Technology & Productivity Weekly

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May 2, 2014 Headlines

Are You Using Trackable Links In Your Marketing? Raise Your Marketing ROI
Optimizing Your Web Site for Local Searches
Tax Executives Lose Their Way in the Cloud
11 Tips for Putting Together a Strong Company LinkedIn Page
Three Great Messaging Apps for Work
Improve Your Malware Protection
What Is Your IT strategy?
What Kind of Digital Company Are You?

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Are You Using Trackable Links In Your Marketing? Raise Your Marketing ROI

Small Business Technology (04/30/14); Ray, Ramon

Analytics are a critical metric of quantifying return on investments (ROIs). According to springbot, an e-commerce service provider, businesses should follow a few steps for successful tracking of marketing campaigns. First, using e-commerce tools is useful for providing businesses with valuable insight into their Web traffic and conversion rates. Implementing tagging functions is another key to track the type of engagement that is most successful. Businesses should identify the ROI across campaigns, particularly through evaluating the links that are clicked and the sales driven by specific links. Leveraging detailed insights through industry specific tools is another strategic way to track marketing efforts and receive a more comprehensive tracking report. Read More


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Optimizing Your Web Site for Local Searches

Entrepreneur (04/15/14); Rognerud, Jon

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist Jon Rognerud recommends a few major tips for optimizing small business search rankings. Rognerud's book, Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Web Site, recommends that all businesses register with Google Places for Business. These accounts are free and increase the chance of SMBs appearing in local search engine results. Rognerud advises businesses to register at Bing Local and Yahoo! Local, in addition to Google. Rognerud then recommends assessing the competition, noting which categories other business' are listing their businesses. SMBs should ensure their information fields are filled out thoroughly, while adding photos and other multi-media to attract clients. Accessing local directories like CityClig, Brownbook.net, and Judy's Book will also drive SEO results. Businesses should ask clients for reviews, offer incentives and special offers for repeat patronage, and seek references from the Better Business Bureau. Read More


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Tax Executives Lose Their Way in the Cloud

Accounting Today (04/11/2014); Cohn, Michael

According to KPMG, tax officers and executives are not aware of statutory credits for using cloud technology. The KPMG survey revealed over 90 percent of tax officers and senior tax executives are disconnected between cloud computing opportunities and their tax departments. Steven Fortier, a leader of the KPMG Cloud Tax Initiative, says this disconnect represents a lack of cost savings and other lost incentives for firms. Fortier added that the likelihood of reputation risks and tax penalties are potential side-effects of missed opportunities via the cloud. Server location was cited by tax officers and executives as a major hindrance to using cloud technology. KPMG forecasts that early investments in cloud technology can lead to a greater return on investment for enterprises, noting that finding ways to add value to cloud strategies should be the primary job of successful tax departments. Read More


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11 Tips for Putting Together a Strong Company LinkedIn Page

Small Business Technology (04/16/14); Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council advises small businesses to follow 11 tips for creating a successful LinkedIn page. Uploading product images is the first step in creating a more attractive page. The council says highlighting a company's strongest points and adding keywords to a LinkedIn page will allow clients to more easily find them on the networking site. A successful LinkedIn page must be optimized for search engine queries through company descriptions that emphasize industry keywords. Adding videos to a page, featuring employees, and including client testimonials are other strategies for creating a unique page. Engaging with quality content is another step in creating a page that will increase brand awareness, while posting new content will demonstrate to clients a business is committed to staying afloat with the latest news and industry updates. Read More


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Three Great Messaging Apps for Work

Inc.com (04/09/14); DesMarais, Christina

There are three great messaging apps businesses can use for improving productivity. Voxer Business, the first app, is $9.95 a month, and is compatible with multiple mobile platforms. Voxer Business features the option to listen to voicemail in real-time or later as a recording, with capabilities for sending audio, texts, and photos to up to 500 contacts simultaneously. Cotap is another app for synchronizing a firm's address book without manually entering contacts' phone numbers and email addresses. HeyWire Business, which costs $10 per user monthly, allows users to text contacts from a mobile app or desktop without having to use a personal phone number. Instead, a business uses its landline number to contact individuals, including the option to integrate the app into an existing application program interface. Read More


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Improve Your Malware Protection

Processor.com (04/04/14)Vol. 36, No. 7, P. 30

Malware continues to threaten business security, underscoring the need for firms to enact protective measures for safeguarding their assets. IT analysts say malware attacks have evolved in sophistication while targeting specific businesses and sectors. While some firms have invested in employee security trainings as one solution to the growing attacks, IT analysts say this effort is not enough; instead firms must invest in tools that will locate security vulnerabilities that are present in a firm. Investing in traditional tools like anti-virus software and firewalls are the starting point of maintaining overall security, but firms should invest in robust security solutions that include Web application firewalls, authorized user controls, and network segmentation. Sandboxing, the technique of isolating new software in a safe environment for implementation, is another strategy firms can execute for ensuring security. Firms should assess their existing IT budgets and determine the amount of investment that can be allocated for overall IT security, considering the size of a company and the nature of data stored. Read More


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What Is Your IT strategy?

Accounting Today (04/01/2014); Boomer, L. Gary

Firms without an IT strategy are at risk for failing to leverage the most from their IT investments. Creating a written IT strategy is equally as important as allocating an IT budget. Although many firms create IT project lists, writing an IT plan allows a firm to project short-term and long-term goals, and address critical issues that potentially limit a firm's growth. Prior to implementing a written IT plan, firms should establish a unified vision for their company. Including an IT-savvy leader is another important part of the written process, and firms must ensure that several areas of an IT plan are addressed: governance; leadership; accountability; and training. Other considerations must include cloud systems vs. on-premise systems, staffing and sourcing, and client services. Read More


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What Kind of Digital Company Are You?

AccountingWEB (04/02/14); DeFelice, Alexandra

A survey by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that only 15 percent of companies considered themselves "digitally mature" last year. More than 80 percent of executives polled said digital technology would provide their businesses with a competitive advantage, though executives cited slow adoption and delayed purchasing decisions as challenges to adopting technology. IT analysts continue to warn businesses about the ill-fated consequences of lagging technology adoption and implementation. According to Mike Sabbatis of RealPage Inc., developing a clear vision, communicating this plan to staff, and taking small steps is the key to advancing digital success. Prior to adopting technology, businesses should assess whether a specific technology will transform a businesses processes or add minimal enhancements to existing processes. Businesses must also evaluate the way a technology will transform interactions with clients, document management processes, and the standardization of workflow. Read More


LAST UPDATED 5/2/2014