4 items tagged "monitoring"

  • 4 Ways social media posts can provide competitive intelligence

    4 Ways social media posts can provide competitive intelligence

    Over the past decade, social media has transformed the way businesses promote themselves by opening up new, direct lines of communication with current and potential customers. Unlike traditional advertising, social media is interactive and immediate, and the content is often more diverse and in-depth than what you’d find in an ad.

    With all that in mind, keeping track of what your competitors are posting can provide valuable insights. If you’re starting a social media monitoring process, here are four types of posts you’ll definitely want to capture:


    • Industry relationships: It’s always useful to know who’s rubbing elbows with your biggest competitors, and many businesses use their social media accounts to actively promote their relationships with other businesses. Keep an eye on who your competition is retweeting, reposting, and tagging on social media, particularly on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, for a glimpse at what companies they’re talking to and, potentially, partnering with.


    • Events & webinars: Conferences and expos great opportunities to find out what other businesses are offering, and knowing which events your competition will be attending can give you an edge in terms of deciding which events are worth your time and money. Many businesses use social media to advertise the events they plan to attend, as well as the events and webinars they plan to host in the near future.


    • Customer complaints: It’s easy to find out what your competitors’ view as their strengths, just check out their advertising campaigns. But very few companies are upfront about their products’ weaknesses. To find out what’s not working for them, look for customer complaints and questions directed at the competition’s social media accounts. Many customers turn to Twitter for an immediate response when they have a customer service issue, and those public posts are a great source of insight into the problems the company is dealing with, as well as how they’re handling the complaints.


    • Sponsored or employee-generated content:Native advertising, or ads that blend in with the publication’s non-sponsored content, have blown up over the past decade. Companies are jumping at the chance to engage potential customers through sponsored or employee-authored articles, and the content they produce is often full of useful tidbits. Watch your competition’s social media accounts for posts promoting articles or guest blogs written by employees of the company. Chances are, even if it doesn’t look like an advertisement, it still promotes the business’s products and perspectives.

    Source: CI Radar

  • Discover the Advantages of Benchmarking

    Discover the Advantages of Benchmarking

    In every industry, there are certain standards that employees and consumer come to expect from any company worth their salt. How do you know if your business is meeting those standards? The answer is benchmarking.

    While every business is unique and no two comxpanies will follow the exact same path to success, benchmarking gives you a solid starting point for measuring your operations. By analyzing your competitors and comparing your processes and offerings to theirs, you’ll be better able to keep up with industry trends and meet the demands of the modern market.

    “It’s highly important for leaders … to know what the industry is offering, what’s changing and the new systems and technologies they need to adopt to stay on top of the game,” said Sahin Boydas, founder and CEO of RemoteTeam.com. “Leaders who operate without monitoring benchmarks end up being left behind — there’s always a price to pay for ignoring what’s happening in your business environment.”

    Here’s what you need to know about the process and benefits of benchmarking in your business operations.

    What is benchmarking?

    Benchmarking in business means measuring your company’s quality, performance and growth by analyzing the processes and procedures of others. If you believe there’s something that can be improved within your organization, you can see how your business stacks up against the “standard” and plan out a path for betterment, whether that means cutting costs, boosting efficiency and productivity, or growing revenue. The ultimate goal of benchmarking is continuous improvement, something all businesses should aim for. Comparing your business to others can help you generate ideas that you can adopt to get ahead.

    Key takeaway: Benchmarking helps your business establish an internal or external standard to measure itself against for the purposes of continual improvement.

    Types of business benchmarking

    A business can use benchmarking to measure numerous areas of their operations against internal and external standards. There are three primary types of benchmarking:

    1. Internal benchmarking

    Internal benchmarking is all about improving your business by comparing it to historical data. Whether you’re comparing organizational departments or different branch locations, you can use internal benchmarking to uncover the best, most efficient practices and share them across the company.

    According to Boydas, internal benchmarking can help eliminate waste of both time and money in a business. Internal benchmarks that businesses should focus on may include things like employee performance and effectiveness, as well as how employees make use of the tools provided by the business.

