A Record-breaking Approach to Digital Marketing

steve-brennan-bespoke

Bespoke Digital Agency Ltd is a marketing agency with two UK-based offices. With results-driven marketing being the name of the game, we find out more from Co-founder & CEO Steve Brennan about how the company keeps up the pace of its year-on-year success, especially as it has won Corporate Vision’s Best Lead-Gen Focused Website Specialists 2022.

 

With a site in London and one in the north, specifically Chorley in Lancashire, Bespoke Digital Agency Ltd (Bespoke) specialises in lead-gen websites and campaigns for service and manufacturing companies, with its main clientele typically having turnovers in the £1-100 million range.

 

Having been around for more than 20 years, the agency is no stranger to success and has generated more than £1 billion of online leads for its clients over the past two decades. In fact, maintaining this status and continuing to achieve record-breaking results for its clients through lead generation is one of the firm’s core values. “Breaking records for our clients helps us achieve record-breaking results for ourselves too – so we measure our retainer clients results every month against agreed goals,” explains Co-founder & CEO, Steve Brennan. “The aim is record-breaking results for every client, every month.”

 

Another of Bespoke’s core values is ‘right first time’ because Steve and the team understand that results alone are not enough and that for clients to be delighted with their website marketing, the service has to be accurate and efficient too. “Right first time is the mantra,” Steve elaborates. “When our client sees the work we’ve done for them it should be what they expect, and should delight them the first time they see it.”

 

The perfect end result wouldn’t be possible without its stellar team of hardworking and dedicated employees and Steve is keen to sing the praises of his employees. Having been employing developers and marketers for 20 plus years now, he has learned what works and what doesn’t. He says, “The first thing is we understand who fits well in our team – they’re thoughtful, they’re active listeners, they seek to understand clients in depth, they support one another and they’re passionate about digital. The second thing is we feel everybody can and should develop when they join us, they should take a step up on the career ladder.”

 

All new recruits at Bespoke have a three-year development plan, where there is a chance of promotion or significant progression after the initial three years. Steve works with team members to map out the training and goals to be achieved along the journey. “We’ve seen so many success stories, so many people happy in their jobs, knowing they’re developing a truly great career in digital, and we’re delighted for them when they’ve been with us a long time and move on to great things elsewhere,” he enthuses. “Our approach has been nationally recognised too – we’re one of the few digital agencies to have achieved the Investors in People status and we’re proud to have the plaque up on the wall of our office.”

 

During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, Steve and the team took time to reassess the agency and direction it was heading in, as did many businesses, using the downtime to reflect on how things could improve. “The lockdowns actually helped us from a business point of view,” he says. “It’s unusual to be presented with a situation where you’re forced to assess your business from top to bottom. We went back to basics with our positioning and marketing messages and began running campaigns focused around helping businesses achieve their lead-gen goals from the very first week of lockdown.”

 

Bespoke has been close to fully booked ever since and recently increased capacity slightly to take on a handful of new clients. “We understand our business much better now, it’s much leaner and more efficient,” Steve adds. “It’s enjoyable to be under pressure to deliver results, it means we fully engage with our clients’ businesses and understand their customers and their products. If we look ahead 10 years we think successful businesses will only buy results-oriented digital marketing so we’re pleased to already be providing that.”

 

One of the more recent successes for Bespoke was being recognised in the Corporate Vision Awards as the Best Lead-Gen Focused Website Specialists 2022 – a prestigious accolade within the sector which is testament to the commitment of the agency and its staff. But Steve and Bespoke aren’t about to rest on their laurels anytime soon – the agency started the year by winning two further large website and lead-gen retainer contracts, as the next generation of clients who’ll see record-breaking results with their digital marketing join the Bespoke roster.

 

For business enquiries, contact Steve Brennan at Bespoke Digital Agency Ltd via www.bespokedigital.agency.

6 Tips For Creating a Data Recovery Plan

Data Recovery

Most businesses deal with a lot of data in their operations. Handling this data is often a ‘make or break’ matter for any company, and data loss can be catastrophic for businesses, which is why it’s good to note that data loss can occur from the simplest of errors, such as faulty electrical connections of your systems. Therefore, it’s essential to have a data recovery plan to counter such occurrences. 

Here are seven tips for coming up with a sound data recovery plan:

 

1. Identify Your Threats

Start by laying out all your business processes and identify data loss risks. Possible threats include system failures, fires, or power loss, to name a few. Don’t overlook even factors that are ‘not likely’ to cause a problem. 

 

2. Map Out Your Data Recovery Plan

After listing the possible threats, lay down the different ways that could prevent those factors from actually causing data loss. After all, prevention is better than cure. 

Identify the processes that are most vital to your business so they can be prioritized during data recovery. Having a well-thought priority list will set the objectives of your recovery plan. This allows you to work backward, creating an easy step-by-step procedure to be followed.

It’s essential to make a plan that’s easy to understand. As part of the plan, define which communication channels to use and have a standardized process that your team should follow during a recovery procedure. This prevents confusion during an emergency that would reduce the effectiveness of the recovery plan.

 

3. Create a Response Team

Consider outsourcing an IT team that’ll be responsible for the data recovery process. It’s crucial to select a managed IT MSP company that’s familiar with the industry you operate in and one capable of taking care of your company’s specific IT needs.

Alternatively, you could have an in-house team that will deal with possible data loss and implement your recovery plan. The chosen members should be well-skilled, preferably with an IT background. Intensively train them to avoid errors during a recovery procedure that could render your plan useless. 

Allocate responsibilities to each of them to reduce confusion during implementation. With everyone knowing what to do, there’ll be no conflict on who’ll do what. However, just because everyone has a role doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be conversant with the whole process. This comes in handy if one of the members is absent during a recovery process. Their roles can be quickly taken over by another member.

 

4. Have Resources In Place

Besides having a data recovery plan in place, you need to have all the resources required. These resources include recovery software and backup storage. If you use hard drives as your storage preference, have spare units stored somewhere. Alternatively, this could be an opportunity for you to explore cloud-based storage.

