iTiaJones

Cutting Edge Collaboration Software Turns Remote Workers into a Team

Posted in collaboration software, Collaboration Tools, social software, social technology by tiajones on February 27, 2009

virtual

Have you ever considered a virtual assistant? With the right software, and the right employee, it could be the most efficient, and most cost effective, move you’ve ever made.

The trend toward remote employees has been on the rise for years. There are currently millions of people working from out of the office. Analysts predict the number will reach one billion employees worldwide by 2011, a whopping 75% of the global workforce. Although this trend runs the full gamut of industries and job descriptions, there is one position that’s really taking off – the virtual assistant: your right-hand man, or woman. Virtual assistants are not only cost effective, they often do the job more efficiently that their in-office counterparts. But to derive the full benefit, you need cutting edge collaboration software.

What does a virtual assistant do? Just about everything except make you coffee. They can take care of your appointment book, schedule your flights, answer your emails, pay bills, transcribe your dictation – all the usual stuff.

But they often offer much more; they are specialists, experts in your industry. And they are usually very tech savvy. They can whip together a relevant spreadsheet, write articles or briefs, handle your social media and other online initiatives – they might even handle your on and offline promotion and marketing.

All it takes for this to be a success, other than finding the right person for the job (and the recruitment industry is catching on to this trend as well, so you’ll have some help), is good collaboration software.

Why is collaboration software so important? That’s what turns two people (or more) who work in different locations into a team. With collaboration software, you can meet face-to-face, view files on a common screen, coordinate tasks, manage documents, discuss topics, you can even edit the same document simultaneously – and on the fly.

In-office employees can cost a company two to five times their salary – a virtual assistant charges only for the time they’re working, and you have virtually (no pun intended) no overhead. In this tough economy, it’s a very smart move – but don’t forget the collaboration software.

7 Tips for Leveraging Social Technology for Nonprofits

Social Technology

Social Technology

What is social technology? Social Technology are tools that enable us to easily create, share, and connect with each other. A few well known examples would be YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. As the economy slows down and nonprofit budgets get tighter, it’s crucial that you find alternative ways to communicate with potential donors, volunteers and communities.

The following are ways you can score more fans by utilizing social technology with little or no money:

1. Personify your Organization
Create a public profile about your organization and tell your story. People can relate to stories and begin discussions from your point of view.
See the following nonprofits on LinkedIn and also check out LinkedIn for Good

American Red Cross
Kaiser Permanente Thrive
The Salvation Army

2. Use Social Networks to Build a Following
Create profiles of your organization on different social networks. Connect with other groups and once you build your presence, begin a conversation and encourage interaction.
See the following nonprofits on Facebook

Peta (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals)
Kiva
American Red Cross

3. Start a Blog on Your Website
Write about what your organizations goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. Make sure to be consistent and post quality blogs on a regular basis. In addition, be sure to post comments on other blogs that cover similar issues.
See the following nonprofit blogs

Save Darfur
Peta

4. Use RSS
All of your blog traffic must have an RSS feed. RSS allows your information to reach your audience through their chosen media.

5. Get Organized and Network
Use your social connections to have Meetups (Meetup.com) or Tweetups (Twitter.com). Arrange a quick event that your social media followers can attend in the real world.
See the following nonprofits on Twitter

Humane Society
National Wildlife Federation
Peta

6. Use Collaboration Software
Use a social technology platform that helps you to organize, interact, share and manage your daily work activities from anywhere at any time.
The following nonprofits are using collaboration software

Southwest Baptist University
Greenpeace

7. Social Bookmarking
The basic reason to “bookmark” online is to share with your friends and colleagues. Being able to collect, organize and share content related to your cause will keep everyone up to date with the latest information.
Recommendation: Delicious.com or Ma.gnolia.com

Obama Did It Using Social Media and Collaboration Software

Obama Did Using Social Media and Collaboration Software

Not since the implementation of televised ads and debates in 1960 has politics seen such innovation take precedence in any election, be it for the presidency of the United States or the graduating class of a local high school. Newly elected president, Barack Obama, managed to render predominantly red states blue through a grassroots campaign that included house visits, phone calls, text messages and even Facebook reminders to citizens across the United States.

