Blog Archive

queuemastersIn function of its continuous improvement, the Delaware Consulting Application Management Services (AMS) department has recently introduced a new concept: the queue masters.

The notion queue master originates from maintenance and support business, but it has also been used at IT companies as SAP and IBM. Queue masters are experts in their support domain. They are responsible for all customers within this field, regardless of where they are located. For example, one of our queue masters located in China is responsible for CRM related service tickets, worldwide, for all clients. The queue masters’ work has no geographic relevance.They are working in a “virtual” environment and communicate with their counterparts, called anchors, to shift service tickets to another time zone if needed.

 

What are the benefits of working with queue masters (QM)?


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Peter Ravijts is a project manager at Delaware Consulting. We invited him as guest blogger for today. Together with his team, he developed a record management solution for Federal Agency of Nuclear Control (FANC).  He interviewed Annick Deltenre, information manager from FANC. She is the project manager for the RMS Project.

DeltenreAnnick

Annick Deltenre, information manager at FANC

The challenge

The agency promotes the effective protection of the citizens, workers and the environment against the danger of ionizing radiation. In its daily activities, FANC is led to produce and manage a large number of official documents (licensing, inspection, mission, international representations, etc.).

In 2010, the organization launched a document management project called “Record Management”. The project’s main objective was to allow agents to manage and dispose of electronic documents necessary in the context of their activities. This project introduced a new concept to the company: the “records”.

“Records” are documents with unwavering reliability, sustainability and integrity. They are declared authentic and have not been modified after their official publication. Putting in place a management system record, the company ensures the preservation of its activities.

In the life cycle of information (from creation to disposal), the records are the last stage of the documents prior to disposal.. The Record Management project is  a solution for managing the lifecycle of electronic documents based on the ISO 15489 standard and quality requirements Moreq (Model of Requirement).

Annick, can you explain to us why FANC was looking for a new solution and what you were looking for?


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Perhaps you took an afternoon the time to review the complete ePrivacy directive at the European Commission site.
Or perhaps you took just a couple of minutes to check out the sample website the Interactive Advertising Bureau has put together. That site follows this directive quite strictly, and gives you an idea of how a website will look to an end user when this directive is consistently applied.
Both the directive and the site look horrifying. Let’s try to quickly summarize what the EU Cookie Law means in practice.

The cookies

Cookies are small text files which are placed on your local PC or (mobile) device. These files are then read by your browser when opening a website. The cookies themselves fall into one of the following categories :

First party (or direct cookie) cookies

These cookies are placed by the domain (i.e. the website) itself and are used to facilitate the website visit for the user.
For example, a first party cookie can be used to remember the user’s language preference for a repeat visit, though this cookie can also be used to store products in your shopping basket or to provide personalised product recommendations on the website.

Third party cookies and tracking cookies (first and third party)

These cookies are placed on the website by external advertisers, among others, who are thus able to determine which site leads you to their site (in the case that you click on the advert).
The use of Google Analytics (or other tracking software) is also categorised under tracking cookies. Among other things, this is used to get a general idea of online behaviour on the website in order to optimise the website for the end user.

What does a cookie do?

Cookies mainly serve to make your visit to a website more convenient, but also to present personalised information or – as already mentioned – to track your online behaviour… And this is how you end up in the grey zone of privacy issues.

How do we implement the law now?

Right now, this is not always entirely clear yet – especially since each country interprets the directives differently.

In the Netherlands, for example, the stricter form is employed, in which the visitor must formally agree to the use of cookies by means of an opt-in. (This can be done with a checkbox in a pop-up).
Other countries, such as Germany, the United KingdomItaly and Spain, do not give the directives such a strict interpretation and merely ask that users are ‘informed’ about the use of cookies on the site. Belgium also seems to be going this route.

As it currently stands at the time of writing, you are required to inform the visitor about the use of cookies. This can once again be done by means of a one-time banner upon entering the website. Additionally, you must inform the visitor about the cookies that are used on your site, which can be done by adding a link to the above-mentioned banner referring to the privacy statement, or a separate information page about the cookies in use.
Indication must also be given about how you can manage the use of cookies via the settings on your browser. These countries are basing their interpretation on statements by Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, who is of the opinion that a setting on your browser is sufficient for indicating whether or not you permit the placement of cookies.

Ambiguity!

Considering the room for interpretation in translating European directives, it has currently become particularly clear that there is still a great deal of ambiguity regarding implementation of the new directives.

For example, your site must follow a certain country’s interpretation of the European directive if the site is ‘aimed at that country’.
If you have a Belgian website which, for example, also permits payments via iDeal as well as offering free delivery within the Netherlands, then you could maintain that the site is aimed not just at Belgium, but also the Netherlands!
Here as well you get the sense that this all remains extremely vague and thus creates a good deal of ambiguity.

We will provide more information here as soon as it becomes available.
Or leave a message to automatically keep informed of the latest news!

