[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Awario - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Boom! Someone just posted a tweet praising your product. On the other side of the world, an article featuring your company among the most promising startups of 2019 was published. Elsewhere, a Reddit user started a thread complaining about your customer care. A thousand miles away, a competitor posted an announcement about a new product they are building. 

What if you (and everyone on your team, from Social Media to PR to Product to Marketing) could have access to that data in real time?

That’s exactly where social listening steps in.

What is social media listening?

Social listening is the process of tracking mentions of certain words, phrases, or even complex queries across social media and the web, followed by an analysis of the data.

A typical word to track would be a brand name, but the possibilities of social media monitoring go way beyond that: you can monitor mentions of your competitors, industry, campaign hashtags, and even search for people who’re looking for office space in Seattle if that’s what you’re after.


Despite its name, social listening isn’t just about social media: many listening tools also monitor news websites, blogs, forums, and the rest of the web.

But that’s not the only reason why the concept can be confusing. Social listening goes by many different names: buzz analysis, social media measurement, brand monitoring, social media intelligence… and, last but not least, social media monitoring. And while these terms don’t exactly mean the same thing, you’ll often see them used interchangeably today.

The benefits of social listening

The exciting thing about social media listening is that it gives you access to invaluable insights on your customers, market, and competition: think of it as getting answers to questions that matter to your business, but without having to ask the actual questions.

There’s an infinite number of ways you can use this social media data; here’re just a few obvious ones.

1. Reputation management.

A sentiment graph showcasing a reputation crisis. Screenshot from Awario.

This is one of the most common reasons companies use social listening. Businesses monitor mentions of their brand and products to track brand health and react to changes in the volume of mentions and sentiment early to prevent reputation crises.

2. Competitor analysis.

Social media share of voice for the airlines. Screenshot from the Aviation Industry 2019 report.

Social media monitoring tools empower you with an ability to track what’s being said about your competition on social networks, in the media, on forums and discussion boards, etc. 

This kind of intelligence is useful at every step of competitor analysis: from measuring Share of Voice and brand health metrics to benchmark them against your own, to learning what your rivals’ customers love and hate about their products (so you can improve yours), to discovering the influencers and publishers they partner with… The list goes on. For more ways to use social media monitoring for competitive intelligence, this thorough guide to competitor analysis comes heavily recommended.


3. Product feedback.

The topic cloud for Slack after its logo redesign. Screenshot from Awario.

By tracking what your clients are saying about your product online and monitoring key topics and sentiment, you can learn how they react to product changes, what they love about your product, and what they believe is missing from it. 

As a side perk, this kind of consumer intelligence will also let you learn more about your audience. By understanding their needs better and learning to speak their language, you’ll be able to improve your ad and website copy and enhance your messaging so that it resonates with your customers.

4. Customer service.

Recent tweets mentioning British Airways. Screenshot from Awario.

Let’s talk numbers.

Fewer than 30% of social media mentions of brands include their handle — that means that by not using a social listening tool you’re ignoring 70% of the conversations about your business. Given that 60% of consumers expect brands to respond within an hour and 68% of customers leave a company because of its unhelpful (or non-existent) customer service, not reacting to those conversations can cost your business actual money.

5. Lead generation.

Social media leads for smartwatch manufacturers. Screenshot from Awario.

While lead generation isn’t the primary use case for most social listening apps, some offer social selling add-ons that let you find potential customers on social media. For the nerdy, Boolean search is an extremely flexible way to search for prospects: it’s an advanced way to search for mentions that uses Boolean logic to let you create complex queries for any use case. Say, if you’re a NYC-based insurance company, you may want to set up Boolean alerts to look for people who’re about to move to New York so that you can reach out before they’re actually thinking about insurance. Neat, huh? 

6. PR.

Most influential news articles about KLM. Screenshot from Awario.

Social listening can help PR teams in more than one way. First, it lets you monitor when press releases and articles mentioning your company get published. Second, PR professionals can track mentions of competitors and industry keywords across the online media to find new platforms to get coverage on and journalists to partner with.

7. Influencer marketing.

Top influencers for Mixpanel. Screenshot from Awario.

Most social media monitoring tools will show you the impact, or reach, of your brand mentions. From there, you can find who your most influential brand advocates are. If you’re looking to find new influencers to partner with, all you need to do is create a social listening alert for your industry and see who the most influential people in your niche are. Lastly, make sure to take note of your competitors’ influencers — they will likely turn out to be a good fit for your brand as well.

