Why are most of the search engine positioning focused on Google? Probably, this is one of the biggest questions we have when we consider segmenting the market of our brand or website in a search engine such as Google or Bing. In short, we are talking about doing SEO to place our company in the first place of a search engine. Read More
Top E-Commerce Project Management software
Here are some of the best tools you can choose for your project management needs:
Trello uses the Kanban methodology of project management. This methodology involves moving a task along a series of “cards” as it approaches completion. Since it is highly visual, the Kanban methodology is ideal for a variety of tasks.
With Trello, you can create separate tabs for every aspect of your business (such as “Marketing” or “Inventory Management”). Within each tab, you can create different tabs meaning current stage of a task (such as “To Do”, “In Progress”, “Finished”).
After adding a task, you can drag-drop from one card to another based on its current phase. You can also assign a task to a team member, add attachments and leave comments.
Trello’s biggest advantage is its flexibility and ease of use. You can start in seconds and use the software for just about anything – inventory management, gathering ideas for your blog, and maintaining a to-do list.
The ease of use is also the biggest disadvantage of Trello. The Kanban methodology is difficult to scale for the complex, tasks are not repeated. Trello’s support is also limited unless it comes to the Enterprise plan ($ 20.83 / month).
Extremely easy to use; highly visual
free plant completely functional
Good for the collaboration and the task of the delegation, especially for repetitive tasks
You can create any number of cards and tasks
There is no way to sort tasks by due date or progress
It is not ideal for complex e-commerce related operations such as managing recurring tasks, tracking time for support requests, etc.
Trello is free to use. You can purchase a business plan that includes features and additions for $ 9.99 for every additional user per month.
Summary: the ease of use and price of Trello (free) makes it an excellent tool for those new to project management. The Kanban methodology is flexible for a wide range of projects. However, for complex projects, we recommend using something richer in functionality.
Asana is a project management software by Dustin Moskovitz, one of Facebook’s co-founders. It is one of the most popular PM tools around with over one million users, thanks in large part to its popularity among start-ups.
The Asana project management centers around individual projects, each of which may have several team members. You can add any number of tasks from a project. The expiration date and priority for each activity will be displayed in the ‘Calendar team’.
You can also leave comments and chat with team members within Asana. The “Inbox” helps you keep track of all the activities below.
Asana’s flexibility makes it ideal for any company, regardless of its size. The segregation of workspaces and calendars means that you can host 1 to 100+ people on it. The visual impact design is also a pleasure to use.
highly flexible; it can be used for any number of activities.
Free to use
colorful, easy to use visual design
Team calendar and ‘Inbox’ features make task management a breeze
Fast; individual features are loaded in seconds
limited customer service, even for paid users
Differentiation between some functions can be difficult
Requires an internet connection to use
Asana offers a free full featured plan. For only $ 6.25 / user / month, you get a number of additional features.
Summary: Asana is free and easy to use with a long list of features for collaboration and project management. It is also extremely flexible, suitable for solopreneurs as well as businesses with 100+ employees.
As one of the pioneers in the online collaboration space, Basecamp has a long list of loyal users. Built from the ground up for small businesses, Basecamp is exceptionally friendly with a “less is more” design philosophy.
Basecamp aims to be the only communication tool and the collaboration you need to use. It has a number of features to facilitate this, such as:
campfire, for team communication
Message Forum, to replace e-mail
Program, to replace personal calendars.
Although not strictly a project management tool, these collaboration features work well for small e-commerce businesses, especially if you have a growing team. The unique dashboard communication features make it easy to keep an eye on what the team is doing.
On the flip side, there is no visual way to monitor the progress of the project. To-do lists work well for micro-management, but lack the “framework” to handle complex tasks.
Well designed and easy to use
strong communication features. E-mail and replacement videochat tools are particularly useful
Flat fee makes it very convenient for large teams
There is no visual way to monitor the progress of the project
Not enough features for managing complex projects
Basecamp has a free trial. Once the trial ends, you can purchase a paid plan starting at $ 99 / month. And it’s free for teachers and students.
