Working smarter, with Business Technology

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1 Northwind The Northwind Guide to Working smarter, with Business Technology

2 Working Smarter Working smarter is good for all of us. New technology offers many options for working smarter, but which are the right ones? Which ones are the most important? This guide identifies vital IT tools and developments no business can afford to ignore. It shows key strategies for working smarter, and ways in which you can apply them to your business. Business technology is about business systems, not technology products, and using these to gain extra advantage in the market place. Business technology (BT) is about business systems, and using these to gain extra advantage in the market place. These systems used to be the preserve of big businesses, but not any more. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management (CM), Customer Service and Support (CSS) and Business Intelligence (BI) systems are all being taken up by SMEs as well as large enterprise as they realise the advantages these systems can bring to their businesses. The cost of implementing and using these applications has fallen, bringing them into the SME marketplace. SMEs have been quick to exploit the benefits they offer, and are seeing the results on their bottom line. To explore what business technology can offer you, talk to us at Northwind. There has never been a better time to implement business technology, or to reap the benefits it brings.

3 ipads and Tablet PCs ipads, tablet computers and smartphones are revolutionising how we work. Whilst most don t have the full functionality of a PC, they are much more portable than a laptop with significantly improved battery life. Their touch screens also make them very appealing to use, and a significant number of businesses are already using them in a wide range of ways. Microstrategy (a global software firm) have rolled out 1100 ipads across their staff, with another 700 following soon. They cite the following benefits: 49% of Small Business Owners Use Smartphones Forrester study Key ipad benefits >> It supports use of Microsoft Office documents and presentations. >> It is a great presentation tool for sales staff. >> Essential internal apps (either custom built or modified versions of existing software) can be used easily. >> It does not boot up but has an instant on function which, coupled with its size and battery life mean that can be used anywhere. >> Better return on investment than laptops. >> Staff find it more engaging and want to use it more. Smart and Efficient These new devices provide new ways of working and collecting data, including some simple but effective changes in working patterns. For example, we have come across a company mounting an ipad in their forklift trucks for the drivers to use to access their picking lists. Instead of leaving their vehicles to get another list, they simply open the next one which has been ed to them. The drivers love it, and the management report increased efficiency. Creative thinking coupled with great software could make the ipad and tablet PCs the most versatile business tools of the decade. As experts in software development, training and implementation, Northwind can help you to revolutionise the way your business works with mobile devices.

4 The Mobile Web Use of mobile devices for internet browsing is rising rapidly. Tesco Direct has seen a 300% increase in traffic from mobile users in the last year. Tesco s have just launched their first transactional mobile site, to cater for the 500,000 visitors already accessing the Tesco Direct website via a mobile browser (7% of their total visitors). Tesco now plans to roll out mobile websites across its other brands including Tesco.com to meet the growth in mobile traffic. Yet more than three quarters of British companies fail to recognise that they could enhance their brand and sales with a more mobile-friendly website. Companies risk alienating mobile users by not providing a site which also works on a mobile device, and risk damaging the online presence they have worked hard to build. More than half of British businesses have never checked to see how their websites look on mobile devices such as the iphone, Blackberry or ipad, and 65% of them have no plans to optimise their sites for use on mobile devices, research from 1&1 Internet shows. This is despite Gartner s study showing that worldwide mobile tablet sales (including the ipad) are expected to reach 19.5 million by the end of 2010, with huge predicted growth in 2011 to bring total global sales to 54.8 million by the end of Given that this market sector is growing so quickly, it makes sense to try to ensure that your site works for users of mobile devices. If you would like to optimise your website for mobile devices, Northwind can help. Call or

5 Action you need to take now to capture the mobile market >> >> >> >> Look at your website on a mobile device. How does it display? Can you read it? Is it easy to navigate your site on a mobile device? Consider your content. You need to prioritise what content your users need to see on a mobile device versus a desktop. Image is everything images must be small and quick to load. Think about the functionality of your site. Flash does not work on ipads and iphones is there flash on your site? If your website is a sales vehicle, can customers browse, find what they want and buy it easily? 5 reasons why you ignore the mobile market at your peril Use of mobile devices is rising. If you don t optimise your site, clients and prospective clients are restricted in the way they can interact with your site. Make it easy for them. If you don t provide a good mobile experience your competitors will. Don t miss out on offering customers the ability to buy from you quickly and easily wherever they are. You only get one chance to make a first impression. You have spent a lot of time and effort building your brand s online presence. You risk throwing it all away if your website can not be used easily on a mobile device. As specialists in optimising websites for mobile devices, Northwind can help you to make your website work across all platforms.

