Credit Card Processing Is Essential For Business

Thanks to the invention of the plastic card that serves as legal tender all over the world, the days of writing checks or paying in cash have significantly been reduced. In fact, there are many businesses that no longer accept checks as a formidable form of payment. How did the plastic card known as the credit card get to be so popular and take the transaction-processing world by storm? It offers consumers the flexibility and convenience of making purchases and completing sales quick and easy.

Consumers are not the only ones that enjoy the benefits of using a credit card for transactions, businesses also have seen the advantages to using credit cards to purchase what they need for their business as well as address the needs of their customers by being able to provide credit card processing. Up until a few years ago, there were a lot of smaller businesses that did not offer the option of paying with a credit card. It used to be that offering the service was very expensive to set up and often involved different service providers to install and operate the equipment to make the services available.

Thanks to the innovations and improvements in the technology of credit card processing, most businesses are able to integrate the new system of accepting payments quickly and easily into their existing structure of business. Credit card processing requires the elements of having the equipment to run the credit card through and establishing service with a vendor or supplier that is able to process the transactions. The cost to process each swipe of the credit card varies greatly depending on the company and the volume of transactions.

Some of the factors to take into consideration when choosing a credit card processing service provider include the cost per transaction, the processing time, the charges that are associated with providing the services and the time it takes for the money to be credited to your account. These factors and costs can differ greatly from one company to another. It is important to take the time to assess accurately the estimated volume of credit cards that you will need to process and how much of your budget you want to allow for the rental of equipment and monthly service fees.

Providing your customers with credit card processing can help you meet the demands and needs of consumers and keep you on the same page as your competition. Creating a web presence that accepts credit cards is another way to be able to reach consumers worldwide and provide them with easy, secure and fast credit card processing. Knowing the importance of being able to provide your customers with credit card processing is vital to the success of your business and can help you reach markets that otherwise would be inaccessible. Incorporating this key element into your business can help you grow, expand and increase the potential success of your business.

Credit Card Processing �?The key to savings is starting from zero

Credit card processing is one of the greatest expenses that a business has. Consumer related businesses are especially affected by processing charges. That’s why it’s so important to have a low cost processing solution, and why it’s so unusual that many people shop for and compare credit card processors with a backwards approach.

Many people shop for a new credit card processor by using their existing service provider as a benchmark from which to compare new providers. Instead of asking prospective providers how much their processing services will cost, they ask what the savings will be over their existing merchant account rates and fees.

This approach is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that it allows prospective providers to perpetuate any exorbitant fees charged by the last. The correct way to shop for a compare credit card processors is from the bottom up. In other words, don’t compare processors against each other �?compare all of them to the actual cost to process credit cards.

Interchange fees published by the card brands such as Visa and MasterCard dictate the underlying costs of all credit card processing charges. Interchange fees are essentially the wholesale rates and fees charged to process credit cards, and they’re readily available for download from Visa and MasterCard’s websites.

Knowing the underlying interchange costs that your business pays to process credit cards will make it possible for you to find the least expensive merchant account. If you’re not sure what the interchange costs are for your business, get an audit from your existing credit card processor or from a website like CardFellow that offers such audit services free of charge. Once you know what the true costs are, you can accurately compare merchant account rates and fees from new providers.

Deciphering the underlying interchange costs that your business pays takes knowledge and practice. Luckily, if you’re in the market for a new merchant account you can have prospective companies do the work for you. Ask each company for a comprehensive evaluation of your existing service broken down into actual interchange and association fees versus provider profit. The amount of profit is where you have room to work.

Advantages of Technology Gadget News

How a number of us love to preserve yourself up-to-date because of the latest news as well as testimonials concerning the technology? Well I reckon that a number of us are usually gizmos buffs and therefore are always keeping yourself up-to-date because of the latest information regarding any kind of brand-new release within market place. Within today’s world if your gadgets are getting to be a major must in your daily routine existence, we want to be aware of the particular each of the latest gadgets which might be released within market place.
Every day technology gizmo news are usually been recently printed on world-wide-web, journal as well as newspapers. The latest news show where within world latest system which has been produced and its particular pictures are already leaked away prior to the release as well as which usually brand-new smartphone with latest features will be released within market place and many more.
Reports messages really helps to learn more regarding the gizmos which might be around you and also assists you within picking best gizmos yourself. A straight technology gizmo review assists you within providing good idea associated with system in relation to it is capabilities as well as features. Reports as well as testimonials associated with gizmos are often available on world-wide-web, there are several websites concerning gadgets as well as technology which retains modernizing latest news as well as testimonials on normal schedule. You can even acquire excellent value deals through these websites.
I am often confident to understand in relation to what’s brand-new out there, we preserve modernizing yourself with just about all data that we acquire regarding the gizmos that we discover. Devices possess produced the existence so simple which now we can quickly function through everywhere as well as although exploring we can preserve check out on the business development. Your technology offers added in lot of improve to help business round the global. Every day world of business should preserve the trail while using latest technology news since highest business neighborhood can be relied upon the particular gadgets which might be been recently utilised by them.
They must preserve improving their own gadgets to be able to keep their own business performance. And also therefore they should preserve themselves up-to-date with just about all latest news as well as testimonials which might be been recently printed. Now we can quickly point out which world can be on the fingertip because the cell phones possess made it possible to help talk quickly with anyone across the world.
Now we can online video chat, we can access to the mails, the particular applications are often available on technology gadgets news and maybe they are likewise simple to use. Possibly we can acquire news regarding the latest program which has been released on Search engines Perform Shop. We ought to preserve looking over the particular Technologies Tools Reports on normal schedule for more information.
To learn more you can travel to Technical Tools Reports within India.

