4 Recommendations to Avoid Spending Too Much on IT


To take advantage of big cost savings in information technology, a study says businesses need to change their buying habits. Here’s how.



Despite an unprecedented trend to control information-technology costs, the majority of companies fail to achieve maximum savings, according to a multi-nation Forrester Consulting study.

“After surveying 304 IT decision-makers, Forrester found that even though IT budgets are under constant scrutiny, businesses have defaulted to vendor influence which has blinded them to the rewards of extending hardware lifecycles and third-party maintenance solutions,” according to the 2013 report.

Seventy-six percent of respondents want to minimize expenditures, but they don’t know they’re overpaying in the two ways.

Little wonder why the top IT decision-maker for many companies is not the chief information officer – the chief financial officer is.

Many CIOs are too obtuse in finance.

Instead, they should become budget savvy in our tepid economy or in case the economy worsens.

In essence, CIOs should learn how to get more respect in the C-suite.

The Forrester study is entitled, “Challenging The Status Quo On Maintenance Contracts And Refresh Cycles To Lower Costs.”

More key findings:

— Up to 79 percent of organizations refresh their wired networking infrastructure every one to five years guided by industry averages that originate from the vendors.

— Vendors set the end of life agenda resulting in the sometimes unnecessary and expensive replacement of IT equipment – that still carries market value and has 20 plus years mean time between failures.

— End of life equipment is prematurely retired. Eighty-five percent of respondents admitted that they would have kept their legacy networking equipment if the vendor continued to support it.

— Original equipment manufacturer maintenance services have little return on investment. More than 80 percent of organizations buy maintenance contracts from their equipment manufacturer even though they see little value in what they are purchasing and express discontent over misrepresented cost savings, new fees, and inflexible pricing models.

— Third-party maintenance options are widely unknown. Only 21 percent report that they have leveraged competitor third-party bids when negotiating service and maintenance contracts, while 80 percent claim they would leverage third-party maintenance if they found it to be more affordable than their current contract.

Report’s recommendations:

  1. Keep what’s working within an existing infrastructure to avoid premature and unnecessary upgrades.
  2. Don’t pay for software updates if there are none, or if they are available for free. Organizations should carefully scrutinize ongoing maintenance contracts in order to find valuable operational expenditure savings.
  3. Put maintenance contracts out for competitive bid, not just to different resellers, but also include third-party options.
  4. Put metrics in place to reward value, quality, and longevity, not just resiliency.

The survey’s methodology: Interviews were conducted with IT decision-makers in Australia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Respondents included decision-makers in executive positions, finance, information technology, and procurement.

Hence, an obvious conclusion:

“Every CIO should make it a priority to read this report,” says Mike Sheldon, president and CEO Curvature (www.curvature.com), formerly Network Hardware Resale, which sponsored the study.

“Businesses of all sizes need to know that there can be incredible value and cost savings with a reliable third-party maintenance service provider – helping to ease worries about tightening IT budgets without sacrificing quality,” he adds.

Amen. Review your overall business situation, how vendors are selected, upgrading solutions, end of life, and maintenance.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for related reading:

Two Studies Indicate Need for IT Pros to Get Businesslike — CEOs have long complained to me about information technology. They complain about high-priced consultants, and that IT projects are too expensive and fail to yield a return on investment. Indeed, two studies underscored the need for IT professionals to become more businesslike.

Risk Management – Picking the Best Cloud Storage Provider — Choosing the right cloud storage provider is a must for risk management. You have a vast array of options. Cost is important, of course, but so are your company’s risk-management needs – just like the federal government.

Do BYOD Headaches Outweigh Benefits? Yes — More than half — 53 percent — of surveyed global businesses admit they’re not ready to defend against attacks on their employees’ bring their own device (BYOD) devices. Nearly all say their devices might have been attacked.

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
-Benjamin Franklin


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Strategies to Create the Best Possible Mobile Apps



Consumer and enterprise penchants for mobile technology have skyrocketed but we’ve only scratched the surface in developing quality, application solutions.

Mobile apps are expected to support initiatives for a company’s return on investment. That includes competitiveness in the marketplace; efficiency; enterprise and consumer relationships; and revenue – better yet, profits would be more ideal.

So it’s increasingly important to meet the needs of your target audience, B2B or B2C, in mobile apps.

This is achieved with security measures, and power and speed with a well-designed style.

ID-100301078 adamrBarriers to growth include but aren’t limited to a lack of lucid strategies, industry homogeny, and assimilation of an organization’s data.

