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How OfficeClip uses OfficeClip

by imran 10. June 2013 09:16

 

OfficeClip is one of the very few applications in the market that provides a one stop solution for customer and employee management. The OfficeClip team uses this software for prospect management, accounts management, timesheets, expenses, and issue tracking every day. This article shows how each component of OfficeClip is used by us in our everyday business.

 


Task Manager

When a new task is allocated to a member of our group the manager creates the task and then assigns it to multiple people who are supposed to work on it. The assignees get an email notifying him/her of the task. During the lifetime of the task the time spent is tracked within the task using the track time button. Later these times are imported into the OfficeClip timesheet application.

 




Contacts and Customers

In OfficeClip we store all of our prospect and customer information in our CRM. Using the contact manager's webform module we have created a form and connected it to our registration page. When someone fills inthis form on our website it creates a contact record in OfficeClip. We then track all of the events and tasks for the contact.



Campaigns and Drip Marketing

To send automated emails to our prospects at regular intervals. OfficeClip schedules a phone appointment, and then sends a few emails to the contact at varying frequencies. This is done automatically using the drip marketing module in OfficeClip.

 

 

For example: As soon as a prospect registers in OfficeClip we want to send an email to the prospect, thanking him/her for registering on our website. If the prospect does not reply within a week then we may want to send a reminder with additional information. After 30 days if the prospect has not sign up with OfficeClip we will send another reminder to the prospect to remind him/her again to consider using OfficeClip.

Invoices

The invoices application allows processing of all customer invoices, and this feature is integrated with the timesheet and expenses software. This allows ease of client billing. When the invoice is sent it provides an email link to the recipient that leads to a portal from where he/she can view the invoice, pay for the invoice, or dispute the invoice as desired. Within OfficeClip we generate an invoice whenever a customer pays for the hosting fee from our website.


Issue Tracker

Every organization needs to track issues for their employees, products, or customers at times. OfficeClip Issue tracker is a one stop solution that can cater to the needs of each of these entities while still keeping them separate.

Within OfficeClip all our bugs are tracked internally using our issue tracking system. To keep the internal and customer issues separate we have assigned separate binders for them. A binder is a combination of similar issues that can be searched, sorted, and filtered.

Issues are color coded to make sure that any open issues are not missed. We also use various filters to take a close look at the subset of issues,for example issues that are open and critical or those that have already been resolved.


Capturing customer issues using webforms

Customer issues are reported using web forms, and they are directly entered into the issue tracker. We have designated an email address so that whenever an issue is reported via a web form or email it shows up in the designated folder. This also sends a tracking ticket to the person who reported the issue so that the problem can be tracked during the life cycle of the issue.  

Creating a complete help desk

A help desk requires two way communication between customers and  an agent. The notes feature in OfficeClip allows two way communication. When the customer reports an issue; he/she is sent a tracking ticket link. Clicking on this links takes the customer to a personal portal from where the status of all the issues are shown. See How to create trouble ticketing system using OfficeClip

Timesheet, Time offs & Expenses


 The OfficeClip HRM module can track both project and employee time, expenses, and vacation time and other paid time off. 

Everyone who works in OfficeClip creates timesheets, which are sent to QuickBooks periodically using our QuickBooks interface after they have been approved. OfficeClip supports interfacing with QuickBooks, Peachtree, ADP, etc...


The OfficeClip Time Off application tracks vacations, PTO or Paid Time Off, and accruals. The time off status is automatically shown in the OfficeClip calendar, to make sure that all members of the team can see each person's vacation schedule..

Other Modules

There are other modules in OfficeClip that we use on regular basis as well. We use calendar to store meetings and events, and shared documents are stored in the document sharing module. We also use the announcements feature for team announcements.

 

 

Book Summary: Good Strategy Bad Strategy

by SK Dutta 28. March 2013 09:14

There are lots of business strategy books in the market. I recently read the book Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt and was impressed with the research and insight that went into this!

This book seems to be little different from other strategy books that I read and it is clearly action oriented!

I know it is sometimes boring to read reviews, so I created summary points into a few powerpoint type slides.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1E7-b4m2QTKstCYfX0RjU3vl-E1-WRWdOpjFQwd-zQpA/edit?usp=sharing

Let me know how you liked it!

 

 

 

SK Dutta

 

Last month $50 amazon certificate winners

by SK Dutta 16. July 2012 21:15

Last month (Jun 16, 2012 to Jul 15, 2012) we solicited feedback from you and you have given us some great feedbacks. The $50 amazon certificate winner are:

    Michael Monica from Greznet
    Melissa Bartels from Sailfish Boats
    Mike Morgan from ROS
    Noelani Berkholtz from BookIt.com

We would take this opportunity to thank everyone else who has given any feedback during this period.