Author: Matijs De Jonghe. You can follow Matijs on Twitter (@Matijs_DJ) or connect with him on LinkedIn

Building an engaged community is more than just adding a Like button on your website, or autotweeting every new article. These are but mere tactics, with little effect when used in isolation. They need to fit in a larger strategy, focused on watching, curating, and stimulating desired behavior. Talking is not part of it, and pitching even less so.

Barkeepers rarely stand at the counter engaging in self-oriented monologues (not where I live anyway). They may own the place and wear the crown, yet they’ll never own what people talk about. As Bernadette Jiwa recommends in Make Your Idea Matter: “perceive this as an opportunity and focus on the atmosphere so that good stories get told.”

Watching, i.e. recording and learning from statistics, is key to understanding your community and improving future-oriented actions.
What are people talking about? Why do they love your brand and what are their gripes? Who are the major influencers? What’s the best time of day to approach prospects with a question or quote?

Watching or listening, perhaps your most important activity, allows you to better furnish your bar. You’ll discover what works beautifully and what doesn’t, giving you a unique advantage to fine tune the way you communicate, to find new or better values to propose, and effective ways to engage your community.

Steering the conversation

Curating, or policing, is what you do to steer away from undesirable conversations.
Although free speech advocates will quickly regard this act as censoring, I believe you have every right to do so: as a host, your mission is to ensure win-win interactions and discourage, limit or even oppose acts likely to damage the mood in the whole bar.
Be careful though: being too harsh or clumsy a curator will undermine your credibility and the attractiveness of your ecosystem. The good news is that, once you’ve established a like-minded community, that community will regulate itself to deal with occasional undesired behavior. A self-governed solution makes your brand a lot more credible than if you had to swoop in and show troublemakers the door.

All in all, this means that the need for curating content is at its peak soon after you start. Depending on where your audience lives, you can anticipate by initially choosing media that allow curating, e.g. your website commenting system, or Facebook. Once the social awareness for your brand has grown, you may reach out to media that have little or no policing options.

Become the talk of town

Stimulating, or devising ways that encourage desired behavior, is the softest, most durable and accepted way to steer conversation.
More than praising or retweeting a positive message about your brand, effective stimulation can take many forms. For instance, in 2004 Facebook was launched in only one university, Harvard College. Intended or not, this decision stimulated the development of a fine mesh network. The scarcity also piqued the interest for the network in foreign universities, contributing to its huge success once it was extended.

You, too, can find ways to stimulate desired behavior and the quality of your community:
Can you create scarcity and make your patrons feel special?
Does your commenting system allow upvoting good comments?
Do you get in direct contact with your influencers and most active contributors? What can you offer them?
Have you looked into gamification? Gaming elements can provide a powerful incentive for people, while making them contribute in a desired way.

Bars come and go, and some become even quite fashionable for a time.
Others remain favorites for ten or even forty years. Despite staff changes, these bars are successful because they understand that patrons return for the atmosphere, the mood. Not for the individual behind the bar. Create stories.

Author: Koen Mannaerts. You can follow Koen on Twitter (@mannaerts) or connect with him on LinkedIn

Is your sales team still working with excel files to store client information? Is your production and inventory out of touch with what the sales force actually needs?  Do you have the feeling that you can get to know your customer even better?  If the answer is “Yes” to one or more of these questions, then your company will most likely benefit from a CRM implementation.

CRM is not only about pleasing your customers, which is a general misunderstanding. The benefits are multiple, like better forecasts, centralized data and enhancement of customer knowledge. The synchronization of sales and production in particular is a daunting task within a company.

Cosucra, a company that produces natural food ingredients, was facing this challenge. By implementing a SAP CRM solution, a best-in-class CRM was born.  This successful case is described in the latest CxO magazine.  In this article, Stephane Liekendael, Business Information Manager at Cosucra, explains why they decided to invest in a CRM tool. He demonstrates how tangible business value and benefits were created.

Don’t be fooled, this article is about more than just marketing. It is about a company that has embraced CRM a as an essential part of their daily processes!

Cosucra

 Author: Jens Ponnet. You can follow Jens on Twitter (@JPonnet) or connect with him on LinkedIn

Two weeks ago, I spent a weekend in France with a couple of friends. When I came home on Monday evening, I went straight to my sofa and grabbed my phone. I quickly wanted to check if I hadn’t missed anything on social media. When I finished, it was dark outside and I had been hungry for more than an hour. I had read all my feeds and it had been a complete waste of time. You probably know this feeling, right?

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… while increasing sustainable company value

Your own bottleneck

An interesting opportunity pops up. It is something you’d really like to do. But, when you ask permission to take it on, you receive the answer: “I’d certainly like to assign you this challenge, but I’m afraid we can’t afford to disengage you from your current assignments.”

