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Ways to Get the Most Out of the Cloud

by: Sarah Joson

Friday, April 17, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

The buzz about cloud technology is apparently getting louder, according to a study by Computerworld. It revealed that cloud computing is the second-fastest growing IT budget, and is the top IT priority for this year.

A post at CIO.com explains the study and guidelines created by IDG Enterprise. It stated that a large number of IT companies are still analyzing which operations are suitable to be hosted in the cloud. The report also listed five ways firms can get the most out of their cloud operations:

1. Find processes that are typically made for the cloud.
These processes are usually the new ones that can be done purely over the cloud. If you see that service providers are able to offer superior functionality for a niche process that was previously offered in a packaged solution, then it’s also an ideal candidate. User-facing applications such as sales automation and collaboration are likewise ideal for cloud hosting.

2. Strive to decrease operating expenses.
By migrating processes to the cloud, companies are able to free up resources that are solely used in addressing operational issues, but are practically valuable for IT strategy and app development and progress of the company.

3. Free up space in data centers.
What some companies fail to realize is not all of their servers are fully maximized or even utilized properly. These unused servers take up space, consume power, and end up costing you more than you know. You can easily virtualize these processes yourself, but you must first know the current operating costs of your in-house data center before signing up for hosting services.

4. Be one of the early adopters of trends.
Trends exist for a reason. These have been effective for companies and are what the customers demand or more inclined to use. The rising trends in the cloud are email, collaboration, CRM, data storage, and human resources. The IDG enterprise survey also revealed that more than 50 percent of respondents are planning to move processes to the cloud in three years. These apps are believed to offer the top applications, and are widely used amongst businesses.
 
5. Reinforce your current operations with the cloud.
The cloud’s agility and usability are also driving adoption and investments. It may be used on projects that can be rolled out using a software-as-a-service provider and get seamless turnaround times. It will impress potential customers and could lead to more support for future cloud strategies.


How to Be One of the Top Brands in Social Media

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, April 16, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Social media's top brands are those whose social media accounts are deemed smart and funny by potential customers, and are good conversationalists that actually listen to their needs. They are focused on content in their marketing and advertising campaigns. What else do these brands have in common? Here are the winning habits of a top brand in social media:

Invests in Facebook
Brands like McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Red Bull have over 40 million Facebook fans each. These top brands have invested heavily on Facebook by publishing updates regularly, posting and sharing interesting and relevant content, and creating a variety of calls to action (CTAs).

Remembers different platforms = different content
There’s nothing wrong with sharing duplicate content across all your social media profiles, but familiarity breeds contempt. Top brands in social media produce original content appropriate for every platform and avoid posting the same content in every social network.

Schedules posts consistently
Posting randomly in social media is a thing of the past. Today, corporate advertising accounts post consistently and with purpose. LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook all offer content calendars for automatic scheduling of posts in an orderly manner that won’t irritate potential customers or let them forget about the product or service.

Tracks social media ROI
Top brands run online ad campaigns with frugality. To avoid wasting their budget and to know if they're making a good marketing investment, they use online tools like Buffer and Sprout Social to track social media ROI. These tools can give you an understanding of how your marketing campaign is doing on all major social media sites.

Focuses on decision makers
Make sure that your advertising campaign reaches decision makers - whether these are consumers or corporate. Networking possibilities in social media are endless. A good way to reach a wide market with disposable income and the power to make spending decisions is to have your CEO's LinkedIn profile complete and backed with recommendations.

Gets visual with Instagram
People like Instagram because it's a quick way to share experiences on a daily basis. Top brands offer photo contests on this platform and condense their product or service into 15-second videos.

Stays mobile-friendly
Top brands aiming at a younger demographic know that mobile app Snapchat is one of their growing obsessions - a reminder to old-school marketers that mobile devices capture a good share of the social media traffic right now. Tap into the popular mobile app and come up with creative 1- to 10-second video ideas for a chance to go viral. Viral videos beget shares, shares beget traffic, and traffic begets sales.

Stays on current trends
The people behind Friskies Cat Food have created authentic social buzz with their Grumpy Cat meme, and celebrities are made on Vine - just look at Jerome Jarre. Keep up with which social media venues are growing in influence and aim to create viral and great ad campaigns.


Source:
http://www.socialmediatoday.com/


A post at Finance.Yahoo.com shares findings of a survey by TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise, and IT services. TEKsystems’ 2013-2015 annual IT forecast is based on the reports of CIOs, IT VPs, IT directors, and IT hiring managers of healthcare organizations. It highlights the findings on the current environment of IT operations within healthcare organizations. It also helps IT teams to have a better understanding of the state of the healthcare IT segment across the board.
 
