Category Archives: Technology

Project Management 101: KPIs and Six Sigma

Measuring Your Company's PerformanceHow do you measure the performance of the individual projects of your company, as well as the overall performance of the company itself? With regards to pre-established goals, key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurements used to see how effective a project’s performance is. You may not have used KPIs in the past but perhaps, now is time to employ them.

CSF Before KPI

Now, before you identify the KPIs that you can use, you have to determine the critical success factors (CSF) of your company. A critical success factor may be, for example, a number of satisfied clients. Based on this list of CSF, you can then identify the KPIs that may help in measuring the project success.

Team-Based

You can apply KPIs to the entire company, as well as to the individual teams. But again, with regards to individual teams, you still have to determine the CSFs of each team in relation to the CSFs of the company. Once you have your team-based CSFs, you can now define the KPIs that may accurately measure each team’s performance.

Company Strategy

Once you’ve learned how to employ KPIs throughout the entire company —including the individual teams or departments — you can start strategizing to further optimize the services you render to the customers. You can use Six Sigma, a widely-used project management strategy, to improve your company’s processes and product excellence.

Six Sigma Effects

Six Sigma basically cuts down on costs and improves customer satisfaction. At the same time, it cuts down on defects, waste, and time that may affect the quality of your products and services. However, adopting Six Sigma may require you to adjust your CSFs and KPIs. To help you monitor such changes and the subsequent measuring, of these KPIs, KPI Fire recommends the use of KPI software.

Whether your company belongs in the healthcare, mining, or technology industry, you can benefit from the use of KPIs and Six Sigma. After all, these tools and strategies can improve a lot about your company, from your overall performance to the efficiency of your individual teams or departments.

5 Features of a Suitable Construction Cost Estimation Software Solution

Construction Cost EstimationA successful construction cost estimating depends not only on the construction project itself or one’s cost estimating judgment but on efficient processes and tools as well. When it comes to tools, there are software solutions and products for cost estimation that can do the job for builders and contractors to speed up their businesses.

Take a look at the following features and know why it is convenient to get yourself a suitable software solution for your cost estimation:

1. A takeoff tool

In construction, a takeoff is a list of materials with specific types and quantities, usually generated by analyzing a blueprint. A takeoff tool facilitates in the process of taking measurements from these digital plans.

2. Integrated cost databases

These databases make use of available data in the market, as well as the contractor’s own data, for cost estimation.

3. Calculations for estimates

Usually, these calculations are reflected in worksheets and are generated by the application for the purpose of laying out estimates and requirements in detail. In a nutshell, this detailed planning of estimate corresponds to the traditional “abstracting” and “squaring out’ done by cost estimators.

4. Interfaces with other applications

Aside from the mentioned features, other functions that cost estimation software solutions offer include taking information directly from the engineer or architect’s CAD files. This makes possible the sending of estimate information straight into a program for procurement, as well as linking up with the company’s accounting system.

5. Online collaboration

Software solutions allow for digital comments, approvals and adjustments, thus reducing paperwork.

Since a construction project’s cost estimation can either make or break one’s business, learning how to do it right is a must. While doing it right can pave the way for a profitable construction business, doing it the other way around can instantly veer towards customer or monetary loss. Considering that, a reliable cost estimating software is truly the way to go.

The Power of Tech: The Benefits of Using Gym Management Software

Gym MemberAdvancements in technology have made it possible for studio owners to more effectively manage their businesses using gym membership software. Despite this advantage, however, many health clubs and studios are reluctant to take advantage (or full advantage) of it.

Today’s gym management software empowers people to manage many parts of their business easily. In fact, from billing to member management, there’s much to gain from switching to gym management software.

Billing and Point-of-Sale (POS)

Nobody joins the fitness industry to spend their day processing transactions. Without paying members, however, no gym can survive. Thus, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payments are important. Furthermore, software that can manage down payments, POS, and other financial transactions effortlessly can save you time and stress when it comes to payments and can keep your business in the black.

