Making the Right Energy Choices Can Benefit Your Business

Whether you’re looking to benefit your company’s bottom line or your overall image, energy and the choices you make pertaining to its use and generation can make a big impact. There are a lot of things businesses can do to be smart about energy use, especially when you consider that most businesses use a lot of energy in comparison to a single residence.

Everything from embracing green energy solutions to conservation programs can help drive down your expenses each month, and you might get some added PR if you let people know what you’re doing.

Start with a conservative mindset

The easiest way to make an impact on your energy expenses each month is to institute a conservation plan. It can be as simple as leaving lights off in areas of the building that aren’t constantly in use, or as aggressive as keeping the air conditioning system a few degrees warmer in the summer. You don’t want to generate a mutiny from your employees, but a few new policies that are easy to follow won’t create too much of a stir.

This conservation can even spread to other areas of the business. Are you using a lot of paper on a daily basis? Maybe it’s time to switch to an all email system for memos. Are you providing Styrofoam cups in the break room? Encourage your employees to bring in their own ceramic mugs to cut down on waste. No matter how small a conservation project is, it will add up.

Consider pursuing green energy solutions

Is your business in an area with a deregulated energy market? If so, going green is easier than you think. Sites like www.texaselectricityproviders.com make it simple to find energy suppliers that offer green energy options. Even if you aren’t located in a deregulated market, there are ways to embrace green energy solutions.

Thanks in part to how affordable green energy technology is today, there are many businesses across the country that lease green energy infrastructure. Depending on the size of your operation, leasing equipment may be more viable than purchasing your own solar array but either way, having onsite infrastructure is a big step.

Onsite green energy infrastructure means that you’ll be actively reducing your business’ energy bills each month, usually at a rate that will allow your investment in the technology to pay for itself within a few years. In terms of PR, having a solar array visible gives your company a bragging point. It shows that you care about your impact, and you’re smart enough to save yourself money on the energy you know your company is going to use. Just think about it.

Other ways to promote energy conservation

If the majority of your workforce drives each day, consider incentivizing the closest parking spots. Designate the best spots for those who carpool or drive hybrid cars. You could even further encourage carpooling by creating a bulletin board where employees can find rideshare opportunities across the business.

In the end, controlling your business’ energy consumption is one of the easiest ways to make a significant impact on your bottom line, and the public’s perception of your company. Consider implementing some of these suggestions, but know that there are plenty of other ways to achieve the same goal.

Cryptography in the Banking Industry

Business Frontiers, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Title: Cryptography in the Banking Industry.

Publication date: Oct, 2012.

Authored by Arpan K Kar, Supriya K Dey

 

 

This paper can be cited as follows: Kar, A.K., Dey, S.K. (2012). Cryptography in the Banking Industry. Business Frontiers, 1(1), 1-7.

Abstract: The development of cryptographic techniques has seen a lot of applications in the banking industry. This whitepaper focuses on the review of the major cryptographic techniques which has been used extensively in the banking industry, for the implementation of data security norms and the fulfillment of compliance requirements. While techniques have not been described in details, the focus has been on exploring the business implications of these developments.

To download the whitepaper, please visit this link: Cryptography in the Banking Industry

Keywords: Cryptography, Banking, Security, Finance industry

Business Frontiers is a premium series of refereed open source white-papers on critical emergent issues and classic topics in business and management including but not limited to marketing management, technology management, e-business, finance, economics, human resources, organizational behavior and general management. Articles published as open source white-papers in Business Frontiers are copyrighted using a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Please visit the publication page for more details on Business Frontiers. For submission of original articles for publication, please read the Guide for Authors and the Call for Papers.

7 Ps of Services Marketing – Framework Limitations

The 7 Ps of services marketing is indeed a popular framework used by marketing professionals to design the critical dimensions of the strategic blueprint while marketing a service. The services marketing mix is dominated by the 7 Ps of marketing namely Product, Price,  Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence. In fact, the 7 P framework is one of the most popular framework for deciding a marketing strategy for services in domains like banking, information technology enabled services or hospitality and tourism, right from strategy formulation to actual implementation.

However, one needs to be aware of the limitations of this framework while applying it in a business context. So in this article, we will discuss some of the major limitations of this services marketing framework.

One of the major drawbacks of the 7 P framework is that it does not address issues related to productivity in terms of both quantity and quality of service delivery. In integral services management, improving productivity during service is a requisite in overall cost management; but quality, as defined by the customer, is essential for a service to differentiate itself from other providers. These two deliverables are essentially opposite to each other in terms of goals. A firm would want to pursue a strategy involving cost minimization but still quality maximization. Hence a strategy that manages trade-off between such conflicting goals is needed to be optimized.

Similarly, another major important issue is managing the core competencies embedded within a firm. Services are essentially intangible in nature, by its very definition. Processes like service delivery address only a small part of the larger cake. Drawing from the resource based view, the organizational competencies are not matched through this framework, which is one of the building pillars of developing strategic frameworks which are external in nature. The viewing of internal resources in silos is somewhat a barrier for this framework, if used to develop an actionable strategy.

Another limitation of this framework is that it does not provide a mapping between the pricing strategies that needs to be followed, vis-a-vis the productivized version of the service. That mapping is often one of the most important drivers that can create or break the adoption of a service. A mapping of pricing to the critical dimensions (features) of the productivized service draws its theories from the pricing of services, which are often done in silos, since dimensions cannot be identified which are in unision but not over-lapping to the main delivery. Over-lapping dimensions create a perception of fluctuating utility among the consumers, and since these are intangible, the overall valuation of the importance and value of a service, gets impacted in a major way.

Understanding the limitations of any theoretical framework before applying it to practical scenarios is crucial for the success of the strategic plan. Please let us know, what you feel about this article. By the way, did you read about the 8 Ps of marketing, the new age marketing mix?

Comparison of Business Strategy Frameworks

Strategic management literature has established multiple popular frameworks which are used by decision makers to develop a roadmap for business strategy. Some of the popular frameworks for business strategy are Porter’s 5 forces model, BCG / GE McKinsey MatrixPEST analysis and the Ansoff Matrix. However, all these frameworks focus on factors which are external to the firm. In this article, however, we focus on the frameworks which are a mix of the external view of the macro-environment and the internal view of the strengths and weaknesses existing within the firm, namely the Industry Structure view, the Resource based view and the Relational view of the firm.

The Industrial Structure view is somewhat more macro-industry focused. It postulates that firms operate in an environment of competitive forces of rivalry and forces involving barrier of entry (even exit). In general industry structure refers to the distribution of firms in an industry. The existence of a large number of firms in an industry both reduces and increases opportunities for coordination among firms in the industry. Depending on the degree of consolidation or fragmentation in the industry, the macro-economical dynamics affect the firm’s competency in how it deals with the forces of competition.