Have all the manuals with you for your software, including their configuration procedures. In case of data loss because of software issues, you already know what to do to recover the data. This way, you spend less time figuring out how the software’s system recovery is done. 

 

5. Test Out Your Plan

It’s one thing to have a plan in place, and it’s another for it to actually work. Therefore, it’s crucial to test out your plan in preparation for the real thing. Your response team should be the one to run these tests.

Simulate a system failure and see how your team implements the plan. From this, you’ll learn the time spent recovering from a particular risk and identify the weak points. This way, you can make changes and improve your plan. Get insight from your IT team on possible alternatives.

 

6. Update Your Plan

As time goes by, your business is bound to grow larger. This means that a recovery plan laid out a few months ago might no longer scaled enough to suit your company’s growing needs. You’ll have to make changes so that your new recovery plan scales up relative to the amount of data your company is dealing with.

Take note that it’s also essential to update your plan every quarter even if no major changes come up to ensure that even minor changes to the system won’t mess it up. Moreover, you should consider putting someone in charge of ensuring your data recovery plan is consistently updated based on a schedule.

 

Conclusion

With these tips given above, you’re now in a position to create an effective data recovery plan to suit your business needs. The main take-home is to clearly outline each step of the plan for easier understanding and implementation.

The Company That Supplies Endless Success

Business Coaching

Founded by Tamara Jenkins, Protean Coaching is at the forefront of the coaching industry. Equipped with endless qualifications and a deep-rooted passion, Tamara’s business is changing lives across numerous sectors, and this includes small businesses. To put it simply, under Protean Coaching’s wing, no business is left behind – everyone has the opportunity to access the company’s teachings and change their lives for the better.

Protean Coaching is the future of business coaching. Through innovative methods, the company guides high-performing coaches, and executives to their full potential, all the while helping their businesses develop alongside. At its core, Protean Coaching is designed to empower, inspire, and nurture – an ideology that is reflected in the statement, ‘a top-performing athlete knows that they need a strong coach to help them succeed, so too do high performing individuals.’ 

From generating online leads to fishbowl discount strategies, Protean Coaching’s programmes are filled with business-changing advice. The company offers a blend of individual and group coaching alongside intensive training and development, all of which being complimented by consulting and advisory services to boards and business owners in people strategy, development, and implementation. In addition, the company endeavours to support other coaches in growing their own successful business. Indeed, each service is infused with quality and enthusiasm, as it drives people towards breaking through any challenges they may be facing.

Catering to clients from a number of industries, Protean Coaching typically aids small to medium sized businesses, owners, and entrepreneurs. Gaining clients through a variety of streams, including LinkedIn, social media, in-person events and personal referrals, the company draws in passionate, and driven individuals who are looking to level up their careers or businesses. Protean Coaching also works with those that need that external accountability and support. Overall, it hopes to drive, develop, and empower others to succeed – something that it accomplishes time and time again within its clientele.

A one-woman show, the company was founded by experienced coach and businesswoman Tamara Jenkins. Originally from Durban, South Africa, Tamara has been based in London for the past 10 years and has spent much of her time cutting her teeth in businesses ranging from start-ups to subsidiaries of Fortune 500 companies. Moreover, Tamara has been the recipient of two master’s degrees – an Executive MBA and an MA in Strategic Human Resource Management and Development – and is a qualified Executive Coach & mentor, Psychometric practitioner, and Training facilitator. Practicing what she preaches, Tamara has successfully managed multiple cost reduction projects, and has also managed a successful project that targeted an increase of one million in revenue over the course of three months – exceeding the goal, Tamara delivered three million.

Whilst Protean Coaching currently has no other full-time staff, it is home to a small number of virtual and support assistants. Their role is to aid in the day-to-day running of the business which, in turn, allows Tamara to have more time supporting her clients. Throughout 2022, there are plans to expand the team, with the aim to introduce more full-time support staff. Additionally, Protean Coaching is currently looking for coaches to invest in. The company is on a mission to find dynamic and enigmatic coaches who will help support the company as it grows, and in return it will aid the coaches in building their own businesses. Such coaches must share the same passion as Tamara, being ambitious and willing to grow, whilst also maintaining a caring nature.

Consequently, it is vital that any prospective coaches align with Protean Coaching’s core values. The company strives for innovation, and through connection, creativity, and strategy, aims to make an impact. Driving motivation and, subsequently, success into the heart of companies is the very thing the company hopes to accomplish. It is imperative that the company abides by these values – creativity, transformation, and empowerment – to achieve its overarching goal. Simply, Protean Coaching exists based upon the desire to powerfully coach thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs towards creating exceptional, long-lasting transformations in their lives.

It is such focus that makes the company stand out in what has become an industry saturated with underqualified, fraudulent businesses. To the core, the business is unique – it utilises a proprietary software to analyse and assess clients’ businesses, which allows Tamara to run the client’s business through 497 million weighted algorithmic sequences. This then generates a roadmap the client can follow which offers a detailed solution for inexpensive marketing and tapping into new revenue streams. Another outstanding aspect is the aforementioned qualifications that Tamara has gained. She simply has the necessary skills, and education, which sets her apart from many in the industry, and further proves her credibility and professionalism. However, Tamara isn’t just highly qualified, she also has the interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in the industry. Warm, friendly, and notably funny, such traits have infused her coaching style, leaving Protean Coaching the go-to for a pleasant and welcoming experience.

It is safe to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world, and that it has destroyed the lives and businesses of millions. Thankfully, many within the coaching industry were able to seamlessly translate their businesses onto online platforms – this includes Protean Coaching. Online services have allowed for a far greater international reach and has also reduced the need for individuals and business-owners to alter their schedules to make time for travel. In addition, it has also made services more accessible – people are able to attend from the comfort of their own home or working environment, henceforth, the coaching process is able to work more effectively. The more relaxed someone is, the more information they’ll retain.