These are some of the highlights of the survey:

  • Fewer respondents expect bigger healthcare IT budgets this year, compared to the 68 percent last year. It is closer to the 52 percent recorded in 2013. Meanwhile, 38 percent predict IT budgets to stay the same, which is a significant increase compared to 2014’s 23 percent, and similar to 2013’s 41 percent.
  • More than half (64 percent) are optimistic that their IT department will be able to address demands this year, which is higher than the confidence levels posted in 2014 (59 percent), and 2013 (56 percent). Furthermore, 10 percent stated they are unsure.
  • The top five operationally focused segments identified as areas that need IT support the most include improving efficiency, reducing costs, improving existing IT applications and infrastructure, and managing risk.
  • The top four trends that are shaping organizations over the last two years are BI/Big Data, security, mobility, and consumerization of IT/BYOD.
  • Increases in spending are expected to be seen in security (70 percent), mobility (61 percent), BI/Big Data (60 percent), and Cloud (55 percent).
  • The key drivers for success in 2014 and 2015 are project managers, help desk/technical support, and programmers and developers.
  • The hardest positions to fill are project managers, security, programmers and developers, software engineers, and architects.
  • Wages are expected to increase for project managers (55 percent), software engineers (53 percent), and programmers and developers (52 percent). Also, 34 percent responded they expect salaries to increase for help desk/technical support.
  • More than half (73 percent) responded that overall IT salaries will increase in 2015, while 27 percent answered they expect salaries to stay the same.
  • Almost half (43 percent) of IT executives expect hiring more full-time IT staff, 52 percent anticipate hiring will stay the same, and only five percent expect to see a decrease.
  • As for the hiring activity for contingent IT staff,  42 percent see an increase, 52 percent expect it to remain the same, and only six percent are anticipating a decrease.

Doing Things Right with Smartsourcing

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, March 30, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Although a new concept, smartsourcing is rapidly becoming the trend and preferred method in the global outsourcing industry and the continuous progression of technology is propelling its growth. Technology, like the cloud, has provided a means for businesses to integrate smaller, flexible contracts that can be rolled out immediately, instead of the traditional bulk operations. However, choosing smartsourcing over outsourcing does not guarantee a better operation, nor will it solve all existing problems.

ComputerWorldUK.com shares basic steps of transitioning from outsourcing to smartsourcing:

Develop a strategy.
Like in most operations, strategy is always the backbone that will dictate if it will be a success or a total loss even before technology is brought into the picture. Once a strategy has been established, the IT department should be informed about the scale and requirements of the operation so that they can adjust accordingly, and figure out which areas need reinforcements.

The strategy should also depict possible scenarios in the future which could include scalability and project tenure, and analyze if the IT department can provide the requirements then they can map out and prepare for the future. But if they need to solve an issue in the process, they can rely on external service providers that can attend to the matter immediately. Once they are done fixing the issue or assisting the operation, they can leave and terminate the contract. This helps companies avoid large capital expenses, have faster turnaround time, and keep operations running smoothly.

Carry out the strategy.
Once you have decided that you will take the smartsourcing route, it is necessary to list down which processes need the extra help. For instance, it could be a department needing additional personnel to handle a ramp-up in production, assist in the expansion, and even align operations with the seasonal changes.  

Keep in mind, though, that there are things to take into account when scouting for the right provider. Look for a company that is true to their word. Perform due diligence. It also helps that you are on top of things when it comes to the operation, like knowing which parts are under your control, and which ones are transferred to the provider. Moreover, a plan B is sometimes necessary so you can minimize and control the damages once the operation goes south.


With the new set of revisions set to take place this year, healthcare organizations seem to have more on their plate as cost of operations continues to rise, and reimbursements are not as consistent as these are supposed to be. This then adds to the pressure within a medical organization, where everyone from the physician to the staff is affected, because instead of focusing on the needs of their patients, they also have to attend to administrative tasks to ensure proper work flow and finances.

Outsourcing certain processes can be a great step towards streamlining operations. A post at HitConsultant.net lists down three advantages of revenue cycle management (RCM) outsourcing to healthcare providers:
 
Work out denied cases seamlessly.
From claims submission to payer collections, external providers can spot possible errors and problems that could lead to losses. One of these is denials management. In a report done by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), 50-65% of denials are not identified and addressed properly. This could then result to future occurrences and missed opportunities because they missed denials trends. As a matter of fact, the cost of modifying a misinterpreted claim is $25, and prevention is the only solution to these types of losses.

RCM outsourcing will lessen the admin work.
Healthcare providers went through a rigorous process of learning and preparing to care for patients, not to work on admin tasks brought on by billing procedures of an organization. The RCM provider will lessen the admin work for medical specialists so their time will be spent on what they are intended to do.   

Processes are attuned with the changes.
RCM outsourcing also enables healthcare organizations to keep up with major movements and updates in the industry, like the ICD-10 which is anticipated to produce more denials. RCM service providers are a step ahead on these changes, and they can help clients go through major changes in the industry - leading to an undisrupted setup.