Patents: A Tool for Technological Intelligence

Patents are the largest source of technological information. Patent are given to the inventor as a reward for its innovation in the form of the exclusive right of the monopoly for a period of 20 years from the priority date of the invention. Due to advancement in the IT sector and internet, now these valuable documents are in the reach of the general public. Any person skilled in the art can go through various patent databases and after a search can get the patent document of their need. There are different patent databases viz, USPTO, EPO, JPO, etc freely open for the public access. If we go through the patents related to a specific technological area, we will be able to find the lots of information about the life cycle of the technological innovation viz.,

o evolutionary path of a specific technology,

o technological development,

o technological diversification,

o technology merges,

o major players in specific technological area,

o key points of the specific technology,

“The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) revealed that 90% to 95% of all the world’s inventions can be found in patented documents.�?/p>

Patent analysis can reveals very valuable informations, which is not available anywhere. After patent search the crucial part is the patent analysis, and one have to be very concise about their objective of the study. The information in the patent documents can be utilized in different form according to the need and mapped accordingly to get the picture of the entire analysis in snapshots.

Patent data can be used for the preparation of technological landscapes. Logistic mathematics and circle mathematics can be very useful in the plotting of the technological landscape. It can reveal the evolutionary trend of a technology, how it is evolved from a basic technology, along with the period of the technological diversification and its nature. These maps will also give the detailed overview of the merging of the different technologies to give rise to break-through technologies. These types of maps will be very useful for the R&D personals to evaluate the position of their research and technology, and also they will find way to more innovate more advanced and valuable technology.

In the today’s global context firms need to know what technologies can competitors choke easily, and may be attempting to. They also need to know the spaces in technologies where competition is intense, and the areas where competitors are concentrating their IP development and their R&D efforts. They need to be able to track patent acquisition and development strategies and chart out the competitive landscape. To evaluate technology before making any investment decision, firms need to know the pace of patenting activity in the technology, which patents embody fundamental ideas in the technology and how vulnerable the firm’s technologies are to patent infringements. This will give them much needed information in deciding between technology development and technology acquisition.

The ability to extract relevant information from patent literature is a crucial success factor for anyone involved in technological innovation. The technology mapping technique’s that can be used to transform patent information into knowledge that can influence decision-making.

Patents are an important source of technological intelligence that companies can use to gain strategic advantage. Technology Intelligence is a can be used for gathering, analyzing, forecasting, and managing external technology related information, including patent information. Computational patent mapping is a methodology for the development and application of a technology knowledgebase for technology and competitive intelligence. The primary deliverables of patent mapping is in the form of knowledge visualization through landscape and maps. These maps provide valuable intelligence on technology evolution/revolution, nature of various types of pioneering; big; pure; and emerging players, state-of-the-art assessment, etc.

These types of technological maps will prove to be a valuable multiplier in R&D and commercialization activities, in various ways including the following:

o Developing further insights in response to strategic requirements and policy formulation in the organization

o Forecasting and identifying technological activities and trends in the industry

o Aiding in the visualization of alternative development and growth paths available to the organization

o Enabling pre-emptive recognition and action on potential licensing opportunities

o Identifying prospective partners and clients

o Identify technology discontinuities and areas of opportunities in their chosen technologies

o Monitor and evaluate the technological process of competitors and potential competitors

o Support decisions on foray and investment into particular technologies and sub-technologies

o Surveillance of technological progress of competitors as well as to alert oneself to new entrants to the field

o Spotting of white spaces or opportunity areas within a dense technological domain

o Creative tool to simulate new ideas and create new IP

o Complementing corporate IP filing strategies

o Support technology proposals for large scale national and international level projects

o Support investment and technology due diligence on companies

Patent mapping can be an integral part of IP management. It can uncover valuable information hidden in patents and can provide useful indicators for technical trends, market trends, competitors changes and technological profile and innovation potential of a company. Patent maps are visual representations of patent information that has been mined and aggregated or clustered to highlight specific features. There is a high degree of flexibility in visualization, which may be in the form of time-series or as spatial maps. We provide a more market and technology oriented analysis of the complete set of patent portfolio assets via our patent mapping services. Patent mapping can be used to ascertain the quality of patents with respect to prevailing technology and the extent to which patents affect the technology. This is a valuable input in technology sourcing/development and R&D decisions. Patent mapping can be indispensable for both firms that have an under-utilized patent profile and are looking to license/assign it at the most favorable terms, as well as to firms that are looking at developing patent portfolio strength in a particular technological field.

Mere subject specialization is not enough for this, but analytical thinking and innovations are very essential. Today lots of software resources are available for mapping the patent data, but almost all are confined to bibliographic informations. The machine work cannot be compared with that of human intelligence. Patent mapping requires many skills. First and foremost among these is an ability to understand the complex scientific ideas protected by the patents themselves. Although it is possible to create a patent map by analyzing the relationships between patents without understanding the subject matter, such a map is often useless and needs to be refined by someone who understands the intricacies of the particular scientific discipline that is the basis of the invention. Thus, I expect that the need for people with scientific (and engineering) expertise in the field of patent mapping is on the increase. That’s why today lots of KPO firm are looking for the right individual and there is a huge demand today, which will certainly increase in the near future.

Gadget News That Tells You What Is Best

Placing up a RSS feed for your web-site and obtaining RSS feeds from a gadget retail outlet or web site on hi there tech gadgets, weird devices or spy devices couldn’t be simpler with common blog page aggregator, Icerocket.com, offering up a cost-free RSS creation support.