Going into 2022, Protean Coaching is setting its sights on serving and creating lifelong transformations for over 100 business owners and entrepreneurs. Indeed, expansion and evolution are expected to continuously take place throughout the year, and hopefully equip the business with the tools to aid thousands of clients in a year. Ultimately, Protean Coaching is planning on continuing its mission, aiding people around the globe in developing their businesses and, fundamentally, their lives. As a result, Protean Coaching wants to cultivate a community of powerful people with endless talents and affluence that pay their success and prosperity forward in the world.

For further information, please contact Tamara Jenkins or visit https://protean-coaching.com/

What is Succession Planning?

Business owners should be aware of the importance of succession planning. Succession planning is an essential asset for establishments. It is all about developing a backup talent in case your key or executive employees file a leave. On the other hand, succession planning is also essential for replacing employees when they are fired, filed for retirement, or die.

Succession planning solutions should be implemented in all companies worldwide. This concept is essential to master, especially if you are managing small or large companies in non-profit or for-profit sectors.

The succession planning process is essential in helping most company owners to build a line of talented individuals who can take the position of other employees when sudden staff changes happen. Doing so will keep your company running.
Before you begin with your succession planning, you must assess the different staffing needs that may happen in the future. After assessing the staffing needs, you also need to create a set of effective strategies that will help you to fill those gaps. You can do this by creating leadership development.

One of the important aspects of succession planning is the company’s HR department. In addition, you will also need assistance from other stakeholders and top leaders. Other words for succession planning include replacement planning.

The Importance of Succession Planning

As mentioned earlier, succession planning is the key to keeping your business running despite various role vacancies.
The following are some of the benefits you may get when you implement effective succession planning in your establishment:

– Invest in employees wellbeing Invest in employees wellbeing, give them benefits they can be proud of
– Determine possible skill gaps that need to be solved
– Maintain a high internal company knowledge

In general, succession planning is a process that helps company owners to determine workers who have the right sets of talents and capabilities that can do the job of a vacant employee position.

How Does Succession Planning Work

You may use various strategies when you decide to integrate succession planning into your company. But keep in mind that the strategic planning concerning succession planning may vary depending on your organization’s goals and size.

On the other hand, the basic fundamentals that establish successful succession planning include:
Asking for the support and assistance of your executive director, CEO, or other key stakeholders available in your establishment
Assess the positions as well as your key employees. After that, focus on a position you think is the most important

Determine who are the possible employees who can take over key leadership positions. Beyond that, you also need to prepare development and learning plans intended to accommodate a larger range of workers. Doing so will help you achieve a wider succession plan.
You need to build a professional and effective learning development process that will promote your succession plans. Make sure that these processes are relevant to experiential development, including cross-functional moves and job shadowing.

Lastly, you should have the best HR software that will help you to integrate an effective succession planning process and strategy.

Reasons Why You Need to Adapt Succession Planning

If your company does not have succession planning yet, what causes you not to prepare one? Not having proper succession planning can cause company breakdown when sudden employee problems arise. After all, you have no idea when and why your employee is leaving your company.

6 Ways to Improve Your Business’s Financial Planning Approach for 2022

Financial Plan

The start of a new year is a time to review and develop goals for the following year. This process helps individuals set goals and develop a strategy to improve their financial health. Moreover, the new year brings new opportunities to improve your financial planning.  

The financial plan is a vital part of any business, and it’s often considered one of the most challenging areas to develop. Having a sound financial plan can help you attract investors and manage risks. There are several ways to help you plan for the future and avoid making costly mistakes. Listed below are some of them:  

 

1. Hire a Fractional CFO 

This Chief Financial Officer is a part-time CFO who provides outsourced services to small enterprises. Using a fractional CFO rather than a full-time independent contractor saves money.  

While sales size is a primary indicator of whether a company should use a fractional CFO, it’s not the deciding factor. Thus, knowing what a CFO should do helps determine if you need a part-time or full-time CFO.  

For example, a company not developing rapidly may not need to communicate to investors or bank underwriters. In this case, a fractional CFO may be preferable. In addition, you may look for onboarding fractional CFO services to take care of your strategic planning, cash flow management, negotiation, and financial analysis.   

 

2. Create a Finance Process Map 

You may improve your financial systems this 2022 by starting to identify their flaws. Furthermore, you may detect faulty processes that need fixing. The quickest option is to create a finance process map. 

A finance process map depicts processes in the same order as the organization—anything from budget approvals to mileage reimbursements. A business may identify job completion times and possible barriers by mapping all intermediate phases in conventional procedures. This is a great way to start discussing process improvements. 

 

3. Reassess Your Portfolio Allocations 

Aside from creating a finance process map, it’s also an excellent time to reassess your portfolio allocations. This is especially important since the bull market has left many investors’ portfolios overweight inequities.  

The month of January is also a great time to consider whether your portfolio is overweight in any area. It would be best to reassess your asset allocation and rebalance if it is. The purpose of a balanced portfolio is to achieve your goals in terms of risk and return. Thus, it’s essential to start with a strategy and allocate your assets according to your business needs. 

 

4. Automate Some Business Process 

Automate finance operations that are inefficient and error-prone by using cloud computing. When corporate executives are aware of the obstacles limiting the Finance department’s efficiency, they may devise innovative strategies for maximizing effect while carrying out vital financial procedures. One of these steps is automation.  

If you automate repetitive financial planning procedures, you may significantly reduce your difficulties in this business process. Here’s the list of financial strategies that may be made more efficient by the use of automation: 

  • Billing and payment processing in the accounts payable and receivable department 
  • Financial forecasting and budgeting based on analyzing and interpreting data 
  • Clean and audit-ready financial statements for cash flow management 
  • Reimbursements and card reconciliations are part of expense management 

You may save your finance team’s time and effort by moving to a system that enables data integration and automates data gathering and consolidation. As a result of using automation, financial professionals perceive a reduction in errors, shorter cycle times, and higher productivity. 

