Don’t Hang Up! How CIOs Can Add Value

So at a high level, we all know that a CIO can add value to how a company is run. We know that by managing the IT department and motivating the IT staff, the CIO can keep the email system up and the network running. However, that’s not good enough. How can the CIO really transform the company? What does he / she need to do to make a difference? Turns out that over at Ascend One, they know the answer to this question…

Who Is Ascend One And What Do They Do?

Ascend One is a company that works with consumers who have built up a lot of debt. As you can well imagine, a key part of the service that they offer is agents who talk to customers who are drowning in a sea of debt.

Ascend One had a problem. Their contact center and its staff were both a critical part of the company as well as a major expense. Back in 2000, this part of the company occupied two buildings and was located near Baltimore, Maryland.

One of their biggest challenges was trying to keep the computers that their 600 call center staff used up-to-date. Every time there was an update to any of the software that they used, it would require that the IT department shut down and spend their time attempting to push 600 software updates out to the 600 workstations that the staff used.

To make things even more challenging, the workstations that the staff were using weren’t getting any younger – as the software become more demanding, the end of life date drew closer and closer for this expensive corporate asset.

What Did Ascend Do?

Ascend One’s IT department knew that they needed to do something and do it fast. What they decided to do was to bite the bullet and create a virtual desktop environment for use by their call center staff. What this meant was that no longer would the call center agent’s aging PCs run their desktop applications, instead all of the heavy lifting would be done on backroom servers and only a browser would be needed to display the results on each PC.

The ultimate goal of this transformation was to allow the customer agents to stop worrying about upgrading their PCs and allow them to spend more of their time performing credit counseling with their customers. Centrally storing and managing all of their applications on virtual desktops allowed them to do this.

What About Security?

You may have already guessed this one – a side benefit of virtualizing desktops was that it meant that Ascend One’s call center staff no longer HAD to come to a fixed location to perform their job. There was just one problem: how could they securely access the virtualization servers from their homes?

It turns out Ascend One didn’t want to have to send staff out to each remote worker’s house in order to configure their bewildering array of different computer types. Instead, what Ascend One did was to sit down with Dell and spell out exactly what the minimum configuration that they needed was and then they created a disk image that permitted a computer to access their back office securely. Now each new call center employee has a brand-new Dell computer shipped to them and it works correctly right out of the box.

This has had the additional benefit for Ascend One that they’ve been able to hire workers on the West Coast. This means that they are able to run their call center for an additional three hours each day without having to work multiple shifts.

What All Of This Means For You

In the end, every CIO gets judged based on the value that they’ve been able to bring to their company. Just keeping things up and running is not enough: you need to do things that will allow the company to truly run better.

Ascend One’s IT shop has shown how to do this. They were faced with a challenge in that their front-line staff was spending too much time doing IT work and not enough time working with customers. The IT department implemented a Desktop virtualization solution and it has paid off handsomely.

As CIO you are going to have to keep your eyes open for opportunities to add value to your company. It’s not always going to be the big CRM implementation projects that will advance your career, sometimes it may be as simple as finding something else to virtualize…

Online Home Based Business Mistakes – Your Home Based Business Would Fail If You Don’t Avoid This!

Have you compiled all the information that you need to start your new online home based business? However, have you been told that many newbies failed to earn money, and lost all their money, and then they went back to their old job? This fact may sound devastating to most of us, especially those who always wanted to leave their day job and looking for better business opportunities.

In fact, starting your own business at home in order to achieve the life that you always wanted – building a profitable one is indeed achievable if you learn from mistakes. As a newbie, you cannot afford to make mistakes that can put your business at stake. Therefore, you can actually learn other people’s mistakes – although you haven’t started making one big mistake yet.

Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong niche

It basically means that either you’ve no interest at that niche, or you don’t have a single clue about what the niche is all about. This only happens when you haven’t thoroughly done enough research including keyword and topic research, and product research. It could take a few of your quality hours (probably days) to complete this research.

You’ll slowly lose passion on the niche that you don’t really like causing lack of focus and perseverance. If you fail to understand your niche well enough – you’ll be easily out-ranked by your competitors that make it harder for your business to survive.

Mistake #2: Do not have a proper working schedule

Although you’re your own boss of your own online home based business, it doesn’t mean that you can work whenever you want. If you don’t have a strict working schedule – you tend to procrastinate and delaying all the important work. Soon, you’ll have a huge pile of workloads, and you’re unable to get things done productively. Many newbies have been misled by quotes like “Make Money While You’re Sleeping” and “Create Your Own Auto-pilot Income” – giving them an impression that they can work lazily – in fact, building a successful home internet business requires discipline, hard work and perseverance.

