The marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a long-standing metric in B2B marketing that increasingly finds itself under fire for a number of reasons. Those who want to see the MQL banished to the B2B marketing wastebasket say it’s too subjective, not tied to revenue growth, and not indicative of the complexity of the B2B buying process.
But marketers who are considering moving beyond the MQL need to find a worthy replacement. Simply re-labeling an MQL as something else doesn’t solve the problem or improve your marketing.
James Stanton is the Vice President of Marketing at Empyrean Benefits Solutions, an HR tech vendor. For James, moving beyond the MQL means looking at prospects through the lens of “opportunities,” which sounds a lot more aligned with how B2B works but does present some challenges of its own.
In this episode of B2B Nation, we’re talking to James about MQLs, his company’s experience outsourcing practically all of its digital marketing functions, and more.
3:09: Is this the year marketers drop MQLs, and what’s the replacement? 4:17: “In this humble marketer’s opinion, the MQL is dead. It’s done.” 4:41: What metric will James be watching if not the MQL? 8:30: Tips for explaining plans to ditch the MQL to your leadership. 11:45: The challenges of moving from MQLs to demand units and opportunities. 14:52: How and why James is outsourcing Empyrean’s digital marketing functions. 22:40: What is James excited about in the business world in 2022? 27:00: What is James’ take on in-person events? 29:15: What is James’ favorite tool?
Enterprises work to continually improve and simplify their operations. Alongside this continual improvement, the trend of hyperautomation, also referred to as digital process automation and intelligent process automation, in business is gaining traction.
The past few years have seen a lot of discussions about hyperautomation and how it helps automate business processes. To properly use hyperautomation, though, it is important to understand what it is and how it can be applied.
What is Hyperautomation?
Hyperautomation is data-driven rather than process-driven, combining advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing, and predictive analytics technologies. It uses a combination of these tools to increase AI decision-making.
a framework for combining all of these advanced tools to strategically automate business processes along with RPA and IPA.
Hyperautomation can also be referred to as the sophistication of the automation process—discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor, and reassess. While simple automation moves a single process, set of actions, or workflow from manual, human-initiated work to automated, bot-driven work, hyperautomation relies on bots to identify, design, and analyze automated workflows.
What is Intelligent Process Automation?
Intelligent process automation (IPA) is an advanced version of robotic process automation (RPA). Unlike RPA, IPA has the ability to understand context, learn, and iterate, and it can handle both unstructured and structured data. It also supports informed decision-making, which can further be divided into task-level or process-level automation. IPA helps organizations access and analyze data like text or images to gain important insights.
IPA, RPA, and Hyperautomation
Hyperautomation begins with RPA at its core, then adds in other advanced automation tools like ML and AI. RPA is one of the main elements in hyperautomated environments.
RPA software, on a basic level, performs automated repetitive tasks much like a human does. While it saves time and money, it is not scalable on its own, which has led to the concept of hyperautomation.
IPA assists with RPA processes by taking unstructured data and turning it into structured data for use with RPA technologies.
Although it involves layers processes of automation, hyperautomation itself is not a process. It is a framework for combining all of these advanced tools to strategically automate business processes along with RPA and IPA. It aims to capitalize on the data collected and generated by digitized processes, leading to improved and more timely decision making.
All of these technologies are not mutually exclusive but rather work together to optimize business processes.
Examples of Hyperautomation in different industries
Banks can use hyperautomation in a variety of ways at once, including regulatory compliance, marketing, sales, distribution, customer service, payments, loans, and office operations. For example, intelligent character recognition allows banks to improve their “Know Your Customer” processes and compliance by transferring manually written customer information into electronic versions for faster analysis and action.
The healthcare industry can use hyperautomation to create intelligent billing processes through the collection and consolidation of billing details from various departments without human involvement. For example, AI and RPA identify medical policy coverage and conditions while intelligent chatbots can support and automate bill submissions. Voice recognition can enable the transcription of speech into text, increasing the handling of cases to thousands at one time. The combination of intelligent processes is the improvement of back-office and customer-facing operations, enhancing the overall customer experience and improving operational efficiencies.
Call Centers and Customer Service
Another real-world example is the use of RPA and AI in call centers to automate manual processes people perform, like mouse clicks and application launches, to help agents pull information about a client from multiple systems simultaneously. This will allow an agent to see a more complete customer profile when they call without having to keep switching between screens. This technology can be applied to other service-related functions, such as project automation and package tracking.
Top Trends in Hyperautomation, RPA, and IPA for 2022
Real-time information access
Process intelligence and mining
Understanding how to automate entire end-to-end workflows
The virtual representation of assets, systems and processes to improve performance and reliability, increase productivity and reduce risk
Robots assisting humans in tasks and not overtaking them entirely
As businesses adopt hyperautomation, they will see their operations improve in many ways and use the data they collect to prioritize other automation opportunities. Hyperautomation will never replace people and will continue to use a variety of tools including AI and robotics to enable workforces, align business and IT, and provide insight into return on investment. Robots are not going to replace our jobs, rather they are going to give us a promotion.
The COVID-19 pandemic shined a bright light on the fragility of many businesses’ supply chains. During the first nine months of 2020, there were 4,200 supply chain disruptions—a 14 percent increase over 2019 numbers. In order for businesses to be successful in the face of future disasters, they have to build a resilient supply chain that allows them to quickly address shortages and demand changes.
How did COVID-19 create supply chain disruptions?