 

5. Be Flexible and Adaptable

As businesses adapt to the changes brought about by the rapid advancements and various circumstances, they need to adopt a hybrid approach to work seamlessly across multiple departments and work environments. This approach can help minimize costs while still adapting to changes.   

For instance, many businesses were forced to work remotely due to the pandemic. Regardless of its skeptics, many were surprised by how it turned out. Many are investing in technology suitable for remote working, like application software for specific purposes. Others ran scenarios using the financial planning models they created.

Moreover, businesses that have moved their focus from the conventional brick-and-mortar to eCommerce and internet marketing are an excellent illustration of this. As a result, they could identify places where they might save money while still investing in others. 

 

6. Prepare for Possible Valuation 

Because it’s never too early to improve your business valuation, doing so can help you avoid getting carried away with the high valuations currently prevalent in the market. Many factors that will make your business stand out to investors are as simple as good business practices. These include developing a solid financial structure, building a reliable management team, and investing in sales and marketing. 

 

Takeaway 

Since the pandemic has affected many, if not all, businesses, several firms have started improving their financial processes. It can play a huge role in helping your employees reach their goals. As you track your business revenue and prepare for your 2022 financial planning, make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest business trends. Doing so will help you spot potential issues and allow you to make changes as they arise. 

Starting a Business In 2022: How to Get a Good Headstart

Business Start Up

Running a business will change your life; it will teach you how to be patient, and it’s a true test of character for those around you. You’ll find out who will support you and who is willing to go through each step with you from start to finish. Moreover, it’s also a gamble because you never know if you will succeed or not.   

The decisions you will make will determine your fate. And you’ll learn that there is no right time to start a business. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in sales and remember not to take shortcuts. Furthermore, starting a business can become overwhelming as you don’t know what to work on first, whether you think of business names, logos, or taking on killer deal.  

There will be a lot of trial and error and setbacks in finding what will work for you, but don’t worry; here is a step-by-step guide on how you can get started on your business this year:  

 

  • Find Your Business Niche 

Before starting your business venture, do a self-assessment and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to find the deeper meaning of why you want to start a business. It can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Think about what you can bring to the table: skills, knowledge of the industry, and whether it will be a product or service. Furthermore, think about short-term and long-term business goals.  

 

  • Develop the Idea 

After knowing your business niche, think about its sustainability and if it’s considered a necessity. If you’re unsure, conduct a survey; ask your family and friends for their feedback and suggestions. Keep an open mind and think about alternative options. Perhaps, choose a venture related to your strengths, skills, and areas of expertise. Furthermore, it’s best to put your idea to the test and validate if it will work to avoid wasting your time and resources.   

 

  • Dig Deeper and Do Research 

Identify your target market and think about who would be interested in your product or service. In addition, these people should have the willingness to buy and have purchasing power. You have to keep in mind that not everyone will understand and appreciate what you’re putting out there. Therefore, focus on your audience, research their common traits, and use that to your advantage. After identifying your audience, start contemplating what makes your business different.  

 

  • Outdo Your Competition 

Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes and contemplate pet peeves, non-negotiables, and deal-breakers in every business. Once established, you can focus on their needs and address their concerns, think of what you can do differently, and how you can improve. Thus, providing solutions to their problems will give you the upper hand. It means you’re after customer satisfaction over profit. Moreover, the consumers can easily tell what sets you apart from your competitors, so they will keep doing business with your company.  

 

  • Make a Business Plan 

Take your time creating a business plan, do your research, include your objectives, strategies, goals, and deadlines. A business plan is a roadmap to track your progress and a guide in turning your ideas into reality. It’s an important tool to assess how far you are from your goals and how you can grow your business. In addition, business plans should be reviewed and updated to check if there have been improvements. Furthermore, this is also used to know how much you’d need to start your business.  

 

  • Assess Your Finances 

It’s very important to have an idea of how much capital is needed to start the business and how much you should set aside just in case it won’t go according to the original plan. Your ultimate goal is to make money, identify where the money goes, and manage cash flows. Furthermore, it’s essential to have a record of everything and keep track of your revenue for the bookkeeper’s sake. You can even open a business account or get a business credit card for transparency, easier transactions, and separate your personal and business finances.  

 

 

Conclusion: 

Suppose you’re interested in putting your entrepreneurial skills to the test. In that case, you can refer to the guide: think about the kind of business you want to do, improve it, find your target market, know your competitors, create a business plan and follow your budget. These are only basic steps you can follow, but you can tweak them to make them suitable for your business.  

It will be a memorable and momentous part of your life as the experience will be irreplaceable. You’ll learn important life lessons, meet different people and create a path for yourself.

The Three Industries Experiencing a Technological Revolution

Machine learning being used in a manufacturingsetting

If we asked you to think of an industry that has been revolutionised by technology, you’d probably have no problem answering. In fact, the more difficult question might be naming an industry that hasn’t experienced digital transformation, particularly in the past year.

It’s clear that some industries are more technologically advanced than others. Naturally, technology businesses including Apple, Microsoft, and Google are leading the way. Media, financial services, and energy providers are some of the most digitised sectors.

Some sectors, meanwhile, are still in their digital infancy. But that’s about to change. Here, we detail three sectors that are on the cusp of a digital revolution.

 

Haulage benefits from connected digital systems

There will never be a scenario where we don’t rely on haulage and transport companies. These businesses proved to be a vital source of support for us all during the coronavirus pandemic. With many stores closed as the result of multiple national lockdowns, the public turned to online shopping, and we aren’t looking back. An Accenture survey found that this shift will continue in the long term as consumers see the benefit of shopping online.

This increased demand has massively impacted the sector. Hauliers which had already embraced digital technologies had a head-start. These industry leaders were able to take advantage of this increased demand for their services, using cloud systems to allow staff to work remotely and mobile technology to keep their wheels turning. Operators in sub-sectors including refrigerated food were essential to keeping the UK running during the initial national lockdown. Those serving the events, manufacturing, and catering sectors suffered an unavoidable drop in business.

