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How Field Service Management Software Can Improve Your Business

In many work environments, business owners and managers are tasked with the incredible feat of managing a mobile workforce. This workforce may be responsible for making on-site visits to customers, maintaining your facilities in various locations across the city and beyond and more. Regardless of the tasks that your field team works on regularly, you can improve your business substantially when you use the right field service management software. There are many programs to choose from, and you can quickly narrow down the options when you look for a program that can improve your business in each of these important ways.

Job Scheduling
Field service scheduling is perhaps one of the top reasons field service software management software programs are used. The best software programs are used to communicate directly with your team in the field. They may send open work orders to specific individuals, communicate back to you when work has been completed and more. Whether you want to simplify the scheduling process or monitor the actions of your team throughout the day, this software program can benefit you.

Billing Assistance
Each service technician may complete a wide range of projects throughout the day. Some may offer preventative maintenance service, and others may perform critical repairs in a timely manner. Your service technician team will benefit greatly by using the billing and invoicing features in these programs. These programs automate the billing process so that you can control billing remotely, view invoices that have been created, monitor payment activities and more.

Customer Database
As a busy owner or manager, you understandably want to maintain contact with your customers on a regular basis, and the right software program can assist with this. The best program allows you to input data about each customer that your team visits. They often can do this remotely from their various locations in the field. They may also input specific details, such as notes to follow up at a later date, specific services they requested and more. Such details can be used to improve sales and marketing efforts going forward.

Managing a team of service technicians in the field has many challenges. For example, you may have difficulty getting each employee to the location of their next project or work order. You may struggle to keep up with invoices that were generated by your team throughout the day. You may wonder if your team is capturing all of the leads possible from each contact with a new customer. These are among the top ways that the right software program can benefit you. As you explore programs, consider looking for a program with these great features in it.

Three Ways to Make Your Lead Generation Efforts More Effective

Lead generation software is commonly used to capture the names and contact information of those who visit a website. This list of names can then be used for B2B marketing and other related purposes. It is an effective way to increase your direct email campaign’s mailing list without having to buy an expensive list. While all lead generation software is effective at various levels, the reality is that your own efforts at conducting a successful lead generation campaign will make a significant difference in your overall efforts.

  Ensure Your Website’s Content Is Relevant

One of the most significant steps you can take to conduct a successful email lead generation campaign is to make your website’s content relevant to your target audience. You may need to use SEO and other methods to increase traffic to your website in a targeted way. The content should position you as a leader or authority in the area of your business in some way so that your visitors are enticed to take the additional step and sign up for your opt-in campaign.

Use an Effective, Powerful Call to Action

Some lead generation software captures IP addresses through visitor tracking methodology, but it is preferred by many businesses to contact their target audience after they have chosen to receive your marketing content. To entice your viewers to opt into your email distribution list, you must provide them with an effective and powerful call to action. The call to action should give them a sufficient benefit for signing up, such as valuable tips that will be provided in an email newsletter or the promise of coupon codes for financial savings.

Test Your Lead Generation Process

If your campaign is not producing the results you desire, there may be a problem with your lead generation system. Some people assume that because they have used lead generation software, their process is effective. However, there may be glitches, lags or a generally poor design that make the process frustrating for your visitors. When a process is slow or frustrating, they may click off before finalizing the sign-up process. Testing your lead generation process initially and then several times after you have launched your campaign are important steps to take to ensure that you are capturing as many leads as possible through the use of your lead generation software.

Lead generation software can make it easier for you to track visitors to your website and capture leads, but the use of software alone is not enough to generate the best efforts. When you combine your use of software with these valuable tips, you can increase your chances for success. For further information, Clickback has online resources available on their website.

Incredible Tips on How to Choose the Best IT Service Provider

Outsourcing IT services is a cost-effective method used by thousands of small and large businesses around the world to enhance their production processes. However, businesses often experience serious issues with some providers. Most of these problems occur because the managers did not take their time to analyze all the situations before settling for a given provider. Here are some tips on how to get the right IT service provider.

