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How to do effective Micro Outsourcing

by vasantha 1. February 2010 19:20

Outsourcing Globally

Being a small business and getting help for website creation , software development, graphics design,    or copywriting from experienced professionals is sometimes a challenge. Most small- business owners do not have the  time and energy to go through the often long process of interviewing professionals to find the "right fit" for temporary contract work. A  customer of ours called me the other day and asked if we knew anyone who could integrate his website with a Dotnet Nuke portal . I convinced him to look online for qualified professionals to do this work. 
 
The market for qualified online professionals is crowded, but it is easy to find someone . Most of the time, third-world professionals are as qualified as any professional you can hire locally, but you can often use many online services to find a local person if you prefer. We in OfficeClip use online professional help from time to time to complete customized work our clients require. Here are some tips that small-business owners can follow to use the online professional market efficiently.

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Small Business Tips

Strategies for Managing Remote Offices Efficiently

by SK Dutta 25. January 2010 14:58

Managing data in a remote office is often complex and challenging. Some tasks can be completed independently, but others require consolidation. Potential issues include the following:

  • How are your employees billing their time?
  • How are projects being implemented?
  • Are problems communicated effectively between branch offices?
  • Are internal issues and customer issues tracked efficiently?
  • Are resources having special knowledge being used effectively by various organizations?
  • Are these organizations securing all data?
  • Are processes that can be tracked centrally (e.g., contacting leads via phone) be done more efficiently?

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OfficeClip Tips | Small Business Tips

Additional layer of security for web-based applications in OfficeClip

by vasantha 14. December 2009 12:20

Security of Web Application

We get a lot of questions about security for many of our applications. This blog attempts to organize all the security features in one place and explains various levels of security.

  • Security between Organizations
  • Privileges using Roles
  • Access Control at various levels

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OfficeClip Products

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!

SEM is still bigger than Social Networking

by Admin 2. April 2009 12:04

...But for how long?

CRM Magazine concedes that social networking is becoming bigger and bigger by the day but holds firm to the idea that SEO and SEM are still holding their ground. Social networks, according the article, have yet to lead to a true revolution but consumers are changing how they are searching, so marketers need to be involved and ready to adapt quickly.

5 Strategies

The article then goes on to give 5 strategies to improve your SEO and SEM by including, not excluding or ignoring, your social networking efforts.

The first one is to start preparing for mobile search. Jon Diorio of Google Adwords pointed out that people have a different mindset when they are using their mobile device for search than when they are sitting at a computer and searching. Bottom line: get ahead of the game and start devoting some of your marketing budget to this because by 2009, almost 90% of mobile internet users will be searching, compared to 13% in 2007.

The second point mentioned was to make sure that your social content is searchable. Optimize it because if you don't, there could be unintended consequences, such as searchers being attracted to your competitors whose social content is optimized.

Strategy #3 advises marketers to use brand awareness as a selling point and only 25% of marketers currently track brand awareness. 98% of ads aren't clicked, so their only real purpose then is is to create and extend brand awareness. People can be encourged to perform searches after viewing some kind of online or offline marketing. Your paid ad may not get the click, but that person may search for you later, which is even better since you won't have to pay for the click! Online and Offline campaigns can be used in combination.

This 4th strategy suggests that a TV, newspaper or radio ad could be used to drive traffic to your website by getting people to search for you.

The final idea was for companies who have ideas and budgets, but not enough personnel to manage the intiatives, to use technology.

Things like CRM software, which OfficeClip offers, can help you do this by managing campaigns and contacts. Other marketing technologies are constantly evolving and can really help you manage your programs.

So are you implementing any of these strategies? How are they working for you? What would you add to this list? Please leave comments for us!

A Discussion on Geo-Targeting

by Admin 26. March 2009 10:03

Some conversations have come up here at OfficeClip regarding reaching local businesses. Since we are located in Atlanta, GA, we are keenly aware of how many great opportunities there could be to reach out to other companies to offer our product or simply share ideas.The web is massive and sometimes  leads and sales can come from companies that want to or are willing to support other small businesses in their community.

