6 Hacks for Writing Knockout Push Notifications| By |Andrew Gazdecki

Push notification is the new big boy in town! You might already know the basics of how to use them, but crafting push notifications that users actually want to receive is a true art form. Let’s quickly go over the essentials: Creating the perfect push notification starts with understanding how customers interact with your app. The more you know about your users, the more personalized you can make your push notifications. These messages should enhance the customer experience, not harm it. So with every new push notification, users should feel satisfied and happy about your brand.

But knowing all this information doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to write the actual push notification. These hacks will help you create killer copy for every single push notification you send out.

1. Be Authentic

The number one thing customers want from brands is honesty. And this holds true for push notifications as well. Customers can spot an inauthentic brand from a mile away, so don’t try too hard or force yourself onto customers. Be consistent when it comes to writing your push notifications, staying true to your brand voice and making sure it aligns with your web and email communication. According to Peopledesign, “authenticity speaks volumes. Brands that tell a genuine, honest story resonate with people. People believe in honest brands.” iShare combines honesty and transparency with a little bit of sass in their push notification.

be authentic

Action step: When you have written out a push notification, take a moment to reflect on the voice and tone it conveys. Does it match your brand identity? Will it makes sense to customers as part of your larger brand narrative?

2. Be Valuable

If anything, your push notifications should add value to your customers’ daily life. Be helpful and engaging, instead of annoying. Over 50% of app users find push notifications annoying. The other half finds them useful, but only if the content includes valuable information. You exist in the lives of your customers for one ultimate purpose: to help them accomplish something. So make sure you deliver on this! The goal is for users to look forward to your messages. Uber, for example, helps its users save money by notifying them of dropping rates in the area.

Be valuable

Action step: No matter what type of company you are, you have promised to make some part of their life easier, better, more beautiful, or more fun. Dig into this notion to guide your push notifications. Why are you useful, or even indispensable?


3.
Be Funny

To summarize millennials: “They want funny. Funny lets them know you see the world through their eyes. Funny lets them reinforce their own online presence with content they can share with everyone on their list”, says Acxiom Marketing. For brands, it’s about not taking themselves too seriously and being brave enough to share it with their audience. Simon Circles, a mobile game, knows how to get a laugh on demand.

funny push notification

Action step: Follow comedians on Twitter, collect viral memes and find companies that you think do humor right. Create a folder with all these pieces, so you can draw inspiration from it whenever you’re not feeling funny.


4. Be To-The-Point

It’s all about brevity these days. Push notifications are the perfect way to counter our shorter attention spans. Push notifications, by design, are brief. So don’t abuse this format by trying to cram too much in. Remember, the best performing push messages are under 25 characters. It’s not only about being being brief, it’s also being clear. If you are struggling to convey the message (as you are trying to be authentic, funny and to-the-point), just come out and say it. Sometimes the simplest messages get the job done. Netflix knows how to delight their customers with short and personalized messages based their watching habits.

brief push notification

Action step: Write two different versions of the same push notification and then A/B test them. You will start discovering your own patterns of what works and what doesn’t, as well as the perfect balance between eloquent and straightforward.


5. Be Empathic

Empathy is “the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” This might be a lot to ask of a company’s push notifications, but it can be done! Let your users know that you feel their struggle, pain, happiness or excitement. Try to understand where they are coming from, as this will help you to create the perfect and personalised push notification – just like the app Sunshine did.

personalized push notification

Action step: Social media is a powerful tool at your disposal. Use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest profiles to become more empathic. Look at the comments and questions to uncover your customer’s hopes, dreams and challenges and how they intersect with your brand.


6.
Be In The Know

It’s common advice in marketing to “ride the wave” of current events. Push notifications are a great way to join the discussion of current events and trends. Whether it’s a football game or the season finale of The Big Bang Theory, here’s your chance to be creative and let your brand’s personality shine through. Minibar, a liquor delivery company, found a great way to insert themselves in the US Election conversation.

relevant push notification

Action step: Download a holiday calendar – preferable one that includes national days like “Find a Rainbow Day” – and keep it at handy when you are creating push notifications. Almost every day the internet is celebrating something, making it a marketing gold mine!