Between factory closures and shift workers calling off sick, COVID-19 made it difficult for manufacturers to keep up with demand for many products. And when employees could come back to work, factories laid off workers or cut hours to be able to keep workers in the factories approximately six feet apart. Now that these factories can support full workforces again, they’re having trouble replenishing the workers they dismissed or lost.
Not only were there fewer workers to complete the orders, but product demands were also changing. For example, many tech companies are still facing shortages of chips and graphics cards because consumers needed the technology to work remotely and PC gaming was a hobby people could enjoy safely at home and stay connected to friends and family. Additionally, the need for cleaning products like Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer rose astronomically, and the factories weren’t prepared for the level of demand they saw.
Businesses with manufacturing plants in China suffered from increased trade restrictions and longer wait times as products had to quarantine. Many consumers purchasing from overseas countries are still feeling the delays.
Companies that demonstrated supply chain resilience
Luckily, not all companies suffered from supply chain issues. Many liquor distilleries, including Bacardi and Buffalo Trace, diverted some of their product lines to make hand sanitizer rather than liquor to meet the heightened need.
Additionally, some companies decided to start manufacturing their products domestically in order to avoid the delays that come with importing products from overseas. Nanotronics, a company that produces single patient, reusable devices that enable clinicians to follow medical protocol for non-invasive ventilation produces its product in Brooklyn, NY. “I suffered from COVID-19 myself and know first-hand how much the ventilator shortage is impacting medical facilities,” says Dr. Matthew Putnam, CEO of Nanotronics. “By manufacturing directly from Brooklyn, NY, we are able to surpass the ventilator supply chain shortage and get people the help they need.”
Many of the largest ventilator manufacturers are located in Europe, adding customs delays on top of supply shortages for US hospitals. Plus, these manufacturers are likely to prioritize hospitals in their own countries to prevent tariffs and aid their own populations, leaving hospitals in the United States scrambling.
How to make your supply chain more resilient
Supply chain disruptions don’t have to be devastating for businesses. There are several options for organizations looking to create a more flexible and resilient supply chain.
Create an omnichannel supply chain
Online shopping has grown in recent years, and COVID-19 only accelerated that growth. Retail organizations should consider adding an online store if they haven’t already. By providing multiple channels for their customers, they continue making sales, even when stores can’t be open or have limited capacity.
Like the distilleries did, consider diversifying your product lines when possible and stock up on raw materials that you can use in multiple products, especially if they don’t expire. Bar closures reduced the need for drinking alcohol, so the distilleries instead directed some of that alcohol towards the production of hand sanitizer.
In the graphics card shortage, however, companies didn’t have the same luxury of stocking up. While they don’t expire in the traditional sense, the technology changes so rapidly that a manufacturer’s current stock could get outdated quickly.
Take stock of the materials you currently have on hand and determine which of them you have multiple uses for and the equipment needed to make something else from it. While shoe factories and hose manufacturers both use rubber, the shoe factory would be more likely to have the machinery needed to make tires if there was a shortage because both tires and shoes have treads.
Use supply chain management software with AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help you better navigate supply chain disruptions because it’s often able to identify them earlier than traditional forecasting methods. Rather than relying solely on historical data, supply chain management (SCM) software that includes AI examines a combination of historical data, current market trends, and external factors that can affect demand, like natural disasters. This provides more accurate demand planning levels and prevents extreme over or under-production.
Businesses with flexible, omnichannel supply chains are more likely to survive disruptions than those with rigid ones. In order to make sure your company can last through supply chain disruptions and even thrive during them, you need more than one channel through which to sell your product, high volumes of raw materials that have more than one use, and supply chain management software with AI. You might also consider manufacturing materials domestically if your factories currently run overseas.
To find the perfect supply chain management software to make your supply chain more flexible, use our Product Selection Tool. After answering a few questions about your business, you’ll get a customized list of product recommendations. It’s free and takes as little as five minutes.
Technology is the foundation of today’s human resource department. From higher demand for operational efficiencies to labor shortages to competitive hiring environments, HR professionals are tapping into the power of their tech stack to help them gain their edge.
As the responsibilities of HR departments grow, so does the demand for a robust suite of capabilities in the software solutions they utilize. Human resource management systems need to have the ability to manage all aspects of the HR departemen from sexual harassment compliance to training and payroll. Zenefits is a top contender in the HR software space, but it is not the sole consideration. With so many on the market, how do you evaluate which is best for you? Let’s explore Zenefits and its standout features with a comparison to some of its top competitors.
What is Zenefits?
Based in the Silicon Valley, Zenefits is a technology company that is among the leaders in its space for cloud-based software that helps businesses manage their HR functions. Founded in 2013, it is an industry leader considered on most lists to be among the top software as a service options for human resource departments. The software provides a robust suite of HR services with a focus on payroll and health insurance coverage.
Zenefits offers features such as payroll, benefits, compliance, time management and more. It is most popular among businesses in the following industries: business services, software, retail, custom software and IT services.
Comparing Zenefits With Its Competition
Zenefits Standout Features
Lots of integrations: It’s important for your choice of software to offer integrations to your existing tech stack. Zenefits does just this. With out of the box integrations with popular tools such as Slack, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Lever, Greenhouse, Jazz HR, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), Expensify, Lattice, Asana, Zapier, and Salesforce—just to name a few.
Deep mobile app capabilities: Zenefits also offers a simple yet powerful mobile app for employees on the go. As more and more employees need to have a seamless tool on their smartphone, HR decision makers are turning to tools like Zenefits that offer access to information including paystubs, benefits and time off requests from the comfort of their mobile device.
