must have IT knowledge, avoid plagiarsmBig data analytics examines large amounts of data to uncover hidden patterns, correlations and other
insights. With today’s technology, it’s possible to analyze your data and get answers from it almost
immediately – an effort that’s slower and less efficient with more traditional business intelligence
Todays World
Who Uses It
How It Works
History and evolution of big data analytics
The concept of big data has been around for years; most organizations now understand that if they
capture all the data that streams into their businesses, they can apply analytics and get significant value
from it. But even in the 1950s, decades before anyone uttered the term “big data,” businesses were
using basic analytics (essentially numbers in a spreadsheet that were manually examined) to uncover
insights and trends.
The new benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, however, are speed and efficiency. Whereas
a few years ago a business would have gathered information, run analytics and unearthed information
that could be used for future decisions, today that business can identify insights for immediate
decisions. The ability to work faster – and stay agile – gives organizations a competitive edge they didn’t
have before.
Why is big data analytics important?
Big data analytics helps organizations harness their data and use it to identify new opportunities. That,
in turn, leads to smarter business moves, more efficient operations, higher profits and happier
customers. In his report Big Data in Big Companies, IIA Director of Research Tom Davenport interviewed
more than 50 businesses to understand how they used big data. He found they got value in the
following ways:
Cost reduction. Big data technologies such as Hadoop and cloud-based analytics bring significant cost
advantages when it comes to storing large amounts of data – plus they can identify more efficient ways
of doing business.
Faster, better decision making. With the speed of Hadoop and in-memory analytics, combined with the
ability to analyze new sources of data, businesses are able to analyze information immediately – and
make decisions based on what they’ve learned.
New products and services. With the ability to gauge customer needs and satisfaction through analytics
comes the power to give customers what they want. Davenport points out that with big data analytics,
more companies are creating new products to meet customers’ needs.
Read the white paper
Big data analytics in today’s world
Most organizations have big data. And many understand the need to harness that data and extract value
from it. But how? These resources cover the latest thinking on the intersection of big data and analytics.
Big data meets big data analytics
This white paper gives you a basic overview of how analytics affects big data – plus it outlines three
technologies necessary for extracting value from that data.
Read more
Bringing the power of SAS® to Hadoop
Want to get even more value from Hadoop? This paper presents the SAS portfolio of solutions that help
you apply business analytics to Hadoop.
Read summary
Health care and big data analytics
A big data boom is on the horizon, so it’s more important than ever to take control of your health
information. This webinar explains how big data analytics plays a role.
Watch the webinar
The hard work behind analytics
To understand the opportunities of business analytics, MIT Sloan Management Review conducted its
sixth annual survey of executives, managers and analytics professionals.
Read more
High-performance analytics lets you do things you never thought about before because the data
volumes were just way too big. For instance, you can get timely insights to make decisions about fleeting
opportunities, get precise answers for hard-to-solve problems and uncover new growth opportunities –
all while using IT resources more effectively.
From the white paper Big Data Meets Big Data Analytics
In-Memory Analytics
With in-memory analytics solutions from SAS – from SAS Event Stream Processing to SAS Visual Analytics
– you can use analytics to get immediate insights from your big data.
Learn more about in-memory analytics
Who’s using it?
Think of a business that relies on quick, agile decisions to stay competitive, and most likely big data
analytics is involved in making that business tick. Here’s how different types of organizations might use
the technology:
Travel and hospitality
Keeping customers happy is key to the travel and hotel industry, but customer satisfaction can be hard
to gauge – especially in a timely manner. Resorts and casinos, for example, have only a short window of
opportunity to turn around a customer experience that’s going south fast. Big data analytics gives these
businesses the ability to collect customer data, apply analytics and immediately identify potential
problems before it’s too late.
Health care
Big data is a given in the health care industry. Patient records, health plans, insurance information and
other types of information can be difficult to manage – but are full of key insights once analytics are
applied. That’s why big data analytics technology is so important to heath care. By analyzing large
amounts of information – both structured and unstructured – quickly, health care providers can provide
lifesaving diagnoses or treatment options almost immediately.