Geo-targeting is what it's called when you do this with ad campaigns. I am not sure what it's called when it's a focus for social networking, like Twitter and Facebook...but I will lump it together for now.

My last post kind of hinted that Google has its faults (gasp!) and in this post, I am planning to return to that idea with this article, by Brian Carter of Fuel Interactive-a marketing agency in Myrtle Beach, SC and also offer some of my own thoughts on geo-targeting.

Mr. Carter's article focuses on experiences he has had with Google Adwords and his geo-targeted campaigns. He gives the following example:

"Say I want to serve ads about Myrtle Beach Hotels only to people in North Carolina – I’m creating a campaign specifically for North Carolinians with ads about a gas credit to save money on the drive down to Myrtle Beach. With AdWords’ current set-up and the query parsing exception, if someone in California searches for one of my keywords, like “myrtle beach hotels”, AdWords may still show them that ad. This happens despite the fact that the ad is for a gas credit that no one in California would ever use. Ridiculous. "

And I will have to agree with him here. Ridiculous. He goes on to further express some things I occasionally think when using Google:

"If I’m smart enough (or have good data from my analytics) to geotarget more specifically for better results or for specific campaign goals, I should be able to do so. Google either thinks their algorithm is smarter – and clearly it’s not - or they care more about making money than about helping me reach my advertising goals, or this is an antiquated approach they need to update. "

Things are tough out there right now and from what I've been hearing on Twitter and in some LinkedIn groups, people seem very committed to helping out their local businesses. Geo-targeting lets us try to get in touch with one another. If I want everyone to see my ads, I will create a campaign for the whole USA. But if I also want to target the Atlanta metro area, to see if any businesses here need web timesheet software or a web contact manager, I will want to create a campaign to geo-target this area for OfficeClip. Why does Google Adwords get to decide differently? Isn't it our money and our data? This is, for me, certainly an example that Google is too big and has too much control.

On another note, we have not implemented geo-targeting here at OfficeClip as of yet, but we are interested and engaged in our research. Any advice or comments...please post 'em as we would love to read 'em!

Web-based Software - To Buy, Build or Rent?

by Admin 11. February 2009 18:02

In recent years there has been a clear trend of businesses opting for Pay-Per-Use compared to licensing or building their own software. At OfficeClip we started with providing both the options (buy or pay-per-use), and we have noticed that a certain category of businesses opt for buy and others go for pay-per-use. Based on our experience, I would like to share some patterns here.

Buy Software (or install locally)

We have seen that companies that are in the upper scale of small business (for example have 50+ employees), who have some IT staff weigh on buying a web-based software in house and install on their server.

  • ROI - Total cost of ownership can vary depending on how much time you want to keep the software. Sometimes the software may not need many upgrades so once purchased they can be used for a long time.
  • Limitations - Installable software sometimes does not have limits on the entities that can be created (for example, no limits on number of contacts that can be created in an installed contact manager) or the number of users that can use it.
  • Customizability - Installable software is more flexible to integrate with other systems in the organization. This is because the company has the program installed on their machine and does not have to go through the security introduced by the hosting company.
  • Backup and Maintenance - Many companies have their own full backup and incremental backup scripts. This allows them to treat all their products in a similar fashion thereby reducing administrative hassles.
  • Security - Even though browsers have SSL and hosting providers claim that they have many levels of security, etc., many companies do not feel too comfortable keeping their (or their customer's) information in places where they do not have full control. Remember a few months back Barack Obama's passport information was accessed by some employees of the government. We regularly hear about stolen SS# or credit card numbers from the secured enterprises.

Rent Option (use Hosted Version or SaaS)

Mostly opted by smaller businesses or business that are geographically dispersed or do not have a full IT department.

