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Network Alliance Blog

June 12, 2012

Today’s workplace is increasingly mobile.  More and more employees work from their homes or any location other than the office and access your company’s business applications from smartphones and Internet-enabled tablets.  Fortunately, there is a great selection of business productivity applications available for mobile workers.  This article highlights a few for each of the three most popular device types.

Apps for iPad

More than 50 million iPads have been sold since its introduction in 2010.  As other tablet PCs have been released, Apple has maintained its leading market share, in part, by providing the most diverse...

April 4, 2012

There’s a lot of buzz around mobile apps right now; all the cool kids seem to be rolling one out.  The iTunes app store has more than over 1,000,000 available apps, and Google’s Android Marketplace and the Windows Phone app store are growing rapidly as well.  You see loads of smartphone users surfing the web (or maybe they’re playing Angry Birds) and wonder if you’re missing out on a hot trend.  Should you consider developing a mobile app?  Those are fair questions, with fairly simply answers.

The Consumer Market is Weak; In...

March 23, 2012

The popularity of direct mail marketing is back in vogue after years of decline, but many people don’t know how to execute the strategy.  Personalizing your letter is key, and Mail Merge in Microsoft Word helps. You can get the generic instructions by visiting Microsoft’s website, but you can’t get our “insider tips” that come from a Mail Merge Queen from way back.

With little fanfare, an old marketing strategy is making a comeback.  The Internet had pretty much killed off direct mail marketing.  Then, social networking and the CAN-SPAM law came along.  But, everything old is new...

March 14, 2012

Yes, your information systems are needy, but don’t fall into a dysfunctional IT support relationship.  True tech love is mutually supportive and both parties share the risks of failure. Is your IT support person taking you for granted? Dump him before he dumps you.  Life in the cloud is sweet.

Remember the drama of high school break-ups? You mope around remembering the good times and forgetting  the times you were ticked off. You eat too much ice cream. You drive your friends crazy for days (or weeks) talking about what “might have been.”

It’s really not that different when your IT person quits.  Businesses develop deep, personal attachments to their information systems,...

March 14, 2012

Building a culture of customer service excellence is not an easy task for any company. More consumers demand exceptional customer service and are even willing to pay extra for that great experience.

What is it that sets some companies apart from others when it comes to providing outstanding customer service?

  1. Companies that stand out in their customer service offerings genuinely care about the customer experience
  2. Companies that care about their customers will go above and beyond to make each customer service interaction exceptional
  3. Exceptional customer service is not just about one interaction with a customer, but also about the follow-up and ensuring the customer is happy eve...
September 8, 2011

You may not be ready to run your business in your pajamas and bedroom slippers, but you probably have heard about how telecommuting (working from home) can increase productivity, save money, and even lead to happier, more loyal employees. It’s a great option when weather “events” (as the local weathermen dub them) make going to the office challenging. Even the federal government has jumped on the telecommuting bandwagon when the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law late last year.

Telecommuting makes sense from a lot of angles, but success depends on the role, your type of business, your corporate culture, and the persona...

August 26, 2011

Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods—Mother Nature is making headlines every week. Did you know that according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, based in Tampa, FL, at least 25 percent of businesses close after a natural disaster and never reopen?

It’s not just a major weather catastrophe that can seriously impact your business. Even a loss of electricity (the transformer down the street “suddenly” stops working) or the data pipeline to your office is accidentally cut. Even minimal outages that shut down your phone systems or keep you from processing orders for a day or more can lead to incalculable lost revenue. And we won’t even...

August 10, 2011

If you’re running a small enterprise, then you probably get at least one text or email every day with promises of some technology that’s allegedly newer, faster, or better. From smartphones and tablets to turbo-charged servers, savvy marketers claim that buying this “one” is the magic answer for expanding your business. It’s no wonder you’re overwhelmed by all the choices. In an interview with USA TODAY, Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of the Computing Technology Industry Association, said, "There is so much change out there, small business owners often experience fear and frustration, as they try to keep up.”

Part of...

July 27, 2011

These days “outsourcing” means more than manufacturing widgets internationally and small businesses can take a page from the “big boys” who outsource to cut costs. If you’re a small- to medium-sized business owner, you may already be using outside payroll, billing, and/or collections services because Business Process Outsourcing(BPO) allows you to get rid of a high-dollar in-house accounting department. Or you may be thinking about consultants who could provide assistance with your advertising and marketing efforts; customer service/help desk; print, graphics, and other media; and data entry.

The same savings can occur in your information technology (IT) department, a department that can eat up a lot of a...

 
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