In contrast, the Resource based view is somewhat more internal focused. It stresses that the competitive advantage of a firm lies primarily in the application of the bundle of valuable resources at the firm’s disposal. To transform a short-run of competitive advantage for a firm to a sustained competitive advantage is like winning both the battle and the war. It requires creation of resources which are heterogeneous in nature and not perfectly mobile across competing firms. This again translates into the fact that the value of these resources arise from the criticality that they are neither perfectly imitable nor substitutable without great effort.

Similarly, the Relational view is a theory for considering networks and dyads of firms interlinked within the daily intercourse of business transactions, as the unit of analysis to study and frame strategies for sustainable competitive advantage. The relational view argues that idiosyncratic inter-organizational linkages are the sources of competitive advantage, whereby relationships play a major role in development and exploitation of competencies in an industry that is traditionally highly competitive.

In the next diagram, a comparative analysis of these important theories has been presented., which present how these theories are not only different, but also complement each other by taking a different lens to view the competitive landscape for a strategic decision maker.

Do let us know, if you have any query regarding more details on this article. We value the feedback from our readers very highly.

Marketing Theory – CCDVTP

CCDVTP stands for “create, communicate, deliver the value to the target market at a profit”, a term that has been popularised by Philip Kotler. It is being considered as an emerging lingo amongst marketing professionals ever since it was coined. This has caught the attention since it connects three ideals that are often existing in silos in marketing organizations. This has been identified as the value chain in marketing, among the other important marketing theories and today, surprisingly has become a buzzword in many interviews for marketing and sales jobs.

Creating value is synchronized with product management, whether the product or service is tangible or intangible. The product is what is the core of value creation, for your customers and also for your firm. Product life cycle management is thus one of the crucial activities in product management. Today, services and products need to be managed so as to deliver quality value consistently. There are many frameworks which enable the product management team create consistencies across delivery of the same. However, creating the best product or service offering will result in no value for the producer, unless the same can be communicated. This is where branding exercises are conducted.

Communicating the value of a product or service is branding and brand management. A highly valued product or service which a producer company may perceive, must also be conceived by the user as having similar value or more. Otherwise the whole exercise of creation of the offering through proper product management strategies, falls flat. Branding enables a firm to rely on the pull strategy rather than on the push strategy, and it has been observed that firms generate higher profitability from the pull strategy than from the push strategy.

Delivering value is synchronous with customer management. Value is generated at the point of consumption of any offering, be it a product or a service. Customer value management is the process by which this value may be tapped successfully to create value for the firm. This is the process by which the results of all the effort taken in creation of value is actually realized by the firm and directly affects the top-line of the firm’s financials. It has been seen that through proper customer management, customer satisfaction increases substantially which in turn reduces churn rate and increases revenue from increasing customer satisfaction.

So what do you think of this new mantra in marketing? We would love to know your thoughts.

Business Process Outsourcing on Cloud

Business Process Outsourcing on Cloud- Reaping High ROI

Cloud brings in a great deal of benefits for different type of businesses, to cut costs and improve efficiency of different business processes. From SaaS to Iaas, there are about countless ways through which business can implement cloud to outsource their critical system and processes.

This article is going to discuss how in-take of cloud based solutions for BPO helps in gathering momentum.

Using Cloud to get The Maxim

You are going to get an ample of examples of where cloud computing has been done, for instance – an organic baby food manufacturer may be using the cloud to streamline its massive logistics, while other firms are thinking to sign up for cloud-based HR services.

This article focuses on the way various BPO companies are picking up clouds from market to test the environment, so that they execute more processes to their clients.

However, there is an interesting caveat to note here, is the suggestion that use of cloud is still in its early steps and 13% of business process outsourcing services is already cloud-based. With cloud call center services are able to cater massive amount of scope to businesses that are able to derive advantage from these benefits.

CLOUD- Driving Benefits for BPO

With cloud computing and business analytics, new life has been injected to BPO sector through reduced upfront costs and better use of data.

IT enabled BPO services has a large role to play, and they can be fine tuned to cut costs, but the best performing BPO deals are using IT to innovate and speculate.

Recent researches affirm that 20% of BPO projects are able to deliver sufficient business value for high performance. The findings from the research confirm the changing role of technology in BPO.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) means businesses can introduce the applications used in BPO agreements without giving large upfront payments. Business magnets are of the opinion that best-of-breed technology is easily available and are easy to apply.

They further added, earlier BPO agreements are usually overloaded with cost-loaded technology. In past a business have to purchase license and then install heavy-duty business applications as a part of BPO deal, but now they can easily sign up for BPO services and easily scale up and down the number of users.

What is the concept of researchers on CLOUD, used in BPOs?

  • 85% of high-performing BPO considers cloud service provider to be a strategic partner, compared with 41% of typical BPO services
  • 75% of high-performance BPO  involve senior leaders from both parties spending time to understand each other’s objectives and strategies
  • 90% of high performers reported that client and provider were able to productively resolve conflicts
  • 77% of high-performing BPO have successfully executed change management plans
  • 85% of high-performing BPO proactively refine their objectives as the relationship matures
  • 67% of BPO include business benefits beyond cost in the business case, compared with 26% of typical engagements;
  • 58% of will consider service options with greater value, even at higher costs
  • 56% of high performers seek competitive advantage through BPO
  • 64% of BPO places more focus on capturing other benefits as they achieve cost reduction
  • 54% have contract performance incentives in place

 

A new approach to cloud computing is helping enterprises to recognize more of the business transformative aspects, such as improvements to productivity, business agility and business continuity as they present plans and sells concept to management teams.

 

Author Bio: Emma Johnson is an outreach expert and is closely associated with lead generation and telemarketing services. She is in contact with inbound order taking services that are popular for their prompt answering services to appease both client and customer with quality outsourcing.

Why should you use a Business Credit Card?

Starting a business is a dream for which an owner plans and prepares. Market research is done to ensure there is a market for the product or service and that it is an area of need for potential customers. You check out a location for a storefront or office and plan all the different ways you’ll be able to promote your business.

What is a Business Credit Card?
A business credit card is much like a personal credit card. A business credit card extends the credit available to the business. When financing is tight, the business credit card can be used to pay bills and buy supplies to keep the business afloat.

Costs
Everything seems to be coming together until you start adding up the costs for starting the business and for keeping it going for a year until there is a regular income stream coming in. There may be costs for licenses or other government requirements, costs for space, internet access, equipment, supplies and employees.

Business Planning
A business plan is a must for making sure an owner covers all the bases and doesn’t lose the dream due to poor planning. A business plan includes listing all sources of potential financing. These may include personal savings, taking out a mortgage on a home or other property and loans from the banks, friends or family. These are all fairly fixed amounts, but business expenses ebb and flow.

