Smartworking. So what does it stand for?

Smartworking is about taking a comprehensive and strategic approach to modernising working practices.

A new approach to the way we work and how workplaces are designed is emerging. It did not came out of the blue; it’s the result of a number of variables, like a shift in the workforce (it is estimated that by 2020 digital savvy millennials will make up 50% of the global workforce), the availability of digital technologies, the arise of a number of successful giants, such as Google, promoting a more open culture of learning, trust and innovation, proving it directly affects business performance.

A recent IBM study on Smartworking, with nearly 300 executives participating, shows that outperforming organisations are implementing newer approaches to work. Moreover, the ones that perform better on the stock market are listed amongst the ‘Best places to work’. As Richard Branson puts it ‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.

Whether you’re a startup, a growing SME or an established big corporation, there is no doubt smartworking can be a very valuable approach for: establishing processes, keeping control and growing/scaling efficiently and/or maintaining a competitive advantage in the market.

Digital and mobile technology can leverage concepts such as automation, agile, lean, no-fuss, delightful, time ‘valorisation’- saving time on low value tasks, which can be spent on high value activities that contribute to the growth of the company-, and above all else the concept of a truly integrated, connected workplace that is unshackled from manual, fragmented and disconnected work practices and apps. Smartworking frees you up from non productive work practices and optimising time spend (it ‘valorises’ your time at work).

Nonetheless, for an effective transition to this new paradigm in the workplace, adopting new technologies is in itself not enough. There is also a need (or better put, an opportunity) to rethink business processes to arrive at more efficient ones (this is what digitisation can open up to us), to transform the design of the working environments and for evolving the management culture.

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Image source: http://www.totalsmartworking.com/

So while the effective use of new technologies is central to working smarter, it needs to go hand in hand with a shift in the business culture, the workplace design and the management within the organisation.

This transition is not easy. But once implemented and ROI is measured, it pays off. If it didn’t, would we even be talking about smartworking in the first place?

In a nutshell

In a nutshell: #smartworking is the holistic use of digital and mobile technologies for making businesses and teams more efficient, more productive, more profitable, and more engaged. And because the adoption of digital technologies does not happen automatically, #smartworking also involves company culture (change management).

To wrap it up, we’ll leave you with a TEDx talk by Yves Morieux on 6 rules to simplify as work gets more complex.

 

Source:  Our partner 

If you're managing any kind of online outfit, you are no stranger to analytics, statistics and testing.

Wading through numbers and trying to see if your campaign is yielding results. To find some support for your hypotheses, and what may be really going on with your visitors' experience. Testing, campaign after campaign, design change after design change.

It's a never ending process and it can be grueling especially if you don't have a team member dedicated on the task. Though even if you do, it's still difficult. Collaborating and keeping up the known cycle of science. Observation, hypothesis, changing design and wording to test - then collecting and analyzing.  Often without enough data points - and trying to guesstimate what must be going on. 

It's not that these tools and methods don't work. And, there have been many new tools coming to market. Allowing for a bit more clarity to guess where things go wrong with your content. Such as A/B testing, heat mapping, marketing automation, Social based CRM platforms and others. No amount of tooling can help if your base hypotheses are not great to begin with.

It pays to have expertise on your side, and to use that to begin with good ideas. Doing it the hard way is often the costliest in both time and funding, or time squared. You have to start somewhere, you can take the shortcut and get a consult or put aside the time and do the research. Identifying the most cost effective solution for your stage.

Where you see a grueling tedious task that needs to be done continuously  - think AI, or machine learning models.

We have been looking at many different approaches but nothing had won us over, until now - enter Sentient AI, our new partner. First off, we like their comparison to evolution. Think of your site elements like genes that formulate the DNA of your website. Any element can be a gene, or change. The engine can test all of the combinations with different visitors and then promote the best combinations. Just like the evolution of species. May the fittest combination survive, and win you a bigger slice of the market!

The genes or changes can be any element of your website. Wording, layout, images, design color or other snippets. Furthermore, no need to only apply this to your landing page but the whole site architecture. Allowing you to create a better funnel, and to optimize the whole user experience. The process keeps iterating, and through intuitive dashboards unlocks insights for better hypotheses.

But what does this all mean in numbers? A case study of a direct sale classic car aficionado website by Classic Car Liquidators. In just 7 weeks they could test 28,000 potential designs with their user base and 61 versions of 9 promotional elements. Arriving at an increase to Click Through Rates CTRs of 434%. In a few examples, Ascent was able to determine that with their audience, the best performing banner was one with the larger font. Additionally, the image of just a car and a red button. An alternative design was blue, but red happened to in this case perform better. Keep in mind, marketers often advise not using red for Call To Action (CTA) buttons, yet with this crowd they work. The audience and context, though, really defines what change will be most successful. 

