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Efficiency secret: being in tune with tech innovations

Technology is an important part of keeping up in today’s business climate, but Burno Foucault argues that it is more than just owning the most expensive, shiny, newest gadget, rather knowing how to squeeze efficiency out of tech tools.

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Efficiency is a competitive advantage

While there are many secrets to any company’s success, an area many brands focus on in an effort to reduce cost and improve productivity is through efficiency. Bruno Foucault, Deputy General Manager in charge of Business Development at Kwaga tells AGBeat that “In order to achieve competitive advantages in today’s business world, utilizing the greatest innovations is a necessity.”

Foucault says that improving efficiency through use of technology is more than just using the newest product or service. “First, have the foresight to realize the future of your business, then find the most relevant concept(s) that merge with this plan. Fortunately, technology has come a long way in the 30 years I’ve been in the IT industry, and there are many ways to automate the many necessary processes and get the benefits from the business information you have readily at hand while at the office or on the go.”

Offering three simple tips for being in tune with the greatest innovations, Foucault points out simple ways to improve efficiency.

Tip one: keeping on top of contacts’ details at all times

Foucault said, “Working with Oracle’s Siebel, the world’s most complete CRM solution, I recognized how essential it was to keep track of your contacts’ information. I have always sought a solution for getting in touch with the right person at the right time, and this is how I found Kwaga,” adding that Kwaga’s solutions “not only afforded a new way to ensure I kept my email under control, but its WriteThat.name service gave me the confidence to know that I always captured the most up-to-date, relevant information.”

“In short,” he noted, “I didn’t have to waste time with unnecessary data management since the contacts update themselves!”

Tip two: Don’t neglect your email

“Contrary to the growing sentiment that as our life became ever more dependent on social networks, email would become irrelevant, I firmly believe email is here to stay,” said Foucault. “Granted these networks are great vessels for expansion; however true business, and the information we rely on to conduct business, remains nested in our email.”

Foucault says that at the WWW2012 conference, industry leaders noted that 75 percent of corporate knowledge is stored in employees’ emails, an indicator that social media has yet to truly impede on email as a form of communication, therefore it cannot be neglected.

Tip three: Always being ready on-the-go with mobile devices

“The surging demand for access to business information from mobile devices has resulted in a global growth of products to provide just that,” said Foucault. “Business leaders must find the most effective way to benefit from this trend. Mobile devices, and the technology designed for them, allow employees connection to corporate knowledge and resources. Whether on a sales call, at a conference across the globe, or working from home, these devices empower employees to not only make better use of the company’s wealth of resources, but also improve productivity.”

While some tout the merits of owning the latest, greatest this or that, Foucault sees the bigger picture. “Although I absolutely love the convenience and freedom that are provided by my personal devices (iPhone, iPad, iBook, etc.), as more access is provided by other various devices in various places, I find that the device itself isn’t as necessary as the connection to the Internet.”

Illustrating his point, Foucault points to time as a concept and how watches fit into modernity. “As a businessman, time is very important, and personally, I like watches. But I rarely actually wear them, only occasionally will I bring one out of its box in my closet. Instead, when I need to know the time, I can find it everywhere around me – my phone, laptop, car, home, office, street… The fact of the matter is, I don’t actually need to bring my own watch, it is all around me.”

Foucault closes by noting, “Technology is all around us, too. We just need to find the best way to access it in the various ways provided!”

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Roland Estrada

    May 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Good advice. If you don’t have a CRM, get one. If you do, use it religiously!! 
     
    Keep your email box inbox clean. Either action it, file it or delete it. You’ll thank yourself. However don’t rely on your email client as a filing system. I’ve had several people in my office who’s Outlook files have been corrupted. If you want to see a real estate agent freak out, watch the look on that agent’s face as he or she realizes their work history is lost to a corrupted Outlook file. DO NOT use your email client to store attachments. Make a file for everything and be diligent about it.
     
    Going mobile is fantastic. I would be lost without it. However, don’t get caught in the whirlwind of new apps and services that come out at a breakneck pace. Slow down. A carefully crafted system for handling data should only need only occasional tweaking. 
     
    If something in your system isn’t working, simplify it. Hit it with the “Simple Stick”. Where did I get that term? Glad you asked. I’m listening to a new book by Ken Segall called “Insanely Simple”. I’ve listened to it 6 or 7 times and will continue to listen. If you simplify every single process you have in real estate your life WILL become easier. As Ken mentions in the book “Complexity is easy, simplicity is hard”. Ken is not the first person to say that but it bears repeating. Efficiency is byproduct of Simplicity. 

  2. MatthewC

    May 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I agree with the importance of keeping on top of contact details at all times. A CRM is key. If you’re in real estate, I recommend IXACT Contact’s CRM for Realtors. Whichever CRM you choose, make sure it’s industry specific so you get specific features tailed to your business (for example, relevant email templates and relevant drip marketing campaigns).

