Enterprise Costs
3. Increasing the use of Information and Analytics
This validates what my customers are telling me. Executives are tired of hearing their employees say “Well this is how we have always done it”. Today’s technology is too flexible, affordable, and easy to use. There is no reason why any company should not take a serious look at how technology can reduce manual processes and duplications of effort and increase employee productivity.
If you haven’t looked at technology because you don’t know where to start, I understand. There is a vast amount of technology products and vendors available to the marketplace. Each one spins their technology to be the best. While the last thing you want is to meet with salespeople every day who will bring in nice brochures of their products, you do want to find someone who understands the technology landscape. This person, which I call the “trusted advisor”, will discuss your problems and educate you on types of technology to solve them before they ever drill into a specific product.
Technology has become a driving force for competing and surviving in any industry. If you haven’t look how it can change your day-to-day business, its time that you do. So go find your trusted advisor to lead you down the greater productivity path. Happy hunting!
I have linked to the Gartner press release for anyone interested in reading it.
Gartner EXP Worldwide Survey of Nearly 1,600 CIOs Shows IT Budgets in 2010 to be at 2005 Levels
Photo from Minasodaboy on Flickr
It has been a busy few weeks for Sivad. We are in the middle of new customer implementations with a few more that need to be scheduled. It is a good sign to see companies who realize that even in a down economy spending money on new technology solutions is a good investment.
It’s no different for us at Sivad. We strive to keep our costs down and look to implement the right technology solutions to achieve our goals. One area that we have improved is the digital storage and access of documents. While this might be a basic function, we have found a unique way to access any document that will give us the needed knowledge to make fast, intelligent decisions.
While having archival of old documents is important, at Sivad our biggest concern is more our day-to-day business and market intelligence. We want to know what is going on with our market, our customers, our prospects, our competitors, and technology in general. In the past if we found an interesting article on the internet it would get printed out, stuck in a folder with good intentions of reading it, but in reality it was likely never to be seen again. That has all changed now. We took a product from one of our vendors, aXs Info, and used it in a way that best benefited us. Along with a scanning interface, we have the ability on the fly to print or drag documents directly into their system. This can be web pages or internet articles, emails, Microsoft Office documents, videos or just about any other document. There is a very easy indexing process and all the documents are run through a process that saves all the text in order to search on it later (I call this our internal Google search). This process of quickly saving documents is great, but best part is being able to find what we’re looking for, with a few keystrokes.
We don’t use their supplied searching interface, instead we use an option they offer called “the integrator”. This makes any application that we’re using, the searching interface. For example, I could be reading an email and see something that I need to react to, but before I do I want to know if I have any more information on the subject. To find out, I will highlight a word in the email and select a pre-determined “hotkey”. The aXs Info system will search all saved documents and any that matches that highlighted word will appear in a search results box. I select the document I am interested in seeing and it opens right there without leaving my email. I can perform this same search in web pages, in Word documents, accounting applications and just about any other application you can think of.
This has been a somewhat non-traditional way to use this application, but we have realized for our needs this way offers the most benefits. That’s a good point to keep in mind when using a new technology, it might be marketed for one use, but once it is understood it can be used for something else. I have seen many an executive who has the vision to reconfigure it, to ensure the most value for their company. I would encourage you to try to do the same with your present installed technology solutions.
One of the most common questions we get is, “So what exactly does Sivad do?” We will explain the services we offer and for those who’ve seen or used services similar to ours, they get it. For others though, it’s not so clear. It was on one of these occasions that I decided to explain it visually and the light bulb went on in the person asking. Since that time we always use what I call the “Sivad Business Solutions Framework” to describe what we do, and how it can make a company more productive and profitable. Recently I had someone film this visual model in a meeting so that it could be used to answer this question in the future. I’ve just added it to my latest blog post and we’ll soon be adding it to our website. I’d love it if you’d take a few minutes to watch it and let me know what you think.
I have a passion for people who stop at nothing to fulfill their dreams. In short I have a passion for entrepreneurs. Men and women that love what they are doing and when you talk to them you can’t help but get excited. Unfortunately, even with all that passion I still see businesses fail. The dreams of an entrepreneur cannot sustain a business alone. There needs to be efficient and effective processes in place to turn the dream into real business success.
I have been in the technology sector most of my working life and dealing with software solutions for most of this decade. What I have noticed is that with each passing year technology (software / hardware) becomes more powerful, encompasses more of our working life, and continues to be more affordable. What I have also noticed is that business owners continue to struggle at how best to use technology. My passion is to help business owners understand where the bottlenecks are that are choking their business and offer the right solutions to fix them.
As this blog continues, it will be dedicated to educating small business on technology that can make their business run more smoothly, and hopefully take a little stress out of their lives. When I find a useful article someone else wrote, I will link to it. When I add my own content I will try to put it into a case study/story format to offer real life circumstances of problems and how they were fixed. I hope you enjoy!
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