  • No Hassle Setup - Hosted software has gained momentum because it does not need setup and general maintenance. With the use of high speed networks, development of browser technology (like AJAX etc.), browser based software is getting closer in quality and performance to software installed on a user's computer.
  • No Initial Investments - Hosted software is generally sold on a per user, per month basis, so the initial investment is low. Also, many hosting providers do not require any contracts so small companies feel more secure.
  • Standardized Security - Web applications today offer security features like SSL, password protection, role based access etc. and it is getting better with time.
  • Enough Customization - Although the customization features of the hosted software are somewhat less, small businesses most of the time do not need such customization.

Build Option

This is the final option that many SMEs do not opt for unless they have very specific requirements. Even then there are many factors that lead small business to go this way:

  • Cost of Build: Today the cost of building software is much less compared to what it was even a few years ago. This is because many companies provide ready-made business components that can be easily integrated to make a complete solution. Also, many outsourcing outlets like elance, rentacoder etc. provide a marketplace where competent offshore developers are available at a fraction of price compared to the in-house developers or even compared to buying a ready-made solution.
  • Control on the feature set - In the build option there are no restrictions on what can be done. In other words it is like a meal prepared with your recipe just for you.

OfficeClip provides a balance between these choices by offering both Buy and Pay-Per-Use Option. It also provides source code so that companies can extend the software themselves.

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Small Business Tips

Tech-Users Go Low-Cost

by Admin 30. January 2009 09:01

With everyone pinching pennies these days, it's no real surprise that people are opting for cheaper versions of, well, just about everything. The technology industry has shown it's not immune, either. With so many low cost or free alternatives to expensive gadgets and softwares, it comes as no surprise that these alternatives are being snapped up in the current slow economy.

According to the New York Times, there are some bright(er) spots if you are in the business of low cost technology, such as the $200 Netbooks or inexpensive software that users still need.  Recessions “can cause people to think more about the effective use of their assets,” said Craig R. Barrett, the retiring chairman of Intel. “In the good times, you can get...not focused as much on efficiency. In bad times, you’re forced to see if there is a technology” that will help.

This seems especially true for companies that want to be more productive during the recession and save as much money as possible. Affordable management software, like OfficeClip, can be great value for money. Web Contact Manager, Web Timesheet and Web Issue Tracking can all help businesses to reduce waste, improve accountability and become more organized.

What are some ways you are saving money in the technology industry? Leave us a comment and share your ideas.

Go Green: Manage your business with the Web!

by Admin 9. September 2008 17:09

There's a lot of discussion about going green, but many articles I've come across advising small businesses on how to go green have focused on actual products they can buy to use in their offices. These include light bulbs, recycled paper, electronic equipment, cleaning supplies, etc., which are very good ideas and most certainly helpful to the environment. But what about actually helping your business run better and being green at the same time?! This is where web based business management software comes in.

Perhaps one of the biggest "green" benefits of web based business software comes from the almost complete lack of paper needed for things like old timesheets. Employees and contractors alike can enter their hours for projects from any web browser on any computer, cell phone, laptop, etc.  Stacks of paper with everyone's hours are no longer needed-so the paper is being saved, along with money, AND time is managed effectively and tracked in real-time.

According to Business Wire, there are many Fortune 1000 clients that have implemented online timesheets and contact manager software to reduce paper, increase organization and improve customer relations. Web software is affordable for SMEs as well...OfficeClip's Premium Suite can be downloaded for $80 per user or hosted online for $10 a month.

And the ways to go green with web management software don't stop there...another HUGE benefit is the ability of employees to access their data from anywherePatricia Faulhabber mentions telecommuting as a great way for small businesses to easily compete with the larger companies that are going green. Enabling employees to telecompute from their homes once or twice a month or even once a week will save them money in gas, wear and tear on their vehicles and give them greater flexibility in their schedules, which can lead to improved productivity.  

Web software provides all the means to make this happen and so, while making your company more productive, organized and efficient, and your employees happier, you can also boast being green.

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