Rise of Bitcoin Will Result in Increased Cybercrime in 2018 By Baruch Labunski

Bitcoin mania reached an all-time high Dec. 6 when the value of the digital currency leapt by 40 percent in just 40 hours, surging past $16,000.

It’s been quite the ride over 2017. At the year’s start, the cost of a Bitcoin was still less than $1,000. By October the cryptocurrency reached $5,000, which doubled by late November and has continued to skyrocket since.

The most recent spike could be attributed to Wall Street organizations signaling their plans to enter the market. At its present price, the total value of all Bitcoin in circulation is about $300 billion.

Bitcoin Attracts Cybercriminals

Bitcoin historic rise has corresponded with an increase in cryptocurrency malware and other cybercrime. Cybersecurity firms are now cautioning against increased threats from cybercriminals they believe are cashing in on the unprecedented success.

According to software firm Malwarebytes, it has blocked 250 million attempts to install cryptocurrency-mining malware onto PCs in a single month. Criminal minds have hacked into websites and emails to install malware that harnesses the processing power of individual computers, smartphones and other electronic devices to mind cryptocurrency.

The danger of cybercrime posed by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is higher than ever before. According to a recent report from the U.K. government, National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 2017, the rise is demonstrated in three primary ways:

  1. Digital currencies encourage victim payment through malware and ransomware to almost untraceable cybercriminals.
  2. Cryptocurrencies are becoming a preferred payment method between criminals to purchase illegals goods and services online.
  3. Digital currencies are frequently laundered to disguise cybercrime proceeds, creating cybercriminal financial flows on the dark web.

Between May 2016 and July 2017 there were 1,584 reports referencing digital currencies, a number that is increasing by the month. Those risks are expected to grow even more as cryptocurrencies become a sustainable and mainstream payment method.

Cybercrime in 2017

2017 has turned into a year of great advancements for cybercriminals. In fact, the vast amount of wealth hijacked by cybercriminals now approaches the total losses incurred by U.S. robberies for all of 2015, an amount the FBI determined was about $390 million.

2017 also saw an increase in the scope of financial institutions that cybercriminals have targeted. Cybercriminal groups hacked into banking systems, e-money networks, capital management frameworks, cryptocurrency exchanges and even casinos with the goal of withdrawing enormous sums of money.

So, 2017 saw an increase in cybercrime, all while bitcoin continues to surge. So what can we expect in 2018 and beyond?

Malicious Mining

2018 will become the year of malicious web mining. According to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, the continued rise in number and value of cryptocurrencies will inspire cybercriminals to use more advanced techniques to create even more. The targeted attacks on web companies will be designed to install miners, and the trend will soon spread around the world in 2018.

Web mining is cryptocurrency mining technique used directly in browser with a special script installed on a website. Attackers have already proven how simple it can be to upload such scripts to a compromised site and engage users’ computers in mining activities, adding more coins into criminals’ wallets.

New miners will rely on their ability to access a free and stable source of electricity, leading to a rise in “insider miners,” employees of government agencies and manufacturing companies that will mine on publicly- or company-owned computers.

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks force users to buy cryptocurrencies to regain access to their networks, servers and databases. Ransom demands are typically made in Bitcoin because it’s a secure, often untraceable, method of making and receiving payments — a perfect currency for those who want their financial activities to remain hidden. Increasingly, analysts say, targeted companies are choosing to cough up and move on.

Victims of the WannaCry ransomware assault, for instance, saw a basic message on their screens: if you want to see your computer files again, pay us $300 (£230) inside the next 72 hours and we’ll unlock them for you, no questions asked. The malware automatically between computers with outdated security patches, and hundreds of thousands of users at a plethora of organizations, including the NHS, an automobile factor in France and an Australian railway, were impacted.

Historically, ransomware attacks – such as 1989’s Aids trojan horse virus – an innocuous-looking email containing a malicious link would provide hackers with entry into a system when clicked. But payment methods were limited. The Aids trojan horse, for example, threatened to encrypt files if a ransom of $189 wasn’t mailed to a PO Box in Panama.

Bitcoin eliminated those limits. The digital currency holds two main benefits for cybercriminals:

  1. It is a decentralized currency, so individuals pay each other without a bank or other processing institution in the middle.
  2. It provides the highest levels of anonymity. Bitcoins are accumulated and stored in virtual wallets identified by only a number.