Certain government agencies face a big challenge: tighten the budget without compromising quality or
productivity. This is particularly troublesome with law enforcement agencies, which are struggling to
keep crime rates down with relatively scarce resources. And that’s why many agencies use big data
analytics; the technology streamlines operations while giving the agency a more holistic view of criminal
Customer service has evolved in the past several years, as savvier shoppers expect retailers to
understand exactly what they need, when they need it. Big data analytics technology helps retailers
meet those demands. Armed with endless amounts of data from customer loyalty programs, buying
habits and other sources, retailers not only have an in-depth understanding of their customers, they can
also predict trends, recommend new products – and boost profitability.
Play Video
Lenovo uses analytics to rethink its design
As Lenovo was closing in on a final design for a new keyboard, the companys Corporate Analytics unit
stumbled across something unexpected: a small but significant online community of gamers who
passionately supported the current design. Analytics technology not only helped Lenovo discover the
group, it also helped it unearth the sentiment and, as a result, empowered the company to keep its
customers happy.
Read the full story
How it works and key technologies
There’s no single technology that encompasses big data analytics. Of course, there’s advanced analytics
that can be applied to big data, but in reality several types of technology work together to help you get
the most value from your information. Here are the biggest players:
Data management. Data needs to be high quality and well-governed before it can be reliably analyzed.
With data constantly flowing in and out of an organization, its important to establish repeatable
processes to build and maintain standards for data quality. Once data is reliable, organizations should
establish a master data management program that gets the entire enterprise on the same page.
Data mining. Data mining technology helps you examine large amounts of data to discover patterns in
the data – and this information can be used for further analysis to help answer complex business
questions. With data mining software, you can sift through all the chaotic and repetitive noise in data,
pinpoint whats relevant, use that information to assess likely outcomes, and then accelerate the pace of
making informed decisions.
Hadoop. This open source software framework can store large amounts of data and run applications on
clusters of commodity hardware. It has become a key technology to doing business due to the constant
increase of data volumes and varieties, and its distributed computing model processes big data fast. An
additional benefit is that Hadoops open source framework is free and uses commodity hardware to
store large quantities of data.
In-memory analytics. By analyzing data from system memory (instead of from your hard disk drive), you
can derive immediate insights from your data and act on them quickly. This technology is able to remove
data prep and analytical processing latencies to test new scenarios and create models; its not only an
easy way for organizations to stay agile and make better business decisions, it also enables them to run
iterative and interactive analytics scenarios.
Predictive analytics. Predictive analytics technology uses data, statistical algorithms and machinelearning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. Its all about
providing a best assessment on what will happen in the future, so organizations can feel more confident
that theyre making the best possible business decision. Some of the most common applications of
predictive analytics include fraud detection, risk, operations and marketing.
Text mining. With text mining technology, you can analyze text data from the web, comment fields,
books and other text-based sources to uncover insights you hadnt noticed before. Text mining uses
machine learning or natural language processing technology to comb through documents – emails,
blogs, Twitter feeds, surveys, competitive intelligence and more – to help you analyze large amounts of
information and discover new topics and term relationships.
Read more about big data analytics
Top 10 articles of 2016
Which topics were the most popular with our readers in 2016? Hadoop, data scientists, the IoT, machine
learning and more.
Can advanced analytics for credit scoring change the mortgage market?
Machine learning for credit scoring has helped Equifax analyze consumer data over time to determine
which borrowers are trending in a positive direction and develop a more accurate measure than credit
Establishing a roadmap for government data analytics takes less time than you think
Public sector groups need a strategy before taking on government data analytics. Learn how to get the
most from your data.
Top 10 articles of 2015
The Internet of Things, Hadoop, data scientists – which topics do you think were most popular with our
readers in 2015? Take a look at our top-viewed articles — and see if you find new ideas
What Is Cloud Computing?
By Eric Griffith
May 3, 2016
The cloud is a real buzzword, but what is it, how does it impact what you do, and is it anything really
What is the cloud? Where is the cloud? Are we in the cloud now? These are all questions youve
probably heard or even asked yourself. The term cloud computing is everywhere.
In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the
Internet instead of your computers hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes
back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm
infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloud, accepting connections and
doling out information as it floats.