Mistake #3: Treating Your Business as a one-man show performance

Being a newbie in your new home based business – you have to do all the work on your own since you’ve limited funds to hire others, so that you can others to complete some tasks on your behalf. In the long-term point of view, you need to leverage your business by outsourcing some of your tasks to others – in this case, you can virtual assistants or freelancers to perform time-consuming tasks. If you’re spending too much time on small tasks – for instance, logo designing or data entry tasks; you’ll not be able to concentrate on other important tasks – for instance, website promotion, content creation or building backlinks.

Learn from these common mistakes and stay persistent in building a profitable online home based business.

Uptalk – What it is and Why You Don’t Ever Want to Do it!

Carol doesn’t understand why no one seems to take her ideas seriously in business meetings

Sophie complains that every time she makes a suggestion in an Executive meeting the idea gets tossed around until finally some ‘guy’ says the same thing she did and is congratulated for his contribution.

Both of these women experience similar difficulties. They are not given credit for their ideas. One of the biggest causes of women not being taken seriously is the use of ‘Uptalk’ when speaking.

In English, the use of a question mark at the end of a sentence indicates that the sender is asking a question. The speaker therefore raises their inflection at the end of the statement. It is this upward inflection, or lilt, that lets the receiver know that we are asking them something; that we are looking for a response from them.

Uptalk occurs when we inject that same upward inflection at the end of our sentences, rather than inflecting downward, as we should when we read a period. This upward inflection takes our definitive statements and softens them, making them sound as if we are asking a question or looking for approval. The use of uptalk is one of the most common elements undermining women’s credibility with men around the boardroom table.

Consider the impact of uptalk on the following statements. I’ve inserted question marks in parenthesis to indicate where the inflection rises and exclamation points to indicate where the inflection should fall. Practice saying these out loud to ‘hear’ the impact that the uptalk has.

With uptalk: It’s a nice day today(?)

Without uptalk: It’s a nice day today(!)

In the first example, your inflection rises at the end of the statement, making it sound as if you are unsure of whether the day is, in fact, nice or not. Certainly it makes you sound more hesitant and less confident. The second statement however clearly lets others know how you feel about the day. Although this is a simplistic example, the following is an excerpt from an introduction given by a woman in one of my training sessions. Try to follow the upward inflection indicated by the arrows above the phrases and read it out loud. Again, I have inserted question marks to indicate where Susan’s inflection rose as she was delivering her introduction.

Hi(?), my name is Susan(?). I’m the Manager(?) of Information Services(?) for a large Telecommunications company(?)

In this example, you can see that uptalk can occur much more frequently than simply at the end of a sentence. Often people’s sentences are punctuated with uptalk throughout, making it a stronger message. Susan’s use of uptalk made her seem very hesitant and unsure of herself. In fact, it seemed that she should have pulled out a business card to verify that, in fact, her name was Susan as well as her title and employer! If this is the effect that the use of uptalk has on simple, very direct, very definitive statements, is it any wonder that women’s ideas, when presented with uptalk, are often overlooked or ignored?

Women often develop uptalk early in life in an effort to ‘play nice’. Young girls learn early to soften their orders and directions to others by using uptalk. They sound less directing and controlling, less ‘bossy’, and therefore will still be allowed into other little girls’ play circles.

Little boys, on the other hand, will give very direct orders during play, without alienating other boys in the process. It seems that boys are more open to having other boys displaying leadership traits, without any hard feelings or animosity arising, while girls take it as a personal affront when another girl attempts to do so.

In a recent Women in Business networking event I attended, each woman was given two minutes to introduce themselves and their businesses. I was astounded as I listened to these women. Easily 75% of the women present uptalked their way through their personal introductions. They sounded hesitant and ineffectual!

If you find that your statements seem to lack credibility or conviction, that your ideas are lacking strength, take the time to listen to yourself on tape. Listen for the uptalk. Once you train your ear to identify it, you will be amazed at how easily you can begin to control it. You cannot change what you cannot identify though, so get out that tape-recorder and start taping! We have had many past training participants come back to us and say that learning to hear and control their uptalk was one of the biggest contributors to their ongoing success in business. As one participant shared “I can’t believe that such a seemingly small element had such a major impact on how I was perceived. Once I began working to eliminate my uptalk the change in others perception was almost instantaneous. What’s funny is that others knew something was different about me but couldn’t put their finger on what it was. My boss kept asking who lit the fire under me!”

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