BambooHR Standout Features
Perfect for International-focused Businesses:BambooHR stands out for international features and adaptations that are key to businesses that have operations across borders.
Rated High in Ease of Use: Ease of use is an important feature to getting employee adoption. BambooHR’s interface is rated highly for intuitive workflows and ease of use according to 100% of the software’s online reviews in regards to its UI.
Exceptional User Experience: A standout feature for Gusto is related to its user experience. User experience is a key for HR departments that need to roll the tool out to less tech-savvy users within their department and out into the company workforce. Without this user-friendly nature, the HR team is left with lack of use, mistakes and deep training initiatives to get the team up to speed.
Easy Payroll Function: Gusto also stands out for its simple, intuitive payroll processing, even for novices. Processing payroll can be one of the most complicated tasks for any HR department due to time constraints, fluctuating laws and regulations as well as variables such as new employees, hour tracking and benefits. Having a software tool that makes this portion of your HR function easy can be essential to the running of your business.
Depth for Automation Needs: More and more HR companies are looking for ways to automate their HR functions. GoCo HR stands out for its robust automation tools that can automate things like hiring and onboarding, performance reviews and the promotion process.
Customer service: If you know you need to have access to an accessible and well-rated customer service team, GoCo is known for this standout feature with a team of knowledgeable pros standing by for support.
Choosing The Best HR Software
Your goal in transitioning to an HR software or switching to a new one is always about streamlining your processes. Depending on your needs, it could be about:
Taking previously paper-based processes to a digital format
Centralizing employee records for better access and compliance
Automating processes such as onboarding, payroll, etc
Helping to create a stronger culture and recruiting edge
Any unique combination of these reasons and more.
A few key points will help you as you explore the right HR software tool for your business. Whether it turns out to be Zenefits or any one of the multitude of contenders, be sure to iron out your pain points, top objectives and goals for the software first. Then compare this with the standout features of the software you are considering. For example, if you have little or no tech support on hand, a software with strong tech support might be on order for your business.
Another key thing to keep in mind is your employees. Keeping your employees’ needs, technical abilities and flexibility requirements in mind is essential to the success of your tool. Consider asking questions like:
What are the employees’ HR-related needs?
What can this HR software tool do to help them work more efficiently?
How many different types of employees are there in the organization and how do their needs differ?
What are the needs of the remote workforce?
How much personalization will the HR software tool need to work within the parameters of your business?
Start by defining the problems your HR software should solve, the unique makeup of your employee base and then examine Zenefits and all the other options to determine which one fits best with your needs. Then browse our HR software products or get in touch with an unbiased Technology Advisor who can help you find the right vendor for your needs. The consultation is fast and free.
A company’s reputation is becoming increasingly important to attracting and retaining talent, making reputation management a key part of HR’s function in today’s competitive job market.
In our current time, when The Great Resignation has turned over the power to employees and job seekers, reputation management can make or break your recruiting success because, for job seekers, your company’s reputation matters. According to the latest data available from 2019, 86% of job seekers are likely to research your company’s reputation before deciding whether to apply for an open position. It behooves your company to take charge of its employer brand, as 75% of job seekers are likely to apply for a job where the company actively manages its reputation. However, doing so requires thoughtful strategy and a great deal of manual effort, which puts a strain on HR teams.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is a continuous, comprehensive organizational strategy that influences and manages internal and external stakeholders’ perception of your company and its brand. It involves a balance between reactively addressing issues and proactively showcasing the company’s strengths, all in an authentic and transparent manner.
Both employee experience and customer experience play into your company’s overall reputation. So even though we’ll focus on HR’s role in reputation management, it’s important that HR works on reputation management with other outward-facing functions, like sales, marketing, and public relations.
HR’s Role in Reputation Management
Reputation management is a company-wide effort, but the HR team has an indispensable role to play in positively shaping employee, applicant, and potential applicant perceptions of the company. The effort that HR invests in reputation management translates to reduced turnover, higher employee retention, and an engaged workforce, all of which save your company time, money, and valuable resources.
Below we’ll outline the ways in which HR can proactively and reactively manage your company’s reputation for both internal and external audiences.
Proactive Reputation Management
Proactive reputation management encompasses the aspects of reputation management that HR can control and should actively maintain.
Proactive reputation management goes hand-in-hand with HR’s passive recruiting strategy. Sharing professional success stories to social media networks makes your company’s value and culture visible to passive candidates. Examples of success stories can be your own professional wins, employee spotlights, or company achievements.
HR should also routinely monitor recruiting sites, such as Indeed or ZipRecruiter, as well as Glassdoor to see if information there about your company is accurate and to see what current/former employees are saying.
Reputation monitoring tools, such as SEMrush’s Brand Monitoring Tool helps monitor web audience perceptions. Though this kind of tool is more pertinent to marketing and PR, HR should be privy to information from other departments. For example, if customers frequently complain about a particular employee in online company reviews, HR should know about it, as consistent negative customer feedback about any aspect of your company, whether product, service, or especially employees, dissuades applicants from applying to be on your team.
After attracting top talent by proactively managing outside perceptions and effectively reacting to them, as we’ll get to in the next section, reputation management does not end there. It’s just as important to leverage reputation management to retain talent.
Recent research in healthcare employment and retention found a positive correlation between retention and employee engagement, organizational pride, and more localized reputation management relative to an employee’s immediate workgroup or department.