Combine basic best practices with these copywriting tips, and you’ll master the art of writing push notifications that users actually want to receive. Do you have any tips for writing effective push notifications? Share them in the comments.

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5 Apps to Help Protect Your Data| By |Jennifer Spencer

Identity theft is a real crisis – becoming a victim of one is not a pleasant experience. To protect your phones against data thieves – or simply from a nosy father or sibling, get these 10 apps that will surely protect your privacy.

1. Fingerprint Login: PassKey Password & Apps Lock

By DoubleVision Labs

Why stop at fingerprint screen locking when you can also use your fingerprint to lock single apps as well? With Fingerprint Login, you can now lock individual apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook, and Messenger using your fingerprints. The app allows you to secure all your private data, and you can even use your fingerprint to login to any app or website. You can even use the feature across all of your devices. Download for the iOS on the App Store. Free

2. Free VPN HexaTech – Unlimited VPN Proxy for iPhone

By Betternet Technologies Inc.

VPN Hexatech offers free virtual private networking service that allows you to browse all restricted apps such as YouTube and Facebook as well as securing your connection to any public hotspots through encryption. It provides faster internet connection by automatically locating your location and connecting you o the nearest server. Download for the iOS on the App Store. Free

3. Best Phone Security Pro

By RV AppStudios LLC

If this app is installed in your phone, whenever someone tries to open you device unauthorized, the phone will ring off with an alarm that cannot be stopped except by you. It locks the volume key on your phone, making a would-be- thief unable to mute the alarm. It will also control yout front camera to take a picture of the thief. Download for the iOS on the App Store

4. Lookout: Security and Identity Theft Protection

By Lookout, Inc.

Similar to Apple’s Find My iPhone, this app tracks your device over GPS to help you locate your lost iPhone via the internet using your Lookout.com account. It also features remote access where you can use the website to let your phone ring to easily find it. It backups your data, as well as keeps the last known location of your device before it runs out of batteries or if switched off. Download for the iOS on the App Store. Free

5. LastPass Password Manager

By LogMeIn, Inc.

LastPass is a third-party password storage that allows you to store all of your passwords under heavy encryption for maximum security. LastPass also has a special master password that you can use rather than keeping different passwords for different apps and accounts. The encryption occurs in the phone, which means no data transfers over the internet or is stored in their servers. Download for the iOS on the App Store. Free

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Rare ‘Green Moon’ Appearing on April 20 Is A Viral Hoax| By |Erica Abbott

Will a rare planetary alignment cause the Earth’s moon to appear green on April 20? No. The claim that a “Green Moon” will appear is a hoax.

According to Snopes, the fake claim originated last year in an image shared to Facebook. The photo claimed that on May 29, 2016, a green moon would be visible in the sky for the first time in 170 years. It was shared more than 38,000 times. Other images claimed the date was actually April 20.

http://ift.tt/2pS7k27

Of course, there is no green moon, but the Facebook prank was taken one step further by providing additional information in the photo comments. The Facebook user wrote:

For those who need information on how this works…

All night long on Sunday, May 29th the seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus, will park itself near the moon.

[…]

The green-colored ice giant has four times the width of Earth, but since it lies nearly 1.9 billion miles (3.1 billion kilometers) away from Earth, it’s barely visible to the naked eye—and only in very dark, pristine skies.

With the glare from the nearby moon, binoculars will be your best bet in spotting Uranus. Just look for a tiny greenish-blue disk in the field of view. By the way, the absorption of red light by methane in the atmosphere is what gives Uranus it’s cool Didula nanayakkara coloring.

NASA debunked the rumor last year, explaining, “While the moon will be full on the 20th, it will not turn green. During lunar eclipses the moon does turn red, because the Earth’s atmosphere filters light and the projections of all sunsets and sunrises illuminates the moon.”

An updated image then began circulating again in 2017, claiming that this rare phenomenon would now appear in the night sky on Thursday, April 20. “Several planets will align causing the Earth’s moon to appear green for 90 minutes,” the image purports. “This phenomenon is known as ‘Green Moon’ and only happens once every four hundred & twenty years.”