Summary: Basecamp collaboration features are second to none. The replacement mail and chat tools make communication much more streamlined. However, it lacks project management skills and is not ideal for complex e-commerce projects.
Unlike the other three tools above, Wrike is a complete project management software designed for large groups. As such, it has an exhaustive list of functions for managing complex projects.
Wrike’s workflow revolves around breaking each project into its small tasks. It is therefore possible to keep track of these tasks through lists, tables, or even visual deadlines.
You will also see live file editing and collaboration within Wrike itself. There are also automated models and request forms for collecting data from external applicants (such as customer support requests).
Furthermore, you can keep track of your budgets and the time spent on each activity by each user. This is ideal for tracking support requests or managing time-intensive activities such as inventory management.
This long list of features is Wrike’s biggest advantage but also its Achilles heel. Some e-commerce companies may feel overwhelmed with the feature set.
Long list of features, including visual deadlines, file editing, automated request forms, etc.
monitoring time and dynamic data collection modules work well for managing customer support activities
best-in-class security features such as role-based access controls and data authentication.
Difficult to use with too many features
Geared towards marketing and product teams, non-e-commerce stores
free plant very limited
Wrike offers a free plan if you want to upgrade the Professional plan ($ 9.80 / month) at least to get the most out of it.
Summary: If you are just starting out, Wrike might be a little too complex for your needs. However, if you are growing and having a team of 15+ people, Wrike’s features will radically improve productivity.
Teamwork is another complete project management software designed for large teams. As such, it has a long list of features, but little usability and ease of use.
Using team follows the same process as Asana or Wrike: create a new project, break it down into small tasks, assign people to each activity, and then use team work to track progress.
Where teamwork is excellent in giving an overview of your progress of the project. Instead of spending time managing small tasks, you can decrease and get a broad overview of your project through Gantt charts.
Teamwork includes a Trello tab similar to Kanban to manage and monitor progress visually.
Although teamwork can be used for any business, its feature-set (such as wallets and time tracking) complements product company and marketing better. e-commerce mall stores could also find the software too difficult to use.
Gantt charts and Kanban tables help keep track of project progress
Built-in communication and collaboration functionality
It integrates well with a series of services
No free plan
Difficult to use for new businesses
Designed for product and marketing companies, non-e-commerce stores
Teamwork does not have a free plan. You can get a $ 69 / month subscription without restrictions on the number of users. Additional plans are available from $ 169 / month.
Summary: Teamwork is great if you already have simple project management software and want to upgrade to a better alternative. If you are new to project management, however, you will do better with a simpler tool.
Freedcamp is a completely free similart solution of Trello and Asana. With a user-friendly design and lots of features, it’s a great solution for e-commerce companies starting with the project management software.
Freedcampis organized around tasks. You create a new project, add the tasks (with their deadline dates and priorities), and assign people to them. Freedcamp gives you a number of ways to view and track progress for each activity, including a Kanban card and a calendar.
Besides task tracking, Freedcamp also gives you a single dashboard to hold group discussions and manage files. The latter is particularly useful for running e-commerce marketing campaigns.
In addition to these, it is also possible to install extra applications such as monitoring the finish line, monitoring time, etc.
The strength of Freedcamp is its ease of use and intuitiveness. You can start without having to read any tutorials at all. It is also free to use, even if there are paid plans with more features.
Free and easy to use
Kanban-style card, group discussions and visual calendar for the progress of the monitoring project
centralized file management for each project
Some features such as file management and discussions take time to load
Freedcamp is completely free to use. However, you can upgrade for more features starting at just $ 5.99 / month.
Summary: Freedcamp is a great starter solution for new project management e-commerce businesses. It includes all the features you need to manage your store. Once the store develops, you can upgrade to more feature-rich software.
e-commerce have very specific needs from their project management solutions. Given the fast nature of e-commerce, you need something that is easy to use, fast, yet feature-rich enough to support complex projects.
