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How to Monetize Your Tech Knowledge

July 10, 2019


I bet you take that knowledge for granted. Technology experts seem to think that just because we know the ins and outs of deploying a virtual machine, installing and configuring software or writing some code.

It’s not true.

We are subject matter experts (SMEs), and the knowledge in our head is valuable. There are lots of people out there that would love to know what you know, and where there is demand, there can be a financial reward, but where do you start?

If you’ve been toiling away in your job your entire life and have never considered creating training content before, the task may seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Whom do I contact?

Write articles.

One of the easiest ways to monetize your knowledge is writing articles like this one. Writing isn’t difficult if you know how to explain yourself and write well. Start blogging to get used to writing. Ask for feedback on your writing from others and pay attention to how other authors write.

Once you’ve built up a portfolio of written content, you will then use this as your resume to potential clients.

Look for sites that publish tech content that you’re interested in and contact them. Some will pay you and some will not.

Compose an e-book.

It’s easier than ever to publish your own book. Although e-books entail a lot more writing than a 500- to 1,000-word article, they can be more financially lucrative because you’re selling copies.

Check out such sites as LeanPub that help authors publish e-books. I’ve personally published my Pester Book on LeanPub, and the rewards have been much more than I had expected.

Record videos.

You don’t have to be an expert writer to produce great content; screencast videos work well too. If you can speak intelligently about …

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Integrating Trello with a Database Backend

July 2, 2019


Trello works best for just-in-time work and is a fluid workflow system. When things are changing so quickly, especially in large environments, it’s important to store that data; a great way to do that is to integrate Trello with a database.

Tools

To narrow our scope a little bit, let’s first cover one way to integrate Trello with a database backend. I’m assuming that you already have a Trello account and a board or two created with some lists and cards. You now need a database to store information in. One database I highly recommend is AirTable. AirTable is a spreadsheet/database combo service with an easy-to-use API. This will come in handy.

Next, we could build our application or script to update AirTable when changes in Trello are detected, but let’s not reinvent the wheel. To keep Trello and AirTable in sync, I’ll use the automation platform Zapier. Zapier connects thousands of services together and allows you to build some advanced automation. Luckily, it has support for both Trello and AirTable.

Getting set up

Assuming you’ve got accounts with Zapier, AirTable and Trello already set up, we’ll start with creating a zap. If you’re not familiar with Zapier, I encourage you to check out their Getting Started Guide.

To store a database record in AirTable for each Trello card that gets created on a board, use Zapier. Create a trigger to fire whenever a new card is created on a board.

Add a step to create a new record in AirTable. Then create a Create Record step. Using the AirTable step, I can specify fields that are returned via my Trello trigger as you can see below.

Zapier automatically pulled all of the fields that were available in my Partner table inside of my Personal CRM base. …

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An Unexpected Benefit of a Digital Workplace

June 28, 2019


What seems like just an improvement in one area can have dramatic effects on how we look at work as a whole.

Email changes communication

Take email for example. Companies first started using email primarily to eliminate the slowness of interoffice memos and quickly connect people who were in offices far away.

But email changed the entire approach to work. It became the new way of sharing documents (“Email that to me”), organizing tasks, and the entire definition of being on task. Many people spend up to a third or more of their day logged into their email client and consider it “working”.

Google Docs changes collaboration

When Google Docs came on the scene, it was meant to solve the problem of fixing versioning of documents. Instead of suffixing files with NEW_Updated(2), team members could know they were always working on the latest version.

But Google Docs also brought a paradigm shift in how we think of collaboration. A document or spreadsheet can now serve as a launch pad for bringing together people to work on the same idea at the same time. When someone has a new idea, they can draft it, invite others to comment, and invite others to the conversation through tagging. Google Docs introduces the idea that collaboration should be instant and limitless.   

The new horizon for tools

The next breed of tools that will change how we work has arrived. They are called digital workplaces. A digital workplace is a combination of technologies on a single platform that offers your employees an end-to-end experience of completing everything related to work in one place.

Many of the technologies of a digital workplace have existed for years, but they existed as separate applications that required you to jump back and forth between tabs depending on what part …

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Does Big Data have a pivotal role in the future of customer experience?

June 9, 2019


A huge collection of information is collected from a wide variety of sources. That data is maintained and analyzed. Then, the companies can churn out useful insights from the huge pool of information. Therefore, at the end of the data analysis is the key.

The trick is how to find out which data needs to be analyzed and for what. First, companies need a Big Data strategy to analyze the data. The strategy should also include the main purpose of Big Data. For example, say if a company wants to find out useful insights pertaining to the market conditions or the industry trends, they will have to collect and analyze the data related to the market and the industry. 

