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Top 10 FREE Productivity Tools for IT Professionals

by SK Dutta 27. November 2009 23:06

Top 10 Productivity Tools Here is a list of my top 10 productivity tools that a small business can use. Although these tools are most suited for IT professionals, they are valuable resources for any small business. Although I use them in Windows environment, some of these works in other environments like Unix, Mac etc.

Given below are some of my thoughts on these tools. What is your most favorite tool?

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OfficeClip Release 8.2.1

by Admin 5. November 2009 14:11

  Many of you have requested enhancement via OfficeClip Forum . In this release we have implemented of most of them.

  • Dashboard Enhancements
  • FREE 2 licenses for existing users
  • Improvements in the Reporting Module
  • Earn by Referring OfficeClip
  • Implementation of Expense Synchronization

 More...

DCAA compliance requirements for Timesheet

by Admin 5. October 2009 13:10

All Employees (and consultants) of Government Contractors must comply with the DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) regulations and Federal Accounting Regulations (FAR). Failure to comply with such rules may result in penalties and lose government contracts.

DCAA requirements are about implementing procedures for timekeeping (and accounting) in the organization to ensure prevention of fraudulent billing to the government. Note that this means that the submitted timesheets become legal documents of the company.

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Web Timesheet can now track time for all applications

by Admin 21. September 2009 14:09

Many of you have requested a feature which would allow time spent on fixing issues, tasks or speaking with the contacts can be imported into OfficeClip Timesheet so that these time could be billed to the clients. Because OfficeClip customers have varying needs, this created some implementation challenges:

  1. What if the user does not use the OfficeClip Timesheet? In this case we are providing additional configurable reports.
  2. You want to export only some work items to the OfficeClip Timesheet. We have created a wizard interface that will allow users to pick and choose what is imported.
  3. Also, OfficeClip Timesheet should be flexible enough so that free form editing is available after the information in imported to the timesheet.

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OfficeClip Enhances the Group Calendar Application

by Admin 11. September 2009 14:09

OfficeClip Web Calendar offers various ways to create events to connect with your coworkers, customers and partners:

  1. You can create Group Events that is seen to everyone in your organization.
  2. Meetings can be created with your co-workers, customers and contacts. These are visible to the meeting facilitators, attendees and proxy.
  3. Personal events are private events that are visible only to the creator.
  4. Events can also be created from other applications, for example from the contact details screen of the Web Contact Manager, you can quickly create an appointment with the contact.

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Creating effective presentation using Camtasia

by Admin 5. August 2009 14:08

Some of you have asked how we have created our video presentation on Extranet. We use Camtasia 6 to create our videos. I will provide the steps here with a sample video. I will not go into detail in Camtasia operations as they can be found from the Techsmith website. Any comments on this blog or any ideas for improvement will be appreciated.

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Share your Intranet with Customers and Vendors

by Admin 29. July 2009 09:07

When working with different customers on projects and vendors on issues it is always useful to be able to keep the information together in your intranet. OfficeClip has released the new edition of its extranet software that allows users to work with their customers, vendors and service providers. Following are some of the highlights:

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LinkedIn for Your Small Business

by Admin 14. July 2009 10:07

This will be the first part in a series on how to use LinkedIn for your business. We have been using LinkedIn here at OfficeClip to build brand awareness and create an online presence, as well as establish each of us individually as experts in the areas we work (such as marketing, software, development, etc.). There are several ways in which businesses can achieve these (and I must stress that it takes time and effort) and I am going to talk about a few briefly here as an introduction. Follow-up articles will discuss some of these techniques in more detail.

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Tech Skills for the Next 5 Years

by Admin 6. July 2009 09:07

Global Knowledge gives 10 technology skills you should acquire over the next 5 years. Some of them may be long gone before that so I will discuss a few that are relevant and will more than likely remain so for awhile at least.