Lead Management

Leads are the lifeblood of your sales department. Without them, you would have no members or the need for POS and billing functions. A gym management software enables owners and sales managers to enact a sales process in place and ensure its implementation. This will lead to more conversions in a shorter period of time and increase retention as well.

Member Management

From keeping track of member check-ins to class bookings to account changes, it can be time-consuming to manage members and their expectations. By automating most of the activities and enabling members to book their own classes and update their personal information through their own login accounts, you and your staff will be free to deal with the other aspects of the business.

With so much to offer, there is little reason not to make the most of technology and keep gym operations as fit as their members by using software. When looking for gym management software, therefore, make sure that it can run reports that track membership, sales, leads, and retention.

In the Age of Digital Media, Why Are Newspapers Still Alive and Kicking?

Newspaper AdvertisingYes, it’s true that newspapers are facing tough times. It’s also true that the Internet can offer many things print newspapers can’t. But while some newspapers no longer rake in huge profits like they did in the 90’s, there are print media outfits that remain lucrative. Recently, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) released data that prove that the newspaper industry is far from dying.

Reliable Advertising Medium

According to the NAA, twenty-two percent of consumers look at newspaper advertisements, considering them more believable and reliable than other advertising media. While advertisers continue to face the challenge of reaching and engaging with their target customers, newspapers — both print and online versions — still reign supreme as the advertising media of choice.

Websites like join.standard.net say that newspaper advertising provides a host of benefits, including better targeting. With local advertising, advertisers can target a certain demographic which may be difficult to reach through other forms of promotion.

Supported by Millennials

Contrary to popular belief, the generation of our grandparents is not the only one interacting with or reading local newspapers. The NAA study shows that nearly 44 million millennials read print or online newspapers. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of college-graduate millennials read the papers weekly. The New York Times also reports that 10 percent of print newspaper subscribers are between the ages of 18 and 24. This only proves that the newspaper is still a vital source of information even for the younger generations.

Provides Instant News, No Delays

Most of the information people want to read is acquired in the newsroom. Newspapers work differently from websites and portals, some of which are populated by repurposed pieces of information. Its technology brings no delays; you turn a page and expect instant news.

As times are changing, innovations in the print media industry will conquer traditional journalism formats and methods. Based on the NAA study, newspapers aren’t going anywhere in the coming decades, as long as newspaper outfits entertain new ideas and become flexible so their product would survive.

Light it Up: Giving Your Business the Light it Deserves

LED LightIf you have a long-running and almost 24-hour open business, you should also take in to consideration your people’s wellbeing and condition. An American study shows that getting the right amount of light in the room can create a huge difference in employees’ disposition and comfort level, and surely for consumers, too.

The dark keeps you hidden from your possible customers. With adequate lighting, you give people an idea if you are open or not. Give people the right idea and your employees better working environments with the right amount of light.

Some brightness are useful, others intrusive. Determine which you want to achieve with the right kind of bright.

LED Lights

First things first, determine just how much light you want in one room or area. Then decide whether you want people to be attracted to it or not.

A great bright and eye-catching kind of light is LED lighting. Denver is home to many companies offering this product and installation service for your store. Some can even create a lighting design unique to your business. These lights are great at informing and inviting customers to see what is inside your shop.

Canopy Lighting

If you go for a softer kind of brightness and do away with the intrusive and blinding bright white lights, then go for this.

Despite its bulkiness, it can provide adequate lighting that can suit any ambiance or mood, as the said light has a slim and low profile design. This helps make sure that large light bulbs or anything of the like, does not ruin your business’s outdoor area design.

Troffers

Subtle lighting that does not take any ceiling space can also give you the closest to natural lighting, especially in offices that require deskwork or paperwork.

The right kind of bright in this setting is one that enables people to work productively. To achieve that effect, you will have to observe employee behavior and assess work output upon changing the lighting conditions in the workplace.