What cloud computing is not about is your hard drive. When you store data on or run programs from
the hard drive, thats called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you,
which means accessing your data is fast and easy, for that one computer, or others on the local network.
Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades; some would argue its
still superior to cloud computing, for reasons Ill explain shortly.
The cloud is also not about having a dedicated network attached storage (NAS) hardware or server in
residence. Storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing the cloud. (However,
some NAS will let you remotely access things over the Internet, and theres at least one brand from
Western Digital named My Cloud, just to keep things confusing.)
For it to be considered cloud computing, you need to access your data or your programs over the
Internet, or at the very least, have that data synced with other information over the Web. In a big
business, you may know all there is to know about whats on the other side of the connection; as an
individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data processing is happening on the
other end. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done
anywhere, anytime.
Consumer vs. Business
Lets be clear here. Were talking about cloud computing as it impacts individual consumers—those of us
who sit back at home or in small-to-medium offices and use the Internet on a regular basis.
There is an entirely different cloud when it comes to business. Some businesses choose to implement
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where the business subscribes to an application it accesses over the
Internet. (Think Theres also Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), where a business can create
its own custom applications for use by all in the company. And dont forget the mighty Infrastructure-asa-Service (IaaS), where players like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Rackspace provide a backbone that
can be rented out by other companies. (For example, Netflix provides services to you because its a
customer of the cloud services at Amazon.)
Of course, cloud computing is big business: The market generated $100 billion a year in 2012, which
could be $127 billion by 2017 and $500 billion by 2020.
Common Cloud Examples
The lines between local computing and cloud computing sometimes get very, very blurry. Thats because
the cloud is part of almost everything on our computers these days. You can easily have a local piece of
software (for instance, Microsoft Office 365) that utilizes a form of cloud computing for storage
(Microsoft OneDrive).
That said, Microsoft also offers a set of Web-based apps, Office Online, that are Internet-only versions of
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote accessed via your Web browser without installing anything. That
makes them a version of cloud computing (Web-based=cloud).
Some other major examples of cloud computing youre probably using:
Google Drive: This is a pure cloud computing service, with all the storage found online so it can work
with the cloud apps: Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Drive is also available on more than
just desktop computers; you can use it on tablets like the iPad or on smartphones, and there are
separate apps for Docs and Sheets, as well. In fact, most of Googles services could be considered cloud
computing: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and so on.
Apple iCloud: Apples cloud service is primarily used for online storage, backup, and synchronization of
your mail, contacts, calendar, and more. All the data you need is available to you on your iOS, Mac OS,
or Windows device (Windows users have to install the iCloud control panel). Naturally, Apple wont be
outdone by rivals: it offers cloud-based versions of its word processor (Pages), spreadsheet (Numbers),
and presentations (Keynote) for use by any iCloud subscriber. iCloud is also the place iPhone users go to
utilize the Find My iPhone feature thats all important when the handset goes missing.
Amazon Cloud Drive: Storage at the big retailer is mainly for music, preferably MP3s that you purchase
from Amazon, and images—if you have Amazon Prime, you get unlimited image storage. Amazon Cloud
Drive also holds anything you buy for the Kindle. Its essentially storage for anything digital youd buy
from Amazon, baked into all its products and services.
Hybrid services like Box, Dropbox, and SugarSync all say they work in the cloud because they store a
synced version of your files online, but they also sync those files with local storage. Synchronization is a
cornerstone of the cloud computing experience, even if you do access the file locally.
Likewise, its considered cloud computing if you have a community of people with separate devices that
need the same data synced, be it for work collaboration projects or just to keep the family in sync. For
more, check out the The Best Cloud Storage and File-Syncing Services for 2016.
Cloud Hardware
Right now, the primary example of a device that is completely cloud-centric is the Chromebook. These
are laptops that have just enough local storage and power to run the Chrome OS, which essentially turns
the Google Chrome Web browser into an operating system. With a Chromebook, most everything you
do is online: apps, media, and storage are all in the cloud.
Or you can try a ChromeBit, a smaller-than-a-candy-bar drive that turns any display with an HDMI port
into a usable computer running Chrome OS.
Of course, you may be wondering what happens if youre somewhere without a connection and you
need to access your data. This is currently one of the biggest complaints about Chrome OS, although its
offline functionality (that is, non-cloud abilities) are expanding.
