July 1, 2021

The Covid-19 crisis has led to experimentations with “emergency remote learning” in the education sector. According to reports more than 1.6 billion students have been impacted since the educational institutions have to discontinue their on-campus learning programs. In adjusting to the new normal, institutions need to be proactive in developing an effective long-term virtual learning environment for the students.

As an education leader, you must redesign your courses around digital learning platforms. You need to make it more interesting and interactive for students rather than just giving two hours of monotonous lectures on videos.

Let’s explore what makes a digitally advanced institution different from a digital newbie and how as an educational leader you can identify your virtual capabilities to fit in the new learning ecosystem today.

1. Digital Newbies

Educational institutions that have insufficient essentials for online education and remote teaching are facing a huge challenge to smoothly run their learning programs. These institutions are the “digital newbies” who never thought of designing any learning program around digital platforms previously and stuck to the traditional on-campus learning. They have less than three percent of learning material online. They have never trained their teachers to conduct lectures online. These institutions lack sophisticated IT infrastructure to support their online learning programs during this crisis. The administration, faculty, and even students of these institutions lack access to software like collaborating tools, video conferencing platforms, and even fast internet access.

Today, advanced technology tools provide institutions a great opportunity to redesign their learning programs around digital platforms. It offers extensive internet connectivity, smart remote tools for communication, and user-friendly video calling apps for students and teachers to cost-effectively engage online. As an educational leader of digital newbie institutions, you must come up with a plan for remote teaching training for teachers to train them for effective teaching on digital platforms.

2. Emerging Adopters

The emerging adopters are those institutions who embraced the technology in their operations and learning programs long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Yet, they are still in a nascent phase to deal with the challenges at hand since they have just experimented in small groups. These institutions have successfully re-planned their learning programs around digital platforms and have access to basic collaborating and communicating tools. At this point, these institutions have to uplift digital transformation by taking assistance from their departments who are successfully running remote teaching programs and implement it throughout the institute.

As an educational leader of emerging adapters, you need to provide authority, resources, and decision-making responsibilities to the early adopters of your institution and empower them to speed up the production of online learning material. Machine learning platforms like CourseMatch can help you align the relevant courses to the individual department’s curricula. Finally, you need to constantly upgrade your software’s, on-campus and off-campus IT infrastructure to support virtual learning programs for students and come up with a different strategy for students who lack reliable internet connections.

3. Technology-driven Institutions

Technology-driven institutions are the ones that have an extensive IT infrastructure that can support e-learning programs for students. These institutions have well-trained faculty who are actively designing and running online courses for students. The digitally advanced institutions are characterized by having dedicated academic innovation departments responsible for planning and accelerating their digital learning strategies. The Covid-19 crisis has allowed these institutions to scale their IT infrastructure across every program using virtual learning tools to effectively coordinate with instructors and students.

As an educational leader for technology-driven institutes, it’s important for you to actively seek ways in innovating academic strategies to serve diverse virtual learning classrooms in the long run. The digitally advanced platforms help you create an opportunity for students to engage outside the virtual classrooms and improve their community engagements. For this, you can design and run study groups, virtual meetups, or happy hours where students can share lecture notes and discuss their learnings outside the virtual classroom. AR/VR technologies along with the content expertise of leading technology institutions can be used to enhance the virtual learning experience for both students and teachers both.

Key Takeaways

Considering the current situation, there are chances that students might not be able to attend regular on-campus educational programs for quite some extensive time. This is the right opportunity for higher education institutions to proactively nurture their e-learning ecosystem and improve their digital capabilities to smoothly run educational operations. The institutions need to realize that digital transformation is a risk mitigation plan for them. Hence, it will help them to continue enrolling, teaching, and serving students during these challenging times.

How can Bluehorn help?

Don’t you want to revolutionize education through modern technologies and build a robust and secure E-learning platform? With over a decade of experience, Bluehorn delivers impactful eLearning solutions. Let’s Talk!

July 1, 2021

Most modern organizations still lack a complete understanding of what an IT asset is and how it can be managed strategically to improve the performance and productivity of the business. Your IT assets include every kind and size of network and connectivity equipment. They can be either very obvious tangible network devices like your computer systems, routers, and other physical connectivity gadgets or they could be intangible networking platforms like software. So a complete blend of your hardware and software together makes up your IT asset.

If you lack a comprehensive mix of IT assets, your business cannot operate. Therefore, without having in-depth know-how of your IT asset network–tangible or intangible you cannot really manage it for optimal business performance.

Different businesses have a different take on “asset management” based on their understanding of this concept. Some organizations, typically less IT sophisticated, think asset management is making a consistent value chain from business’ assets present on your network. While this is not totally wrong, there is more to asset management than this.

What is IT Asset Management then?

A more holistic view of IT asset management includes encompassing and tracing all the devices, programs, and software that are present on your network. This lets you ensure the verification of each program with updated security and protection protocols.

You may consider IT asset management a continuous process. It requires your IT team or outsourced technical partners to be vigilant about any old hardware that needs to be replaced or any new program that needs to be integrated with your network. In short, managing your IT lifecycle for an efficient and secured workflow is what we call IT asset management.

Let’s first discover what constitutes your IT asset and how to manage the IT lifecycle:

IT Asset Types

In the past companies used to have a single data center at which their technology stacks were configured which hosted in-house servers. This made it a little easier to identify IT components. Today, the network complexity of enterprises has made it difficult to identify the same IT components. With the inception of cloud platforms, it’s difficult for you to identify your actual IT asset since every aspect of your business network falls under the IT asset term.

  • Infrastructure Hardware

The IT infrastructure hardware typically includes all the hardware components and company-owned devices confined to your network. The hardware systems are managed by your in-house IT team, managing all the physical devices, systems, data center, and network inspection infrastructure.

  • In-house Applications

When your in-house developer team designs your own software and writes programs for your company’s specific needs which are directly controlled by you, it constitutes your in-house applications that are different from all the cloud-based applications and services.

  • Cloud-based Applications

When you outsource cloud-based services and applications for integrating with your network, the licensing of these cloud services and software makes them an IT asset for your network. The software or app itself does not become a part of your IT asset rather in this case the license becomes your asset.