The sector has historically been slow to adopt digital technologies. PwC’s latest sector report revealed that only 28% of businesses rated themselves as “digitally advanced”. But the technologies that are currently shaping the sector, including artificial intelligence, the cloud, blockchain, and robotics, are set to give the industry an incredible boost.

However, digital innovation doesn’t always have to come in the form of AI and robotics. In fact, this blue-sky thinking can cause executives to miss the most effective technologies right in front of them. Back-office systems including transport management solutions and logistics software can help businesses get a bird’s-eye view of their operational and financial performance and significantly increase productivity. A number of businesses in the sector report huge cost and time savings as a result of implementing these sector-specific digital solutions, which allowed them to go mobile and paperless. Others have deployed cloud-based solutions to allow them to manage their business growth effectively and keep teams working remotely, which is essential for a future society in which we rely on haulage more than ever before.

 

Healthcare takes advantage of AI and interoperability

The coronavirus pandemic also impacted the way we take care of our health. Many GP practices switched to remote phone or video appointments in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in the surgery. A plethora of mobile apps, including Patient Access and the NHS app, are now available to help alleviate pressure on the NHS and allow patients to self-serve and book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and access their medical records.

We’re also seeing advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of illnesses and conditions. Artificial intelligence is being tested in the detection and diagnosis of strokes to significantly reduce the long-term impact of strokes on a patient. Furthermore, Microsoft’s InnerEye technology is paving the way for automation in cancer treatment. The tool identifies lesions and tumours in body scans, automating a once-manual task and allowing NHS staff to speed up cancer treatments.

The NHS is also looking to build on its current successes with artificial intelligence by announcing the second round of the AI in Health and Care Award. Winning projects from the first round are currently being tested, and include a mobile app that uses urine samples to detect the early signs of kidney disease.

A current project which is set to revolutionise the NHS is the refresh of its legacy back-office systems. This was highlighted to the public when the WannaCry ransomware attack was able to successfully take down multiple NHS authorities because of its outdated technologies. A key focus for this project, in addition to strengthening the service’s cyber-security, is interoperability. This will allow key systems to share critical data effectively and securely. This project will also help the NHS improve key processes including the discharge of patients from inpatient care and mental health facilities, managing A&E operations, and medication prescriptions and application.

 

Manufacturing explores machine learning and robotics

The manufacturing sector has arguably experienced the biggest digital revolution of all time. Items that were once handmade are now fully automated, changing the landscape of the sector but also the job landscape. Now, the sector is making strides in exploring how humans and robotics can work together.

Machine learning is set to speed up the process of manufacturing materials like metallic alloys for aerospace, making the process more cost-effective and therefore more profitable. According to Deloitte, machine learning can improve the quality of a product by up to 35%. This machine learning is also being used to optimise the output of heavy manufacturing machinery, allowing the devices to run in auto-pilot mode and thus enabling manufacturers to produce products 24/7 with minimal to no supervision.

The sector is also uniquely positioned to benefit from the Made Smarter Adoption programme. The government initiative is designed to help businesses embrace digital technologies, modernise their operations, and create new jobs. For many, a lack of resources, guidance, and capital have been barriers to digitisation, and this programme is designed to help businesses in the manufacturing sector overcome these hurdles.

 

We’ve all witnessed how much technology has positively impacted businesses. There isn’t a single sector in the UK that hasn’t benefitted from digital technologies, but there are sectors whose uptake is slower than expected. Happily, many of these sectors are currently on the cusp of realising the potential of digital.

Prioritising Levels of Risk in Your Cybersecurity Assessment

Cyber security plan

Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues for businesses. For the first time, it has been identified by security professionals as the single biggest risk to an organisation. Cybersecurity risks come in many forms but, while businesses need to protect against all threats, some are more urgent than others.

Prioritising the levels of risk associated with cybersecurity incidents will help you protect your business from the most pressing threats first. For example, if you have an unsupported operating system (OS) on your PCs, they are very likely to get breached, whereas your up-to-date systems pose less risk.

But how do you determine the biggest risks in your business? Read on to find out how.

 

Identify potential cybersecurity risks

The first step is to identify the overarching themes of the cybersecurity risks your business faces. We recommend doing this by listing the areas of your business that pose a risk. The main areas include software risks, hardware risks, data risks, vendor risks and personnel risks. There is some crossover between these categories, but it’s important to understand how they can each pose a risk to your business.

 

Software risks

Your software could be responsible for compromising your business’ cybersecurity for a number of reasons. The most common issue is outdated or unpatched systems, which are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Software providers continually patch their systems to plug newly-discovered security gaps, so it’s critical to apply those patches as quickly as possible. Modern cloud-based applications will automatically update, giving you peace of mind.

 

Hardware risks

In a similar vein, outdated hardware can pose a risk to your business. Outdated devices often aren’t compatible with security or software updates, meaning you’re left with multiple vulnerabilities. Think about new phone releases; the physical technology improves, which allows for advancements in the phone’s functionalities. Outdated hardware works in the same way but is particularly pertinent to security issues.

 

Data risks

Now that GDPR is in force, businesses are required to safeguard any personally identifiable information (PII) they hold. All businesses will hold some PII, whether that’s on customers, employees, target customers or a combination. Data risks cross over with software and hardware risks because, in the modern business world, you’re likely to have most of this data stored on PCs and in business-critical systems.

 

Vendor risks

One of the most pertinent risks associated with vendors is those who deal with your business’ sensitive data and how they do it. Many organisations use ERP and BMS systems to store their customer data and import it into their email marketing platform. Understanding your providers’ policies and security measures will help you understand the risk associated with them holding your data.

