12 Jun

Keep Hold of Your Customers in Recession

Being closer to customers is imperative for any business and becomes obligatory during this economic slump. During this tough time, finding new customers for your business is quite tough and expensive whereas it takes less effort and is economical to retain your existing customers. Moreover, it is easier to sell additional products to existing clients than to search for the new ones, in this downturn.

Here are some tips that you can undergo to retain customers and beat this recession

by Shefali Dhamija | Business |  No Comments continue reading

11 May

Role of E-Business Intelligence

Have you ever analyzed how intelligent your business is? Do you and your employees have in-depth knowledge regarding the processes to drive profits to the business? How do you acquire that knowledge and understanding, and do you exercise them for shaping the future of your business?

Above questions could be answered easily by business executives by simply monitoring the sales and revenue of their businesses. But the real question which can be asked today is how do you achieve Business Intelligence in this Internet ruled economy or simply how do you achieve E-Business Intelligence?

by manish.chauhan | Business |  No Comments continue reading

7 Dec

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a concept that integrates two or more functions of a firm for smoother operations.

Almost every organization has several departments with individual responsibilities. The commonly encountered classifications are :

  • Manufacturing
  • Human Resources
  • Inventory management
  • Customer Relationship management
  • Accounting

and others. Each of these has separate databases, the complexity of which increases with the scale of the organization.

ERP’s power lies in in its ability to integrate these multiple databases and processes into one coherent entity accessible by all departments, thereby improving cross-functionality, cutting time and escalating productivity.

For Example:

A shipping firm bags an order to deliver 100 crates of wine in 5 days. The departments engaged to accomplish the objective would be:

  • Sales : the one that bagged the deal
  • Inventory management : keeps an eye on the supply of necessary equipment(carts) for delivery.
  • Finance : handles all the associated finances required, including payments from the customer.
  • Logistics: takes care of the proper shipment and tracking of the crates.
  • Customer relations : keeps in touch with the customer during and after the project.

It clearly calls for extensive coordination among all the departments for the project to be completed successfully. Any inter-departmental can have a crippling effect on the final delivery.

However, ERP systems are configured to smoothen such situations. Employing an ERP system for the above situation would bring about the following change :

The moment the sales team bags the order, it updates the order in the central database. From there it is instantly accessible to all other related departments. Inventory studies the order and checks its related stocks. In case it runs short, it notifies the in-house stock procurement dept. to make additional purchases.

Next, Finance steps in and estimates the costs to be borne by the firm for delivering the project. It also works on the billing details that will be sent to the customer(Billing dept.).

Logistics simultaneously checks transport availability to ports and also works on tracking the consignment till it is safely delivered.

Additionally, the Customer Management System keeps in touch with the customer and keeps him informed about the progress of his order, till it is delivered and beyond, for future projects that he might decide to entrust to the firm.

Thus, employing an ERP system greatly improves inter-department co-operation, and results in much better operational efficiency.

All the departments that ERP integrates and can be applied to are known as ERP Modules.

Advantages of ERP

1) Reduced Data entry and redundancy : this is the prime objective of ERP. It integrates all data under one centralized database that makes repeated data entry unnecessary, and facilitates easy access by all departments.

2) Easier Inter-department communication : which follows from a centralized database.

3) Reduction in time and cost

4) Security : ERP systems come with in-built computer security systems that are useful in preventing crimes like industrial espionage and intellectual property embezzlement.


Criticism against ERP and new developments

ERP has generated criticism due to its extensive integration costs. ERP costs can be roughly broken down into :

  • Configuring(Revamping) existing system according to ERP requirements.
  • Reconfiguration of hardware, work-flow, data transfers etc
  • Training of personnel on ERP’s functional dynamics
  • Expert ERP consultation for installation, training and post-installation maintenance and trouble shooting.

 

To avert this, two news trends that have witnessed encouraging responses are Online ERP and Custom ERP.

 

For Online ERP, any firm that wishes to avail the ERP services contacts an online vendor, who in turn provides the services for a pre-decided charge.

Custom ERP entails the integration of particular ERP modules that are relevant to the existing business’s needs, rather than revamping the business itself.

These two alternate approaches to ERP have found reasonable acceptance as they eliminate the much criticized stage of existing business revamp and the huge costs involved in on-site ERP installation.

 

Conclusion

ERP’s success can be gaged by the widespread popularity of firms like SAP AG, Ramco ERP, Oracle Applications and Microsoft Dynamics, that are the biggest players in this field. Having been introduced only a few years back, ERP systems have helped organizations both big and small integrate their functions for better productivity and profits.