  • Digital Data

With the increase of digitization, you are exposed to digital data sites more than ever before. By constantly consuming the digital data from various sources it becomes a permanent part of your IT asset. This digital asset needs to be organized and managed just as any company-owned hardware.

Since you have now developed an understanding of what IT asset management is and what constitutes it. Here are the top 5 reasons why your business should focus on it.

1. Improves Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Apparent weak points in your network system can be spotted and managed easily. However, the loopholes in your enterprise network that you do not know of can be a reason for a data breach. Hence, you can not track the devices/hardware and programs and update security configurations for them. Forgetting to resolve these weak points in your system opens doors for hackers.

Thus, you may end up losing crucial consumer insights and the company’s valuable data. Here, IT asset management software plays an important role in keeping a track of all the apparent as well as hidden weak areas of your IT network. It helps you identify every minor or major cybersecurity threat that needs your attention. Therefore protecting you from any malicious cyber-attacks and data breaches.

2. Improves Productivity

Not being aware of what devices or software are available on your network for your team to work on can adversely affect their performance. If you do not run regular IT asset audits, you can end up with a pool of outdated hardware and software that can have a significant negative impact on your workflow. It can cause a slump in your business operations and may slow down your critical business applications. Consequently affecting your overall productivity and customer experience. Whereas, running regular IT asset audits helps you trace the lifecycle of every app, software, and hardware and helps spot the issues that need to be fixed for improved operational outcomes.

3. Compliance Regulations

Without a proper IT infrastructure management process, your company may find it difficult to follow various industry best practices of compliance regulations. It lets you store relevant consumer information on your workstation and remove any irrelevant consumer data that should not be present on your devices. So, that the legal authorities can not fine you for violating any compliance regulations.

4. New IT Asset Tracking

The rapid progress in technology calls for the adoption of new IT assets in your network. As businesses continue to grow with the technology, outdated IT equipment and software also need to be tracked. IT asset management tool helps you to roll out new IT assets in your enterprise network and build accurate network architecture for your company. It, therefore, helps you maintain cybersecurity protocols and efficient operations.

5. Old IT Asset Disposal

Your old hardware and devices need proper disposal as it concerns major data security standards. IT asset management software helps you dispose of your outdated IT assets that ever held any critical data. It makes sure that your critical information is properly cleansed from that device/hardware and cannot be recovered.

Wrapping up:

To gain maximum value out of your IT asset management system, you need to make sure that your enterprise executes extensive IT audits regularly. This way, you can always be aware of any loopholes in your network, identify outdated hardware, and roll out new IT equipment for an efficient workflow. It can also help build a complete network architecture roadmap that can guide you throughout your operations and ensure business continuity.

July 1, 2021

Before the year 2020, the work-from-home model for businesses had never fully been explored by the management – revealing its pros and cons. Before employees were able to have a work-life balance and had dedicated time for work and personal life. However, during the pandemic when the world has to make a sudden shift to home offices. Working hours have increased drastically. The line between work and family time has blurred as you have to be on your toes to attend back-to-back Zoom meetings and reply to a chain of never-ending emails.

And so adapting to the new-normal working environment has significantly affected the operational productivity and employee well-being positively and negatively as well. Based on a survey 63% of people felt that they have been more productive while working in the confines of their home office. While many believe that adjusting to remote work has cost them team collaboration and workflow efficiency due to multiple household distractions. As the world navigates the crisis, the “home office” reality is becoming a routine and businesses have no choice but to embrace it.

So here are a few ways how CIOs and CTOs can protect their team from chronic home-office stress:

1. Build a flexible working schedule

Companies shifting to a full work from home model is a dramatic transformation. However, digital technologies and video conferencing trends have been facilitating the move to a digital workplace. But as a leader, you need to make sure that your team is not stressed out by the number of meetings they have to attend on Zoom or similar communication platforms. Hence, making it difficult to deal with ‘Zoom Fatigue’ Moreover, a normal corporate structure is not built for efficiency and your team has to keep up with a lot of email overload.

To weather unforeseen events like these, you need to build a flexible schedule for your team. For this, you can create a prioritized daily task list which is especially important for managing remote teams. This will help your team to keep things sorted according to their availability. So that they can find the right time when they are most productive rather than just matching business hours while putting productivity at stake. Also, you can make the onboarding new employees process a little easier by adopting emerging technologies in your workflow. Rolling out chatbots can help you in the remote onboarding process. Therefore, bots effectively deal with the corporate benefits and training queries of new hires individually.

2. Develop a structured communication flow

During such times of uncertainty, businesses around the world are striving to make sense of remote work. As a leader, you need to ensure that there is a systematic communication channel between your team. For a successful transition to the new normal, your IT team must make a strategy to provide every employee with reliable connectivity devices that can support their corporate system in their homes to avoid any hurdles in the communication. As a team leader, you have to be regular in conducting weekly meetings where your team shares progress reports. This helps you keep everyone in the loop so that any miscommunication can be avoided.

Also, there is a need to realize that you have to keep your team motivated and productive during these desperate times. For this, you can set up virtual coffee meet-ups where your team can share tips on staying positive and motivated in these challenging times and stay connected. This ensures your team does not burn out during hectic working days.

3. Make meetings more meaningful

Earlier, the conference room meetings in the office set up didn’t allow everyone to take part and put their perspective on the table due to some dominant voices always taking over. As a leader, you need to be proactively dealing with such challenges in virtual meeting setups. To keep everyone engaged you have to do a little extra effort of preparing pre-meeting material. The pre-meeting notes can be shared across your communication channel.

Moreover, sometimes people may not be able to join the meeting at the scheduled time so you need to make sure to record your meetings. This will help them cope with the other team members and share their ideas later. Therefore, it is essential to keep everyone engaged in the meeting, and making preliminary notes for important meetings can make it meaningful for your team.

4. Measure your team’s productivity

When you see your high-performing team members stuck at some point in work, it can be a warning sign for you to take notice. Moreover, measuring your team’s performance and workflow productivity is vital which can be ensured by rolling out productivity tracking tools like Hubstaff or Microsoft Workplace Analytics.