The six solutions we have shared above vary in their complexity, cost and ease of use. Choose a free project management software like Trello or Asana if you are just starting. Once your needs expand, choose a full-featured solution such as teamwork or Wrike.
7 tools that will help you to be a great Project Manager
With the right tools, our work can be much simpler, while we achieve great results, something that is especially noticeable in Project Management.
With some tools in their pockets, like the ones we are going to see, we will be able to face all the needs of Project Management, to be excellent Project Managers in any type of business and company.
Do you use these 7 fantastic tools?
- Project Management Software
The incredible technological advances of the past have made the project management tools easier to use and more powerful than ever. The best programs, both free (One Point, OpenProj, etc.) and standard license (Microsoft Project, Spring), allow us to plan any type of project in collaboration with multiple professionals, make a graphic, clear and simple tracking of the data of progress, control time and expenses, collect valuable information, create management and direction reports, know prematurely possible deviations and risks …
The project management software makes it much easier for us to create tasks, increase the application of all team members, foster collaborative work, integrate with e-mail, and access project information from any computer , laptop, tablet or smartphone, thus breaking all barriers to collect, use and share information from the past. Only the fact of being building a large database of all the knowledge and experience of the company, is already a very valuable advantage that we should take advantage of.
- Tools to inform and share
Communication problems between teams, with customers, partners or suppliers, always appear among the top of the problems that cause more costs and errors, but we can drastically reduce these misunderstandings and other errors thanks to the information exchange tools and files.
The best project managers know that a great part of the success of the projects lies in the correct distribution of up-to-date information and the correct management of project documents, since in addition to minimizing problems, time management is improved, and so the costs.
The best exchange tools should have online service, and that can be accessed from anywhere and from any device with Internet connection, allowing tasks such as:
- Editing and version control
- Attach project files for different tasks
- Share tasks and documents among project participants
- Security keys to protect files and information, and backup archives.
- Integration with project management software.
The most used exchange platforms are: Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and Communfire.
- Project Analysis: risks and costs
Applying project management will significantly improve our results as project managers and company, but if we want to reach the highest level of optimization, then it is time to use the most powerful weapons to analyze risks and costs. Knowing, calculating and measuring these two keys to project management will show us the inefficiencies, irregularities and dangers that weigh on our projects. The best project managers program these tasks in the project management software, and with the resulting reports, they make decisions to improve the performance of the resources, and the results of the projects, also involving a large number of stakeholders (teams, clients, suppliers, etc.), in the best evolution of the project.
- Clear and precise Communication Rules
Companies and professionals who use e-mail for all communications have a problem. Often the long chains of e-mails, the copies to several people, the unclear or confused redactions, or even the misinterpretations, generate great lost of time and are source of conflicts, weighing seriously in the march of the projects.
Define which communication rules will govern the project, organize fair meetings with the necessary time, favor team interactions to discuss creative ideas, use kanban boards to communicate visually, video chat like Google Hangout … the alternatives are multiple and its benefits can be enormous if we know how to define a good communication plan for each organization and project. Consider also to improve your network with a job card software. We will reduce the loss of time, the lack of communication, and we will be more efficient, which will improve the result of our efforts.
Usually our projects share many tasks, resources, planning, calculations, etc., and therefore we can take advantage of this work in the following ones. That is why the templates are so useful, because thanks to them we can save time, and facilitate the work to the different team members who participate in the project, and who are not necessarily experts in Project Management, so it facilitates much your participation.
- Programming of the delegation
The main mistake of the project managers is wanting to do everything by ourselves, believing that it will be the way to ensure that everything will be done well, although we know perfectly well that it is impossible, and taking on too many responsibilities will only produce enormous burdens for the project. The projects with the roles, responsibilities and tasks that are better defined and distributed are the ones with the highest probability of success. Programs that we are going to delegate, requires the effort of trusting the other members of the team, but once we establish those bonds of trust, we will check that it works, saving time and personal stress, and the benefit for the team and the project will be huge.
