Smart working: How to organize it better

With the Covid-19 emergency, it has become necessary for many companies to activate the smart working mode. In this article, we explain what it is and how it works

What is Smart Working:

Smart Working is a new managerial philosophy based on giving people back flexibility and autonomy in choosing spaces, times and tools to be used in the face of greater responsibility on the results.

How Smart Working works:

Smart Working is a new way of working that allows a better balance between quality of life and individual productivity. Therefore also the result of wise use of digital innovation to support strategic approaches that focus on integration and collaboration between people, in particular, and between organizations. In all this technology plays a key role, because when we talk about Digital Transformation in the workplace we also think about the application of advanced technologies to connect people, spaces, objects to business processes, with the aim of increasing productivity, innovate, involve people and workgroups.

Pros and Cons of Smart Working:

Pros:

  • Autonomy: the worker independently manages schedules and commitments. .
  • Don’t get lost in traffic: no traffic or crowded buses/trains
  • Avoid quarrels and small envies between colleagues: the privilege of working alone, in your own studio, in your own tranquility.
  • Flexibility: with smart working you have your own spaces and timing to carry out a specific task, avoiding to respect the times of the ticket.
  • Goodbye extra expenses: petrol, public transport tickets, parking, and the like will no longer be a problem.

Cons:

  • Making a career is more difficult: those who work in smart working have fewer career opportunities.
  • There is no comparison with colleagues: poor interaction with the work team and they would like to have back those moments when they meet with colleagues, even just for a coffee and chat about the work done.
  • Working every day, even on holidays: In smart working, there is complete autonomy of times and days. If you don’t know how to organize, you may find yourself doing nothing on Monday, but being super busy on the weekend to meet deadlines.
  • Too many distractions: the working environment is the same as the domestic one. It is difficult to separate the two and above all to carve out moments of true solitude.
  • Always be available: not having timetables means that others could call you at any time of the day, or worse than the evening. Saturday and Sunday included.

Collaboration platforms for smart working:

G-Suite: G-Suite is a suite of software tools and productivity and collaboration tools. It includes Gmail (for e-mail), Google Drive (the cloud service for storing content and synchronizing it online), Google Hangouts (the system that offers, thanks to Meet, the possibility of online video conferencing, but also messaging instant and Voice over IP), Google Calendar and Docs (free programs to prepare text files, spreadsheets and so on).

Cisco Webex Meetings: It is the platform that allows you to conduct online meetings and video conferences. Not only that, but this solution also allows interaction between those attending the meeting thanks to the fact that it allows the sharing of various types of content, from texts to audio/video. In other words, the teams have a solution that allows them to have everything they need, having the guarantee of being able to count on enterprise-level data security.

Microsoft Teams: The Redmond house offers a smart working platform for unified communication and collaboration that combines chats, video conferences but also application integration and file storage. In practice, the Office 365 collaboration hub allows you to work by promoting maximum engagement from wherever you are operating.

Slack: the software for business collaboration designed to send messages instantly, uses specifically dedicated channels and can be integrated with productivity tools. Within the platform it is in fact possible to use Google Drive, Trello, GitHub, Google Calendar and many other popular and used applications.

Trello: It is a management software in Kanban style (the Kanban method, aimed at avoiding overlap between the work of the various employees, starts from the assumption that the processes are carried out from downstream to upstream and each activity carried out only when there is really need) and allows each user to create their own data sheet indicating the activities to deal with, exchange it with others, etc.

Working in smart working with a VPN:

VPNs or Virtual private networks, remember, help to circumvent the geographical restrictions imposed but, above all, to keep web browsing private and consequently they are increasingly crucial in a period where hundreds of thousands of workers are forced to access corporate networks remotely, perhaps limited by restrictive firewalls.

One software for this purpose is OpenVPN, an open-source system available for every device and operating system.

Smart Working how to control workers:

Companies can proceed with the control of the performance of smart workers, respecting certain rules and regulations. The legislation states that the employer has the right and duty to monitor the correct work of employees, all in compliance with articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Workers’ Statute.

The employer has the right and also the duty to check the correct work of workers and also of smart workers. However, the Workers’ Statute must be respected, therefore the checks must be targeted and carried out critically:

  • They must concern the company assets supplied to the employee, such as the computer and company e-mail, without violating the employee’s privacy;
  •  Before any professional relationship, the employer is obliged to inform the worker about the prohibition on using company work tools for personal purposes, as these could be subject to checks;
  • For smart working, it must be remembered that in the work agreement stipulated between employer and employee, the control procedures to which the smart worker could be subject must be contained. Furthermore, any disciplinary sanctions are also stipulated in this agreement.

The employer can make checks to verify specific hypotheses of offenses.

The basis for a good job in flexible mode is to have a good organization. If done professionally, it could be a way of working that can also be used in the future.

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How important is Design and UX for a mobile app

The visual and practical navigation experience is a factor that has a lot of grip on people and directly affects the conversion possibilities. For this the sites should take care of both the user experience and the user interface, to ensure users a pleasant and intuitive browsing experience.

