Document Management Software With Automatic Data Capture

Computer systems were incorporated by many businesses and organizations with a view to automating document processing and reducing administrative burdens on their staff. However, without particular types of software systems, electronic documents are no better than paper files. For instance, even if you save all your documents in digital format, you may still end up searching for the files in the numerous folders on your computer. Document management software provides the best solution to such problems.

With computerized systems most businesses started dealing with electronic documents in every possible way. However, many were still handling paper documents created prior to adoption of a digital system. Organizations usually require older files such as contracts, agreements and other legal paperwork, client information, policies and financial documents. With automatic data capture feature of document management software, paper files can be easily converted into digital format. In fact, such files are also easier to save and store, eliminating the need for massive storage spaces needed for archival files. Apart from this, digital files are also easier to search and retrieve when required.

Many businesses thought it impossible to have a system that requires minimal manual intervention. The macro and coding options provided by some database management systems and customized software based on them, were thought of no less than a miracle. However, with digital imaging incorporated into document management systems, the automatic data capture provides a system which minimizes manual entry to a large extent. Software with form recognition facility captures relevant data from a document and automatically enters it into a tabulated format. For instance, fields on an invoice such as date, invoice number, order number, number of items and so on, are captured through a scanner or OCR system and fed into the software. The software then saves this data systematically for later use.

There are tremendous possibilities presented by such a system. Ask any employee the amount of time it takes to manually enter scores of invoices or order forms coming in every day. The amount of time saved with automatic data capture is truly phenomenal, where the time saved can now be utilized for better purposes. Such a solution also helps in streamlining the documentation process. With document management software, your employees and administrative staff can concentrate on achieving the business goals and work towards better services for your clients and customers.

Benefits that can be achieved using document management software include:

Scanning and capture of relevant information from printed documents

Capture of electronic documents including emails

Systematic saving and indexing of data captured

Easy storage and retrieval when required

Integration with existing hardware and software systems including spreadsheets and word processing solutions

Document processing including auto-submission of final draft or delivery of an item to clients

Document management systems were usually associated with large organizations dealing with thousands of documents, which is true. However, timely and accurate information is of utmost importance to every organization, no matter how big or small. Every decision is virtually dependent on how fast information can be retrieved and processed for use by higher management and your clients. In this regard, every establishment handling documents will require a document management system at some point in time. Usually thought of as expensive, document management software have become more affordable and accessible today. They have also become more user-friendly and easy to incorporate into the existing system.

Apart from remote access, data backup and disaster recovery, document management systems is one of the top ten technologies that businesses must adopt in order to stay ahead of the competition. Clients and customers today expect quick solutions to their problems and faster delivery of information or items. The work environment has also become more competitive. With professional document management software, your staff is equipped to handle such an atmosphere and you can surely hope to achieve success for your business.

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Calculating CPM For Social Media Marketing is Like Pounding Square Pegs Into Round Holes!

Almost every medium and marketing platform has been tagged as “new” at one time. Newspaper ads, Radio, then TV spots, Billboards, Electronic signs, fliers, direct mail marketing, newsletters, hot air balloons, vehicle wraps, specialty items, trade shows, sponsorships, telemarketing… the list goes on. Online marketing entered the fray in a big way starting in the early ’90s.

Most marketers and advertisers have generally always sorted and rated the plethora of mediums by applying a “cost-per-thousand” or CPM to each. CPM is a commonly used bench marks in the advertising industry and is mathematically formulated to state an ad rate at the cost per 1,000 views, for either individual mediums or for entire marketing campaigns utilizing multiple mediums. You may have also heard this referred to as the cost of “impressions.”

It took some time to figure it out and lots of new terms were coined in the process, but CPM analysis was soon easily applied to most internet marketing methods. Banner advertising, pop-ups or pop-under ads, email or list marketing, search marketing, AdWords, etc can all be measured for CPM, albeit in a little more detail – click through rates and other such stats now adds CPA or “cost-per-action” into the equation.

FACT: Try as you might, you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole! Also a fact: you can’t make decisions about new media if you’re measuring it with old media metrics!