    “Monitoring internal benchmarks is one of the most effective ways to build resilient teams,” said Boydas. “Benchmarking data helps businesses identify the most effective ways to make use of employee talent, how to organize tasks to make it easy for both employees and management, and what part of the organizational processes should be discarded.”

    2. Competitive benchmarking

    As the name suggests, competitive benchmarking is about setting certain goals based on what your competitors are doing. By studying the practices and standards of similar businesses to match or, ideally, exceed the industry status quo, your business can gain a competitive edge.

    Competitor benchmarks can impact everything from employee salaries, services provided to customers and even employee morale, said Maida Zheng, senior advisor at The Logos Consulting Group.

    “If you want to stay ahead of the competition and create the most desirable work environment for your employees, understanding what your competitors are doing is not only common sense, but imperative,” Zheng told Business.com. “Employees will know they should stay with a company if they have an opportunity for growth — monetary and skill — and they know their employer is keeping up or staying ahead of competition.”

    3. Strategic benchmarking

    One step beyond competitive benchmarking is strategic benchmarking, in which a business seeks to emulate specific performance standards of world-class organizations. This may involve cross-industry inspiration, like when Southwest Airlines modeled its maintenance, cleaning and boarding processes after the time-bound, defined tasks of a well-oiled NASCAR pit crew.

    Key takeaway: Business benchmarking can be used to measure progress and growth in many key operational areas. The most common types are internal, competitive and strategic benchmarking.

    Benefits of benchmarking in business

    Benchmarking is not a one-and-done exercise; to truly benefit from this practice, a company must engage in consistent, ongoing measurement of their key activities to ensure they’re moving toward their goals.

    Businesses that make benchmarking a regular practice can:

    • Keep improving internal operations. Benchmarking your processes and procedures, especially against internal standards, can help your team become more efficient and productive year over year.
    • Understand what’s working and what isn’t. A deep, thorough analysis of your business’s past performance will allow you to identify trends and patterns that you may not have noticed as they were happening. Looking at this data will give you a clear picture of what behaviors and practices improve overall business results and which ones don’t.
    • Adopt or improve upon competitors’ practices. When you study your competition, you begin to understand what they’re doing that makes them successful, as well as areas where they falter. By adapting competitors’ best practices to your organization’s needs and deviating from the things customers or clients don’t like, you can optimize your position in the market and better appeal to your target audience.
    • Reduce costs by increasing efficiency. Benchmarking is most often used to improve performance through efficiency. Cutting out waste in your processes, be it monetary costs or time and effort spent, will help you streamline your operations and ultimately help you retain more of your revenue.
    • Focus on practices and offerings that promote customer satisfaction and loyalty. Gathering feedback and data from customers (either your own or your competitors) will give you greater insight into what they like and don’t like, and what you can do to keep earning their business in the future.

    Key takeaway: Benchmarking can help you improve multiple areas of your business operations, simply by measuring progress and giving you a clear goal to strive for.

    What is a typical benchmarking process?

    In its simplest form, benchmarking involves determining where you are, where you want to be and how you plan to get there. Here is a brief overview of the stages of the benchmarking process most businesses follow:

    1. Plan out what you want to benchmark.

    Benchmarking begins with identifying what you want to measure. Whether it’s salary, sales, team development or another area of growth, you’ll want to define the activities you’re benchmarking and the key metrics you’ll use to track progress.

    2. Conduct research to collect relevant data.

    Once you know what you want to measure, you can begin speaking with employees, competitors, customers and other business stakeholders who may be involved or impacted. Initiating one-on-one or group conversations or collecting survey responses from these parties can provide valuable feedback to inform your benchmarking process.

    You should also conduct research on where other companies or departments currently stand. For instance, if you’re benchmarking salaries, you’ll want to look at sites like Glassdoor and Payscale to see what other companies pay for the same roles and titles in your organization. Understanding the industry or departmental average can help you better set your own benchmark for measuring your company’s performance.

    3. Analyze the data to assess where you are and where you want to be.

    Using your research and gathered data, you can figure out where your current performance sits compared to other companies or departments and determine an appropriate and realistic goal for improvement. Laying out your data in an easy-to-digest format (e.g. graphs or charts) can give you a holistic picture of any gaps in your performance and how far you’ll need to go to meet your desired benchmark.