By implementing these tools your team can keep a track of how productive they were during working hours. It helps your team choose a specific time for themselves to work when they feel the most productive. This, therefore, ensures a proper work-life balance.

5. Informalize internal meetings

It’s not even a question of being an introvert or an extrovert, long back-to-back virtual meetings can drain you regardless. Virtual meetings with clients or vendors can be a taxing experience since you have to be formal and attentive for hours. The least you can do is make internal team meetings a little informal and casual for the team.

By encouraging your team to turn off cameras if they want to, you can encourage your team to casually meet over a short video meeting to discuss any challenges they are having regarding work.

The Takeaway

  • To sum it up, you can take a few steps to combat employee burnout during this crisis
  • Build a flexible working schedule for your employees
  • Develop a systematic communication channel
  • Make meetings more meaningful
  • Monitor your team’s productivity and performance
  • Make internal meetings informal and casual
July 1, 2021
July 1, 2021

The era of fifth-generation wireless connectivity (5G) is all set to revolutionize the Internet of Things (IoT). Expected to surpass 3 billion devices, there’s a growing need for enterprises to gather, managing, and analyzing data using IoT. The 5G network can help organizations deal with the high-speed connectivity requirements for the data-intensive IoT machines and cloud platforms efficiently than current 4G and LTE services.

It is not that the 4G network and LTE services are not able to achieve connectivity requirements for IoT devices at all. But with the help of 5G connectivity, you can achieve a high level of performance by IoT running your operations.

Here are the advantages of how 5G improves connectivity for the Internet of Things devices.

1. Speeds up data transmission

You can consider IoT devices as an industrial hit since these devices are instantly connected with each other. This includes all the modern software, hardware, web or mobile applications, and even smartphones and smart devices. The connection success depends on how fast these devices share and exchange data with one another. Here, the 5G network plays a significant role in speeding up the data transition rate from one device to another or all devices connected.

Hence, 5G efficiently links data-intensive Internet of Things devices than do LTE or 4G. If you talk about smart home and industrial applications and devices, 5G network allows devices to minimize lag time and fast-track the network performance that helps devices to send or receive information. Therefore, ensuring 10 times faster data sharing speed for all home and industrial IoT devices.

2. Reduces latency rate

Latency rate should matter you to when your IoT devices perform business-critical activities that must go on continuously. With 4G connectivity, the latency rate capacity for your devices is almost around milli-seconds in one digit. However, 5G networks help you lower latency up to micro milli-seconds. It helps increase the responsiveness and reliability of IoT devices in exchanging information with one and another.

3. Provides faster and wider coverage

As technology advances, the internet of things world is growing rapidly with a huge number of devices and applications being connected to the internet. The 4G network at this point may underperform in connecting and integrating these devices loaded with data. Consequently, affecting the actual capacity and capabilities of the Internet of Things. But when you connect 5G with IoT, the strength of both helps accelerate the devices connected online.

One of the promising benefits of a 5G connection is that it provides you with a multi-band spectrum option. The multi-band spectrum feature helps in enhancing the coverage rate. Hence, wider coverage is provided regardless of the areas (urban or rural). Your IoT devices can reduce the time required for transferring data to other IoT devices with much greater coverage provided by 5G. This will help you save time and invest that time in an efficient critical decision-making process.

4. Provides greater capacity

Even though IoT devices do not require a lot of bandwidth individually but together they can use a large scale of capacity when transferring data. Today, the ever-growing digitization and automation of processes require every machine to uplift productivity. For example, as a fleet manager, you would want to enhance your productivity by automating heavy off-road machines and reduce the overall cost of the operation. To bring this idea to life you would require a greater capacity network that will connect with a number of IoT machines and applications at a time to a reliable connection. The deployment of a 5G connection allows you to connect the equipment online with a greater wireless capacity and operate the activity remotely.

5. Provides network reliability

IoT machines require a reliable and stable connection for speedy transmission of data among each other. But devices like security locks and cameras or any monitoring tool which is receiving real-time updates require a comprehensive reliable system. These critical IoT applications demand a responsive and uninterrupted network. Therefore, 5G connectivity significantly fulfills the network requirements of the IoT world. But before embracing 5G technology, enterprises must prepare themselves with IoT machines and applications that are compatible with this next-generation network.

Potential for 5G-IoT network

The 5G-IoT combo is becoming the talk of the town and will only continue to gain traction in the coming years. A lot of industries hold great potential for 5G IoT implementation in their operations. Industries that are ready to embrace 5G connectivity for their IoT applications include agriculture, autonomous transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and mining.

Let’s explore how 5G implementation is enhancing the data transmission capacity of IoT machines and devices in the healthcare, production/manufacturing, and automotive industries.

  • Healthcare Industry

The Healthcare industry holds the most potential for 5G connectivity enhancing IoT healthcare devices. The patient’s applications can be used remotely, outside the hospital or clinic environment with 5G network. For example precision medicine, telemedicine, virtual consultation to the patients. Surgeons can efficiently perform remote surgeries with reliable and fast 5G IoT devices, something that 4G networks do not guarantee.

  • Auto Industry

The introduction of smart vehicles and connected cars has revolutionized the automobile industry. These smart-sensor vehicles have made the internet of things circle wider with their inception. The connected automobiles function efficiently with reliable, stable, and fast 5G networks. According to the research by Gartner, the auto industry will be the fastest-growing market by 2023 for IoT solutions based on 5G connectivity.

As mentioned before, off-road heavy fleet machines and vehicles are moving towards digitization. 5G connectivity supports it by providing efficient IoT solutions to these smart vehicles in conducting remote operations. Therefore, as a fleet manager, you would want to enhance your productivity by automating heavy off-road machines and reduce the overall cost of the operation.

  • Manufacturing Industry

Like all the production and manufacturing industry is also experiencing the era of digital transformation. The emerging technology trends are being adopted by different industries for improving operational efficiency and overall business model. The 5G networks help you integrate multiple manufacturing machines with another to speed the data transmission rate. This new connectivity makes sure that IoT devices are able to collect data with a secure and reliable network with a lower latency rate for efficient workflow.