Not a Personal Credit Card
Business credit cards often offer different terms than a personal credit card. They also have the larger credit limits required to efficiently run a business. Of course, like a personal credit card, anything spent has to be paid back.

Use Judiciously
Credit cards are loans and owners need to take care to use a business credit card account wisely. Paying back any funds spent needs to be part of the overall business plan. Like personal credit cards, there is the temptation to consider the credit free money and overuse the card. This can undermine the solid financial basis of the company. However, there are good reasons to use a business credit card.

Accounting
Accounting can become a nightmare for the small business owner, especially when supplies and products are purchased with different accounts. Keeping receipts together can get frustrating and putting everything together difficult for an owner who already has way too much to do just keeping the business running.

If, however, everything is purchased on a business credit card account, the business will have all expenses listed in one place. The owner can quickly check when something was purchased, where it was purchased and for how much. This proof is invaluable should the government call into question, at tax time, whether something was purchased and whether one or more purchases qualifies as a deductible expense. A business credit card also keeps tabs on the purchases of employees.

Perks
Business credit cards, depending upon the card, offer a variety of perks that assist the business owner from discounts on supplies to free flying miles.

 

 

Author’s Bio: The articles of Ethan Grunt have been proving very useful for the customers who look forward to get information on business credit cards. He suggests them to visit Businesscreditcards.com for further information.

Avoid Investing in Facebook – Investment strategies

Avoid falling flat on your Facebook. The fall and fall of Facebook’s stock has been the stuff of investors’ nightmares. Starting with a stock price of $38, by 31st August the stock had lost approximately 52% value with no sign of a bounce. The real issue isn’t just Facebook’s shares so much as a lack of probity in investments these days and many businesses who choose to ‘float’ may find there’s a leak in their boat.

The average duration for a shareholding in the USA currently stands at an almost instantaneous 22 seconds!

Compared with an average holding of 8 years in the 1940’s, the stock market has become the ‘get rich quick’ scheme (substitute ‘dream’ for a more apt description) of the 00’s. Shareholders just aren’t in it for the long game any more and this creates a multitude of problems for businesses great and small.

The demand to create shareholder value overnight keeps many an Executive Suite buzzing into the ridiculous hours of the night; sees downsizing and corporate initiatives bluntly delivered across departments to deliver savings and greater profit margins and dissatisfaction in the stock market quickly translates into a knee jerk reaction kicking the HR department into action, moving from co-production to consultation as the company’s most “valuable assets” become “deadweight” creating drag merely as a result of bottom line cost.

Shareholder value, as a concept, is fine but it’s become very one directional in recent years and creates little benefit for the business, less a short term cash injection and longer term drain on your profits and profitability.

Before you launch your business into the choppy stock market seas, consider a few alternatives:

  • Raise additional funds through other means:

Investment pots and pensions aren’t delivering growth in low interest economies just now.

Money in the bank is more of a tax liability than a cushion.  Get family; friends and acquaintances to consider becoming a minority investor in your venture with the prospect (but no guarantee) of long-term returns;

Ask – “Do I really need to grow?” Many businesses chase growth like a dog chases it’s own tail.  It’s the perpetual motion that creates the illusion of progress when, in reality, you’re just expending energy chasing an elusive, moving and often undesirable target. Growth’s not a bad thing; it’s just not the be all and end all of business.  Sustainability and longevity are much more important.

Grow from within:  Re-invest your profits.  It’s the simplest and most economical way of growing any business; it doesn’t sell off any part of your holding and doesn’t expose it to the jitter of shareholders demanding short-term results.

Or consider selling shares to the employees and give them a stake in their own sweat and toil.

Consider the 3 C’s:

  1. Co-operation
  2. Co-production
  3. Collaboration

You don’t need to do it all on your own.  Find other businesses or individuals that are either doing something similar and work together to increase market share or find complimentary products and services and share the costs of increasing your joint offer to the market.  Cross selling could help you both.

All these options allow you to retain control of your business and keep your long-term goals in focus.

If you decide that you do want shareholders, make sure major shareholders you bring in possess more than just the financial wherewithal to invest.

Get investors that are passionate about what you’re trying to achieve; who have experience and expertise in an area that’s relevant for your business and that can actually add something to the business and the Boardroom (other than banging fists; a scary glare and the demand you make them rich instantly or they’ll withdraw their investment).

That way, when the storm hits the good ship (insert your company’s name) you can call all hands to deck rather than your shareholders racing to the lifeboats as the rest are left to bail out.

Bio:  Colin Millar is an entrepreneur and Founding Director of Cloud Management Systems [Link: CloudManagementSystems (.) co( .)uk ], a consultancy with a difference.  Colin is also the Chairman of a Scottish based charity. Colin blogs on leadership, management; business and enterprise.  In 2011, he won the Chartered Management Institute’s ‘Top Blog” award.

Happy Independence Day for all Indians

To all our Indian readers, we wish you a happy independence day. May the 66th independence day usher in a new era of growth, economic and social prosperity and development for all the citizens of our motherland. While we celebrate, let us take an oath to rededicate to our motherland our services which will ensure a new direction for the rising sun.Let us consciously change ourselves to be able to choose to serve the nation’s interest, while keeping aside all other interest, sometimes, even compromising our own. Let us change ourselves for the greater good.

Sharing another scanned document of the first newsprint of the first dawn of independence when the citizens of India saw the morning in a new light of glory.

Feel free to share the photo with all your friends.

BTW did you read Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorable “Dawn of Independence” speech on the first independence day. http://www.business-fundas.com/2010/pandit-jawaharlal-nehrus-memorable-dawn-of-independence-speech/

Vande Mataram.

Editor – Business Fundas

The Economics of Olympic games

A comprehensive research conducted by Goldman Sachs titled “The Olympics and Economics 2012” precisely attempts to answer this question. The researchers analyzed the Olympic Games which were conducted in Beijing and Sydney, few years ago, and thus made a few projections for London 2012. What is of significant interest is that a lot of these projections are destined to come true and revitalize the economies, which are somewhat in a sombre mood in early 2012. Even the Prime Minister of United Kingdom, David Cameron, thinks that the Olympics will roll in 13 Billion pounds for the nation (even though that may help little to douse the fire burning within the economy).

The British economy really needs a boost, thanks to a protracted double-dip recession that has pushed down GDP for three quarters without even an inkling of a  break. The Olympic Games hosted in London 2012 (underway currently) have been projected to be extremely profitable for the “British Empire”,  and the revenues have been forecasted to exceed the operating cost of hosting the major event. Tickets sales are expected to generate over 500 million pounds or 785 million dollars and generate direct revenue for the management. This itself is a huge amount for a nation trapped in a continent facing rampant economic slowdown at large.In addition, a short-term financial boost in the third quarter of 1.2–1.6 percent of GDP at an annualized rate has been forecasted. This will also generate a lot of employment to a nation strapped with excess workable hands with very little to do. In addition, the tourism industry will get a healthy dosage of fuel to the slumbering embers, and this may just be sufficient to the industry slowly lumbering to a dormant stage.