This finding suggests the benefits of setting up varied communication channels, such as surveys that get distributed on a regular basis or software portals that enable easy communication among direct co-workers within the same department, such as Slack, Monday.com, or Gusto.
HR can also foster a growth-oriented and fun company culture by implementing employee engagement software that allows employees to set and track their own performance goals. Some solutions, such as 15Five or Assembly, let employees give and receive recognition for outstanding work. A healthy organizational culture empowers employees to become brand ambassadors who assume personal responsibility for reputation management by showing pride for the company they work for.
On the flipside of positive engagements, an absence of employee complaints does not signal a problem-free workplace. Proper communication channels to field concerns are necessary, and the company culture must foster a sense of openness, so that individuals feel comfortable coming forward.
HR can set up multiple communication channels, anonymous or otherwise, to gather insights on employees’ experiences and sense of satisfaction. Additionally, taking concrete action on feedback shows employees that the company takes their feedback seriously.
The activities below present opportunities for HR to respond appropriately and effectively to what current or former employees say about your company and to what customers say about your employees.
After proactively monitoring company mentions on sites and forums where employees can give their honest take on a company, don’t miss the opportunity to respond to positive and especially negative comments. A timely and genuine response to an online complaint will mitigate damage from the original comment and may even change others’ perception of your company. The latest data from 2016 reports that 62% of job seekers improve their opinion of a company when a representative takes the time to reply to a review.
Glassdoor’s Review Intelligence Tool assists in spotting fake reviews, so that you know what to avoid responding to. For comments that appear authentic, respond to positive and negative comments alike in a consistent, professional tone. If possible and necessary, publicly offer redress to the person who aired a negative experience about your workplace online and be sure to follow through on it.
When an employee makes a complaint, it’s a sign that your HR team not only helped cultivate a supportive atmosphere that makes the individual feel heard, but also implemented the right communication tools to surface the issue. Have documented protocol on hand to follow in a consistent, timely way to ensure the fairest outcome for all parties involved. Knowledge management tools and collaboration software help your HR team stay on top of documentation and keep everyone informed.
HR serves as a crucial communication bridge between employees and leadership as well as between outside applicants and internal hiring processes. When necessary, relay information about customer or employee experiences to the relevant team in order to start improving your company’s processes, culture, product, or service.
Reputation management isn’t just about influencing and managing customer experience, it’s also about employee experience. HR therefore has a role to play in attracting, hiring, and retaining the best employees by contributing to a positive company reputation. They proactively attract passive candidates and set up internal mechanisms to keep communication channels open with current employees. HR also takes action in response to negative feedback garnered from public forums or from internal communication paths.
You may have heard: we write for people, not for search engines, and that works fine with us. Still, site owners often resort to SEO to find a driving force to move up in the search rankings.
Sometimes, you need a fresh look or inspiration for new content. Other times, you just need a spring cleaning on your website because your content is too muddled for customers to understand. A well-meditated SEO content strategy may spare you this headache in the future.
A good content strategy arranges jumbled pieces into a logical process where you
Prioritize the most effective topics
Set goals and tasks
Assign writing roles
Measure the impact.
When you create content with SEO in mind, you will:
Keep the technical part of your website in order and free from SEO errors that may dilute the authority (and thus impact online visibility), such as duplication and broken pages
Review underperforming content and make it better
Research your audience to better understand their needs, interests, and behavior
Reach your customers on the best available channel
Measure ROI and finetune the content strategy.
Content without SEO may cause businesses to miss out on a large number of leads and opportunities. On the flip side, SEO by itself should not be purely technical. SEOs should cross-check against data from other channels, including content writers, social media managers, and email.
The SEO content strategy sets out approximately on the following path:
1. Define SEO goals
At the start, you should decide how you’re going to measure SEO growth and how it corresponds to your marketing goals. Usually, companies use key performance indicators (KPIs) like organic traffic and conversions that can be tracked in Google Analytics. However, for interim evaluation, you may have smaller goals and metrics to estimate progress.
For example, if you want to expand to some geographic area, you’ll want to gain an audience from a specific region. You may also be interested in building a lasting relationship with your target audience, and that’s where the returning visitors will be the metric to observe.
The SEO approach is always keyword-focused. The metrics that help you measure the success of your SEO efforts are keyword ranking and visibility, estimated by any SEO tool.
Once you’ve formulated your unique selling proposition, you surely know your main buyer persona (or customer persona). Knowing the demographics of the buyer persona is really important for building a good rapport with them: age, gender, income, interests, and hobbies. Note all information that matters. If you already run a website, consult with Google Analytics to see who visits your website most.
Additionally, think of the second, third, fourth circle of people with whom your target audience communicates most often. Have a chart not only for your buyer persona but also for circle 1, circle 2, etc. Describe them the same way you’ve described your buyer persona.
For example, when we consider a local blog for teenage boys, a description for your target audience may go as follows:
Aged 12-17, boy, lives in town X, studies exact sciences to enter a college; hobbies: cycling, music, mountaineering…
Aged 12-17, boy, lives in town X, studies exact sciences to enter a college; hobbies: cycling, music, mountaineering…
Aged 35 – 50, live in town X, work at local business; celebrate family holidays; hobbies: sports, crafts, charity…
Aged 20, girl, moved to another town to study in a college; a rising TikTok star, hobbies: biology, pets, boyfriend…
Surely, you know thousands of ways to generate content ideas. Brainstorm on a Sunday out with colleagues, check out Google Trends, or examine your online competitors.
