Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 7

The right technology can accelerate business development in many ways – from reducing overheads to increasing sales. 

Use our blog series to understand tech tool options for growth, and the advantages and disadvantages they present.

Part 7: Integration Software

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In our final Tech Tools post we examine Integration Software, which allows business applications and processes to work together automatically.

All-in-one software solutions are often not the best choice when growing a business.  It can be more beneficial to select the most appropriate software tools for specific company needs.

However, it is essential that different online platforms can communicate and share data together –  which is where Integration Software is very valuable. 

Advantages

Continue reading “Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 7”

Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 6

Tech tools can assist your business in streamlining processes, enhancing communication, improving sales and much more.

Use our blog series to understand the advantages and disadvantages of tech tools for business growth.

Part 6: Accounting Software

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Accounting software automates financial transactions, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, purchase orders, billing and general ledger.

Advantages

Continue reading “Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 6”

Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 5

Tech tools can assist business growth in multiple ways, including improved operations, better customer service and more effective marketing.

Use our blog series to understand the advantages and disadvantages of tech tool options for growth.

Part 5: Document Management Software

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Document Management software automates the creation, secure storage and distribution of all types of documents online, reducing paper clutter and promoting efficiency.

Advantages

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– Access documents anywhere/anytime

– Unify document storage for easy, secure access, to avoid multiple location storage and versions (on computers, servers, CRM, web, paper, e-mails)

– Group Collaboration through file sharing

– Track and archive documents

– Safeguard data from cybercrime, ransomware, and disasters by encrypted cloud-based backup

– Aid compliance with audit trails

– Reduce physical storage costs

– Elimination of added technology and hardware costs

 Streamline processes and cut waste

– Eliminate document loss or damage with automatic backup

– Free up time for other priorities

Disadvantages

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– Cost of software

– Installation cost and time

– Staff training and motivation to ensure correct use

– Consistent Internet connection required with sufficient bandwidth

– Some companies prefer local hard-drive/server to remote cloud storage

– Risk of data breach/hackers

For further information see https://startups.co.uk/uk-based-cloud-backup/

Features

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Typical features include:

Document Capture and Imaging – Documents are digitised, using imaging technology

Document Storage – Records are stored, accessed, shared, edited on one platform

Document Search – Metadata (such as author and file name) is assigned to files to index them, they can be searched for by keywords

Permissions – Access for individuals and groups is managed, for viewing and editing 

Collaboration – Files are shared with individuals and groups, allowing for addition of comments and revisions

Archive – Confidential data is classified and archived in central storage  

Workflows – The life-cycle of contractual documentation is managed using rules-based processes, such as review and approval of draft documents and revisions prior to publishing

Virtual Data Room -Additional protections for online storage and sharing of confidential information

Mobile – Content can be created and edited on mobile devices, and data is displayed in mobile-responsive format.

Example Of Use:

If a customer calls to complain, past interactions might not be captured, meaning you start over again, delivering a poor customer experience and tying up staff resources.

However,  with case management software all customer interactions can be seen, plus any useful records such as a contract, to decide how to proceed.

Reports can be generated to show key performance metrics and progress towards resolving open claims.

https://www.softwareadvice.com/cms/#buyers-guide

Considerations

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Implementation

What support resources are available to train staff? Such as: training videos and documents, free demo, email/help desk support, FAQ/knowledge base access.

 

Cost

Most products are priced on a “per user, per month” basis.

How much are additional features such as optical character reader (OCR) integration, version control, workflow automation, and document scanning?

Integration

Check integration with your other key systems such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, E-Mails, Accounting, CRM, HR, Cloud Storage, Open APIs and Project Management.

This ensures scalability and allows company-wide document text searches, for example, during internal or external audits.  

Security

What security credentials are in place  against external threats (such as hacking and data breaches) and internal threats (such as employee theft)? Latest protocols include AES and SSL/TLS encryption.

Document Scanning and Imaging

Consider Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which converts written documents into a digital format.

Scanning and digitally storing paper documents with accurate keyword indexing helps user searches. 

Purpose

Do you simply need an off-site automatic backup, to sync, store and share files (such as OneDrive, Dropbox for Business or Google Drive)? Or do you need the benefits of collaboration, editing, workflows, access control, image management, distribution, compliance, indexing, conversion and OCR a document management solution provides?

