How to Keep Your Business Technologically Hip: VoIP Telephones and Internet Marketing

When it comes to business, these days it’s all about how many Twitter followers you have. Okay I’m simplifying a little. But seriously, that’s an example of how fast technology moves. If you want your company to be relevant in the marketplace, it’s important to stay up on all the latest trends. Read on to learn about the technology that can help take your business to the next level. While Twitter is important, it’s not the only way to stay technologically robust. Sure you want to have a strong social media presence, which can be achieved by having constant updates and following many people. But after that you need help with the bricks and mortar of it all.

Having fast internet is necessary, as is a business phone system. That will allow you to use long distance phone service even more frequently and at less of a burden to your pocketbook. You can call China for pennies a minute when you use VoIP telephones. You can have meetings with hundreds of people across the world, too, but make sure your sound works before you go live. Quality copiers and printers are also important. Chances are you’re going to have to print out a plan or a memo sometime and you don’t want to have to run to the nearest Kinko’s to do it. Invest according to how much you expect to use these office supplies – if you need 10,000 copies a month, splurge on a big kahuna copier.

Is it important to be able to access your e-mail at all times? If yes, then you need a smartphone. Or you can invest in a tablet so you can read and work on the go – it’s more manageable than a laptop when traveling, and it offers more work-conducive options than a smartphone.

Then start learning about Google and how they rank companies based on keywords. You should be up with Google Places, as well as AdWords to see how you can target specific keywords relevant in your industry. It helps if you blog and link it back to your website. Updating it weekly, along with your social media accounts, will keep you in the loop about your industry and other people’s too.

Staying in touch with other people and always working to grow your business will pay off. Whether you’re networking at trade shows or on the internet, it helps to be up on all the latest news and modes of communication, from Twitter to VoIP telephones.

Technology News for February 2014 and a Look Back at the Previous 5 Februarys

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for February 2014.

A Little History of previous year’s Februarys…

Five years ago in February 2009 the news was ALL about layoffs and economic uncertainty. Nortel, in addition to their layoffs sold their Alteon asset for less than $18 million, which they had bought for $7 billion nine years previously! In February 2010 M&A activity was slow with no huge buys. Google bought Aardvark; Oracle purchased a couple of smaller entities; IBM bought a small network software company that focuses on the telco vertical; and Sybase bought a company that has a strong foothold in the financial services vertical. There were lots of signs that the recovery was under way and Canada saw some job growth after a period of decline. February 2011 was another quiet month for M&A with HP buying Vertica; Opentext bought Metastorm ($182 million); and Rackspace acquired Anso Labs. World news was dominated by the popular uprisings in a growing number of countries and the reactions of those governments including the brutality of Gaddafi’s Libyan supporters. Two years ago, February 2012 was not a blockbuster month for M&A, but there was some interesting activity. The biggest deal of the month saw Oracle pay $1.9 billion for talent management company Taleo. Siemens Canada paid $440 million for networking equipment company Rugged.com. IBM bought BYOD company Worklight; Dell bought backup and recovery company AppAssure; Apple bought mobile search company Chomp; and LM Ericsson bought Ottawa based BelAir Networks. Last year in February 2013 Dell went private in a $24.4 billion deal, that included a $2 billion investment by Microsoft. Oracle paid $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet Inc.; Rackspace bought big data company ObjectRocket; Telus was busy with two acquisitions, electronic medical records division of the Canadian Medical Association and digital forensics company Digital Wyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to LG for their smart TVs.

Which brings us back to the present…

February 2014 saw Facebook make a big move with $16 billion acquisition of Whatsapp, which is probably good valuation news for Blackberry because its BBM product would be a direct competitor. Blackberry however had another rough month when IDC released its numbers as the company’s smartphones accounted for only 1.9% of sales in Q4 of 2013.

Another company with big news, although not necessarily positive was Sony. They appear to be reinventing themselves in their various niches as they are closing their eReader store and divesting themselves of their PC division (Vaio).

In other M&A news Comcast is making a $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable; Oracle paid a reputed $400 million for data management platform company Bluekai; LinkedIn paid $120 million for online job search company Bright; and Klout was bought for about $100 million by Lithium Technologies. Google made a couple of acquisitions, online fraud company Spider.io and secure logon company Slicklogin. IBM is buying database as a service company Cloudant; and Monster bought a couple of companies, social profile company Talentbin and job aggregation and distribution technology company Gozaic.

Other companies making news this month include Microsoft who announced a new CEO, Satya Nadella (who replaces Steve Ballmer) plus a new Board Chair John Thompson (who replaces Bill Gates). Dell started its new life as a private company with major restructuring, resulting in likely 15,000 job losses. On the good news front, jobs creation and infrastructure additions in Canada come in the form of new datacenters for Bell Aliant and for Telus.

In reports from various sources Android has about 80% of the mobile OS market share, with Apple a distant second. Samsung was the dominant handset hardware supplier with 32% share, with Apple second. Apple however accounted for approximately 1/3 of tablet sales in Western Europe last year, with Samsung second.

A Cisco study suggests that users will increase mobile data usage by a factor of approximately 8 over the coming 5 years… so make sure you have good data plans! The Canadian Federal Government announced an infrastructure investment to put broadband into rural communities and Gartner tell us that IT spending was flat year over year, for the 13th year in a row!

Economic news was generally mixed, with no major bad news and no big breakthroughs. Some job growth in Canada and the US, some positive confidence indicators and some not so good. One study seemed to sum it up for me, Careerbuilder found that 58% of employers feel the recession is still lingering!

