Friday, March 17, 2017

Best free account management software

If you are looking for the best free account management software that goes beyond basic CRM, Bitrix24 is it. Sure, at first glance Bitrix24 is just an extremely powerful free CRM, but let us dig deeper. With intelligent call routing, client calling the company get automatically connected to their dedicated account manager. Need to have customer portal where clients, managers and other parties can interact with each other in real time? Bitrix24 extranet is at your disposal. Quotes and invoices? Of course Bitrix24 has those. Tasks, projects and accurate time tracking that helps your account managers easily bill clients for work done are at your disposal as well. 

With Bitrix24 you are also able to provide your clients with live chat supportvideo conferencingdocument managementshared calendars, retainers and 20+ other free account management tools that will help you build long term relationships with your clients. 

Bitrix24 is available in cloud, on premise with open source code assess (PHP), and as Android and iOS apps.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How To Stop Infighting Between Company Departments

Company is a mechanism - even if separate parts work well, it doesn’t guarantee the organization as a whole functions efficiently. Today we will discuss one of the most common issues that can be potentially holding your business back. As soon as any company has more than 2 employees, cross-department or cross-functional conflicts are inevitable. The bigger the company, the more strained cross-department relations hamper its growth.

In this article we prepared the most common causes of interdepartmental conflicts and strategies to prevent them.

Break system barriers 
As if human communication is not complicated enough, business operating systems might create barriers that don’t let the team collaborate efficiently. Competing goals, vague roles or broken business processes are typical examples of possible system barriers.

A business process refers to a wide range of structured activities that are implemented to accomplish an organizational goal. As business processes can be manual or automated, involve several people or even departments, challenges are pretty predictable. For example, your designer didn’t make the graphics on time and the whole team failed to meet deadlines, your development team didn’t release necessary updates and your sales dropped or you lost a big contract as a result of a silly logistic mistake. Sounds familiar, right? According to the article in such bottlenecks in your business processes cause low morale of your team (59,5%), missed deadlines (53,7%), angry customers (42,6%), and lost revenue (36,3%).


Broken business processes usually stem from inefficient labor or scarce resources. But it’s not so easy to see where exactly your business process slows down and the root causes of these issues. A proper Business Process Management (BPM) software can help you make your business processes transparent, you will be able to see the bottlenecks and eliminate them.

Fight tunnel vision 

When you work in a startup with 2-3 colleagues, you are well-aware of their roles and functions in the company. But the more people you work with, the vaguer is your understanding of what your colleagues are actually responsible for. Too many departments, too many people… Employees fail to see the big picture, management becomes more and more formal. All in all, it creates a silo mentality – each department knows only their own role in the company, but they are reluctant to share information with other departments or not really willing to listen to their suggestions on how to improve. As a result, the whole company suffers from poor communication, employees have no idea what their colleagues in other departments do and how much time one or another task might take.


Cross-department boundaries are difficult to breach. Besides general strategies to keep your team motivated and engaged, there are new HR practices, such as cross-training, job-shadowing and job rotation. Cross-training provides employees with possibilities to learn new skills outside their usual duties. Alongside improved morale, increased employee flexibility and productivity, cross-training enables your team see the aspects of work their colleagues do. Job-shadowing is not only a career-exploration activity, it is a popular on-the-job learning technique. Your employees see the challenges their colleagues have to deal with every day. Job rotation is a method used in some companies to keep their employees motivated, make them learn new skills and see the bigger picture. All in all, these techniques help employees breach cross-department boundaries and improve the collaboration in the company.

Improve interpersonal relationships

No matter how good your business processes are, you can forget about efficient collaboration if your employees don’t like each other. You might say that it is difficult to control interpersonal relationships in a team. However, you can do a lot to facilitate the communications and make your employees “more likeable”.