Cloud Location
  • Is GDPR compliant
  • Encrypts ‘at rest’ stored backups
  • Avoids the Patriot Act (gives US Government access to data held) 
  • Has good backup and recovery speeds
  • Has strong customer support, such as 24-hour UK-based technical advice by phone and email
  • Holds ISO9001 or ISO27001 certification, for reassurance customer data is secure
  • Has their own data centre, or if it is outsourced to a third party, who this is, where data is stored, and track record for cybersecurity

Safety

Keeping data secure is top priority for online storage services. This is done by:
Encryption – all information is encrypted as industry standard.
Identity management – robust layers of security are used, such as passwords and user permissions.
Multifactor authentication (MFA) – Two-factor authentication (confirming identity by phone or e-mail), or additional layers.
Multiple data centres – information is split between units for added security.

Examples

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Examples of Document Management Systems to consider, as reviewed by Capterra, Startups.co.uk, SoftwareAdvice.com and TechRadar:

1. Microsoft OneDrive

Easy use, fast load speed, mobile, low cost, live syncing of devices, file sharing, online editing, encryption, two-factor authentication and handy tutorials.

2. Dropbox Business

Strong security controls, user-friendly, fast transfers, device auto-sync, editing and colleague collaboration.

3. Google Drive

15GB free storage, easy-to-use, online editing tools, encryption, excellent app, fast data transfer, device syncings, needs stricter password settings.

4. Logical DOC

Content management solution for all business size and sectors. Access control, communication, permission and file management, drag and drop interface, customisable branding.

Pre-built document templates, tools to search uploaded documents, bookmark specific files, convert into multiple formats, edit documents and import or export content from ZIP archives, e-mail boxes and desktop devices.

6. eFileCabinet

 

7. Box

Suitable for companies of all sizes and industries. Security and admin controls, sharing and collaboration capabilities for global users.

Compliance with HIPAA, FINRA and FedRAMP, granular access permissions and advanced security capabilities – watermarking, data governance and device trust.

Collaboration on all file types and devices, choose where to store data, manage encryption keys, set metadata-driven workflows to automate content-based processes.

Integration with Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Salesforce, Adobe and  others. Integration across open APIs.

8. Docuware

Scalable, invoice processing, many integrations, Cloud-based, mobile support, ‘cloud workflow’, mobile apps – scan receipts, approve invoices, and sign forms on the go.

9. EisenVault

User-friendly, document upload,  sharing, collaboration, storage and archiving, full-text Search, access controls, indexing, file type conversion, Version/Revision Control, Optical Character Recognition.

10. Zoho Docs

User-friendly, document upload,  sharing, collaboration, storage and archiving, full-text Search, access controls, indexing, file type conversion, Version/Revision Control, Optical Character Recognition
    

For full reviews and further info see:

View at Medium.com

 

For SEO and blog-writing services contact jan@brilliantbusinessblogs.com or call us on 0745 2086994

Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 4

Tech Tools can assist your business growth, by providing efficient project management, increasing customer sales, automating financial management and much more.

Use our blog series to understand the advantages and disadvantages of tech tool options.

Part 4: E-Mail Marketing Software

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E-Mail Marketing is one of the most cost-effective and easy-to-manage marketing tools for businesses.

E-Mail Marketing automation tools create, send, test, optimise and report on email campaigns.

There are specific tools such as email subject line generators or inbox placement testing tools, and suites of e-mail marketing end-to-end tools, from e-mail automation to demand generation and revenue attribution.

For further information see https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/modern-guidebook-email-marketing

Advantages

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– automate and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase operational efficiency and revenue 

– time savings, to allow employees to focus on creativity and strategy

– cost-effective, with no advertising fees or media costs.

– permission-based leading to greater customer responsiveness

– performance reporting to improve ROI

– retain full control, and establish direct contact with customers

– create engaging, personalised emails

– allows subscribers to share your email content to attract new followers and customers.

– manage contacts and segment users into groups for optimal results

 – scalability – use e-mail marketing to its fullest potential while delivering the best experience for subscribers 

– A/B testing of subject lines, calls-to-action, personalisation, content and images to ensure effectiveness.

– forecast future campaign performance based on historical data, using machine learning and AI

Disadvantages

Continue reading “Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 4”

Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 3

Business growth requires consistent process-improvement and innovative marketing practices. Tech Tools allow efficiency in raising market profile, organising resources, nurturing client relationships and protecting assets.

Use our blog to understand the advantages and disadvantages of tech tools in promoting business growth.

Part 3: Social Media Management Software

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Social Media Management Tools allow you to automate your social media accounts, expand social reach, curate content, improve ad performance, analyse impact and monitor conversations about your business and competitors.