 

Personnel risks

We all know hackers are targeting businesses with more force than ever. But what about your internal security threats? Human error accounts for as much as 95% of all cybersecurity breaches. So, while you need to put measures in place to keep cybercriminals out, you need to look beyond them. Your workforce represents the biggest attack surface in your business. It’s the frontline of your defence. So, if your people aren’t educated on cybersecurity risks, they could unknowingly compromise your business.

 

Identify potential threat categories

Once you’ve identified the areas of your business which are likely to experience cybersecurity incidents, it’s time to look at the threat categories. This can include:

  • Data theft (including phishing attacks or stealing data from your systems)
  • Data destruction (including ransomware attacks which encrypt data)
  • Backdoor attacks (for example, hackers gaining remote access to your systems)
  • Accidental data loss (such as an employee losing a USB stick with sensitive data)

You can then look at tying these threat categories to your cybersecurity risk categories. So, for example, data theft can come under software risks, hardware risks and personnel risks. Data destruction can relate to hardware risks, but also vendor risks because your provider could suffer a cyber-attack.

 

Identify threat scenarios

Finally, you should tie all of that information together to predict the threat scenarios that are likely to hit your business.

Let’s say 50% of your PCs still operate on Windows 7. That’s a software risk because Microsoft is no longer providing updates for the outdated operating system. This leaves it vulnerable to hacker attacks. A hacker is able to penetrate your system via a backdoor attack and execute remote code, which spreads across your entire network of PCs. This is an immediate and pressing threat because hackers are already exploiting Windows 7 vulnerabilities, so you should upgrade those PCs as a matter of urgency.

Similarly, let’s say you have a common problem with your staff (a personnel risk) clicking links in phishing emails (data theft). Because this problem is so widespread, you should address it immediately. You can implement solutions like simulated phishing attacks. These will send fake phishing emails to your staff which replicate common, successful spam emails. If your people click on those links, they’re directed to training resources.

 

How to prevent cybersecurity incidents

Carrying out a cybersecurity risk assessment and prioritising certain areas based on their threat level is the first step in the process. You should use this assessment to determine the methods you put in place to bolster your security, which can include:

  • Modern anti-virus solutions
  • Backup and disaster recovery tools
  • Updated operating systems and software
  • Modern hardware
  • Staff training programmes

If your business isn’t in the cybersecurity space, why not tap into the expertise of an IT support service? These businesses are the experts in cybersecurity, meaning they’ll be able to recommend and implement the solutions which work best for your organisation. Working with a trusted security partner ensures you don’t miss out any critical areas of your business which need to be protected.

Issue 1 2022

Welcome to the first 2022 issue of Corporate Vision Magazine. A monthly publication dedicated to delivering the latest insight and news from across the corporate landscape.

Here we present you with a collection of companies that are making a huge difference to their industries. As a result of this, they have won some incredible and respected accolades that both inspire and encourage us to push ourselves towards a brighter future. Taking all kinds of businesses into account, and unravelling their glorious stories, we take a good look at what some very dedicated business people are achieving across a variety of industries.

Taking inspiration from the past and connecting it with the promise of a better future, these superb businesses are taking their industries by storm as they grow and develop at an exponential rate. From where we’re sat now, we can see the promise of a new dawn. As the phoenix rises from the ashes, many businesses have felt the heat throughout the pandemic but are beginning to spread their wings again.

The team at Corporate Vision sincerely hope that you are all doing well as we have begun a fresh new year. We all hope that this time of turmoil has taught us how to truly appreciate the positivity that we have in our lives, even through the darkest of days.

How to Improve User Experience with AI

Customer using live chat on an ecommerse website using their computer

Artificial intelligence or AI has greatly changed how people go about everyday life. From mobile devices with AI assistants to smart home products with smart home assistants, many forms of artificial intelligence make life easier. Artificial intelligence has also taken over major sectors such as manufacturing, health, and even security and slowly making its way into the world of eCommerce.

Integrating AI in the business model can help improve a company’s performance and provide customers with a more seamless user experience.

For any business to thrive, it not only needs to have a product, service, or system that delivers an excellent user experience to anyone using it. This comes down to the usability of the product, service, or system.

The user should be able to use it with ease and find it appealing enough to interact further with the brand or business. This is why delivering an excellent user experience should be a priority for all businesses in 2022.

 

What is user experience (UX)?

User experience or UX refers to how a user feels when interacting with a system, product, or service. It is simply how an individual feels when interacting with what is in front of them.

To determine whether a product, system, or service is providing the best user experience, a user needs to answer a few questions:

  • Can it be used? – an essential requirement for a good user experience is being able to use a system, product, or service.
  • Is it intuitive? – this refers to the usability of a system or service. If a user has to overthink about finding what they need from a service or system, the user experience is not the best.
  • Does it serve a need? – no matter how beautiful a product, system, or service is, it needs to be able to address the user’s needs for them to remain interested in it.
  • Is it valuable? – for any product, service, or system to provide a good user experience, it needs to deliver value.

If you are thinking about improving the user experience for your product, service, or system, here is how you can integrate artificial intelligence to improve UX.

 

How can AI improve user experience?

Artificial intelligence has significantly contributed to user experience, from introducing chatbots to making personalized ads possible. Here are 5 ways AI can improve UX.

 

Emotional AI

By 2022, personal use devices will be smarter, with the ability to know the user’s emotional state better than humans. Also referred to as affective computing, emotion AI is an area of artificial intelligence where machines are programmed to learn non-verbal communication cues in humans to determine their emotional state. This includes reading facial expressions, body language, gestures, and tone.

Companies can use emotional AI to optimize the performance of different marketing strategies by identifying, designing, and creating content that appeals to a person’s emotions to foster better engagement.

Sentiment analysis can also be used to:

  • Create content that answers all user questions
  • Tailor ads to suit the interests of the user
  • Create a product that addresses the needs of the user

 

Personalized ads and a customized approach

For any business, marketing is all about engaging with the consumers. Using AI technology, businesses can send out personalized ads to different clients based on their previous interactions with the business. For instance, AI technology can be used to send out emails to clients who abandoned their cart to remind them about the items they left in the cart.