The right kind of bright is within your reach. After knowing just how bright you want the areas in your commercial property to be, you will be able to figure out which kind to use.

Deterrents: The Best Options for Safety and Security

security measuresThere are times where crime rates are reportedly low, and it gives citizens a false sense of security. In truth random acts of violence have random victims, making everyone just one unfortunate incident away from harm. Bleak as this reality may be, crimes within gated communities may be preventable.

Numerous security measures are put in place within residential communities, public places, office buildings, and commercial estates. Below are some of the most commonplace and effective measures of safety and security:

Automatic Barriers, Doors, and Gates

Buildings and communities that feature automatic barriers, gates, doors, or all three send a message—that these areas are protected. Every person who goes in and out of these places are screened before they enter, and are well accounted for while inside. The advantage for barriers is two-fold. It keeps the bad guys from coming in while managing the flow of traffic.

CCTV

It may be so that street crime was not eradicated despite CCTV cameras installed in every corner, but this technology has helped apprehend wrongdoers with an unprecedented amount of ease. People who are victims of theft are able to get their stolen items back. For more serious crimes, CCTV has been invaluable in helping victims and their families to get justice.

Security Team and Quick Response

When it comes to security, however, nothing beats personnel. A security team that covers and roams all outside areas are very effective in apprehending criminals before they are able to do their dirty work. Where crime is concerned, opportunity blocking is one of the best options. In addition, a police district with a fast response time gives inhabitants and clientele that they can rely on help during emergencies.

Safety and security should be a priority for estate owners and property managers. A combination of these measures, including a few others, may ensure their patrons, employees, or residents that they are free to go about their business with ease and peace of mind.

Be Your Own Expert—Solve Common Internet TV Problems Yourself

Remote ControlOne of the best innovations is the Internet TV. In the past, you watched shows through TVs and browsed online with your internet. The Internet TV combines these two channels to give you a revolutionary viewing experience.

However, even the Internet TV may have technical problems. Here are some ways to solve them yourself:

Reset your settings.

If you have a problem connecting to your Internet TV, you might have the wrong settings. Find the settings menu on the screen and do the configurations. You also have the option to simply revert to factory settings.

A factory reset will clear memory bugs and other connection problems. In fact, it is similar to how you troubleshoot computers that keep crashing. Resetting is the easiest option.

Upgrade your broadband connection.

Sometimes the problem lies in your router or broadband connection. Your broadband speed may not be enough to keep the streaming going. The solution is to upgrade to a faster broadband connection or switch to a different Internet service provider.

Check all compatible media players.

Depending on your computer, you can use media players such as Real Player, Windows Media Player, or Flash Player. You may also need Silverlight and Flip4Mac QuickTime MWV Component on some computers.

Different media players play better with certain computers. Check which one works best with your Internet TV in the Philippines, suggests http://ansons.ph.

Choose programs with a higher bandwidth.

The clarity of images depends where the program is being broadcast from. You get clear images if the broadcaster has a higher bandwidth. Switching to different channels may give you better program streams.

Having an Internet TV is cool, but it will be even better if you know simple troubleshooting. You don’t need to be an expert in electronics. You just have to know what causes the problem and how to solve them.

Video Conferencing: Supporting Your Environmental Initiatives

Video ConferenceThe right use of video conferencing and collaboration tools are the best alternative to costly physical travel. Video conferencing is a “green” technology that allows your business to reduce energy use by eliminating the need for motor and air transportation. It results insubstantial savings and cuts down your carbon footprint at the same time.

While video conferencing has eco-friendly credentials, its use is not yet as widespread as most people assume. This is because not all companies are open to trying new communication methods that challenges old ways. Successful use of video conferencing, however, can provide a usable alternative for conducting different kinds of meetings.

Here’s how it can support environmental initiatives:

The Green Tools

Communicating over video requires simple web tools that enable face-to-face meeting or a software solution that allows wider meetings from the desktop. It may also require high tech telecommunication solutions that provide a quality immersive experience.