With constant improvements being introduced and the scope of application widening to cover almost all industry sectors, ERP systems are here to stay and rule.

by simran.khanna | Business, Software |  4 Comments continue reading

23 Nov

Customer Relationship Management System

Introduction

A CRM system is more than a software package to manage a firm’s customer database. Its purpose is to help manage a firm capture customers, retain them, nurture them and serve them as best as possible. This aim is realized through operations classified under different heads, known as CRM Modules.

 

CRM system modules

Operational Module

  • Campaign Planning : planning promotional campaigns as per the firm’s core competencies and the profile of the target customer.
  • Campaign Execution: through channels like email marketing, online advertisements, phone marketing, print ads, television ads etc.
  • Lead generation and classification: any prospective customer who responds to the firm’s campaign is a lead. He is then questioned and the information received (type of product/service wanted, price range, contact details etc) is analyzed and classified as Hot Lead (genuine prospect) or Cold Lead (false information/bogus interest).

Sales : All sales made are documented in the central database along with information like customer contact details, calls, emails, faxes, sales quotations etc.

Service : It deals with all the services a customer is entitled to as part of the firm’s contract. This includes :

  • Warranty management
  • Knowledge management (How To, tutorials, User manuals)
  • Back end/ after sales support
  • Installed Base Support (support for tools installed onsite) etc.

Collaborative Module
It handles direct interaction with the customers. Emails, phone calls, websites etc. are used for the purpose.

Analytical Module
It focuses on analyzing the database towards:

  • Analysis of customer behavior patterns
  • Emerging trends that may be profitably exploited
  • Taking key decisions on developing new marketing strategies for better promotional opportunities etc.

 

All the information collected builds up an exhaustive customer profile with data ranging from bare essentials like contact nos., to analytical segments like patterns in purchase history, preferences, significant deviations from established patters, shift in trends etc.

Example: Call centers have records of previous purchases made by customers. So every time a profiled customers calls up, his information is available to any executive attending the call, no matter which department he is from. This slashes customer processing time and instead of starting from scratch each time, it sends out a favorable impression of the firm.

 

The shift in CRM systems implementation
Traditional CRM packages have been tricky into integrate into already existing systems, on account of hardware re-configurations, workforce training and establishment of back-ups.

However, On Demand CRM Systems have gained popularity by virtue of the following advantages :

Hosted, not installed : cuts costs due to lesser ownership of infrastructure on the user’s part, which is hosted by an outside firm, and the elimination of complicated installation procedures on-site.

No hassles of troubleshooting ad upgrades : The organization using the service does not have to bother with any glitches that the system might develop. It is taken care of by the service hosts themselves.

Going live is much faster : Hosted services obviate the need to install CRM systems on-site, thus drastically reducing “go-live” time.

 

Conclusion
CRM systems have greatly simplified customer handling across many industry sectors. That it enables all arms of an organization to access and analyze detailed information means better understanding of individual roles, and the customers too feel important when being catered to professionally.

In short, it’s a win-win for all involved. With the word spreading, CRM, especially On-Demand CRM will become the definitive tool for customer management in a matter of just a few years.

by simran.khanna | Business, Software |  1 Comment continue reading

26 Sep

Business Software Development

Business Software Development is essentially a branch of software development that concentrates on developing software applications primarily for commercial needs.

Being a part of the IT revolution that has redefined the way organizations functions and interact, Business Software is a huge resource for any firm that employs it. Over the past decade, this offshoot of Information Technology has dug itself in, so much so that it has established itself as the backbone of efficient functionality.

There is of course a difference in usual software development and developing business software.

• System software like an operating system (Windows, Linux) allows the user to interact with his system. Its features include system tools, utilities, drive management etc.

• Programming software helps the programmer write/create programs or software for various purposes. It includes tools like editors, compliers, debuggers, linkers, interpreters besides different programming languages to help the programmer achieve his target. er to write programs and software for varied needs. However,it is limited to developing software.

• Business software on the other hand is different in its field of application. It consists of several in-built modules like editing, accounting, resource management, inventory control et al that are meant to help the organization with the respective departments. It aims at synchronizing the operations of individual departments by bringing them under a centralized command.

Business software’s primary goal is to enhance productivity of an organization. Industries have come a long way from the days of rudimentary logistical requirements of trading agricultural produce. Up until the last century all businesses relied heavily on human control and supervision. Different divisions had individuals or trained groups looking over their operations. But just as the Industrial revolution changed the dynamics of the world forever, the coming of age of business software has been no less of a revolution.

Advantages of Business Software:

Although the possibility of absolute elimination of human inputs and supervision in business functions seems remote, what business software dies have to its credit is the immense increase in productivity and efficiency.

1) Reduced Time requirements : the ease of data creation and modification/editing/sharing/storage is phenomenally enhanced with the use of business software. Manual operations in comparison are time guzzlers.