Apart from system barriers, there are physical barriers which don’t allow your team to collaborate. Make sure that your working space has some break rooms where people can communicate without fear of disturbing their colleagues. Surprisingly, break rooms increase productivity and creativity, not speaking about improved health and wellbeing of your employees. Team members have a chance to get to know each other outside their professional duties and it greatly improves their tolerance and readiness to collaborate with each other. It’s also very useful to hold regular teambuilding events and encourage your staff to spend some time together out of work hours. Finally, yet importantly, consider your company culture every time you hire a new person. Diversity is great, but your new hires should share your company values and be on the same wavelength with the rest of the team.

Building strong relationships across departments takes time and effort. But once you manage to achieve it, your efforts will be rewarded by enhanced collaboration, greater efficiency and smoother business processes.

Bitrix24 is a free Business Process Management (BPM) software with a set of standard business processes (leave requests, business trips, expenses, purchases, general requests, internal helpdesk). Use promo code TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB. 
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

What's The Biggest Big Data Advantage, Anyway?

Daniel Kirsch
- Principal Analyst and Vice President of Hurwitz & Associates, a boutique strategy consulting, market research and analyst firm that focuses on how technology solutions solve real world customer problems. Hurwitz research concentrates on disruptive technologies, such as Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, Social and Collaborative Business, Service Oriented Architecture and Web 2.0, Service Management, and Information Management. 

Big data has been a buzz word for a couple of years already. How does this technology trend transform the business today? 

Big data on its own does not have a tremendous value. I have seen many clients struggle and fail with big data projects. The reason for these struggles have been that the project was not tightly aligned with business challenges or opportunities – getting insights into your data is interesting, but when not tied to business objectives the value can be lost. 

When Big Data is combined with data management, governance, and advanced analytics the business impact can be tremendous. I have seen companies unlock value insights from the data that they already have but are not analyzing. Take for instance a retailer – many have huge amounts of data on their products and customers however few are analyzing this to offer customized offers or anticipate the trends for next season. Some industries where we are seeing a huge impact on big data and analytics are in financial services, healthcare and oil and gas. The commonality between these industries is that small improvements based on data can lead to millions of dollars of revenue, massive savings or quite literally the lives of patients. 

Big data brings big risks. What are security concerns to consider when it comes to big data management? 

It is alarming how many organizations ignore data security and privacy when exploring big data projects. Basic data masking procedures can be disregarded when doing an analysis of customer data. The following are some considerations for big data and security: 

- Mask personally identifiable information 
- Know who in the organization is touching sensitive data 
- Baseline the usage patterns of big data so that if there is an anomaly you can detect it – example: if data isn’t typically being accessed at 2am or from a foreign nation you want to know when it is 
- Develop privacy and security best practices within your organization that must be adhered to whenever embarking on a new big data project 

What database management systems would you recommend to our readers who want to leverage big data? 

The database management platform really depends on the use case. Some considerations: 
- How much data are you analyzing 
- What types of data – structure, unstructured, a mix of both? 
- Do you need the results in real time or can you wait for the analysis? 
- Will new data be fed into the environment weekly, daily, hourly or in real time? 
- How does your enterprise currently manage data and can it be integrated into a big data project rather than moving the data? 
- Is the data and workload appropriate for a public cloud? 

Judith Hurwitz dedicate one part of her book Big Data for Dummies to big data analytics. Can you give some advice on how to apply different types of analytics to business problems? 
For years marketers have been performing customer analytics to understand customer churn, up-sale / cross-sale opportunities and customer value. 
Other types of analytics and industries: 
- Financial Services – Credit risk and fraud 
- Manufacturing – supply chain, predictive maintenance for equipment 
- Workforce / talent management – Employee productivity and value, compensation analytics 
- Healthcare – predictive analytics on patient outcomes (for example patient hospital readmissions) 
- Oil & Gas – Analysis of both structures and unstructured data to understand the viability of a proposed drilling site or to find new sites. Also big users of predictive maintenance for equipment 

What books or other resources can you recommend to our readers who'd like to learn more about big data? 

I’d of course recommend Big Data for Dummies by Judith Hurwitz, Alan Nugent, Fern Halper and Marcia Kaufman. 
Because the area is changing so rapidly I find that youtube videos and web-articles are a great source of information. 

Thank you for the interview. 

Bitrix24 offers team collaboration software and tools. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get an extra 10GB.