Advantages:

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– Manage social media accounts and performance from one integrated platform

– Streamline activities to save time and optimise social media marketing

– Benchmark effectiveness of organic and paid social channels and videos

-Turn social media data into actionable insights to maximise ROI

– Build better strategy, content, and advertising by audience analysis

– Discover posts to promote, when to publish, and audience segments, to increase conversions

– Oversee, assign and approve team social media publishing across multiple profiles using a collaborative calendar, on desktop or mobile

– Choose Influencers most compatible with your audience based on AI recommendations, gauge their engagement and track KPIs in social media influencer campaigns

– Create customised dashboard reports to visualise results and aid data-driven decisions

Disadvantages:

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– Time to understand and correctly use the platform

– Security risk if forget to revoke access permissions for ex-employees

– Cost of software, but free versions exist, plus time saved and extra sales should mitigate this

For more information see https://www.socialbakers.com/suite/social-media-management, https://hootsuite.com and https://buffer.com

Typical Features:

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  • Scheduling – save time and effort by bulk-scheduling multiple messages in advance across social media networks
  • Mobile App – manage content anytime and anywhere
  • Web Extension – upload posts you discover while surfing the web, instantly post without logging in to social accounts. Create search streams by hashtag, location, or keyword
  • Content Calendar – plan and curate content, review and approve scheduled posts, collaborate with your team in real-time
  • Content Library – Organise content by tagging, search, and usage stats. Store and access content in the cloud —including Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive — from a dashboard
  • Analytics – prove social media impact and ROI, create and export custom reports in Excel, Powerpoint, PDF and CSV, bring data results to life with powerful analytics features
  • Insights – Get a clear understanding of social post performance across channels, track results by timeframes
  • Monitoring– build custom boards to create insightful reports with an intuitive interface. Draw on hundreds of metrics to measure social media content impact across channels and campaigns.
  • Team Management – measure team metrics, track time taken to respond and resolve posts and comments. Safeguard social media presence by managing access to social accounts and setting team member permission levels

Considerations

Functionality
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Check your preferred Social Media Management tool enables:

– social media scheduling in a single content calendar

– real-time team collaboration to plan posts and assign timely responses

– accurate analytics reporting

– integration with current apps

– RSS feed imports, to simplify and assist sharing content such as blogs

– custom-branded URLs

– engagement tools eg contest creation

– topic, keyword, and location conversation-monitoring

– recycling of posts indefinitely (known as evergreen content)

– tangible insights into audience reach

Ease of Use

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Trial a few systems to discover which best fits your business needs, and obtain feedback from team members.

Work out who will use it and for what purposes, to identify essential features.

The software should boost efficiency, consistency and response times, because all social media conversations are seen in one place, meaning you can prioritise activities and create a shared library of on-brand social assets.

Costs

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The number of social profiles managed, amount of scheduled posts and the complexity of features such as analytics and tracking will determine price.

Most Social Media Management systems have free versions, typically with limited profiles, posts and features.

Integration

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Check the social networks you need to use can be managed by your preferred Social Media Management tool.

For example, in addition to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter, can it schedule and measure with Instagram,  Pinterest, Tumblr and Reddit?

Also, if necessary for your business, with international platforms such as Tencent, Baidu, Viber or VK?

Ensure you can add the power of social media to the tools you already use, such as CRM (see CRM Systems For Business Growth), E-Commerce (such as Shopify, Opencart and Magento), Communication (such as Skype, SharePoint and Hipchat), Data Integration (such as Zapier, IFTTT and Skyvia),and Project Management Software Project Management Software).

Examples of Social Media Management Tools

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Platforms to consider, as reviewed by Tech Radar, E-Clincher and Wordstream, include:

1: Hootsuite

An established platform with all the necessary applications and robust features including content creation, curation, organisation, bulk scheduling (upload several posts at a time) and RSS integration.

The free plan includes management of 3 social profiles, scheduling 30 posts in advance (queued), basic tracking analytics, contest creation, 2 RSS feed integrations, team features and custom branded URLs.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress.

2: Buffer

A well-known platform for managing multiple social profiles. Schedule content while web browsing with a Chrome extension, get suggestions on best times to post based on follower activity, and integrate with Google Analytics.

The free plan includes management of 3 social profiles, scheduling 10 posts, browser extensions and mobile apps, content creation, real-time analytics, team features, shortening plus tracking links, and an RSS feed integration.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest.