When you have set up the support it is critical to keep in mind that RSS feeds are short by nature and only include text, or hyperlink text. So it is vital to include an enticing title and make sure your very first two or 3 sentences are one thing that will make individuals want to stop by the page.

Obtaining RSS feeds is also a reasonably simple process to complete with a broad amount of RSS feed visitors remaining obtainable. In simple fact all that requirements to be done is to set up a RSS reader and subscribe to the RSS feeds you are intrigued in.

Some of the extra absolutely free net-based visitors are Google Reader, My Yahoo, Bloglines and Newsgator. They all are very simple to indication up to and mainly search and operate substantially like e mail accounts like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.

The next action is to subscribe to feeds from gadget outlets and sites on devices and gizmos that are assured to maintain you forward of your competitors with stock.

This can be performed any selection of techniques based on which feed reader and which online browser you are applying.

You can lookup on the viewers themselves for related feeds. Having said that this is very likely to depart you with a substantial variety of abnormal gadgets and awesome spy devices blogs to preserve checking up on.

If the awesome digital devices web page has a RSS subscription button on its news web page designed for your picked reader then you won’t have any predicament subscribing. All you will need to do is to click on on the button and follow the measures.

You could also click on on the RSS button and backup the URL from the web page of code that opens (the URL will almost certainly consist of the code XML or feed). You ought to then paste it into the ‘add feed�?dialog box in your RSS reader.

Flock or Firefox browsers make adding RSS feeds highly easy. All you require to do is to click on on the RSS link at the prime of the page beside the URL bar and one more window will open, letting you set up a feed directly in your browser.

Make by yourself into a additional dominant power on the internet. Get a RSS reader and subscriptions and set up your private RSS feed and change your gadget retail outlet into a sturdy, sticky site with more awesome devices and warm gadget gifts than your competitors.

Gadgets make our everyday living a whole lot much more pleasant than it is. With extensive doing work hrs and minor time for any type of socializing, most persons are strapped for time. Devices fill this gap by acting as a bridge involving people today. Gentlemen have constantly cherished their devices. From the broad selection of devices that are available currently, it is no wonder that the popular gentleman does not know what to purchase for himself or for another person else. Here’s when gadget news comes into play.

There are numerous web pages currently which deal with gadget news.

Technology Information Sites Lack Visionaries with Passion

Not long ago a gentleman asked me to write an article on rapidly advancing communication technologies for a high-traffic, well-known technology website, which discusses future innovations on the horizon. After agreeing to do this and submitting my first article, I felt that there was something missing to the project. And having passion for the future of technology and what it can do for humanity, I felt it the right thing to do, to take a stand.

Thus, I did the only thing a true passionate personal-tech spokesman could do, I sent them an email and stated that; I was thinking out-loud here and wanted to give you constructive criticism:

You know what is so unfortunate? When you asked me to write about 5-10 years out on communication technologies and I, in an email, started discussing “Mind-Thought Swapping w/Computer Interface�?you told me that people would think that I was crazy and I should not mention that? Then you told me to write about “challenges�?with future technology when discussing this stuff, well there are very few challenges that I see, that are even viable as excuses.

Next, you accepted a crappy article from me, telling me it was “good�?but in reality it isn’t, it totally lacks a “true�?snapshot of where we will be in 5-10 years. I think the article sucks, but it is not because I cannot write a good article or I do not know what I am talking about, it is because you have set your expectations too low to that of the rapidly advancing technologies. You and I read all the same stuff on the Internet, as far as technology is concerned, yet you do not wish to talk about the reality of where this is taking us. Still you position your website as a “Futurist Tech Site�?and then wish to have articles that are for the average science reader?

The fact is that mind-communication will be here very shortly, but as an editor you are looking towards what people are ready to believe, rather than what is going to be in the near future. Thus, you are slowing down the forward progression of the human species, by your caving to the common perception out there for money and popularity, rather than enlightening people.

On top of that, you tout your group experts based on degrees earned in various colleges and universities, making me feel bad for leaving college to become an entrepreneur in the real world �?I just don’t get it, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and so many others left school, just like I did? Where is your PASSION? The site looks and feels real nice, but where are the visionaries? Where is the juicy stuff, where is the meat.

Now, I know as an editor that you want to keep the content and concepts discussed sell-able, but if you are a real entrepreneur, tying industry with science and futurism, then you must figure out a way to make the site and its information sell-able. And yes, you must still give people a more reality based perspective from a futurist standpoint of what is coming, get them excited about it, but you should not be regurgitating and purporting the general debris and mass media academia scientific fog. We really need to get a jump on the future of things if mankind is to be ready for it.

Anyway, that was my thought, and I do not mean to be too critical, just saying, I think people deserve more and I know I want more from a site like yours. All the great science in the world is worth nothing without the applied part, the ‘killer aps�?and the problems it can solve �?In my humble opinion.

Now, me as a futurist, Political, Sci-Fiction and Business Writer �?you are probably thinking that I should not be telling editors how to run their websites, TV programs, how to write or which books to publish. But when someone has passion for something, they tell it like it is, besides, I am retired at forty as an entrepreneur Franchisor, so, well, I just call it how I see it. I would advise you if you are a website owner, publisher, documentary producer to think about this. We need better content on the Net, TV and in our Futuristic Books. So think on it, it is time to take this to a whole new level.

Human Resource Information System �?HRIS

Human Resource Information Systems

The purpose of this paper is to identify other companies who have faced similar human resources issues in regards to information technology. Through benchmarking different companies we can learn how other companies have handled certain human resources issues related to information technology, information systems, new technology, and data security. An overall analysis has been completed using research on IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. This paper also includes eight synopses of companies facing similar issue to those in the reading.

