Thanksgiving - Another Opportunity to Give Thanks
During this Thanksgiving season we would like to take the time to thank all of our customers and partners for their support, loyalty and great feedback that make it possible for us to contiinue to create a product that they use every day. We also want to thank our team and their families for without their support we would not be able to create the solutions that make our customers lives easier. We wish you a safe and wonderful holiday!
Is The Person In The Next Office Crazy?
We all have had this experience. The guy or girl next door is nuts! They run from place to place. They’re always busy but never seem to get anything done. They’re on the phone, sending e-mails and in meetings, but again, nothing gets done.
Here’s an interesting question: Were they always crazy or did work drive them crazy?
While some people are truly nuts, many of the symptoms described above are caused by an organization being out of control. So while you can’t help the truly insane, you can bring order to your organization and eliminate that out of control feeling for both you and your co-workers.
Here are 10 questions you should ask:
1. Are your corporate procedures consistent and documented? Without documented processes, decisions are left to people with knowledge. The moment you suffer the loss of these skilled people, chaos ensues. Sometimes processes are passed down by word of mouth. This is not good enough. Remember playing telephone as a child. The message at the end is often very different from the original message.
2. How do you capture modifications to your corporate processes? Let's face it, everything changes over time. This includes businesses. When change happens, how do you document these changes and the impact they have on both your business and your business processes? By having either a formal methodology or a tool, change can be managed and not dreaded.
3. Do you measure results? If you have documented processes you should also have documented expectations. Without expectations and measurements, how will you know if something is working correctly or optimally?
4. Does your organization respond well to change? Being able to adapt to change is what differentiates thriving from surviving. Organizations that can adapt to change tend to be more efficient and competitive.
5. Does your organization anticipate change? Reluctance to change on the part of individuals is a normal reaction to the unfamiliar and can often frustrate the best of intentions. Preparation is the key to accepting change. If your company has an official methodology for change, and change is anticipated and accepted, then changes can turn out to be effective.
6. Are your processes supported by automated tools? Very little work is finished these days that does not require some technology support. Ironically, this support, if not aligned with work procedures, will in fact contribute to inefficiency and frustration rather than relieve them.
7. Does your company have a formal program for performance improvement? In a competitive industry environment, improving company performance is an important method for remaining competitive. While individual improvement initiatives can be successful, their impact is limited without the support and reinforcement that comes from being part of a coordinated effort.
8. Are you able to sustain contact and visibility with the data you require when work leaves your area? The complexities of many businesses today require a lot of contributors in any process. Many times these other contributors are in other departments, other countries, or even other businesses. How well information is conveyed and shared can in large measure determine the effectiveness on any individual activity.
9. Is there a formal process for measuring and sharing results? Employees require information on how they and their groups are performing in order to take part in improving performance. Periodic assessments are a start, but without regular and well-timed feedback they will be left in the dark and frustrated.
10. Does your organization consistently meet its performance targets? How well the many processes work in unison effectively each time determines the measure of success a business will enjoy as it conducts its day-to-day operations. The ultimate measure of this is found when organizations regularly attain their stated objectives.
Maybe as you thought through the answers you might have decided that the person in the next office isn’t really crazy, just overwhelmed. Then again, maybe not!
If you would like to see how your organization ranks amongst the standard level of crazy at most organizations, take our Business Process Self-Assessment quiz.
To learn how to improve your business processes, please visit our Workflow Analysis page.
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Dangers To Be Aware of This Holiday Season
As the holidays approach, we wanted to take a moment to share some important information on holiday travels.
In our connected society we tend to travel with all sorts of electronic gear from cell phones to iPads to laptops. One thing that all these gadgets have in common is that they can connect using Wi-Fi and here is where the danger lies.
When you connect to an open Wi-Fi at an airport or hotel, your signal can be easily intercepted. This is how a fair amount of identity theft happens. Just like a radio wave, your connection is a transmission that can be picked up by a receiving station. Unfortunately almost any laptop can be turned into a receiving station with a simple piece of software; a packet sniffer. What’s worse is that many of these packet sniffers are free.
So when you send e-mail or surf the web, everything you send and receive can be intercepted. There is some good news in this in that when you access encrypted sites like your bank, the transmission cannot be read. Unfortunately, the smart thief of hacker has a way around this too. Once they tap into your e-mail address and your surfing to your bank, they can revisit the bank and claim to have lost the password. When you get an e-mail back from the bank, they can read it.
So how do you protect yourself online?
First, always make sure that you use encrypted websites. If some of the website you access are not encrypted, use an encrypted proxy server to encrypt all your web traffic. Not sure what a proxy is or what they do, just do a Google search on “encrypted proxy servers”.
Second, never check your e-mail unless you are connected to an encrypted proxy or are accessing encrypted web mail. By hiding your transmission behind encryption you have made it much harder for the average thief to steal your information.
The same is true for your corporate information. Never access any corporate information unless is it behind either your company’s virtual private network (VPN) or is on an encrypted site. Again, it’s this encryption that protects the information.
Once you have protected all of your information with encryption, hackers cannot read any of the transmissions and your connection is no longer useful to them.
You might ask why we started the article off with danger during the holiday season when the issues described here exist all year long. When travel is busiest, the Wi-Fi hackers are out in larger numbers. There are more travelers and hence more people connected to Wi-Fi.
So have a safe and happy holiday season and stay safe from the dangers of open Wi-Fi.
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