Flexibility is important to allow for change and new features.

The marketplace is dynamic.

Businesses evolve. So do their needs in technology.

Operating systems and hardware are constantly updated.

Setting benchmarks

You should be mindful of benchmarks for the successful creation of mobile apps.

Here some questions to keep in mind:

  • Have you thoroughly researched the prospective end-users?
  • Is the app unique? Does it fill a need or capitalize on a marketplace gap?
  • How can you monetize it?
  • Will it be attractive?
  • Will it be hack-proof, and well-designed to be user-friendly?

Cybercriminals are everywhere. Again, a business cannot afford security breaches in its apps. Control must be maintained to alleviate risks and uncertainty.

Despite all the enterprise interest in creating mobile apps, organizations typically don’t have the IT resources to develop them. There are too many priorities.

This means it’s vital to choose a quality software development company. Like any sector, there are good and bad ones.

Flexibility is important to allow for change and new features.

Outsourcing tips

If you must outsource, here are four tips on selecting the right developer:

1. You must be able to interface with a firm that will truly understand your vision for the app. That requires the developer to have a skilled liaison or project manager to coordinate the project and to keep the lines of communication open. Must-haves are attention to detail along with good reporting skills. Non-compete agreements are necessary. You don’t want to pay someone to create an app to help you realize your vision, only to have it fall into the hands of your competitors.

2. You want a developer that can deal with change and possesses the latest technology. No built-in obsolescence here or compromising on quality, but the code should allow for flexibility for when the need for updating arises. Of course, you’ll want a secure app.

3. Results-oriented — that’s a trite phrase, but it aptly describes what you need in a software company. Your vendor must want success, too. That underscores the need for the developer to understand your needs as well as the needs of the end-users. Who are the users? Why and how will they use it?

4. You’ll want a developer who will deliver on time and within budget. No negative surprises.

Once you’ve developed your world-class mobile app, you have one last step: Marketing. You must prepare to market it well with a stellar campaign.

Otherwise, why do all of this?

From the Coach’s Corner, suggested reading:

Create Buzz to Win Your Major Marketing Campaign — There are many reasons for marketing failure of a campaign. Here are 14 of the more important reasons.

Leadership and Planning Tips for Successful Project Management — In truth, projects fail because they’re not managed. Yes, there are varying degrees, but in reality they’re either managed or they’re not. The project manager must possess 11 leadership attributes to manage the team, stay on track and keep within budget. 

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photos courtesy adamr www.freedigitalphotos.net

Why Your Business Can Avoid the Expense of Microsoft’s Windows 8



March 14, 2012 –


If you’re like most businesspeople trying to stay competitive in this economy, you like to be current in technology, but you have to avoid security issues and unnecessary expenses.

So whenever Microsoft releases a new operating system, you might think “Oh no, not another expense.” That’s probably the case with the hype over Microsoft’s release of Windows in 2012.

Indeed, the cyber world is filled with reviews about Windows 8. A lot of the criticism stems from Windows 8’s start screen instead of a start menu – with no tutorial. But I haven’t spotted any reviews aimed at a typical businessperson’s concerns — unnecessary expenses and managing financial data.

Time to turn to an expert who helps businesspeople manage their information technology: Jerald Savin, who goes by “Jerry,” a leading management consultant in the Los Angeles area who also teaches at UCLA.

Jerald   Jerry Savin (See his LinkedIn profile here.)

Time to turn to an expert who helps businesspeople manage their information technology: Jerald Savin, who goes by “Jerry,” a leading management consultant in the Los Angeles area who also teaches at UCLA. 

He was the first to warn about the difficulties with Microsoft’s ill-fated Vista. Thankfully, he speaks with authority in a direct and easy-to-understand likeable style.

A telephone interview provided relief as he answered two key questions:

  1. Windows 8 is not designed for typical and easy business uses.
  2. You won’t have to throw away Windows 7 or Windows XP any time soon.

As usual, Mr. Savin’s instincts are visionary. Here’s confirmation from The Ed Bott Report at ZDNet.com about Microsoft’s end-of-support dates:

  • Windows XP SP3: April 8, 2014
  • Windows Vista SP2: April 11, 2017
  • Windows 7 SP1: January 14, 2020
  • Windows 8: January 10, 2023

(ZDNet.com is a daily must-read if you want to stay current on technology.)

Business uses

“What is the basic significant difference between Apple and Microsoft?” asks Mr. Savin. “Apple targets the interests of iPod, iPhone and iPad users while Windows targets business utility users. What accountant uses Apple? Nobody.”