- Defined Leadership
The Project Director is first and foremost a leader. The best project leaders rely on the 6 tools to create efficient, effective and strong management environments that allow them to focus on final decision making. A Project Director concerned about a well-executed project management, gains time and team strength to put into practice his best ideas and decisions for what is necessary:
- Always put the vision as a project banner.
- Be a good communicator for both the team and the rest of interested parties.
- Be open to other points of view and opinions, and be honest with all collaborators.
- Transmit enthusiasm and passion for the project.
- Confidence in the arguments and decision making.
- Know how to solve problems as they arise
- Praise and congratulate when they deserve it.
- Listen to the opinion of others and encourage creativity and ideas.
Project Managers who use these 7 essential tools of project management ensure a huge improvement in the success rate of their projects, and manage to take an important personal / professional step, so if we still do not use all of these weapons, it’s time to start taking advantage of them.
The office of the future: how technology is changing the lives of workers
Technology is changing many things and even the world of work is not spared. Elements such as cloud and mobility are very profoundly transforming companies, and the office of the future (far away) will be completely different, even for the more traditional professions and businesses.
Until a decade ago, there were few alternative ways of thinking about work in the company, because to work it was essential to be physically present in the office, so you can attend meetings, consult the documents and collaborate with colleagues.
Today the way of working is different compared to only 5 years ago: it is possible to attend meetings by telephone or computer, with people connected from all over the world, accessing documents that are on the network and are often accessible even remotely; and if you need to coordinate with other people, there are countless online tools to share work, or even the screen, simultaneously.And this is just the beginning of how life in the company is changing thanks to technology.
Some companies today have implemented substantial changes for their employees in terms of business mobility and smart-working, trying to ride the wave of this interesting phenomenon, but for others the goal is still far away. In the latter, however, workers who spend 8 hours in the office are not however exempt from the expectations created by the new rhythms of “modern work”, mobile, fast and always connected. They have a cell phone and a computer always on and are therefore “available” even outside the office hours or during the holidays, blurring the boundaries between professional life and private life. It is a hybrid situation, halfway between past and future, which can create stress and unproductiveness. The gradual but definitive transition towards the office of the future, enabled by the new technologies available, will allow us to resolve this ambiguity and ultimately improve not only the working life but also the private life.
The more traditional office jobs will change profoundly (and they are already doing so), if not in the tasks certainly in the mode of execution. What will the work be like in the company, therefore, with the ever-expanding advent of the office of the future? Let’s try to tell it through a possible typical day.
Let’s say you could wake up early in your bed, take a hearty breakfast and get dressed all the time. But you could also stay in your pajamas (or at least avoid the tie) because your move to the office can be only one room, or you can go to work at the internet café in the house (or every city bar); or maybe you’ll start looking at e-mails from home, then going to the office when you like it and if necessary for some reason, skipping rush-hour traffic. You will not have to worry about the mid-morning meeting, because it will be normal to participate where you like best from the computer, as the corporate spaces will all be optimized for this with solutions like Intel® Unite ™ for smart meeting rooms.
All the things you do today from the desk in the office will be just as easy to do, once you’re used to it. Collaboration with colleagues and meetings, for example, can be even more productive, given the ability to transfer files in an instant even at incredible distances, collaborate in real time with multiple people, or even make the meeting sitting on a bench in the park thanks to free Wi-Fi scattered around the city. It will then be possible to quickly scan objects and immediately make the digital version appear on the computer thanks to the integrated 3D scanning in the devices, work on the model obtained and then print the modified project again – of course with a small and powerful 3D printer, available in every future and office.