To run a campaign of this magnitude and outreach required tedious organization and concise communication that could only be achieved through Web 2.0 tactics, namely SaaS (software-as-a-service) and Social Media. Barack Obama managed to sway legions of young voters through a web campaign launched from social networks the likes of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and more while commandeering the efforts of thousands of campaign captains through the SaaS, collaboration software.

The Obama camp utilized the shared online workspace provided by Central Desktop to set up My Precinct. This allowed the Obama camp to manage and monitor the efforts of their nationwide network of precinct captains’ task assignments, calendaring, documents, lists of key information, and other pertinent updates regarding the campaign trail without the calamitous use of emails or haphazard bulletin boards.

Having embraced Web 2.0 tactics, Barack Obama and his campaign managers have accomplished what they had set out to do, that is, to elect

    Barack Obama President of the United States

– a position still thought to be the most powerful amongst all elected officials in the free world. If collaboration software worked for Obama, just imagine what it could do for your business.

Read More on how Barack Obama used collaboration software

Collaboration Software Central Desktop

THE BEST ALTERNATIVE TO TIME CONSUMING PRODUCTION MEETINGS

Collaboration software does away with the free for all’s of production meetings by seamlessly weaving the sharing of information and task delegation into the regular work routine.

So you managed to get your team to show up to work on time. Now all you have to do is cram them all into a stuffy room for one of those dreaded production meetings. Between distributing meeting outlines and waiting for everyone to be situated, you’ve probably already wasted a good half hour…which also means you have also fallen slightly behind schedule and you’ve just burned a good chunk of money on what was, essentially, a game of musical chairs. Welcome to the world of a third grade school teacher.

Production meetings are forums for sharing ideas, giving feedback, assigning tasks and establishing guidelines. Unfortunately, production meetings also consist of several or more individuals, each with their own workloads and agendas. Unless you were the former head of the United Nations, chances are your moderator skills will see your production meeting quickly morph into the trading floor at NASDAQ.

Collaboration software has been developed to rectify those weak points in project management where the dreaded production meeting falls short. When opening up the meeting to comments and suggestions, collaboration software delivers sophistication and clarity. Simply create a discussion, a “thought loop” where users have the ability to post their ideas as well as comment on others in an organized fashion. Production meetings are streamlined further with these innovations in the software-as-a-service phenomena of collaboration software:

Easily Share Files – “File Sharing”
Because all files and communiqués are shared on an intranet, a private computer network, information is easily shared and distributed on this shared online workspace.

Easily Engage in Group Discussions – “Centralized Communication”
Emails utilizing Bcc’s and Cc’s are reduced to easily accessible posts on a bulletin board. As an added bonus, collaboration software also provides access to its intranet network and the information stored on it from any where in the world with a mobile device.

Easily Manage Your Team/Contractors/Customers – “Task Delegation/Time Tracking”
Your team members are displayed plainly, allowing you to upload documents or assignments wherever you see fit. Comments, questions and prioritizations are amongst the many details you can note on posted documents for the rest of the group to see. This saves time and money on travel and it allows your team to stay on task without having to break their flow to attend a production meeting.

Not only does collaboration software save you time and money, but its very user friendly as the user interface is template based. Additionally, setting up your company with collaboration software can be accomplished within minutes. Production meetings are not so much eliminated as they are seamlessly woven into the fabric of your team’s every day routine.

More on Collaboration Software

http://www.centraldesktop.com
Central Desktop

Collaboration Software Central Desktop Launches the Industry’s First Customer Network

Collaboration Software Central Desktop Customer Network

Collaboration Software Central Desktop Customer Network

Did you hear? Word on the web is collaboration software Central Desktop is launching its very own customer network. With well over 200,000 users world wide, this tight knit circle of web 2.0 savvy go-getters is going to be a veritable bee hive of productivity. From the small ‘mom & pop’ operations on up to the geographically dispersed conglomerates, Central Desktop users now have a water cooler to swap both implementation methods as well as success stories.