New Technology

With the changing world and constant new technology that is available, managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase effectiveness in their company. Human resource information systems (HRIS) have increasingly transformed since it was first introduced at General Electric in the 1950s. HRIS has gone from a basic process to convert manual information keeping systems into computerized systems, to the HRIS systems that are used today. Human resource professionals began to see the possibility of new applications for the computer. The idea was to integrate many of the different human resource functions. The result was the third generation of the computerized HRIS, a feature-rich, broad-based, self-contained HRIS. The third generation took systems far beyond being mere data repositories and created tools with which human resource professionals could do much more (Byars, 2004).

Many companies have seen a need to transform the way Human Resource operations are performed in order to keep up with new technology and increasing numbers of employees. Terasen Pipelines moved its headquarters from Vancouver to Calgary to be closer to the oil and realized a major growth in employees. In the past recording keeping was done on paper and with spreadsheets. Mangers at Terasen realized that there was a need to change to a more computerized system and looked into different HRIS vendors. By making the move to a HRIS system, Terasen is able to keep more accurate records as well as better prepare for future growth. Another company that saw the benefits of keeping up with new technology is WORKSource Inc. To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic pay stub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,�?2006). By adapting these new programs, WORKSource was able to reduce waste and cost.

The Internet is an increasingly popular way to recruit applicants, research technologies and perform other essential functions in business. Delivering human resource services online (eHR) supports more efficient collection, storage, distribution, and exchange of data (Friesen, 2003). An intranet is a type of network used by companies to share information to people within the organization. An intranet connects people to people and people to information and knowledge within the organization; it serves as an “information hub�?for the entire organization. Most organizations set up intranets primarily for employees, but they can extend to business partners and even customers with appropriate security clearance (Byars & Rue, 2004).

Applications of HRIS

The efficiency of HRIS, the systems are able to produce more effective and faster outcomes than can be done on paper. Some of the many applications of HRIS are: Clerical applications, applicant search expenditures, risk management, training management, training experiences, financial planning, turnover analysis, succession planning, flexible-benefits administration, compliance with government regulations, attendance reporting and analysis, human resource planning, accident reporting and prevention and strategic planning. With the many different applications of HRIS, it is difficult to understand how the programs benefit companies without looking at companies that have already benefited from such programs.

One such company is IBM. IBM has a paperless online enrollment plan for all of its employees. Not only has the online enrollment saved the company 1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs, the employees enjoy working with the online plan. “Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,�?Donnelly [Senior Communications Specialist] says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere (Huering, 2003). By utilizing the flexible-benefits application HRIS has to offer, IBM was able to cut costs and give employees the freedom to discover their benefits on their own time and pace.

Another company that has taken advantage of HRIS applications is Shaw’s Supermarkets. In order for Shaw’s to better manage its workforce, the company decided it was time to centralize the HR operations. After looking at different options, Shaw’s decided to implement an Employee Self Service (ESS) system. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information (Koven, 2002). By giving employees access to their personal information and the ability to update or change their information as needed, HR was given more time to focus on other issues. Understanding the different applications HRIS has to offer will give companies the chance to increase employee efficiency and reduce costs.

Measuring the Effectiveness of HRIS

The evaluation should determine whether or not the HRIS has performed up to its expectations and if the HRIS is being used to its full advantage (Byars & Rue, 2004). One of the most significant challenges faced by public personnel executives today is measuring the performance of their human resources information system (HRIS) In order to justify the value-added contribution of the HRIS to accomplishing the organization’s mission (Hagood & Friedman, 2002). Implementing an HRIS program may seem a necessary stem for a company, but unless it will be an effective tool for HR operations, it will not help increase efficiency and may hinder it instead.

One company that implemented a HRIS system is Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS). TAMS put all employee benefits information online and created an open enrollment option when TAMS changed healthcare providers. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal [new HRIS technology] to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004). By determining the efficiency of the new program, TAMS was able to realize the benefits of the new HRIS system.

Security of HRIS

The privacy of employee information has become a major issue in recent years. With identity theft becoming a common problem, employees are becoming more sensitive about who sees their personal information, and the security it is kept in. By making sure employee information that is kept in the HRIS is relevant to the company and making sure there is limited access (password protection) to such information, companies can make its employees more secure with the safety of their information. Whether electronic or paper, employee files deserve to be treated with great care. Establishing security and end-user privileges calls for a balance of incorporating, HR policy, system knowledge and day-to-day operations (O’Connell, 1994).

One company that faced a major security issue was CS Stars, LLC. CS Stars lost track of one of its computers that contained personal information that included names, addresses and social security numbers of workers compensation benefits. The bigger problem was that CS Stars failed to notify the affected consumers and employees about the missing computer. Though the computer was retrieved and no information seemed to have been harmed, many employees lost their sense of security with the company. New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization (Cadrain, 2007).

Another company that experienced a breach in security is Ameriprise Financial. In late 2005, a computer that contained personal information on clients and employees was stolen. Because many of the employees at Ameriprise take their computers between work and home, the company determined there was a need to put more security into those computers. Ameriprise made sure all employees had the new security suite installed on their computers. By responding quickly to the need for more security, Ameriprise made sure all information is being kept secure. Making sure employees information is kept as secure as possible there will be more trust in the company and the HR employees working with that information.

Conclusion

IBM, Terasen Pipeline, CS Stars LCC, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. are good examples of companies facing issues similar to human resources information technology and human resources information systems. All of these companies know the importance of new technology, human resources information systems, and data security. The remainder of this paper provides synopses of more companies facing human resources issues, how the company responded to the issues, and the outcomes of the company’s responses.