With such a concern over economic health revision, a public-private partnership to ensure the success of such grand fiestas could be a shot for success. While such boost is sure to affect many sections of the society both directly and indirectly, the long term boon of employing workers for digging a trench and employing another set of workers to fill it up, are also evident in this case, though the analogy may be less fitting. Considering Ireland, which is in dire straits, will the benefits of the Olympic games overflow to Britain’s closest neighbor?

What is more important at this stage that will Brazil also benefit in the same big way, in 2016? With so much focus on her economy, will the benefits boost Brazil’s stake in the cake as an economic superpower? Only time can tell more how this story unfolds itself.

When unstoppable institutions collide with immovable bodies

Facebook, Google,  eBay and Amazon are just four of the technology mammoths who have been touted to be in a major lobbying group newly formed to protect the interests of the information technology industry, according to The Washington Post. This report has no doubt caught the fancy of many practitioners and academicians alike who watch the dynamics of the IT industry with a keen eye.

This newly formed band of super-heroes will be named as The Internet Association and plans to start operations from September. When it is launched completely, the full list of institutional heavyweights will be available for the general public, but as it stands already, The Internet Association contains some major movers and shakers in the technology industry.

While the idea is no doubt noble in spirit, what concerns me is the agenda which is not being spoken of, but is probably hidden at some level, behind the formation of such  “band of brothers”. While the group has been formed to fight regulations that impede the development of technological innovation, are we witnessing a convergence in an attempt to create and control monopolistic issues?

A monopoly can be coercive if the formation of the monopoly actively prohibits future competition and market improvement by using practices that is derived from its market or political influence. Although it is often debated whether market restrictions are in the best long-term interest of present and future consumers. While open innovation is always welcome to the “common man”, if the underlying agenda of such a group would be to protect the interests of multi-national giants to indulge in monopolistic practices “hand in hand”, this may very well be the death of the vision with which this group is being formed.

While we can debate on and on the agenda, the only tested truth source will be time. We will be eagerly waiting for the updates in this newly formed group of super-institutions on their agenda and course of action. Till then, ciao.

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This article is authored by Sayantan Ghosh. Sayantan is an alumni of Delhi School of Economics and is currently employed with a leading national bank in its policy making body. Sayantan loves to play table tennis and has a passion for photography.

How to Use Free Finance Calculators to Save Money

Free financial calculators are one of the best tools for managing personal finances and saving money. These calculators enable you to stay on the right track with your finances. All you have to do is enter the details of your financial position in the free financial calculator. It will provide you an output consisting useful information on how to use your money in the most appropriate manner. Continue reading “How to Use Free Finance Calculators to Save Money”

Types of Popular Internetworking Technologies

Internet technology comes in many forms, such as the connection and communication options. The use of the Internet requires a desktop computer, laptop computer, a web enabled device, or a smartphone or other wireless device. Today, it is almost a basic need for every individual to use internet technology, to perform his daily activities. In this article, we list some of the basic internet technologies which have grown popular in emerging economies.

DSL

One type of Internet connection that is common for many households is DSL. DSL is provided by your phone company and uses the existing phone line to your home. Speeds are offered at different prices to meet any type of need. A special modem is needed to connect your computer to the Internet. A wireless connection can be created in your home by adding a wireless router to the modem.

Cable

A second type of Internet connection for households in large cities is cable Broadband. This connection uses a cable connection to your home for the Internet. Cable connections are shared by other connected to the same cable line. This means that speeds will vary depending on the time of day. A special modem is also required to connect your computer to the Internet.

Satellite

A third type of connection for homes in rural areas is satellite. A dish needs to be installed on your roof to receive a signal for an Internet connection. The speed is similar to A DSL connection and will be the best option if no other connection options are available.

WiFi

This is a type of wireless connection that is available at many locations, such as restaurants. The use of a WiFi connection requires a laptop computer or web-enabled wireless device. WiFi is a free option for anyone to use to connect to the Internet. Users without an Internet connection at their home should find a local WiFi hotspot.

Dial-Up

Homes that only have a standard phone line may still use a dial-up connection. This connection needs a modem that is installed in a desktop or laptop computer. A dial-up connection uses the phone line and is the slowest type of Internet connection for a home. One downside is the inability to make a call when a connection is made to the Internet.

Communication Options

Many types of communications options are available for high speed Internet connections. The use of an Internet connection that is high-speed is required for most communication options. Communication can be done via voice and even video over the Internet. Some of the popular communication options are as follows:
VOIP

One communication option that is used on the Internet is VOIP. This is the Internet technology used by many companies offering phone service over the Internet. You can use VOIP at your home if there is a high-speed connection available. The use of VOIP allows you to cancel your land line service and only use Internet technology to make voice calls.

Skype

Skype is a computer application that uses the Internet to make calls. You can make a voice call or make call with video using a web camera. This software needs to be installed on your computer to make calls to other Skype users for free. Calls can also be made to land line numbers at a price that is peanuts when compared to ISD calling rates.

Author’s Bio:

Want to know more on the local internet providers? Go through more of Jason King’s articles which are rich in internet provider related information. He works for Internetbyzipcode.com.

Dealing with rejection and failure

When trying to accomplish any major goal in life, rejection and obstacles are inevitable steps that every professional has to encounter not once but multiple times in life. The key is to learn from your mistakes and persist through it until you succeed. However, this is easier said than done. The critical differentiators between success and failure is the ingredient of the person, who befalls the same. It is not aptitude that creates the difference but attitude, as has been recognized in numerous highly cited research works (Shao et al. 1988, Jennifer et al. 2006; etc).

I have personally encountered numerous professionals who are actually extremely competent but find it hard to deal with failure and perceived rejection from the social and professional network due to the same.  Counseling helps in more ways than is perceived in making or breaking these otherwise highly competent people.

Success of course is the ultimate souvenir and the only testament to your efforts. However, dealing with rejection is critical to avoid burn-out and maintain self poignant efficacy and confidence to go on. Coping strategies include using emotional or instrumental support; self-distraction; denial; religion; venting; substance use; self-blame; and behavioral disengagement.

Of these, using social support (for emotional, instrumental and terminal goals), denial, venting, behavioral disengagement, and self-blame coping had negative effects on individual satisfaction and ends up in boosting sub-lingual dissonance within the mind. As more and more professionals used these coping strategies in dealing with the day’s most bothersome failure, the less satisfied they felt at the end of the day and subsequently their performance felt the effect of a dissonant mind in the long run. This creates job churn or disengagement from organizational citizenship behavior or even group affiliation.

