The interactive marketing rules are constantly rewritten. Is your digital IQ growing? Interested readers, click on the logo to get more insight into strategies to engage your small business. This is the first of a monthly installment for Rousta as a columnist. We look for it to be an engaging relationship.
Young Entrepreneur, launched in 1999, is one of the largest online communities for entrepreneurs worldwide. The website reaches a unique collection of investors, startup CEOs, programmers, mentors, and so forth.
The World HRD Congress is slated for next month in Mumbai, and Blueliner CEO Arman Rousta will be a keynote speaker. The two day event is a forum presenting key challenges concerning human resources on a worldwide scale. Professionals from all industries will meet to shape the future of organizations by sourcing, developing, and managing talent. Human resources at times can be underrated, but most often plays a crucial role in shaping careers & building an organization on trust and value. Good human resources support an organization with structure and vision for future developments.
The influence of human resources today will define labor developments of tomorrow. Agile human resource departments are necessary to make operational adjustments in an era of market uncertainty and shortage of raw materials.
Arman will discuss how trends in technology impact our daily operations at the office and home. He plans to explain how in The Shift Age (David Houle‘s term for this era), time management is crucial to mastering a work-life balance. In his mind, consciousness is also important to successfully adapt to problems.
Understanding the forces at work and resulting trends is a key component of corporate strategy, especially in this time of rapid transitions. If HR professionals can use forecasting intelligently, management can best take advantage of current forces and market trends.
Arman will also explore the rise of Eastern markets, from an anecdotal perspective. He will recount some of his experiences during the past fifteen years of building and managing global business.
For more details on the conference, visit the website here.
In order to understand the nascent rise of technology in labor, we need to take a step back and view the progress of hardware upgrades and software development. Customer Relationship Management, known as CRM, swept the workforce in the 1990s and seemed to represent a seismic shift in the allotment and distribution of data. The software concept has succeeded more in theory than in practice as industries did not have the capital to store the heavy data archives. Nowadays, CRM is really emerging as a template for operations, especially small businesses, that need a thrifty model to run their enterprises and track data.
The people of Software Advice have created a nifty interactive feature spotlighting the development of CRM up to present day. Highlights include the Introduction of the first client architecture, which led to the development of software for the management of information. Another pertinent development included the move of CRM to providing a broad suite of solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service teams. Executives instrumental in the software’s timeline include Tom Siebel, Pat Sullivan, and Mike Muhney. Software Advice is also looking for more events to add in this timeline. Feel free to submit those events and other feedback here to Lauren Carlson, CRM Market Analyst, email@example.com, and they will be included in subsequent updates.
E-commerce websites are mainly designed to sell products and their success is very essential for better business results. When designing and developing an e-commerce website, a designer has to face so many challenges in order to deliver the best of all. Hence, it is very essential to analyze all the areas of the process to ensure delivery of a good product. E-commerce is a unique topic in online business with various beneficial features, including global audience reach, high standards, user interaction, valuable information, and customization.
There are a range of essential factors that influence the look and feel of e-commerce websites. The top features include quick & easy navigation, product related simple design for increased visibility of product, effective branding, specific product images, displaying related or recommended products, listing popular products, offers & discounts, simple checkout process, and complete website search option.
The navigation of product pages should be carefully designed with more options for the users to locate the product easily. This feature of the site requires thorough user experience testing to ensure all navigational issues are addressed properly. With the help of some simple design approaches, the site will give better visibility to the product, as selling is the key point of any e-commerce website. For better performance of the website, the design should be related to the style of products available and thus making a direct connection with the brand.
Your firm should include product specific photos, especially in different angles. This will help the user get a feel of the product and to make an easy purchasing decision. They should also make use of the homepage and help the users to find something really interesting by adding offers, popular products, new arrivals and other discounts. Displaying a list of related products on the product details page to the user may result in increased sales of those products as well and serves as a promotional tool for similar products. Users may find it difficult to land with the particular product of their interest even with good navigation, so in order to avoid this and help them gain easy access to the product, it is advised to include search box with range of options.
In total, e-commerce websites with all the above good features provides advantages for small and medium businesses in developing countries reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency.
Two years ago, after returning from trips to our India and Bangladesh offices, I wrote a series of posts on Offshore Outsourcing, from an agency perspective. Those posts are here if you want to browse them:
Presently, as I write this post, I’m sitting in Blueliner India’s air-conditioned office in Hyderabad, complete with high-speed Internet and power generators to support electricity outages. Conditions have vastly improved over my last trip here, for businesses as well as the local people of Hyderabad. If you’ve read The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, you’ve got the sense. The Hi-Tech City area, where we are located, really feels like Silicon Valley, with all the big companies, from Microsoft to Dell to Oracle to Google, right down the block. I’ll be documenting the trip with video as well as pictures, which you can follow on Blueliner’s YouTube Channel.