It can help you in advance predictive maintenance of your machines, maximize productivity by precision monitoring and control. Lastly, provides HD video sharing services without latency for operational training of workers in maintenance activities using augmented reality (AR) gadgets.

Wrap Up

In the coming years, there will be huge pressure on the IoT system since the internet of things environment will become populated. The 5G connectivity will be the only solution for IoT devices to confront the reliability, speed, and network stability or latency challenges for improving operational efficiency and performance.

At Bluehorn

Find the right IoT partner from idea to the solution with Bluehorn. We aim to provide you a comprehensive internet of things services to achieve custom IoT implementation for your projects. Let’s connect today!

July 1, 2021
July 1, 2021

2020 has been a game-changer for the commerce industry. Conventional retail sales have slumped this year owing to the global pandemic. However, e-commerce has been at the forefront in terms of growth and revenue generation. Recent research tells that e-commerce has seen a 129% year-to-year growth rate across the United States and in Canada. While the eCommerce industry is evolving at a rapid pace with the technology revolution, consumer behavior and purchase patterns have also evolved over the past years.

The consumers’ switch to e-commerce and online purchase has made brick-and-mortar companies adopt an e-commerce business model to stay competitive in these challenging times. The trend in consumer purchase behavior shows a positive future for the eCommerce market considering the progression in mobile device usage for shopping online. Companies are actively seeking ways to adapt to this shift by investing in eCommerce web and mobile app development more than ever before.

But creating your online presence and building an e-commerce platform for your business is not a piece of cake. To stay ahead of the curve and get noticed by customers online you need to adapt to the emerging trends in the eCommerce sector.

Let’s throw light on some latest trends that should be followed while setting up your eCommerce platform:

1. Progressive Web App for Mobile Commerce

According to the predictions by analysts, in the coming years, almost 53.9% of eCommerce purchases will be made from mobile phones. The world is going to see the extensive use of mobile commerce as we enter the next decade.

You need to realize the importance of giving an exceptional mobile experience to your customers to create a comfortable shopping experience online. Almost every brand is striving to achieve customer satisfaction through mobile commerce and you have to be on your toes to keep up with the pace of the competition.

For this you need to ensure that your mobile app does not take more than 2 seconds to load, else customers are more likely to abandon your app. Therefore, giving your customers a great mobile commerce experience is not just about building a responsive and interactive app. To be on the top of search results and attract customers you need to invest in progressive web app (PWA) development for mobile commerce. It lets your front-end and back-end developers work together for enhancing the user experience of your application.

PWA approach is quite common and almost every company adheres to this basic rule when it comes to delivering a quality user experience. However, if you want to take a step beyond you must ensure combining PWA with accelerated mobile pages. The pairing of PWA with accelerated mobile pages (AMP) can further your search results, uplifts your top-of-the-funnel traffic, and increases your conversion rate. Hence, driving more revenues for your online store.

2. E-commerce Automation and AI

Today, companies seek opportunities to navigate through the digital landscape and embrace key operational innovations in workflows for improved productivity. In 2021 alone the spending on AI and automation worldwide is expected to grow by 15.4 percent.

Automating e-commerce activities reduces the risk of human errors, increases the pace of repetitive tasks. Therefore, enhancing your overall operational productivity. RPA does not just improve your operational productivity but it also helps you apply analytics to your consumer data. So that you can make more informed recommendations to customers on your website based on their browsing history.

Embracing automation in e-commerce is beneficial for your business in the following ways:

  • Manages multiple stores/outlets
  • Reduces the complexity in cross-border commerce
  • Lists latest or upcoming products on multiple media platforms
  • Makes tracking of the product easy
  • Automated fraud protection embedded in your eCommerce platform can help you identify any fraudulent activity on your site

3. Customized Commerce – the new edge

Today, consumers are smarter than ever before. If you are treating them all alike, you are never going to grab their attention. The success of a company deeply depends on how you treat your customers individually. Everyone likes to have a sense of personalization when they shop especially online. The companies that have realized the importance of giving customers a personalized e-commerce experience are reaping the benefits of customer satisfaction. Thus, the loyalty factor for their brand grows exponentially and gives them a new edge over rivals.

The technological evolution has made it possible for you to design a unique customer experience online for each customer. There are many social media and search engine tracking tools that help you gather a huge amount of customer data to leverage. It helps you to get access to customer behavior and purchase patterns through different data sites. Considering the data available, you can build a personalized online experience, make relevant recommendations to them when they visit your eCommerce site, or randomly browse on the internet.

Also, predictive analytics of software bots that you may embed in your eCommerce platform gives you operational intelligence and accurate consumer insights. The consumer insights are based on their interaction with your e-commerce platform. Therefore, the customized experience can be built for each customer. Hence, personalization is fostering the future of e-commerce in 2020.

4. Interactive Product Display

If you have ever purchased anything online you would have experienced the slight fear of not getting what you ordered from a brand online. For years, this has been the biggest nightmare for people purchasing online that they would end up getting a product that was different from what they thought it would be. Therefore, many people hesitate to buy products online from a site that only provides one-dimensional product images and product reviews.

You need to know that this is not enough if you aspire to build a credible eCommerce website. In this era where everything revolves around details of a product and its look and feel, it is hard to satisfy customers with conventional one-dimensional sites that just portray product images and feature details (in text form).

To be on the top priority list of customers, you need to build trust, authenticity, and a modern – highly intuitive eCommerce site. For this, you must ensure putting high-resolution 3D product images. The three-dimensional image allows your customers to view the product from every angle. Moreover, the zoom-in option helps them to look at the product details so that your customers are sure about what they are going to get if they plan to hit the purchase button. Doing so can help you breed customer confidence in your site.