2) Enhanced efficiency : The use of software is always preferred over manual work when it comes to commercial needs. This is simply because of the above mentioned time advantage and the numerous options that such software provide which make manual labor cumbersome in comparison.

3) Ease of Inter-departmental communication : many software meant for large scale business operations simplify inter-departmental communication and database management. This is a major advantage in large,complex corporate entities.

Types of Business Software:

For small organizations/home users:

Many fledgling firms and/or individual entrepreneurs use software like Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org or simple accounting software for their daily operations. These are developed and priced in a way that makes sense to purchase for regular low-key business needs.

For medium scale business enterprises:

These include a broader range of operations like Customer Relations Management(CRM), Inventory Management, Human Resource Management, shopping carts etc. These arms call for extensive database management and coordination. Such enterprises use software like NetSuite, Sage Accpac, SAP Business One, Sage Abra HRMS,Taleo Business Edition, ABS Accounting Systems etc.

For large Enterprises:

Software packages like SAP All-in-One have become extremely popular with large corporate entities for the advantages they bring into everyday operations and the time they save in activities that are usually lengthy and tiresome. More examples of this type of software are Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, Onyx Software CRM, Microsoft Dynamics NAV etc.

The Major Players:
The skills required for developing software that can take on the needs of a business organization, small or large, are immense. Therefore, there aren’t many scattered development centers that work to churn out such software. Instead, there are development firms that employ professionals to identify potential business sectors and develop software for them.

A few such organizations are SAP, Microsoft, Google(OpenOffice), Sage Group PLC, Agresso Limited and CedarOpenAccounts(COA). Most firms around the world use software released by these firms. The popularity of Microsoft Office is a fine example. So is the advent of SAP systems that has found decent success with organizations and industries alike.

Conclusion:
Business software development is becoming the nerve-center of businesses all over the world. Understandably so, with the priceless advantages of time reduction, efficient documentation and smooth database record management. The present trend is however toward online business software use. This has been prompted out of the necessity to cut costs further and avail the same services as a marketed software would provide. The fact that developers and vendors are turning to the Internet to market their products, albeit at a much lower price, shows just how popular and how important business software has become for individuals and conglomerates alike.

28 May

Outsourcing V/s Offshore Outsourcing

While Outsourcing stands for giving out a part or certain parts of your business operations to a regional or local distinct business entity, offshore outsourcing implies delegation of the selected business operations to an offshore location outside the country.

The two concepts share some advantages and differ on others. The common benefits of outsourcing and offshore outsourcing include doing away with the burden of mundane business operations that can be easily and skillfully handled at an off-site location, generally for a lesser budget. Outsourcing is a brilliant idea to relieve the business entity from vain exertion and instead pay better attention to ones specialized services areas or may be provide more agile customer care. Also, outsourcing excuses the enterprise from the substantial set up costs, viz. the cost of work space, manpower, stationery, systems and other miscellaneous expenses that would otherwise incur, if the jobs are not outsourced.

While local outsourcing manages just a couple, offshore outsourcing comes with a whole baggage of advantages. The highlights of offshore outsourcing remain the niche economies available at the offshore location, including exceptional professional talent for considerably lower costs. In fact, inspired by the dynamism of offshore outsourcing model in India, not less than 40% of the Fortune 500 companies are already taking advantage of it, including big names like MicroSoft, Motorola, Oracle, GE and Lucent.

Economies of scale is another citable advantage from Offshore outsourcing, as offshore destinations generally conduct themselves as specialized ventures that also take up similar jobs from other companies across the globe. As statistics has it, offshore outsourcing can bring down the costs for you from 50% to 30%, subject to onsite and offshore resources.

Offshore outsourcing also allows you to make a careful choice as regards the standard timeframe on offer, so as to render the effective working hours almost round the clock. For example, IST and EST are complimentary in nature with around nine and a half hour difference. This in turn, considerably shrinks delivery time for US-based companies translating into achievement of business targets well within budget and sped up job schedule.

Moreover, offshore outsourcing can span across wholesome backend business operations; the most prominent of all being IT and IT enabled services (ITES) with a whopping 28% of the entire share. As per reliable reports, majority of IT based outsourcing contracts are already moving to India, in spite of competitive rates offered by China and Russia. India offers wider talent and more purchasing power for US dollar, in turn saving billions of dollars for its US counterparts.

by parvesh | Business |  4 Comments continue reading

16 May

Team Vinove

Team Vinove in action.

Team Vinove

by parvesh | Business |  2 Comments continue reading

1 May

Outsourcing for Small/Medium Businesses (SMBs)

Outsourcing has taken the world economy by storm. Many a companies worldwide have gained enormously from it and gradually but surely, outsourcing from an option is becoming a mandate to remain competitive.