Companies Benchmarked

IBM Europe

The Situation:

IBM is a global organization offering research, software, hardware, IT consulting, business and management consulting, ring and financing. It employs around 340,000 people, speaking 165 languages across 75 countries, and serving clients in 174 countries. In January 2007, IBM established a separate “new media�?function within its corporate communication department. IBM main goal is to educate, support, and promote programs that utilize social media. IBM Europe decided to expand internal communication by blogging guidelines. The recognition was that blogging was already happening among IBMers, just in an unregulated way. In a similar way, institutionalizing a function to deal specifically with new media is not a corporate move, or establishing from scratch. It’s a response to the issues already emerging in the company. Now that those technologies are here, people are using them, they’re growing and there here to stay-we’re just going to put some structure around them so that we can try to optimize their use.�?The users decide what technologies they want to use and how they want to use them. That main idea is that IBM understands that they must remember to respect the fact that social media are social. IBM had the need to connect its 340,000 global employees more effectively.

The Response:

IBM’s intent around social media has now been officially formalized. From January 22 2007, the company established a separate “new media�?function within its corporate communication department. “Its remit: To act as expert consultants inside and outside IBM on issues relating to blogs, wikis, RSS and other social media applications. The main idea is to educate, support and promote programs that utilize these tools. IBM has a history of being a t the forefront of technology based corporate communication. From the multimedia brainstorming “WorldJam�?that made news headlines back in 2001 in which 50,000 employees worldwide joined a real time, online idea-sharing session about the company’s direction. IMB has always prepared itself to use breakthrough technologies to establish a two-way dialogue with its employees. The need for social media was necessary and could no longer wait.

The Outcome:

In the last few years IBM has been recognized as being the vanguard of social-media use: IBM was on of the first Fortune 500 companies to get behind collaborative wikis, published internal blogging guidelines as far back as 2003, and is now moving fast beyond RSS and podcasts into videocasting and “virtual world�?technologies like Second Life. The intranet search facility extends to all areas of the site, including new media aspects. When an employee logs onto their portal an executes a key word search, the results they get back not only come from the main intranet pages, but include results from IBM forums, wikis, blogs and podcast/videocasts tags. IMB has an understanding that employees are no longer staying in a company their entire lives. It’s just not like that any more. In Belgium for example over 50 percent of 2,300 employees have been there fewer than five years. The company has come to the conclusion that with an increasingly young and mobile workforce, the likelihood is that an employee population full of a younger generation, for whom these tools are part and parcel of life, is not that far away. In years to come IBM will have to deal with employee base for which blogging is just the natural way to interact over a web platform. IBM has created centralized platforms for most tools that fall under its remit, which includes wikis. For Philippe Borremans, new media lead Europe for IBM, has the potential business applications of a wiki cover two broad benefits: Collaborating and knowledge sharing. IBM has scored some notable successes on both fronts in the near 5000 wiki pages now up and running in the organization. The company has been a huge pick-up in interest in podcasting over the last 18 months writing can seem such a technical skill, whereas people feel they can talk more freely than they can write. One of the most consistently popular IBM podcasts, with over 20,000 downloads a week.

Ameriprise Financial

The Situation:

The Department of Justice survey estimates that 3.6 million U.S. households were victims of identity theft in 2004. Trafficking in personal date goes beyond U.S. borders: the New York Times reports that stolen financial information is often distributed among participants of online trading boards, and the buyers are frequently located in Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. One reason clients are concerned about data security is the widespread publicity generated by breaches at financial services firm. In late December 2205, an Ameriprise Financial employee’s laptop that contained unencrypted data on approximately 230,000 customers and advisors was stolen from a car. Other financial services firm, including Citigroup and Bank of America, also acknowledge large-scale customer data losses in 2005. President of NCS, Rita Dew, a compliance consulting firm in Delray Beach, Florida, says that the Securities and Exchange Commission requires investment advisors to have policies and procedures that address the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards related to client records and information.

The Response:

Ameriprise Financial had to fight back and had to implement “layers of protection.�?It is important for employees who their primary business computer, and employees regularly transport the computer between home, office, and meeting sites. The vulnerability of this arrangement and the need for a safety software program is much needed.

The Outcome:

Employees who are transporting lab tops should install the Steganos Security Suite on their computer. This software allows employees to create an encrypted virtual drive on the laptop that serves as data storage safe. Employees stores all client related data and tax preparation software database on the encrypted drive, which employees has set up with one gigabyte of storage space. The best thing is that when an employee turns off the computer the information is stored “safe�? the software automatically encrypts the virtual drive’s data. The software also generates encrypted backup files, which employees store on CDs in a fireproof safe. This should keep the data secure if any employee’s laptop is stolen or if the drive is removed from the laptop. Other financial advisors are relying on encryption both in and out of the office. Other programs that are being used to protect client’s information are RAID Level 1 system to store data on the drives that are encrypted with WinMagic’s SecureDocs software. Encryption ensures that anyone who steals the computer will be absolutely unable to read the data, even by connecting it to another computer as a “slave drive. This has given many financial advisors the greatest peace of mind.

Terasen Pipelines

The Situation:

Terasen Pipelines is a subsidiary of Terasen Inc. located in Vancouver, Canada and is located in several provinces and U.S. states. In 2001 the company changed its headquarters to Calgary to be closer to the oil. With the big move, the company went through a growth spurt. With the company in many different locations and the growing numbers of employees, the HR department saw a need to find a new system to keep more accurate records.