Ransom payment demands are generally for a reasonable and affordable amount, making them likely to be met. But the cybercriminal sends it to thousands – or more – so those meager ransoms quickly accumulate to great profits.

The ransomware industry has become so attractive to cybercriminals, in fact, that cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes found that 40 percent of companies surveyed globally were targeted by ransomware.

Financial Institution Attacks

Because the largest financial institutions invest heavily in cybersecurity resources, their infrastructures are not easy to hack or attack. That doesn’t stop cybercriminals from trying, however, and the meteoric rise of bitcoin is only escalating those desires.

Because financial systems based on blockchain and cryptocurrency do not exist autonomously, vulnerabilities and errors in blockchain implementation can enable attackers to earn money and disrupt the work of a financial institution.

A common target in the coming year is likely to be software vendors that supply banks and other financial organizations. These vendors generally carry far weaker protection levels compared to the banks they serve. Attackers simply replace or modify updates to various types of software, including that used in ATMs and PoS terminals, in order to infiltrate financial systems.

Cyberattacks already targeted systems running SWIFT — a major player in the world’s financial ecosystem. Attackers used malware to infiltrate financial institutions and manipulate programs responsible for cross-border transactions, making it possible to withdraw money from any financial organization in the world. An assortment of banks in more than 10 countries have already been attacked.

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Common Pitfalls for Founders Employing New Technologies By AJ Agrawal

There are two universal truths of running a business: The best part about discovering a problem is finding a solution to that problem, and the worst part about discovering that solution is finding a way to implement it company-wide. In fact, up to 70 percent of organizational changes are failures, and this shocking failure rate has been consistent for decades. People tend to resist change, which is why so many businesses land themselves in hot water after spending a small fortune bringing new technologies into their operation, only to have those systems fail because of poor planning and implementation. Technology implementation has a significant effect on overall profitability, so maximizing the value of technological solutions hinges heavily on just how effectively they can be integrated into the company culture, and founders just aren’t paying enough attention to change management when they decide to introduce new technology into the workplace.

Investing in the Wrong Technology

We’re in the golden era of technology, with innovative new solutions to everyday business woes being “solved” by a variety of different platforms all the time. But not all these solutions are created equally, and ultimately it doesn’t matter how perfectly the wrong technology is implemented if it’s just not going to be a good fit for your company’s needs. One of the most common mistakes founders make is selecting a technology system based almost exclusively on the demonstration sessions led by the software developers; this may or may not accurately reflect how those systems and processes might translate to your startup. Don’t get sucked into the pitch — pay attention to how any new technology jives with your company culture and your business’s overall digital strategy.

Getting Lost in the Data

Big data — and the technology that compiles it — is all the rage in technology and marketing right now, with Google Analytics and similar platforms offering thousands of ways to analyze and interpret huge amounts of data to extract insights. The problem is that many businesses still struggle to mine that data for information relevant to their venture, and too many founders don’t think about their data analytics approach. Statistics and data can be easily manipulated, as Greg Malpass, CEO of Traction on Demand, explains: “The danger is entering into data with a hypothesis and using it to sway your direction and prove yourself right. People can use the same data and come up with completely different stories because their bias shaped it.

Solving Problems Too Quickly

While this may sound like one of those “problems” that isn’t actually a problem, being too quick to posit solutions can actually be a bad thing. Trying to solve a problem too quickly without listening and fully understanding its scope and impact can close you off to new information that could be critical to your understanding of the problem and how to improve it. What’s more, those preconceived notions can influence the recommendations you make for solutions, which may not bring about the best results. In general, it’s very challenging to listen and be open-minded when your brain is in problem-solving mode; listen first, then seek to solve.

Dropping the Bomb

One of the absolute worst mistakes founders can make when implementing new technology is failing to get buy-in from their team before dropping the bomb that change is a-coming. Founders should emphasize the value of the changes and work on getting the team’s feedback and insights before making moves. This will not only help to ensure that you don’t solve problems too quickly or spend money on technology that won’t even address the right issues, but it will also help your team adopt changes organically and successfully. As Building Design+Construction smartly notes, “real change — the kind that removes obstacles, speeds timetables, saves money, and improves safety — cannot simply be mandated from above. Change that doesn’t include buy-in from your team… risks being marginalized and abandoned as old habits and procedures creep back in.”