Big Data is used by plenty of different teams and parts of the company. Apart from being used extensively by the sales and marketing teams, Big Data is used by the customer service teams of the firm. In fact, Big Data consulting helps the companies to understand their customer and the target audience better.

Customer Experience is becoming more important

Every profit generating business is reliant on the number of clients and customers. The main aim of every business is to amplify the number of customers and clients. However, customer retention also plays a major role. The company can gain benefits by attracting more customers and clients, but it is also important for them to retain the existing set of customers. In fact, they can even try to get more business from existing customers and clients. This is exactly where the role of customer experience comes into the picture. Only if a customer is happy with the company will he or she stick with a business.

Here’s how Big Data helps to improve the customer experience:

  • Big Data helps to understand

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Ask These 4 Questions Before Hopping on the Blockchain Bandwagon

May 23, 2019


Now, we live in a time when there is an app for any productivity issue. We can choose from thousands of solutions, each boasting impressive features that help people accomplish more in less time. One such solution that’s making waves is blockchain.

Aided by the meteoric rise of bitcoin, blockchain has technological applications that make it a viable resource for any number of industries in which transparency matters. As the food services and healthcare fields show, though, blockchain and technology in general is not a silver bullet. While it has potential to effect change, blockchain can’t be the cure-all you might expect if you don’t apply the necessary context.

Seeing through the supply chain

Supply chain transparency is a must, especially as it relates to food and health. Take, for example, E. coli. A 2015 outbreak of the bacteria contaminated Chipotle restaurants across 11 states, and E. coli concerns led to three recalls of romaine lettuce in 2018 alone. Recalls, besides being a major health concern, pose the single biggest threat to food vendor profitability, according to Food Safety Magazine.

In healthcare, opaque supply chains lead to other issues. Stolen prescription drugs are contributing to a well-documented opioid crisis in the U.S. In addition, fraudulent billing costs around $455 billion worldwide.

While blockchain can help each industry prosper, there are still questions that both healthcare and the food industry must address as to how blockchain aligns with their goals. For leaders in other industries considering blockchain adoption, ask yourself these four questions to determine if it’ll yield the results you envision.

1. How important are product quality audits?

Blockchain has the potential to serve as a global supply chain operating system. If your business sells high-quality goods and it’s vital to know where they are every step of …

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6 Key Factors for a Successful Digital Transformation

May 13, 2019


The last few years have shown an obvious need for technological modification. However, despite the interest in this process, the digital transformation leads to many difficulties in its implementation. Every company whose management makes such a decision has a long way to go.

Based on my own experience, I decided to share a number of tips that will help you avoid common mistakes and make your business digital transformation process truly successful.

Document the transition to digital

Properly introduced control elements play an important part when any initiative is implemented. The main control functions, which companies often wrongly neglect, are:

  • System status reports
  • Progress tracking
  • Assembly and deployment automation
  • Testing automation platforms
  • System performance monitoring

Observe consistency

Digital transformation can be short or long-term, but, in any case, it has to be consistent. Few companies have the required resources to implement it in a short time. Most businesses choose long-term initiatives.

Moreover, regardless of the implementation model, modifications have to be well planned and consistent – otherwise, the company risks finding itself in a difficult situation.

The transition should be planned for a reason as well, as it will simplify their economic efficiency assessment.

Ensure integration with legacy systems

It is quite hard, or even completely impossible, to instantly switch from the old to the new, especially when we are talking about a large company with a complex structure and elaborate processes. Within a certain period of time, it will probably be necessary to ensure the simultaneous functioning of a number of old system components with new ones.

At Lvivity, we are convinced that progress in small steps is a key factor that allows you to reduce risks. It is necessary to replace old systems with new services carefully, creating integration interfaces and transitional solutions.

Employee engagement is crucial

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Digital Transformation: Evolution, not Revolution

May 3, 2019


Nearly 80% of organizations surveyed by Accenture are concerned about disruption and competitive threats, specifically the ones posed by digitally enabled market entrants. However, many organizations are still hesitant to transform: 22% of organizations are either just investigating this opportunity or not planning to transform at all, according to Forrester.

Enterprise digital transformation is a challenge not all organizations can handle (or afford, for that matter). It could take months just to come up with the right digital transformation strategy, including the planning of its implementation.

As a result, by the time you are ready to get started, your needs and objectives might be completely different due to the fast-paced market environment. Luckily, there’s a way to keep your business up to date with the market requirements without putting its very existence at stake. So, if you are also currently at the crossroads of your digital transformation, then read on.

The dark side of digital transformation

There are dozens of reasons why digital transformation should be a strategic priority: it helps you stay competitive in your niche, improves customer experience and, as a result, increases your revenue while cutting operational costs. The list goes on and on.

Yet, when it comes to enterprise digital transformation, it’s not all that simple. There are certain limitations and digital transformation risks that established companies should take into account.

