Thursday, January 6, 2022

Consider two tools to enhance marketing in 2022

First impressions with a potential customer is key to creating a profitable relationship. One desires to show business value and help a potential customer understand and remember what your organization does best. When they are in need of the products or services you provide, they know who to call. Getting potential clients' attention can be a challenge. In the coming year, consider adding two tools to your marketing toolbox. 

In the "meat space" world, creative leave behinds provide a great way to do this -- a physical object that you leave behind to help the prospect remember you and your company after an in-person sales call. Digital Leave Behind can be an online space where you can showcase products, design work, a portfolio of sorts.

Read more about this marketing tool (and another) that can improve your prospects with... prospects.

Monday, January 3, 2022

This Year, Don't Expect Staff to Return to the Office in Droves

Over at ZDNet, we read...

Months have gone by, and the great resignation keeps rolling along. Some people thought that people would come flocking back to the office once generous unemployment benefits ended. Nope. Wrong. Months after Republican states cut the $300-a-week Federal benefit and other benefits expired, there has been no rush to return to the workforce. There are many reasons for this. People don't want to catch COVID-19; people are sick of bad jobs; early retirement; and the one I care about today, bosses still think they can force skilled workers to return to offices. I've said it before; I'll say it again. That's not going to happen. People with talent and high-value skills, like most technology workers, aren't returning to traditional offices. You don't have to believe me, though. Look at the numbers being reported. 

A Hackajob survey of 2,000 UK tech workers and employers found not quite three-quarters (72%) of tech workers said having the ability to do remote work was very important to them. All, and by the way, just over one in five were looking for new jobs with remote work. A more recent Microsoft survey found UK techies felt even stronger about the issue. In this survey, they found over half of the employees would consider quitting if you tried to force them back into the office. It's not just the UK. The Future Forum Pulse survey found IT workers in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan all had one thing in common: Most want to work at least part of the time remotely. To be precise, 75% want flexibility in where they work, while 93% want flexibility in when they work. Why? The top reason: "Better work-life balance." 

The problem? Many executives and owners haven't gotten the clue yet. 44% said they wanted to work from the office daily. Employees? 17%. Three-quarters of bosses said they at least wanted to work from the office 3-5 days a week, versus 34% of employees. Can we say disconnect? I can. And, here's the point. Today, for the first time in my lifetime, workers, not employers, are in the driver's seat. [...] But, that doesn't mean that you must give up the traditional office entirely. You don't. In the Dice State of Remote Work report, there's a remote work spectrum. Sure, some workers never want to cross the office transom again, but others like a flexible work schedule where they can work outside of the office a set number of days per week or month. By Dice's count, only one in five workers are bound and determined to never come into the office again. 75% would be fine with flex work. But, pay attention folks, only 3% want to go back to the old-school 9 to 5, every weekday at the office. I repeat a mere 3% want to return to the office as most of you knew it in the 2010s. Indeed, 7% of respondents said they would even take a 5% salary cut to work remotely.

So if your work is unfulfilling and the office is a distracting nuisance -- almost nothing will get you to back in your cubicle. Rather than blaming workers for actually having a bit of power for the first time in roughly a century, should we be addressing these issues and doing something about it?

Friday, December 31, 2021

What's Gonna Be Hot in 2022? Web3, blockchain-based web sites that are decentralized... and more

In the coming new era, navigating the web may no longer require logging onto Facebook, Google, or Twitter. Instead, web sites are decentralized. Imagine it as a kind of bookkeeping where many computers at once host data that's searchable by anyone. It's operated by users collectively, rather than a corporation. People are given "tokens" for participating. The tokens can be used to vote on decisions, and even accrue real value.

Blockchain is a driving force of the next-generation Internet, what some refer to as the "Web3." The Internet we use today predominantly builds on the idea of the stand-alone computer. Data is centrally stored and managed on servers of trusted institutions. The data on these servers is protected by firewalls, and system administrators are needed to manage these servers and their firewalls. One might recall that blockchain is the tech that undergirds Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Experts say, in the best case scenario for Web3 enthusiasts, the technology will operate alongside Web 2.0, not fully supplant it. In other words, blockchain-based social networks, transactions and businesses can and will grow and thrive in the coming years. Yet knocking out Facebook, Twitter or Google completely is not likely on the horizon, according to technology scholars.