The majority of marketers (including me) have been taught that CPM forms the building blocks for decision making. If you have a budget and know your CPM, then with just a little spreadsheet work you can develop an entire media plan. It’s the metric that most advertisers know, understand, and negotiate on.

Here’s the problem: when you use an old media metric (CPM) to measure new media, you can’t measure it properly. As a result, you miss out on amazing opportunities! It’s the same reason why you don’t use a slide rule to measure the sky.

FACT: Social media requires new rules for determining its value to the company or professional who is engaging an audience with it! Social networks are simply an evolution of something that has happened for thousands of years – people forming groups of like-minded people, getting together to discuss things, making recommendations, complaining, etc. The internet has made it possible to bring those conversations together with much larger groups, mind-boggling reach and amazing immediacy.

“Okay then” you say, “how do I determine what social media platforms or new media tools to use? What gives me the best return on investment (ROI)? I can tell you that there are four key engagements that I recommend when getting started. In no particular order, they are Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging. There ways to measure the effectiveness of these once you have started engaging, but you won’t be able to calculate ROI before you begin. Do NOT let that scare you away! Many decisions are made without calculating ROI.

What’s the ROI of the paint on your walls? What’s the ROI on the landscaping you did in your yard? What’s the ROI of your executive assistant, your massage therapist or your children? Nobody thinks about ROI with these things right? But for some reason, because the word “media” is attached to “social media” we need to measure its ROI first before we do anything? In business or otherwise, the idea that everything has to come back to a measurable ROI is simply ludicrous.

As I said earlier, don’t think that not determining some precise ROI before you engage in social media precludes you from measuring your social media efforts once you’ve started. You should, and there are lots of ways to do it. You will be measuring metrics that most often cannot be expressed in the language of CPM, and you will need to stay the course and effectively engage for a reasonable amount of time before measurement is meaningful.

Ultimately, success in social media comes down to your ongoing commitment, having something to say that will interest your audience, and ultimately… getting over your fear of jumping in! Those with the least amount of fear are those who will be doing it first, and they will be the ones who succeed.

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Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a CRM

Choosing the right Customer Resource Management (aka CRM) system for your business should be easy, as long as you follow a few simple do’s and don’ts. The below points are all lessons I learned the hard way growing my past businesses. Hopefully, they will help you expedite the process and engage on the path to growth.

1. Do take the time to properly identify your requirements and objectives.

Having the best tools is one thing, but if you haven’t properly defined your sales process and playbook, your fighting a lost battle. It’s really key to map out your target market or sweat spot, identify how best to reach them and what are the steps to climb before closing a sale. In some cases, identifying the key decision makers and timeline for the purchase is also critical. Your CRM needs to facilitate your process and adapt to it, not the other way around (which is too often the case). Finally, what are your objectives? What KPIs will you be monitoring post-implementation of your CRM to ensure it is helping you grow your business?

2. Don’t choose a CRM before spending some time asking questions to your sales team.

In step 1, you took the time to properly identify your requirements. But did you validate these with your sales team? Did you ask them what were their biggest pain points with the current sales process? What they expect from a CRM to be more effective? All their answers to these questions will provide you with better insight and most importantly, get their buy-in right from the start. As you know, any change in an organization can be difficult so getting your sales team involved early in the process will help.

3. Do ask around, especially other successful businesses, what CRM they chose and why.

Getting advice from other successful entrepreneurs can be quite valuable. They might tell you about how they fined-tuned their system or had to change CRMs before they found the right one. Or they may suggest a great consultant who can help you with your CRM implementation and save time and money.

4. Do consider the mobility needs of your sales team

Is your sales team primarily office-bound or road warriors? Mobile teams will need a CRM that provides an easy, customizable and intuitive mobile app in order to stay on top of all of their leads and opportunities. This can be a real game changer for your business so map out how you expect the sales team to interact with the CRM while on the road meeting with customers.

5. Do ensure the CRM supports workflow automation and customization based on your sales process

Your CRM should automatically remind your sales and marketing team to follow-up with a potential lead or opportunity on a timely manner. You should be able to easily define rules for follow-up such as “call this lead 48 hours after he has downloaded our white paper” or “call this customer 7-days before his purchase committee meeting”. Every business is different and custom rules for workflow automation is a must in this highly competitive world.