    4. Develop an action plan.

    This is the implementation phase of the benchmarking process in which you’ll develop actionable steps you and your stakeholders can take to reach your goals. Defining success and an action plan upfront gives you a clear path to hitting your benchmarks.

    A good place to begin is by leveraging common goal-setting approaches like SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and HEART (Habit-Forming, Emotional, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Bound). By using either of these approaches, you can break down your big-picture benchmarking goals (“increase sales”) into smaller steps with concrete deadlines (“reach out to five new prospects per week over the next quarter”).

    5. Monitor your progress.

    At regular intervals, check the progress your team is making against the defined goals in your action plan. This may be weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually, but it’s important to track your metrics consistently. If you’re meeting your benchmarks, it means your plan has been successful and you should continue. If you’re not, you may need to revisit your plan and course correct.

    While these steps can be adapted to many different business operations, your company may want to develop its own unique benchmarking process based on the specific goals you want to reach. Depending on your current state and where you want to go, some steps may be more involved or require external partners to help.

    Key takeaway: To begin benchmarking, identify the metrics you want to track, asses where you currently stand and define what success looks like. Then, create an action plan and regularly track your progress.

    Example of benchmarking

    Not sure where to begin with your benchmarking process? Here is a hypothetical example of how it can work for your organization:

    A company uses the same ticketing system for its customer service department and its IT department. When the chief operating officer looks at the dashboard statistics, she notices that the IT team closes 80% of its tickets within three days, which is significantly faster than the customer service team.

    She initiates a benchmarking process for closed tickets and studies what the IT team is doing to achieve its results. The COO learns that whenever a ticket comes in for IT, the department head assigns the ticket to the team member with the most expertise in that area, while customer service tickets are assigned to whichever employee is currently available.

    The customer service team adopts the IT team’s practice of ticket assignment by expertise and sets a goal of cutting their average ticket close time in half by the end of the following month. After a few weeks of following this practice, the customer service reps were working through more issues each week and successfully hit the IT team’s close time benchmark.

    Key takeaway: The benchmarking process allows a team or company to determine what specific practices are helping other departments or competitors achieve certain results. The team or company can then adopt those practices to achieve similar improved results.

    How to make benchmarking work for your business

    If your business is looking to begin the benchmarking process, the most important thing you can do is get your employees involved in the process. Change is a difficult but necessary part of reaching your benchmarking goals, and it’s important that everyone on your team is on board with what they need to do, when they need to do it and how.

    Giving everyone a seat at the table and letting their voices be heard will help you encourage and foster creativity, Zheng said. Great ideas can come from anywhere in the organization, and you may find that a lower-level employee comes up with the best plan for improving a particular process.

    “Don’t get stuck in a rut thinking that only the senior managers can offer innovative ideas,” said Zheng. “Create a mechanism where any employee can make the company better and accordingly reward them for bringing ideas to life.”

    Key takeaway: Get your employees of all levels involved in the benchmarking process. This will not only generate the greatest number of diverse, viable ideas, but also encourage buy-in from your team. 

    Author: Nicole Fallon

    Source: Business News Daily

  • Finding the right monitoring tool: start asking questions!

    Finding the right monitoring tool: start asking questions!

    I spend a lot of my time at conferences and there’s one question I often hear with increasing frequency: Why are there so many monitoring tools?

    Looking around the vendor area at any conference, I see loads of monitoring tools and companies, and attendees are often overwhelmed by the sea of options. How can all of these tools be different and/or better than the other? The problem starts with the way we talk about monitoring.

    What does monitoring really mean?

    Monitoring is a pretty vague term: I can monitor my deployments, my application performance, and the cupcakes baking in the oven. It’s more important to ask ourselves, 'What problem are we trying to solve through monitoring?' I can buy a fire extinguisher because my cupcakes keep burning, or I can buy an oven timer so I remember to take them out of the oven. Simply put: there are a lot of monitoring tools because they solve a wide variety of problems. To differentiate and find value in the tools available, we have to know what problem we’re trying to solve. A lot of us have to address downtime in our systems, so we turn to monitoring solutions after some catastrophic failure. Others turn to monitoring to solve the tricky issue of resource allocation: there are entire consultancies built around which services use the most resources and how we can optimize them. Others use monitoring data to forecast sales in order to better measure the accuracy and success of their systems.

