eCommerce

 

We bet you’ve often read how getting rich through the Internet can be fast and easy. Time for your 5-second reality check: It’s going to entail lots of hard work, dedication, a great deal of information and the ability to use that information to your advantage. Sounds familiar?

Well, it should be. After all, it’s still business. However, while the basic ingredients to achieving success in business are still the basic prerequisites in eCommerce, there are also a lot of technical aspects that have to be factored in. This is where you’ll need us.

Well, actually, we’re going to help you out on those basic ingredients too. That’s because our dedicated specialists will perform most of the hard work until you gain enough know-how to run things on your own.

If you’re starting from scratch, we’ll help you build on your idea and transform it into an actual web-based business.

Then once you’ve got your site online, we’ll redirect traffic to it, attract the right visitors, convert those visitors into buyers and keep them satisfied so that they’ll come back and even spread the word.

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Saving Energy Step 4 – Breathing Life into the Project

Today we consider the fourth step on the road to energy saving, when we introduce key contributors who will pull it all together. We have been on quite a journey. We started by developing a management system and then followed up with practical improvements, while challenging the assumptions behind the energy bills we may have paid unchallenged in the past.

After we knock off the big-ticket savings, managing energy becomes a process of improvement characterised by smaller increments. Kaizen is the classic model and it includes everybody in the organization from the janitor to the CEO. I inverted the pyramid deliberately, because ideas deserve considering no matter where the originator parks in the company yard.

People ? our people ?are truly central to the process. Energy adds extra leverage to their efforts, keeps them warm in winter, cool in summer and powers up the ovens in the company canteen. They are brimming over with ideas because that is the nature of being human. The best managers are those who release this potential and participate in its flowering,

It is important not to threaten job security. So many savings-driven initiatives have ended in job losses that people on the shop floor automatically suspect another round. Shrinking carbon footprints is about making the world a better place for everyone. We become more effective when we turn ?increasing profit? into making the enterprise sustainable in itself.

Engaging employees is more than office circulars and speeches at the Christmas Party. Organizations are organic places where trust grows slowly but conflict can flare in a moment. Before involving your people in your energy ?kaizan? make sure your words and intentions overlap perfectly. You will be amazed at the power you unlock in your people.

The best way I know of doing this is through your health and safety structure, which then becomes your environment, health and safety structure EHS. As you explore this idea at safety committees you find these things overlap, in the sense of creating people-centric environments at work and home.

That said, there is no magic formula for achieving employee engagement. The fact that people universally want a cleaner planet is the power to tap into. One way to form a team is to create one artificially and give it a task. The other is to work together towards a shared objective. Which one do you prefer?

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A Definitive List of the Business Benefits of Cloud Computing ? Part 3

Strengthens business continuity/disaster recovery capabilities

Today’s business landscape calls for companies to have reliable business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities. After all, when the system goes down, customers and even employees would rarely ask ‘why‘ or ‘what happened‘ but instead go directly to the ‘how soon can we get back up‘ part.

So unless they’ve been struck by the same unforeseen disaster your business is also experiencing, a couple of hours downtime is plenty enough for most of these people. What’s worse is when they simply don’t wait until they get access again and just go to other providers that can offer the same services. In short, your inability to provide continuous IT and business services could translate to lost opportunities which your competition would only be too willing to gain. And that’s not even counting the possibility of losing essential data and other potential negative impact that critical IT failure can bring about.

The answer to avoiding such a scenario is of course, having a sound business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. But this is actually easier said than done.

Traditionally, setting up a business continuity plan entailed some tedious procedures in addition to very costly infrastructure. We’re talking here about acquiring and maintaining practically a replication of the hardware infrastructure and environments currently existing for business-critical systems and data. Note that these mirror systems should be set-up, housed, and maintained in a remote facility or location.

Making the deployment even more complex is the constant need to update the data in storage as well as keep software applications in sync between the system in use and the one on standby mode. This process would involve the physical transfer of data and syncing of applications, which is cumbersome and again, expensive.

While large enterprises would not even think twice about having to spend so much to ensure that operations would never come to a grinding halt, most small and mid-sized organisations would not have the required financial means for them to even start considering this option. Often, the bulk of their disaster recovery plan would simply consist of some tape backups, and a lot of hoping that they would never have to suffer from any outage or IT failure.

But all that can be changed with the arrival of cloud computing.

A cloud strategy offers an affordable solution for business continuity and disaster recovery for SMBs with limited resources and even big companies trying to minimise expenses by looking for alternative options.

A reliable service provider would already have the required infrastructure and software vital to a viable BC/DR plan and complete with the appropriate security measures. Organisations need not spend upfront for these facilities, but get to benefit from having updated data backup and a virtualised mirror system that would allow them to quickly get back up in the event of an outage or catastrophic disaster.

When looking to the cloud for a cost-effective BC/DR plan however, it’s worth keeping in mind that not all cloud providers are created equal. That’s why businesses also have many important factors to take into account before signing cloud contracts.

Yes, provision for continuity and and taking necessary precautions against outages are inherent in the cloud service itself, but you’d be surprised how many of these providers don’t actually take responsibility for service interruption. To give organisations some assurance of the cloud company’s capacity for continued service, contracts should stipulate availability guarantees and liability for downtime that the provider is willing to answer for.

Once these relevant issues are ironed out however, it’s easy for business to see how cloud-based data storage and computing can significantly lower the costs involved for SMB BC/DR while greatly improving efficiency, mobility, and collaboration capabilities.

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2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 2 – Deadlines and Status Changes

The ESOS process is deadline driven and meeting key dates is a non-negotiable. The penalties for not complying / providing false or misleading information are ?50,000 each. Simply not maintaining adequate records could cost you ?5,000. The carrot on the end of the stick is the financial benefits you stand to gain.

Qualifying for inclusion under the ESOS umbrella depends on the status of your company in terms of employee numbers, turnover and balance sheet on 31 December 2014. Regardless of whether you meet the 2014 threshold or not, you must reconsider your situation on 31 December 2018, 2022 and 2026.

Compliance PeriodQualification Date Compliance Period Compliance Date
131 December 2014From 17 July 2014* to 5 December 20155 December 2015
231 December 2018From 6 December 2015 to 5 December 20195 December 2019
331 December 2022From 6 December 2019 to 5 December 20235 December 2023
431 December 2026From 6 December 2023 to 5 December 20275 December 2027

Notes:

1. The first compliance period begins on the date the regulations became effective

2. Energy audits from 6 December 2011 onward may go towards the first compliance report

Changes in Organisation Status

If your organisation status changes after a qualification date when you met compliance thresholds, you are still bound to complete your ESOS assessment for that compliance period. This is regardless of any change in size or structure. Your qualification status then remains in force until the next qualification date when you must reconsider it.

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