The Chromebook isnt the first product to try this approach. So-called dumb terminals that lack local
storage and connect to a local server or mainframe go back decades. The first Internet-only product
attempts included the old NIC (New Internet Computer), the Netpliance iOpener, and the disastrous
3Com Ergo Audrey (pictured). You could argue they all debuted well before their time—dial-up speeds
of the 1990s had training wheels compared to the accelerated broadband Internet connections of today.
Thats why many would argue that cloud computing works at all: the connection to the Internet is as fast
as the connection to the hard drive. (At least it is for some of us.)
Arguments Against the Cloud
In a 2013 edition of his feature What if?, xkcd-cartoonist (and former NASA roboticist) Randall Monroe
tried to answer the question of When—if ever—will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of
FedEx? The question was posed because no matter how great your broadband connection, its still
cheaper to send a package of hundreds of gigabytes of data via Fedexs sneakernet of planes and
trucks than it is to try and send it over the Internet. (The answer, Monroe concluded, is the year 2040.)
Cory Doctorow over at boingboing took Monroes answer as an implicit critique of cloud computing.
To him, the speed and cost of local storage easily outstrips using a wide-area network connection
controlled by a telecom company (your ISP).
Thats the rub. The ISPs, telcos, and media companies control your access. Putting all your faith in the
cloud means youre also putting all your faith in continued, unfettered access. You might get this level of
access, but itll cost you. And it will continue to cost more and more as companies find ways to make you
pay by doing things like metering your service: the more bandwidth you use, the more it costs.
Maybe you trust those corporations. Thats fine, but there are plenty of other arguments against going
into the cloud whole hog. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak decried cloud computing in 2012, saying: I
think its going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five
In part, that comes from the potential for crashes. When there are problems at a company like Amazon,
which provides cloud storage services to big name companies like Netflix and Pinterest, it can take out
all those services (as happened in the summer of 2012). In 2014, outages afflicted Dropbox, Gmail,
Basecamp, Adobe, Evernote, iCloud, and Microsoft; in 2015 the outtages hit Apple, Verizon, Microsoft,
AOL, Level 3, and Google. Microsoft had another this year. The problems typically last for just hours.
Wozniak was concerned more about the intellectual property issues. Who owns the data you store
online? Is it you or the company storing it? Consider how many times theres been widespread
controversy over the changing terms of service for companies like Facebook and Instagram—which are
definitely cloud services—regarding what they get to do with your photos. Theres also a difference
between data you upload, and data you create in the cloud itself—a provider could have a strong claim
on the latter. Ownership is a relevant factor to be concerned about.
After all, theres no central body governing use of the cloud for storage and services. The Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is trying. It created an IEEE Cloud Computing Initiative in 2011
to establish standards for use, especially for the business sector. The Supreme Court ruling against
Aereo could have told us a lot about copyright of files in the cloud… but the court side-stepped the issue
to keep cloud computing status quo.
Cloud computing—like so much about the Internet—is a little bit like the Wild West, where the rules are
made up as you go, and you hope for the best.
For more, check out our roundups of the Business Choice Awards for Cloud Computing Services and the
Cloud Storage area of the PCMag Business Software Index.
The 35 Best Cloud Services for SMBs of 2016
By Juan Martinez
December 16, 2016
If youre a small to midsize business (SMB) building out your IT services, then read this article to learn
about services that can meet your needs, regardless of your companys economic or technological
Building an information technology (IT) infrastructure can be incredibly complex and expensive for new
and growing businesses. Limited resources, expertise, and time often constrains how much small and
midsize businesses (SMBs) are able to accomplish. Thankfully, software companies have taken into
account this demographic by building out tools that are either specifically designed for SMBs or can be
configured to support more modest needs. Whether were discussing email marketing or accounting
tools, theres a service that can meet your needs regardless of your companys economic and
technological thresholds.
In this article, well list 35 of the best cloud services for SMBs, covering topics from project management
(PM) and accounting to customer relationship management (CRM) and data backup. Keep in mind that
the tools listed here might not be the best in their respective classes, but they are the ones best suited
for the small and midsize markets. If you absolutely cant afford to spend a cent on your IT
infrastructure, then weve also compiled a great list of free Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based tools.
