3 Essential Steps to Better
permission from the
Microsoft Small Business website
have too much information. What companies don't have enough
of is intelligence - and no, we're not talking about your
staff. Business intelligence refers to the insights you
discover when you turn all that data into something that
your employees can use to make smart business decisions.
and managers at all levels are bombarded with data from
accounting systems, CRM, ERP and other business
applications. Much of this information comes in the form of
reports, which can be difficult to read and understand, or
charts, which often lack necessary background detail.
Here are three essential steps to turning all those reams
and megabytes of information into vital business insights -
1. Remove the
Knowledge may be power, but information overload can weaken
even the best of us. The first step in combating this common
problem is to determine what information is important and to
whom. Every role has different information requirements.
Salespeople require customer information. The finance team
requires financial information. Manufacturing requires
There is some
overlap. For example, manufacturing might require
information on upcoming large orders to plan appropriately
for production. However, you don't want to make production
managers sift through all outstanding proposals searching
for the one or two that might impact their production
Go Green with Ease: 5 Steps
for Small Businesses
permission from the Cisco Small Business Center
Easy IT Strategies
that Save Money and Help the Environment
technology (IT) practices can reduce the environmental
impact of conducting business, and help small and
medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reduce expenses.
awareness and participation, even the busiest SMB can adopt
simple "green" strategies that require little to no
additional equipment or labor expenditures. Consider these
enviro-friendly IT strategies:
Turn It Off
Reducing electricity consumption can help your business save
money and the environment. U.S. computers used nearly 64
billion kilowatt hours of energy in 2005, costing over $6
billion, according to GreenIT, a consultancy focused on
sustainable solutions for IT systems. Some solutions:
My IT Department –
Much Harder to Manage Than the Rest?
Geiser - PC Solutions -
In the last 5
years PCS has evolved from an IT consultancy to an IT
support organization, relying on our people, processes, and
controls to achieve our performance objectives. Our focus on
service level improvements has, at times, been revealing
about how IT personnel prefer to function. Today, I wanted
to share a little bit of what we have been learning in the
hopes that it can help you continue to improve the
usefulness and efficiency of your IT systems.
So, what’s different about your IT department than, say,
your Human Resources, Sales, or Finance departments?
If You’re Not
Measuring It, You’re Not Managing It
If you are a business executive, you may not be an expert in
any of those other departments. However, when circumstances
require you to do so, you spend a week or two in and around
those departments and get up to speed. You observe the
inputs, the outputs, and the performance metrics. Then, you
identify performance gaps and inspire new (or revive
forsaken) departmental efficiencies. In so doing, you make
your staff more accountable for their individual performance
levels. Why then, do you not feel that your occasional foray
into the IT department seems to harvest similar results?
performance a company requires the use of statistical
evidence to determine progress towards that company’s
objectives. As it relates to the IT department, most small
and mid-sized business executives have trouble setting
performance objectives, as they have little way of knowing
how much time various technical initiatives and/or tasks
ought to take. So why bother measuring performance at all?
Eleven Things to
Give Up in
by Marlene Chism
Instead of trying
to lose twenty pounds for your New Year’s resolution, what
if you decided to give up eleven habits that keep you stuck
in your relationships at home and at work. Here are eleven
things, in the form of mindsets, habits and behaviors to
give up in 2011.
1. Give up the
need to control
Impatience, complaining, and manipulation are ways we try to
change something that can’t be changed. You can't control
the weather, the crowds at the grocery store or traffic.
Business Continuity Tip
Reap the benefits.
about the importance of creating a comprehensive and
actionable recovery plan. It will come as no surprise,
that most plans are built with the worst-case-scenario
in mind. But the reality is that most business
interruptions are not major "smoking hole" events.
Employee illness, transit strikes, religious holidays or
even scheduled events like the recent G20 in Toronto are
just a few examples of the many things that can keep
people out of work throughout the year.
recovery plan takes these "minor" interruptions into
account. For example, if you have a large group of
employees out of town for a tradeshow, who will function
as their backup? What's the impact on your customers?
How will external audiences be notified? What's the
procedure for handling increased workload? Is your
current process efficient? You back up your data every
night, but have you made the same accommodations for
your people? A robust recovery plan will help you
address these concerns throughout the year.
of the Month
An optimist stays up until
midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old