Customized ads are the best way to entice different clients to come back to the business. With customized ads, a business is able to address a client’s individual needs, making them feel valued and understood. All this can be made possible using AI. Customers love personalized emails since they are more tailored to their needs, making the business seem interested in them on a personal level.

 

Customer support with AI integration

The use of chatbots on websites is one of the best examples of how artificial intelligence improves the customer experience through customer support. Any user can interact with chatbots to get the help they need in the absence of a human customer care representative. Chatbots are a convenient way of connecting with a business without waiting for an email response or having to call the customer care service. This saves the client’s time, which helps to improve their user experience.

Automated voice assistants in customer care are also good examples of how artificial intelligence is integrated into customer support.

Artificial intelligence used in customer support is designed to handle customer inquiries, therefore cutting the cost of operations since they reduce the number of human customer service representatives needed in a company.

 

AI-enhanced content

The algorithm used by artificial intelligence can be used to know a user’s blog content interest, email browsing history, digital footprint, and the time spent on a website. This can help a brand learn about onsite SEO   needs, and even determine the best content for different client needs and how best to personalize client emails.

With artificial intelligence, a business can enhance the user experience by delivering customized content that meets users’ needs on a personalized level. A client is likely to engage more with a brand or business when they feel understood.

 

Image recognition

Image recognition is a part of emotional AI that uses facial recognition software, machine learning, and data to categorize emotional responses based on different stimuli such as product offerings, website color, and advertised content.

Image recognition AI is trained on millions of facial expressions that help it to categorize responses based on these cues. Businesses and brands can use image recognition AI to determine the best website designs, content, and marketing strategies for different emotional needs. This can go a long way in improving the user experience since users get exactly what they need.

 

Current limitations and challenges to AI technology

Even as artificial intelligence continues to progress and offer solutions for improved user experience, some challenges hinder AI from living to its full potential. The most common challenges facing AI include:

 

Computing power

Artificial intelligence uses power-intensive algorithms that discourage most developers. Deep learning and machine learning demand for GPUs and cores is never-ending, which can be difficult to implement for most developers.

 

Trust deficits

There is uncertainty about how deep learning moderns predict output, which is a source of worry in AI. It can be difficult for humans to understand how different inputs can determine a solution for various problems.

 

Limited knowledge

Besides tech enthusiasts and AI researchers, very few people are aware of the artificial intelligence potential. Without understanding how it works, it can be difficult to integrate it into everyday tasks to reap the benefits.

 

Data security and privacy

Data security is one of the most significant concerns when it comes to artificial intelligence. Machine learning models in AI rely on data for training. This data is generated from millions of users globally, putting it at risk of being exploited.

 

Scarcity of data

There has been a lot in the news about how companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google exploit user data, putting a strain on AI efforts because of new rules restricting sharing of data with third parties. This forces most countries to rely on local data to produce AI systems for global use, which results in bias.

 

In summary

Despite the challenges, artificial intelligence has contributed significantly to delivering an excellent customer experience. Thanks to AI, users can access personalized services and customized products as more brands realize the benefits of investing in artificial intelligence to improve user experience.

As the world gravitates towards smart gadgets and digital connectivity, this is the best time for businesses to consider improving UX using AI.

Investing in Workforce Intelligence Now, Leads to an Optimised Tomorrow

Workforce intelligence

Michael Cupps (Senior VP, Marketing, ActiveOps) discusses four critical ways in which a new world of workforce data improves organisational function.  

 

As governments work rapidly to respond to the Omicron variant, businesses experienced its effects as a timely reminder that flexibility is an essential part of any attempt to open offices again.

Even in a hybrid work environment, the unpredictable nature of the world and people’s lives means that organisations will need workforce management methods and tools that are flexible and intelligent to make the transition a success. 

As a result, it’s as important now as ever to look at how data is the key to getting direction during these changing times – and how some of the data requirements that might seem burdensome can be a source of optimisation.

 

Attitudes on workforce data are continuing to change with the times 

The pandemic has already forced a sea-level change in how operations managers understand their workforce and workload and plan their operations. While traditional workforce management data was based on looking around the office to get a sense of things and historical data around skills, schedules, inventory, and so forth, the pandemic left many operations managers in the dark as their teams worked remotely. Many organisations had already adapted to this change, implementing new methods of understanding productivity and performance and managing employees that were effective when working from home.

As hybrid working becomes the norm, the question remains for managers, where are my people most productive? Working from home is the preferred option for many employees, but not all of them – and not all types of work can be adapted to remote working.

More recently, other layers have started to appear that present a challenge to operations managers. One layer is eligibility – as in, who is allowed to work in an office or not. 

Of course, US organisations will still be feeling the effects of the government’s attempt to enforce a nationwide vaccine mandate. Still, other countries are facing similar legislation – Western Europe is experiencing what can only be described as a ‘COVID-19 reality check’ when Austria became the first country to enforce a total lockdown since the vaccine rollout. The news of a rising number of cases has led to drastic actions from Schallenberg, with the announcement that Austria will enact compulsory vaccinations in early 2022, which has sparked violence in Vienna as tens of thousands of people protest the measures.  

While vaccinations have been the key to the UK’s return to normality, nations that continue to struggle with controlling the virus will have an eye on Austria’s vaccine mandate and consequently fear that it will be a sign of what’s to come. With the ever-changing pandemic situation in Europe, businesses must prepare for the uncertainty. 

If other Western European countries follow Austria’s example, vaccination mandates will inevitably add a new and novel challenge for businesses. Across every industry, management teams are already feeling overwhelmed. After two years of new variants, new vaccines, and new restrictions on the workforce, Austria’s mandate, as well as Biden’s Executive Orders in the USA, exemplify a new risk to the growing stability that vaccinations gave us.