Embracing the technology and getting along with its latest trends for your eCommerce site can help you attract more traffic to your site. However, to retain the traffic and increase your conversion rate you must adhere to emerging eCommerce solutions that include:

  • Pairing PWA with AMP for your e-commerce platform
  • Adopting automation in e-commerce
  • Building a customized e-commerce experience
  • Designing an interactive product display on site

Creating a site that follows these emerging trends can therefore help you build an intuitive user experience, scale up, and generate more revenue.

July 1, 2021
July 1, 2021

Every company is in a dire state to sell more, but not everyone succeeds in it. In the era of emerging technology trends companies are flooded with new sales tools that they want to leverage to boost sales. By embracing technology trends in sales, companies are able to improve their productivity and seek new business opportunities.

The exceptional progress in the field of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the internet of things has let companies exploit them in their sales process for desired business growth.

Here are 3 ways how sales managers can leverage the technology trends to increase productivity for the next year.

1. Intelligent CRM tools

AI-powered applications and tools are an important part of business intelligence. The intelligent CRM tools give you the ability to understand, manage and analyze customer data in a systematic way. It helps your sales team to craft sales process according to the analytics for personalized customer experience through:

  • 24/7 customer data accessibility: Intelligent CRM tools make it easy for you to access any customer information globally at any given time. It has made it convenient for you to access customer information even with cell phones with its mobile CRM interface.
  • Improved data-driven insights: with intelligent CRM applications your SDRs can easily track and identify peaks in the sales trend. You are able to spot leads that are near the
    purchase stage which requires your attention and efforts to seal the deal.
  • Seamless workflow: it gives you the opportunity to seamlessly communicate and share crucial information with your sales teams. It automatically triggers notifications for your SDRs and creates an activity list to guide them throughout the sales process.
  • Customized reports: It helps you in analyzing the sales process for individual accounts by systematic reporting feature. Predictive analytics improves your decision-making for each account.

2. Digital Transformation in Sales

By embracing digital transformation not just in other business divisions but in sales as well can help you effectively tackle business and customer challenges both.

  • Voice recognition: The AI-driven voice recognition technology can help you understand the behavior and expectations of your potential accounts. This helps you tailor your sales process accordingly for desired results. It also helps you in identifying authentic leads with voice biometrics.
  • AR/VR: if your business is purely relying on the visual impact of product or services on customers or experiencing the product/service is important for customers before they make a purchase. Here, technologies like AR/VR services can serve your customers better than just giving them lengthy descriptions and demos.
  • AI-chatbots: AI-powered marketing tools help you target the right customer with the relevant information and personalized messages. With the help of chatbots, you can respond to basic customer queries efficiently leading them through the sales funnel. Intercom is a leading chatbot company and a startup lead prospecting expert. The customers on their website can talk to bots while browsing and chatbots deliver customized information to them depending on their browsing history.

3. IoT for enhanced customer experience

For over a decade IoT has been the talk of the town. Today, with the integration of AI and IoT services the online tech support has also evolved. Artificial intelligence is all set to pave the way for IoT-driven customer experience and sales procedures by:

  • Helping you monitor consumer behavior throughout the buyer’s journey to tailor your sales process accordingly
  • Letting you track real-time location data and notifications for accurate deliveries/li>
  • Helping you monitor the browsing history of your customers so you can enhance the buyer’s journey with relevant product/service offers and recommendations.

By doing so you can actually focus on what is being discussed in the meeting without being distracted by yourself on the screen and other’s surroundings.

Key Takeaways

As sales technology tools are becoming more sophisticated, businesses should strategically leverage them to surge the performance of sales teams. Certainly, the technology trends when embraced by companies can uplift their customer relationships. The technology trends let businesses nurture an environment where a customer-centric approach is the core of the sales process to enhance buyer’s experience and improve sales productivity.

July 1, 2021

Life is slowly getting back to what it was before Covid-19 became a global health crisis. As of now, businesses have started to reconcile their operation at a low burner.

Considering the damage COVID-19 did to the business and economic condition of the world. It has been a wake-up call for the organizations to gear up and prepare the technology for a predicted second wave this fall- as a risk mitigation plan. There is no way to know whether the second flare-up would be as strong as the first one that forced companies to shut down and shift to remote working or is it going to be even worse.

The least the companies can do is to prepare their senior management and employees for worst-case scenarios. So that the possible second wave of COVID-19 can be dealt with proactively. Moreover, technology leaders should build an intuitive extensive strategy to assemble IT for this predicted outbreak to ensure impactful digital transformation for business continuity and agility. However, rearranging a company’s operational planning requires you to develop comprehensive technological strategies that can help you fight this better.

Here are 6 tips that can help IT leadership in assembling technology for the much anticipated COVID-19 second outbreak:

1. Flexible company culture for future

At this point, it’s necessary for organizations to brace themselves and reconstruct their culture where information technology plays a pivotal role in defining operational expectations and strategies. As a technology leader, it is important for you to redesign your team’s operational strategy and adopt a culture where IT enables businesses to identify and battle any unforeseen event like this pandemic in the future. You need to make sure that your IT team is ready for the next outbreak if there is any. You can achieve this by making sure that the team is prepared for working extra hours or working from your data house while all other company employees are still working remotely.

You need to make sure that your team is comfortable with unexpected work calls in case of any emergency or operational crisis. Moreover, as a leader, you need to understand the importance of acknowledging your team members for running operations smoothly even in the toughest of times. So that the organization as a whole can adhere to its operational expectations and perform even in a global crisis like this. It is still unknown to enterprises what the future outbreak of COVID-19 may require for them. Hence, considering the situation it is high time you need to redesign the digital transformation journey for your company and ensure technology deployment in your workflows at the earliest.

2. Asses IT resources at hand

The first coronavirus outbreak took the world by surprise. Even with all the technological advancements, companies were not able to leverage them effectively for remote workflow because of the lack of strategic planning. As businesses navigate the pandemic, IT management has to be proactive in ensuring that employees are able to fulfill their extensive IT requirements (software and devices) in these circumstances. This can help employees to effectively perform while working in remote environments.

Now is the time for you as a technology leader to effectively execute the technological strategy.
To overcome this disruption you have to ensure that company’s already existing IT resources are readily accessible by each member of the team remotely. You need to implement collaborative tools for the company and have diversity in your technology portfolio. So that business operations can be run without any interruptions.