In general, the office of the future will not be the sofa at home, nor the nearest Starbucks, but not even what we call today “office”. It will be a middle ground between the 3 things, or rather, all 3 things depending on the moments and needs. The traditional working spaces will continue to exist, even if they tend to integrate more and more common spaces and private spaces without a clear distinction (the so-called hybrid office). The difference will be the way of the workers to live it, going from being a place where it is obligatory to go to one where one is free to go. And, in this concept, there is all the difference in the world.
If you then want to take a break to go running after lunch, or for a visit to the doctor, or to play with your child, it will not be a problem because your office time will not be from 9 to 6, but you will create it it is more convenient, managing the work with colleagues thanks to special and numerous applications. On the other hand your virtual assistant, who will know your interests, your agenda and the projects you follow, will be ready to take over while you are not there, ordering incoming emails, suggesting useful additions to the projects you are working on and helping to organize your time at its best.
If, again, you were unable to go to an appointment with someone but you still want to have him next to you in the same room where you are, you could go further and, with a pair of glasses Augmented Reality, the hologram of your colleague ( or your boss, as long as you want it) will look incredibly next to you in your dining room.
None of this is to be invented, in reality, so technically it is not even about the office of the future: everything is already possible today. Some companies (especially innovative startups or some large multinationals) are already using or experimenting with some of these possibilities, and in the coming years further technological developments could bring new and surprising scenarios. It is only necessary to wait for them to be adopted, but, as can be seen from the following infographic, according to a study promoted by Ricoh, it will be normal as early as 2036.
And security? If we all go around with the most important business secrets in the smartphone or the Cloud, how will we prevent them being stolen? Here too, high-tech companies have already thought about it, and an example you probably already have on your phone: scanning the fingerprint integrated into the device. Many devices powered by next-generation Intel® Core ™ processors are already equipped with a multi-factor authentication system, Intel® Authenticate ™, in which in addition to PIN and classic secret application you have the possibility to set the fingerprint recognition digital, the most innovative facial recognition or the integration with another device (egsmartwatch or computer) to verify the identity. The company data, then, will all be available on the network, on the Cloud, but this will be protected by powerful programs to ensure total security. Of course, it may seem more risky, but to tell the truth it is not any different from the risks that you run today with paper documents (often unconsciously thrown into the trash in public places) or saved on the company computer (and so loved by hackers). Security evolves hand in hand with the emergence of new threats.
Many researches around the world, such as the one commissioned by Regus on the consequences of working flexibility, demonstrate how productivity in contexts in which it was decided to base work on smart-working, on the flexibility of hours and location and on the greater organizational autonomy, can only increase, as well as turnover. If this is true for companies, which clearly can benefit from a significant cost reduction with this approach, the results are even more extraordinary for employees. The vast majority of workers who benefit from flexible work report feeling more active and motivated, achieving a better work-life balance, and ultimately working better. It is a matter of habit, like almost everything in life, and all this will one day be normal (in some companies, in part, it is already today). And in fact, trying to imagine this imaginary office of the future, you immediately realize the wonderful opportunity it represents for a more balanced and serene private and working life.
8 WAYS IN WHICH TECHNOLOGY CAN IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF YOUR STORE
The management of a clothing store very often requires different and multi-channel skills that go well beyond the simple care of the relationship of purchase and sale with customers. However, not all those who decide to enter this sector have the necessary skills or resources to invest in external professionals. In cases like this, a good solution is to rely on technology and professional store management software that can simplify and improve the productivity of every type of business. With this guide, we see the areas in which management programs can improve the lives of shopkeepers and which are the most useful measures to optimize the many operations that characterize the everyday life of shops.
Good management software can guarantee the ordering of purchases according to the year, season, line and supplier. In addition, the program can be used to automatically tick orders based on the lists created and to produce the barcodes of individual items directly upon arrival of the goods.