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The “Green Moon” rumor was nothing more than a joke. April 2o has come to be known as “Weed Day” by pot smokers around the world—the perfect time for green-themed hoaxes. Don’t expect any green to grace the sky Thursday night.

Social Media Reacts to Viral Image of “Green Moon” on 4/20

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Did you see the image of the “Green Moon” circulating social media? Sound off in the comments section below!

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Rare ‘Green Moon’ Appearing on April 20 Is A Viral Hoax| By |Erica Abbott

Will a rare planetary alignment cause the Earth’s moon to appear green on April 20? No. The claim that a “Green Moon” will appear is a hoax.

According to Snopes, the fake claim originated last year in an image shared to Facebook. The photo claimed that on May 29, 2016, a green moon would be visible in the sky for the first time in 170 years. It was shared more than 38,000 times. Other images claimed the date was actually April 20.

http://ift.tt/2pS7k27

Of course, there is no green moon, but the Facebook prank was taken one step further by providing additional information in the photo comments. The Facebook user wrote:

For those who need information on how this works…

All night long on Sunday, May 29th the seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus, will park itself near the moon.

[…]

The green-colored ice giant has four times the width of Earth, but since it lies nearly 1.9 billion miles (3.1 billion kilometers) away from Earth, it’s barely visible to the naked eye—and only in very dark, pristine skies.

With the glare from the nearby moon, binoculars will be your best bet in spotting Uranus. Just look for a tiny greenish-blue disk in the field of view. By the way, the absorption of red light by methane in the atmosphere is what gives Uranus it’s cool Didula nanayakkara coloring.

NASA debunked the rumor last year, explaining, “While the moon will be full on the 20th, it will not turn green. During lunar eclipses the moon does turn red, because the Earth’s atmosphere filters light and the projections of all sunsets and sunrises illuminates the moon.”

An updated image then began circulating again in 2017, claiming that this rare phenomenon would now appear in the night sky on Thursday, April 20. “Several planets will align causing the Earth’s moon to appear green for 90 minutes,” the image purports. “This phenomenon is known as ‘Green Moon’ and only happens once every four hundred & twenty years.”

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The “Green Moon” rumor was nothing more than a joke. April 2o has come to be known as “Weed Day” by pot smokers around the world—the perfect time for green-themed hoaxes. Don’t expect any green to grace the sky Thursday night.

Social Media Reacts to Viral Image of “Green Moon” on 4/20

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Did you see the image of the “Green Moon” circulating social media? Sound off in the comments section below!

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Immigrant Pathways to Innovation| By |Travis Barker

Immigrant pathways to innovation are neither obvious nor automatic. The same homeostatic mechanisms that keep up a nation or company’s culture, values, beliefs, assumptions, and traditions often limit the successful introduction of new ideas, ways of doing, and routes of inquiry. Diversity initiatives that seek to incorporate difference and celebrate uniqueness often struggle with the same challenges; to incorporate ideas or values that are different from those already invested requires the reconsideration of paradigms, models, and rules of order.

Immigrant Pathways to Innovation

Creative thinking shares characteristics with modern-day immigrant pathways to innovation to include:

  1. Ability to reject conceptual limits in the pursuit of knowledge, ideas, and understanding
  2. Ability to establish connections between constructs and nodes, previously considered incompatible or contradictory
  3. Ability to conceptualize new functionality, purposes, and abilities; and
  4. Ability to reconfigure information nodes, generate new models, and propose new realities

Immigrant pathways share other characteristics with creative types in that their incorporation and processing of information has an increasing ability to:

  • Pierce the veil of explanation and rationale
  • Perceive ‘what is’ versus ‘what is desired’
  • Identify potential gaps between ‘what is intended’ and ‘what is achieved’

Consider the self-image of a nation when contrasted to the experience of someone who recently immigrated. Or consider the experience of a citizen who is well served by the status quo when contrasted with the experience of a citizen who is left at a disadvantage. National trends to recruit those with specific local or agency ‘experience’ is more likely to produce homogeneity and limit the business opportunities cultivated when a more complex understanding of what is possible is available. Similar limits surface when specific technologies or practices are emphasized, and others are ignored.