8. Research.

Analytics for mentions of Brexit over the last month. Screenshot from Awario.

Social listening isn’t just for brands — it also lets you monitor what people are saying about any phenomenon online. Whether you’re a journalist writing an article on Brexit, a charity looking to evaluate the volume of conversations around a social cause, or an entrepreneur looking to start a business and doing market research, social listening software can help.


3 best social media listening tools

Now that we’re clear on the benefits of social media monitoring, let’s see what the best apps for social listening are. Here are our top 3 picks for every budget and company size.

1. Awario

Awario is a powerful social listening and analytics tool. With real-time search, a Boolean search mode, and extensive analytics, it’s one of the most popular choices for companies of any size.

Awario offers the best value for your buck. With it, you’ll get over 1,000 mentions for $1 — an amazing offer compared to similar tools. 

Key features: Boolean search, Sentiment Analysis, Topic clouds, real-time search.

Supported platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, news and blogs, the web.

Free trial: Try Awario free for 7 days by signing up here.

Pricing: Pricing starts at $29/mo for the Starter plan with 3 topics to monitor and 30,000 mentions/mo. The Pro plan ($89/mo) includes 15 topics and 150,000 mentions. Enterprise is $299/mo and comes with 50 topics and 500,000 mentions. If you choose to go with an annual option, you’ll get 2 months for free. 

2. Tweetdeck

TweetDeck is a handy (and free) tool to manage your brand’s presence on Twitter. It lets you schedule tweets, manage several Twitter accounts, reply to DMs, and monitor mentions of anything across the platform — all in a very user-friendly, customizable dashboard. 

For social media monitoring, TweetDeck offers several powerful ways to search for mentions on Twitter with a variety of filters for you to use. You can then engage with the tweets without leaving the app. 

TweetDeck is mostly used for immediate engagement — the tool doesn’t offer any kind of analytics.

Key features: User-friendly layout, ability to schedule tweets, powerful search filters.

Supported platforms: Twitter.

Free trial: N/A

Pricing: Free.

3. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is an extremely robust social media intelligence tool. It doesn’t just let you monitor brand mentions on social: the tool comes with image recognition, API access, and customizable dashboards that cover just about any social listening metric you can think of. 

Brandwatch’s other product, Vizia, offers a way to visualize your social listening data and even combine it with insights from a number of other sources, including Google Analytics.

Key features: Powerful analytics, exportable visualizations, image recognition.

Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, VK, QQ, news and blogs, the web.

Free trial: No.

Pricing: Brandwatch is an Enterprise-level tool. Their most affordable Pro plan is offered at $800/month with 10,000 monthly mentions. Custom plans are available upon request.

Before you go

Social media is an invaluable source of insights and trends in consumer behavior but remember: social listening doesn’t end with the insights. It’s a continuous learning process — the end goal of which should be serving the customer better.

Categorized in Social

[Source: This article was published in kmworld.com By AlexAnndra Ontra - Uploaded by the Association Member: Mercedes J. Steinman]

If it’s important, it’s in a presentation. Presentations, and PowerPoint in particular, are the de facto medium for communicating formal business ideas. Presentations are used for sales, training, fund raising, project planning, research—you name it. A lot of human capital and other resources go into creating these presentations, and because of this expenditure, more companies are turning to presentation management to leverage this content. Presentations are no longer one-off documents, used for one meeting, one proposal, and then thrown out, only to start over again the next time. They are communications assets that can be reused and repurposed for the benefit of everyone in the organization.


At most, businesses have a tangled mess of PowerPoint and other files buried somewhere on their network, shared worksites, hard drives, and emails. When someone needs to make a presentation, they start from scratch recreating slides that probably already exist somewhere, if only they can find them—a gross waste of time. Or, they spend hours hunting and pecking through all of these files trying to find that one “right” slide, and whether that slide is current, branded, or has the proper messaging is—another waste of time, never mind the potential branding and legal risk that comes with presenting inaccurate or outdated materials.

Nintex survey found that 49% of employees have trouble locating documents, such as presentations, and waste up to 2.5 hours a day looking for information. This is why more companies are implementing a presentation management strategy, where search is a critical element that radically reduces the time wasted looking for those presentation assets.