Let’s get back again to the target audiences we’ve defined at Step 2. Have a chart for Buyer Persona, Persona 1, and so on, then take down topic ideas. At first, write down five-ten topic ideas for the buyer persona. Then, write down five-ten ideas that will be interesting for both the buyer persona AND Persona 1. Next, think of a few common topics for the buyer persona AND Persona 2. Topics should not repeat in different columns.
10 Cool Spring Fashion Trends for Teenage Guys in 2022
What To Do Summer Before Junior Year of High School
Why Do Teenagers Rebel?
21 Things to Do When You Turn 21 (By a 21-Year-Old)
12 Awesome Books I Read in 2021, Ranked
Should Teenage Guys Shave Their Mustache?
20 Smart Things to Save Up For as a Teenager in 2022
How to Start a Blog as a Teenager
10 College Dorm Room Essentials for Guys
16 DIY Gifts for College Students
10 Cool Backpacks for Teenage Guys in 2022
Then, research SEO keywords that correspond to each topic and optimize your content with them. The quickest way is to find them in Google Autocomplete, although it’s more effective to research keywords with a Rank Tracker.
When you write a blog post for people, it will naturally contain some of the keywords. Embedding more SEO keywords into content will help boost the post visibility and draw more visitors from organic search. Just add SEO keywords to the title and meta description and structure the content for readability — all this will help your articles be more understandable to search engines and people will appreciate it as well.
Based on the chart above, you can arrange your editorial calendar and assign writing tasks. There are plenty of awesome planners and content creation tools that will help you organize the workflow. Basically, you work out the plan by yourself based on periodicity, time of day, rate of response, and how you communicate with your audience about the content.
Refer again to your audience table. Major news for your blog will be based on column 1, which is about your buyer persona. This will make up around 60 – 80 % of your content. While the remaining 20 – 40% of your articles should be about topics from the other columns, involving the people with whom your target audience can discuss what you’ve written. That not only helps to grow the audience by sharing, but it also contributes to engagement with your visitors.
A keyword is a query by which a visitor finds your article in the organic search. Showing up on page one at the top may draw hundreds of visitors per day. However, the crucial part of effective optimization is the intent with which a user is looking for some particular query. There are three main types of keyword intent:
Informational — the searcher wants to find out something for the sake of knowing it, the reason behind the search is vague (e.g. what is);
Investigational — the searcher wants to learn more about the subject (e.g. how to);
Transactional — the searcher may perform a purchase (or some other meaningful action) when finding the right thing (e.g. top x, best y near me).
Depending on the type of intent, you will need to create different types of pages and optimize them for different kinds of keywords. These are
blog posts for informational keywords,
how-tos or long-reads for investigational intent,
service pages or product pages for transactional keywords.
6. Map keywords to landing pages and goals
As you build your pages and improve the content structure, you will see which pages need improvement and which pages underperform. You can track your landing pages and set goals in Google Analytics for measuring the success of the pages — the CTR, the traffic coming from the most profitable keywords, and conversions performed.
7. Plan outreach activities to get mentions
Getting a post published is only half of the work. The success of a story comes within the first few days. Although user engagement is not a named Google ranking factor, shares, likes, and discussions show that the blog post offers value to people. Share on social media, ask partner blogs to spread the word about your story. The more backlinks and mentions your post gets, the better it is for its ranking on Google.
Think if you can create another form for the content you have. How else can you deliver value to your visitors, using other platforms and channels? For example:
Create a long read with stunning images and distribute it on a story-telling platform
Make a video for YouTube /a podcast channel (it may be resource-consuming to produce, but successful pieces pay off lavishly)
Create a downloadable checklist/infographic and distribute it on respective platforms
Create a newsletter and email the essentials.
9. Update evergreen content
Some stories may last for years. Sometimes, an unexpected turn of a story may urge people to browse the archives. Don’t waste your content, but recirculate it.
First of all, if the evergreen content contains outdated information, make it up-to-date and discuss how things have changed.
Second, you should build the reputation of a high-quality resource and provide deep expertise in the subject matter. E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is the ingredient that helps Google figure out which is which. Expand topics, go in-depth, create timelines, and explore more on the topic if you see that your audience is really keen on some issue.
And last, but not least, a good site structure, easy navigation, logical, memorable categories, and reading suggestions will make your visitors want to stay on your site longer. Link your articles carefully, organize pages so that all of them are easily found, and try to keep your visitors from leaving after reading only one page.
10. Track your SEO content KPIs
Calculating ROI on your SEO content can be a bit of a challenge. Each piece of content you create has the potential to bring benefits for years ahead. It’s crucial to track changes that happen on your website from the moment you publish your content and when you make improvements to it.
One of the most difficult things about SEO is that it’s not exact. Search engines don’t have transparent algorithms, so most SEO guidance is educated guesswork. And even then, Google is always releasing algorithm updates that change SEO ranking factors. Because of this, you may have to tweak your strategy often to get the results you want.
Managing expenses can be tricky for any business, especially when it comes to tracking technology tools and their associated monthly and yearly plans. IT department heads often have disparate systems for tracking expenses like phones, tablets, laptops, software, and staying on top of mobile data plans, requests for new or updated telecom equipment, as well as security and access for new and departing employees. Technology expense management (TEM) and IT finance management (ITFM) are often stratified across more than one system and overlooked in terms of efficiency and accuracy.