Insufficient Training

Understanding and being able to fully utilize the technology you’ve brought into the workplace is just as important as deciding to implement it in the first place; after all, it doesn’t do your business any good to have a “solution” no one can effectively use. You (or other employees who are training your team on the new platforms) must understand the application of the system, not just which screens to go to and buttons to push to perform functions. You want to know how to use the technology to enhance your workflow, and you want to know it well enough to be able to pass that information to others. It may take more time than you’d like it to, but it’s a non-negotiable step in the process.

It can be tempting — and even all too easy — for founders to invest in bright and shiny new technologies that don’t really fit into the overall vision or strategy of their business, but blindly investing in the latest and greatest without taking the time to ensure it’s a good fit for your company can spell disaster. Perhaps even more frustrating for startups, though, are the times in which founders know they have found the perfect tech tool to solve a business conundrum, only to struggle to implement that technology effectively. Becoming more aware of common mistakes founders make when introducing new technology into the workplace is the first step in ensuring your startup doesn’t fall victim to any of these pitfalls.

Did you make any “rookie mistakes” when trying to implement technological changes in your business? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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7 Ways Financial Services Firms Can Leverage Artificial Intelligence By Jody Glidden

Haunted by visions of robots compiling information and spitting out numbers as you wonder what happened to your once booming financial services firm?

Relax.

You won’t have to surrender to any robot overlords.

In fact, jobs in financial services — tax preparation, auditing, consulting — are about to get more efficient. That’s because machines eliminate manual data entry and provide instant insights, leaving you and your business development team with more time to ensure ongoing loyalty and drive new business.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is technology that collects information and learns from what it stores, enabling computers to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Financial institutions have been investing in it for years. One study found that 32% of financial services executives were already using AI. That number will continue to increase, since according to MIT Boston Consulting Group, 79% of executives believe AI not only leads to a competitive advantage but also an increase in productivity.

But keep in mind that while AI cuts a lot of corners for your employees, it doesn’t eliminate their roles or responsibilities. AI is only as good as the data and people behind it. It is up to you and your team to determine how AI can fit into your organization, from automating processes to improving the customer experience.

Read on to discover how your financial services firm can leverage AI to drive your business to unprecedented heights.

7 Ways to Leverage AI in Financial Services

1. Automation

According to Tech Emergence, global financial services firm JP Morgan Chase has implemented AI-powered technologies to analyze legal documents and extract critical points and clauses. What took 360,000 hours of manual labor annually can now be done in seconds.

But once again, that doesn’t mean less work for you.

It means you can redirect your efforts to the more human side of your job and take the information you get from AI to provide clients — and more of them — with meaningful information that resonates. This allows your firm to become more client centric, which is the real reason firms are able to withstand the test of time.

2. Market Analysis

Understanding consumer and business decision makers is crucial for success. AI-powered market analysis offers a more efficient and effective way to aggregate data for real-time insights and total traceability into the entire customer journey, providing your company with invaluable strategic planning market intelligence.

3. Relationship Scoring

Financial services firms run on relationships. How can your business development team make interactions with potential and existing clients more valuable? Relationship scoring provides instant insights into where you stand with prospects and existing clients so that you can unlock new opportunities and protect key accounts. And with AI, you can fine tune your organization’s scoring algorithm and alerts to be sure your team takes appropriate action at the right time.

4. Client Support and Service

Where clients once navigated through several pages on a website, they now initiate a simple conversation in an automated chat environment to find answers to common queries. They can perform day-to-day transactions 24/7 and even get smart recommendations from AI-powered chatbots. This improves the financial lives of your customers but also rids employees of repetitive tasks, so they can challenge themselves with more rewarding problem-solving activities.

5. Auditing

In addition to automating labor-intensive tasks like data entry, AI can extract information from invoices and purchase orders that go into auditing systems, so you can focus more time delivering analytics and insight on a machine’s output as part of your role. With the heavy lifting being performed with AI, auditors are free to investigate potential gaps that may pop up during an audit.