Consider decent rates

An IT consulting and support professional is like a lawyer. You have the chance to gauge his suitability by just looking at the fees he charges. A provider that offers attractive fees for his services may not be the ideal choice. When the deal is good, think twice. It could be that the company is using the low prices as a compensation for their lack of expertise. Before you know it, you end up with an ineffective IT system and the business’ strong online presence starts to reduce. On the other hand, you do not want to hire a company that drips you dry. Go for a provider that charges decent rates and has a professional payment scheme.

Consider excellent customer services

Go for a firm that is always there for you whenever a problem occurs. Its customer service team should be friendly, compassionate and fast. They should answer your questions with a smile and reply to emails on time. Even if the company’s technical support is excellent, do not hire them if their customer service is not up to standard. A good customer service will assist you to handle disputes and complex technical issues.

Consider qualified personnel

You don’t want to trust your IT systems with people who don’t have the required skills to handle them. Go for managed providers with good track records and reputation in IT support. Ask others who have worked with them to determine how effective they are.

Consider advanced technologies

The company should have the latest technology in the industry. There are several technologies out there that can be used to offer excellent services. For example, a good company should be able to use multiple remote desktop controls to sort out IT issues. Advanced technologies will ensure that problems are sorted out in a timely manner. In the end, there will be a major boost in production and workflow.

Consider a reliable provider

There are a lot of dishonest companies out there who can make things difficult in business. Make sure you strike a deal with a company that will provide you with excellent and reliable services. They should be in a position to carry out extensive market research and come up with effective strategies to improve your IT solutions. Their work should be accurate and uninterrupted. They must be there to answer your questions and sort out issues all the time. Above all, they must be honest and principled.

Thoughtful Ways to Make a Software Program More Usable

 If you are preparing software requirements for an upcoming development project, you may be focused on creating the most user-friendly program available. You may have specific functional requirements for the program, such as facilitating your sales staff or your engineering team in some way. However, in order to make a program truly beneficial for the functional applications you have in mind, it may need requirements tools to boost productivity and facilitate the easy completion of specific tasks. These are factors that boil down to how usable the program is. There are some simple tips you can follow when drafting your software requirements that can make your program more usable for your team.

Focus on the Ease of Learning

Your team’s first experiences with the program will be during training sessions and with trial and error efforts on their own. Ease of learning and ease of usability are two very different things in the development world, but how easy it is for your team to learn specific functions of the program can dictate how easy it is to apply certain features of the program in practical use. Therefore, your first step should be on making the program easy for your users to learn how to use.

Incorporate Pop Up Help Windows

Even with basic training sessions on the proper use of the program, your team may still have questions about the program from time to time as they use it on a daily basis. Rather than expect your team to fiddle with the program until they stumble upon the answers they are looking for, you can create pop up help windows that offer practical advice and tips. As you tinker with the program during test sessions, you can advise your developer of areas of application that may need pop up help windows.

Make Help Topics Searchable

Even with pop up help windows and after your team has been properly trained on the use of the program, questions still may arise from time to time. You can instruct your developer in the software requirements to create a searchable help section in the program. This can be a costly and time-consuming feature to incorporate, and this is because it is akin to incorporating a full training manual on all features in the program. However, if your program will be used by many or if it has complicated functional abilities, this can be helpful.

When developing a software program, you understandably want your team to maximize its use for their benefit in the workplace. Usability is one of the most significant factors that will impact how beneficial a program is. You can enhance the usability of your program through these tips.