According to a study by Gartner, any company with 500 or more employees that doesn’t effectively manage their mobile telecom expenses could be spending up to 30% more than necessary for voice and data services. The average cost per year per user for mobile voice, data, and messaging hovers around $840, according to the same study. On top of that, it’s estimated that 20% of telecommunication invoices are inaccurate and could result in overspending if not properly monitored.
Manual Data Collection Methods Lose Money
Imagine a large company trying to figure out where their IT spend is going and which departments, locations, and people are driving it. It may be hard to believe, but the majority of large companies are still doing this manually. They are exporting invoices for mobile devices from one piece of software, exporting fixed telecom invoices from another platform, cloud invoices from another, and so on. Then, they are trying to match up that invoice data with departments, locations, personnel, projects, and other information stored in their IT Service Management system or their ERP.
It’s critical for IT teams to wrangle all that information in order to understand the big picture. Just the expense of additional employee hours involved in the manual work of tracking adds up substantially. You want your employees doing work that improves the company, like tracking down mislaid hardware or overseeing proper unified endpoint management—not performing data entry and tracking tasks.
Smart TEM & ITFM Solutions Can Save Hundreds of Thousands
Comprehensive telecom expense management and IT financial management software platforms offered by companies like brightfin are the answer. Systems that automate and merge your IT Service Management data with your IT invoices allow enterprises to manage all facets of expenses, assets, and services in one place so that they can see where their money is going and make strategic adjustments.
How does an integrated TEM and ITFM solution save you time and money? There are five ways:
IT Finance Management capabilities help save money by allowing users to access centralized data through automated processes. This provides a complete picture of IT services’ total cost and value, including allocations and chargebacks. This also includes:
Bill pay for self-funding IT bill payment on time (and avoiding late charges).
Procurement for new or replacement equipment enabled bya mobile ordering process with an approval engine, automation, and out-of-the-box workflows (avoiding delays and rushed shipments).
TEM services like negotiating wireless contracts, matching plans to usage, and watching for unused services (unused software alone costs U.S. companies billions in wasted funds).
Immediate data availability is essential. Once information is integrated with solutions like ServiceNow (such as HRIS or ERP), it is available immediately for review.
One central view where users can view all mobile, fixed, and cloud spend allows companies to get the whole picture at once rather than trying to combine different reports from carriers and platforms.
An automated workflow engine allows users to create custom actions based on business needs to become more efficient.
Security is already built-in. Well-developed TEM and ITFM systems are built for business, meaning security concerns are considered and set in place. ServiceNow, for instance, comes with the security tactics of a publicly-traded company. And no coding from scratch means that someone else has already figured out and implemented the security.
Eliminating avoidable expenses is critical to maintaining profitability. Seemingly small costs, like an unused software license, an unaccounted-for tablet, or an incremental incorrect charge on an account, are compounded the larger the organization becomes. Worse, many companies don’t know how much these account for because they don’t have the insight or big picture view.
Implementing a comprehensive platform that automates IT invoice management, Telecom Expense Management, and IT Financial Management is the key. Preventing unnecessary expenses results in a healthier bottom line for your company.
Mani Zarrehparvar, brightfin’s Chief Customer Officer, has over 20 years of experience in the technology and telecom space. He previously served as the CEO for Visage Mobile and held leadership positions at AT&T and Asurion. Mani received his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
If you worked in an IT organization that was looking to upgrade its servers and data center strategy 10 years ago, you probably didn’t have much of a choice when it came to the chips and the underlying technology in the machines. Intel was dominating the market for server chips at the time with its Xeon processors.
A decade later, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has pulled off an impressive turnaround. When it comes to processors in everything from servers to PCs to gaming consoles, AMD’s market share is up and so is its stock price.
In this episode of B2B Nation, we talk to David Melendrez, an account manager at AMD, who manages the relationship between AMD and one of its biggest and most strategic partners: Dell. David’s job at AMD is to make sure the Dell team has all of the knowledge and tools it needs to grow market share and nurture the relationship between the companies.
In this episode of B2B Nation, we talk to David Melendrez, an account manager at AMD, who manages the relationship between AMD and one of its biggest and most strategic partners: Dell. David’s job at AMD is to make sure the Dell team has all of the knowledge and tools it needs to grow market share and nurture the relationship between the companies.
In our discussion, we talked about the unique nature of working with a single client, how two very large organizations cooperate to market and sell their products, and David’s journey to a front-row seat for one of the biggest turnarounds in tech history.
3:20: Even with one customer, making new contacts is critical to success. 5:00: What types of conversations does David lead with his customers at Dell? 9:10: David’s unorthodox journey to his role at AMD. 11:44: What is the most important skill for managing a large, complex relationship like the one between AMD and Dell? 13:31: How do AMD and Dell work together to market Dell products with AMD technology? 17:31: What is David’s favorite tool?
Clinical data registries are databases of health information on many different patients who share a common factor. Clinical data registries have been organized around many topics, including disease or condition (i.e. Alzheimer’s, breast cancer), procedure (i.e. thoracic surgery), and device (i.e. joint replacements).
Clinical data registries can be beneficial to practices of all sizes, from small private practices to large hospitals. While a relatively new concept, data registries are poised to play a bigger and bigger role in healthcare in the coming decade. In this guide, we’ll dive into how clinical registries can benefit clinicians and patients and explore how they are different from electronic health records.
What Are the Benefits of Clinical Health Registries?