6. Risk Assessment

Cognitive computing can handle massive data sets from past projects — the kind that don’t fit neatly in a spreadsheet — and use advanced algorithms against a proposed project to analyze indicators of known and unknown risks. Companies who anticipate and proactively manage risk stand to gain significant competitive advantages.

7. Reporting

Your AI-driven tools successfully collect and enter critical, far-reaching data about prospects and customers every day. Now what? Most employees lack access or time to gather it all into coherent data sets. The same technology can empower sales and business development professionals to make sense of it all and act on the data they’ve collected, often in the click of a button.

Technology Helps Firms Win

Innovative technology solutions help firms become more efficient and close more deals. Uncover more ways to elevate your financial services firm by embracing new technology trends.

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What to Look for in Personalization Technology for 2018 By Katie Sweet

personalization technology for 2018

As we come upon a new year, marketers everywhere are considering their marketing strategies for 2018, and many are finally thinking about pursuing personalization programs. If you have put off personalizing your customers’ or prospects’ digital experiences thus far, it may have been for any number of reasons: you haven’t felt that your company was ready for it, it seemed like too big of an undertaking, you wanted to focus on other priorities, etc. But you don’t need to put it off any longer. The right technology partner can make it easy to get started.

In this blog post, I’ll walk through the high-level requirements for any personalization technology you invest in next year. There are, of course, many individual features and nitty-gritty details you’ll want to look for as well. You’ll want to figure out if any solution can integrate with your specific martech stack, and you’ll want to make sure it can help you accomplish your specific goals. But at the highest level, in order to deliver successful one-to-one personalization, you need a solution that is a complete cross-channel platform, contains a single profile for each person, operates in true real time, allows you to execute on your strategy without reliance on IT or engineering, and delivers robust and accurate attribution analysis.

For a more in-depth analysis of how to evaluate personalization technology, I also recommend you download our new full-length book, One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning, for free. Let’s dive in!

1. A single platform to leverage across channels

The term “personalization” encompasses many different tactics and channels. Exit and cart abandonment messages, segment-based communications, product and content recommendations, account- and industry-specific experiences, web application, mobile app, push notifications, email, digital advertising, person-to-person, and search all fall under the umbrella of personalization.

Point solution vendors that provide tools for each of these individual tactics and channels have popped up over the years. It may seem wise initially to invest in a point solution, but it can become overwhelming (not to mention fragmented) as soon as you want to do more than that point solution was designed for. Soon you’ll find yourself with a jumble of unconnected technologies that you need to wrangle—each with a separate account and separate data.

It is much more effective and efficient to address all of your personalization needs with one single platform that allows for personalization across channels and tactics. While researching personalization technology, consider your potential future needs and find a solution that will grow with you — rather than limit you.

2. A single profile for every single person

It’s impossible to deliver an experience that is unique and relevant to an individual if you don’t have a comprehensive understanding of that individual. For example, imagine several different people observing a shopper in a physical store at different moments. Each person would notice the person taking different actions. If they didn’t share their observations, they would each have a very different view of that person’s preferences and intent. But once they put them together, they form a complete picture of what that individual is looking for at that moment and what his interests and affinities are.

In the digital world, successful personalization requires that all of your in-depth behavioral data from across channels be captured, synchronized with external attribute data, and brought together into a single profile for each visitor, customer and account. However, a single profile is not easy to deliver and hard to find among vendors. Many personalization vendors will appear to provide a complete platform that offers capabilities across the full personalization spectrum, but merging data sources is either impossible with their existing tools or very complex and time-consuming. It actually requires an integrated Customer Data Platform (CDP). Make sure you find a personalization solution that includes a CDP at its core and allows you to see a single profile for each person that interacts with your company.

3. The ability to act on any and all data in real time

We tend to be forgiving when anyone says that something is available in “real time.” We often take that to mean “quickly” or “soon” rather than the phrase’s real definition: “the actual time during which a process takes place or an event occurs.”

In terms of personalization, “real time” refers to the actual moment that someone is interacting with a digital property. When we say that the data should be used to deliver a personalized experience in real time, we mean it should be delivered the actual moment a person is interacting with the company, regardless of the channel. All aspects of every visitor’s complete history must be combined with everything she is doing in the moment, and everything you’ve learned about her from all relevant sources, to deliver a personalized experience — in a matter of milliseconds.