What is UX Design

UX Design (User Experience Design) includes those processes aimed at increasing user satisfaction by improving ease of navigation and making the consultation of web pages more intuitive.

UX Design, therefore, “sets the rules” for the correct implementation of the functions and elements that a site or app should have to meet the public’s satisfaction.

UX Design is a very important aspect, because the first impression that accessing a site or app arouses in the viewer affects the chances of completing the conversions.

The User Experience is essential, to help users find answers to their needs as quickly as possible, such as quickly finding product models, solving problems in loading orders, easily requesting information, etc.

The study of the User Experience contemplates all the changes, in terms of graphics and programming, to make a web product pleasant and inviting for users.

It includes various disciplines including:

  • psychology: the psychological factors that lead to appreciating or rejecting an element
  • interaction design: intuitiveness in the way people interact with the product/service

The user experience is fundamental in the purchasing processes, to make them more intuitive and immediate. Thanks to studies aimed at improving usability, the activities are optimized to become simpler and faster to complete.

What is UI design

UI design (User Interface Design) is the “visual rib” of UX design and includes the way the web product is presented, primarily the interface from the visual point of view.

UI design studies the interaction between man and device and aims to make browsing more inviting, in accordance with the style and communication of the brand.

The UI includes the elements that act as an interface between man and the content and inspires their realization in a coherent perspective from the user’s point of view.

UI design pushes to make the best choices in terms of language and style and to make them coherent with the brand identity. This discipline guides us, to the adoption of pleasant and effective fonts and colors for users, to placing the elements in the most easily identifiable positions and to making the retrieval of information quick and intuitive.

Here are the basic points:

1 Information ArchitectureInformation: Architecture makes sure that the app’s core business is actually achieved: the app can be very beautiful and very responsive, but if it does not lend itself to the purpose set by the company, it serves no purpose.

Interaction DesignInteraction Design: takes care of how the user will use the app, and how to guide him in using it. It is important to stress that “interactions” do not refer only to those that start actively and passively from the user.

3 Usability is that feature of the app to be user friendly. In general, an app is user friendly when the user is able to independently understand how to use the app, ergonomically, efficiently, and in a memorable way. The app must be easy to navigate, the information easy to interpret, and in the event of errors, these must be intelligible.

4 Wireframing: Wireframing, therefore, tests all the features of the app and in general also the look & feel, except for any details, finishes and graphic-content contents. Where there are no graphic content elements, wireframes are used.

5 Visual Design: Taking care of Visual Design is like putting the icing on the cake: in this phase, animations and feedback are finalized and refined, to influence user behavior.

6 Create customers: The most popular apps have a very high number of users. Applications such as Instagram, Facebook or Candy Crush, one of the most popular games for smartphones, have an exceptional UX that has attracted millions of people. It is the satisfaction of the user experience that makes them faithful to the app, making sure that they do not uninstall it in a few days but, on the contrary, dedicate a constant spot on their mobile phone.

Software for UX / UI Design

There are many software for UI / UX Design, today we will consider 3 of them: 

  • One of the most used software for UI / UX Design is Sketch: with its intuitive interface you can create and collaborate to make your ideas become real, it’s a mix between Photoshop and Illustrator. The only flaw it could have is that it is only for Mac
  • Another widely used software is Figma: Unlike the previous one it is from Windows, this also has a very intuitive and quick to use interface. This software has both paid and free options.
  • The last software I want to talk about today is probably also the most famous, I speak of Adobe Illustrator: One of the best tools to create logos, graphics, applications, websites, etc … It is available on both Mac and Windows

In short:

  • Use conventional elements, So don’t use too complex fonts or icons that on other apps have another meaning;
  • Maintain a certain uniformity in the interface: graphics, colors, spaces;
  • Do not hinder the efficiency of the app with functions that are not really needed and that risk confusing the user or moving him from the ideal navigation path;
  • Make your application as interactive as possible;
  • Don’t complicate what can be simplified.

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The most common Cyber ​​Security risks for companies in 2020

Cyber ​​risks increase with the increase and spread of legacy systems and data centers, public cloud services and SaaS applications.

In 2020, the main cyber risk carriers will continue to be emails and applications open to the Internet. According to experts, computer viruses conveyed by email are evolving rapidly and hackers find new methods every day to evade traditional security solutions. Each company must, therefore, equip itself with the most advanced protection systems in line with the evolution of cyber risks and cyber attacks, and also be supervised by external professionals able to offer advice on the implementation of information system protection measures.

Cloud, SaaS applications, brute force attacks

The most serious threat expected is partly new. More and more companies are adopting serverless platforms to reduce costs and integrate cloud applications, which use storage space accessible anywhere. These are the now widespread SaaS applications.

Switching to serverless does not solve security problems. Web application security is often overlooked because most organizations lack the skills and resources needed to manage these solutions. Many companies assume that the necessary protection is provided by their hosting service, which however hardly offers adequate coverage.

For these critical issues that are not addressed, cloud-based collaboration and production software are among the targets preferred by hackers. Given the frequent phishing campaigns, the focus remains on compromising accounts that can be used for future attacks. Traditional brute force attacks on cloud services, which gain access to an authorized account to crack encrypted data and steal information for fraud purposes, will also continue in 2020.