Not to oversimplify, he explains the iPad is used for pictures, not for work. Windows is used for data entry and data manipulation.

“It’s hard to visualize businesspeople using tablets, which are designed for pictures and similar processes,” he surmises. “The crux of the problem is that keyboards are still the main way for businesspeople to use their computer for accounting and other uses.”

OK, so Mr. Savin answered the first concern — Windows 8 is not designed for business.

What about the second concern – the expense of substituting Windows 8 for Windows 7 or XP.

Investment or unnecessary expense?

“Who is the biggest Windows user?” he asks. “The U.S. government buys more PCs than anyone, and still uses XP. Getting the federal government to buy new stuff – adopting Windows 8 — is not likely to happen soon.”

The implication is that support for XP won’t end in the immediate future. That might be a positive for Windows 7, too. The economy will not support it. (Here’s another indicator: Microsoft chops Office 365 enterprise prices by 20 percent.)

My thoughts for clients and my computers: “Whew.” A Biz Coach tip-of-the-cap to Mr. Savin, who continues to save us time and money in managing our information technology.

P.S. Donald Bell of CNET provides his top 5 reasons to hold off on a Windows 8 upgrade.

From the Coach’s Corner, if you’re looking for answers regarding tech security, you can find countless solutions in this portal’s Tech section

For a comprehensive resource in Internet marketing, see: How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Cyber Strategies for Profit

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
-Albert Einstein

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Risk Management – Picking the Best Cloud Storage Provider



There’s been quite a buzz about using the cloud. Personally, I’m still not sold on using cloud services for many businesses.

There have been too many problems, and I prefer to maintain controls to alleviate uncertainty in business.

But companies such as IBM continue to tout what they call success.

IBM explains in this video:

Aside from the pride that IBM shows, one of the lessons I learned very early — when there’s a lot of hype — go slow with due diligence.

Frankly, I’m not alone.

Critical cloud study

A heavily credentialed expert performed a study and provides this surprise: Open source technology is preferable to the cloud.

But if you feel you must go the cloud route, remember choosing the right cloud storage provider is a must for risk management.

You have a vast array of options. Cost is important, of course, but so are your company’s risk-management needs – just like the federal government.

It’s took two years, but the government launched FedRamp, the federal risk and authorization program.

It established security standards for providing cloud services to the government.

FedRAMP also provides agencies with monitoring tools to insure continuous compliance with security standards. Those are important considerations.

Risk-management for your business

Here are 10 questions to ask of your prospective cloud provider:

1. If they’re a large provider, has the vendor been qualified by FedRAMP?

2. What is the company’s financial situation? Bankruptcies are prevalent. Have a frank discussion with the supplier. Find out if they expect to gain or lose business in the next year. And ask about their cash flow, and for references regarding the status of their banking relationships.

3. What would be their total charges? Is it a flat fee? What are the additional costs for storing each gigabyte or for transferring data?

4. What about the security of their services, privacy commitment and data protection, and what does their service level agreement (SLA) provide? Keep in mind commitments for performance and reliability, and what happens if they fail to perform according to the SLA.

5. What do they provide in the way of data availability each month? What will be the percentage of time you will be able to get into your data or add new data?

6. What do they provide in data transfer rates? Data storage is important, but so is your ability to rapidly transfer your data.

7. What level of data durability do they offer? That is the amount of potential data loss from data corruption.

8. Does the vendor provide data shuffle or bare metal service? This service is a hard copy backup. Will you be able to present a hard-drive data copy to the cloud or will you be able to retrieve a copy of your data?

9. What do they support in operating systems? Make certain they’re capable of working with all your operating systems.

10. What are their backup services? You’ll have problems if they simply backup your data. You’ll also want assurances that they will back up all your computer applications and operating system, and will provide virtual servers for crashed systems.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are recommended articles:

The New Face of $1 Trillion in Cybercrime on Business – Account Takeovers, Credit Card Fraud — Business Web sites are facing an increasingly intense full-court press from cybercriminals – the aggregate cost of cybercrime annually, which includes prevention strategies, has exceeded $1 trillion. 

Security Steps for Your Mobile Device in Online Banking, Purchases — Almost 90 percent of Americans use a cell phone and more than 50 percent have smartphones, according to published reports. They also indicate 28 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking.

How to Enhance Security in Your Company’s Wireless Network — Do you take it for granted that your wireless network is secure? Don’t make that assumption. Wireless routers present dangers. Your router is vulnerable to hackers and, hence, security issues. If you’re really serious about security, WIFI might not be for you. A wired network might be more desirable. 