Very often one of the most difficult operations for the shopkeeper is to manage the legal and bureaucratic aspects related to sales. Choosing a store management software could simplify these operations by guaranteeing the possibility of carrying out all types of sales (with the receipt of a detailed receipt, invoice, with the issue of tax free and with down payment), providing credit and customer purchase history, allowing easy implementation of discounts, promotions and loyalty cards. Finally offering the possibility to the operator to automatically close the cash box by sending an email to the company owner.
In recent years, sales channels have multiplied and payment methods have gone hand in hand. Investing on a cash shop software able to manage any type of balance and categorize it by type and to create a history of each type of cash transaction carried out could bring rapid increases in productivity to the business and considerable savings in time to be able to re – invest in the care of the relationship with the customer.
Especially for larger activities it becomes essential to manage the organization of the warehouse (or warehouses) in a homogeneous manner. The best programs allow you to create a history of the movements of goods, to track the shipment and produce a transport document. During the transfer request, moreover, with the most advanced software it is possible to view the size of the product that you wish to transfer, and it is also possible to move with the help of portable batch terminals.
One of the vital operations to improve store productivity is to know the data of its business and those of direct competition. Relying on a management software means having a complete and daily overview of the overall life of the store and being able to intervene to correct any imperfections and sales slowdowns. The best programs are able to provide the required data at any time and to layout them in pie and histograms.
Administration and finance
The administrative area has a thousand facets and different skills. For those who are not able to take this aspect in depth, it becomes fundamental to rely on technology; technology able to manage in a simple and unitary way all the financial aspects including: General Accounting and VAT, Accounting / Customers Accounting, Reclassification of Financial Statements, Fulfillment IV EEC directive, Calculation of default interest, etc.
If you have chosen to take care of customer relations via e-mail, it is essential to know the message opening rates, clicks and hours of reading. All aspects that the email marketing software should provide allows the owner to have an overview of the data each time the messages are sent to the customer list.
Mobile payment systems
Adopting payment systems through mobile devices could improve store productivity by making operations much simpler and more immediate. Today, potential customers can buy at any time and anywhere simply by tapping on the screen of a smartphone and without the need for cash: this is why it is essential to guarantee the possibility even at your store. Offering mobile payment options, both online and offline, makes the buying process easier, with the positive consequence of increasing conversion rates and the number of customers
TIPS FOR SELECTING THE BEST SERVICE DESK SOFTWARE
THE BEST SERVICE DESK SOFTWARE
One of the most frequent questions that our clients ask us is: What is the best Service Desk Software in the market? We always answer the same: It depends on your organization.
On a particular occasion, a new client contacted us requesting support. I had 7 months trying to implement a Service Desk Software for 3 processes: Incident, Request and Problem. He contacted several suppliers and requested quotes. Then he compared the marketing materials of each tool, prepared a comparison chart and reviewed it with his leader. Combining the comparative table and the budgets, they made a decision.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/FVfFMMtsD3g” frameborder=”0″ gesture=”media” allow=”encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>
The supplier / distributor of the tool proceeded to do its part of the work: install the tool and share the documentation. Once the purchase was completed, the questions began: How can I use it with my monitoring system? How can I change the typifications of the service? How can I set up additional notifications? Fortunately, the supplier had consulting plans on the tool. Unfortunately for our client, that was not contemplated in the original budget and could not assure funds to realize additional consulting efforts.
The following weeks (later he told me) were some of the most stressful of his life: Operational areas of the company demanded to see the benefits that were promoted when announcing the purchase of the tool, statistical numbers out of tune, lack of follow-up to user services … An absolute chaos and in the center: the IT department.
Our client did not understand why things could go wrong. After all, he bought a leading tool in the market according to industry publications and it was not cheap. For 3 months he tried to solve the problem on his own until he decided to seek outside help.
In the end, his initiative could survive and the organization could tolerate almost a year of delay. However, the reputation of the IT department was never the same.