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SEO for Small Businesses

by Admin 26. June 2009 15:06

I watched a webinar from Hubspot today, presented by VP of Inbound Marketing Mark Volpe, that covered ways small businesses can can market and promote their business besides Google PPC Ads. The presentation covered things like blogging and publishing articles, videos and podcasts as well as Search Engine Optimization. Mark broke the process of optimization of the small business website into two main parts: On Page and Off Page SEO.

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Can Bing be the Next Great Thing?

by Admin 12. June 2009 13:06

I just wanted to write a little something about Microsoft's newest adventure. Also, we ourselves are considering advertising on Bing, so I though I'd share some of our research in case others are thinking of putting some ads there.

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Creating Relationships in OfficeClip Contact Manager

by Admin 3. June 2009 08:06

Relationships exist in various forms in the real world and any software, including OfficeClip Contact Manager, could not possibly think of and fulfill all the possible relationships while implementing the system. To fill this gap the Web Contact Manager provides the ability to create arbitary relationships between various entities in OfficeClip. For example:

  • For Real Estate transactions, a Broker can be a relationship between two Contacts
  • An Account can be a Partner of another Account

Relationships are shown as the "children" of the object (for example Contacts, Accounts etc.) to which it is attached. A relationship is always created between two objects and OfficeClip shows this relationship as a "child" of both these objects.

To create a new relationship, go to the object that you want to create the relationship with and click on the Relationship link (on the object detail screen). For other tips on using the OfficeClip software and the Contact Manager in your business, check out our forum.

Companies Turn to Web Software in Recession

by Admin 20. May 2009 15:05

As the recession continues on, many companies are looking for more beneficial ways to manage projects, employees and customers while saving some money at the same time. One way of doing this is through collaboration tools such as web based software. A new Forrester Research survery states that 70% of firms may adopt some form of collaboration tool in the next 12 months. Forrester analyst T.J Kiett says:

The tough economy is forcing companies to restrict travel while keeping distributed teams in touch. In addition, changes in the composition of the workforce mean enterprises must find ways to capture the knowledge of retiring Baby Boomers and provide Gen Yers with their favored tools to work efficiently.

Web management software, like OfficeClip, is a great solution to the current reductions in travel that businesses are doing, as it allows users to have access from anywhere and supports contractors and partners as well. Once businesses begin using collaborative web software, it will more than likely remain an integral part of their customer and employee management strategy even after the recession ends.

Online project management software such as timesheets, contact manager  and issue tracking can also be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis for hosted versions. According to Meridith Levinson of CIO.com, these tools will not require companies to make a large inital investment so the risk and the cost are less than if they were installing the web software on their own servers. Both types, hosted and installed, are still much more cost effective than traditional software, as they are online and collaborative, providing great flexibility and ease of use.

We all hope the recession ends soon, but there are ways to improve your business without spending a fortune and collaborative web software is one of those ways!

New Feature: Mileage calculation

by Admin 19. May 2009 09:05

We had many requests for this feature and so we have implemented the mileage calculation module within OfficeClip's Expense Report.

To use it the administrator must first set the mileage rate from the Expense Report > Profile screen and create a expense type called mileage.

Whenever a user fills up an expense report and selects the expense type mileage, the number of miles entered will automatically be multiplied by the mileage rate.

Mileage Calculation for Web Expense Report

Mileage Calculation for Web Expense Report

We are confident that this new feature will help OfficeClip users to better track the expenses for their projects. Inadvertent errors will be significantly reduced and the automatic calculation will save time from entering the mileage rates manually.

To see other new features and enhancements for OfficeClip 8.1.1, check out our blog article that describes them in detail!

Introducing the Newest Version of OfficeClip

by Admin 12. May 2009 16:05

OfficeClip 8.1.1 Release

We have been working hard to improve our software and we are excited to introduce some great new features with the release of OfficeClip 8.1.1!

OfficeClip Interface

In this release, OfficeClip has a completely new interface. The look and feel of the software has been changed to improve the user experience. The main toolbar has been shifted to the left side, from the top. All the colors and tones have been altered throughout the software to make it more appealing to the user. 