    Monitoring is so important because businesses and technology both survive on the premise that our services are available for as much of the time as possible. System uptime means community engagement and sales and relationships being built. There’s an abundance of monitoring tools because different systems and types of data require different approaches. Let’s talk about how you can start pruning the landscape.

    How do I find the right monitoring tool?

    To find the monitoring tool that fits your needs, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

    What type of data do you want to monitor? Are you gathering metrics, events, logs, user data, a combination of these, or something else entirely? Different types of data have different requirements for how we collect, store and analyze them. Look for tools made specifically for your type of data so you spend less time on setup.

    What is the source of your data? Is your data being generated by IoT sensors, web browsers, AWS or local servers? When choosing a monitoring tool, make sure it fits easily into the pipelines that already exist. Some tools are made specifically for the cloud while others are made for industrial IoT machinery. If you’re using a combination of data sources, you might have to think about a flexible collection agent.

    Do you have performance requirements? If you have limited resources or strict performance requirements, you can’t always instrument your applications with a full suite of monitoring tools. Find out how much work you have to do to optimize the tool. Look for benchmarks, user stories and hardware requirements.

    These are just a few questions to get started, and hopefully researching these will lead you to even more questions. Don’t be afraid to ask companies how their products are different. These are the questions that allow each monitoring company to show you its strengths. Here are a few questions you can start with:

    1. What type of data is the tool built for? Purpose-built solutions that match your data will be an easier transition.
    2. What ecosystem is the tool made to run in? Some tools are built specifically for a cloud-only environment while others are made for bare metal servers.
    3. Do you have an open source version or a free trial? There are a lot of pitfalls when it comes to implementing monitoring solutions, and being able to test them out before any money is involved is so much nicer.
    4. Bonus: I like to ask the person I’m talking to what their favorite feature of the product is. It can be surprising and enlightening.

    Get out there and start asking questions!

    Author: Katy Farmer

    Source: Insidebigdata 

  • The Impact of Predictive Analytics on Developments in Mobile Phone Tracking

    The Impact of Predictive Analytics on Developments in Mobile Phone Tracking

    Predictive analytics technology continues to shape the world in surprising new ways. One of the trends that few people have talked about is the role of predictive analytics in the future of mobile phone tracking.

    Mobile phone data has played a huge role in research. They have been especially important in behavioral research, according to a study published with the National Institute of Health.

    The first mobile phone tracking tools were able to make a huge difference in preserving people's state of mind. However, they were limited in the scope of their analytics. People had to draw their own conclusions while monitoring the behavior of someone using a phone. Predictive analytics could change that.

    The Role of Mobile Phone Tracking Before the Emergence of Predictive Analytics and AI

    When you look up to finding a solution to track a person’s cell phone location on the internet, a thousand results would appear before your screen. Questions like how to find a cell phone location and how to track a cell phone location without installing software have been frequently asked on different groups and forums.

    These tracking tools rely extensively on big data and artificial intelligence. Newer AI algorithms make things a lot easier. They are evolving even further and will bring more benefits in the years to come.

    Most of these questions germ from the concerns of people who may have a different set of reasons to track cell phone location. A lot of concerned parents would want to find out where their kids usually go to after school or which places they usually visit with their friends on a frequent basis.

    Then there are employers who would want to find out who their employees meet outside during the office hours because they would not want their company's confidential information to be leaked. Last but not least, spouses would want to keep an eye on their partners' whereabouts in order to know if they are not being cheated in their relationship.

    In all of these cases, it seems there is only one way anyone can find out what's actually true and that is being able to instantly track the target person's cell phone location without them knowing.

    Predictive Analytics is Disrupting the Mobile Tracking Industry... in a Good way

    There are a number of new potential applications for mobile phone tracking, now that predictive analytics has reached the masses. One of the benefits is that new predictive analytics algorithms should be able to soon help people make better predictions about people's behavior based on previous trajectories with known coordinates.

    For example, if a high school student tends to go down a particular street, that could be an indication that he is on his way to visit his girlfriend. If the parents don't want him seeing her, then they will want to get advance notice so they can start looking at his phone. Predictive analytics algorithms make it a lot easier to make these predictions.