3. Scale remote connectivity platforms

It might not be wrong to say that connectivity is at the heart of remote working. Usually, organizations scale their connectivity tools that can support 20-50% remote access. It may face capacity challenges if the percentage of remote access increases slightly. Therefore, when the first outbreak hit, companies were not prepared to shift entirely too remote accessing of the network. Therefore, they did not have the capacity to scale their connectivity tools for a smooth workflow.

However, when excessive remote access is required by your team. You need to consider shifting to cloud-based solutions from your legacy remote network access. Cloud migration helps you improve the scalability of your remote connectivity tools. Hence, letting you scale up without even spending a huge amount of dollars on hardware.

4. Improve bandwidth and VPN

The first wave of coronavirus let companies invest more in deploying VPNs and increasing network bandwidth. To ensure operational continuity, as an IT leader you have to establish a detailed plan for further increasing bandwidth requirements. For ensuring stable remote working environments if the second outbreak occurs, it is necessary to take essential steps beforehand and improve bandwidth. You need to ensure that firewalls are set up correctly in home computers, they have the latest antivirus software, and that more VPNs are set up.

5. Build a stable digital workplace

Companies that were already in the middle of digital transformation before this global crisis have been able to deal with the digital workspace challenges better. It is a dramatic transformation but the work from home trends, digital technologies, and video conferencing trends have been facilitating the move to a digital workplace. Therefore, switching to digital transformation today is vital for business survival.

Otherwise, you might find yourself lost in the new normal digital business ecosystem. That can entirely upend your operational capabilities. To build a stable digital workplace before any other unexpected major event occurs. You need to make sure that your IT team coordinates with other technology centers of the company. This can help you deploy innovative solutions to efficiently manage the company’s performance and customer needs simultaneously.

6. Level-up cybersecurity

As companies across the globe are implementing work-from-home policies, it creates room for cybercriminals to breach the weak security protocols at home devices. The challenge, in general, is those home computers are typically not set up to deal with corporate information to pass through them. So, the IT infrastructure needs to be updated with the latest cybersecurity protocols. The fact that there was so much uncertainty brought about the pandemic initially, companies were not able to fully spend on cybersecurity owing to revenue constraints.

But now as an IT leader, you need to look for technologies that can help you accelerate the cybersecurity efforts. It adds more responsibility on you to keep your team alert more than ever before to detect phishing or malicious cyber attacks. For instance, Blockchain technology can be leveraged for combating novel cyber attacks going forward.

Wrapping up

The Covid-19 crisis has taught some serious lessons to the global business community and it’s time that the world drives IT at a top-notch for battling predicted the second wave of coronavirus. Companies should habituate themselves by following these tips to re-think and re-execute technological strategies to identify their goals for the future. Therefore, adapting to the new “digital business” workflow better.

July 1, 2021

Since the global pandemic has changed our day-to-day, the consumer’s switch to online shopping has made eCommerce a competitive market for retailers. Today, almost every business wants to stay relevant and reap the benefits of selling online and creating their digital presence to navigate the global eCommerce industry. For this, many retailers struggle with the ideal selection of online selling platforms for their products and services. Mostly, businesses juggle between trading their products on different eCommerce marketplaces or building their eCommerce website for selling. Each option comes with its set of pros and cons. However, it will be beneficial for you to create your eCommerce website to strengthen your online presence in the long run.

Developing your standalone eCommerce website is a better option if you want to acquire and maintain customer relationships. Moreover, owning your eCommerce store will allow you to tackle customer queries better. Therefore, your customers can get a similar shopping experience through different devices.

In this article you can get to know why creating your eCommerce store is important for your business to stay competitive and grow with the eCommerce trends. Let’s get started…

First-hand customer Information

When you market and sell your products/services on marketplaces, you do not get access to customer information about who buys your products. You are not able to track the website visitors and consumer behavior which can help you align your marketing efforts with the browsing history of the customers. However, if you choose to develop your eCommerce store you not only create your identity but also get access to your audience’s web browsing history and their purchase patterns. The first-hand information about your audience can help you tailor your marketing campaigns based on their interests and browsing information. This helps you market relevant products to the right audience.

When you trade your products in an online marketplace, chances are that your customers might make repeat purchases from you due to a lack of direct marketing to them. Since the lack of primary information about your audience on these platforms, you can not entice them with additional promotional campaigns to nurture your relationship with them. However, having your standalone e-commerce platform ensures that you develop good relations with your audience and by personalized marketing efforts.

Build brand image

Since the online marketplace does not give you room to develop your brand persona on their platform, it is a little difficult to build brand awareness among your customers on these channels. The marketplace only allows you to showcase your products with a limited capacity for its description with no option to customize your marketing. Hence, your customers can not recognize your brand among all other similar brands. The only way to save yourself from these monotonous marketing and selling techniques is to create your online store. Developing your separate website can help you build brand awareness among your audience. Your online store ensures that you create your digital presence which resonates with your brand image. Creating a consistent brand image helps your audience recognize you through your logo or the overall look and feel of your website. Hence, customers recognize your products which give you an edge to customize your marketing campaigns according to the customer engagement on your website.

As a business owner, you should aim to build your company as a “brand” which means you should be able to make your audience think about your company when they decide to buy that particular product/service category. Having your eCommerce website is the key element to build your brand image.

Monitor your audience

To better understand your ideal client profile you must analyze your target customers’ behavior and their purchase patterns to highlight critical insights that help you improve your conversion rates. You can fetch analytics and work on understanding your audience only if you build your website. By selling on a third-party platform you can not build your ideal client profile since you can not access the analytics. Therefore, it hinders your efforts to market products to the right audience and does not let you up-sell your promotional or high-end products to customers who bought from you in the past.

The analytics allows you to get the insights of your existing customers as well as the potential customers that help you craft better marketing campaigns specifically for each customer in your marketing funnel. Hence, developing your online selling platform is beneficial if you want to monitor your audience so that you can align your marketing efforts with the right customers at the right time.