 

Contact Manager Home

New Interface for OfficeClip

 

Contact Roles for Opportunities

When you create Opportunities in the OfficeClip Contact Manager, you can now add multiple Contacts to each opportunity. Additionally, each Contact can be assigned a specific role, such as Manager, Contractor, Associate, etc. To enable this feature, go to Opportunity > Admin > Children.

Manage Campaigns More Effectively

You can now associate your campaigns with other objects. This will enable OfficeClip Campaign users to have documents,  notes etc. associated with each particular campaign. Using these objects with campaigns will allow you to be more organized.

Automatically Track Mileage Expenses

We have added a new feature to the Expense application that enables users to enter a mileage rate and have the expense amounts automatically calculated. The feature will save users the time of having to manually enter their mileage expenses and also eliminate inadvertant errors associated with entering it manually. Learn more about this feature.

What is coming?

We soon plan to add the following features:

  • Full fleged Project Management
  • More useful reports
  • Addition of Relationship Manager, Contract Manager and Products

OfficeClip Resources for Your Business

We are continuously building our online community where current and prospective customers can learn about our software and receive ideas for improving efficiency in their businesses. In addition to our fairly new Twitter account, we have created a forum where OfficeClip users can go for support, share tips and ask questions.

OfficeClip Forum 

OfficeClip Forum

Network with us online and be part of our conversation to help small businesses become more efficient!

How to allow users to access OfficeClip from home

by Admin 10. May 2009 18:05

Many OfficeClip administrators (who have installed version of OfficeClip) have asked us how they can allow people to access the software from home (or anywhere outside their office). This article will discuss various ways of doing this.

OfficeClip works with the Internet Information Server (IIS), so it is a matter of making the machine with the IIS available outside your organization.

If your organization has a VPN connection

If your company already has a vpn connection, then you can use it to access OfficeClip.

If you are using DSL/Cable Internet connection

  1. Make sure you have a firewall rule on the OfficeClip machine that states that TCP/IP Port 80 is accessible outside your organization.
  2. Log in to your Dsl/Cable router and go to the port forwarding option.
  3. Open port 80 (TCP/IP) and forward all traffic to the IP address of the OfficeClip Server.

If you do not have Static IP Address

Get a free dynamic dns service. There are many free provider out there. We have tested it with a service called no-ip.com. This service allows you to use a real name (instead of the dynamic ip address) to connect to the OfficeClip server from outside your organization.

Building an Online Community: Part 2

by Admin 7. May 2009 09:05
Our first post in this 2-part series talked about the use of forums in buidling an online community for your current and prospective customers. In this post, I will discuss how a blog, together with a forum, can be great resources for small businesses and serve your customers better.

 

Blogs can be used to build relationships with customers, as well as help you in product development by sharing new features and welcoming ideas and feedback from the readers. Blogging can also be used for viral marketing, as the posts can create a number of responses from other bloggers, bringing traffic to your blog and improving your SEO.

 

Blogs can help you improve your operations and this is where running a forum parallel to a blog can really benefit your customers. Blogs and forums can both give support to customers; blogs through the article format and forums more through a question and answer(s) format.

 

Although all the above are true benefits your company can experience from blogging, perhaps the biggest one is the ability to create brand awareness and set yourself apart from your competitors. At OfficeClip, we have chosen to use our blog to help other small businesses become more efficient. We do this by sharing tips on marketing and advertising techniques, technologies and strategies, and by explaining the benefits of our timesheet software, web contact manager and issue tracker.

 

Blogging is a way for us to share what we know and what we struggle with, so that we can help our current and prospective customers. Hopefully, they'll leave comments and suggestions for us too!

 

As far as platforms for blogs, we use www.wordpress.org and this is probably better for a business than www.wordpress.com because we have more control over things like widgets, adding features, changing the design, etc. to fit our specific needs. Also, we get to have our own domain name, which is very important for SEO.

 

Online communities connect us to our customers in ways that most could not have even imagined a few years ago. Building one by being transparent, honest and creative can help you establish your company on the web.