The Response:

In the past Terasen had kept records on paper and with spreadsheets and with the growth of the company, this system does not work as well as in the past. In order to compensate for future growth, Terasen began to look into HRIS companies to help with the HR operations. After researching different companies, Hewitt’s application service provider model with eCyborg was found to be the right fit.

The Outcome:

Although there was difficulty adapting to a new way of recordkeeping, Terasen was able to find a system that will help support the current and future growth of the company. Fortunately, some of the HR staff had experience working with an HRIS and were able to help their colleagues imagine new processes, as aided by a system. One theme often voiced throughout this process was: “You guys don’t know how hard we’re working when we can make it so much easier with a system that could do a lot of this for us. You don’t always have to run to the cabinet for the employee file just to get basic information. It can all be at your fingertips.�?(Vu, 2005). In order to help Terasen ease the HR burden of implementing a new HR system, the management of Terasen was convinced to look for a vendor to help implement and maintain a HRIS system. This system has helped Terasen better prepare for current and future growth.

Shaw’s Supermarkets

The Situation:

Shaw’s Supermarkets is the second largest supermarket chain in New England. With a workforce of 30,000 located at 180 stores throughout six states, Shaw’s HR staff is responsible for managing employees�?personal data. Their employee mix includes approximately 70 percent part-time employees, consisting of students, senior citizens, second-job part-timers, and career part-timers. One third of the workforce is made up of union associates, and Shaw’s staff oversees the company’s involvement with three unions and six separate contracts (Koven, 2002). In order to help manage the workforce, the HR staff became interested in centralizing its HR operations.

The Response:

In order to centralize HR operations Shaw’s decided to implement an ESS (employee self-service) solution. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information.

The Outcome:

Shaw’s has had positive feedback since implementing the ESS solution. “The reaction from our employees has been extremely positive,�?Penney, VP of Compensation and Benefits, says. “We even had a significant increase in our medical coverage costs, and it was almost a non-issue because the online enrollment featured the plan choices, the employee cost, and the company subsidy. An employee self-service application makes it very easy for them to understand their contributions and coverage options. I received several e-mails from employees saying this was a great change and how easy ESS was, which the case is not often when employees are selecting their benefit options.�?(Koven, 2002). By giving the employees more access to their information they are able to see the benefit choices available to them. Employees are also able to update their information online, which helps reduce the paperwork of the past. Shaw’s has also seen improvement in productivity because employees are updating information at home, not during work hours.

CS Stars, LLC

The Situation:
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State has reached its first settlement with a company charged with failing to notify consumers and others that their personal data had gone missing. Cuomo’s office, which enforces the state’s 2005 Information Security Breach and Notification Law, charged CS STARS LLC, a Chicago-based claims management company, with failing to give notice that it had lost track of a computer containing data on 540,000 New Yorkers�?workers�?comp claims.

The Response:

The owner of the lost data, which had been in the custody of CS STARS, was the New York Special Funds Conservation Committee, an organization that assists in providing workers�?comp benefits under the state’s workers�?comp law. On May 9, 2006, a CS STARS employee noticed that a computer was missing that held personal information, including the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of recipients of workers�?compensation benefits. But CS Stars waited until June 29, 2006, to notify Special Funds and the FBI of the security breach. Because the FBI declared that notice to consumers might impede its investigation, CS STARS waited until July 8, 2006, to send notices to the 540,000 New Yorkers affected by the breach. On July 25, 2006, the FBI determined an employee, of a cleaning contractor, had stolen the computer, and the missing computer was located and recovered. In addition, the FBI found that the data on the missing computer had not been improperly accessed.

The Outcome:

New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization. The law affects not only businesses in their dealings with their customers, but employers in their role as custodians of employees�?personal data. (Cadrain)

Without admitting to any violation of law, CS STARS agreed to comply with the law and ensure that proper notifications will be made in the event of any future breach. The company also agreed to implement more extensive practices relating to the security of private information. CS STARS will pay the Attorney General’s office $60,000 for costs related to this investigation. (Cadrain)

IBM

The Situation:

IBM’s paperless online enrollment system, introduced in 1999, has proved to be a winner for both the company’s 135,000 active U.S. employees and the company, according to Cathleen Donnelly, senior communications specialist at company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. The company saves $1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs alone, Donnelly says, and the employees�?can take advantage of a variety of technologies to learn about issues, research program information and access decision support tools from their desktop computers. (Heuring, 2002)

The Response:

One of those tools, a personal medical cost estimator, enables employees to calculate potential out-of-pocket health care expenses under each of the plan options available to them, Donnelly says. Employees log in personally and are greeted by name and with important information regarding their benefits enrollment, such as the deadlines and when changes take effect. They automatically get access to health plans that are available to them, and the calculator lets them compare estimated benefit amounts for each plan.

“Employees can select the health care services they expect to use in a particular year, estimate expected frequency of use, and calculate potential costs under each plan option,�?Donnelly says. “The feedback that we’ve received from employees tells us that this tool has really helped them to make a comparison between plans based on how they consume medical services.�?The calculator shows both IBM’s costs and the employee’s. (Heuring, 2002)

The Outcome:

“Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,�?Donnelly says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere.

Employees can get summary information on the plans, drill down into very specific details and follow links to the health care providers for research. Donnelly says the system has received high marks for convenience because employees can “get in and out quickly.�?/p>

WORKSource Inc.

The Situation:

To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic paystub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,�?2006). These tools enabled CEO Judith Hahn to handling payroll procedures efficiently and effectively.