Good Reasons to Move to Windows 8

Perhaps you aren’t the type of computer user that feels the dire need to upgrade to the newest software version possible just because everyone else is doing it. Maybe you are an independent type person who likes to stick with the version you have. Windows 7 does have some amazing features with it, but it may just be time for you to experiment with a newer version like 8. If you like that, then you may want to get Windows 10 after a while. Many reasons exist as to why buy Windows 8 is a good it for you. You could always try it and fall back to 7 if you truly don’t like it. The following are a few good reasons to move to 8 if you are still on 7:

The Tiles Grow on You

One of the biggest issues that people had when Windows 8 came out was that they didn’t appreciate the tiles and how they were set up. The tiles will actually grow on you, and you will begin to see how neat they are because they will make your desktop more organized than ever. You can change their size, move them around and turn them off if they distract you.

Quick Booting

Due to the amazing advances that the manufacturers performed on the software, your Windows 8 machine will boot up about 20 seconds faster than your Windows 7 machine will. You don’t have time to play when you’re conducting business, so you’ll want to boot up fast.

High Security

Windows 8’s security is more sophisticated than 7‘s security is. For example, your boot code will only allow software to load up if it has authorized signatures. That’s a good thing because it will prevent you from having breaches.

Massive Space

The Windows 8 machines are starting to come out with much more space than the other models have. It’s nothing for an 8 user to have more than 500 GB of space to store data. The more space you have on your rig, the less you have to worry about being careful as you create things.

Detailed Task Manager

The Windows 8 task manager is much more advanced than the one on Windows 7 is. You will be able to see more details than you were able to see on previous models, and you will be able to diagnose and treat problems better than you would have on the 7 models.

Many reasons exist as to why Windows 8 is a good it for you. You could always try it and fall back to 7 if you truly don’t like it. However, many people who move to 8 realize that they waited way too long before they switched to it. You may be one of the people who changes your thinking and starts to love this version of the operating system.

Are You Ready To Upgrade to Windows 10?

Windows 10 comes with a lot of new interesting features that goes beyond including lots of security features or reinstating the Start menu. However, while the many new features are certainly good reasons to make you upgrade, there are also a plethora of reasons that can make you stick with your Windows 7 or 8.1. So should you buy Windows 10 or stick with an older version of Windows?

What You Stand To Enjoy

Continuum

With the upsurge of hybrid laptop-tablet devices, this feature makes it seamless to switch between the two modes. Immediately you plug in or remove the keyboard or mouse, the system will sense and switch to a more convenient mode. When you remove the mouse or keyboard, for instance, the system will switch to a more touch-friendly mode and when the tablet is docked into the keyboard again, you will be promoted to exit the Tablet profile.

DirectX 12 support

Although gaming performance is more or less similar to previous versions, the DirectX 12 support implies that new games will perform better on existing software. Additionally, you will also be in a position stream games from Xbox directly to your PC, play them, and capture snapshots of your favorite game play session, which you can share with your friends.

Cortana

This great voice assistant is able to power search in your new Windows version, help you find programs and files, suggest for you matching apps, and look up for you information from the web—at a go. Simply put, cortana is fun and valuable and could even be better in future as more apps and services are integrated with it.

What You Might Lose

Windows Media Center

If you value your Windows Media Center, it’s better to stick with your older versions of Windows unless you are ready to scout for alternative for the Media Center features.

XP Mode

If you are interested in keeping your old Windows XP program working, don’t bother upgrading to Windows 10. Alternatively you can upgrade to the Pro version and run your older Windows version virtually via Hyper-V. However, you are likely to encounter a lot of security problems.

OneDrive Changes

Although the changes to OneDrive are vital, if your folders aren’t synced to your PC, you may not be in a position to work with it the new version of window’s File Explorer.

Bottom Line

Any new version of Windows operating system has its pros and cons and Windows 10 is no exception. If you are considering to upgrade, therefore, do a background check on the new features that Windows 10 offers and figure out how useful they are to you as well as some of the features that you might lose so that you decide if an upgrade will be an advantage or will bring you problems.