Next month (between July 16 - Aug 15) will give out 4 amazon.com certificate for $50 for your feedback.

You can send feedback via Email or via LinkedIn Group

Thank you for your feedback. You make OfficeClip better!

 

Tips on keeping your data safe in the Cloud

by SK Dutta 4. April 2012 13:59

 

While reading a recent news article 1.5million account numbers hacked after Visa and Mastercard card data theft I started thinking about how much of my personal and business data is kept on somebody else's cloud. In todays networked environment you have your profile information on social networking sites, financial information with credit card companies and banks, and your business information on many cloud networks.

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Apple from Newton Pad to iPad

by SK Dutta 25. August 2011 08:01

 

Although this board is used for making our product announcements, I could not help reacting to the news.

Steve Jobs departure from Apple is a well anticipated event since his leave of absense back in 2004. Although I do not personally own any Apple devices (except the company owns a few for testing purposes) and not too many of my friends do (yes I am branded out of fashion and opted for open android), I still could not part with my, now unusable, Newton Pad. I had hoped that Apple would bring back Newton after Steve Jobs came back as CEO and felt sad when he killed it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_(platform)

It was revived many years later with iPad, which was a category creator, and I would say is "Newton done right". Then we saw the years of copycats (per Steve Jobs)! There were windows based tablets before iPad but nobody understood the opportunity of bringing it for masses for a resonable price before Apple (Microsoft failed a few times!). It was a combination of innovation, think different branding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Different), vision of Steve Jobs and well executed marketing machine.

Now looking at how investor confidence showed up in the market post Steve's departure, it seems that Apple is under pressure to continue to innovate for the next few years to shift the brand focus away from Steve Jobs as continuous innovator and CEO. We all expect from Apple to come up with innovative products every two years or so. If they stay with +1 improvements it will create opportunities for other competitors to come closer.

Maybe HP killed their tablet too soon!

 

 

 

Security of the Microsoft IIS 7.5 SMTP Server...

by SK Dutta 17. December 2010 15:11

This week our IIS SMTP (Internet Information Server, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server was compromised and spammers were able to get control of it and started sending spams from all over the world. When the server started running low we found that there are around 100,000 spam mails in the SMTP queue (and similar numbers in the Bad Mail folder). Some of our customers did not get some of their mail delivered. We have since corrected the problem. Some of our customers are using SMTP in IIS to send their emails via OfficeClip Installed Version. I will relate some precautions to be taken in such a situation.

  • Always enable the SMTP log in the IIS
  • Create an alarm if the SMTP log is becoming too big, too fast
  • Set the SMTP port to some higher port number instead of 25
  • Make sure that you put the correct IP addresses of the machines in the SMTP Relay settings
  • If the SMTP server gets compromised, check all the blacklists and work with your SMTP to get removed from the list.

DCAA compliance requirements for Timesheet

by vasantha 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/or lose government contracts.

DCAA requirements is about implementing procedures for time keeping (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 and need to be treated as such.

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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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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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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!

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!

Would You Pay for Your Online News?

by Admin 9. April 2009 08:04

Print newspapers are filing for bankruptcy daily. We all read the news online now, whether its from the New York Times, CNN, FoxNews, Politico, etc. There was a time, not too long ago, when the NYTimes and the Los Angeles Times were charging for certain content, called "Premium" articles and the rest was free. They abandoned this because they were losing advertising and that was where the money was at.

Advertising was how newspapers could provide their content for free online. Now, however, with the recession in full swing, advertisers are pulling their ads or downgrading, causing major losses for the papers. The debate about whether people will pay for the online paper is raging once again.

The New York Times comments in the situation: "Before the recession, media executives saw their future in online advertising, which was growing 25 to 35 percent annually. But last year, overall Internet ad spending rose 10.6 percent, and only 3.5 percent for television networks, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Newspaper Association of America says that for its industry, online ad revenue dropped 1.8 percent last year. "

Priya Raghubir, professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business says that newspapers and magazines will have to provide unique content that can't be found elsewhere if they are going to be successful in charging customers. Indeed, this will be a major factor and something very challenging for media companies as the Internet is changing all the time. People want access to the most recent trends, whether it is streaming videos, free music, live forums, etc.

Can newspapers survive without strong advertising? The answer so far appears to be "no." And many companies, especially those only based online, will struggle as advertisers pay for less during the recession. Small businesses, like OfficeClip, may re-evaluate the necessity of all their keywords or the price of the keywords they choose and this kind of decrease can have a large ripple effect.

So, at the end of the day, if the advertisers leave the newspapers, will we be willing to pick up the tab for our daily dose of news?

View my follow-up post on a different kind of news and a different kind of advertiser.

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!

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