Email Phishing

Conversation Interception, Counterfeit People’s Voice, and Attacks Highly targeted will make BEC attacks even more convincing. Spearphishing easily draws in deception, seen pointing at one person, the so-called spray phishing, a mass attack that tries to involve as many victims as possible and is less personal and credible.

An example of pishing is fake emails from Netflix, in which they say that the account has been blocked due to a non-payment.

Complex Infection Processes

In 2019 email attacks were done via dangerous URLs to distribute malware. Users are warned against opening documents received from unknown senders, but the growing use of applications and cloud storage has accustomed them to click on various links to view, share a multitude of content and interact. Cybercriminals will take advantage of these developments because URLs can mask even more difficult to detect infection processes.

Emails may seem like simple messages from colleagues who want to share documents, but they can hide a serious danger. An example can be read in this article

Ransomware

Ransomware is primarily aimed at high redemption operations to unlock servers and endpoints, but they play a secondary role compared to infections that use Trojans and RATs, making prevention and defense essential. Firms that will be affected by ransomware have already been compromised by a host of malware that creates future vulnerabilities and puts them at risk of losing data and intellectual property.

Privacy and GDPR compliance

In 2020, IT security managers in the company must be fully aware of the proliferation of privacy and compliance laws that are implemented all over the world. The GDPR is just the beginning: you need to be ready to adapt to the introduction of similar regulations, with huge and increasingly complex implications especially for companies operating on an international scale. An increasing number of companies rely on public cloud infrastructures and solutions, it is also true that human error will continue to be the leading cause of violations, especially for incorrect configurations or unresolved vulnerabilities.

Training must be a central asset

Automated systems can protect mailboxes from many threats, but users are the final line of defense, especially with regards to voice and SMS phishing. Consequently, training is an essential component of security. Often even in cases where it is organized, organizations are very selective about the users to be involved, due to the limited resources dedicated to employee training.

An extended cyber risk

Summarizing the biggest threats to cybersecurity will come from the continuous proliferation of the network, from the transition to cloud systems and from the extension to critical infrastructures and industrial control systems.

In an interconnected world, an attack against a company soon extends to the whole chain. Supply chain vulnerabilities were the protagonists of attacks on major retailers in the years 2013 and 2014. Cyber ​​attackers took advantage of the supply chain for every type of business, from the theft of credit card credentials to compromised business email and techniques of attack will become even more sophisticated later in the year. Companies must more carefully select the partners to rely on, also based on their email protection system, to avoid risks of compromise and exploitation of vulnerabilities. The spread of the 5G network will allow attackers to steal data from compromised devices. Managing the problem in an inadequate way risks having excessive impacts on business continuity and company profits.

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Why Pyhton has become such a popular language

Python what it is used for

Python is a language for machine learning. Most machine learning courses have been written using the Python language and coding education as a whole has adopted Python as the language to be learned, with extensive use in small computer courses such as Raspberry Pi (AMD) or others core.

Instagram is the largest site Django is running, which is a Python web framework: a back end.

Django is a robust and elegant framework, and therefore the problem does not lie in its shortcomings intended as lack of features.

Pygame is the resource main for learning Python and game mechanics. Some good games have been written in Python.

Thanks to its highly readable nature and intuitive syntax, many find it easier to learn Python.

Python for artificial intelligence

Python is a glue language for applications that recall machine learning modules suitable for creating so-called AI systems. Indeed, for machine learning and deep learning, Python offers, despite being an interpreted (slow) programming language, some advantages:

  • Python can access many external libraries (modules) with useful functions for scientific calculation. This avoids having to develop them from scratch. External Python libraries are often developed with other high-level compiled languages ​​such as the C language and Fortran. Therefore, they are very fast in execution.
  • Python language is similar to natural language (English language).
  • It is much easier to use than other programming languages ​​such as C or Java

Python and the main libraries for machine learning.

Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language, suitable for developing distributed applications, scripting, numerical computation and system testing. It was conceived by Guido van Rossum in the early nineties. The name was chosen because of van Rossum’s passion for Monty Python and for their television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The most immediately recognizable features of Python are the untyped variables and the use of indentation to define the specifications. Other distinctive features are the overloading of operators and functions through delegation, the presence of a rich assortment of basic types and functions and standard libraries, advanced syntax such as slicing and list comprehension.

Although Python is generally considered an interpreted language, in reality the source code is not converted directly to machine language. In fact, it passes first from a pre-compilation phase in bytecode, which is almost always reused after the first execution of the program, thus avoiding to reinterpret the source each time and increasing performance. It is also possible to distribute Python programs directly in bytecode, totally skipping the interpretation phase by the end user and obtaining closed source Python programs.

This is also possible thanks to the large set of libraries, that is, sets of routines and written functions that perform a certain task, which it possesses and can recall as needed. Libraries are often confused with the terms framework and packages.