Communications and Commerce-based Tools
1. Asana Collaboration
Your company is only as good as its employees ability to work together to accomplish tasks. Thankfully,
collaboration services such as AsanaFree at Asana make teamwork easy and more fun. Asanas free
version supports up to 15 team members, which is perfect for mom-and-pop shops that dont need
more advanced features. Its built on HTML5 so it features rich design functionality and easy, attractive
task management.
2. Citrix Grasshopper
For many years, Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions were only built for large, hulking companies. But with
tools such as Citrix Grasshopper$12.00 at Grasshopper, youll be able to quickly and easily set up your
VoIP tool and gain access to basic phone systems features such as call routing, faxing, and voicemail.
While it doesnt have more advanced features such as call recording, a unified communications
application, and dial-in conferencing at the lowest price levels, youll still be able to take advantage of
higher call quality and call center features not typically associated with your local telco.
3. ClickMeeting Video Conferencing
If youre looking for an easy-to-use video conferencing tool, then ClickMeeting$30.00 at ClickMeeting is
among the best on the market. It offers a free 30-day trial, low-price plan options, and cool
collaboration tools such as shared desktops, whiteboarding tools, and in-app private chat. No, you wont
be able to integrate the tool with every social network and you wont get access to operator-assisted
meetings, but its got enough to guarantee that your calls are crisp and clear.
4. MailChimp Email Marketing
MailChimp$10.00 at MailChimp is the most popular and most capable email marketing service
regardless of your price level or technological savvy. It offers a rich, free plan; tons of third-party
integration (much of which is available at the lowest price levels), and its got many email templates that
help you fire off emails at a rapid clip. You can even take advantage of a decent amount of email
analytics to let you know whether or not your messages are falling flat.
5. Campaigner Email Marketing
If you require a bit more flexibility than MailChimp allows, then check out Campaigner$19.95 at
Campaigner. A small business with 2,500 contacts in its marketing database could send an unlimited
amount of messages for about $29.95 per month. This isnt a cheap option, but were talking about a
tool that has everything youll need to run robust and easily-automated email campaigns. Plus, you can
test the tool for 30 days for free.
6. Shopify E-Commerce
Yes, Shopify$29.00 at Shopify is the king of all e-commerce platforms. But best doesnt always
translate to best for everyone. In Shopifys case, you should be considering this online shopping cart
for your web-based storefront regardless of your companys size. Thats because it requires very little
technological expertise to set up, you can try it for free for 30 days, and it provides an abundance of free
templates and tools that will make your online business easier to oversee.
7. Sprout Social
Sprout Social$99.00 at Sprout Social is one of the best social media analytics tools available regardless of
your companys size. However, for SMBs, youll love that Sprout Social offers a free 30-day trial, multiple
price tiers, and a clean design that makes sorting and discovering data easy.
8. Hootsuite
If youre more interested in managing your social campaigns than you are in measuring them, then try
HootsuiteFree at Hootsuite. This tool scales as you grow by letting you pay for extras (rather than
bundling everything into one price package). Hootsuite offers the most comprehensive package of
listening, publishing, and third-party integration options for businesses of all sizes.
9. Zoho Survey
If you need to gauge how well your product is doing with consumers or if you just want to know what
people think of your new ad campaign, then you should consider survey management software. Zoho
Survey$19.00 at Zoho is optimal for SMBs. It has one of the simplest user interfaces (UI) to manage,
offers superb reporting, and is available for about $19 per month. You can also use the free option,
which has more than enough to get you the most basic information (but youll lose some more advanced
features such as email notifications and multi-language support).
Security and Network Monitoring
10. Spiceworks Network Monitor
Managing your technology infrastructure shouldnt be a task exclusive to large enterprises. If you need
to understand how your apps, servers, and websites are performing, then Spiceworks Network
MonitorFree at Spiceworks offers incredible network monitoring at no cost. It obviously doesnt have
the complexity and extensibility of paid tools, but its serviceable enough to oversee your network
processes and alert you to issues before they become disasters.
11. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus$19.99 at Webroot received almost perfect scores in our lab-based
antivirus testing. It scans incredibly fast, takes up very little space on your device, and is capable of
recovering files encrypted by ransomware. This is a small, fast, and reliable antivirus tool that wont cost
much money but doesnt skimp on security.
12. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus$24.99 at Bitdefender isnt a business tool but its ideal for small companies
that dont require a ton of licenses. For about $40 per seat, youll be able to manage passwords, secure
your browser, shred files, and defend against ransomware. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is rated
Advanced+ by AV-Comparatives, a company that performs a broad array of tests on antivirus utilities
and other security products.
Financial Tools
13. Agiloft Contract Management
Agiloft$2,700.00 at Agiloft Contract Management offers nearly unlimited customizations that bend and
twist to how your company typically handles its contract management. Theres a free option thats
capable of supporting companies with less than five employees. If you need to go bigger, then youll
have to upgrade to the enterprise edition (which is a bit pricier). Either way, youre working with the
best contract management solution on the market, one thats limitless in its potential to automate and
simplify how you create, manage, and store your contracts.
14. Intuit QuickBooks Online Plus
If you know anything at all about cloud-based accounting, then you know Intuit QuickBooks Online
Plus$39.95 at Intuit is a behemoth in the industry. For small businesses, its particularly attractive thanks
to its comprehensive set of features specifically designed for modest-sized companies. Its got a clean
and intuitive UI, is affordably priced, and features flexible contract records, transaction forms, and
report templates.
15. SurePayroll
You may not have heard about SurePayroll$39.95 at SurePayroll but its a fantastic tool for anyone who
needs to create and manage employee payment records. Although it doesnt have the sexiest UI, its
incredibly easy to set up, excruciatingly detailed, and almost entirely customizable to suit your payroll
needs. It wouldnt work well for larger companies as it doesnt provide as many reports as its
competitors but its great for companies with minimal and complex tasks.
16. Xpenditure Expense Tracking
Xpenditure$7.00 at Xpenditure expense tracking starts at $7 per month per user, which is extremely
friendly pricing for a tool that accomplishes so much. Its simplicity, multi-lingual, and administratorfriendly platform will help you build a bridge between your employees, your CFO, and the IRS.
Data and Business Document Management
17. Ascensio System OnlyOffice
If youd like business document management, file sharing, online editing, project management, and
email and calendar integration all in one tidy UI, then Ascensio System OnlyOffice$40.00 at Ascensio
System is the right tool for you. This isnt a mind-blowing technology; in fact, dozens of companies offer
a similar solution. But Ascensio is cheaper, more expansive, and easier to use than the rest of the field.
18. Carbonite Server Backup
Carbonite Server Backup$799.99 at Carbonite is easy to install, it comes with 24/7, US-based support,
and it offers unlimited server licenses. Whats not to love? Well, it wont be able to help you in a disaster
scenario as it cant replicate your virtual infrastructure or deliver a cloud-based data center. For that,
youll need to pick a bigger tool. However, if all youre concerned about is making sure your backup
service doesnt let your data vanish, then Carbonite offers a solid tool at a solid price.
19. IDrive
If you only need 1 TB of online backup storage, then check out IDrive$59.50 at iDrive. The tool features
an easy setup, unlimited device access, continuous backup, disk image backup, file explorer integration,
folder syncing, and more. IDrive isnt for everyone but, if you need to preserve only your most valuable
data and youd like to do it for less than $60 per year, then IDrive is an ideal choice.
20. Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BIFree at Microsoft takes business intelligence—what is normally a very complex and
very expensive task—and turns it into something even a tech novice can accomplish. Its a free tool that
lets you drag, drop, customize, and analyze data, up to 1 GB. If you need more storage, then you can
upgrade for just $10 per month to increase your data tenfold. This will also give you access to custom
content packs and the ability to interact with other Microsoft Office 365 users.
21. NutShell CRM
You already know about the major CRM vendors. But did you know that NutShell CRM$20.00 at Nutshell
is specifically designed for small businesses and sole proprietors? This tool will help your mom-and-pop
shop compete with larger enterprises by automating sales processes, simplifying contact management,
and providing a healthy helping of reports and analytics. Unfortunately, you wont be able to modify
Nutshell CRM to your liking so its a take-what-you-get proposition. This should be good enough for
small businesses but it might not work for companies that are at the higher end of the SMB spectrum.