When implied homogeneity of thought, action, behavior, and beliefs is celebrated in policy, recruitment initiatives, and through cultural reinforcement mechanisms the opportunity for due diligence, realization of effective analysis, and leveraging of available immigrant innovation pathways decreases. Celebrating diversity of thought, behavior, and experience within a containment field that limits its influence is to miss opportunities to solve complex problems, identify and overcome invisible barriers, and increase value.

Innovate Vancouver=Innovation Competencies (cited)

Innovation competencies in each industry and market require further exploration in order to identify what core skills are actually needed to support a vibrant, creative, and effective workplace. Characteristics that fall into the ‘nice to have’ comfort zone can continue to remain emphasized but should not overshadow future (and often unmapped) industry or customer requirements. Many business and economic models may support the so-called ‘self regulating’ systems and markets, but the question is whether all the voices demanding innovation are being heard. If the voices remain homogeneous, opportunities for innovation, learning, and increased value may be lost.

How is your team leveraging innovation pathways to innovation? Increasing agility of thought and ability to explore new possibilities? Measuring innovation? Share your comments below.

 

Resources:

Thomas-Breitfeld, S. (2017, April 11). How to Think Differently about Diversity in Nonprofit Leadership: Get Comfortable with Discomfort. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://ift.tt/2oq92KA

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Aligning Your Organization to Your Cloud Model| By |Ariel Maislos

A common impulse of organizations that have migrated or are migrating to the cloud is to separate their new cloud initiative from their existing data operations. This bifurcation often includes assigning specific individuals and teams to new or existing non-critical IT projects that can leverage the elastic cloud benefits. The cloud project might be a specific marketing campaign or using the cloud to quickly provision test/dev environments. Whatever the project, CIOs must first form a cloud guerilla team to maintain focus. Next, they should determine a pilot project to avoid risking critical environments. Non-critical first-use projects work to eliminate internal resistance to cloud migration, which is prevalent inside large organizations adopting new technologies and processes.

Stand-alone cloud projects, however, come with the risk of evolving yet another siloed IT environment, with each project having its own hardware, operations and team. The outcome of project-based development is a failure to benefit from the efficiency and flexibility cloud computing offers. To solve this problem, and expedite the alignment of the business goals with the cloud adoption goals, will position CIOs as one of the organization’s most valued leaders. Involved individuals and teams will realize the importance of the new scalable IT infrastructure – the cloud – to the bigger picture of the organization’s digital transformation.

According to last year’s Accenture survey of 1,900 IT executives, almost all (95%) of respondents indicated they have a five-year cloud strategy. However, only 38% percent of those responding have managed to align their cloud adoption plans with their business plans. Why? Let’s consider some of the reasons and practices to overcome this challenge:

Short-sighted Cloud Strategy

You can’t simply send the head of IT to a conference and expect your business to transform overnight. Tasking the IT team with moving a production database to the public cloud can be intimidating even for veteran IT professionals. IT leaders and their teams understand the concepts of cloud computing and its benefits in terms of scalability and flexibility. But for large enterprise data centers, it can be a significant challenge to move the entire data organization in order to leverage those incredible benefits.

There isn’t one formula for cloud success. Business transformation is an ongoing process accompanied with long-term milestones and goals. Responsible for running daily routines and executing tasks, IT teams and even IT management are often focused on short-terms goals. This sometimes makes it difficult for them to see, or plan for, the long term. Also, because daily requirements will always trump strategy or vision mapping, it often takes longer than it should to fully place your trust in the cloud.

Cloud Skills Shortage

Public cloud platforms such as Amazon and Azure have changed the way IT is deployed and run. Beginning with the terminology we now use in budget talks or in planning (e.g., discussing “instances,” as opposed to “servers”) and continuing through to new infrastructure tools and capabilities, and concepts of delivery, everything is changing.

According to the Accenture survey cited earlier, 78 percent of executives said their teams lack the cloud skills required to achieve their five-year plans. Organizations of all sizes are still finding it challenging to keep up with the pace of innovation introduced by modern public cloud vendors such as Amazon.

