Traveling Sales – Less Traveling in Business Thanks to Technology

The traveling salesman used to be a job position that people took on with vim and vigor, proud and happy to travel the country and the world to get the job done, no matter what it took. However, today, people don’t have the time or money to travel a lot, and companies are looking to save money wherever they can. Instead of losing business and not having traveling employees that can go to clients and seek out sales for the company, they choose to utilize technology, which can provide all of the same benefits of traveling to other businesses or clients, without the hassles or expenses.

No more tracking mileage, waiting on flights, and sleeping in stale hotel rooms. Some companies will still use these traveling employees from time to time, but more often than not, they stay home and utilize web conferencing software such as the ever popular GoToMeeting to connect with clients around the country and around the world. Through technology, a company in New York can connect with a customer or a partner in China just by turning on the computer and setting up webcam programs. You can have entire meetings and conferences online or one-on-one conversations that offer that personal touch without actually being there.

It’s convenient and affordable to use software like this to work with clients and partners in business. Instead of spending a lot of money on travel and losing valuable time due to layovers, time changes, and travel time, you can now do everything in real-time, without actually having to travel anywhere farther than your computer at the office. You can even work from home with these great conferencing tools, which is another way that companies are cutting costs without actually cutting back their staff. Whether your position used to involve a lot of travel or if you have employees that did, you can now rely on these great tools to save everyone time and money, making business much easier and more convenient for everyone.

Traveling sales is not a dying industry by any means. It just involves much less travel than it used to. Now that you can communicate with anyone around the world from a computer screen, there is no need to waste money on trips and expensive travel when it isn’t necessary. However, there is still a time and place for actual meetings and having that actual presence with customers and other businesses. You will need to determine which trips are critical to make for your business, and which ones can be exchanged for technological innovations like online meetings and chat programs.… Read More

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Cloud Outsourcing – The Coming Revolution in Business Services

Traditional models of outsourcing have required a high level of trust on behalf of the customer. Using cloud technology is reducing that risk at the same time as allowing significant savings. To date much of the discussion about cloud computing has been around the replacement of in-house infrastructure and software with cloud-based alternatives. The real power in cloud technology will be realised when entire non-core business processes are sent to the cloud, taking advantage of the technology and virtual teams. Cloud outsourcing flips the trust in favour of the client and facilitates access to expertise at a lower cost.

Non-core business functions often include accounting, payroll, human resources and the IT department itself. The investment by businesses in the infrastructure, software and people to run these functions is a significant drain on profitability. For many businesses the barrier to outsourcing these functions is the fear of losing control of these important functions. In contrast, the barrier for outsourcing companies to allow greater client control is the cost of allowing clients to access systems and business processes. The breakthrough is cloud technology, particularly software as a service, that provides inexpensive system access via the internet.

Taking payroll as an example, the traditional model requires a customer to sign up to using the business process, software and staff of the outsource provider. The customer may then sometimes access certain data from the system. The system is always the property of the outsource company as is the way of working. In this model clients have difficult questions to resolve. What if theirs is a unique business need not suited to the outsource companies systems? If they terminate how would they get their data back? What investment will they then need to make in a new system or a new outsource provider?

Cloud technology enables a reverse view of outsourcing, changing the whole provider/client relationship. Using software as a service the client allows access to their system. The client owns the data and tells the outsource provider how they want the process to work. This approach is highly empowering. It enables competitive advantage.

Entrepreneurial outsourcing providers are taking advantage of this new technology because it allows a larger market of outsource clients. The costs are significantly lower. Investment in infrastructure and software investment can be redirected to people and flexibility. Mutual competitive advantage is derived from quality people with a service orientation who provide expertise more quickly. Investing in flexibility reduces overhead – office costs and IT infrastructure – and flexible work at home employees are more efficient.

Less risk, lower cost and a higher service level is the outcome of the application of the new technology. Thus the real power of cloud computing is not in the replacement of IT systems but in the ability to send entire non-core functions to the cloud and therefore access standards of expertise that were previously not affordable for many small businesses.… Read More

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