How search works within a presentation management

Presentation management puts a strategic workflow process around presentation files, such as: PowerPoint, video, images, PDFs, and any other file types you use in business. (In presentation management, all files are formatted to present, so any file can be considered a “presentation” file.) So, anyone in your organization can find the “right” slide or file and reuse it on demand. It is visual, and above all searchable.

It starts with creating a central file repository that is easily accessible and permissioned. Permissions direct the right content to the appropriate users and mitigate the risk associated with someone using an old, outdated version. This repository should be visual, with easy previewing, so the user is not forced to download a file, open it, and scroll through it to find the slide or section they want before starting over with the next file, and the next. Instead, with presentation management, they click on the file or slide, where they can see it, read it, and decide in a split second if that’s the one they need. Common sense dictates that if you can’t see a file, you won’t use it, so visualization is critical.

The value of visual search

Visual search capabilities let users type in keywords or phrases that generate thumbnails of files and slides, with the keywords highlighted within the document. This not only gives them access to that one great slide or file out of thousands, but also lets see them keyword in the context of the document, which makes it easier and faster to decide if it’s the right one for your meeting.

With presentation management, search should be organic. Files are indexed upon upload, so users not only search according to file name and meta tag, but all of the content within the file, such as titles, text, and speaker notes. With the proper presentation management solution, everything is searchable.

The result is that all files become active and productive. When each member of your team has an easy way to find that one correct slide, or that file out of tens of thousands, then they can reuse it in their presentations. Better search makes for better, more informative presentations.


Search also improves business insights, which lead to better content. Data accumulated through search, such as most searched topics, who is searching, when are they searching (before or during a meeting) etc., will give marketing teams insight as to what content and corresponding products are popular in the field. It is market feedback in its most direct and rudimentary form.

Data helps you prioritize

Internal data can also be collected through presentation management. It can log who is using which slide or file, where, when, and over what time period. Equally as informative, the same data will indicate which slides and files are not being used. That information will guide the content marketer’s decision as to what new content to create, to update and even expire. After all, why waste time creating content that no one uses? For example, let’s say a CEO gives a presentation rolling out a line of new products. The sales team uses that presentation over the next six months to sell these products. The analytics shows that there are two particular slides that have the most hits, the most engagement, and even the most search queries. It also shows that there is one product that gets zero hits. Now the marketing and product development teams know which two products are resonating in the field, and therefore where to allocate their resources.

External sources of data are also critical for industries that rely on third-party sources, such as banking and media. Media companies use services such as Nielsen ratings to confirm their audience viewer numbers, which is what they are ultimately selling. Synchronizing this data in real time, directly into formatted presentation slides can offer an ad sales rep an advantage when talking with clients. The rep comes across as well-informed, direct, and ready to discuss and plan a better strategy for the client to reach the intended audience. It builds credibility and trust between seller and buyer. It might sound ironic but in this case, data is actually fostering a better human relationship.

A digital-first generation

Presentation management is particularly appealing to millennials, who grew up with data and search on their mobile phones and are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. They will bring their personal habits into their job. They expect to be able to find a specific piece of content, a file, a slide, a video, with one search. A network server with a bunch of folders, sub-folders, and files hidden within? That won’t work for them. They expect to see their business content, visualized in preview. And they expect to use it, at that moment, just as they do on YouTube. Furthermore, they rely on their mobile phones to communicate. They will pick up their phone—not to call you—but to show you pictures and videos as they are talking with you. And they will do the same in a business setting—pick up their phone, or iPad or laptop and show their client data the product pictures or promotional video. They will resist using a rigid, linear, and PowerPoint slide show, in favor of a more free flowing interactive discussion. A millennial’s presentation follows the conversation.

Your company’s enterprise presentation management strategy is bolstered through search and data. Better and more readily accessible content empowers employees to be more productive in their tasks. With a comprehensive presentation management solution, everyone knows how to get the content they need to do their job, and this translates to client meetings, letting your employees connect with customers in a more meaningful, effective way. Employees can follow the conversation and directly address the customers’ concerns. No one is limited to a canned, inflexible presentation. Furthermore, marketing and HQ get real-time data on how their products and services are resonating in the field, so they can also be agile and adjust as needed. Search and data tools embedded in your presentation management strategy will give insights and guidance so your company can better serve you clients.