Phase 1 of building an offshore company was about infrastructure. The reason for the title of this post being “Phase 2″ is that we’ve just passed five years in the agency outsourcing model, and with infrastructure now well in place, I feel that it’s time for something different. Phase 2 is all about team building. Team building is always important, right from the get go in any new location. If you can’t find those first one or two good local leaders, the whole venture becomes that much harder. I was fortunate enough to find two good leaders – one in India, one in Bangladesh – who have helped Blueliner build great SEO, social media and web development teams. I’m using this opportunity to get to know our staff on a personal level. It’s amazing to meet people, like Siva Dosakaya, who have worked for me for almost three years, for the first time. He and fellow SEO Specialist Satya Dev (1.5 years with Blueliner)
Several days later, I presented Prasad Sistla, Blueliner India’s fearless leader and General Manager, with a small token of my gratitude for what he has done to put us on firm footing in an ultra-competitive and very exciting city. As Blueliner continues to build its reputation globally as one of the top SEO, Social Media and Web Design agencies, I want to see those who have been through the tough times with us be properly rewarded. Prasad is one of those special people. See this interaction (video) as well as a welcoming of our first operational staff member to Blueliner India – MVN Guptha, a very experienced bookkeeper.
I cannot stress enough the importance of these moments. Building personal relationships with your co-workers that live half way around the world is as important as those relationships with your local, day-to-day co-workers. The reason being that there is a tendency to treat “off-shore workers” as if they are just user names on a Skype interface. Since you don’t see each other, the work connection is generally less personal and completely results-oriented. There is no personal touch or real connection unless you make the effort. That is why it’s important to travel and experience what it is like to work in their offices, eat their food (even if it gives you an occasional stomach ache, like the one I had yesterday) and spend time together, both in and out of the office. I’m not a subscriber to the “work is work” or “business is business” philosophy; to me that is a convenient way of detaching from the realities of life and importance of human relationships.
The Art of Outsourcing is akin to The Art of Living. Treat people well, work hard, listen consciously and learn from your observations and experiences.
Over the past couple of weeks I have taken the time to evaluate the issue of offshore outsourcing, a controversial topic which brings out intense passion from those who discuss it, no matter what side they are one. In my first entry, I discussed the issue of jobs, how many people blame offshore outsourcing for the loss of jobs while companies see it as an affordable path to gain quality professionals. In my second entry, I discussed the careful balance companies must maintain when distributing the cost savings of outsourcing: whether that money should be absorbed internally to fuel growth (and fatten paychecks) or if it should be passed onto the customer.
Today I would like to try my thoughts and experience against the issue of the falling dollar. Has it damaged the benefits of offshore outsourcing as a long-term strategy, or is this merely a hic-up in the grand scheme of the global economy?
There’s no denying that the American economy is facing real challenges. The slump in the housing marketing and the credit crunch, inexorably tied to the tragedy of billions of dollars lost from irresponsible lending to the lower middle class, has sprouted poisonous tendrils in other, one might say “innocent,” sectors of the economy like retail, construction, the auto industry and direct marketing firms. Unprecedented gas prices, which flirted with the historic $100 a barrel, certainly haven’t helped. Neither has a ballooning American deficit. With all of these factors crushing down, the dollar has suffering next to the euro, the pound, even the Canadian dollar and the Indian rupee.
We are pleased to announce that Blueliner Marketing’s case study in offshore outsourcing work to Bangladesh, as well as quotes from CEO Arman Rousta, have been used as the primary source for a front-page article in Crain’s New York Business, “Outsourcing Moves to Bangladesh”.
The article discusses how Bangladesh is a rising star in the international economy with industrial analysts from Goldman Sachs to Cisco Systems predicting that it has high potential to follow in the successful economic steps of the giant next door – India.
High turnover, rising salaries, and intense competition for talent have made India gradually less attractive to businesses seeking the dramatic cost savings traditionally associated with offshore outsourcing. On the other hand, Bangladesh has a rising population of tech-savvy workers, thanks to investments in IT infrastructure from the European Union, as well as extensive educational opportunities, which are supplemented by Indian educational institutions.
For Blueliner, the Bangladesh team has been a tremendous asset: bringing solid language skills, programming acumen, and tremendous work ethic to the company. The cost savings, as much as 50% over India, as well as quality work is passed onto our clients who appreciate the lower price of Blueliner’s services.
The entire article can be read here on our site or by purchasing a copy of Crain’s New York Business from newsstands this week only.
Last week I talked about the issue of offshore outsourcing, and the complexity of the arguments that surround any conversation on this topic. Specifically, I discussed the issue of jobs, how many people claim to have lost jobs to the people of other countries as a result of offshore outsourcing, and how Blueliner has approached this issue. See “A Contribution to the Offshore Outsourcing Debate…“
Unemployment is not the only issue people have with offshore outsourcing. For many, sending customer service and computer programming overseas is the equivalent of sending manufacturing to China: it cheapens the product and damages quality control. This mind-set has been exacerbated by the fact that outsourced customer service is hard to hide. If you get on the phone with someone in India, after all, they are probably going to sound Indian. Minor language barriers, combined with latent American frustration and impatience when anything goes wrong, make for combustible situations.
The result is a generation of people who see offshore outsourcing as a drain on jobs and detrimental to the customer service of American companies. Add that to the perception that big corporations and their wealthy executives are pocketing the profits, and you have a ticking public relations bomb.
You don’t get much more heated than a real, down-and-dirty debate about offshore outsourcing. Tapping issues that run as deep as patriotism, entrepreneurship, the American Dream, and the plight of developing countries in the World’s desperately uneven playing field, the issue of offshoring inspires passion in a broad spectrum of people over a broad spectrum of issues.
Is losing American jobs to other countries a tragedy? Or a new way of helping the third world get on its feet? Are businesses sacrificing quality for higher profit margins? Or are customers reaping the rewards of less expensive goods and services? Is India really the answer for outsourcing? Or should we look elsewhere? And as the American dollar spirals ever downward, is offshore outsourcing really a viable long-term business model at all?