Integrated eCommerce – The right way to do extend your business online

With more people spending more time on the Web, now is the perfect time to start selling your products and services online. And if you think those people are only busy posting status updates on Facebook and Twitter but avoid all other websites, think again. Many are actually buying stuff online. E-commerce has never been bigger. In the UK, it was already worth 100 Billion two years ago.

Buyers are finding it more convenient to buy products and services online because they can do so from practically anywhere; even in the comfort of their homes. What’s more, they could browse through more choices at a fraction of the time they?d have spent doing the same thing in brick and mortar establishments.

So if your potential buyers are already out there, what’s stopping you from opening your virtual doors to greet them?

Antiquated e-Commerce

Now, before you start getting excited in setting up your own idea of an eCommerce-ready website, you might want to be aware of what a sound e-commerce investment entails these days. If all you’re thinking is a site that accepts orders and have someone enter those orders in your accounting system, then you’ve got it all wrong.

You’re never going to get good returns on your investment that way. While you’re opening doors for new income streams, you’re also introducing additional costs and sophistication for processes that are highly susceptible to errors, inconsistencies, delays, and, eventually, client dissatisfaction.

Doing it right with integrated e-Commerce

To compete with others who are also offering the same products and services as yours, you need to ensure complete customer satisfaction. The best way to achieve this is to employ integrated e-commerce. This is an e-commerce system that combines your payment system, accounting, ERP, CRM, inventory management, analytics, and others into a cohesive, synchronised environment.

The idea is to do away with majority of your manual tasks in order to achieve fast, efficient, accurate, and secure transactions and other related processes.

eCommerce integration will allow you to do business 24/7 without requiring any of your staff to render the same number of hours. That means, your company continues to operate and earn even while all of you are fast sleep.

Then when you’re up, you can view reports telling you what transpired overnight, over the weekend or over any specified period of time. The information you obtain can help you make well-informed decisions and act on issues much quicker.

And because your business is on the Web, you can serve customers and obtain new ones from geographical locations far from where your office or store is actually located. If you want, you can even gain customers from halfway around the world.

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What GDPR Means in Practice for Irish Business

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European directive aimed at ring-fencing consumer data against illegal or unnecessary access. There is nothing to discuss or debate with local politicians, or the Irish Data Protection Commissioner for that matter. As a European directive, it has over-riding power. To obtain an English version, please visit this link, and select ?EN? from the table of languages.

As you reach for your tea, coffee or Guinness after sighting it, you will be glad to know the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has the lead in turning this into business English we understand. The following diagram should assist you to obtain a quick overview of the process we all have to go through. In this article, we briefly describe what is inside Boxes 1 to 12. The regulation comes into force on 25 May 2018 so we have less than a year to get ready.

The 12 Essential Steps to Implementing the General Data Protection Act

1. Create awareness among your people of what is coming their way. The GDPR has given our regulator discretion to dish out fines up to ?20,000,000 (or 4% of total annual global turnover, whichever is greater) so there is determination to make this happen.

2. Become accountable by understanding the consumer data you hold. Why are you retaining it, how did you obtain it, and why did you originally collect it. Now you know it is there, how much longer will you still need it? How secure is it in your hands, have you ever shared it?

3. Open a communication channel with your staff, your customers, and anyone else using the data. Share how you feel about how accountable you have been with the information in the past. Explain how you plan to comply with the GDPR in future, and what needs to change.

4. Understand the personal privacy entitlement of the subjects of the information. They have rights to access it, correct mistakes, remove information, restrict its use, decline direct marketing, and copy it to their own files. What needs to change in your systems to assure these rights?

5. Issue a policy for allowing consumers access to their information you hold. You must process requests within a month, and you may not charge for the service unless your cost is excessive. You may decline unfounded or excessive demands within your policy guidelines.

6. Adapt to the requirement that you must have a legal basis for everything you do with, and to consumer data. You need to be in a position to justify your actions to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner in the event of a complaint. Having a legitimate interest is no longer sufficient.

7. Ensure that consumer consent to collect, use, and distribute their data is ?freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.? From 25 May 2018 onward, this consent will be your only ground to do so. You cannot force consent. Your benchmark becomes what the GDPR says.

8. Issue rules for managing data of underage subjects. This is currently under review and we are awaiting results. Put systems in place to verify age. Set triggers for where guardians must give consent. Make sure age is verifiable. Use language young people understand.