Categorized in Internet Search

Source: This article was published bizfluent.com By Rick Suttle - Contributed by Member: Edna Thomas

Companies conduct business research for a number of reasons, including gathering crucial information on consumers and business clients. However, companies must make sure they use the correct methods for collecting customer information. Most company market researchers use phone surveys when they want to get reliable information quickly. However, companies must make sure they complete enough surveys so the results can best represent opinions of the entire demographic.

Testing New Products

Business research tests the potential success of new products. Companies must know what types of products and services customers want before they market them. For example, a restaurant chain may initially interview focus groups to test a half dozen types of fish meals. The focus groups will likely consist of small groups of customers. The objective of the focus group may be to determine which fish meal customers like the best. The company may even use customer input in naming the entree and ask how much consumers would spend for the meal. Eventually, the company may test the fish meal through surveys with larger groups of people.

Ensuring Adequate Distribution

Companies may also use business research to ensure the adequate distribution of their products. For example, a telephone directory publisher may conduct a distribution followup study to make sure phone directories have been delivered to all residential customers. Publishers of telephone directories base their advertising rates on distribution. Therefore, ensuring that all residences receive phone books is crucial to the success of the publisher's business clients. Similarly, a consumer products company may want to talk to retailers about all the different brands they sell. The results of the business research will help marketing managers determine where they need to increase their product distribution.


Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

Companies use business research to determine the success of their advertising. For example, a milk manufacturer may want to know what percentage of the population saw its most recent television commercial. The milk company may find that more people become aware of its advertising the longer the television ad runs. The milk company may need to run its television advertisements at different times if few people have seen the commercials. Companies also use business research to see if consumers recall the message or slogan of their commercials.

Studying the Competition

Companies often use business research to study key competitors in their markets. Companies will often start with secondary research information or information that is already available. For example, a software company may want to know the percentage of customers in the market who purchase its products versus competitors' products. The researchers can then study the purchasing trends in the industry, striving to increase their company's share of the market. Companies will often need to increase their market share in an industry to increase sales and profits.

Categorized in Business Research

Written By Rachel Summers

The Email was intended to make communication quicker and easier but sometimes it’s more of a hindrance than a help. We now spend too long at work checking emails, trying to find old emails, searching through relevant chains for the information you need or trying to delete old mail. It seems emails are put as a priority above too many other business activities.


Remember email is a tool to help not a priority. Here are ten tips to improve email management.

  1. Process Once a Day
  • In some businesses, you have to check email several times a day just to stay in the loop but you should only process them once a day. Try marking your calendar and setting your availability to busy to prevent interruptions.
  • Set aside a dedicate time in your daily life to process your emails. Prioritise the most important ones and then let the others go. Make a system that works for you, making sure you still acknowledge time-sensitive emails. Don’t let your email account run your life.
  1. Prioritize
  • The 80/20 rule is a great way of dealing with emails. “The 80/20 rule is the idea that twenty percent of inputs are responsible for eighty percent of outputs, meaning you should prioritize the twenty percent high-value emails which will lead to maximum output,” advises leading email marketing manager Angela Bradley, from the Australian Reviewer.
  • These prioritized emails should be replied to immediately, if not at least get back in less than three days. For the other eighty percent, you can allow yourself to take more time to reply if you do feel the need to engage with them.
  1. You Don’t Have to Reply to Everything
  • Don’t feel obliged to reply to every email, no reply can often say as much as writing out an email. If you spend your day replying to emails just to acknowledge you’ve received them it will take you away from the things that actually need doing. Only reply if the cost of replying doesn’t outweigh the benefits then it’s not worth worrying about. Especially when so many emails are sent out to more people than necessary or are impulsive and often not relevant to your work.
  • For those, you feel obliged to respond to create a folder for the lesser important emails that require responses. Set aside a day once every three days in a week to respond to these emails, it will take away the pressure to reply immediately and quell the fear of ignoring someone.
  1. You Don’t Have to Answer Everything Urgent
  • This may sound a little counterintuitive, but a lot of seemingly urgent emails resolve themselves without your assistance. Any urgent email about something going missing or not being able to get hold of a person are often resolved by themselves, wait an hour and see if you get a follow-up email. The follow-up email will declare if the situation has escalated or has been resolved.