Libraries

Python has an extensive standard library, making it suitable for many uses. In addition to the modules of the standard library, others written in C or Python can be added to meet your particular needs. Among the modules already available there are for writing web applications: Mime, Http and all other Internet standards are supported. Modules are also available to create GUI applications, to connect to relational databases, to use regular expressions. The standard library is one of Python’s strengths. In fact, it is compatible with all platforms, with the exception of a few functions, clearly indicated in the documentation as specific to a particular platform. The library can be viewed as a set of modules where each module contains simple instructions and definitions. The combination of various modules, therefore of instruction code, constitutes a library. Often the modules have already been written by other developers, and there is no need to start over every time. Their purpose is to simplify tasks, helping developers write only a few lines instead of a large amount of commands. The library code calls classes and methods that normally define specific operations in an area of ​​the domain. For example, there are some math libraries that can cause the developer to simply call the function without repeating the implementation of how an algorithm works.

Packages

To understand what packages are, you can imagine the structure of directories where files are stored on the computer disk. Usually we don’t store all our files in the same location. We use a well-organized directory hierarchy for easier access. Similar files are kept in the same directory, for example, we could keep all the songs in the “music” directory. Like this, Python has packages for directories and modules for files. Since a directory can contain subdirectories and files, similarly, a Python package can have sub-packages and modules. To make Python treat a directory as a package, it must contain a file called __init__.py. This file can be left blank but generally the initialization code for that package is placed in this file.

Framework

Unlike libraries, framework means “an abstraction, in which the software that provides generic functionality can be selectively modified by additional code written by the user, thus providing specific software for the application”. The framework can be considered as a software tool that provides a way to create and run web applications and to do so it often makes use of libraries and packages. Using a web framework it is not necessary to write code on your own and waste time looking for possible calculation errors and bugs. At the beginning of web development, all applications were hand-coded and only the developer of a particular app could change or distribute it. Web frameworks have introduced an easy way out of this trap. Their variety now works well for both static and dynamic web pages. We can have two types of web Framework:

  • Server-side: also defined as a back end framework, they are software applications that facilitate the writing, maintenance and scalability of web applications. They provide tools and libraries that simplify common Web development activities, including routing URLs to appropriate managers, interaction with databases, support sessions and user authorization, formatting output (e.g. Html , Json, Xml) and improving security from web attacks.
  • Client-side: also called the frontend framework, it consists of a package consisting of a structure of standard code files and folders (Html, Css, JS documents, etc.). It essentially deals with the outward-facing parts of a site or web application. In short, what a user sees when they open the app.

There is a third situation (called the Full-stack Framework) which is the combination of both the frontend and backend ends. A full stack developer is an all-rounder. They are responsible for all levels of development, from how the server is set up to the CSS related to the design. It must be said that it is complex to manage both sides.If you also want to know the list of web frameworks written in Phyton language you can see the following Link (one of the most popular is Django).

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The most successful apps in the circular economy and in clean tech

Circular economy, what is it? 

The circular economy is a generic term to define an economy designed to be able to regenerate itself. In a circular economy, the flows of materials are of two types: biological ones, capable of being reintegrated into the biosphere, and technical ones, destined to be re-valued without entering the biosphere “. In practice, it is a zero-waste economy, where any product is consumed and disposed of without leaving a trace.

Renewable energies are very important as the modularity and versatility of the objects, which can and must be used in various contexts in order to last as long as possible.

The circular economy presupposes a systemic way of thinking, which does not end in the design of products intended for a single purpose. It is an economy that not only protects the environment and saves on production and management costs, but also produces profits.

The circular economy involves the development of a real economy to be opposed to the linear one that goes from the production of a product to its becoming waste.

Cradle to cradle. This theory eliminates the concept of waste, because “waste is nourishment”; it is based exclusively on renewable energy and respects man and the environment, going to preserve the health of ecosystems and the impact.

• Performance economy. Walter Stahel added to the C2C theory the “closed-loop” approach of the production process which includes four main objectives: to extend the life cycle of products, to create durable goods, to carry out product renewal activities and to avoid waste.

• Biomimicry (imitation of life), ie the study of the best ideas of nature and the imitation of designs and processes to solve the problems of human beings. Three the most important principles: study and emulate nature; use an ecological standard to judge the sustainability of our innovations; evaluate nature not to understand what to get out of it but what we can learn from it.

• Industrial ecology. Industrial ecology, also considered the science of sustainability, is the study of matter and energy flows through industrial systems. 

• Natural capitalism, which refers to the whole range of natural assets, including earth, air, water and all living things. It is based on four pillars: to radically increase the productivity of natural resources; acquire models and production materials inspired by biology; a business model aimed at guaranteeing a sequence of services; reinvest in natural capital.

• Blue economy. Or “use the resources available in a cascade system, where the refusal of a product becomes the input to produce a new waterfall”.

• Regenerative design, which has become the frame of the circular economy.

Cleantech – 

The world, without defined boundaries, of clean technology (cleantech), includes all the technologies that serve to ‘make it clean’, that is to limit (or even where possible to eliminate) the environmental impact of a given production process.

Today, the use of clean technologies includes practices such as recycling of waste, the use of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc.), the rationalization of transport and lighting sources, the reduction of packaging volumes and, in broader sense, all environmental choices that aim to drastically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and waste.