As we move down the food-chain, numerous small-medium companies still struggle to find the right outsourcing partner. Even if an outsourcing partner is identified, the relation is not successful due to various reasons.

The primary reason for the failure is the mindset – outsourcing is almost always taken synonymous to cost-cutting. This has proven to be a time-bomb for many companies as they end up outsourcing to firms that offer the lowest bid on a project.

Some of the important points to be kept in mind while outsourcing are:

  • You get what you pay for: The old clich holds true in the case of outsourcing as well! The cheapest vendor might not always be a good choice as they might try to under-sell to gain your project. A solid outsourcing partner would have overheads in the form of infrastructure and would have people on payroll. If you are on a look out for a long term relation – it may be a good idea to pay a little extra but to ensure that both parties make a profit.
  • Look for partners, avoid fly-by-night operators: Easier said than done! For maximizing ROI, outsourcing should be considered as a continuous process rather than a one-time activity. Find yourself an honest and reliable partner rather than looking for vendors each time you wish to outsource.
  • Transparency: Maintain transparency be it processes, timelines and costs (if possible). This would help you manage your commitments and estimate the deliverables.
  • Don’t expect the stars: While outsourcing, expect the initial “turbulence”. As any other process, it might require initial leg work for the processes to smooth up and work as you expect them to.
  • Don’t step into multiple boats: One good reliable partner is better than having 10s of unreliable vendors. Concentrate on finding one good partner.
  • Shop around but be careful: Relatively better outsourcing companies are quite wary of replying back to templatized e-mails sent to various vendors seeking a figure. Study, choose a few. and provide your complete contact details while sending an inquiry. If possible, use your own domain to send an e-mail to establish authenticity.
  • Walk with your partner: Attrition is very high in outsourcing favorable developing nations – your partner might face loss of one or more employees taking care of your project. Cultivate the culture of open-ness so that your partner can communicate clearly the reasons, if any for delay so that you may expect accordingly.
  • Communication: Don’t expect your outsourcing partner to be available 24×7 – schedule and maintain a communication plan that is feasible in the long run.
  • 24×7 work cycle: Yes, it is possible! It might take some time before you can actually get it going!
  • Commit but do not over-commit: Commit if you can – however, do not promise something that you cannot fulfill!

The aforementioned points come from the other side of the fence and is a result of numerous outsourcing successes over the past years. These cannot guarantee but should certainly help in a better outsourcing experience.

I welcome any questions or feedback that you might have.

Happy Outsourcing!

by parvesh | Business |  No Comments continue reading

9 Apr

Building links with the right mindset

As of today, most of the link building efforts are geared towards enhancing the Google Page Rank to further improve the search engine rankings. This may not be a wise approach considering the rapid changes in the world of search engines.

While acquiring links, it might be a good idea to consider the following:

* Traffic on the website that you wish to get a link from (both quality and quantity).
* How many links are already placed on the page?
* What is the relative position of your link?
* What is the quality of the neighboring links?
* Is the page a content oriented or a link laden page?

If due attention is paid to all/most of the above, not only the links acquired would result in PR enhancement but would also further help generate quality traffic to the website.

As a rule of thumb, if a link is acquired with a mindset of generating traffic rather than increasing the in-bound link number, it is bound to help your website on all facets!

8 Apr

What a turn around!

We are looking at hiring trainee web developers and marketeers for our company. We started advertising for the position Thursday last week and conducted a round of walk-ins last Sunday (10:00 am – 3:00 pm).

Thinking that the interviews will begin at 10:00 am, I planned to reach the office just in time. Noticing a missed call from our HR with a time stamp of 9:30 am, I returned the call and was told that we had over 50 candidates waiting already! Ouch!

Upon reaching work, I saw a crowd outside our office premises and realized that these were people waiting to be interviewed. By now the number grew to over 200 (within a span of 30 minutes). It took me 15 minutes to get to the first floor as the complete stair case was jam packed with interviewees!

We had candidates coming in from not only Delhi but various other towns/cities (Agra, Jaipur, Meerut to name a few!)

All of our interviews/tests were online and required 30 minutes. Looking at the overwhelming number in for the interview, we decided to shorten the interview to 15 minutes to accommodate as many candidates as possible!

The rest of it is history – we had interviews until 5:30 pm and could not believe when I checked and realized that we had approximately 600 people take the test on the very same day!

The team did an excellent job at managing interviews for such an unexpected large number of people! Although, it was exhausting but the results were overwhelming too!

Congratulations clan!

by parvesh | Business |  2 Comments continue reading

Best, Smart &
Effective Solutions

Quest for continuous learning, enhancements and establishing long term work relation with our clients has been the mantra of our success.
connect