In addition to facing internal resistance, IT executives are challenged with the need to educate their teams, lead a cultural change and make sure everyone involved is aligned with their goals for this transition.

Six Alignment Practices

Cloud computing is less about modernizing your infrastructure and more about enabling the business with enhanced agility. It’s also about supporting executive decision-making with “on the cloud” data-driven guidance. Alignment should start at the business executive level, with an open discussion between the different stakeholders including the line of business leaders (LOBs), IT and financial executives. The coordination between these three parties gets the business goals, resources and technology aligned with one long-term strategy and specific roll-out plan.

Check out the following six cloud practices that will help you align your business with your cloud infrastructure:

  1. Balanced cloud model: By nature your environment is hybrid, composed of multiple environments and engagements with different providers. Your on-premises IT means more control for core applications requiring predictable demand and consistent, steady utilization, while public cloud provides the flexible capacity and “pay-as-you-go” efficiencies. Ensure that you carefully assess the infrastructure required for each application’s stack.
  2. Long-term and flexible infrastructure: Promote a modular, scalable, programmable infrastructure for cloud deployments. This approach enables you to flex your deployment choices and providers. In addition, open, interoperable and standards-based solutions ensure that you can cost-effectively evolve your cloud deployments and adapt cloud to future business needs.
  3. Enable cloud everywhere: Opt for easy deployment of cloud applications, regardless of where they reside, so employees, customers and partners can easily leverage your infrastructure anywhere and anytime.
  4. Consolidation and no silos: The enemy of cloud adoption is each area having its own computing hardware, software and staffing. Today’s enterprises are moving toward a consolidation of all traditional data centers. In addition, regarding the above-mentioned “cloud silos,” you should continuously be aware of those and create provisioning and governance processes to proactively eliminate them.
  5. Complete governance: Make sure you have complete transparency when it comes to usage across your multi-cloud environment. Look for trends, anomalies or spikes to avoid shadow IT and cloud sprawl, which can lead to uncontrolled costs and leaks of data and applications out of your premises.
  6. Cloud usage and financial alignment: Continuing the last points, you need to have a financial analyst on your team that can collaborate with the LOBs and finance professionals to make sure the business model and financial forecast is aligned with the ongoing cloud consumption.

Closing the Skills Gap

Organizations view IT as a business expense and not necessarily as central to decision-making. This needs to change because including IT in cloud decisions will be elemental to aligning your organization with your vision of where your cloud model needs to be. Therefore, as a broker your team needs to move from the backroom to the boardroom. This is an essential step.

Because time to market is always a top priority, and the CIO’s department’s skills are a determining factor in how fast delivery can happen, you should hire a cloud Managed Service Provider (MSP), either for the short-term or the long-term. Either way, you need to be clear on the division of tasks between you, your staff and the MSP. It’s also imperative that there is ongoing transfer of knowledge and details about projects, so your teams can remain in the loop and take back control when needed. Everyone should be using runbooks as a reference.

In addition, training during the first cloud project is a good idea. Cloud providers, as well as their licensed training certification programs, offer online webinars that provide much-needed training for staff. This will help your organization’s teams confidently put their first important projects into the cloud.

So, although the rapid evolution of cloud makes adoption and skills acquisition a challenge, you can take on that challenge with proper planning and support. Plus, third party technology solution vendors can be a key element in closing any gaps. By carefully looking for cloud management and compatible hybrid solutions, you will be able to leverage new software products that facilitate migration and adoption using the same traditional skills your team already has.

Final Note: The CIO as a Change Agent

Even as we take on specific challenges presented by the switch to cloud (such as staffing and budget), in aligning our organization to our cloud model, we can and should be thinking strategically, too. One method that many modern enterprises are adopting is that of “digital congruence” – essentially, creating a win-win situation for all the company’s stakeholders. At the heart of this model is designing “interactions not apps.”

As IT becomes more of a broker of IT services, it can add more value by dynamically combining, integrating and tailoring the delivery of cloud services to best meet company business needs. Taking an active role to manage sourcing flexibility enables IT team to achieve greater levels of agility, transparency and speed of deployment. This acceleration in turn fuels innovation and helps your business achieve its objectives.