Circular Economy and sustainability in a few years have become absolute protagonists of the Tech industry both in B2C and B2B. Below are some examples of the most interesting projects in this regard:

– Agricolus: an Italian platform that operates in the precision farming area, offering various cloud applications to farmers and agronomists, thanks to which these professionals will be able to follow the production process at 360 ° and make data-driven decisions, reducing costs, improving and ensuring higher quality of the agricultural product, with a view to sustainability.

Junker: Mobile application for smartphones that helps citizens to correctly and quickly sort household waste, helping to reduce the fraction of unsorted waste. It has been included in the European Parliament’s circular economy white paper.

– FruitsApp: worldwide B2B marketplace for the purchase and sale of fruit and vegetables. The platform offers several tools to help the parties to conclude deals: chats, bargaining systems, profiling. It has been accelerated by the Startupbootcamp Foodtech Accelerator

Timealy: this application allows the daily unsold of fresh food to be offered at a paltry price to residents and commuters. The platform is currently being launched in London.

Technology also has a strong potential for the development of the circular economy between companies in B2B. An example is the Liam robot, which with its 29 arms can disassemble a discarded iPhone in 11 seconds, recovering a large part of the reusable materials of which it is composed, thus avoiding huge waste of value. But also the Loop Rocks platform created by the construction company NCC, through which secondary construction materials are made available at low cost between construction sites, thus reducing disposal costs, waste and costs for the purchasing companies.

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Understanding CRM Automation

team work

CRM Automation 

Customer Relation Management and Software, these two seemingly independent words have with the dawn of the internet and the rise of online business become so incredibly intertwined that whenever we mention CRM, it almost always includes Software. 

CRM Origins 

Pinpointing when exactly CRM was first invented is a challenge. If we talk about the acronym itself, we can zoom-in on the 90s. And more specifically to former Oracle employee, Tom Siebel. Siebel who failed to convince his superiors to sell their SFA (Salesforce automation software) as a standalone product left Oracle and started his own company, Siebel Systems. 

Siebel Systems became the lead SFA solution on the market, and its contact management system closely resembled that of modern CRM solutions. As it was a new product it did not yet have a standalone name, being referred to as CIS (Customer Information System), Enterprise Customer Management (ECM) and CRM. Eventually, though CRM won. 

The end of the 90s marks also the rise of the first primitive SaaS (Salesforce), which was largely left to its own devices by the other vendors. When the “dot-com” bubble hit, the CRM industry took a massive hit before returning to force in the second half of the 00s. Microsoft introduced Dynamics CRM and Oracle (Siebel’s former employer) acquired Siebel Systems. 

Eventually, in 2007 the modern CRM was born when Salesforce introduced its Cloud-based Force.com, proving that Cloud solutions could be tailored to various needs. 

In today’s article 

The value of a proper CRM system has at this point become almost legendary if you are seeking higher customer retention rates, better customer tracking, and data organization you will want CRM software. With the rise of AI and the prevalence of Marketing Automation – there is a new trend on the rise, CRM Automation. 

What you will find out by reading this article:

  • What is CRM Automation;
  • The role of Marketing Automation and;
  • The Pros and Cons of CRM Automation;  

Depending on the nature of your business you may just be starting with your search for CRM Software or you may be willing to take the next step, let us be your guide. 

CRM Automation – what, how and why? 

Automation refers in this case to the ability of a given CRM software to be able to execute repetitive manual tasks without the continuous involvement of an employee. Having an automated CRM tool enables your business to save time when handling your customers and allows your employees to engage in more in-depth relationships with potential and existing customers. 

The software is often enough powered by AI to ensure that it can automate its tasks. In most cases, it requires some prior set-up so that it can execute its tasks. But you will find that plenty of CRM solutions already automate a lot of tasks for you. For example, if connected to your email account, they will automatically track interactions between your salesforce and your customers, as well as adding customers directly into your database. Find out how Artecha can help you with your CRM automation. 

Automating your CRM has the added benefit of simply removing the hassle of engaging in continuous mundane tasks for your team. However, here are six more reasons as to why you should engage in CRM Automation.  

The case for CRM and Marketing Automation

A great example of a company that automates both its CRM and Marketing is Sephora. Sephora is renowned for its beauty products and it has an outstanding reputation for when it comes down to its customer service. A Sephora shopper spends an average amount of $33.17 on skincare products, these are mostly recurring customers who are part of Sephora’s Beauty Insiders loyalty program. With the fact that it sports over 17 million members, it has to rely on automation to provide its loyal shoppers with their rewards. The icing on the cake here is the fact that 80% of sales come from its loyalty program members. 

Automation as such is used for the maintenance of continuous customer relations between the business and the customer. Having to do so manually, would be a time-draining task that would require multiple employees, by automating Sephora not only lowers its personnel expenses but also maintains better relations. 

In most cases, CRM software is developed in a web framework, such as Ruby-on-Rails. Other options include Python/Django and Node.js. When developing a CRM solution it is important to understand the nature of the business for which it is designed. At Artecha we can create a CRM solution tailored to the specifics of your business. Schedule a call with us – to talk about your business and how CRM Automation could benefit you.