6 Cloud Computing Cloud computing what on earth is it? People keep talking about the cloud and there is lots written about the cloud, but what does it really do? And, more importantly, what does the cloud actually mean for business? The cloud refers to IT services which are not physically held in your business premises. Software (such as services e.g. Hotmail and Gmail), storage of data (at data centres), social media and remote working are all examples of cloud services. The cloud can be very cost effective, as extra capacity is only bought when it is needed. Many software services are leased, rather than needing a huge upfront investment. For many businesses the cloud is one of the most exciting opportunities available today. Many SMEs are reaping the benefits of cloud Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software services. For a long time, large enterprise has been using CRM systems to increase both their profitability and their customer satisfaction levels. CRM systems allow companies to analyse their customer s spending and purchasing habits. They can then market to them more effectively and make the relationship as profitable as possible. But these systems have been costly and out of the reach of SMEs, often costing tens of thousands of pounds to buy. Now, through the cloud, companies can rent a portion of a CRM system at a reasonable cost, getting all the functionality without the investment. As it is a cloud service, users can access it from anywhere, meaning that multiple sites can use the same system. Cloud services scale with your business Savings in infrastructure can also be huge, especially for SMEs. The cloud provides scalable, flexible infrastructure to meet the demands of your business. It can respond very rapidly to changing business needs. For example, for a cloud storage service, a business would rent space, rather than buy its own servers. If more storage was needed, they would just rent more space. Support and maintenance is reduced as the storage centre owns and maintains the server. If a company rents software through the cloud, they are free to change products if it turns out what they have chosen does not suit, as the investment has just been in rental payments rather than big, upfront licence fees. As your business grows, you just rent more of the software service. With big software providers like Microsoft offering their products through the cloud, we are just at the beginning of the Business Technology revolution. Northwind can help your business harness the cloud, from CRM to collaboration tools, we can help your business leverage the advantage of cloud based services. 3 ways the cloud can help your business You can access great software without upfront investment. 49% of Small Business The cloud Owners gets Use you Smartphones working efficiently on the move. Cloud IT is very flexible and can meet your changing needs extremely quickly.

7 Business Information Do you know how your business is performing right now? Do you have the analytical information you need to make informed decisions about your business? Many businesses fail to use the data they have effectively to inform decisions and strategy, and drive their business forward. Applying business information (BI) strategies to get more out of your data is an efficient way of improving your bottom line. Analysing costs, examining sales patterns and ensuring that fulfilment is keeping up with orders all feed into planning your business growth. BI is a cost effective way of finding out more about your business to enable you to take better control of its direction. To make BI really work, you need to be clear about what you want to know and why, and then to identify how you will find the information and analyse it. With good BI in place, you can ensure that all your business processes are running smoothly. You can then react to any problems quickly and efficiently, and rectify them before they jeopardise your business. Four steps to effective use of BI: >> Look at your business priorities. BI can help you to achieve your goals. Work out what information will be most useful to you. Don t overload yourself with information which is not relevant. >> Bring data from disparate systems together, to build a single picture of your organisation. >> Get senior management and users from across your company involved. Collaboration is the key to effective use of BI. >> Don t forget that some of the data you need may not be available in your systems. Consider the human interactions as part of your process and think about how you can capture this information. One of the main reason companies fail to use BI effectively is that data they want to analyse is held in multiple systems, in different formats, making it complicated and timeconsuming to collate all the data into a format that can be analysed. A software service, such as Pinpoint from Northwind, makes things simple. It collates the data, and allows you to analyse the data in many ways, including drilling right down into the fine detail. Such software can be used to ensure that all users have the data they need in a form and level of detail that fits their needs. Northwind can help you get to know your business better, reduce costs and improve efficiency with BI. Northwind s Pinpoint application

8 Northwind We would love to help you drive your business forward. Whether you want to make your website mobile-friendly or use business information to make your enterprise more efficient, we will work with you to achieve your goal. For more information on anything in this booklet, or to talk to us about how we can help your business, get in touch. >> Mobile Web and Apps >> Business Information >> Cloud Computing >> Bespoke Software >> Systems Integration >> ecommerce >> CRM >> Training us at or telephone on Northwind Solutions Windsor Place Faraday Road Crawley West Sussex RH10 9TF

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