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4 Industries Thriving Under the Flood of Data| By |Ben Walker

Feel like you’re drowning in data? It’s because you are.

Businesses are accumulating data at unfathomable rates, and even though the data doesn’t take up any physical space, it still must be sorted, stored, organized, and maintained. Finding a way to eliminate bottlenecks, friction, and data entry can seem impossible.

Fortunately, a few industries have anticipated the deluge of data so you can keep your company moving forward. They’re helping firms control capital costs through outsourcing — making their partners leaner, more competitive, and (potentially) more attractive to investors.

In other words, they’re your life jackets; the sooner you put them on, the better you’ll feel about the journey ahead.

Organize Data Without Falling Overboard

The right data partners keep everything in sync, enabling companies to align data. This task is notoriously difficult; most organizations use different types of files and systems. Getting them all to work together is harder than having a meaningful conversation with a mobile device-wielding teen. Some companies may use three online platforms that speak three different languages, which, as you can probably imagine, can make running reports far more challenging than it needs to be.

Other companies have similar issues like running proprietary files. Without specialized software, those files cannot be accessed by anyone outside the company. If the company works with third parties, it’s forced to either switch file types or pay for software. This process can be costly, complicated, and inefficient.

Then we have scenarios of data just being troublesome. For example, one of our law enforcement clients tried to send suspect interview videos from an urgent case. Our contacts needed expedited transcriptions, but their videos were too large to be transferred online, and their firewall kept blocking the uploading process. They had to ship the files to us overnight, spending more than $120 and costing them — and us — a full day. Situations like those are stressful all around.

Outsourcing is a tried-and-true life raft when it comes to surviving the tidal wave of data explosion, and it will help you regain your sanity.

Industries Weathering the Storm

Plenty of industries have emerged as leaders thanks to the plethora of data-driven needs in today’s business world. Here are four:

1. Data storage providers: Data storage companies are exploding, and more companies that specialize in niche markets are entering the data storage scene every day. The data storage industry is worth tons — organizations with greater than 1,000 employees plan to spend more than $3 million on cloud computing. That figure is only going to increase.

2. Transcription service providers: Another type of company that’s doing well is transcription services. Everything needs to be indexed by Google for it to be seen, so transcriptions of podcasts, YouTube videos, interviews, audio files, and other non-editable documents need to be placed into editable formats.

3. Tech component sellers and manufacturers: Tech companies that build and sell servers, routers, switches, and more are booming. The server market was close to $15 billion in 2016; we can only guess what it will grow to in the coming years.

4. Security companies: A wealth of data requires security. With cybercrime expected to cost companies $6 trillion in the next five years, everyone is looking for a satisfactory solution.

Finding the Right Port in the Storm

Businesses in these industries are doing their part to help businesses sort, store, organize, and maintain their data. But no matter what your data requirements are, you need to be cautious, reflective, and smart when choosing partners to solve your biggest issues so your team can move on to the next project. Here are a few steps you can take to vet potential partners:

· Check their references. Do they have positive, verifiable online reviews from sites like Google or Yelp? Rating systems have been a game changer; use them to your advantage before picking up the phone or sending an email.

· Get upfront pricing. Runaway costs will sink you in the short term and long term. If a prospective data storage provider can’t give you a firm cost, you know you can move on. That’s not what you want to hear when shopping for something that’s supposed to be built to your specifications.

· Make sure you don’t have to change your business. You shouldn’t have to change your business to make a data solution work. For example, you need to store .wav files, but a potential third-party partner only stores MP3 files. Why should you have to convert all your files, adding steps to your process? Your partner’s system should benefit you, not the other way around.

· See if your competition uses them. As part of your research, check out the competition. Do all your competitors utilize a particular third-party provider of data services? If so, find out why.

· Check your competition’s customer service department. Who answers the phone? A robot or a person? How do the personnel treat you? We’ve all dealt with rude representatives. When companies make statements like “We usually deal with clients much larger than yours,” it’s time to look elsewhere.

When your company finds itself drowning in data, fight the tide. Look for third-party organizations that are helping businesses like yours connect data across platforms. Turn data into a trickling stream you can wade across, not a raging river threatening to flood its banks.

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