9. Introduce a culture of openness and honesty, whereby breaches of the GDPR are detected, reported, investigated, and resolved. You will have a duty to file a GDPR report with the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours, thus it is important to fast track the process.

10. Introduce a policy of conducting a privacy assessment before taking new initiatives. The GDPR calls for ?privacy by deign?, and we need to engineer it in. This may be the right time to appoint a data controller in your company, and start implementing the GDPR while you have time.

11. You may also need to appoint a data protection officer depending on the size of your business. Alternatively, you need to add managing data protection compliance to an employee?s duties, or appoint an external data-protection compliance consultant.

12. Finally, and you will be glad to know this is the end of the list, the GDPR has an international flavour in that multinational organisations will report into the EU Lead Supervisory Authority. This will manage the process centrally while consulting national data authorities.

The GDPR is a project we all need to complete. If we are out of line, it is in our interests to get things straightened out. Once everything is in place, the task should not be too onerous. Getting there could be the pain.

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How to carry out an Operational Review

A mobile workforce management software is key to managing an efficient field workforce.? Managing a staff of people can be tricky in any industry. Try keeping track of employees on shifting jobsites, many whom are paid hourly or temporary workers. The added pressure of ensuring the right workers get to the right sites at the right times, but they also need to track hours, parts used, vehicles and equipment assets.

In a previous post, we defined what is an operational review and why they play a key process in the continual evolution of successful businesses.?

Operational reviews allow the organization members to evaluate their performance, according to the procedures, resources properly, timescales and budgets.

Denizon – Operational Reviews Defined

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In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how to implement an operational review and the steps typically undertaken to help you and your organisation to implement an operational review.

What the steps in a Operational Review Process

There are typically six steps in an operational review that range from preparatory work conducting interviews and collecting documents to the presentation of the final written report.

An audit should be customized to meet a organisatons specific needs, so standard steps can and should only serve as a guideline.? Management and internal and external auditors should adjust the process to address the company’s particular goals and objectives.

Initial Management Meeting

Understanding the problem is the first crucial step of an operational review. This is one of major areas of discussions when the audit team meets with the management, and department heads will be asked to identify any specific areas of concern. Once the problem is identified, it would be easier to come up with workable solutions.

Conduct Interviews

The next step in the evaluation is carried out with experienced teams doing interviews and keeping close observation. Each team essentially watches how employees carry out their responsibilities. This is considered a key part of the process.

When doing the interview, it is also vital that the observing team gains the employees? trust and confidence. Likewise, the staff must be assured that whatever transpires between the team and the employee will be kept confidential. Management must therefore guarantee anonymity to anyone who offers critical information, lest employees withhold vital information and render the data gathered inaccurate.

Systems Review

Employees and management practices will be reviewed by the assessing team according to the standard policies and guidelines of the company. The effectiveness of the controls in place as well as their appropriateness to the current operating conditions will also be evaluated.

Reporting

A documentation of the data gathered and the assessment of the evaluating team, will be submitted to the management after the review process. Flow charts and written narratives of departmental activities are usually part of this report. This is also where observations and recommendations of the team will be presented to the department heads concerned.

Review Results

While the operational review is being conducted, it is important to take into account the vital factors that affect the company: the people, processes, procedures, and strategies. These four factors can determine the company?s progress in the future.

Key Areas of focus in operation reviews

At a minimum an operational review should include the following key ares of assessment

Management Control

Responsibilities, authority, and the scope in which an employee has the freedom to act must be clearly defined and documented. A complete and specific job description for instance, would give the employee a clear perspective on how he acts and functions within the company.

Boundaries should be set not only to benefit the employer but more so the employee as well.

Moral and Ethical Guidelines

Moral and ethical guidelines are just as important to ensure for a smoother employer?employee relationship. Otherwise, personal issues such as work ethics, work attitude and personal values may post problems in the long run if such guidelines are not drawn properly before relationships are established.

Processes and procedures

Evaluating processes is only beneficial if the company itself updates its processes and procedural manuals regularly, or at least when needed. Such protocols may need revision and some steps may be obsolete already. Improving a company?s processes and procedures doesn’t always entail cost. In fact, improvised procedures may even be cost-effective and could make the processes more manageable.