22. SiteGround Web Hosting
SiteGround Web Hosting$3.95 at SiteGround – Shared lets you perform automatic backups and choose
your server locations, plus it delivers excellent security. This is a web hosting tool thats extremely
friendly for small businesses and new webmasters, especially considering that its limited feature set and
storage and data transfer limitations will turn off many larger companies. SiteGround Web Hostings
customer service is second to none so, if you need a web hosting company to walk you through every
step of your journey, then SiteGround Web Hosting is the right choice for you.
23. DreamHost Web Hosting
Another great web hosting option is DreamHost Web Hosting$4.95 at DreamHost – Shared, our Editors
Choice tool. The Linux server-based tool starts at $10.95 per month or $9.95 per month with a one-year
commitment. Dreamhost Web Hosting offers unlimited disk storage space, domains, email, and monthly
data transfers. Unfortunately, the tool is not designed for novices, so youll want someone on staff who
knows what theyre doing when you begin the installation process.
24. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz
If your company is still trying to prove its potential to investors, then you should consider business
planning software. None of the tools we rated comes close to Tarketon GoSmallBiz$99.00 at Tarkenton,
an easy-to-use solution created by former NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Specifically
designed for small companies, it features highly customizable and detailed business planning data fields
to help you simplify the plan production process. It also gives you access to business planning experts
who can help you improve your proposal. Its also able to generate financial statements and projections
without external spreadsheet software.
Content Authoring and Learning Management
25. Rosetta Stone Catalyst
Rosetta Stone is the language learning powerhouse. Rosetta Stone CatalystCustom Pricing at Rosetta
Stone is the companys latest foray into conquering language learning for business. Its a great but
imperfect tool that will help your employees prepare for business trips to, or executive visits from,
foreign countries. Unlike consumer-based language learning tools, Catalyst allows administrators to
build learning pathways that focus on business-specific lexicons.
26. Articulate Storyline 2
If youre looking for the best eLearning authoring tool on the market, then look no further. Articulate
Storyline 2$1,398.00 at Articulate Global has it all. Articulate has streamlined the content creation
process, anticipating almost every imaginable course-creation use case. Articulate Storyline 2 is a
smooth and well-designed tool that makes life easier for course creators and learners alike. It packs
more functionality into one system than any other software we reviewed in this category, and it does so
deftly, without any overbearing technological or navigational complexity.
27. TechSmith Camtasia Studio 8
If youre only interested in video-based course content, then TechSmith Camtasia Studio 8$199.00 at
TechSmith is an ideal eLearning authoring tool for you. Although it wont provide the same interactive,
text-based, HTML5 course content that Articulate Storyline 2 will, TechSmith Camtasia Studio 8 makes
video editing and screen recording easy as pie.
28. Docebo
Docebo$230.00 at Docebo is the best online learning platform for business on the market. It features
intuitive navigation and content creation, the best reporting of any system weve tested, and a host of
features that make learning and training fun for everyone on your team. Its got a gorgeous
administrator console, a rich feature set, in-depth analytics, and a wide variety of third-party
integrations. It even provides administrators with gamification-enabled learning paths.
29. WizIQ
WizIQ$33.00 at WizIQ Inc is a feature-rich online learning platform for business that youll absolutely
enjoy. It has most of the bells and whistles youll find in Docebos tool but its priced much lower. Youll
be able to easily create live sessions within the console, and you can also take advantage of its
proprietary e-commerce website for selling your course content.
30. SurveyGizmo
SurveyGizmo$22.50 at SurveyGizmo helps you build, style, test, and share surveys as well as examine
the results. But SurveyGizmo offers more flexibility in how surveys are scored, the kinds of questions
you can ask, and how your survey appears to the user. Its this combination of power and ease of use
that makes SurveyGizmo (which begins at $22.50 per month) our Editors Choice for best online survey
31. Campaign Monitor GetFeedback
Campaign Monitor GetFeedback$48.00 at Campaign Monitor isnt trying to be a general-purpose survey
tool. Its primarily designed to solicit feedback from people who are using mobile devices. It also
integrates nicely with Salesforce, which is ideal for companies that conduct a lot of customer research. If
those are your companys main goals in adopting an online survey tool, then Campaign Monitor
GetFeedback is an ideal choice for your business.