6. Don’t forget to consider important factors such as:

Does the CRM support custom reports? This is a must. Having an up-to-date report of the health of your business (e.g. sales pipeline) will allow you to take better decisions and react promptly.

Offer APIs to link with other systems such as email?

Allows easy capture of leads from your website?

Multi-currency support

Role-based user access and auditing

Security features to protect customer data

Real mobile support

Access from anywhere with an internet connection, not just inside the office

7. Do choose a provider with email/phone support or a community of partner/integrators

Time is money. Make sure you can get fast support if any issue arises or to adapt/customize your implementation. This service can be offered by the CRM provider or from partners/integrators who specialized in CRM services. Allocate some support-budget since a CRM implementation is an evolving/iterative process, just like the rest of your business.

8. Don’t limit yourself to just a sales tool.

CRMs today are much more than just a sales tool to manage your leads, opportunities and pipeline. A good CRM will allow integration of customer support and marketing activities. Ensuring your sales staff is aware of current customer issues and complaints can be the difference between a great customer visit or a walking into a trap. And actively monitoring your marketing campaign and linking them to your sales process can really give a boost to your top line.

9. Don’t choose the least costly solution but opt for a SAAS offer with a monthly fee.

It’s always easy to go for the cheapest solution thinking it will be good enough. But you should really take the time to evaluate the real cost of not choosing the right solution. Take the time to calculate how much time the right CRM will save you and your time each week. Multiply that by the average wage. You may be surprised how much you might save vs the cost of the CRM. But even more important, how many more opportunities will you close each month with the right tool? Furthermore, by opting for a SAAS offer with a monthly fee, you are removing the need for a large upfront payment and ensuring you can adapt your CRM easily in time (adding more users, new features etc).

10. Do plan for training of your staff on the CRM

Training is an essential part of a successful CRM implementation. Make sure you figure out what training will be required, to who and the availability of training courses or material. In most cases, identifying a key internal stakeholder who will manage the CRM for the company is a good idea.

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War 2 Glory Game Review

Before you start playing War 2 Glory, you have to create the commander that you will have to be. You can choose to be either a male or female commander. There’s nothing special about the male commanders but the female commanders’ portraits will look familiar to some people. One of the female commanders looks like pop diva, Christina Aguilera, while another closely resembles Britney Spears. I’m pretty sure this game got pictures of hot models to attract its target audience, but I highly doubt girls like that will ever become army commanders…

War 2 Glory a traditional RTS game. Before you head off into battle, you will need to build houses for your soldiers to live in and build your base. If you are not a fan of the RTS genre, there’s a chance you probably won’t like playing this game.

This is mainly because a bit of patience and a lot of skills are required to enjoy these types of games. Much like most other games, you will be left with low resources and skills at the very beginning. It can be a bit tedious having to build all the necessary buildings to allow your military to prosper.

The tutorial is very brief and does not tell you much in the way of handling combat. All it tells you is how to build your military base and prompts you to visit the game’s official website for a FAQs page. The FAQs page is helpful, but I would rather have the game itself explain everything to the player instead. Once you get all that boring stuff out-of-the-way, only then can the real fun begin.

The great thing about War 2 Glory has that many other browser-based titles don’t, is that there’s actually some audio in the game. It can be a little boring playing a war-based game without any sounds of explosions and gunfire on the battlefield.

The online community is helpful too as there is a chat feature integrated within the game that allows you to ask them for any hints or tips you may want answered. With that being said, you are able to also just declare war with any of the other players in the gaming world you occupy.

Before you declare war, you have the option to even “scout” your enemies by sending out your troops to spy on what they are doing. Unlike other military-based games you have the option to strike from the air, sea or by land.

Graphically, the game is highly detailed and resembles many RTS PC games that were released back in the late ’90s. It’s good to know that the developer has kept things authentic as you have the option to choose from over 40 WWII vehicles. The world map is really huge so you can expect hours of gameplay conquering other people’s bases.

War 2 Glory is a great game for the patient RTS player. The only flaw in the game is the “Rookie Protection Mode”. This feature prevents rookie players from engaging from any combat for 7 days unless they level up. It does get a little time-consuming but once you build your army, destroying other people’s armies can be dangerously addictive.

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