How Small Businesses Can Profit from Cyber Strategies — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities: Potential customers probably think that national chains have easier-to-shop Web sites. Big retailers have lower prices.

“It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.”
Steve Jobs


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 




President Obama Never Listened to Steve Jobs on Economy



Toward the end of his life, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs – widely recognized as a genius – issued a warning to President Barack Obama.

That’s one of the intriguing details in Mr. Jobs’ authorized biography, “Steve Jobs.” Messrs. Jobs and Obama met in a tense meeting for 45 minutes in 2010.

Authored by Walter Isaacson after 40+ interviews, the Simon & Schuster book reveals Mr. Jobs’ wife, Laurene Powell, scheduled the meeting with the president. It was held at a San Francisco airport hotel.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.jpgAbout a conversation between the couple, the author writes:

President Obama was “really psyched to meet you” Ms. Powell informed her husband. The author indicates Mr. Jobs responded with anger – he felt the president should have personally asked for a meeting.

Mr. Jobs told the president that the U.S. needed to work for a warm, economic climate. Mr. Jobs explained why businesses build factories in China – fewer regulations and less costs.

The problem was that Mr. Obama didn’t get the message about jobs. Millions were created but most was only part-time and did not pay family wages.

Mr. Jobs also had harsh words for education – ineffective teachers were protected by the unions and principals were shackled in trying to hire good teachers.

The book portrays the genius, not surprisingly, as creative. His other attributes: sensitive, intense, and he had a temper.

When the new Android software seemed to be a replica of Apple’s, Mr. Jobs characterized Google as having committed “grand theft.”

He told author Isaacson: “I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Yes, he was competitive.

“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google, you f—ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,” said Mr. Jobs according to the author. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”

Millions of his iPhone4S were sold as customers paid tribute to Mr. Jobs in lining up to spend an aggregate $1.2 billion. Being much respected the outpouring of affection and sentiment upon his death was to be expected.

In the last decade, only one other businessperson received such adulation – Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas. His folksy demeanor and strong advocacy for adopting children sparked massive sentiment for him. Upon Mr. Thomas’ death, Wendy’s sales skyrocketed, too.

Mr. Jobs’ biography is well worth reading.

As a business-performance consultant, I’m not in agreement with the universal adulation of Mr. Jobs as a businessperson because of his lack of vision in three ways:

  1. The offshoring Foxconn scandal concerning the production of Apple products. I don’t agree Mr. Jobs exercised enough leadership in in economic patriotism.
  2. At some point, Apple will suffer from a market correction because of security issues in Mac products.
  3. The goverment’s allegations of e-book pricing fixing.

But Mr. Jobs was a true genius on a lot of things including the economy — onerous government regulation of business and the creation of jobs.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related posts:

Has Security Bloom Fallen off the Rose for Macs?

Healthcare Reform – New Red Flags for Business, Workers

Is Higher Education Doing the Job to Prepare Grads for the Workforce?

President Obama Misses Mark Again, More of the Same 

“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” 

-Steve Jobs


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.



Why CFOs Call the Shots in IT Decisions



The top IT decision-maker for many companies is not the chief information officer. The chief financial officer is increasingly calling the shots for IT.

The CFO has become the top technology decision maker in around half of businesses, according to Gartner research released in June, 2011, which is entitled: “Financial Executives International (FEI) Technology Study.”

In fact, more IT departments are overseen by the CFO, not the chief executive or other senior managers. True, CIOs should learn how to get more respect in the C-suite. But for the CFO to call all the shots in IT decisions is ill-advised, and I’ll explain later.

ID-100123176 imagerymajesticThe study’s conclusions:

— 42 percent report to the CFO

— 45 percent IT investment strategies made by the CFO

— In 38 percent, the IT department is managed by the CFO

— In 7 percent, the CFO is the lone decision-maker

“Understand that the CFO views the impact on business process and business enablement as the top technology issues,” said Gartner analyst John Van Decker.

“Therefore, applications and analytics are the top investment priorities, and the enabling technologies that support these initiatives need to be viewed as equally important,” he added.

The study also indicated that analytics and applications are the No. 1 investment priorities by the CFO.

While this trend probably makes financial executives happy, it doesn’t make for best practices.

It raises at least three questions:

— Do such CFOs have the necessary tech knowledge to understand the value of each decision? Sufficient steps have to be taken to ensure due diligence in IT security and other decisions.