Many audio-visual collaboration equipment and tools enable conferences and other content to be streamed live or on demand. You and your staff can use them to engage, interact, and communicate with colleagues or business partners in distant locations at any time.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

There’s more to videoconferencing than saving money on trips. It can green your business by reducing the need to use the company’s air conditioner, heating, or lighting. The unspent energy translates into reduced emissions, which lowers the amount of greenhouse gases that pollutes the atmosphere.

A report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) says that this technology may help reduce carbon emissions by 5.5 million metric tons by the year 2020. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over one million passenger vehicles.

Videoconferencing and other tools pave the way for more flexible collaboration, including efficiency and time saving. Reports go as far as to say that it can help firms achieve annual net financial benefits amounting to over $3.5 billion in 2020. This makes video conferencing a substantial investment that can benefit your business in different ways.

Housing Computer Systems the Right Way: What a Good Data Center is Made of

computer systemWith more and more businesses taking advantage of the online world to conduct their operations, the need for a better way to handle data becomes even more important. This, in turn, has given rise to companies focused on the data center business.

But, with so many companies providing data center services, it can be quite challenging figuring out which one you should go for. Here are some helpful tips from Data Center Journal:

1. Location

No matter how great the uptime of the center is, you should still go for a center located near you. This allows you to easily check for upgrades or at least work on any data that might need updates. While you’re at it, you should also check whether the center is located in a safe place with very little risk of getting damaged due to natural disasters.

2. Security

Because you would use data centers to store confidential information, consider the kind of safety measures the company provides to secure your data. This would include accessibility of data from people who might be manning the data center. Some of the safety and security features you should consider should include PCI compliance and SOC-2 certification.

3. Scalability

You should also look into whether the data center can provide flexibility when it comes to the kind and extent of service you need. You should be able to go as small as possible with the possibility of expanding in the future when you already have more data on hand.

4. Reliability

As much as possible, go for a data center which allows you to access your data 99.99% of the time. Not only should your data be available most of the time, it should also be secure from unauthorized access.

Once you have found the data center that’s right for you, take a look at how the payment would be made and how much the subscription would be.

Off-Page Optimization: A Primer

offpage seoThe online marketplace is so competitive that if you want your site to sell well, it needs to rank at least in the top 5 or 10 of search engine results. To achieve this, search engine optimization specialists utilize off-page SEO as one of the measures that will make your site noticeable and thus gain higher relevance in results.

Here are the essential facts you need to learn about off-page SEO.

What is Off-Page SEO?

The term off-page SEO refers to methods done outside the website of the client, building a link library that links back to the website from other sources. Most people associate off-page SEO with the process of link-building, but the truth is it is more sophisticated than that.

Apart from building links to your site, The Perceptum Group clarifies that off-page SEO concerns itself with promotional strategies that allow the website to gain a better following and reputation online.

3 Main Components of Off-Page Search Engine Optimization

1. Link-building.
2. Use of Social Media for website promotion activities.
3. Use of social bookmarking.

Advantages of Using Off-Page SEO Methods

• Allows the client website to get better rankings in search engine results pages and consequently a more consistent online presence.
• Allows the website to garner a better Page Rank from zero to 10 – with 10 as the highest – and is an indicator of how relevant the site is for the search engine. In effect, higher page rank means higher relevance to search terms.
• Higher Exposure. A website that ranks higher in search results automatically gets better exposure as a result. Higher exposure means more chances that people will get to know the products and services on offer.

Link-Building in Off-Page SEO

Link-building without a doubt is the most popular strategy used in off-page SEO campaigns. The method entails the establishment of external links to your site.

Link-building is comparable to the number of “likes” like in social media. The more the people refer to your site, the more that the search engine sees it as an authority website, which will in turn let it rank higher in the results rankings.

There are two general methods for SEO: on-page and off-page optimization. The latter is easier, as it can just generate links that direct to your site, and helps immensely in the popularization of your brand.