3. Zoho Social

Zoho Social helps manage multiple profiles, research relevant keywords, work with team members, and schedule posts from one dashboard. It syncs with Facebook lead ads, offers advanced reporting features and CRM integration.

Zoho Social’s free plan allows management of 1 brand, and includes a URL shortener and SocialShare plugins.

4. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a one-stop shop for managing and scheduling all social media accounts through a simple-to-use platform, and a powerful tool for analysing data by demographic and geographic measures.

It can manage multiple accounts and monitor keywords across social media, to bring awareness of when you are discussed online, and help you respond quickly to customers. Sprout Social has a social inbox, and basic team features.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.

5. TweetDeck

If Twitter is crucial to your social media strategy, TweetDeck is the best social management platform, allowing creation of custom timelines, lists and searches, and adding of team accounts.

Free for Twitter users, not an all-in-one platform, but a great tool for managing multiple live-conversation Twitter accounts.

6. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is known for its social calendar feature –  to schedule and organise all social media posts. It has basic publishing features and ReQueue – intelligent software that schedules the top posts in your social history.

CoSchedule does not offer social monitoring, listening, or keyword searches. It has a separate dashboard for each client, re-usable task templates, social approval, and custom reports.

SupportedNetworks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr.

7. Agora Pulse

Agora Pulse has a variety of useful features – social engagement, publishing, listening, reports, and team collaboration. It allows auto-posting to queue evergreen posts, and content labelling to retrieve and analyse posts.

Agora Pulse has a Social Inbox feature for interacting with followers in one place and viewing every profile. It has social monitoring and keyword searches, plus team sharing features.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube.

8. Snaplytics

Snapchat lets users create short-lived ‘stories’ for user interaction. Snaplytics takes regular snapshots of your Snapchat account and offers insights and benchmarking, plus a library of previously created content to view engagement levels and for republishing.

Snaplytics supports scheduling stories for later publication, organised by tags for easy tracking. Its elegant dashboard displays marketing performance on a platform-by-platform basis.

9. Brandwatch

Brandwatch eavesdrops on information that could be crucial to your company from Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, news and other diverse web sources.

Social sentiment analysis shows the tone of data collected from profiles you’ve connected with, so you can include pertinent trends and emerging themes in your conversations.

10. Simply Measured

Simply Measured (by Sprout Social) is a more expensive, in-depth social media analytics tool.

It offers free reports on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and sophisticated subscriber reports, including date and time engagement analysis and content type analysis. This allows you to publish the types of content that work best, at optimal times for your community.

For detailed reviews see:

Social Media Guidelines

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Whilst the above platforms are excellent tools for raising profile and driving sales, be aware of Social Media basics to ensure your efforts yield positive results (see Social Media Basics):

Quality – Publish content that people want to share, and that will last (see Content Marketing).

Quantity – Quantity is critical as new material will quickly override yours. Be consistent with posts, and re-post new content several times.

Posting – Social media audiences vary, so use data to determine how and when to post. Experiment with different times to identify the most effective to reach your customer types.

Hashtags – Be strategic with hashtags, @mention those that matter on each post. If creating a branded hashtag, make it easy to spell and say, eye-catching and memorable.

Goals – Know what follower behaviour you are trying to drive, so what channels and activities to concentrate on, and what metrics to measure to track success. For example:

Increased Brand Awareness
Use activities to collect and share customer testimonials, and highly-shareable content.

Increased Traffic and Conversions
Find opportunities to engage with relevant, interested customers who are ready to buy, and measure Click-through rate (CTR).
Increased Engagement
Start by responding to most user mentions, questions, and comments, then analyse this data to build a solid content strategy.

Measure follower numbers and how well your audience is responding to your content, such as number of shares, comments, mentions, and retweets.

Influence – Target Influencers that have audiences you want to reach. Tools such as Klout and Social Authority provide “influence scores.” Twitter and Google give rankings for topic influencers, and relevant forums contain influencers. 

Sentiment – Analyse the tone of a topic conversation using automated tools such as Boardreader or Mention, to see if people love, hate or are indifferent to your brand.

Conversation Drivers – Use Social Listening to work out when and how to start interactions with customers who may be interested in your service.

Monitor the topics and context of conversations about you, your competition, and your sectors. For example, who customers perceive as your competition and what concerns they’re sharing about your products.

and

For SEO and Blog-Writing services contact jan@brilliantbusinessblogs.com or call us on 0745 2086994

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