The information in a data registry is used to help clinicians choose the most effective course of treatment for patients suffering from the same disease or condition. It also allows clinicians to investigate trends in the patient population in real time — for instance, seeing if a new therapy is effective or not when compared to existing treatments. Registries are important because they improve the quality and safety of care, leading to better patient outcomes.
Clinical data registries are usually maintained by third parties, such as government groups, non-profit organizations, academic research groups, and other similar organizations. Data is submitted to the clinical registries by a physician or their staff. The data is anonymized and sometimes encrypted to protect patient privacy and company with relevant laws. Survey data submitted by patients may also be added to the database as an additional component, to include the patient’s perspective.
How Can Data Registries Be Used in a Private Practice?
Naturally, the first question that private practice clinicians ask is: how can this be helpful to me? First of all, clinical data registries allow providers to get aggregated insights that are far more expansive than the limited number of patients they can treat in a private practice setting. Even a large, well-staffed private practice with multiple locations still will not be able to see a fraction of the patients that can be recorded in an anonymous clinical registry.
This is important because healthcare trends that may not be visible within the limited scope of a private practice are visible and even obvious in the wider scope of a clinical data registry. Data registries help physicians choose the most effective care by looking at trends over time across hundreds or thousands of patients with the exact same condition or disease. A patient case that seems to be an unexplained outlier within the limited patient pool of a private practice may actually have similarities to multiple entries in a clinical registry.
Clinical registries also help physicians stay up to date on device recalls and other important events as well as what effects these have on patients. Further, data registries centralize all information from different providers and facilities into one place, so you’re not confined to just your private practice — you can track patient outcomes across the entire healthcare system, which is key since patients rarely get all their care from one provider or hospital network.
Clinical Data Registries vs. Electronic Health Records
On the surface, clinical data registries do bear certain similarities to electronic health record companies (EHRs) such as Cerner and Epic, leading clinicians to wonder what extra benefits data registries provide. To start off, EHRs are very focused on the individual visits, while data registries look at the overall patient care journey across time and facilities.
Secondly, EHRs are more confined to whatever facility or hospital network uses them. If information is needed at a secondary facility, the original one must transfer the EHR files. This contrasts with a data registry, where the same is used by many facilities all over the country and even sometimes the world.
Patient data is also anonymized in data registries, so a clinician can’t look up care details for a specific person. This contrasts the purpose of EHRs, which are designed to store an electronic paper trail for each individual patient. Essentially, EHRs can be conceived of as a detailed, personal internal registry, as opposed to a depersonalized external clinical data registry.
How Can Clinical Data Registries and EMRs Work Together?
While clinical data registries and EHRs each serve a distinct purpose, there are some opportunities for ways they can work together. EHRs are a vast treasure of information, but they aren’t synced together, so none of this data can be aggregated and analyzed for overall trends.
This is less than ideal because a lot of the information that gets input into EHR is a duplicate of what goes into clinical data registries. Thus, inputting data into both systems involves a certain amount of redundancy, which is an issue for overworked clinical staff who already spend many hours on filing and paperwork each week. If the same information could be input once, then correctly routed to either an EHR or a data registry (or both), that would help eliminate duplicate work and make it easier to add to clinical data registries.
In fact, there have already been some initial forays into trying to turn EHR health data into something that would be useable for a clinical registry. Indeed, Epic software — one of the largest EHR companies in the United States — is now advertising its “Cosmos” feature, which includes data points from 120 million patients across 800 hospitals and 10,000 clinics.
Now that most hospitals and clinicals have completed their transition to electronic health records, integration between EHRs and clinical data registries will likely be a major healthcare technology trend to look out for in the next 5-10 years. Since clinical data registries are also a relatively new concept, as they continue to develop and evolve over time, that will also have an effect on potential integrations with EHRs.
One major concern about integrating EHRs and clinical data registries is patient privacy. EHR information needs to be attached to an individual patient, while clinical registry data must be anonymized. How will the patient data be protected and encrypted when it gets transferred from an EHR to a data registry? Expect to see more debates on this as we get further into the 2020s.
Ready to find an EHR software that suits your practice’s needs? Check out our EHR comparison, or reach out to a Technology Advice specialist. We’ll give you unbiased advice and help you find the perfect solution for your technology needs — for free.
Container as a service (CaaS) platforms are being offered by cloud vendors. Prior to CaaS, platforms as a service (PaaS) were the most efficient way to develop apps, but they also provided a large number of features that were unnecessary. The primary draw of CaaS is its lower price tag. This is because cloud-based container platforms, as a narrow service, use far less resources than platforms as a service. CaaS offers a more tightly focused, much less wasteful platform, with tools specific to working with containers, which makes working with the platform much more efficient.
What Need Does CaaS Serve?
Many organizations are using apps to modernize their legacy systems and are relying on cloud-based services. CaaS offers a more streamlined way of developing these applications. This process allows users, who lack the necessary infrastructure for their own equipment, to access the cloud for their container service needs. In the last decade, application development has become one of the most important services offered by the cloud. Gartner has estimated 70% of PaaS users will switch to a cloud-based container service to create applications.
Containers differ from virtual hardware by creating a virtual “operating system” rather than virtualizing the hardware stack. This was made possible by the introduction of the Docker container. This feature allows containers to run far more efficiently than virtual hardware, because it requires fewer resources, using only a small percentage of the memory, when compared to virtual hardware. For example, a computer capable of running six or seven virtual machines can operate tens, or perhaps even hundreds of containers. The ability to deploy and develop applications within a virtualized environment allows app development teams to easily replicate production and use environments.