The term is used liberally in many vendors’ marketing messages — and isn’t always meant in its full and accurate sense. Dig into any vendor’s capabilities to determine if it will allow you to instantly and undetectably deliver relevant experiences that leverage a person’s in-the-moment, not past, intent.

4. The ability to manage the platform without the need to rely on IT or engineering

You’ve probably experienced the pain that results from relying on other teams in your organization to accomplish your marketing goals. Whether you need assistance from engineering, IT, customer success, or sales, it can be frustrating when other teams — with their own priorities — fail to put your initiatives at the top of the list. When it comes to something as important as the customer experience, you don’t want to be forced to always count on others. So what can you do?

With a best-of-breed personalization platform, you and your team should be able to launch, measure, and adjust personalization campaigns quickly and easily on your own, without intervention. Yet the platform needs to be comprehensive enough to address all of your complex multi-tactic, cross-channel demands. With some vendors, a platform like this just does not exist. It’s a good idea to find out from current customers if the solution is easy or cumbersome to use.

5. Robust and accurate attribution analysis

Testing, analytics and attribution analysis are critical components of any personalization campaign. Without the ability to test, you cannot know if your campaigns are successful or if there is anything you can do to improve your approach. You need built-in testing and attribution analysis to iterate rapidly and ensure your experiences and algorithms deliver the best results possible.

Some solutions are not transparent when it comes to attribution analysis. Some vendors, particularly those with product recommendation tools, will provide reporting on campaign results but not enable customers to run or manage those reports themselves. And many will boldly claim that their “black box” solutions have made you hundreds of thousands or even millions in incremental revenue—taking credit for growth that may have occurred anyway. When selecting a personalization solution, make sure that you have the ability to compare the results of every campaign against control and that the solution utilizes sound statistical science for accurate and defensible attribution analysis.

Final Thoughts

If you’re evaluating personalization for 2018 for the first time (or if you’re reevaluating your existing tools), make sure that your personalization technology is a complete cross-channel platform, contains a single profile for each person, acts in real time, allows you to execute on your strategy without relying on IT or engineering, and delivers accurate attribution analysis.

To learn more about why these aspects of personalization technology are critical to delivering relevant, one-to-one experiences for your customers and prospects – and a whole lot more – download a free digital copy of our new book, One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning today.

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How To Drive Customer Loyalty On Mobile By Ross Hamer

Customer loyalty is a funny thing, isn’t it? I remember when I was a kid I would only drink one brand of milk, Fresh’n’Lo. If my milk wasn’t in that familiar packaging I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. It wouldn’t get anywhere near my Coco Crispies, let alone into an unadulterated glass. Looking back at it, it strikes me (quite rightly) as madness, but I also feel a sliver of pride at just how fiercely loyal I was to that brand.

Why was I like this? Well, other than my inherent neurosis, I’m pretty sure it was a mix of familiarity to the point where it was habitual, as well as the illusion that this milk was somehow better than other milk. The cartons were always the most visible in the local food market, and sometimes I’d see it on the few billboards that overlooked the small town I grew up in. All these things undoubtedly created a loyal milk monster in me.

Customer Loyalty Is All Around Me, And So The Feeling Grows

That story tells you a lot about why brands spend a huge amount of time and money on marketing and advertising their products in order to keep customers coming back. It happens all around us, all the time: brands are constantly maintaining our awareness of what we are already familiar with.

Take, for instance, Coca Cola taking the time to make sure their bottles are at the perfect level in a shop’s refrigerator cabinet – and therefore easy to catch sight of, triggering the realisation that you’d love a sip of that familiar sugary taste. And of course also easy to reach out a hand and grab one.

It’s the same for TV ads. As a millennial, I don’t watch that much TV, but when I do I am shocked by the constant barrage of advertising. These ads often have very little to do with the product of the brand they are representing, but they certainly remind viewers of the brand’s existence. That is particularly important for businesses like online brokers who have no real world presence, which presumably explains the panoply of furry (or otherwise) ‘characters’ on my TV screen bringing these brands to sometimes irritating life.

Customer Loyalty On Mobile – A Changing Landscape

The emergence of mobile has changed what we might call the ‘loyalty landscape’ completely. Nearly everyone has a smartphone that they carry with them at all times, in all places, and use at any given opportunity. This has brought about a huge opportunity for brands, but they have only recently started to figure out the nuances of communicating with users through the most personal channel we’ve ever known. And of course there is still a lot of work to do.