The market has led to numerous solutions for the needs of IT service management in organizations, so often that the selection process is overwhelming. A decision can be the difference between potentializing initiatives to implement best practices and losing all the momentum and confidence on the part of the business.
The focus and efforts should be oriented towards the selection process, if we do it correctly, the risk of making an error is considerably reduced. A disorderly or absent process puts us at risk of falling into marketing tactics that could favor other interests that are not those of the organization itself.
The best thing is that before turning to see what’s on the market, let’s perform a self-evaluation to make sure that the processes we want to support with the tool have the following characteristics:
- They are aligned with the organizational strategy
- Satisfy one or several needs (not always obvious)
- They are measurable in a relevant way
- They are subject to periodic reviews
- They are documented
Even if you want to acquire a tool to implement a process, we must be able to design it before the tool is a factor. It is important to remember that the tool is not a process as such, it is just a way to carry out a process in a more efficient way. If the process is prone to errors, we’re only going to make more mistakes per minute.
Something we often forget is that Service Desk Software exists to support processes and not otherwise. Our main concern must be to find a tool that best adapts to the vision, culture and processes of the organization. A common error in the selection of Service Desk Software is the search for the process to adapt to what the most popular tool of the moment offers.
One of the most important things to consider when undertaking the search is to make sure that we have a clear vision of what we are looking for and for what purpose. We should be able to articulate this vision clearly and never lose sight of it.
INTERNAL DEVELOPMENT VS OFF THE SHELF
The first question that we must answer when making a selection exercise of Service Desk Software is: Do I want and can I develop the tool internally or is it better for me to buy an existing one?
Without fear of being wrong, I can say that for the absolute majority of cases, buying a complete product is the best option for most organizations. Internal development should be limited to very specific cases such as whether the tool is part of a business strategy or that there is no product on the market that can satisfy the most important needs of the organization. Remember that at the heart of the Service Management philosophy is the idea that we seek to avoid unnecessary costs and risks to the organization.
In most situations, organizations have very particular uses for a Service Desk Software, and developing one internally represents several important implications:
- The cost is probably higher (depending on the desired functionality)
- The expertise needed to develop a tool (technically and functionally speaking) is not common, nor cheap
- In most cases the ROI will be negative
- The investment must be continuous for maintenance and avoid obsolescence
- Distracts the attention of the organization, possibly neglecting more critical aspects
The wide variety of offers in the market assures us that there is a suitable tool for a high percentage of interested organizations, so it is sufficient that the resources of the organization focus on an adequate selection process.
DEFINITION OF REQUIREMENTS
Defining the requirements that a Service Desk Software must satisfy is, in my opinion, one of the most important steps of the selection process. The amount of financial, human and time resources that we invest in this step will directly impact our final decision and, consequently, the success of our selection exercise.
My recommendation is that we first draw a list of all the things we want the tool to do. At this point, we should not worry about how important the requirement is or if there is a tool in the market that satisfies it.
This list should be developed in an inclusive manner with the participation of all the roles that could use the tool or have an interest in it. All the requirements must be published in a document that we will call SoR (Statement of Requirements) and share it with all the participants.
Once we have this list, we must organize it according to priorities in a format known as MoSCoW, which will help us define the importance of each functionality of the tool to be clear about the needs throughout the process.
The MoSCoW analysis consists of categorizing the functionality requirements in the following sections:
Must: The requirements of this category should be covered no matter what. For example:
- It must work in the cloud
- Must include a self-help portal for users
Should:In this section we will document all the requirements that should be covered but are not indispensable. For example:
- It should be possible to buy permanent licensing
- It should include a consultancy policy for its implementation
Could:In this category we will include all the functionalities that could be covered, as long as they do not interfere with anything else. For example:
- That supports other processes besides those currently desired
- That is integrated with Active Directory
Will not: Here we will list all the features that will not be covered in this exercise, but that could perhaps be considered in the future. For example:
- That is integrated with other tools
- Have certifications
Strictly speaking, our objective would be to obtain a tool that meets all the requirements cataloged as Must. However, the commitment to cover 100% of the requirements could be a recipe for failure. For most situations, a tool that meets 80% of the requirements cataloged as Must should be sufficient. In case there is none in the market, the best option is usually the one with the most functionality in Must.