In contrast, positive reframing (i.e. trying to see things in a more positive light, looking for something constructive feedback from first hand experiences), factual acceptance and humor coping had positive effects on satisfaction. It has been observed that professionals using these coping strategies in dealing with failures, became more satisfied and less stressed they felt at the end of the day (Stoeber et al., 2006). The finding that positive reframing of relatively bitter experiences in the professional sphere was helpful for professionals having extremely high perfectionist goals and long term self-improvement commitment is particularly important. This establishes that even people high in perfectionistic concerns will have a tendency to be dissatisfied no matter what they achieve, are able to experience high levels of satisfaction if they use positive reframing while attempting to cope when dealing with perceived failures. The same also applies for all professionals even if they are somewhat in the “cross the fence” stage where they are yet to taste success majorly.

Do let us know, if this helps you in dealing with stress from fears of failure and rejection.

 

#follow #followback #teamfollowback #followme #ifollowback

Hi friends,

Been a long time since I posted in my blog. Due to some personal reasons, I am getting very little time to blog nowdays. Also, tweeting has almost stop. But would request you all to stay with us, so that after the next few days, you will again see more regular posts from me.

I cordially thank you for your immense support by following us, through thick and thin.

Till then,

Ciao..

Recruitment for Jobs through Social Media

Social Media has gained in popularity in leaps and bounds. Whats fascinating, that today beyond the social networking, professional networking is also increasing in popularity, which has led to the recruitment efforts of HRs through Social Media. In fact, there are openings for people who enjoy indulging in Social Media, like brand managers, community managers, social media strategists, content creators.In fact, due to the importance of Social Media, there have been conferences (e.g. Social Media in Recruitment) which explores the various dimension of this emergent phenomenon.

While the importance of Linked In has been recognized for a long time for recruitment of new talent in the mid-senior levels, very few recruiters would like to admit that they check the Facebook profiles of the potential candidates. A person’s social interaction not only is an indication of his emotional quotient and with whom he can connect through his social networks, it eventually links up to his professional quotient. Business Schools like Harvard, Yale or other premium schools have networks which can help to identify a member uniquely from these institutions. Thus the potential for actually evaluating the claims of candidature and their association with with niche institutions increases manifold, and hence correctness of professional membership is stamped in the social profile.

Not only for checking a candidates professional aptitude, but also to evaluate a candidature’s fit for a particular profile, a professional Social Media profile is of paramount importance. Its often that recruiters check Linked In for suitable candidates for niche roles. Hence a profile with details which can provide greater insight to the recruiters, can actually create a one-off linkage for the perfect skill specific job with a right candidate.

So why is social media increasing in importance in the recruitment scenario? Actually it has to be recognized that the job portals offer paid services to the recruiters while the social media is free for the basic users. Also the job portals are region specific, social media is more global by its very definition. Job portals target only the active job seekers whereas social media potentially has access to both active and passive job seekers. Hence one may just become inquisitive on seeing an advertisement of an opening which may have a high fit with the candidate, although the latter might not be actively searching for openings at the time.Thus the potential reach to the perfect candidates increases manifold, even if the latter are not actively searching for opportunities.

Also, one can observe social interactions of a potential candidate on social media unlike in job portals. However, social media is difficult to use for the recruitment purpose while job portals are highly user friendly and easy to use, being more targeted for the purpose.  But if offers one benefit that cannot be obtained from job portals. The candidates cannot re-organize their profile for a particular opening, since most have a time stamp, which offers ingenuity to profiles with a truthful mapping of candidature with the openings, although the potential information for evaluation may be low.

So what do you think about the importance of social media and professional recruitment? Do let us know your thoughts on this topic.

Facebook’s ‘Add to interests’ feature

Facebook briefly introduced the ‘Add to interest’ feature in their newest feature trials venture. Surprisingly this was done only for pages with commercial media and text.  Although the feature / option quickly disappeared from pages where it was introduced, but it left us wondering if Facebook might be preparing a modified plan for users to opt-in to brand messages or even some sort of discovery engine, based on profile segmentation and customization. This may impact the promoted pages by a huge margin, who may see the spiraling hits/likes from their pages/group rocketing like never before.

This looks like Facebook is all geared to take social media to the next big level, targeted online campaigns from the analysis of Big data, collected from social behavior online. What do you think about this new offering from this social media innovator? write to us to tell us your take on this sneak peek..

 

The option quickly disappeared from pages, but it left speculators wondering if Facebook might be plotting a way for users to opt-in to brand messages or even some sort of discovery engine.

SEO Tips for Google Panda Update

Most of the webmasters and digital marketing professionals struggle to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, especially when it comes to understanding the theory with a deeper perspective than is presented in most blogs and online forums.One of the burning issues that has hit the Web-Masters is how to tackle the Google Panda, after it was released in late 2011. SEO tactics deployed by most web-masters have seemingly failed and many reliable and white hat sites are drastically getting downgraded ever since the Google Panda was introduced.

Google Panda was introduced to weed out “content farms” and low quality sites which strive to make a living by producing low quality content. New dimensions that has been added in Google Panda are that it analyzes websites based on an self-learning AI algorithm, which looks for similarities between websites people found to be high quality and low quality, based on surfing behavior. There is also a high probability that there is an increased usage of Image Analysis  with Text Analysis to identify original content. There is also a higher importance to content recency based on content type. Also, which sites and which articles connect to you from which sites, matter a lot.

Google Panda has been criticized by renowned web-masters since many a time renowned websites had “scraped” content and yet the original lesser known site was penalized. Also, it appeared to impact an entire site’s ranking or specific section, rather than just the individual pages on a site. Also it adversely impacted sites where most of the traffic came from “ever popular” content but were of smaller scale (e.g. Websites with niche content, Personal blogs).

So what does that leave you? If you are a web-master, you are probably worrying how to ensure that all the effort you have put in to develop your website does not go down the drain.While age old SEO tactics like getting good quality back-links still do the trick, it is important to realize that there are some basic differences which needs to be addressed, if you want to ensure that your web-site is recognized by Google Panda as a high quality site.

So we have brought out few pointers on what not to do, if you are attempting to optimize your website based on the guide-lines from Google Panda.