— When will CEOs reconsider such strategies because of the negative impacts on the teamwork and morale of IT departments? An IT thought leader will resent such intrusions on the chain of command in organization structure.

— What will CIOs do about it? CIOs must take the proverbial bull by the horns to exert more leadership.

My bottom-line: Agreed, the CIO should adhere to all financial checks and balances. But there should be balance.

As with human resources management and marketing whom the chief people often aren’t sufficiently respected, in essence, the top IT decision-maker should be the chief information officer with input from the CFO and other managers.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s related reading:

4 Keys So Marketing and IT Can Create Business Revenue — Businesses will generate more revenue if their information technology and marketing professionals strategize more effectively. For instance, success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for companies that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. A study shows Internet shoppers are more demanding in the three Cs — channels, choices and convenience.

4 Recommendations to Avoid Spending Too Much on IT — To take advantage of big cost savings in information technology, a study says businesses need to change their buying habits. Here’s how.   Despite an unprecedented trend to control information-technology costs, the majority of companies fail to achieve maximum savings, according to a multi-nation Forrester Consulting study.

Tech Trends: CFO’s the Boss, IT Departments Are Disappearing — Two developments are clearly underway in information technology. Increasingly, the chief financial officer is in charge and IT departments are shrinking in size. Here’s why.

Tech Planning: What If There’s Another Downturn? — Technology-research firm Gartner recommends in a study that chief information officers should get ready for another downturn. That requires planning.

Executives Target 5 Technology Threats to Company Value — Corporate executives see new strategic risks as a result of technological changes — from big data and cloud computing to social media  — according to a 2013 global Deloitte survey. Deloitte queried more than 300 executives, risk managers and board members — 81 percent said their strategic-management focus has evolved with technology.

Men are respectable only as they respect.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Windows 7 Looks Great, but Should it Be Better? Yes.

 

Jan. 29, 2011

 

A review about Windows 7 in InformationWeek caught my eye because it struck a nerve. The publication’s senior editor, Serdar Yegulalp, wrote an insightful piece entitled, “What Windows 7 Is Still Missing.” As a longtime Microsoft supporter, I agree with his insights and have my own personal unfortunate experience but more on that later. 

“There’s little question Windows 7 has been received with open arms by users and admins,” Mr. Yegulalp writes.

”It fixed many of the problems that plagued earlier versions of Windows, made good on the promises that seemed only half-fulfilled with Vista, and introduced a slew of new functions — big and small — that were also warmly received,” he explains.

“When Windows 7 was released, Microsoft made a major blunder by not updating a free offering that had been previously available for Windows XP and Vista: SteadyState,” he adds. “Windows does not have, by default, a single all-encompassing mechanism for returning the entire system — user settings, data on disk, etc. — to a given state.”

He explains SteadyState saved Admins setup time.

“Instead, Microsoft released a white paper in which they described how admins could use many of the native technologies in Windows 7 to emulate the behaviors of SteadyState,” he points out.” It isn’t hard to guess the reaction: people booed Microsoft roundly for ignoring a much-requested feature from its customers.”

Mr. Yegulalp maintains Windows 7 doesn’t provide a critical function:  “…one of the biggest and most crucial functions — disk protection — isn’t provided except through workarounds like System Restore. These don’t work in remotely the same fashion as SteadyState’s own disk protection, which required little or no intervention or downtime.”

He points out it lacks support for other hardware.

“Most of us are all too familiar with this scenario,” he writes.”You install a copy of Windows on a newly-minted PC, or perhaps reinstall a clean copy on an existing one. Unfortunately, a great many things simply don’t work — your Bluetooth module, for instance, or your memory card reader. Or the whole system just seems weirdly sluggish for a fresh install.”

He makes these suggestions:

  • Extend Windows update to close the gap
  • Universal software updates
  • Proper touch support for tablets
  • Acquisitions, third-party features  

“But Windows 8 is two years or more away, and most people will not wait that long for solutions to the problems…They want some sign, sooner rather than later, that the right thing is being done,” he asserts.

“And if it Microsoft doesn’t provide it, someone else will,” concludes Mr. Yegulalp.

Amen.

To read his full assessment, here’s his article: What Windows 7 Is Still Missing.

From the Coach’s Corner, my own Windows 7 experience is not what I’d expect from a leading technology company.

After some thought, I decided to buy Windows 7 to upgrade my most-revered notebook computer, an IBM ThinkPad. (Actually, I own two.)