The key takeaways here are: 

  • Recurring customers are worth more
  • Automating your CRM and Marketing will drive long-term benefits
  • Loyalty programs are great for automation 

The role of Marketing automation 

Let us start off by stating a crucial point. Marketing automation is NOT CRM Automation. The two co-exist and both play a vital role in your business, but they are not the same. With that being said, let us dive into the differences. 

Marketing Automation is mostly focused on the top and middle of the Marketing Funnel (or Sales Funnel), whereas CRM Automation focuses almost solely on the bottom of the Funnel. In this case, marketing automation, of course, does for Marketing what CRM Automation does for Sales. It automates mundane and repetitive tasks. Nowadays though Marketing Automation is not just the process of automating Email campaigns – it also integrates with Social Media to help you schedule your posts and much more. That is, however, its key aspect, campaigns. 

Marketing is still about generating leads, for that purpose you can run various campaigns to find and acquire those leads, but at some point, you will need to move those leads further along the funnel – and that is where CRM Automation comes into full-force. 

CRM Automation helps take the information from the automated Marketing campaigns and begins to qualify its leads by providing a rating. The more information is fed into the CRM system the more it will be able to assess the value of a potential lead obtained through the automated Marketing process. 

This is why the best CRM Automation software integrates with the best Marketing Automation software.

Benefits of CRM Automation 

The amount of value you can obtain from implementing CRM Automation within your business depends on a lot of factors, but it can be summarized in five cohesive points.

  1. Save valuable time by automating repetitive time-consuming tasks
  2. Help qualify and zoom-in on better prospects 
  3. Improve sales conversion rates
  4. Positively impact the general customer satisfaction rate
  5. Boost company Profits 

As you can see the points do follow a chronological order, and this makes perfect sense. As your Sales Reps can automate tasks they can focus on obtaining more information from potential customers with the time they gain through automation. This, in turn, allows the CRM Automated software to obtain more information about said prospects, which can identify which prospects are more likely to convert. That helps with better conversion rates, whilst also helping out your Customer Service at a later stage. All-in-all it boosts your company’s profit! 

B2B and CRM Automation 

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Artificial intelligence to optimize the relationship with customers

working on computer

Artificial Intelligence is no longer something remote and from science fiction, it has become part of our lives and will increasingly be a daily tool both in businesses and in personal life. 

Real-time artificial intelligence is a way of completely transforming the customer experience. The highly personalized customer interactions are theoretically the optimal approach. AI allows a better understanding of customers in different contexts and channels, it can detect certain signals and understand the unique intent of each customer before he acts. Based on real-time data, AI is able to provide customized offers automatically or guide customer service operators to propose the most suitable offer at the most appropriate time. In highly regulated sectors, artificial intelligence can be a valid transparency tool to demonstrate why you are presenting a specific offer to specific customers.

In order for artificial intelligence to bring significant results, it is useful to clarify the meaning of customer experience as a sequence of brand-customer interactions through different touch points along the way, throughout its life cycle. It is a matter of managing everything in the best way since the impact of these interactions are crucial to guarantee a better experience, capable of generating more loyal customers and ready to promote the brand externally. 

Marketing can align content with the indications that come from AI and innovate the strategy, thanks to models based on both company data and external information. Thanks to the knowledge of customer behavior, it is also possible to carry out predictive and more effective target analyses to convey online content closer to the customer’s interests and e-mail campaigns, messages on smartphones and advertising.

A fact that will amaze, customers prefer to solve their problems themselves. In 2012, a Forrester research reported that 67% of people used online FAQ guides in that year, in 2015 Forrester repeated the search and in just 3 years, the percentage increased to as much as 81% and is in continuous growth. In the digital age, nobody wants to wait and for an answer by waiting on the phone and with the chatbots, voice bots and virtual assistants it is possible to avoid these bad experiences related to waiting. 

You can land on the brand’s website, open the chat and get the answer you are looking for automatically, the same with a call with the voice bot. They are not perfect yet, but these customer support tools improve every day by learning from layered questions, nuances of writing styles and tone of voice. 

Generic content and communications no longer work, consumers today are much more selective than they used to be and are constantly looking for experiences tailored for them that perfectly respond to their needs, preferences, and objectives. Research has shown that 49% of consumers confess that they are more likely to buy on impulse if they receive a personalized message from the brand. Artificial Intelligence platforms do not suffer the stress of everyday life, they can be programmed to always be positive, even when dealing with a very demanding or nervous customer. 

Keep in mind that 82% of consumers are willing to leave a brand if the customer service is not good enough, so investments in artificial intelligence are essential. According to recent research, 52% of consumers still have difficulties finding the product they are looking for online, therefore 68% choose the second choice if the first one is not available or not present online. 

Customer Experience today must embrace new technologies and adopting Artificial Intelligence tools means making the customer support process simpler and leaner. This ensures that we prioritize and respond effectively to customer needs. At the same time, buyers feel encouraged to connect with your brand.