Some organisations are implementing their own mandates regardless of national policy – the upshot being that, as a result, operations managers now need to know who is allowed to work in a particular location at any given moment. And of course, as the Omicron variant becomes more widespread and its effects are felt in society, organisations will need to rapidly adjust their plans to keep employees safe and comply with the law.

This can all feel very burdensome for operations managers: more data to gather, more lenses through which to look at workload, resources, and availability. But while there may be some initial pain associated with responding to these new requirements, I believe that they present an opportunity to create a more optimised future of work. 

Understanding comprehensive workforce data can make business life more manageable. Thereby, it’s crucial to outline the four ways it contributes to a productive workplace. 

 

1: It creates a well-balanced and engaged workforce

It’s no secret that your employees will have preferences for where they work. Understanding those preferences and factoring that into your planning can help ensure your employees are engaged in their work, improving productivity, well-being, and retention. If you can layer that information with data on employees’ performance in different environments, you have another part of the picture to help you balance your workforce. Of course, that data may need a third layer – who is eligible to work in which locations – and that needs to be handled correctly so that you comply with any local or national laws that are in force or will come into force.

 

2: It helps to reduce costs

This has already been discussed concerning the pandemic in a few places. As organisations move to hybrid working models, their need for office space reduces the costs associated with it. That could include rent, power, heating, water, insurance, and facilities.

But the cost argument goes beyond the maths of office space. Armed with the correct data, organisations can ensure that their people are working where they are most productive and happiest. That can reduce costs, mainly in decreased absenteeism, costing thousands of pounds per year.

That reduced cost could be used to help balance the books in a tight year – or it could mean that funds are available for training and coaching programmes that improve employee performance or even on rewarding high-performing employees.

 

3: It broadens the scope for your talent pool

Although gathering and analysing more data might feel burdensome, the truth is that it enables you to implement hybrid working models effectively and with confidence that they will deliver. And that means that you gain all the benefits of a hybrid work environment – including a vastly expanded talent pool. With minor roles a part of the norm, you can hire anyone from any country, allowing you to create more diverse and talented teams than you could before.

 

4: It can help make a positive contribution to sustainability efforts

Most organisations are considering reducing their carbon footprint and becoming more sustainable. If your organisation uses data to support a hybrid workforce, you should see a reduction in emissions on multiple fronts. You may see reduced emissions as fewer employees commute and those who commute less. You may see a reduced need for office lighting and heating – not to mention a reduction in office waste – as footfall in the office decreases.

The workforce data you gather to enable all this will help demonstrate a contribution to your organisation’s emission reduction programme – or could even form the basis of starting one if you haven’t already.

 

Availability is the new eligibility

It’s essential to start thinking about gathering data in a different light. Eligibility is arguably the most pressing (and stressing) requirement for organisations right now, and the temptation can be to find a solution that focuses solely on eligibility. But to take a broader view, eligibility data isn’t that different from the other data you’re gathering about employees and where they can work. You’re trying to build a picture of where your workforce is based – and eligibility is just one more layer on top of others, such as where your employees prefer to work and where they are most productive. When you consider the challenge in those terms, the uses for the data, you’re gathering suddenly expand. We’re calling the blanket term for this data “availability.”

Of course, gathering availability data – and indeed all the workforce intelligence that makes the four things I’ve mentioned possible – is the trick. In a hybrid world, that data needs to be gathered automatically, wherever employees are based, in real-time, to give managers as much detail as possible. But at the same time, organisations need to find solutions to prevent managers from drowning in data, which will prevent them from getting on with their jobs.

What You Need to Start an Orthodontic Practice: Tips and Tricks

Orthadontist showing a patient an xray

If your dream is to establish a new orthodontic practice, taking the first initial steps when creating your business can be intimidating. However, by narrowing down this checklist and concentrating on what’s important in establishing yourself as an expert within our field; like location or equipment needs-you’ll find it easier than ever before!

 

Good Location

Finding the right location for your business is the most important point. You need to consider the balance between cost per square foot, proximity to public transit and other desirable businesses like grocery stores or hospitals in order not only attract clients but also keep them happy with their choice of where they do healings! When it comes time to find the best orthodontist in your area, the above mentioned points should be considered.

 

Necessary supplies

Businesses should have a well-stocked office with all necessary supplies. This way, the business will run more smoothly and efficiently because employees don’t need to waste time looking for items that could be easily stocked at their workstation or refrigerator. Commercial supply companies provide this service for businesses by scheduled visits each month which ensures there is fresh inventory available when needed most – saving both your team’s precious morning hours during crunch times as well as money spent on unnecessary trips outside!

 

Well – Educated staff

If you are planning to start your own orthodontic practice, it is important that the staff members working for this company have enough experience in order to get things done. Business owners should take their time when interviewing potential employees so they can find someone qualified and reliable, even better to think about having employees graduated from the best MBA business program, who will be able to help grow yours with long-term employment opportunities too!

 

Office furniture

Office furniture is a must-have for any medical practice. Even if you don’t specialize in healthcare, it’s important to keep your patients comfortable and clear from unnecessary walking traffic while they wait or receive treatment in the examination rooms that are just off of this space here at our clinic! Investing some money into quality chairs now will make sure everyone has an enjoyable experience when visiting your office – both patient and staff member alike

A busy day means there’ll be lots going around; let us help take care all those things so you can focus solely on what really matters: practicing medicine without distractions

 

Healthcare products

It is important to have a variety of healthcare products on hand in order to meet the needs for your patients. These could include dental cleaning supplies, sterilization devices and other medical essentials like bandages or painkillers which are needed often by doctors’ offices across America!

 

Business software

The right business software can help your office run more efficiently. CRM (customer relationship management) tools and advanced calendar scheduling will make it easier for professionals to keep patients coming in, so you’ll have less time spent on maintenance work!

 

Conclusion

So, if you have been thinking of starting your own orthodontic practice, now is the time to do it. With the help of this article, you can get started on the right foot and be on your way to providing quality orthodontic care for patients in your community.