Your website, your rules

When you own a website you are at full liberty to have a different theme and layout for your online store, unlike third-party selling sites which restrict you to a generic theme. Moreover, on these platforms, your products can not be distinguished from your competitors as everyone is being marketed similarly. To stand out from your rivals you must design your website and market your products and services the way you want to grab the attention of your potential audience. Therefore, you can make your marketing and promotional strategies for your business which includes:

  • Incorporating promotional product/service video campaigns
  • Customizing website layout design
  • Tailoring your website content for SEO performance
  • Incorporating client testimonials as social proof
  • Integrating social media marketing
  • Creating additional content on the website as blogs and newsletters
  • Offering discounts and coupons to build customer loyalty

Easy to build eCommerce platforms

It is never been so easy to develop and design your eCommerce website before. But with the progress in the eCommerce industry, many companies have made website development an easy process for the newbies who want to build their digital presence. Some of the leading eCommerce platforms include Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. These platforms give you a DIY opportunity to establish your website the way you want easily and efficiently.

You do not have to have a strong command of coding because these platforms have a code-free interface that gives you a simple plug-and-play feature to set up your website. These third=party eCommerce platforms allow you to create your store online without having to spend a huge amount for setting up your internal developer’s team. Therefore, you personalize your website the way you want to and make alterations easily whenever needed.

Wrapping up

Running your eCommerce store helps you get access to first-hand information about your customers which can help you tailor your marketing strategy. Your online store means you have an individual presence in the eCommerce market building a brand image that your audience recognizes. Moreover, you get to monitor your website audience and get accurate insights on their purchase behavior so that you can make promotional strategies depending on your audience’s engagement with your company. Lastly, it allows you to make your own rules and differentiate your brand from the competitors, and maintain your competitive advantage to build customer loyalty.

July 1, 2021

In the past decades, Cybersecurity was considered a technical domain. There were fewer technological advances than there is today. Hence, the technology solutions were also limited back then. Today, as technology has evolved exponentially, connectivity has also increased and we have access to more data which has led to the inclusion of the human aspect in the technology. Bringing the human aspect in the cybersecurity industry like sociology helps us to study human behavior in this field. This helps you to get a clear understanding of external threats from hackers, spies, and cybercriminals when they are in a process of spying on you before making any malicious activity.

This article explores the role of women in the cybersecurity landscape and the future of this industry. So, let’s get started…

Gender Diversity in Cybersecurity

“When equal opportunities for leadership positions are given to women too, the collective intelligence of teams improves.”
– Jane Frankland, CEO Cyber Security Capital | Founding Member at #Women4Cyber

Undoubtedly, the key to a successful business in any industry is the inclusion of gender diversity. Women getting recognition in companies and especially at leadership positions can help businesses be more productive. Moreover, when companies understand the importance of gender diversity in teams where men and women are equally represented. The collective intelligence of those workgroups increases and they perform far better than teams that are dominated by a single gender.

If you talk about the cybersecurity business it is all about making decisions on how to handle risks better. Based on studies men and women perceive risk differently. Women are considered to be more risk-averse and tend to take action immediately. While men tend to tolerate risk at a high level before taking any action against it. Therefore, it puts men on the higher end of the risk spectrum and women at the lower end which helps companies take a balanced approach while making any risk-mitigating strategies.

Compared to men, women are more embracive of regulations and risk controls, so they do not turn directly to a technology solution to deal with a threat. Moreover, female security leaders are more likely to view the full picture of a threat and try to join the dots before jumping straight to a technical solution.

Also, women tend to possess a greater degree of social and emotional intelligence than men. The combination of social/emotional intelligence with a business crisis, traditionally helps women to respond better. Let’s put it in context, in the cybersecurity business when a data breach happens, women leaders tend to stay calm during the turbulence. Having said that, it doesn’t mean women leaders are better than men leaders in handling any crisis. This perspective highlights how males and females together with their collective leadership abilities can pull a company out of a cyber crisis.

Future Trends in Cybersecurity

Cyber-attacks are only going to grow in the future with the evolution in connectivity, AI/ML, and IoT. However, business leaders are struggling to keep up with these emerging technology trends and identify which technology is relevant and needs to be leveraged for their business. Therefore, a lot of research is ongoing to know what are businesses lacking in terms of skills and talent.

To overcome the skill shortage in the industry you need to get access to accurate data about the number of young female talent in the technology realm worldwide. It’s high time to encourage these young females and invest more in their training and development to help them evolve as cybersecurity professionals. Moreover, to gain diversity in the cybersecurity industry it is essential to make awareness about the potential of this industry to the people.
Therefore, making them understand that this industry is not just about technology. It has more to offer in terms of developing business skills and the human aspect of cybersecurity aka “social engineering”.

This approach can help the cybersecurity services landscape to scale with the ever-growing cyber attacks. By bringing a diverse group of people with the right talent and skills to your company can help you combat the increased risk of malicious cyber attacks better. The collective thinking of a balanced workforce can help you get a two-dimensional view of a threat. When you form a group of people with appropriate skills and education regardless of gender, you better cope with the change and be innovative and advanced with it.

There is a need to make coaching groups in the cybersecurity business. The coaching groups can help cybersecurity professionals to develop risk management skills. The security developers coming into these coaching programs should be stretched to take high-risk challenges to enhance their abilities. These programs can help young talent to develop risk-taking skills where they feel supportive of making mistakes and learning from them.

Moreover, It can help you develop a safe psychological environment for your cybersecurity team where they feel encouraged and recognized for their efforts. Certainly, giving women an environment where they feel safe to learn with innovation, make mistakes, and still be acknowledged can help them grow in this field. Hence, empowering them to cope with either AI-based attacks or a mix of manual and technical driven malicious attacks to scale their capabilities.

The only way the cybersecurity industry can embrace gender diversity is by eliminating the scapegoating and victimizing of any specific gender. Be it male or female! Therefore, you can foster an organizational culture where people are recognized and treated equally based on their capabilities and experience.