Insights are obtained from the analysis that allows you to predict what customers will want and expect – and even prevent them. Accenture has found that 89% of customers are frustrated by having to repeat their problems to multiple agents, so knowing in advance what customers want is a powerful tool. AI, analytics and automation can help offer customers this experience, using predictive engagement.

Predictive engagement tools allow you to understand in advance what customers think, so you can interact with them when, where and how they want – even before they get in touch. Analytics can show that customers who have had a specific problem tend to have another type of problem as well. 

The use of predictive involvement allows you to ask questions and verify the second problem in the same chat, reducing calls, improving the effectiveness of the first contact and overall customer satisfaction.

The best customer service is preventive and is based on knowing what customers think. 

Predictive analytics and engagement concern the prediction of customer behavior, arriving early when necessary and offering agent support to customers browsing the site and improving the overall experience by identifying and interacting with potential customers and at the time and through right channels. About 67% of customers motivate their abandonment with the poor customer experience, but only 1 out of 26 dissatisfied customers actually complain: the others simply leave. Therefore, good customer experience is critical to reducing customer loss.

That’s why AI can help a lot to increase customer satisfaction and therefore also your turnover.

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Machine Learning as a new brain for the business

software development

We currently live in the data era, in which a large amount of it is collected and stored every day.

In the time this article was written:

• There are 4,156,513,325 users on the Internet, it would take more than 128 years to count them.

• 1,755,606,975 websites on the Internet.

• 168.673.726.872 e-mails sent only today.

• 4,723,747,823 Google searches 

• 4,033,234 blog posts 

• 4,553,543,234 YouTube video views today only.

This is a lot of data to manage, even for computers. 

Machine Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that offers computers the possibility of learning without being explicitly programmed.

In the field of computer science, machine learning is a variation of traditional programming in which a machine has the ability to learn something from the data independently, without receiving explicit instructions about it, in essence, learns from experience.

ML is a field of study that exploits the principles of computer science, automation and statistics to create statistical models and to further improve the performance of an algorithm in identifying patterns in the data


These models are generally used to do two things: 

1. Forecasting: predicting the future based on past data 

2. Inference: discovering patterns in the data

Difference between ML and AI: there is no universal agreement on the distinction between ML and artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence usually concentrates on programming computer to make decisions (based on ML models and sets of logical rules), whereas ML focuses more on predicting the future.

They are highly interconnected fields and, for most non-technical purposes, are the same.

The rudimentary algorithm with which every Machine Learning logoic starts is a linear regression algorithm.

Regression is a method of modeling a target value based on independent predictors. This method is mainly used for predicting and researching the cause and effect relationship between variables. Regression techniques differ mainly based on the number of independent variables and the type of relationship between independent and dependent variables.

New technologies have forced companies to change the way they interact with their customers.

Machine learning is also used to have very detailed data on its customers, in order to be able to meet their needs in the best possible way.

B2C

People from different disciplines are trying to apply AI to make their tasks easier and more efficient. For example, economists use AI to predict future market prices to make a profit, doctors use AI to classify whether a tumor is malignant or benign, meteorologists use AI to predict the weather, recruiters human resources use AI to check the candidates’ resume to see if the applicant meets the minimum criteria for the job, etc.

One of the ways to use machine learning is to improve the online shopping experience, personalizing it as much as possible.

Sales processes can be easily automated through chatbots that act as if they were human beings, guiding the customer and giving advice.

An example is Netflix, which recommends TV series and films based on what has already been seen, or the use of chatbots that interact with the potential customer as if they were human beings.

Healthcare

AI applications can provide personalized medical and radiographic readings. Personal health care workers can act as life coaches, reminding you to take pills, exercise or eat healthier.

Manufacturing

AI is able to analyze corporate IoT data while streaming from connected equipment to predict expected load and demand using recurring networks, a specific type of deep learning network used with sequence data.

Retail

AI offers virtual shopping features that offer personalized recommendations or present the different purchase options to the consumer. Technologies for inventory management and site configuration will also be improved with AI.

Sports

In this field, AI can be used to capture and analyze game images, provide coaches with reports on how to better organize a team, for example, including optimizing positions on the pitch and strategy.

The most common languages ​​and frameworks used nowadays or software development with regards to Machine Learning are Python and R with the support of HTML as browser.

B2B

Another advantage in the use of machine learning is also that of being able to have more and more updated information on existing customers and potentials. With machine learning, it will always be easier to have a list of potential customers knowing already how to interact with them, as you will already have all the necessary data.

 Taken as a whole, Machine Learning can have multiple uses and can be very useful if combined with a strategy that aims to optimize the company on all levels.

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Best development languages in 2019

laptop software development

Dart and Flutter ranked #1 and #2 for the fastest-growing language and open source projects.

Over the past year, worldwide developers collaborated in more than 370 primary languages on GitHub.  Among the top 10 programming languages, C#, Python and Shell climbed the list this year, while Ruby and Java fell in popularity. That’s according to the code repository’s annual Octoverse report, which also reveals a massive increase in the use of Flutter.

Flutter was launched by Google in December 2018. Version 1.12 was released at the Flutter Interactive event in December 2019.  Over the last year Flutter has been the second-fastest growing project on GitHub. Contributions rose 279 percent over and Flutter is now the third largest project by contributors, with over 13,000 contributors. While it’s relatively new, more than one million developers are using Flutter at beginning of 2020.