  1. Never keep a high percentage of duplicate content. This might apply both to a page or a complete site. So content that you may have on headers or footers, if they are repeated across pages, should never increase more than 25% of the content across all the pages.High percentage of boilerplate content (similar static content) is a strict negative pointer from Google Panda.
  2. A low amount of original content on a page or site is always bad. It is a good practice to ensure when you make a post, you should have more that at least 300 words in every post. Semantic analysis is done by Search Engines nowdays, which can actually trace the quality of content that you may have posted in your article, which is new from your older articles or novel from other content in other web-sites.
  3. A high percentage of pages with a low amount of original content will drastically downgrade your SERP rank. So it is important to ensure, that you create a post only when you have substantial content to make a new post. The age old thought that you should post frequently irrespective of the post content is way dead. It has been attacked by Search Engines besides Google, to weed out content farms.
  4. A high amount of inappropriate adverts, especially in the beginning of the page, showcases the focus of the web-page is only revenue. Hence Panda will recognize that page and a site as being a Content Farm.
  5. If the page content and page title tags do not match for the search queries a page does well for, it will be taken as an attempt to play around with key-words. Text snippets will be analyzed through Symantec Analyzers to ensure there is high consistency between the meta tags and content.
  6. Unnatural language on a page including over-optimization of SEO will be harshly penalized. Google is increasingly becoming efficient to recognize Black Hat SEO tactics.
  7. High bounce rate from a particular web-page or web-site or even low visit time on pages or site, less than 30 seconds, will be recognized as a low content web-page or website. Also low percentage of users returning to a site, without search, will be an indicator that the site has low quality content where visitors do not return. These are strong indicators of the content quality and quantity in a website.
  8. Low click-through percentage from Google’s results pages (for page or site) as and when it appears in Google Search will ensure that the page ranks even lower for consecutive searches, for the search criteria.
  9. Low or no quality inbound links to a page or site (by count or percentage) is always bad. However, low quality backlinks is judged by the relevance of the web-page where it is linked to, by analyzing the text snippets of the mentioned paragraph. If a page is mentioned where it won’t have substantial semantic linkage to the content, it may get penalized.
  10. Low or no mentions or links to a page or site in social media and from other sites is also bad. It is of critical importance that new people share your content. Typically, most SEO professionals link up with a group to promote their content by exchanging votes/shares. Over time, the same group of professionals share the links and posts of a site get shared by the same group, and within the same group. The search engines today can track the sharing pattern through web-mining and this is a serious negative pointer for a web-sites. Sharing or mentions across pages or new profiles is the new mantra for success. Even if you hit Digg’s first page by exchanging votes, you are likely to be recognized by Google Panda as a Link Farm.

I hope you enjoyed going through these guidelines on how to protect your web-site from Google Panda downgrades. Do let me know if you have any queries. You could also check out few of the good service providers for web marketing. Also, check out the free ebook “Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing” for more details on digital marketing, the theories and advanced concepts.

Mozilla Firefox vs Google Chrome

The battle amongst the browsers have reached a critical climax in 2012. We may be witnessing another change of an era. Amidst the ever declining popularity of the Microsoft Windows Explorer, this time the collision is between Google Chrome against Mozilla Firefox. And the Google Browser has actually overtaken the browser that has ruled the hearts of technocrats for the last 5 years in 2012.

Firefox took over the digital world earlier dominated by Windows Internet Explorer, in a complete monopolistic market (MS used to command a 95% market share then). Firefox saved the world when Microsoft had stopped its investments on the Explorer research for few years, just because it was by far the market leader. While Microsoft remains the market leader still, the monopoly was shaken and stirred long back and today the company enjoys a 40% market share only, that too only from the corporate users of Microsoft Windows. The tech savvy netizens really needed a change at that time which could jolt the monopolistic market dynamics and improve the market of browsers drastically.

Within a few years of its launch, Firefox had demonstrated the power of CSS and JavaScript and how the two may be leveraged to change the web experience of the netizens, altogether to a new level. In fact, it was Firefox that triggered the HTML5 revolution. It is because of Firefox that Windows 8 application developers could develop the same in JavaScript. And ironically, it is because of Firefox’s spirited success and huge adoption, that Chrome was conceptualized in 2008.

When introduced in 2008, Chrome was foreseen by many technocrats as being an extension copycat of Firefox only, but lighter, with almost no features. The positioning of Chrome was simple yet effective: it addressed a single basic need of the netizen, Speed. This came at a time when Firefox was slowly becoming sluggish with tons of Apps which was making the experience of web-surfing cumbersome. However, shrugging off initial concerns on stability and security, Chrome has come a long way, and may now be equally poised to challenge Microsoft’s position within a few years.

Today, Firefox has lost a third of its market share, from around 30% down to 25% in 2011 end, and Google Chrome has surged to almost 26% market share, to become the new leader in the consumer web-market. StatCounter Global Stats reports that Chrome took 25.69% of the worldwide market (up from 4.66% in November 2009) compared to Firefox’s 25.23%. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer still maintains a strong lead globally with 40.63% although the share arises from Microsoft’s Windows/Office users mainly. In fact, almost as a party to rejoice its victory, Google has recently announced the launch of full version Chrome for Mobile, putting a fully fledged web browser on a phone’s tiny screen.

The future seems exciting, and we may witness a splurge of innovation in the browser technology, in an attempt to control the market share. Whatever happens, the netizens and cyber citizens will benefit from this competition which is bound to keep all the netizens at their toes to see what happens next. What do you think? Do let us know your take on this gizmotalk.

Digital Marketing Presentation

Digital Marketing is the promotion of an offering using all forms of digital advertising media to reach the target segment. Today, theoretically, these channels of promotion include Radio, mobile, Internet, Television, social media marketing and other less popular forms of digital media. However, when speaking in a generalized manner, digital marketing is synchronously connected with marketing using the web or internet.

Most of us strive to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing, especially when it comes to understanding the theory with a deeper perspective than is presented in most blogs and online forums. This presentation / ppt is for all those who are searching for a crisp yet highly informative presentation/ebook on digital marketing.

Check out this ebook/presentation on the theory behind digital marketing and search engine optimization. Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing

DOWNLOAD THIS PRESENTATION NOW TO UNDERSTAND THE MANAGEMENT THEORIES BEHIND DIGITAL MARKETING.

In this presentation, the main focus is on 6 different sub-topics in digital marketing

  1. Theoretical frameworks which affect digital marketing strategy development
  2. Digital branding theories and frameworks
  3. Digital Marketing Research, the roadmap for success
  4. Optimizing through Web Analytics
  5. Promotions and Advertising Channels
  6. Finally the eye of the Apple: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. Here we discuss in details about how it is done, the best practices, what’s done and what’s not done, and so much more..

Here’s a sneak peek to the slide of contents for all those who are still deliberating whether to download this ebook  or presentation.

Do let me know how this presentation may be improved upon. Your feedback is very valuable to me. Do refer this ebook to your friends and link back to this page, if you benefited from this ebook. Also, subscribe via email to this blog, to get more business management lectures and updates.

Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing

This week we have a special gift for all our email subscribers. You have special access to the “Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing” for free. To download your free copy, subscribe via email. The footer section of the newsletter contains the download link for the guide, which will boost your understanding of digital marketing. It is short and crisp, and will help you to deliver. It is a 32 page document which will provide enormous insight on how to brand your offering, how to do market research and how to optimize your web-site using SEO tactics to ensure greater visibility on web. In fact the SEO section has been designed to ensure you have a deeper understanding on how to deliver greater value to your business.

Do contact me if you face any problems while downloading the free E-Book. I will mail it to you personally. Also, feel free to get back to me if you have any query after reading the same.

Business Fundas has been revamped

To all our thousands of subscribers, we thank you for being there for us patiently. We have finally revamped the Business Fundas website, after its database crashed at the hosting server. Do mail us your comments and suggestions on how we can improve the look and feel of this blog.  A wordpress based new theme has been implemented, and we have made a substantial effort to speed up the page loading time. Also, we have minimized the external links to social media directly. Hope all these changes would ensure a better readability from all places, including work.

Pricing models for Outsourcing and BPOs

Outsourcing in current times is more value adding exercise done to enhance competitive advantage by focusing on the areas of core competency rather than just a cost saving practice, as it used to be. Its role as a business-value-creator is established across the world in terms of long-term gains like increased customer satisfaction and decreased customer churn along with short term cost cutting. Along with changes in outsourcing objectives and practices, the pricing models also keep changing in the outsourcing industry.

A transaction based pricing model is based totally on the number of transactions. It draws theory from the concept of economics of scale from resource sharing and usage based pricing. In this pricing model the client typically pays the service provider for individual transactions or per unit of work performed by the resources deployed. In such a model, SMEs benefit drastically from resource sharing with overall lower cost of outsourcing. An average base level of transaction is defined in the SOW, the fluctuation from which impacts the per-transaction base level pricing, in this model.

Similarly, an FTE based pricing model is one where the client pays for the time & material invested directly by the service provider. Often in outsourcing contracts, this is further broken down into multiple categories dependent on the expertise of the resources deployed, complexity of tasks performed (which impacts turn-around time of task completion), degree of domain experience and onshore/offshore presence. Typically these are fully loaded costs with often standardized SOWs including factors like number and level of resources deployed; infrastructure and external dependencies bundled into the price points.

While another variation of pricing models that can under serious contemplation is the Risk/Reward sharing pricing models, where the benefits and the losses of the services outsourced are shared amongst the partners. This is a move towards greater collaboration between separate partners in a value chain. However, for such a pricing model to be really successful there has to be significant maturity in the process level which can then be mapped to quantifiable benefits. As of now, since the services rendered by BPOs/KPOs are yet to reach the required level of maturity, these pricing models are yet to be adopted as industry standards.

Next comes the big question: When to choose which pricing model? Typically transaction-based pricing models would be more suitable for Small or Medium sized organizations where transaction count would not be significantly high. In such organization, keeping a dedicated division (with active resources) would be more cost-intensive than sourcing it to third party service providers. Thus in such scenarios, a transaction based costing would be more beneficial. Similarly, if the transaction volume is on the higher side, a FTE based pricing model (and outsourcing SOW) would be more cost effective and thus more suitable for the organization. Also, if the transaction levels are subject to high degree of fluctuation, a transaction based model (and thus the SOW) is more suitable and beneficial for both the parties involved in the deal.
Do let us know if you have any feedback in this context.

Principles of Google – The Chrome Story

For years Google has tried to hunt down Paid link exchanges and Black Hat SEO tactics by penalizing websites investing on paid links to rank higher in Google search, by getting back juice from back links. Has the time come when the internet major is caught red handed involved in practicing exactly what it punishes others for? The “Is Google Evil” question has again returned to haunt this innovator which has given us a new life through its innovative web based offerings.

While this goof-up may have not been done intentionally, in an attempt to promote Google Chrome, it has got into a mix up, when paid bloggers in-inadvertently placed -do-follow links instead of no-follow links to the Google Chrome download page. This created a huge influx of juice to the Chrome page when a video advertisement of the same was launched. It was an attempt from Google to become the market leader in the Internet Browser industry, by re-branding and relaunching Chrome.  This happened after Google hired Unruly Media, an international media agency, to get a number of paid bloggers to promote a video for its Chrome browser featuring a US flour company. However, another SEO firm named Essence Digital has “come to the rescue” of Google by declaring that it acted as an intermediary between Google and Unruly Media.

However, to clear up this “mistake” Google has now lowered Chrome’s position in the Search results, in an apparent effort to correct the mistake. However, it is interesting to note at this juncture the degree of strictness with which Google penalizes bloggers and webmasters for indulging in link exchanges, link purchases or even black hat SEO tactics.

In an era where management principles are often scrutinized for ethical legitimacy, this blunder by our favorite Web Prodigy, will no doubt leave a lasting impact on its fans like us. While Google “might not have” authorised this campaign directly, it is indeed in violation of their own webmaster guidelines, and thus the managers of Google should be held liable to fulfill a higher ethical standard, given the fact that they take such a strict action against similar defaulters.

How Technology will change Small & Medium sized Business

And here come 2012. The era of computing has seen some dramatic improvements in 2011. But what is interesting is the evolving focus of technology majors from large enterprises to small and medium sized businesses. So what could be the major movers and shakers for the next two years as we gear ourselves to ride this wave of technological evolution, more in terms of focus and perspective?

  1. Small and Medium Enterprises (Popularly called SMEs) will ride the wave on e-business offerings. The time has come when even the smallest service provider will leverage m-commerce to advertise his service range for the customer in serviceable range, with the growing popularity of location based services. Everyone with a mobile is potentially reachable through this technology, which is fast increasing in popularity. The fact that Forrester Research predicts m-commerce will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 39% through 2016, and that tablet adoption will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 56% per year through 2015, indicates Location Based Services have a really bright future.
  2. With the increased popularity of SaaS models in Information Technology offerings, small business can today harness the power of costly powerful technological resources, shared by multiple users, without shelving off millions of dollars. I foresee more and more focus of offerings in the domain of Business Intelligence, which are in a cloud model, for SMEs from the technology service providers. With the resources moved to a cloud, it would be possible to harness the power of ever improving processing capabilities to the available data and then leverage the information and knowledge and gain competitive advantage. The offerings of Business Intelligence on the cloud, should be of the greatest boon to the SMEs and should have a great rate of technology adoption.
  3. With the increasing access and penetration of the internet, the years to come may witness a growing proliferation of web based start-up ventures, which may operate purely on a click first e-business model. There may be a splurge of knowledge disseminating service providers or web-based internet marketers leveraging the power of affiliate marketing. However, it would remain to be seen whether this time the wave survives longer than the last wave which crumbled during the dotcom burst of the late 1990s. These pure-click e-business models may be further boosted by the integration of such business with the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the likes of which have seen a faster adoption amongst the consumers than any other technology.
  4. With a greater focus on web-based offerings, very soon SMEs will start harnessing the power of open source resources and applications, in the regular operations and transactions. Job monitoring, scheduling, live meeting and communications in general will start being more accessible to the SMEs without deep pockets. This may see a fast growth amongst businesses who are able to assimilate the benefits of the increasingly accessible technological offerings.
  5. Last, but not the least, technology may again be leveraged in providing social services. With the increasing focus on social marketing, and the issues centered on triple bottom line, sustainable governance structures may evolve amongst the SMEs which would be heavily leverage on the power of technological advances in general, and e-Business models in particular.