Does this sound familiar?  It happens all the time. Many people have become their own, personal bottleneck. The only way for these people to increase their added value is to work more hours.


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The surf – or in Dutch ‘de branding’ – is the stretch of the sea close to the coastline where the waves break. Because the water is shallow there, the waves crash against the bottom with a crushing force and promptly collapse. But, sometimes, the heavy breakers can be a blessing: when they help us to come ashore.

And maybe that’s a fitting metaphor

We are surrounded, and sometimes overwhelmed, by a non-stop stream of information. Do you know the amount of frames we can process per second? That is 25 in total. Those 25 images form a fluent whole when we watch a movie on TV. A brand must be strong to stand out. It has to stay upright in the heaps of information that we digest every day. Next to that, it should help our consumer by being the perfect guide, in the way the waves show you the right direction.


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By focusing on mobility and touch computing in Windows 8, Microsoft has taken a big step forward compared to Windows 7. But despite the bold changes to the visuals and the Start screen functionality, the operating system is still closely related to its previous version. This is an important asset, as existing Windows 7 applications are still compatible with the new operating system. But there are many other discoveries to be made with Windows 8. In this article, we list but a few of them.

Unlike its competitors, Windows 8 is a hybrid operating system targeting tablet/kiosk users as well as traditional desktop/laptop users. This makes it possible to run the same application on both a low power tablet or kiosk, and a high end desktop or laptop, making duplicate application development unnecessary.

New in Windows 8 is the Windows Store, which is comparable to Apple’s App Store. This enables companies to offer applications to customers or internal users in a trustworthy manner. Companies can concentrate on developing the actual Windows Store app, while Microsoft provides screening, distribution, store front and billing services.

The new Windows Store apps are an opportunity for companies to deliver their services via the Windows Store to their customers as native Windows 8 apps, e.g. to provide customers a kiosking experience on the shopfloor; as well as a chance to provide compelling touch enabled apps to their employees, e.g. to support sales with rich media apps.

In addition to the traditional x86/x64 processors, Windows 8 introduces support for ARM processors, which are typically used in cell phones, tablets and kiosks. This extends the reach of Windows 8 to ultra-low power, ultra-light hardware with day long battery life. Microsoft calls this version of Windows ‘Windows RT’ in order to distinguish it from the classic x86/x64 Windows version. Third parties can currently only develop Windows Store apps for Windows RT. The only traditional desktop application available for Windows RT is a special version of Office 2013 provided for free with the operating system.

For the first time in history, Microsoft is selling PC hardware. It has released ‘Surface’, an ARM-based tablet, and ‘Surface Pro’, an x86 tablet in the same form factor. Tablets are typically very good at media consumption, and less optimized for media production, but combined with Microsoft’s innovative keyboard cover, these tablets could be used as laptop replacements in a lot of cases.

Windows 8 is a cloud connected OS. For example, it’s possible to log in with a Microsoft Account (formerly known as a Windows Live account). This allows a user to roam the state of his/her Windows Store apps via a cloud mechanism on all his/her devices. This makes it possible to work with a Windows Store app on one device, and continue on a different device from the same state if the app supports this cloud state roaming mechanism. Business users can associate their domain account with a Microsoft account to get the same functionality.

With Windows 8, multi-touch is everywhere. In addition to tablets and kiosks, Microsoft also expects laptops, monitors and even giant presentation monitors to have multi-touch support, even stating that ‘a screen without touch is a broken screen’. Future hardware procurement decisions should take into account that users will expect touch capability. Nevertheless, Windows 8 works just as well with a keyboard and mouse.

Author: Nico Vuyge.

Do you recognize the feeling of satisfaction when you are hanging out on the couch after a hard and long run? Did you ever get goosebumps when someone pays you a compliment for a well-performed accomplishment? These kinds of impulses enrich my daily life. They give me a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Recently, I discovered another way to add to this blissful feeling.

I never thought about charity as something I would participate in. I classified people working for charity as ‘hippies’. This idea changed when I considered running 20 kilometers to support a friend’s fundraiser, for a project in Nepal. When I shared this idea at work, some colleagues surprised me. They immediately suggested supporting me, by running at my side or donating for this project. These gestures left me speechless. The spontaneous responses made me smile all the way back home. I clearly had to change my mindset about charity. Putting effort into good causes does not only add to my happiness, but it also broadens my mind. It makes me stronger as a person.

Together with some of my good friends, I am putting a lot of effort into a project for Bangladesh. Did you know that 90% of the population in Bangladesh lives beneath the poverty line?

Are you eager to discover this enriching impulse as well?
Visit the website http://benefietbangladesh.webs.com (in Dutch) and participate. You can also contact me personally.

 

Guest author: Jeroen-Jan Vroman. You can follow Jeroen-Jan on Twitter (@jjvroman) or connect with him on LinkedIn.
His email address is jeroenjan.vroman@delawareconsulting.com.


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