Does Every Organization Need To Be A Best Place to Work?

Does Every Organization Need To Be A Best Place to Work?

Do you have a great IT group that is helping to make your company a better place to work?  Here comes the survey so you can sign up your company as the greatest place in the world to work.  Every organization is on a quest to hire and retain the best people, wouldn't you agree?  So how do you get the people you want interested in working for your organization, and, once on board, how do you keep them?While there are many answers to these questions, to be answered by groups across the organization, let's focus on how the IT group can contribute to the employee experience.  After all, the first step in becoming a Best Place to Work has got to be becoming a good place to work.IT Group Contributions Have a help desk that quickly and promptly resolves user problems.  Consider a self-service portal so that help is available 24/7 if your help desk is not staffed 24/7 Support continuous process...
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Every Person Affects the Bottom Line

Every Person Affects the Bottom Line

"Undercover Boss," if you haven't seen it, is a TV show where the head of a big organization goes undercover as a worker, learning from his own unknowing employees and discovering where "corporate" may have missed the mark.  It's a cool show, but I wish it were longer than one hour, so we could really see how corporate changes and how employees change in response to what corporate has learned about them.  Some of the stories have been rather poignant, and some have been rather pointed, and the themes of "corporate don't care" or "corporate doesn't know what it's like out here" have been recurring in nearly every episode.The Bottom LineWhat would it be like if every person in your company knew exactly how their work affects the bottom line?  What if everyone understood how his or her contribution matters.  And how a lack of execution ripples all through the organization?  Would the workplace be more energized?  Do you think team...
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Employee Portal | What Drives Strategy for Success?

Employee Portal | What Drives Strategy for Success?

Are you considering a revamp of your existing Employee Portal? First of all, the concept of an Employee Portal aligns well with SharePoint, especially 2013. Aside from being simply the “landing page” for an organization, a well-architected portal can drive strategic engagement, and finally, ultimately resulting in a stronger ROI.It is important to identify the needs prior to entering into any kind of portal discussion. Wouldn't you agree?  There are several main categories that portal architecture can fall into, and as a result, all have different architectural and tool requirements.Thinking of Creating an Employee Portal? Is there a need to drive a different culture? Is a shift required to produce different results for the company? Perhaps your company recently experienced a large resource rollover; how do you attract and retain the ‘right’ talent? How do you engage the right resource, for the right purpose, at the right time? SharePoint can offer a targeted look and feel experiences to your user base,...
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Organizational Change Management Facilitated by SharePoint

Organizational Change Management Facilitated by SharePoint

Oakwood has long-standing expertise with affecting and facilitating organizational change management (OCM), primarily around significant IT initiatives within large organizations with many business units involved.  Oakwood has also worked with several organizations who did not understand the need to invest in OCM and have had less-than-desired results from project implementations.   In our experience, any substantial technology initiative will benefit from a pre-defined OCM approach.History of Organizational Change ManagementWhile OCM is not new, the evolution of technology platforms allows us to support OCM in new ways that are more compatible with the current ways in which people learn and adopt change.  Specifically, the collaborative power of SharePoint can be leveraged as a change agent to communicate and sustain the OCM processes within the organization.Adopting an OCM methodology like the one below will increase user adoption of the new system so that required business goals can be realized.The specific implementation of the methodology steps vary slightly based on the specific organization for which this approach...
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How We Reduced A Client’s Operating Costs

How We Reduced A Client’s Operating Costs

Everyone wants to reduce operating costs.  All over the web, TV, & social media, we see companies touting the savings that can be had from a few minutes of your time. Seldom are these statements viable, but their darn catchy slogans.  However, in some cases adding a little bit of time back to peoples’ day can have serious financial impacts. This is most clear in the cases of large-scale, widespread corporate growth.A Success StoryOne of our customers experienced 300% growth last year. This year, it looked like their internal software would limit continued growth. To help them overcome this unacceptable barrier, our team & theirs invested significant time evaluating their second largest cost center & biggest growth inhibitor: Customer Service Representatives.In consumer services organizations, Customer Care is vital – yet due to size & number of interactions, they can be a very expensive group. Additionally, when processes are not finely tuned they tend to grow in proportion to your overall corporate...
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Rethinking the Creative Process to Solve Problems and Spark a Revolution

Rethinking the Creative Process to Solve Problems and Spark a Revolution

Whether you identify yourself as a technical evangelist, a business entrepreneur or as the next Michelangelo - we all use the same creative process to guide us in our decision making. However, our different life experiences can dictate how efficiently we utilize the creative process and can shape how we make important decisions and form perceptions. The benefit of this oftentimes results in team building and creative solutions. On the other hand, it can result in deeply divided individuals and a lack of empathy. By understanding the stages of the creative process and how each one is uniquely intertwined with our overall brain function, we can begin to understand how to relate to each other and collectively solve the world's most challenging problems.Just Thinking...A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster and the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought because it is...
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Mobile Commerce Revenue Increases Over Digital

Mobile Commerce Revenue Increases Over Digital

Gartner, Inc predicts that by 2017, US customers' mobile engagement behavior will drive mobile commerce revenue in the US to 50 percent of US digital commerce revenue. A recent Gartner survey found that mobile commerce currently generates 22 percent of digital commerce revenue.What's Going On?"Some sectors will migrate more quickly than others to accepting mobile payments and promoting mobile commerce," said Jennifer Polk, research director at Gartner. "For example, big-box retailers may not need to move as quickly as other industries because the in-store experience is still a critical part of their value proposition and the customer experience, making digital and mobile commerce a smaller portion of their overall revenue."However, Polk also explained that new credit card standards will cause a shift in liability for fraudulent transactions in 2015, requiring retailers to update their POS systems for safer credit card transactions. This opens the door for point-of-updates to accept mobile payment.Mobile Commerce Predictions By year-end 2016, more than $2 billion in...
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Ready for iGen or Gen Z?