Equip C-Suite to Counter Threats

To help c-suite security executives (CIO) and cybersecurity leaders better equip themselves with the threat landscape it is pivotal to get both sides of the story clear. You need to make sure the security requirements of your company are met. Not only that, but you also need to ensure that your company grows with the technology as the cyber threats grow with them. The leadership needs to be supportive of the security department when they make a cybersecurity strategy to mitigate any potential threats. Since the cybersecurity team is constantly tackling growing cyber threats to protect your business from falling into any trap.

Key Takeaway

  • An increased number of women in tech leads to better solutions and innovations across businesses in various industry verticals
  • When dealing with cybersecurity breaches, women rank higher on social and emotional intelligence and so are equally capable of resolving cyberattacks
  • Increased use of AI/ML, IoT, and connectivity has led to novel cyberattacks and has created confusion among leaders in terms of the best way to combat them
  • There is a talent shortage among businesses where the business needs and requirements are not being matched with the right talent pool
  • The leadership needs to be supportive of the security department when they make a cybersecurity strategy to mitigate any potential threats.
July 1, 2021

CIOs in the past were specifically responsible for a company’s IT infrastructure. However, now the organizations are fundamentally evolving in terms of how they operate and deliver value. Today’s CIOs do that and much more like collaborating on digital strategies, lead organizational change and drive agile practices. CIOs can be a real asset for a company if they realize the importance of how technology trends have modified their role and responsibilities in taking the company ahead with the evolving trends to stay competitive. Moreover, the responsibilities of CIOs may differ concerning the size of an organization. The role of a CIO of a startup can be very different from the role of a CIO of a big enterprise.

Let’s unpack the technology transformation trends and how CIOs’ roles have evolved in leading these transformation trends.

CIO/CTO dual role

The CIO for a startup has to deal with more day-to-day operations, a clear understanding of command and control of teams, more backend facilitations, and maintaining a smooth working environment. Performing a dual responsibility of CIO and CTO. As a startup may not be fully established in terms of technology stacks. So a CIO/CTO’s role is to have a clear picture of technology, programming a tech geek, and then presenting the technical information in front of the board in a non-tech language that is easy for them to understand. Driving technology perspective from their tech teams and converting them into understandable information for the board members so they can make strategic growth plans. CIOs are expected to be more involved in the backend side of the company that includes IT services and infrastructure. While CTO has more front-facing and user interfacing roles. Many startups have merged all these roles for a CTO.

Most medium-sized companies like fortune 10 have multiple layers to report up to the CIOs. These companies have divisional or regional CIOs who report to the Global CIO. However, every organization is different in terms of the structure and aptitude for technology.

Today, depending on every organization’s technological savviness the CIOs play a dual role. Previously they were the ones who were handling the IT infrastructure and server sides for the company. But now they are responsible for technology transformations, managing customer relationships, creating opportunities for the enterprise, and leveraging technology to create better user experience and partnerships with the customers. Technology transformation is the sole reason behind this prominent addition to a CIO’s role. Since innovation is at the heart of every organization these days. In these digitally disruptive times, every organization is using some type of technology or innovation tool that can help them smoothly embark on the digital transformation journey to stay competitive.

You need to realize that we are living in the era of technology where you as a CIO should proactively form strategies to meet customer needs.

Managing teams globally

The technology part can be considered slightly easier for delivering services globally. However, leading teams internationally can be a challenging part for a CIO since every country has its regulations, compliances, and culture to follow. You can not apply the same strategy for every nation while scaling your business operations. There is a need to develop fundamentals upfront, specific for every country you plan to scale your team and business. Hence, it can save you from a lot of re-working and re-strategizing if you did scale operations adhering to the “business-culture” fundamentals of individual countries. CIOs need to build a comprehensive roadmap in advance for their organization working in different parts of the world that are based on each country’s social, cultural, and governmental values. Therefore, you know where your company is going and it’s a little easier for you to articulate your team. The biggest advantage of developing a strong culture in your organization is that it helps you communicate with your team in advance where your organization is headed.

Building the right culture

To be able to have a sustainable organization, as a CIO/CTO you need to develop a clear understanding of what your team is passionate about and make regulations accordingly. As a leader, a lot needs to be done to make your team aware of how their work is affecting the world. No matter what type of organization you are in at the service level or product level, the input is what matters. Setting up the right culture and instilling trust in the team can help an organization achieve sustainable competitive advantages in all the business cultures.
Hence, it can be said that the right organizational culture sets a company apart and accelerates business growth. The inculcation of trust in your organizational culture can provide a platform for people to work on challenging projects where they don’t have fear of failure. Therefore, they are motivated and inspired to take on hard projects. So, the higher the trust level in an organization, the better will be the culture.

Here comes the role of CIOs/CTOs to build their teams based on people’s emotional intelligence (EQ) level rather than the IQ level. When you interview a resource for a technical role from external sources, they will come well prepared and well researched. However, when you interview someone from internal references they come well prepared too but will bring a passion and excitement about the role. That’s how culture impacts teams. So, employees tend to transfer that passion to the people they refer to their company. As a leader, you should always look for people whose EQ resonates with your organization.

Outsourcing the right tech partners

Technology is only going to evolve in the future. However, companies need to get a clear picture of their technology needs and to identify which technology fits with their business. Once you identify which technology can be leveraged for your business, the next step is to identify the right match for technology partners. As a CIO/CTO, you have to ensure that your technology partners have the same set of values and work ethics as you do. Because if they cannot execute digital transformation services then your business scalability can also suffer. Therefore, if your technology partner does not function the way you do it is only going to slump your growth and productivity. The most essential thing in a vendor-partner relationship is the value chain rather than the size of the technology partners. You have to build a platform for your partners so that they can build for you.

The Takeaway

The ongoing pandemic has made CIOs embrace technology innovations open-heartedly, build/lead teams, and come up with virtual solutions to drive business. If it was not for the situation, many industries would have resisted the digital workplace concept and would have been the late adopters of digital transformation. However, today the role of a CIO for any organization small, medium, or large is more towards driving technology growth in the company. Building a culture where people are motivated to take challenging roles to lead the company in the right direction and don’t hesitate to innovate.

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