In short the next few years promises to deliver a lot to us. But to what extent the technology evolution and revolution will witness an adoption and assimilation in the SMEs will be interesting to monitor. What do you feel about this era of technological evolution and its impact on SMEs? Write to us.

Pricing of Telecommunication Network Services

Pricing is one of the key components of services marketing. Service providers like that of telecom service providers, often are at a major dilemma, how to price their offerings? What would be a sensitive price point for converting a potential target customer into an actual consumer? The divide between perceived value of  a service and its perceived cost would often vary across segments of customers for the same service offering.

So how should a pricing manager go about pricing network services?

Typically some of the more classical approaches in pricing Telecommunication Network Services are as follows:

  • Maximization of consumer surplus
  • Welfare maximization
  • Peak load pricing
  • Pareto optimal pricing
  • Ramsey prices
  • Cost based pricing

Here the objective of the pricing manager would be to set a pricing technique which depends on measurable parameters

  • Fully distributed cost pricing (preferred by regulator)
  • It may obscure the fact of inefficient technology
  • Over provisioning of infrastructure
  • Long run incremental cost approach
    • It may be costly to implement

    This pricing technique must ensure that if not at an individual service level, at least at a service bundle level, the price bundles post consumption must be profitable to the service provider.

    Another  major challenge for the pricing manager is how to apportion the cost when same resource produces two services (voice and video). This becomes extensively critical when a cost based pricing mechanism is used. It is important to note at this point that decisions, if not prudently taken, would turn a Business Unit of the service provider into a potential cost center without strategic deliverables. Cost apportionment is especially problematic and questionable in an industry marked by production not directly proportional to input materials (as all services are, where the intellectual capital matters a lot more than tangible artifacts).

    To take care of this challenge, one may approach this dilemma using the following approaches:

    • Subsidy free (very difficult to decide on the price)
    • Sustainable (Ramsey pricing)
    • Activity based costing : It is based on a hierarchy of four levels and is a refinement of FDC approach

    Another major issue is Pricing Services Bundles. Pricing is a major decision point in the adoption of service bundles, especially when the key differentiators are extremely intangible in nature. That again is another ball game. If you find that interesting, you can go through the following article of mine: A Model for Bundling Mobile Value Added Services using Neural Networks, 2012, International Journal of Applied Decision Sciences, Vol. 5, No. 1.

    Do get back to me if you have any queries.

     

     

    Location Based Services

    Location-Based Services (LBS) typically are information based or entertainment providing services, accessible with mobile devices like smart phones, web-enabled phones, PDAs, Notepads and Palmtops through the services of a telecom network provider. Typically these services utilize the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device. These services are getting immensely popular as a tool for services marketing for B2C focused businesses. Continue reading “Location Based Services”

    Debt Crisis in Europe

    The woes of the economic slowdown and financial crisis in 2011 is largely attributed to the debt crisis in Europe. This is not a recent happening and bubble started growing from as early as 2009. The 3 of the highest exposed countries; namely Greece, Ireland and Portugal, collectively account for six percent of Eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP). Continue reading “Debt Crisis in Europe”

    Agile software development methodology

    Agile software development is a model for development of information technology systems based on iterative and incremental development, based on feedback from the clients.  In this methodology the requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams who work in close liaison with the clients. Continue reading “Agile software development methodology”

    Supplier selection criteria and models

    Purchasing is among the most important activities in supply chain management, since it is the primary point of contact with most supply-chain partners. A major area in purchasing management is that of Supplier Selection Problem (sometimes called the Vendor Selection Problem). Research in this domain started in the early 1960s and over 175 studies have attempted to address this highly critical issue of procurement management. “Vendor selection criteria and methods” have reportedly been the highest area of interest in operations management research.

    A wide variety of selection criteria have been used in different studies for the evaluation of suppliers which have varied due to the differences in requirements in different industries and also often had been purely firm specific. Typically the variety of supplier selection criteria that has been used has exceeded 50 criteria in over 65 research papers working on finding new criteria for evaluation of suppliers. These criteria have been enlisted in the matrix shown below.

    Some of the most popular criteria in supplier selection which has been used in over 10 research papers and have also been widely cited are relative price, compliance with the delivery schedule, quality of the delivered goods to specifications, production capabilities of the supplier, geographic distance (of the warehouse), technical capability of the supplier, management capability of the supplier  and financial position of the supplier. All these supplier evaluation criteria have found massive application in the studies in this domain and are marked by subtle differences in terms of relative importance, as perceived by senior procurement practitioners.

    Similarly another area of keen interest is the models which has been used to provide decision support to the supplier selection problem. Over 35 different mathematical models have been used for providing decision support to this extremely critical issue of procurement management. A study by Ho, Xu and Dey (2010) reveals that the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Mathematical Programming and Data Envelopment Analysis are the top 3 modeling paradigms used to provide decision support in supplier selection problems. Many other novel techniques like multi-attribute-deterministic models; mixed mathematical programming, outranking techniques; weighted sum of products; interpretive structural modeling; fuzzy set theory, neural networks; intelligent agent based techniques; TOPSIS, fuzzy multi-attribute frameworks; rule based reasoning models and multi-objective programming models have also been used. Typically the evolution of supplier selection models have been as described pictorially below, due to the evolution of the nature of selection criteria, from quantitative to a mix of quantitative and qualitative criteria.

    As the trend highlights, there is a paradigm shift in the nature of the mathematical models used for supplier selection with a change in the requirements in the nature of business, mostly in the manufacturing industries and the maturity of the discipline. No wonder the area has attracted so much of attention to the consulting practitioners and theory developers in academia alike.

    Do mail me if you have any queries regarding this post.

    The content in this article is an original piece of research made to further the purpose of education only. You may NOT copy, distribute and transmit the work for any purpose without the express written permission of the author. Neither you may alter, transform, or build upon this work without express written permission from the author (arpan.kumar.kar@gmail.com).