Cloud-based container platforms are software systems, provided by a cloud vendor, that can be used to manage containerized applications. It’s a form of platforms as a service, but much more specific. While containers may not need a platform to operate, a platform of tools comes in handy for building and modifying containers. These platforms support governance, security, automation, orchestration, and customization. CaaS platforms include built-in auto scaling and orchestration features. They allow teams to build apps efficiently, providing high visibility and supporting rapid deployments. Cloud-based container platforms can lower costs by reducing both the infrastructure costs and the time needed to complete an applications project.
The open architecture of CaaS allows users to move from cloud to cloud (or back to on-premises server systems). CaaS allows for the use of multi-cloud or hybrid cloud solutions for an organization. One of the benefits of CaaS is that it offers a flexible, simple path to access all the benefits PaaS “had provided” but at a lower price and with greater efficiency
Creating applications while using cloud-based containers is a quick and efficient process. The SUSE CaaS Platform, for example, promises a reduced time to market as one of its platform capabilities.
CaaS platforms are flexible enough for several employees to work with the same container code from different computers. After their efforts have been completed, they can save the updated version online. Docker containers are known for supporting collaboration between DevOps teams.
Portability and platform independence
The standardization feature supports portability. A container can be moved from cloud to cloud, providing it offers CaaS—not all clouds offer CaaS. Portability with CaaS eliminates concerns about vendor lock-in. Containers can be moved to another server without any complications. A DevOps team can relax, knowing their applications within a container will operate the same way regardless of the cloud being used.
When using a cloud-based container platform, DevOp teams and developers spend less time working on the background infrastructure and setting up multiple runtime environments. This gives them more time to focus on creating and delivering unique products and features.
A shared infrastructure
This is different from collaboration. This is about the benefits of using the cloud to complete projects. Generally speaking, there will be less work for the user in prepping the system and building the container, and the pay-as-you-go model typically used with CaaS reduces expenses.
Clouds are considered to be fairly stable work environments, which includes CaaS. Clouds rarely go down, and when they do, they usually have excellent backup systems. As a rule, CaaS providers handle the underlying system issues and complexities.
The design of containers makes horizontal scaling of distributed applications easy. Containers can also be duplicated quite easily, making more copies available for use in other locations. Additionally, A CaaS platform can be configured to run only the required number of containers, in turn, lowering costs. IBM Kubernetes is known for easy scaling.
CaaS is used to upload, centrally manage, create, and operate container-based applications with a cloud platform. GUI (graphical user interface) or API calls are used for communications with the container in a cloud environment. The cloud provider typically offers one form or the other, and this might be a consideration for subtle apps work or personal preference. Another concern might be the orchestration tool, or orchestrator, offered by the CaaS provider.
Orchestration is important. Container applications being used in CaaS environments often consist of a cluster, with several containers spread out over various virtual and physical systems (referred to as multi-container applications). Operating these applications cannot be done manually, which is why orchestration tools, which organize interactions, are used. Alibaba Container Service is known for orchestrating container clusters easily and efficiently.
Cost is also an important consideration. When considering the cost, keep in mind that there is more involved than simple hourly expenses. There will be additional issues, usually in the form of a surprise, such as time to learn the system, the quality and efficiency of support when a problem arises, etc.
The following functions are important, as well, and definitely worth researching before entering into a contract with CaaS provider:
Distribution of containers across various hosts
Communication interface between containers
Organizing containers into units
Storage capacity allocation
The three most popular CaaS platforms are: Microsoft Azure Container Service, Google Container Engine, and Amazon EC2 Container Service.
There are a variety of uses for cloud-based container platforms. They can be used to develop and deploy custom designed applications for a variety of needs. Some of the more popular uses are listed below:
Containers can build and deploy microservices. For example, legacy systems can modify and rebuild their computer systems using microservices deployed by containers. Microservices can add some new features or alter some old ones.
The Internet of Things
Microservices and paired containers are important tools supporting the IoT (Internet of Things). Because containers make it easy to deliver software to computer systems, they are ideal for installing and updating applications that operate IoT devices. Sensor-specific libraries are often bundled along with the application inside a container and provide application portability for IoT devices.
Containers support multi-tenant applications, and make it possible to alter a major application without completely rewriting it. Multi-tenancy means each customer shares a common software application along with a single database. Each tenant’s/customer’s data remains isolated and invisible to other tenants/customers. They make it possible for businesses to offer customers a variety of choices and services from a single server, while maintaining the customer’s privacy. Netflix provides a good example of multi-tenancy. When a customer signs in and selects a movie or TV show, they are working with multi-tenant applications.
Fast spin-up time
Containers are ideal for sizable, discrete applications using many individual pieces of the services. The apps must start, run, and then terminate, all in a fairly short period of time. Using containers in this process is very efficient.
Containers lack multiple OS memory footprints. Consequently, they can share unused memory, and bring about server consolidation. Server consolidation provides numerous benefits by lowering data center footprints, reducing costs, and maximizing the server’s capacity.
Development and Deployment: Additional Responsibilities
Container as a service supports both agile development and customized apps deployment in one platform. To maximize use of all the benefits a cloud-based container platform has to offer, teams must be responsible for the deployment, not just for the development. This adds to their responsibilities and may require additional training or additional team members who specialize in deployment. It is worth noting, however, that CaaS providers are simplifying the deployment process and making it much easier.