Ready for iGen or Gen Z?

Goodbye Gen-Y.  Hello Gen-Z and iGen?  While I'm not sure all the talk on Millennials did much to change the world of business, even though it should in many regards, it appears that everyone is tired of hearing about this generation already.  While many of the things you hear about Millennials/Gen-Y simply aren't true, people are ready to move on. But move onto what? Be careful what you wish for. I'll introduce you to Gen-Z, but...first, let's recap Gen-Y: The New World of Gen Y Largest generation in history - 34% of workforce Will comprise 50% of workforce/economic dollar in 2020 By 2025, three out of 4 workers globally will be 18-34 - Adobe $41 trillion transfer of wealth to this generation from older generations Gen Y Values Openness & transparency Entrepreneurial mindset Appreciation for diversity Collaborative leadership Opposition to hierarchy How They Work Today’s digitally empowered Gen-Y work, shop, play everywhere — at home, strolling through the park, or while standing in line at the coffee shop. The old way of thinking sees...
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Is Outdated Technology Holding Your Business Back?

Is Outdated Technology Holding Your Business Back?

A local commercial banking and financial services firm realized the use of outdated software was having a detrimental effect on the way they did business.  The firm used the outdated software everyday, and it was the only technology they had ever used on the job. They had been exhausted by this program for years, but they didn’t know what a possible solution would look like.Outdated Technology ChallengeThe outdated software program was being used to generate financial review packets for clients. The review packets were extensively long and pulled information from many other different documents. The problem was that this software program took 15 to 20 minutes to complete one packet and it rendered the user's personal computer unusable until the packet was complete. Some analysts would spend weeks getting these packets together, and sometimes needed to prepare multiple packets a day. If a client needed an updated packet, the firm was unable to provide it in a reasonable amount of...
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My Customers Are Wasting Their Data

My Customers Are Wasting Their Data

Reports that leverage data that is days or weeks old doesn't cut it anymore and many aren't considering real-time data.  If you aren't looking at real-time data and using it to make quick business decisions, you're behind the curve.Real-Time Data | Making Informed DecisionsForget SSRS, SSIS, Crystal Reports, Business Intelligence, Analytics, and all of those IT terms. Just imagine the value of making informed decisions based on relevant (near) real-time data. Manufacturers and distributors could tune factory production as products roll off the line and as customers' orders are processed rather than looking at daily or weekly (or longer!) reports. Utilities could react more quickly to power demands and deploy smarter grids through the use of Internet of Things (IoT) data from smart meters.I'm not talking about simple dashboards based off of Excel spreadsheets and single SQL database tables. I'm talking about gaining real insights based on the relationships between longer-term and (near) real-time data.The Value Proposition | Real-Time DataBut,...
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Top 7 Email Tips and Tricks from my Time at Microsoft

Top 7 Email Tips and Tricks from my Time at Microsoft

Need our top e-mail tricks?  We have you covered.  Working at a company with over 100,000 of your best friends teaches you NOT to Reply All to e-mails. Here are those e-mail tips and tricks. If you have your top email tricks, please share them with your neighbor!Be Polite and ProfessionalYou never know who your e-mail will be forwarded to and you might not ever know if it does get forwarded. Whenever you write an e-mail, you should assume your boss, the CEO, and your mother might eventually get a copy. If there is ANY question about the content, leave it out. E-mails are easy to track, copy and print out.Being polite and professional does not require you to use big words and complex language. As a matter of fact, you should write e-mails using language that is easy to digest - say at a 10th-grade level or so. If you use Microsoft Outlook or Word, there's actually a grammar...
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The 5 Best Tech TED Talks

The 5 Best Tech TED Talks

We all have a favorite TED Talk that makes us feel ready to take over the world after 18 minutes.  The mission of the TED organization is spreading ideas in the form of these inspirational talks, and the TED YouTube channel has a total of 81,304 videos to choose from. A business-savvy IT professional such as yourself has too much on your plate to sift through this endless array of videos. So we did it for you, and before long we identified the top 5 Ted Talks that every tech enthusiast must watch.TED Talks#1 Ray Kurzweil: The Accelerating Power of TechnologyIn this riveting Ted Talk, inventor, entrepreneur and visionary Ray Kuzweil explains why, by the 2020s, we will have reverse-engineered the human brain and nanobots will be operating your consciousness.These things are possible because, Kusweil says, our technology expands in an exponential pattern, rather than a linear pattern like commonly thought.Scary cool, right? We thought so too.#2 Jason Pontin: Can...
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