That is it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.

6 Resources for Business Intelligence News and Information

Despite Business Intelligence becoming an increasingly widespread practice, there appears to be relatively little to choose from in terms of good quality news and information resources. From monitoring several discussions on LinkedIn, we saw the same names tended to crop up over and over again.

1. Perhaps the most widely recognized for BI content was TDWI.org. The Data Warehousing Institute™ provides education, training, certification, news, and research for executives and IT professionals across the world. Founded 15 years ago, TDWI is the premier educational institute for business intelligence and data warehousing. Home to Wayne’s World Blog, written by Wayne W. Eckerson, the director of research and services, it provides readers with anything from online conferences, to whitepaper downloads, to industry reports.

2. Frequently cited by several LinkedIn members, Information Management was another popular resource people turned to for BI news. It claims to be “the educated reader’s choice for the latest news, commentary and feature content serving the information technology and business community”, and with its relaunch last year, it offers original reporting, online radio programming, informative Web seminar programming, white paper resources and online education to professionals in the field of IT. Providing daily informative newsletters on a variety of content, it is understandable why info-mgmt.com has carved a strong position in the BI domain.

3. The BeyeNETWORK™ provides global coverage of the BI ecosystem. It supplies industry coverage and resources on business intelligence, performance management, data warehousing, data integration and data quality. B-Eye-Network also includes BeyeUNIVERSITY, a comprehensive curriculum covering all areas of the business intelligence ecosystem. These certificate programs are taught by experts who are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and best of all, are completely free!

4. The name Ralph Kimball cropped up on more than one occasion, although perhaps not soley in reference to BI. He is known worldwide as an innovator, writer, educator, speaker and consultant in the field of data warehousing. He has maintained his long-term conviction that data warehouses must be designed to be understandable and fast. His books on dimensional design techniques have become best sellers in data warehousing. To date Ralph has written more than 100 articles and columns for Intelligent Enterprise and its predecessors, winning the Readers’ Choice Award five years in a row. Some of his books include “The Kimball Group Reader: Relentlessly Practical Tools for Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence” and “The Data Warehouse ETL Toolkit: Practical Techniques for Extracting, Cleaning, Conforming, and Delivering Data”.

5. Similarly to Ralph Kimball, Bill Inmon was another name that graced discussions quite regularly. Inmon, a world-renowned expert, speaker and author on data warehousing, is widely recognized as the “Father of Data Warehousing”. In addition to authoring more than 50 books and 650 articles, Bill has been a monthly columnist with the Business Intelligence Network, EIM Institute and Data Management Review. In 2007, Bill was named by Computerworld as one of the “Ten IT People Who Mattered in the Last 40 Years” of the computer profession.

6. Howard Dresner is an industry acclaimed expert, noted author, thought leader and lecturer for Business Intelligence, and Enterprise Performance Management. He spent 13 years at Gartner, where he served as lead analyst for Business Intelligence. Today as President and Founder of Dresner Advisory Services, he focuses his energy on creating and sharing thought leadership for Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Business Intelligence (BI) and speaks at forums around the globe. He has written two books: “The Performance Management Revolution: Business Results Through Insight and Action” and “Profiles in Performance: Business Intelligence Journeys and The Roadmap for Change”.

A Snip Of Technology News From The World

Finding technology news is the easiest job today because technology today is moving so rapidly that every week there is more interesting news than the previous week. In the sphere of consumer technology there are some rumors, some real life news and some confirmed scoops that cover every week and better if we could have some way to distinguish between the news and rumors.

There have been serious activities in UK to cast the anti piracy net. This is necessary to sort out the semi illegal activities happening through this country in the internet. Some of them are innocents who have also been included in this huge net of legal tangle. Naturally the innocent companies are making lot of noise but the powers be are not very open to suggestions in this regard. Presently the situation is that they are selectively releasing some of the not so tainted companies from the blocked list and this is the only positive hopes from the situation.

The strong rumor of cheaper Apple phones is growing stronger but many experts believe this is not feasible in the near future. The main stumbling blocks in this rumor are the older models of devices from Apple only. These are made cheaper once a new and improved model is introduced and that does take care of the price war with other competitors. This has worked till now but inch by inch the company is losing ground to competition. May be they will really think about this in innovative ways and introduce more glass and fiber to get the pricing suitable for the developing nations and have a stronger and broader customer base.

Google or the internet (as some experts prefer to call it) is desperately trying to break into those grounds they are either not allowed or not getting enough footholds. Schmidt’s recent visit to North Korea was an attempt to break the standoff with earnest pleas. Whether he succeeds or not will take time to conclude. The visit was high profile one and in contradiction to political objections. The relation between two countries is not cordial but that air of antagonism has never stopped or forced any business from withdrawing any of their business initiatives. Many are also very optimistic about the buildup which has the potential to open the country to new ideas and interactions with others with exchange of thought. Some are also skeptic.

Samsung, the new rising star of Smartphone manufacturing is once again at forefront for producing the flexible screen device. Given the technological complications they may start with a tablet and they minimize it for Smartphone. There are still many issues left to be sorted out and right to say that it is still in the design board. ‘When’ is a big question for them and us today and there is still no definite answer.

Some more activities are happening to provide smarter and faster communication. Many of them will not find customer acceptance to fall flat on their faces. Some will win the respect of technology of the century and even then the daily updates will still talk about the emerging technologies. Follow this, tomorrow is here.