Mobile Forms and Solutions

The aim of a form app is to improve how a company’s field employees and central Information Technology collect, share, and monitor data to boost business processes. This technological advancement works by eliminating your paper based forms and replacing them with mobile form solutions. Converting all of your company’s paperwork into mobile form apps that are easy to use allows you to do more with your data. Regardless of type, there is a mobile solution available for every business that will save you time and money.

Mobile forms involve four basic steps:

[1] Build: This is the very first step, and it involves designing and building mobile forms and solutions on a number of devices whether they are tablet, mobile, or desktop.

[2] Setup: The second step involves setting up users, jobs, and notifications. Apart from being out of the box, mobile forms are easy to set-up and do not require coding or development.

[3] Use: The third step involves downloading the application and logging in. Downloading the mobile app onto your tablet or mobile phone allows you to not only receive jobs and forms but also return completed data to your office.

[4] Review: The fourth step involves capturing, analyzing, and deploying your data. You can always design and build the reports to look the same as existing paper forms.

Key Features

Mobile forms include a few handy features that can help you to eliminate paper forms and kick-start both your workflow and mobile data.

Form builder: This particular feature allows you to create simple but comprehensive forms for application across desktop and mobile devices.

Form intelligence: This feature enables the creation of powerful skip logic functionality in mobile forms, which allows you to customize the capturing of data according to the needs of your customers.

Media and signature capture: You can use this feature to capture photos, videos, and signatures while out in the field, which is bound to improve both the external and internal communication channels of your company.

Notifications: This feature allows you to send notifications to end user clients or teams within your business once your jobs and forms are complete. The notifications include copies of completed forms, invoices, and confirmation emails.

Geolocation: This feature allows you to record the time and location of you employees when completing jobs and any other operational duty out in the field.

Job dispatch: By availing real-time job dispatch, this feature gives your operational teams more visibility on workflow.

Report building: This feature allows you to develop well-structured reports that you can present back to your clients in real-time.

Barcode/QR scan: By making it possible to scan barcodes and QR codes through your mobile forms, this feature helps you to streamline your workflow and save a lot of time.

The resources at ProntoForms are helpful and can provide you with more information about mobile forms and solutions. Watch the below YouTube video to learn more about their solutions and services.

How Call Centre Services Can Improve Your Business

The decision to use call centre services is not a matter to take lightly. Everything from how well your customers will be served through inbound call centres to the cost and even the ability of the answering service to grow with your company should be taken into account when making this decision. With many call centre services available, you also need to consider the benefits that one specific center offers over the other options to make a more informed decision about which one to move forward with. Whether you are on the fence about using an answering service or you are trying to decide which one to hire, consider these ways that the right service can improve your business.

Improve Your Level of Customer Service
Not all call centers are the same, and some offer considerably better customer service than others. Focus on factors like operator training provided on the job, employee incentives, a great working environment and other factors when making a decision about which call centre to hire. However, bear in mind that an answering service in general is designed to handle a considerable number of calls, and it likely can handle more volume than your bu. This means that your customers may have less hold time and may be less likely to get a busy signal when calling you. In this way, your business can benefit through improved customer service.

Extend Your Business Hours
Many business offices operate with standard business hours, but this can be inconvenient for your customers who may need to speak with a professional outside of those business hours. For example, many people work at their own jobs during normal business hours and are unable to make personal calls during this team. Extending your business hours with an answering service is a great way to better serve your customers’ needs.

Decrease Overhead
You may think that outsourcing your call centre needs to a third party provider would tack on unnecessary overhead, but you actually can save a tremendous amount of money by outsourcing. For example, you will not have to pay salaries and benefits to employees. You also will need less office space, supplies and more. When all of these factors are taken into account, you can see that your business can save a small fortune through an answering service.

While you may enjoy each of these benefits to some decrease through all answering services, keep in mind that all services are not equal. By taking time to review the different options, you can find the solution that is more cost effective and beneficial for your needs. Your decision can ultimately improve your business in many substantial ways. You can always learn more at the Extend Communications blog.