  3. Roland Estrada

    May 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    It doesn’t really matter which real estate specific CRM you use so long you use it religiously. If you buy one where you pay a onetime cost you can always get a separate email drip campaign system since you’ll be saving on the cost of a monthly paid CRM. There are good email services out there. The bottom line is that you need to do your research. Go online, talk to coworkers and make sure it works for your situation.  

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Business News

Employers: Lacking remote work options may cause you to lose employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) As a vaccine gets closer to reality, employees are making their remote work preferences known – companies may miss out if they don’t keep up.

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Black man doing remote work at an in-home desk and laptop setup while talking on the phone.

COVID-19 transformed the workplace by leveraging the home office. Working from home isn’t easy, but I feel privileged to have the opportunity. Not everyone has that luxury. As promises of an effective vaccine suggest an end to the pandemic, it’s time to think about the future of remote work. Owl Labs recently released its 4th annual State of Remote Work. This information can help business leaders support workers by understanding trends in remote work.

How do employees feel about remote work?

Obviously, the pandemic is the force behind the push to telecommute. According to Owl Labs’ survey, 70% of full-time workers are working from home. Working remotely saves workers 40 minutes every day on their commute. The survey reports that people are saving about $500 each month by working from home. Working from home is keeping people from getting sick, but it’s also adding to their quality of life. Here are a few of the other findings:

  • 77% of respondents agree that working from home after Covid-19 would make them happier
  • 1 in 2 people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after Covid-19
  • Almost 25% of employees are willing to take a pay cut to work remotely some or all the time
  • 1 in 2 people would move if they could work from home all or most of the time

To retain top talent, employers may need to rethink their attitudes about remote work

Before COVID-19, many employers were concerned about productivity from remote workers. The attitude seems to be that if you’re not in the office, you won’t be as focused. The Owl Labs’ survey found that 75% of the respondents were the same or more productive from home under COVID-19. Granted, 44% of the respondents didn’t want to get dressed up for video meetings, but they were still productive. One in 5 people worked more while working from home.

Remote work may decline as the pandemic ends, but workers want that flexibility. Employers who aren’t aware of what their workers need will lose out to other organizations. Remote work can increase diversity and give you options to retain your best team members. Keep up with the changing landscape of work to understand how to support your employees.

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Business News

Inflation is coming to big brand goods, how small business can keep up

(BUSINESS NEWS) Big brands providing everyday goods are raising prices—take note, smaller producers, to determine if you need to follow suit for inflation.

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Woman holding a package of toilet paper, affected by inflation.

Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola are two of the mega-corporations that have said they are raising prices by September due to their own rising commodity costs. Kimberly-Clark has also warned of a “mid-to-high single digit” percentage price hikes to mitigate their own inflated costs in getting commodities.

Coca-Cola has already started to raise prices. Overall, prices are starting to go up. The Associated Press reports that it is beginning to happen, “U.S. consumer prices increased a sharp 0.6% in March, the biggest uptick since 2012, while inflation over the past year jumped 2.6%.”

Supply chains, along with so many things, got all kinds of jacked up in 2020, and we are continuing to see the effects as prices creep or sometimes shoot upward. With manufacturing and shipping prices rising, along with the costs of pulp and oil-related products, P&G, Kimberly-Clark, and Coca-Cola have stated they are hiking the prices of their popular, everyday items, things in fairly universal, high demand. Think diapers, feminine products, shampoo, paper products, and of course, food and beverages. Hopefully consumers can keep up, and hopefully small businesses are not affected too badly in the fallout.

The price hikes will initially affect the retailers buying the goods, but it stands to reason the consumers will feel the hit shortly thereafter. CBS News reported “Most retailers will pass on the higher costs to consumers, who might not even notice the difference because of the savvy methods deployed by these companies.” Demand for the big brands went up during the pandemic, even though some goods already saw early and continued upticks in pricing—toilet paper, for example.

Bloomberg adds, “P&G, whose lineup of brands also includes Charmin and Tide, is trying to navigate the waning stages of the pandemic, which had given it a boost as quarantined consumers stocked up on toilet paper and other household supplies. Wall Street is watching for signs of slowing demand as vaccinations increase and consumer behavior begins to normalize.”

As vaccine rates go up, and things move more and more toward fully opening, demand will continue to increase. However, commodity costs are rising, ports, highways and airports are more congested, and shipping prices are also rising. While the big brands and big retailers should be able to ride out the rising tide of increased costs, smaller producers need to pay attention and evaluate their own production and shipping costs. Smaller retailers need to decide who will bear the brunt when the big brands start charging them more. Will the smaller businesses be able to pass on the cost hikes to their customers?