With these brief considerations, we can surely make a better decision regarding the selection of best practice tools. Including all the stakeholders and documenting the requirements with a methodology will profoundly mitigate the risk of making a wrong decision or spending more.
The impact of technology on the productivity of Companies
Technology, Company, Efficiency and Resources are words that are associated when defining Productivity. In this article we will try to bring you basic aspects about the definitions and problems that should be taken into account when measuring the productivity of an organization based on technological changes.
The growth of productivity supported by technology
From the incorporation of the pen to the use of smartphones, all the varieties of technologies that we know have changed the way of working of the human being.
We could affirm that the new technologies used, aligned with a knowledge and business strategy, increase efficiency and productivity.
Why do we clarify “aligned with a knowledge and business strategy“? Because technology itself will not add value to our company, on the contrary, the implementation of new technologies without a study of quantitative and qualitative benefits can produce a waste of economic and human resources generating results inverse to the expected: Low productivity , operational saturation, bureaucracy, etc.
Statistics support the relationship of Technology – Productivity
According to figures from the US National Bureau of Economic Research, during the first half of the 1990s, real technological productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.2%, although it increased to 3.1% during the period between 1995 and 1999. The percentage of investment Technology (as part of the total investment) increased from 3% in the late 1980s to 6% in 1999.
Similarly in Europe, a study by London Econimics shows that investment in Technology represented 25% of total growth and 47% of the total increase in labor productivity during the period between 1992 and 2000 in the United Kingdom.
These figures suggest that a transition period is necessary before knowledge workers can fully utilize the tools offered by technology to increase their own real productivity. It also suggests that we are witnessing the benefits of technology in productivity.
Human Capital and its preparation for new technological formats
The preparation of the human resources of the companies for the reception of the Technology, is another one of the most delicate points to be worked within the organizations. Several aspects must be taken into account within this point, starting with the distribution of salaries according to the preparation that the worker must have. The growing use of technology has meant that many workers have to develop new knowledge or functions within their organizations.
The distribution of functions and knowledge generate an impact on the organizational structure that requires support from the Management of the Company and the Human Capital sectors to develop strong communication schemes with their employees, leveraging the development of their skills for the new challenges within of the company.
The basic steps to measure productivity
We can say that we are more efficient, that productivity improved, that the company uses its resources better, etc. But we should not rely on perception, but on indicators that we can measure, generating reports with results.
The definition of a Performance Indicator (Key Performance Indicator) on a process allows us to obtain performance values of the process and how the process “reacts” to changes that seek to generate benefits for the company. In this way we can perform a sustained follow-up to determine if the applied adjustments are providing the expected benefits, or if further adjustments are needed.
The indicators of “Productivity” are the most used when determining if a process on which a certain reengineering was applied with technological support, has generated economic and qualitative benefits for the company.
A study by Columbia University led by professors of economics Ann Bartel and Casey Ichniowki have shown, based on studies with performance indicators, the relationship of improvement in productivity with the correct implementation of technologies within organizations, highlighting the importance of the correct selection of the data that will be part of the indicators and their valid origin. At this point, it is essential that the veracity and accuracy of the data is met in order not to lose the references and credibility of the information generated, a fundamental basis for technological growth and evolution and positive results within the organization.
Applied technology + Productivity = Flexibility
The studies of the University of Columbia also showed that one of the consequences of the correct application of the technology, not only was a better productivity, because they also determined “Flexibility” in the structure of the Organizations that adopted these changes.
The reduction of the time devoted to certain processes, the training and adaptation of resources to new modalities and technologies have provided a level of flexibility (in times of adaptation) to the changes that companies need to be more competitive.