Put simply: the old ways just don’t work as well as they used to. Mobile users don’t react well to being interrupted by constant advertising. They’re no longer held hostage to broadcasters who splice up content with a seemingly ever increasing ratio of manic ads. And if they are subjected to even a short ad that really gets in their way, chances are they’ll grow frustrated and give their attention to a different, more understanding app.

It’s clear that customer loyalty marketing today can’t just be about reminding people all the time that you exist. It’s far more important for your business to be on the screen of whatever device your customer is currently using. And this is the real challenge! In our age of fleeting attention spans, getting the brand on the screen – and staying there – is the single most important thing you can do to nurture customer loyalty.

How To Drive Customer Loyalty

So how do you do it? Well, if being on the screen is the goal, then implementing a smart retention strategy is the first step to making that happen. Let’s start with the first time that a user opens your app, as it will define the rest of their journey. I you don’t onboard successfully, that journey will be a rather short one. It’s all about educating your users about the core features of your app as effectively as you can, and in as unobtrusive way as possible. For example, use in-app messages to explain the benefits of signing up for a free trial or opting in for push notifications. Once your audience understand the full value of your service, developing loyalty and increasing engagement becomes a heck of a lot easier for you.

After the initial onboarding, when users have settled into your app and understand how to get the most out of it, the golden rule is simple: “first do no harm”. Let go of the old marketing ways. Resist the temptation to spam with push notifications. Instead, think “service messaging”, which provides helpful, and even important information to customers in real-time. Being able to communicate to a customer that you know, and perhaps can even anticipate, their needs is incredibly powerful when it comes to building loyalty. Messages like these serve the purpose of being genuinely helpful, and if done smartly, are unobtrusive. For example a weather app could message you to take an umbrella with you before you leave the house.

This approach develops a sense of trust and loyalty for your brand in the customer, and nurturing this over time will lead to more likelihood of them interacting with your messaging, even if that starts to edge into marketing territory. The alternative, on the other hand, is likely to simply teach your customers to ignore you, or worse delete the app. Your place on the screen is lost forever…

Ultimately, earning your customers’ loyalty is not rocket science, but it IS something that you need to think clearly about. A common sense and reliable approach is to simply put yourself in the customer’s shoes. “Would I find this message helpful, for me specifically? Really?” If you can answer “yes” to those questions (and the more targeted and personalized the message, the more often you will), then it’s probably OK to proceed. Taking that approach, and identifying the moments when you can truly help your customers, means you will be well on your way to customer loyalty success. Treat yourself to a cold glass of generic brand milk – you deserve it.

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Branding Ideas for Cloud Computing Companies By Barbara McKinney

Branding Ideas for Cloud Computing Companies

We don’t need Coldplay to tell us about number and figures in the cloud computing industry. But Statista sure does have all the information we need to get us started on building a cloud-based service.

Cloud computing remains to be an important driver for growth in the IT industry and it makes perfect sense for this segment to grow exponentially. More and more companies are looking towards the cloud (particularly software-as-service) to streamline essential business processes. From CRM down to lead management, you can never really deny the value of cloud-based services to the broader aspects of managing a business.

These realizations will only propel growth even further. A Forbes article offers a positive outlook, saying that this segment of the IT market will be able to surpass initial projections. By the end of 2017, SaaS will have grown 36.6% and raked in a hefty $34.7 billion. In five years tops, it will manage to reach the $100-billion mark.

These numbers only indicate that there is greater adoption among businesses that need to cash in on the cloud to improve operational performance and revenue generation. These trends will only encourage executives to increase their IT budget in a bid to update their infrastructure and implement business process software across every aspect of the enterprise.

Seeing that there is a high demand for cloud-based services, IT companies will have to stay competitive and ensure that their software products, including SaaS, get the right customers that they deserve. At best, companies that are active in the cloud-computing arena will need to create bridges through their brands. And like building bridges, creating a brand that attracts the right customers involves looking implementing ideas that cater to this end.

With that said, brand-building is undoubtedly an important part of marketing and sales since you can never get customers without getting them acquainted with you.Fortunately, we are happy enough to share some neat ideas for putting your products and services front and center.