  • This method also trains people to be more self-reliant and to have realistic expectations about how connected their colleagues can be to their inbox. This idea does require some common sense depending on which industry you work in, if you work in customer service and deal first hand with customers this will work differently.
  1. Use a Template
  • There is probably a trend to the things you respond to. Use a template if you find you are repeating yourself on a daily basis. Customize the template to fit the needs of the email and it could save you vital work hours.
  1. File into Categories
  • Folders, or labels for the gmail user, can be a great way to organize your mailbox. Use a relevant name system that works for you and sort them into a hierarchical structure. Remember just because you have folders and subfolders you don’t have to keep everything, don’t be afraid to delete messages you won’t ever need to look at again.
  • Prioritize, group, sort and file messages, this will make it easier to locate a specific email in the future. Create parent categories for broad subjects and then use subcategories related to more specific topics like a client or a work colleague’s correspondence.
  • Make sure you use obvious email subjects and put keywords in emails so they will be easy to relocate at a later date. Get help writing the best email subjects with UK Top Writers and Via Writing.
  1. Be Ruthless in unsubscribing
  • We’ve all been guilty in signing up to newsletters in the hope of getting a discount code, but these impulsive sign-ups can quickly clog up an inbox. If you find yourself repeatedly deleting this type of mail from your inbox it means you should probably unsubscribe immediately.
  • To quicken the unsubscribing process search your inbox for the term “Unsubscribe” and determine whose emails you continue to want and those you find useless.
  1. Send Less Emails
  • It may sound simple, but a golden rule of email management is if you send less you receive less. The less people you send the email to the less response you’re likely to get, so when you go to send that email think about who really needs to see this information.
  • If you want to send an email but do not really want a response use declarations not open ended questions. Questions will generate more emails, which will require you to give more attention to your inbox.
  1. Take It Offline
  • Email can be as destructive as it can be productive. Sometimes nuanced and often sensitive subjects can create inbox arguments. Words can easily be misconstrued and tone mistaken, and the outcome can be combustible. If you find yourself in an antagonistic discussion stop, take it offline. Pick up a phone or have a face-to-face interaction, it is likely to douse the flames before they become too heated. An aggressive chain email will not help any situation and will seriously damage work productivity.
  • Only write an email if it’s necessary and avoid using anything personal that could initiate conflict. If you are concerned your emails could be misunderstood use a writing service like Revieweal.
  1. Use Autoreply
  • The out of office message can have lots of alternative uses. Set it up to inform people you are minimalizing your email time, but put an emergency number or your assistant’s contact details for the sender to refer to. If you are receiving a high level of emails about one subject, maybe the time of a meeting or a certain piece of data, if it’s not highly confidential add this to an out of office message.
  • Like any regimes, there is no overnight results but the most critical step is sticking it for the long run. The keys tips to remember is not to let your inbox control you and to regular housekeeping to avoid being overwhelmed. At first, you may struggle but following these steps will, in the long run, simplify your life.

Rachel Summers is a social media manager with seven years’ experience in the industry, working for big and small companies, including Best British Essays. Rachel, in their free time, advises small and start-up businesses on their social media campaigns.

Categorized in How to

Everything that appears on the internet about you and your company is as indelible as astronaut footsteps on the moon. That's fine as long as the information is positive, but what if it is negative? Maybe an unhappy customer or a vicious competitor felt like telling something negative to the world. What can you do to vacuum up this dirt?

A relatively new industry has cropped up to deal with these unfortunate situations. For a small fortune, you can have reputation managers fix or bury negative search results. You are unlikely to get retractions from the people who spread the dirt or to persuade a website or internet service provider to remove it. So the only way to minimize the damage is to create new, positive comments that will drive the negatives off Google's first page of search results. It's important for a company to develop a fast, strategic response to negative online information in order to prevent further damage to the brand.


I asked some reputation managers, via helpareporter.com, about what they do and how much they charge for this service.

John David, president of the David PR Group and author of a new book, "How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online" (OnlineRepBook.com), suggests that suppression is just one way to approach the issue. "The first solution is to make an effort to get negative content removed at the source. Believe it or not, we have had success by simply identifying the right person at a blog site or other site and asking to have content taken down. It doesn't always work, but it is almost always worth a try.

"The second option is what I call the covert operations of reputation management," David said. "Some companies have identified ways to get content removed from search results or even removed at the hosting level by leveraging the many terms and conditions which every piece of online content must abide by. It works in some cases but can be expensive."

The reputation management trade has major players, such as reputation.com, but most people hire their neighborhood search-engine optimization firm, with marginal success.