The Response:

WORKSource has eight workforce centers, with approximately 108 employees, located throughout a six-county region. Previously, payroll, benefits, and human resources for those employees were processed and managed by a Professional Employer Organization. The company also has 52 administrative staff in its headquarters office. When the contract with the PEO terminated on June 30, 2006, those 108 employees were immediately moved to the payroll of WORKSource, which meant Hahn’s workload more than doubled effective July 2006 (“Tips,�?2006).

Hahn, in an interview with PMR, said she relied on LEAN to help get a handle on what needed to change for her to manage the increased workload. Two years earlier, Hahn’s CEO had introduced her to LEAN, a Japanese management concept of eliminating wasteful steps and motion when completing processes. “I began to read as much as possible about LEAN and joined an HR LEAN focus group�?(“Tips,�?2006).

The Outcome:

Mastering the concepts of LEAN led Hahn to develop and apply her own acronym of “REASON�?to her department’s payroll and HR processes. Review the process: map payroll tasks from start to finish. Eliminate waste: determine how to complete a payroll task most efficiently without unnecessary steps. Analyze alternatives: research and evaluate the applicability of new technology. Sell innovations to management: document the return on investment of each innovation. Open the lines of communication: communicate openly—and often—with all stakeholders, including employees and top management. Never allow negativity: make change simple and fun. Give employees plenty of encouragement and time to learn (“Tips,�?2006). Judith Hahn was able to implement the right human resource functions using information systems.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.

The Situation:

Lynda Morvik, director of benefits and human resources information systems at Tustin, California-based Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS), thought it would make sense to add a benefits communication component to it. By having all the benefit information online, the TAMS employee handbook would also be a living document, enabling Morvik to make changes when necessary. Such was the case halfway through the project, when TAMS changed health care plans from Aetna Inc. to United Health Group Inc (Wojcik, 2004).

The Response:

TAMS, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation and a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, and information systems, had been using a payroll service bureau and an in-house solution for HR that didn’t include easy-to-use consolidated reporting or an employee portal. After evaluating UltiPro alongside several enterprise resource vendors, TAMS selected Ultimate Software’s offering and went live in September 2002 after an on-time and on-budget implementation. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004).

The Outcome:

In an effort to expand the usage of the Web beyond the benefits enrollment process, TAMS has posted a library of documents and forms on its HR portal, including the benefits handbook, which garnered a 2004 Apex Award for publication excellence. That same year, Business Insurance magazine also gave TAMS the Electronic Benefit Communication (EBC) award for outstanding achievement in communicating employee benefits programs over the Web. To continue elevating its use of Ultimate Software’s HRMS/payroll solution, TAMS modified the UltiPro portal to meet the imaging company’s unique needs (Wojcik, 2004). It was completely integrated with several proprietary applications created to address compensation and performance management issues so that TAMS employees have a central location for comprehensive workforce and payroll information from a Web browser that they can access with a single sign-on (Wojcik, 2004).

References

Byars, Lloyd L. & Rue, Leslie W. (2004). Human Resource Management, 7e. The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Cadrain, Diane (2007). New York: Company Settles Data Breach Charges. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from [http://www.shrm.org/law/states/CMS_021505.asp#P-8_0]
Clarifying IBM’s Strategic mission for social media (2007). Strategic Communication
Management. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from
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Friesen, G. Bruce (2003). Is your client ready for eHR? Consulting to Management, 14(3), 27. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.
Hagood, Wesley O. & Friedman, Lee ( 2002). Using the balanced scorecard to measure the performance of your HR information system. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 543-58. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.
Heuring, Linda (2003). IBM: Laying Outing Enrollment Options. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from [http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0803/0803heuring_paperless.asp]
Koven, Jeff (2002). Streamlining benefit process with employee self-service applications: A case study. Compensation & Benefits Management, 18(3), 18-23. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from ProQuest Database.
O’Connell, Sandra (1994). Security for HR records �?human resources. HR Magazine. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m349] 5/is_n9_v39/ai_16309018
Protecting Client Data (2006). Financial Planning. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from

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Tips on Using Technology to Streamline Payroll Processes �?and Cut Costs (2006). Payroll Managers Report, 6(10), 1-9. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.
Vu, Uyen (2005). Contracting out HRIS easy call at Terasen Pipelines. Canadian HR Reporter, 18(4), 5-9. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from ProQuest Database.
Wojcik, J. (2004). Toshiba Employee Handbook Goes Online. Business Insurance, 38(49), 18.
Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.

VoIP Technology Information

The word ‘developing�?often shows greater promise than ‘developed�? For, the later has reached a satiation, while the former has a late of scope to explore. In keeping with this, India is showing a lot of promise to the world. In fact, it is not uncommon that a westerner is coming to India to find a suitable work. Since the market of this second most populous country is growing fast, the businesses are sensing India as a potential market.

Naturally, you may soon find yourself or your friend in India. This is why it is important to learn the pros and cons of the international calls to India. Otherwise, it may be a bit complicating to make affordable calls back home.

Information Technology in India

Like the rest of the world, India too has witnessed a boom in the sector of Information Technology. Still, the availability of high quality communication has remained a great problem. So, the first step to find out the best solution, you should remember that you need to give a bit of effort.  

The complexity of communication in India

The scene is more complicated in India since new companies are coming in every day. Naturally, the abundance of alternatives will make the choice difficult for you. To make the situation even more difficult is the appearance of the plans that they offer. They may seem impressive in the initial stage. But, in the long run, they may turn out quite opposite.

VoIP technology: the right choice

However, the pleasant relief from all the confusion seems to be the Voice of Internet Protocol or VoIP. This is a path breaking evolution of the communication technology. Thanks to it, people can now have an alternative for the mobile and telephone bills that are soaring high constantly.