Communication and reporting standards

Gaps in communication could result in serious lapses in internal controls, putting the company and/or its assets at risk. This is where the importance of timely and clear communication comes in. Likewise, reports must be useful, and the flow of information and how it is processed must keep pace with the company?s growth.

Information technology (IT) and security controls can also be included under the communication clause. Proper IT security policies must be in place, state-of-the-art protection techniques employed, and everything be documented, periodically updated, and continually monitored.

Strategic planning and tactics

No company can ever be complete without its strategies. It would unwise for any organization to proceed without first knowing where it stands and what direction it wants to take. Strategic planning draws such a map. It must be aligned to the mission and vision of the company, and should also coincide with the organizational goals set. Strategic planning deals with these three key questions:

  • What do we do now
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • How can we overcome competition

Without clear strategic direction, expectations would likely differ between ownership and management.

Contingency planning, testing and recovery

Contingency plans must be up-to-date, and are essential to the organization. If one course of action fails, the company should have plan B, C and so on. In addition, an organization should be prepared to respond to interference’s.

This includes establishing a formal process to review transactions processing during both disruption and recovery.

Presentation of Report

Based on your objectives and our findings, we will develop detailed recommendations to improve your company?s performance and productivity. Our written report will include a list of both short-term and long-term projected improvements and courses of action, to be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

To ensure the achievement of the improvements we outlined, our team will also assist in the implementation of these modifications.

The plan has three levels of recommendations: one for executives, another for management, and a third one for staff.

The executive summary concentrates on your company?s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to its entirety. It includes recommendations for any needed changes in policy or governance.

The management plan is based on employee feedback and includes areas of immediate improvement as well as identification of potential problem areas. Concerns from the bottom level management can now be forwarded to the top level management in formal writing. Better working relationships may evolve from this, thereby setting the work environment for a higher productivity ratio.

Lastly, the staff report deals with topics like charting the hierarchy of the organization, and discussing in detail specific control objectives that are critical to the company?s mission. Part of our goal is to encourage personnel to pay close attentions to such changes, if any, as these efforts are essential if they want to bring about both organizational and personal success.

If you would like to further discuss how our operational review services can benefit your company, please feel free to contact us at your convenience to schedule an initial consultation. We?ll be more than happy to assist you.

More Operational Review Blogs


Carrying out an Operational Review


Operational Reviews


Operational Efficiency Initiatives


Operational Review Defined

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Migrating from CRM to Big Data

Big data moved to centre stage from being just another fad, and is being punted as the latest cure-all for information woes. It may well be, although like all transitions there are pitfalls. Denizon decided to highlight the major ones in the hope of fostering better understanding of what is involved.

Accurate data and interpretation of it have become increasingly critical. Ideas Laboratory reports that 84% of managers regard understanding their clients and predicting market trends essential, with accelerating demand for data savvy people the inevitable result. However Inc 5000 thinks many of them may have little idea of where to start. We should apply the lessons learned from when we implemented CRM because the dynamics are similar.

Be More Results Oriented

Denizon believes the key is focusing on the results we expect from Big Data first. Only then is it appropriate to apply our minds to the technology. By working the other way round we may end up with less than optimum solutions. We should understand the differences between options before committing to a choice, because it is expensive to switch software platforms in midstream. data lakes, hadoop, nosql, and graph databases all have their places, provided the solution you buy is scalable.

Clean Up Data First

The golden rule is not to automate anything before you understand it. Know the origin of your data, and if this is not reliable clean it up before you automate it. Big Data projects fail when executives become so enthused by results that they forget to ask themselves, ?Does this make sense in terms of what I expected??

Beware First Impressions

Big Data is just that. Many bits of information aggregated into averages and summaries. It does not make recommendations. It only prompts questions and what-if?s. Overlooking the need for the analytics that must follow can have you blindly relying on algorithms while setting your business sense aside.

Hire the Best Brains

Big Data?s competitive advantage depends on what human minds make with the processed information it spits out. This means tracing and affording creative talent able to make the shift from reactive analytics to proactive interaction with the data, and the customer decisions behind it.

If this provides a d?j? vu moment then you are not alone. Every iteration of the software revolution has seen vendors selling while the fish were running, and buyers clamouring for the opportunity. Decide what you want out first, use clean data, beware first impressions and get your analytics right. Then you are on the way to migrating successfully from CRM to Big Data.

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