Most clients want content gone from search results. Many believe suppression is the only way to go. Sometimes, it is the only solution.

Nataliya Yakushev, with Rubenstein Communications, said, "The pricing model for reputation management is typically a monthly retainer and includes public relations support. The most sought-after services are search suppression (replacing negative, outdated articles with fresh up-to-date content) and digital branding. Digital branding for a company or an individual includes digital asset creation and optimization, thought leadership amplification and creation of controlled digital assets.

"Reputation management industry players vary from small SEO firms to full-service marketing agencies that offer online reputation management," Yakushev said. "Every reputation-management case is unique and requires a blend of web development, SEO, content creation and public relations." 


According to Julia Angelen Joy, a public relations consultant with Z Group PR, the price will vary based on the expected level of service. Cost estimates may range from $100 to $350 per hour for an experienced communications consultant. Monthly retainers can range from $100 to $1,000 or more.

Joy cited several questions that need to be answered, "Whether the problem consists of online issues only or real life reputation issues? Is it the corporation or an individual? Is there a current or recent crisis, or is this a business-branding strategy? Are there published media articles or online product reviews? What is the timeline? Does the company need to make something disappear or show improved customer service?

"Removing online content is difficult, but a strong PR strategy may help to bury it," Joy said. The speed of resolution will increase costs.

Brad Chase, Partner with Capitol Media Partners, said, "Big traditional firms with offices across the nation or globe will regularly charge hundreds of thousands of dollars per month with a minimum contract length. They generally scoff at any type of work where the client wants to pay less than $25,000.

"There has been massive growth in boutique firms, where senior executives who have worked at the UN, White House, cable TV networks and Fortune 500 companies gravitate to take on more of a consulting role - giving direct advice and less fieldwork in exchange for prices in the $20-50k range," Chase said. "Finally, there's the bottom rung: People who know how social media promotions (basic marketing communication) work but are unschooled in the difference between brand and reputation. Some rake in huge billings, but most are willing to just undercut the competition for the quick paycheck. With these guys, you get what you pay for. They'll take whatever they can get."

Of course, the best advice is not to need a reputation manager in the first place.

Author : Dennis Zink

Source : http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20170206/business-score-card-reputation-management-and-how-to-clean-up-online-dirt

Categorized in Business Research

One of the major causes of business failure is poor money management and/or inadequate financing. In fact, according to the NYTimes poor accounting is one of the top 5 reasons small businesses go belly up.

It’s easy to overlook something when you’re trying to keep track of expenses, send out invoices, filing taxes, doing the payroll, etc. Little mistakes start to add up overtime, and before you know it, you’re in a heap of financial trouble.

Luckily, the app explosion in recent years and the simplification of mobile testing has lead to the development of numerous money management applications and tools.

Here is an overview of some of the “must have” apps:


Wave – These handy apps have been used by more than two million users to manage bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing, and payroll. The Wave iOS app can be used to send out an unlimited number of invoices. The Android app, Receipts by Wave, helps simplify record keeping by allowing users to scan receipts and upload copies to the cloud. While the software itself is free, there is a “pay as you go” option for services such as credit card and payroll processing.

Freshbooks – This “cloud accounting” application gives freelance entrepreneurs and small-business owners a simple way to perform invoice management. It’s available in both the Apple Store and Google Play Store and comes with various pricing options, ranging from “Lite” to “Premium”. All plans are guaranteed to have 100% security and automatic backups for data.

Quickbooks – A variety of apps are available for Quickbooks small business and accounting subscribers. The company has done extensive test automation to ensure that its applications run smoothly on iPad tablets, iPhones, and Android devices. Data syncing with 400+ popular apps such as Square and Expensify (more below) is also included with the features. A vast member community and library of tutorials help users learn to use the apps and features.

Expensify – Track expenses and reimbursements for your company and employees with this useful application. Add items as you go. Pricing ranges for free to $9 a month. The free plan is ideal for startups who just need the app and up to ten “SmartScans” a month. When you or an employee SmartScans a receipt, Expensify codes and reports the expense before auto-submitting it for approval.


Digit – Being aware of your spending habits is a vital part of money management. The Digit app actually helps small business owners save money they were not even aware existed by analyzing spending patterns. It works by gathering a tiny amount of your capital and transferring it into a no-interest savings account, which can be accessed for withdrawal anytime. No fees are included, and all funds held within the Digit account are insured with FDIC up to a balance of $250,000.