Central Desktop has become a key tool for us to manage and collaborate on day-to-day business operations both with internal teams as well as with customers and partners. It has essentially served as an ERP replacement for us, and I’m certain there are multitudes of other applications for the platform,” said Eric Golden, CEO, Equipois. “The Network is a perfect way for our team to share our experiences as well as learn from other Central Desktop users as we continue to look for ways of web-enabling additional business operations. We have implemented Central Desktop in some unique ways that add great value to our business, and we could certainly benefit from the resourcefulness of the hundreds of thousands of other Central Desktop business users out there.”

Discover every nuance of the software-as-a-service, Central Desktop, from the scads of user submitted tips & tricks that are sure to help you maximize your efforts through Central Desktop. You can even be a “Central Desktop Hero” and submit your own best practices. Interact, share and manage. With the induction of the new customer network, collaboration software Central Desktop is, truly, your anywhere, anytime business solution.

TRY IT FREE!

Visit Collaboration Software Central Desktop Customer Network

More on Collaboration Software

5 WAYS TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AND PROFIT

As team leader, your responsibility is to guide your team towards a common goal. How you go about stimulating productivity from your team is the tricky part. Are you looking to increase your company’s profit margins? Well, it starts with stimulating a higher productivity rate from your team.

Here Are Five Ways to Increase Productivity and Profits:

1. Create Your Winning Team. Surrounding yourself with capable bodies is vital. Whether it be tech savvy or pr wizardry, each team member should bring something different and yet complimentary to the overall skill set.

Really get your hands dirty when dealing with human resources by actually interviewing your potential candidates with one-on-one sessions. By adapting a more hands-on approach towards professionalism, your newly acquired team will be inspired to put out their best efforts. Leading by example is infectious in the workplace.

2. Get Your Supporters Talking. The streets are talking and the web has ears. Potential customers are more responsive to recommendations from friends and family. This positive feedback stems from competent customer service and satisfaction.

By going that extra mile to get the job done, your clients will definitely take notice and spread the word amongst their network of friends. Generating this type of buzz is far more valuable and affordable than throwing thousands of dollars towards a print ad campaign; however, the turnaround requires more time and patience. You may even want to consider a rewards system for leads and referrals.

3. Develop Your Internet Marketing Strategy. Cover all your bases as best you can. So you have positive feedback from your client base and the word is getting around, but not as fast as you would like. The World Wide Web is your next outlet to increase the demand for your services as well as increase your market share.

According to Internet World Stats, there are 1.407 billion users and counting perusing the web. These are all potential customers and with a proper internet marketing strategy, you can up your sites’ presence as well as increase traffic.

Email marketing, blogging, posting articles to article directory sites, engaging/contributing in forums and message boards – these outlets will help boost your site’s visibility thereby improving the volume and quality of your web traffic. By utilizing social media outlets the likes of Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, your company provides a home base for clients new and old to visit for updates and other pertinent information. Add to the fact that all of the aforementioned web stratagems are free; however, self serving. You have to do it yourself.

4. Collaboration Software. What once required lengthy man hours and salaried micromanagement has been done away with thanks to the SAS (software-as-a-service). This collaboration software phenomenon has revolutionized the process of project management as well as further reduced the need for office space thereby slashing your overhead.

By utilizing web access, your team shares a workspace in real time without having to be under the same roof. Task management, team meetings, and file sharing can be streamlined through a template based collaboration software. It’s easy to use and the set-up time is minimal, depending on the software you choose.

5. Goals. Incentives such as cash bonuses and or vacation packages are okay, but without defined goals, your team is more or less competing amongst each other rather than collaborating to accomplish a common goal.

It helps to have a finish line on the horizon to keep those legs pumping. By setting defined goals and posting them for all to see, your team productivity should spike considerably, especially since progress is more easily gauged. If they can visualize the end, your team will know how hard they have to push to get there.