Having good ideas and expertise on your side, however, can get great results faster. Start with a great design that is tailored to communicate your message to your target audiences. Gaining insight from research on how color, shapes, and wording affect us. Match the elements and communication to the demographic the product or service. And, thanks to the power of this engine even try to tap markets that you didn't think were interested. It's easier to run more tests. With the cost of each additional experiment heavily reduced. 

Even if you don't have a team that can learn to use Sentient Ascend effectively, we're here for you. Our team begins with the strategic Marketing, and expansion plan. The design and technical implementation of your site or app. Managing Sentient and other tools that can take you forward. Helping you grow, but also helping you grow sustainably.

 

 

 

 

The role of marketing can be understood as, or is analogous to, certain activities of a successful theatrical production.

Marketing consists of all the activities it takes to secure both a stage or meeting place and an interested audience for the play, not to mention producing the play itself. I.e., the good old 4 P’s: place, promotion, price and product.

Sales, however, is the presentation of the play with the intention of moving the audience emotionally. That’s why they will buy tickets… to feel something, not to sit in an uncomfortable auditorium with a thousand strangers.

 

 

What are Ransomware?

Ransomware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various types of malware that once they attack, they either lock your device or encrypt your files in a usually non-reversible way and then request payment to give their victims the key(s) to unlock their files.

What can I do to protect myself?

The biggest threat to contracting them is how you use your devices. Be more cautious with email attachments, suspicious links, suspicious apps and pop ups. Nearly all systems ask you to verify whether to run or install a program. Do not install applications that are not trusted, or from untrusted sources. If you really must, then make sure you have an active antimalware solution installed. Passive ones can often be too late, as they often do not prevent an infection.

 

  • Always keep backups on a disconnected drive. Or online drive but make sure not to have your cloud storage password available on your system or the attacker could also encrypt those files. Unless the cloud provider allows version controlled backups. Use a unique but complex and strong password. If you're unsure on how to create one you can easily remember, read this.

 

  • Use an active antimalware tool that goes beyond malware signatures, such as our partner Bitdefender or Webroot's equivalent solutions. Also, Bitdefender's antiransomware vaccine is a good free way to protect the weakest link - namely Windows machines, tricking the ransomware to think your system has already been infected and also some other tricks to block it from the system. It can protect against known and possible future versions of the CTB-Locker, Locky and TeslaCrypt crypto ransomware families by exploiting flaws in their spreading methods. You can download this from Bitdefender here. For more complex or business installation, arrange a consult with us to talk about how to protect your whole infrastructure and all devices using Bitdefender's #1 rated antimalware engine.


  • If I contract the ransomware infection do you recommend paying the criminal?
    If you can avoid it, don't pay or you're helping spread it and its practices. Try to see if you have all the files you need from your backups, online storage provider - and in some cases if the attacker compromises that too you may be able to recover earlier versions before the attack. Contact your cloud storage provider for more details.

 

  • Why are AV solutions so poor at blocking ransomware?
    A lot is indeed blocked, but they can't block any ransomware, only older versions or what is similar to them. So a new brand might get passed the protection. The vaccine tool offers an extra layer, but can't guarantee 100% - the weakest link is you, the user. Be more mindful of how you use your devices, and do not run, install and definitely do not give administrative privileges when asked or if unsure. We're here to help, seek out more knowledgeable contacts in your network. Or if you lack those, feel free to read more in our IT Support section.

 

  • If you have an unlocked phone, in no situation give an illegitimate app full administrator privileges. If you see a ransomware trying to lock you out of your phone, reach out to a more knowledgeable contact. If you do not have a rooted/hacked device then there are ways to uninstall the malware from the recovery mode.

 

  • Use complex user passwords to protect network shared resources, or turn them off and find another way to share files on networks through software apps that use good encryption. Some versions of this type of malware will scan and attach, and also encrypt network shares

 

  • Don't be too worried though about fake ransomware pretend to lock your browser, much easier to get rid of. They're only inside your browser and can be cleared often by simply resetting your browser, directly - or with a utility if you're not already a Bitdefender user. In some cases, phishing attacks may be trying to trick you into installing something that will then be the real source of an attack for you. Be skeptical of popups and messages.

 

  • Cloud service providers have to be very mindful as there are versions of these attacks that could affect their cumulative user base. Let us know if you'd like more information on this by contacting us