    Forecasting behavior with mobile data isn't an exact science. It takes time to collect enough data to make these assumptions. However, since most people have their phones on them virtually all the time, it shouldn't take more than a couple weeks to a month before predictive analytics algorithms will have enough data on these users to make these kinds of determinations.

    The Predictive Analytics Era of Cell Phone Monitoring Solutions

    Surely, with the latest technology, we have had the liberty of coming across several cell phone monitoring apps and cell phone trackers that have been solely designed for this very purpose. There are several apps that use big data to help you track your target's cell phone location secretly and within minutes. However, majority of them come with their own set of problems: some turn out to be bogus, some require you to perform a jailbreak, and some ask you to fill out online surveys in order to track a person’s cell phone location.

    In other instances, they may also ask you to download a third-party software or app into your phone or ask you to open a certain web link on your device. Now, these activities may be risky because you never know if the third-party app contains malicious content or the web link may inject malware into your device. Therefore, you should be avoiding such solutions altogether.

    After reading this information, you must be wondering how a cell phone monitoring app would still be able to find someone's cell phone location despite having a number of problems. A cell phone monitoring app does work effectively and perform its job of finding someone's location given it comes from a trustworthy company and has a good repute in the market. This will be very useful when these algorithms are merged with predictive analytics technology.

    A cell phone monitoring app is considered to be genuine and effective if it does not ask you to: download a third-party app/software on your device; open a certain web link to complete the process; fill out the online survey to provide them with your human verification, or perform a jailbreak. If you're not using the right cell phone monitoring app then you may increase the chance of getting caught and even expose the target phone to malware or other malicious viruses.

    Finding Cell Phone Location Via a Monitoring App

    The majority of the cell phone monitoring apps would require you to install the app into the target phone in order to help you find their current phone location. Finding someone's cell phone location without installing software may work for iPhones but it won't work for the Android phones.

    No physical access is required for iPhones while finding their cell phone location. All you need is access to their iTunes credentials so you are able to login into their Apple account and find their location using the 'Find My iPhone' feature.

    However, with an Android phone, you must have physical access to the target phone. In case your target has an Android phone, then you need physical access to their phone only for a few minutes so you're able to deploy the cell phone monitoring app successfully into their device.

    How Does a Monitoring App Find Someone's Cell Phone Location?

    A cell phone monitoring app helps you find someone's cell phone location secretly. All you need to do is download the cell phone monitoring app from the official website and then get it installed on the target cell phone. The minute the app is installed, you will receive credentials for your online dashboard from where you will be able to remotely track your target's cell phone location within minutes.

    What actually happens is, after the cell phone monitoring app is deployed on the target phone, it starts tracking their cell phone location. Some monitoring apps track the location using GPS while some do without the GPS. On the other hand, there are some that help you track your target's cell phone location with and without using GPS technology.

    Wherever your target goes, whatever places they visit, all the information regarding their whereabouts will be recorded and logged by the cell phone monitoring app at different intervals and then the same information will be shared with you on your online dashboard. Basically, all your questions regarding how to tap a cell phone will be answered using a cell phone monitoring app.

    Another reason why using a cell phone monitoring app is considered beneficial is because it lets you sneak into someone's cell phone and helps you finding their current phone location without them knowing. Yes, there is a good chance your target may not be able to know that their location is being tracked by you.

    For your understanding, let's give you an example. Suppose your target is using an Android phone and you want to keep a track of their cell phone location. Somehow, you will get hands on their phone to be able to install the cell phone monitoring app on it. Once installed, you will open the Applications list on their phone and hide the cell phone monitoring app icon so it does not remain visible to the target.

    After the icon has been hidden, your target won't be able to find out about the monitoring app being installed on their phone and as a result, they won't be able to tamper with it. This way you will be able to secretly track their cell phone location without making them suspicious or apprehensive.

    Predictive Analytics Changes the Future of Mobile Phone Tracking

    Predictive analytics is changing the future of mobile phone tracking in countless ways. It is going to play a very important role in forecasting people's behavior in ways that contemporary mobile tracking devices are unable to do.

    Author: Annie Qureshi

    Source: Smart Data Collective

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