3 Basic Principles of Content Marketing

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, is a marketing approach businesses use to create and distribute content that their customers deem valuable and relevant - with the objective of driving sales. Solid content marketing is what drives traffic to your website and eventually turns ordinary consumers into raving brand evangelists. Without it, your efforts to define yourselves online on various social media platforms would go to waste.

Here are three basic principles from Social Media Today that you should have nailed down in order to achieve content marketing success:
 
1. Choosing the right content
The key is to understand your audience. Knowing who your customers are will not only help in drafting your message, it will also give you an idea of the best type of content to meet their needs.

2. Identifying the right distribution option
Identify the best way to share content you’ve created. Consider everything from potential return on investment to content type, and incorporate a combination of traditional marketing methods with modern digital techniques. You can also study the successful marketing campaigns of your competitors.

3. Defining goals and measuring success
Make sure you have a clearly defined content marketing strategy, what action you want your target audience to take. Map out your desired response. Breaking down the personas of each individual within the buying process will help create specific targets for your project, and it’s easier to gauge the initial investment needed.


It should go without saying that every cyber activity conducted by an organization should be strategic, tightly focused, and valuable. There are five key questions that need to be addressed before an organization sets out to engage and establish a presence on the digital space. Ideally, these questions are tackled by a small group of key players. Also, organizational leaders, albeit not that digitally sophisticated, can provide guidance to make sure those to whom they’ve delegated several digital engagement activities are as focused and efficient as possible and are maximizing the return on investment.

1. What are you trying to achieve?
This is where everything begins: a clear articulation of your organization’s goals and objectives in concrete terms. Are you doing this to generate revenue? If so, how do you want to do that? Or do you want to increase awareness of your company and/or your brand(s)? If this is the case, think about the main products/services you want to promote, which market segment(s) you want to focus on, who your customers are and their key characteristics, and given the typical sales cycle, whether or not your promotional focus is long-term. Or perhaps you’d like to demonstrate thought leadership? Then determine what kinds of thought leaders you want to be seen as, and by whom.

2. Who is your target market?
This requires comprehensive research, but should already be known just as with your organization’s goals and objectives, at least at a basic level. Who makes the buying decisions? What are their general demographic characteristics? Know how digitally literate your audience is, how engaged they are and where, their digital activities and interests, and types of content they prefer. While these can be hard to address in detail, it should still be possible to get a general sense based on historical information and knowledge. A great way to get more certain answers is by conducting research via focus groups and/or by surveying current/prospective customers.

3. How does digital engagement help you achieve your goals?
Once you’re armed with a set of strategic and tactical objectives and the profile of target audience in both general and digital terms, it’ll be fairly easy to assess which platforms and channels offer the best potential ROI. Compare readily available user information from established digital channels and platforms (like demographic data, communication styles, and engagement activities) against goals and audience profiles to determine the best fit and opportunities. You’ll find that some platforms are best for revenue generation, while others for brand awareness, and still others thought leadership; and that different channels/platforms are most appropriate for different market segments. The key is to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and that a multi-channel, segmented, targeted approach to digital engagement is probably best.

Match each goal to its target audience and specific digital channels/platforms, adding the type of digital engagement that makes the most sense for each. Channels/platforms where you’ve established a strong presence will provide a foundation for assessing whether and how new channels/platforms fit into the overall digital engagement mix.

4. Can you do it right - and can you keep it up?
This is where the big challenge lies: being realistic about what you can do given resource constraints. Determine the required investment in terms of human resources, time, and money. Is it worth it in terms of the potential return? Make a digital competency assessment first by asking if you have the internal resources with the necessary digital literacy to establish a strong presence and represent your company and brand(s) well. If you don’t have the right internal resources, consider outsourcing your digital engagement and to whom.

Also, think of how you can ensure that assigned resources have the knowledge, skills and abilities needed, are effective as well as efficient, and have the judgment to questions things and look for better approaches. No matter how skilled someone is, establishing a strong presence in any digital channel is time-consuming and requires ongoing commitment. The demands are relentless and holiday breaks don’t exist in cyberspace. These are the required activities:

  • Regularly and consistently share relevant curated and/or created content.
  • Monitor activity and engage with others.
  • Keep up with software, feature, and design changes on various platforms/channels.
  • Maintain an accurate profile and related info.

5. Are you prepared to pull the plug if/when necessary?
Just as you have to give a decent amount of time to get started and take off, you should also set a deadline by which you’re going to make a “stay or go” call (and by what criteria). When that time comes, assess whether a continued investment of resources is warranted based on the results to date and in the context of other organizational priorities. Should you need to take a temporary break, let people know you’re on hiatus. Be realistic about whether you’re ever going to return to the digital property. If you’re not, it’s best to pull the plug officially and not look back.


Source:
http://www.socialmediatoday.com/



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