EZ Financial calculators for Apple and Google Play – This app package includes every type of financial calculator any business could ever need:TVM, ROI, Currency Converter, Loan, Adjustable Rate, etc. There are literally dozens of virtual calculators programmed to help you with any financial aspects of your business.

While there are literally thousands of apps relating to money management and accounting, these are among the more useful and popular.

Author:  Michael Peggs

Source:  http://pctechmag.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

Watch out for weak in-house code, data in the cloud and the Internet of things 

Forward looking IT security pros need to better address known risks, monitor closely the value of shadow IT devices and solve the inherent weaknesses introduced by the internet of things, Gartner says.

The consulting firm has taken a look at five key areas of security concern that businesses face this year and issued predictions on and recommendations about protecting networks and data from threats that will likely arise in each.

The areas are threat and vulnerability management, application and data security, network and mobile security, identity and access management, and Internet of Things security. Gartner’s findings were revealed at its recent Security and Risk Management Summit by analyst Earl Perkins.

One overriding recommendation is that businesses must be aware that delaying security measures in an effort to avoid disrupting business can be a false economy.

He recommends that security pros should make decisions about protecting networks and resources based on the range of risks that known weaknesses represent to the business and its goals. Rather than thinking about their role purely as protecting, they should look at it as facilitating successful business outcomes. 

Here are the predictions and recommendations:

Threat and vulnerability management

Prediction: “Through 2020, 99% of vulnerabilities exploited will continue to be ones known by security and IT professionals for at least one year.”

With attackers looking for vulnerabilities in applications as well as exploitable configurations, it’s important for businesses to patch vulnerabilities in a timely fashion. If they don’t, they stand to lose money through damage to systems and theft of data.


Prediction: “By 2020, a third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will be on their shadow IT resources.”

An area of growing concern is the introduction of new technologies by business units without vetting by the security team, Perkins says. Avoiding that review and the fact that many of these technologies are new and still contain vulnerabilities makes them susceptible to attacks.

Application and data security

Prediction: “By 2018, the need to prevent data breaches from public clouds will drive 20% of organizations to develop data security governance programs.”

Data security governance will be promoted by insurance companies that will set cyber premiums based on whether businesses have these programs in place. 

Prediction: “By 2020, 40% of enterprises engaged in DevOps will secure developed applications by adopting application security self-testing, self-diagnosing and self-protection technologies.”

Here Perkins looks to maturing technology called runtime application self-protection (RASP) as a way to avoid vulnerabilities in applications that might result from problems overlooked due to the rapid pace at which DevOps teams work. RASP does its work rapidly and accurately to provide protection against vulnerabilities that might be exploited, he says.


Network and Mobile Security

Prediction: “By 2020, 80% of new deals for cloud-based cloud-access security brokers (CASB) will be packaged with network firewall, secure web gateway (SWG) and web application firewall (WAF) platforms.”

Vendors of traditional network security products such as firewalls, SWGs and WAFs want to be in on their customers protecting their SaaS applications, which is effectively accomplished via CASBs, he says. Businesses should evaluate whether CASB services are warranted based on their plans for application deployment, and should consider offers by their current vendors of these traditional technologies, he says.

Identity and Access Management

Prediction: “By 2019, 40% of identity as a service (IDaaS) implementations will replace on-premises IAM implementations, up from 10% today.”

This increase in use of IDaaS will in part stem from the difficulty and expense of running on-premises IAM infrastructure, and the growing use of other something-as-a-service offerings will make the decision more comfortable. The ongoing introduction of more and more Web and mobile applications will create a natural opportunity for the transition from in-house IAM to IDaaS, he says. 

Prediction: “By 2019, use of passwords and tokens in medium-risk use cases will drop 55%, due to the introduction of recognition technologies.”

With the cost and accuracy of biometrics, they become a good option for continuously authenticating. In combination with use-r and entity-behavior analysis, this technology can make a difference when applied to cases that call for a medium level of trust, Perkins says.

Security for the internet of things (IoT)

Prediction: “Through 2018, over 50% of IoT device manufacturers will not be able to address threats from weak authentication practices.”

IoT devices are still being made without much consideration being given to security, and yet some are located in networks so that, if exploited, they could expose networks to harm and data to breaches, Perkins says. Businesses need a framework for determining the risks each IoT device type represents and the appropriate controls for dealing with them.