Canada Enters a New Era of Data Centers and Remote Tech Support

By the end of this decade, most Canadian business owners whose companies are not bound by compliance to operate their own office network will have switched to remote IT support and managed IT consulting services. The rationale for this business shift can be seen in the Montreal region, where the data center market is beginning to mature.

Increased competition in the cloud services market is transforming Montreal into the data center capital of Canada. Business owners are demanding greater quality of IT support solutions; they are no longer wiling to put up with data centers with downtime periods adding up to a few days per year. When company owners in Canada decide to put their entire data infrastructure in the cloud, the want to get the best IT consulting services.

The Future of Enterprise Cloud Computing

Canada has lagged behind the United States in terms of cloud services adoption. Until about 2010, many companies were still using the legacy client/server model of business computing, which requires keeping IT support staff onsite and on payroll. Once American data centers started offering cloud services to Canadian clients, local entrepreneurs took notice.

Enterprise cloud services are the ideal solution for modern Canadian business owners who don’t want to use up too much capital on hardware or on hiring IT staff. Modern workplace trends such as “bring your own device” negate the need for office networks, and disaster recovery planning calls for keeping backups in reliable offsite locations. The better option is clearly to use cloud platforms.

Why Montreal?

Corporate data centers are quickly disappearing across all provinces; the new trend is to look for managed services, server co-location or moving all data assets to the cloud. To this effect, Canadian companies no longer have to seek American solutions; affordable electricity rates in Montreal have sparked a Golden Age of data centers.

Electrical utility companies such as Hydro Quebec offer rates as low as 5.2 cents per kilowatt hour. Toronto’s rates are closer to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. The new data centers being built in Montreal are carrier-neutral, which means that clients can leverage their internet access subscriptions through Shaw, Rogers, Videotron, and others.

Aside from affordable electricity, business leaders in Montreal have created a friendly regulatory environment for data centers to set up shop. Government contractors who are required to keep electronic records within Canada are happy to learn that Montreal is attracting data center operators.

The Different Categories of Security Testing Services

Hiring the services of a security consulting firm to perform security penetration testing can go a long way in protecting your organization from security vulnerabilities. However, it can be very frustrating and confusing if the consulting firm you decide to partner with does meet your organization’s security requirements. Understanding the types of security testing services that the consulting firm provides as well as how they operate can make all the difference between a costly mistake and a well managed process in security risk management. Without much ado, the following are some of the common penetration tests to expect from various security consulting firms in Canada.

Black-Box Testing

Black-box testing involves using an attacker who is well versed with the network technology that your organization is using. While a good number of security consulting firms are still using this method of testing, the model isn’t as common as it was a few years back because attackers are currently sophisticated enough and will be probably well updated with the technology that your organization is using in advance.

White-box testing

Unlike black-box testing, white-box testing involves information sharing and close communication between the security testing service firm and your technology group. The security consulting firm is supplied with legitimate user accounts, user guides, URLs, documentations and other resources. Generally, this model of testing often provides the most comprehensive results and is presently employed by many organizations in Canada.

Gray-box testing

As its name suggests, grey-box testing is basically a mix of the white-box and black-box testing models. With this testing method, your organization is expected to share just a little information about your networks as opposed to handing over everything. These may include access to your organization’s intranet site and other superficial information.

Bottom Line

When it comes to the right security consulting company to partner with, your choice should be shaped by factors beyond the types of testing models they use. You need to consider if they have the right talent for the job, the scope of their tests, their background, their reputation in the industry, and their goals and objectives.

Of course the above parameters are not exhaustive by any means, but are great elements to keep in mind when you are scouting for a company to help your organization with system integration testing or any other security testing service. One last but very important suggestion: trust your gut. Because you are going to expose your security details to a third party, there is no room for mistakes. If, in the process of hiring a firm, you detect anything fishy about the integrity or capability of the security consulting firm, simply walk away. For more information, you may appreciate the resources available at QA Consultants.