For those surfing, nothing much will change on the surface of the Internet. If "Web 2.0" was a frontend revolution, Web3 is a backend evolution.


Friday, December 17, 2021

Consulting is About Adding Value - So Do Yourself a Favor and Ease Your Own Pain Points with On-Demand Expertise

Since the late 1980s, “consultant” might be considered a dirty word in the business world. But in actuality, there are plenty of solid reasons to hire a consultant for your next project. With today’s uncertain market conditions, any organization should seek to improve efficiencies and explore new opportunities. For a commercial concern, that means looking for a competitive edge, increasing revenues — and positioning the company to stand out.

A primary benefit consultants can provide is temporary expertise, on demand, as it were. Retaining a consultant on a per project basis limits the financial and operational risks. Of course, if you as the client find value in a consultant’s outputs, you can continue to use their services on a repeat basis. If a project is not brining value to your organization, you need to reconsider. 

But how do you measure this value? Tangible value is usually easy to measure: it often is realized as cost reduction, or an increase in income. Intrinsic value, however, is more complicated. How do you appreciate the impact of a culture and diversity project, or process improvement, or system optimization? Using social sciences methods, many have succeeded in measuring intangibles such as client satisfaction or employee performance. When the benefits of a project correspond to the desired outcome, we can easily say the effort is successful. 

For strategic change, consider why a consultant should be considered a valued member of your team, long-term. Long term success requires careful strategizing: with a plan, you may succeed. Without a plan, you won’t succeed.

Finding and selecting the best consultant suited to specific needs is half the battle in the successful completion of a project. Consider when it make sense to hire outside consultant:

When executives or other decision makers do not have enough expertise or experience in solving certain complex issues.

When many stakeholders are involved and the risk of failure is high, having an outside perspective and coordination can alleviate concern and mitigate risk.

When staff are not trained on solving specific problems, or don’t have available bandwidth to work on special projects outside their routine work.

Often, organizational knowledge is limited to specific  products and service. Consultants bring value in that they often have solved large numbers of problems in different industries. An experienced consultant relieves an organization of many hassles. As a professional, consultants can get to root causes and find avenues of success in the most optimal time. Importantly, this can be at a much lower cost as compared to hiring a full time employee to do the same job. 

Every organization can benefit from improving their performance. And at some point, we all encounter problems outside of existing expertise. An external advisor with specialized expertise can get an organize past a sticking point, find efficiencies in work processes, and open doors to new opportunities.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Automate More, To Increase Productivity. Makes Sense, But Why Don't Organizations Do That More Often?

 By now, most organizations should understand that automating processes does more than just make work go faster. Besides decreasing the overall cost to undertake tasks, workflow automation can help the staff avoid wasting their energy on repetitive tasks -- such as sending emails and following up on leads or generating documents. This frees them up to execute more productive and important tasks. 

Aiming to implement automation enables staff to avoid insignificant, repetitive tasks. They can shift their focus to value-oriented functions such as innovation in the development of new ideas and processes. Organizations that automate business processes change their workflows by reducing mundane activities and increasing team productivity. By automating business processes, companies can improve their processes, shorten business process cycle times, and maximize efficiency. The automation of processes completes tasks that were previously manual.

A good strategy for automating business processes can help maintain control over processes, reduce  errors, improve communication, and improve quality. Let's face it: repetitive and boring tasks can be frustrating, which leads to lower employee satisfaction. The use of automated processes in knowledge work processes can help a company produce higher quality deliverables and increase profits. For this reason, using technology to automate processes can help increase efficiency, productivity, and stabilize levels of quality control.

With tools that enable decision makers to monitor every step of the process without checking in with every employee, process automation enables staff to hone their precise role. The processes and tasks for which staff are responsible become streamlined, demonstrating one of the major benefits of workflow automation: it takes a lot of the pressure off staff. Think of when there are a lot of operational tasks that need to be done.

content creation workflow improves productivity

For example, when a team member needs to work through a list of ten items, chances are there are one or two tasks that one might dreading doing. When these tasks are automated, it provides relief for everyone and lightens the workload. Another great workflow automation benefit is that companies can hire more remote workers and keep their expenses down.