Prediction: “By 2020, more than 25% of identified enterprise attacks will involve IoT, though IoT will account for only 10% of IT security budgets.”


Since security pros won’t be able to determine the importance that IoT devices represent to the organization, the business unit that uses them should determine what risk they represent. Security pros should set aside 5% to 10% of IT security spending for monitoring and protecting these devices as needed, he says.

Source  : http://www.networkworld.com/article/3088084/security/gartner-s-top-10-security-predictions.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Academic researchers study many aspects of business, but business practitioners rarely make use of that research. A multi-university research team reports that researchers and practitioners share more interests than either group realizes and outlines ways that the two groups can collaborate more effectively to address shared challenges.

"There's a big gap between science and practice, and our goal with this study was to look at both why that gap exists and how we can eliminate it," says Jeff Pollack, co-author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of management, innovation and entrepreneurship at North Carolina State University.

Fundamentally, the researchers found that there are two key issues that contribute to the gap between researchers and practitioners -- and those two issues are essentially two sides of the same coin. First, there is a perception that there is little overlap in the interests of researchers and practitioners, which acts as a disincentive for them to work together. Second, generally speaking, the two groups know very little about each other -- meaning that neither group has a clear understanding of what the other group thinks is important.

To address these issues in detail, a team of researchers from NC State, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Iowa conducted surveys of 929 business practitioners and 828 active researchers in business disciplines. The researchers also conducted in-depth interviews with 16 academics in the business field and 22 practitioners, ranging from "C-suite" executives and managers to government officials and legal advisors. The surveys and interviews focused on the needs and goals of the study participants.


The interview and survey data were consistent with each other, and identified clear areas of overlap.

"There are many more areas of common interest than either researchers or practitioners were aware of," says George Banks, lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of management at UNC-Charlotte. Specifically, both groups expressed significant interest in eight particular business challenges:

  • Reducing or eliminating pay inequality.
  • Reducing or eliminating workplace discrimination.
  • Reducing or eliminating unethical business practices.
  • Expanding opportunities for continuing education.
  • Leveraging technological innovation to improve job availability and quality.
  • Improving employee morale.
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of businesses and products.
  • And enhancing the quality of customer service.

"To be clear, we didn't give people a list of topics to choose from," says Brad Kirkman, co-author of the paper, General (Ret.) H. Hugh Shelton Distinguished Professor of Leadership and head of the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in NC State's Poole College of Management.

"These shared interests are subjects that researchers and practitioners brought up independently again and again when asked what they felt were the biggest challenges facing their fields."

"Interestingly, many of these challenges aren't focused on gaining a competitive advantage, but rather on addressing fundamental business practices that apply to multiple stakeholders in the domain of management," Pollack says.

The researchers also outlined four steps that could be taken by business schools to improve collaboration on these shared areas of interest.

First, the researchers urge the academic community to promote research findings. For example, faculty can work with university media offices to disseminate findings to reporters and the public.


Second, the researchers call for the creation of a new journal that is specifically focused on providing management professionals with practical advice they can actually use.

"We argue that peer-reviewed research can be both academically rigorous and relevant to practitioners - and we need a new journal that appreciates this," Pollack says.

Third, the researchers call on members of the business research community to use social media and other online platforms to reach out directly to business professionals.

Finally, the researchers suggest that business schools change the way they evaluate their faculty.

"Currently, evaluations of professors look at research, teaching and service," Kirkman says. "We propose that faculty also be evaluated based on 'practical impact.' That term may be defined differently in different places, but we think of it broadly as encompassing actions that researchers have made to reach business audiences -- whether that is by publishing books for a popular audience or working with businesses to help them craft business plans."

The researchers have already identified more than 160 businesses that are interested in working with the research community. "And that number is growing all the time," Pollack says. More information about these potential business/research partners is available from the authors.

"We are in the early stages of using these findings to implement change," Pollack says. "But we have every reason to believe that this change is inevitable, and that it will benefit both researchers and the business community."


The paper, "Management's Science-Practice Gap: A Grand Challenge for All Stakeholders," is published online in the Academy of Management Journal. Co-authors include Jaime Bochantin of UNC-Charlotte, Christopher Whelpley of VCU, and Ernest O'Boyle of the University of Iowa. The work was done with support from the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in NC State's Poole College of Management.

Source : http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/ncsu-siw072116.php 

Categorized in Business Research

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