Building an Online Community: Part 1

by Admin 27. April 2009 10:04

This is the first part of a two-part series; we are now focusing on forums and the second will focus on how blogs can help small businesses to build an online community.

So far we have been serving our customers and prospects using direct email, phone and our product knowledge base. We have known for awhile that we wanted to implement a forum, where our OfficeClip customers could discuss their own findings with the software, such as easier ways to use web timesheet or web contact manager, how to set up issue tracker, etc. In effect, we want to create a community for our users so they have some place to go to find answers. This will make their satisfaction with our product even better and allow us to easily look to the conversations to see what we are doing well and where we need to improve. Additionally, prospective OfficeClip users can look to the forum to gather their preliminary information and talk with current users about their experience. This does put pressure on us though, because we want the word-of-mouth comments to be positive!

Our next step was to find a forum for us to implement. While researching for an online support forum, we found that there are many inexpensive and open source forum products out there. To my surprise the free and open source are almost as good as the paid ones.

We selected the YAF (Yet Another Forum) to implement our support forum. The advantage of being open source is that we could make some minor tweaks to the source code to make it work exactly like what we want.

When using open source, it is important to remember that developers of these open source programs need to be supported through donations (many of them have donation links on their website) or contributing to the open source product (if you are a developer and want to add more features to the product).

Please visit our OfficeClip Forum, let us know what you think and let us know if forums are working for your business. And if you like our community and want more discussions, follow us on Twitter, too!

Reminder: Humans visit your site

by Admin 23. April 2009 15:04

Yes, we all want to be #1 in Google for every single keyword. Well, that's unlikely to happen, but we can still try to do our best. According to Brafton, most of the time, this means through SEO content in which people will write keywords...and keywords...and yet more...you guessed it, keywords. But what are those keywords really saying to your human readers?

For example, we may have  web timesheet software used many times in our content, but we also have to explain what our timesheet software is and how it  can benefit the visitor's business. If the content is largely written to completely accommodate keywords, the descriptions of your products and why the visitor to your site needs or wants them will be lost.

So maybe you end up #1 in Google and everyone comes to your site...but if you fail to communicate what it is your selling, chances are you won't sell it. What's the point of being #1 in Google if it doesn't translate to sales?

Bottom line, you have to write your content for the robots and for humans. Don't forget the humans.

It Continues to Look Bleak for Newspapers

by Admin 16. April 2009 10:04

This post will be a follow up to my previous post, Would you Pay for Your Online News?, which examined what will happen to newspapers as advertisers leave in drives due to the recession and more people switch to reading online for free.

There was a very interesting post in the NYTimes about "hyperlocal" web sites and blogs that are bringing community news to the community as the major papers are cutting back on this news. These "hyperlocal" online sites are filled with links to news articles and posts from local bloggers, data feeds from city government, crime reports, restaurant openings and specials, locations for road construction and traffic, etc.

The biggest question is how these sites will make money and the answer appears to be advertising, although in a different form, and this is where the innovation of this idea could become a huge business. “When you slice further and further down, you get smaller and smaller audiences,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who has followed the hyperlocal market for a decade. “Advertisers want that kind of targeting, but they also want to reach more people, so there’s a paradox.” 

However, he means large advertisers. But what about small ones? Numerous small businesses have never put ads online before and their estimated worth by 2013, according to Peter Krasilovsky, is $32 billion. Let's have an example.

We at OfficeClip are a small company located in Atlanta (Norcross, specifically). At present, we advertise online but not too much locally besides listings. Now let's say there is some very local news on this "hyperlocal" website about the police department nearby or a local chain restaurant adopting a new software or technological device to make their business run better, etc. That would be a great place for us to put an ad for our web timesheet software or web contact manager software. We might not reach as many people as we do with Google, but it probably would not be as expensive either. Also, there is a dedication that small businesses have to other local small businesses. This would enable them to know about one another more easily.

In all, this is probably bad for the newspapers, since they did not come up with it, but these "hyperlocal" sites still get information from them so they need to get advertisers quick in case their main artery newspaper fails. I still think this is a great idea and could really benefit local companies willing to participate!

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