Read More on Small Business | Collaboration Software & Project Management Articles

Collaboration Software: Social Technology for Social Good

Social technology for social good

Social technology for social good


Central Desktop wants to help you win! With today’s tough economic times, collaboration software Central Desktop, is ready to support organizations social good work by granting a one-year subscriptions to their web-based social technology platform to the top three (3) organizations who submit stories at http://www.centraldesktop.com/socialgood. Central Desktop is a pure web-based social technology platform for next-generation teams to interact, share and manage their daily work activities from anywhere at anytime.

To be considered for Central Desktop’s technology grant, (valued at up to $2,988), describe how your team or organization would benefit from leveraging Central Desktop’s social technology to forward it’s social good objectives via Central Desktop’s Social Good portal @ http://www.centraldesktop.com/social.

Whether your organization connects donors to needy families, supports sustainable technology, eco-friendly living, alternative energy, organizes community outreach events or raises funds for your child’s school — Central Desktop wants to help. All grant submissions must be received no later than 12:00 pm, November 10th, 2008.

On November 18th, 2008, three grants of one-year company plan subscriptions for Central Desktop will be awarded to the top three teams among all eligible entries. Winners will be contacted via email and announced on November 18th, 2008. Entrants are also encouraged to submit a 30-second YouTube video in addition to a written entry.

See How Barack Obama is Using Web and Enterprise 2.0 in the US Primary Campaign Through Central Desktop

7 MUST HAVE TOOLS AND SERVICES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Must Have Business Tools

Must Have Business Tools

When it comes down to big business versus small business, it is not so much the classic case of ‘David vs. Goliath’ where the underdog fells his opponent with one lucky shot from his sling. No, in the business world, big business and small business have more of a big brother, little brother relationship where the big brother sets the standard for all the smaller siblings to emulate and learn from.

Small business owners take note. Here is a list of seven must have tools and services that will solidify your foothold in the industry.

1. ADP. With an automatic deposit payroll system in tact, you eliminate the expenditure and waste of paper resources as well as the delay in payment resultant of utilizing the snail mail parcel system. Instant gratis – a happy employee is a paid one.

2. VERTICAL RESPONSE. The time tested adage of ‘supply and demand’ is easier said than done. How will you know what your customer base wants or no longer wants? By sending out surveys and advertorials via email, you are able to collect information from your web site visitors, customers or prospects. This form of vertical response makes it possible to market intelligently and measure your results quickly.

3. SKYPE + SPEAKEASY. Voice over IP (internet protocol) is essentially the transmission of your voice through the internet rather than the customary phone line. Services like Skype and Speakeasy offer an exponentially cheaper means to keep your company connected, regardless of magnitude.

4. FRESHBOOKS. Tracking man hours and overall productivity as well as invoices has never been more efficient thanks to the SaaS (software as a service), Freshbooks. You no longer have to waste paid labor rummaging through file cabinets for a time sheet that dates back to Reaganomics. Searching through backlogs has been reduced to a quick query in a search engine – something any business will appreciate come tax season.

5. WORDPRESS. Blogging has quickly become a vital facet of online marketing. To keep your business name in the mix, you constantly have to keep pumping out material for the masses to consume. Aside from giving your blog an aesthetical facelift, blogging software generates a stronger web presence through tags and key phrases thereby eliminating the dependence on marketing managers and saving your company money in the long run.

6. FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE. With over a hundred million active users worldwide, Facebook is a melting pot of potential customers and even prospective investors. Because it is also a free service, not having a company presence on Facebook or any other social networking site would be downright ignorant. Social networking is free advertising, which further spreads brand awareness without any overhead.

7. CENTRAL DESKTOP. Collaboration software such as Central Desktop has taken task management to new heights while maintaining a simple yet comprehensive interface. Within minutes of acquiring and setting up your workspace, your small business will have the infrastructure necessary to get your team up and running at full stride.

With these tools in tow, your small business’s productivity is magnified to its fullest extent. By maintaining a streamlined work force and operating under a simple yet systematic methodology, the odds of rising to the top amongst the bog of other lesser prepared companies is increased. Small businesses take note. That was just a list of seven must have tools and services for your small business.