Flutter is a free, open-source Software Development Kit (SDK) for crafting interactive, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. It is a cross-platform framework that enables developers to write native mobile apps in Dart a programming language, created by Google. It benefits from Dart and can be compiled into native code and communicates with the target platform without bridge and context switching. For some developers, Dart is similar to Ruby, while others find the resemblance to Java.

What’s new?

While releasing version 1.12 Google announced that Flutter was the first UI platform designed for ambient computing.  Ambient computing is a term that incorporates several distinct concepts. It is a combination of hardware, software, user experience, and machine/human interaction and learning. The idea is that developers need to code their apps just once using Google’s Dart programming language and have them run flawlessly across all of those platforms, without needing to change the code for each version.

What Is Exceptionally Good about Flutter Framework?

Flutter has proprietary UI components of Flutter UI builder, already adapted to native mobile operating systems. For iOS, it’s a Cupertino widget set, while for Android, it’s Material Design widgets. Moreover, everything from classes to layout structure is a widget. Without traditional WebViews, developers can code much faster and obtain fully-customizable designs by changing each element in whatever way possible. By implementing a widget once, it will work just the same on different devices, which gives programmers more confidence in their products.

The other unique feature that sets Flutter apart from the rest is that:

  • Flutter has a thin layer of C/C++ code, and it implements most of its operations (compositing, gestures, animation, framework, widgets, etc.) in Dart
  • Flutter can be compiled to JavaScript and can be executed by browsers.
  • Dart allows code reuse between mobile apps and web apps.  App Store demands applications to be dynamic and Dart perfectly deals with the task using Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) compilation strategy. It is also capable of using a Just-In-Time compilation in the course of the development process. Stateful hot reload (necessarily in debug mode) gives a programmer the ability to make changes and see the result on the emulator in under a second. AOT compilation allows the applications written on Dart to launch faster, take up less space, and save battery life.

With Flutter Google is paving the way to the future of cross platform development. Developers often need to compromise between productivity and quality. They choose to develop separate apps for iOS and Android or turn to a cross-platform solution that fails to deliver native experiences. Flutter was designed to bridge this gap.

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3 steps to Cyber Security for your business

steps to cybersecurity

Every year the Internet is being used by more people and with the IoT, Machine Learning and RPA uprising businesses are more eager to innovate and digitize in order to remain competitive. At the same time companies face the risk of cyber attacks to their own Intellectual Properties and Sensitive Data. Developing a cyber security strategy and a control framework to mitigate any operational and IT risks is crucial in today’s markets. Companies need to improve enterprise’s IT security system so that sensitive data does not leak. Thinking about the safety of an enterprise in advance by involving employees and training them is crucial. We have prepared our set of steps to cybersecurity.

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What does security really mean?

steps to cybersecurity for business

What do we understand today under «security» and «informational security»? Security is a state without any threat. Information security is the practical protection of information. If an enterprise has a customer database, it is considered very sensitive information, that needs to be protected.

Here are 3 aspects of informational security:

  • Confidentiality – no one has access to the data from the outside, no one who does not work at your enterprise and to whom such access is not provided;
  • Immunity – no one could discreetly change the existing data in the system;
  • Availability – so that employees and authorized clients can access the necessary information at any time;

On the way to implementing cybersecurity strategy there are some steps to follow:

First step: understand the structure of the information system of an enterprise and identify the most effective ways to improve it. This will take time, but it will contribute to the further successful development of the enterprise. It is important to pay attention to information assets. They always have to be highly protected from external attacks by hackers. For small and medium-sized enterprises, the three most important information assets are as follows – customer data, various lists, and contracts. This sensitive information must be carefully protected, as dishonest competitors may try to hack into the customer database.

Second step: risk assessment test. It will help to understand which data is sensitive within the enterprise. What measures should be taken to protect them? Such an assessment will also lead to a deeper understanding of cybersecurity issues among staff and management. Any company, before starting cooperation with any third party, is always recommended to conduct a risk assessment test. For example, an enterprise attracts a supplier, whose task is to develop a mobile application. In order to realize the task, the enterprise must give the supplier access to its IT system, and this creates a certain risk zone.

Third step: regular employee training. An important role is also played by employee training, so that potential attacks on the IT systems of an enterprise can be timely prevented. Training for employees can be carried out with the help of the IT department and attracting IT consultants. Recently, it has become popular to organize so-called «hackathons». These are intensive 48-hour technology marathons devoted to security and IT topics. While shaping the internal culture of a start-up enterprise, the support of management is very important. If security is important for the leader, it will be important for employees.

Conclusion

In order to create an effective culture of cybersecurity at the enterprise, you need to constantly think about risks and talk about them with employees. The founder of a new enterprise must act consistently and thoughtfully. If there is not enough attention paid to the risks, at some point the data leak may take place. Being vigilant, investing into security and shape an enterprise culture in which cybersecurity is a value is a way to cybersecurity.

Artecha team with help you implement the right cybersecurity strategy.

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