Want to get a large slice of the cloud market? Here’s how:

Authenticity is key

And it’s obvious that companies will need to create an identity that’s totally different from what their competitors put on. But often, being authentic is something that tantamounts to practicing a tap dance routine. It’s not exactly a good comparison, but hear us out when we say that crafting an attractive brand entails a lot of hard-work and requires the inputs of sales, marketing, and advertising. Granted, when it comes to being authentic, your team should be able to emphasize recognition as well as reputation.

Make connections

You can never truly create a brand that resonates with your audience if you fail in reaching out to their expectations and demands. When comes down to it, IT companies will have to do a great deal of identifying what their audiences want and build a brand strategy from the way they interact. This bottom-up approach to creating your marketing plan will surely provide you with the intelligence you need to draft a blueprint for your next digital campaigns.

Reviews and testimonials

Taking advantage of what your past and present clients have to say about your service is also helpful, at least in crafting your identity towards future clients. After all, people will need to know what it’s like working with you, and giving them something to read up on (a featured review or a testimonial posted on your site) will save them the trouble of making assumptions about your service.

Industry events

Product unveilings and IT expos can offer you a good avenue to grow your brand’s visibility. For that, you will need to get a head’s up on important industry events where there is an opportunity to grow your network and, more importantly, give your brand a much-needed boost in appeal.

Contribute

Let your voice be heard. Whether it’s a take on a new IT product or an opinion about cryptocurrencies, expressing and sharing your thoughts on crucial industry-related issues can further increase your brand’s clout. What’s more, it also provides potential customers a glimpse as to how knowledgeable you are about everything that happens in this highly competitive arena.

 

 

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Everything You Need To Know About SaaS Recruiting Software By Shaun Ricci

SaaS (“software as a service”) recruiting software refers to on-demand software, whereby the database and features are hosted in the cloud.

saas recruiting software

It’s essentially the prevalent model of recruitment software delivery right now.

The benefits of SaaS recruiting software

  • Cost effectiveness: You save money because SaaS recruiting software doesn’t need IT infrastructure, maintenance, or staffing costs. All of that is handled by the provider and baked into your subscription cost, but said subscription cost is likely to be significantly less than the implementation and overhead costs of infrastructure and maintenance.
  • Hit the ground running:” You can import existing data fairly easily, and because you don’t need to install and implement the software yourself (the provider does it), you can be up and running in hours.
  • Anywhere/anytime: This is the great promise of the cloud. Are you on an airplane and need to access your recruitment database? If you can get Internet connection, you’re good. Are you in the middle of a lake in Idaho? Does the lake area have WiFi? You’re good. Nothing about your recruitment process is tied to a specific desk or location. You can get at it anywhere via SaaS recruiting software.
  • Mobile-friendly: Most SaaS is, or is becoming, mobile-friendly, because that’s largely the trend in ATS/CRM design now.
  • The upgrades are the provider’s responsibility: You don’t need to worry about that or need to throw another deliverable to your IT side.
  • Fiscal flexibility: Usually with SaaS recruiting software, you pay for a specific suite of services and number of recruiters. So basically, you pay for what you need, as opposed to paying for everything under the sun — which can happen in on-premise options.

What does SaaS mean for the future of recruiting?

There are a few trend lines to follow here:

  1. More remote, freelance, and contract recruitment opportunities will become available in different industries as recruiting will become more about networks, contacts, and relationship-building as opposed to being tethered to a specific desk or office.
  2. The more tedious aspects of recruitment – “the business of doing business” – will get automated out. This will typically be screening, sourcing, and shortlisting task work. In turn, your recruitment team is freed up to work on more value-add tasks.
  3. Searchable cloud-based recruitment databases make candidate rediscovery easier. This is hugely beneficial in high-growth or high-volume hiring situations. Maybe your company is growing 20% per year. (Awesome.) It’s possible in that situation that you hired 10 sales reps last year, but need to hire another 20. Well, when you hired the 10, you had other candidates who just missed the cut. Dive into your SaaS database, find them, contact them, and candidate rediscovery just made your growth needs much easier.
  4. Integrations with an ATS and other software will continue to get easier, which hopefully boosts candidate experience too because all the different products and services a recruiter needs will be “speaking” to each other more effectively.

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