So, if you are looking for cheap calls to India, VoIP is the right choice. In fact, the technology will enable you to call from India to the other parts of the world as well. One of the greatest advantages with the VoIP is that you don’t have to think about the different plans and to find out the best of the lot. Also, you don’t have to make a big investment to avail this service. Of course, you have to invest once and there is no recurring charge.

The things that you need to enable the VoIP service is a computer and the broadband internet connection. Along with it, you need to have the VoIP software, a headset and a microphone. These things will make sure that you can make international calls in really reasonable price.

VoIP offers plenty of other advantages as well; you don’t have to stand in the long queue to pay the bills. Along with it, it offers the highest level of quality in terms of connectivity. Again, there are no hassles of roaming as well. So, no matter where you go, you don’t have to bother about the call charges.

Since you are no longer worried about the call charges, there is no meter running over head, you talk freely. Naturally, the quality of communication manifold as well.

Does Technology Information Instantly Incite Inner Stress? If Only Nikola Tesla Was Around Today!

Technophobia is the irrational fear of technology. There are individuals who swear they can’t understand technology or that they “dislike�?it but it’s really about being afraid of technology. There are stress management strategies however that can help those who have this irrational fear, and no it doesn’t mean being locked in a closet with Bill Gates and a window called, Vista.

A technophobe will not admit that they are scared of handling a computer mouse, instead, this type of individual will probably dismiss the fear and announce something like: “I just am not the techie type�?

What makes it even more painful for the technophobe is that they are confronted with technology every day. People everywhere carry cell phones; lap top computers; Iphones and Ipods. Even kids are now expected to know how to download games into their PSPs. E-books are a trend and huge book encyclopedia collections that used to fill a whole bookshelf are OUT.

There are ways however to teach a technophobe NOT to freak out. Stress management techniques such as exposing the technophobe to the convenience of technology may work. For instance, if the technophobe loves music, start with giving them an Ipod loaded with their favorite songs. Baby steps do work to battle the stress suffered by one who goes into a nervy mode brought about by “too much technology�? Thus, do not expose the technophobe to heavy hands-on excel or word document materials right away. Instead, have them watch a soothing relaxing YOU TUBE video or maybe ask Steve Jobs to give them a back rub.

Talk to the technophobe with honesty and patience about their problem. Explain that life today means having to accept that there will always be technology. Use humor and logic �?ask questions like: “Do you still believe that an hourglass is safer than a wrist watch?�? Remind the technophobe that they are no longer living in the medieval ages. Remember though, that there is a difference between humor and sarcasm, even though you show up for dinner at their house dressed as King Arthur or Maid Marianne.

Most of those afraid of technology will learn to fight their fears by rational thinking. Remind them that when the first man first discovered fire, he probably panicked wondering what it was. But later he learned that his fears were unfounded and that it was a service to his community (and later to the human race) to have discovered fire. Just as long as he wasn’t a pyromanic. Remember to keep your tone always light, sensible and humorous and soon the technophobe will learn to realize that their fears about technology are all baseless. And then you can address them as Mr. Edison.

Sure it may be difficult helping a technophobe at first. They are types who have a penchant for resisting change so expect them to initially resist all your arguments, however logical they may seem.

Humor and logic help the technophobe more than forcing them to hold a computer mouse. Stress reduction techniques like creative visualization are also effective. Tell your technophobe friend to close their eyes for a moment and imagine that all is alright with the world as they see themselves making millions in their new online business! And then quietly tip-toe out of their and spend a good two hours surfing all by yourself, because by this time all the stress that you got them to reduce is now all on you!

Competitive and Technical Domination Through Patent Information

In today’s competitive world, technology has become the most important competitive weapon of enterprises. This weapon results from high inputs of labor, cost and infrastructure and is proprietary in nature. Acquiring competitive advantages are only possible through innovation and intelligent implementation of technology as marketable products and services.

Patents information act as bullets for these weapon. Patent information is widely being used in corporate sector for informed decision-making and decreasing the risk and uncertainty associated with Research &Development plans.

But this great source in information is not widely used by researchers and scientist in most of the research organization, especially in developing countries. Almost all research organization refers to the scientific journals and research publication as the main source of new technical information. Based on which their project plan and all other task depends. Thus, intelligent selection and prioritization of research projects, along with long term tactics framework is essential to reduce the failure risk. But these tasks are not easy, and require expertise in the following fields of technology management: technology identification, distinguish among present, part and future technology, technology forecasting, technology assessment, technology monitoring and technology mapping. This information can be further used for the formulation of technology strategy.

Patent analyzing can reveal the following information, which can be used in making strategic decision making:

  • Technology trajectory to trace the evolution path of any particular technology.
  • Detection of research focuses of top competitors in different technological fields and forecast their future trend
  • Acquire invaluable information about past, current and future research possibility in a particular technology domain.
  • Identify and monitor key competitor’s in particular technical field, to predict future research trends and identify technology gaps in new fields.
  • Identification of potential licensors with technologies of interests.
  • Analyzing technical and legal information of related patents, before triggering the negotiation process to transfer of given technology, can boost the bargaining power of research institutes as technology transfer.
  • It can help in acquiring technical information
  • Avoiding duplication of research
  • At initial stages, patents analysis may help in generating ideas for new innovations.

Finally even the 18-month lag between filing and publication of patent information as well as different lifetime of patents; it is the most organized and easy accessible and freely available technological information source. Expert analysis and use of patent information can help you armed with the competitive technology to gain market supremacy.