However, making a purchase online, it could not be installed. Plus, Microsoft didn’t send an email confirmation as promised. I tried every tip provided on Microsoft’s Web site to no avail. So I called the company. It took repeated calls. I was forced to deal with two people who were difficult to understand.

Initially, they didn’t believe I even made the purchase. After all, there was no receipt. Then, someone thought to ask for my product key. They concluded they couldn’t help me.

Ultimately, I reached someone I could understand. But the tech-support person concluded that I’d have to wait for the five days for a disk to install Windows 7.

Then, his major gaffe – he lectured me for buying Windows 7 instead of buying a new computer with it already installed.

“Where’s the attitude of empathy and customer service,” I thought. “What a waste of more than three hours.”

I hung up telling him: “You’re of no help.”

Oh, and more than 24 hours later, I finally received a purchase-receipt from Microsoft.

Is this the best a world-class company can do? Now, after reading Mr. Yegulalp’s article – not knowing whether Windows 7 will even be compatible with my own needs – it’s a purchase I hope I don’t regret.

Strategic Tips to be Web-Ready for the All-Important Q4 Sales



Data from a Bold Software survey helps businesses develop their holiday online sales strategies, according to Website Magazine.

The answers are in Bold’s Holiday Readiness Handbook.

ID-100224095 stockimagesThe company interviewed more than 400 employees of its 300 customers that use its live-chat technology services in 2010.

Guess what? The insights are still applicable.

For the holidays, here are the top 10 Web site changes that companies planned:

1. Moderate design changes
2. Site navigation
3. Landing pages
4. Optimization of live chat (tie)
4. Site search (tie)
6. Search engine optimization
7. Video content
8. Purchase process changes
9. Wholesale design changes
10. Mobile commerce optimization

Here’s what businesses are offering for customers:

1. General discount coupons/codes
2. Specific product promotions
3. Free or reduced shipping
4. Free giveaways
5. Lowest-price guarantees
6. Contests/sweepstakes

They’re also maximizing their live-chat systems:

1. Evaluate canned messaging
2. Implement proactive chat
3. Empower agents to offer incentives
4. Optimize proactive rules
5. Chat window customizations

Forty-six percent of respondents made the changes in August of that year. Twenty-eight percent said the changes are being implemented. Seventeen percent hadn’t launched implementation.

Sixty-one percent forecast higher sales in Q4, but 37 percent didn’t forecast change and 2 percent anticipated less sale volume.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

How Small Businesses Can Profit from Cyber Strategies — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities: Potential customers probably think that national chains have easier-to-shop Web sites. Big retailers have lower prices.

10 Tips to Optimize Your Web Site for Higher Sales — If you haven’t optimized your Web site for sales, you might want to reconsider. There are more and more indications that online shopping will continue to grow.

7 Precautions for a Profitable Layaway Program — Despite the continuous changes in technology, retailers are reverting to a sales and customer-loyalty practice that was prevalent in the 1950s. That would be a layaway program to sell more products to cash-strapped customers. Big box stores, such as Walmart and Toys R Us, have benefited from PR when they’ve announced their layaway programs.

Energize Your Customer-Loyalty Program with 6 Steps — The quickest way for established businesses to optimize revenue is to have a stellar customer-loyalty program — there are six steps you can take for repeat sales and referrals. If you’re not a great steward of your current book of business, it’s futile to look for new customers.

10 Strategies to Shine and Make Ad Designing a Breeze — Designing simple banner ads without strategic planning no longer suffices. The click rates have declined significantly, especially in B2B. To shine in the clutter of Internet advertising, there are at least 10 tips to keep in mind. That’s true in your mobile or Web site strategies.

You Risk Sales If You Don’t Use This Mobile-Web Strategy — You know, of course, strong brand perceptions and emotional engagement drive sales. You also know your mobile-site strategy should be a priority, as a result of the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices. But here’s a question: Is your mobile site actually hindering brand perception and emotional engagement?

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.”

-Paul Bryant

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Breakthrough Strategies to Land Venture Capital in 2010



Dec. 18, 2009


If you follow eight tactics suggested by premier financial strategist Joey Tamer, my sense is that you will greatly enhance your odds for landing venture capital.

She shares her expertise in a Wall Street Journal blog, Strategies for Finding Venture Capital in 2010.

Ms. Tamer is an expert consultant for early-stage technology and media companies whom I rely upon as an authoritative source on finance-related matters in my Biz Coach columns.

Whatever Ms. Tamer says, you can take it to the bank with confidence. 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.