As mentioned above, digital transformation initiatives can take months if not years to implement. Accordingly, it won’t help you stay competitive in a fast-paced market. Your agile, tech-savvy competitors, mostly startups, will come up with a solution to meet the audiences’ needs before you can even draft your digital transformation plan.

Moreover, the process itself is also very unlikely to be completed, even if you have enough time and resources on your hands. …

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How to Revive Your Company's Dying Intranet Site

April 30, 2019


Turn the clock back to the 1990s, and the concept of an organization launching its own corporate intranet site for employees was a hot topic.

Spurred on by the explosion of the internet and greater use of technology as a communication medium in the workplace, many businesses were excited by the prospect of an advanced technological tool with which to communicate directly with their employees.

Fast forward to today, and you won’t be surprised to hear that the notion of the corporate intranet site is fading, and more than that, it is very unpopular in organizations that are still using it. This seems to be a global trend that is common across all industries. 

What are corporate intranet sites?

Essentially, intranets were designed to be a virtual meeting place for employees. They allowed employees to keep in touch with business developments through news updates, share information and knowledge, and work more collaboratively with colleagues across other departments.

The idea was that all important and useful company information was housed in one place for maximum ease and efficiency. Corporate intranet sites grew rapidly in popularity, but have been slowly declining for a number of years now.

Why are intranet sites fading away?

At face value, the decrease in popularity of intranets is puzzling. The benefits are clear on paper, and there’s no doubt that the business world is continuously moving towards a more streamlined, collaborative ethos, with technology being a key factor. However, look more closely, and there are some fundamental flaws with the concept of intranets and how they fit in today’s modern workplaces.

First, it’s important to recognize that it’s not the collaborative nature of organizations that has changed – if anything, this focus is increasing and shows no sign of slowing down. It’s actually the type of digital …

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Is the Cloud Living on the Edge?

April 29, 2019


Back when the cloud was “the next big thing,” skeptics questioned its reliability, its durability and, above all, its security. Over time, each concern has been addressed and largely resolved. The wisdom of off-premises computing is now almost a given. 

But cloud computing isn’t a religious issue. We can believe that moving critical applications and mission-critical data off local gear is strategically smart, safe and cost-effective, and still acknowledge that growing pains have tested, and will continue to test, the model. With the cloud’s maturity comes some degree of ossification and even inefficiency.

The Term Edge Computing

Over the years, I’ve sought to debunk myths and hype around cloud computing’s flavors of the month: public, private, hybrid, fog, etc. They all taste great. They’re all less filling. My point has been that terminology too often masks an intention to fix things that aren’t broken, to repackage and sell things that already exist and work well, and to find alternatives to solutions that have proven themselves eminently capable of enhancing business processes.   

As Upton Sinclair memorably put it, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Because the tendency in technology is to tease the Next Next Big Thing, the temptation to apply a bear hug to the latest and greatest can be hard to resist, whether or not we fully know what we’re embracing.  

That’s where we are with edge computing. Before this bit of jargon fully morphs into a way of doing business, IT consumers, IT professionals and IT pundits all need to understand what it is substantively and where it lapses into change-for-change’s-sake.

Recent headlines underscore the point: “Michael Dell: Why edge computing could be the next big thing”; “Edge Computing: The next big thing in networking …

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The Benefits of Face to Face Business Meetings

April 26, 2019


The life of a business professional can often be hectic, especially when work demands frequent meetings in a variety of locations. Naturally, video conferences have changed the way meetings are conducted. No longer must professionals and entrepreneurs hustle from one city to the next to conduct meetings. In many ways, it seems video conferences are just another way digital technology has improved normal business functions.

While video conferences are certainly useful tools, the benefits of face-to-face meetings should not be discounted. Unfortunately, there are elements of an in-person meeting that video conferences simply cannot replicate. These elements can have significant impacts on business relationships and potential deals, which is why I’ve often made it a point in my career to schedule in-person meetings whenever feasible. Here are some of the key benefits of meeting face to face that I’ve recognized in my more than two decades as a business founder and executive.

1. Feeling out the room

In a video conference, there are often people off camera or so far away from the screen that you cannot visibly see their facial expressions and non-verbal cues. When you’re in the same room, their emotions are palpable. There’s no better way to feel out the whole room than physically standing in front of your audience. Video conferences do not create the same emotional connection.

You’re also likely to get a more thorough introduction to each person sitting in, which is not always the case in a video conference. Once you are acquainted with everyone, you can often pinpoint who the major decision-makers and influential people are in the room and gauge their reactions accordingly. This information is useful whether you’re trying to make a sale, strike a partnership deal, or even just conduct a basic fact-finding mission.

2. Getting beyond the meeting

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