It behooves the smaller guys to stay tuned in to what the big companies are doing, particularly with inflation. If P&G, Kimberly-Clark, and Coca-Cola are groaning about their costs, odds are it will be painful to the smaller businesses. It’s time to evaluate production methods, materials, and supply chains again. Buckle your seat belts; we’re in for some turbulence.

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Business News

The 7 deadly sins of technical interviews

(TECH NEWS) When you’re preparing for technical interviews, there are a number of things to consider, including these 7 tips of what NOT to do.

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Woman seated across from three interviewers for technical interviews

The economic world has never before been so mismatched. In October of 2019 I was let go from my Oil & Gas position. Through no fault of my own, I might add. The downturn for oil started in the summer of that year and a financial impact from other countries contributed to the beginning of a major downturn for the industry. Thousands of professionals lost their jobs in probably the worst downturn O&G has scene ever. Then of course we had a global pandemic to contend with.

During the ensuing 16 months of part-time work, I not only worked as a Wal-Mart employee (don’t ask!), but also a maid, a bartender, a writer, a hawker, and pretty much anything that would allow me to survive to the next paycheck. I’ll be giving back to friends for their generosity too for a while to come. Nothing I did professionally was making any headway so just like thousands of other people on the planet I was stuck trying to find employment while being drowned in bills.

After hundreds of applications, I do not exaggerate, I was able to land a number of professional interviews. Unfortunately, I only received limited interviews because of my advanced degrees. The number of times I heard that I was over-qualified would have made a nun curse.

During these interviews however, I remembered a great deal about good practices. An article published in Smashing Magazine actually categorized the 7 worst things you can do in technical interviews. Overall, they hit the nail on the head.

  1. Not Communicating Effectively: This is surefire way to not get a job. You have to know how to communicate to get anything done.
  2. Not Admitting when you don’t know the Answer: If you get caught not knowing some information, just admit that you don’t know and demonstrate that you know how to learn it. Or that you know where to find the correct information. If you lie and they figure it out, you’re screwed.
  3. Cramming the night before an interview: This is a surefire way to tire yourself out and be in worse shape than if you hadn’t crammed at all, remain balanced.
  4. Memorizing code for algorithms & Data Structures: You have no real clue about what you’re going to be asked. Filling your head with useless information right before technical interviews that could destroy your chances of answering something effectively.
  5. Overlooking the “Cultural Fit” Interview: Technical interviewers almost all come from a background of doing it themselves. This being said, they are typically not really looking for your full technical knowledge background, that’s what your resume is for. They want to know if they’ll want to spend most of their week with you, or whether you can handle stressful situations and fast paced changes. Having someone who is extremely technical but who can’t actually handle a social situation is almost always worse.
  6. Starting with the Optimized Solution: Always starting off with the optimized solution can show a very structured and inflexible mind. Show off your versatility, not just that you get straight to the point.
  7. Overlooking Programming Foundations: Instead of going off on fancy things, start with the basics – if they start asking about more advanced thins then that’s the opener for you to get creative. If you just jump over the basics they wont know where your base is.

These 7 shortfalls of technical interviewees are well established. They each come from well-known interview practices. Knowing how to communicate effectively is a must, no matter what job you’re interviewing for. Taking time to relax and stay calm before an interview and not cramming your brain full of information you may have no idea is going to be talked about. It’s a good list for technical interviews to be sure.

While it is a broader perspective, there are a few more points of information in the article itself.

The thing I always try and remember in any interview, whatever it be for a CEO or for McDonalds, I have a few rules to keep in mind. Not that they always got me what I wanted but it’s something to start with for those of you reentering the work force for whatever reason:

  • Be yourself: If your main goal is to hide character flaws, then ultimately one mistake could give them a bad impression. If you go into the meeting being yourself, you can at least be truthful on your strong or weak points to ensure best fit.
  • Be prepared: You know yourself, or at least I’d hope so. You know whether its best for you to study the week before or the night before technical interviews. Make sure you know the position you’re interviewing for and the company itself. You don’t have to memorize everything but you need to be prepared.
  • Be calm: You might be the nervous sort who has to pace on phone interviews. Well, if you are, just keep that in mind. I know for a fact that those interviews that I took on the phone without video, I paced around my room continuously. Whatever you need to do to appear calm and coordinated, do it.
  • Be observant: Reading the room is an essential skill for anyone trying to get a job. You could be blabbing the secrets of becoming a millionaire to someone who just doesn’t want to hear it. You wouldn’t get hired. You have to be able to know what’s going on around you.

As the world is, finding job is just a difficult process. You have to remember to not give up. That is the only thing that will stop you, quitting. Use any and all connections that you’ve made to keep moving forward. Don’t hesitate to use social media either. It’s there for a reason. Good luck!

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