Helpdesk Software
32. HappyFox
A combination of intuitive automation and self-service tools, both key components of an efficient help
desk, make HappyFox$19.00 at HappyFox one of your best options for tracking and managing helpdesk
tickets. It features a nice combination of automation and self-service tools that reduce ticket workload
in order to help provide fast customer service.
33. Vivantio Pro
A mature and feature-rich helpdesk solution, Vivantio ProFree at Vivantio is a barebones tool designed
to keep service tickets moving. For customers with entrenched business processes or specialized
equipment, Vivantio Pro supports custom help form creation and process automation. By allowing IT
managers to create custom forms and fields in ticket forms, Vivantio Pro lets them better support
specialized assets, technologies, and business processes.
34. Freshdesk
Freshdesk$16.00 at Freshdesk is simple to use, with an advanced feature set, at an affordable price.
Freshdesk excels is in its ticket management, which allows helpdesk tickets to be assigned to individual
agents depending upon what work is required. The system itself can do a good job of automatically
performing certain tasks based upon what an incoming ticket requires, which means those commonly
asked questions can have useful replies automatically generated and delivered by the system.
35. FreshService
FreshServiceFree at Freshservice isnt the most well-known helpdesk software but its an ideal tool for
small businesses that dont need all of the bells and whistles of better-known tools. What is most
appealing about FreshService (especially for SMBs) is that it offers a free plan thats good enough to help
you get started. No, this isnt a free trial; its an actual free service that requires no payment whatsoever.
With that, youll gain access to online help and tutorial videos that will show you how to get started and
optimize your service operation.
9 Ways Your Business Could Be Using Social Media But Probably Isnt
Nine ways your business could be using social media, but probably isn’t. © 2009 north venture partners,
llc | |
social media isn’t just for interns “ For companies, resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people
are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers The
emergence of a powerful new This just in, consumers are now have been there for a communication
platform that reaches well spending more time on social long time. over 300 million consumers is
nothing short networks than any other form of of remarkable, but it also might not be the website,
including porn. If your business isnt best time to hand over the keys to an intern putting itself out there,
it to drive the conversation. Sure, these new To make the most of this newly emerging ought to be.”
platforms are the playground for the young opportunity to connect with your consumer, and connected,
but the user profile of most to shape your brand, and develop long-term social networks is older than
you might customer relationships at a fraction of think, and its climbing quickly. „above the line‟ media
costs, this BusinessWeek, 2009 opportunity simply can‟t be squandered. 2
setting up an account is not a strategy While the simplicity of social platforms can media might just be
an express ticket to Take a quick inventory of how you are enable rapid growth, it can also create a
nowhere. leveraging social media today: false sense of accomplishment for those who don‟t create a
focused plan to leverage o Public Relations the power of these platforms for real Regardless of whether
you have o Customer Support one or one million friends, o Market Research business goals. Now is the
time to take a o Brand Marketing followers, or fans there are moment and think about your overall o
Promotions business strategy and what role social media multiple ways your business o Consumer
Education could benefit from a more o Sales might play in hitting your objectives. The proactive social
media strategy. o Product Development bad news, if you don‟t currently know o Customer Relationship
Management where your business is heading, than social 3
1. public relations Social media platforms touch well over 350 messages about you, your company, your
How the various platforms are employed to million people world wide every single day. brand, or your
entire industry. shape the public perception, and to impact These platforms represents one of the most
traditional media channels is part art, part direct and immediate channels into the science. Crafting
compelling messages, and hearts and minds of consumers, voters, and Social media platforms present a
embracing transparency are the foundation completely new opportunity to the public media. For certain
brands this for success. instantly deliver messages to platform can be a direct communication platform
that enables brands to find millions of people. The impact on public relations is simply supporters and
evangelists (by filtering ground shaking. through organic posts) as well as identify dissenters, opposing
threats and negative 4
2. customer support For a huge number of businesses there is a Where traditionally customer also feel
more connected to a larger pool of hidden cost that is rarely discovered until support has been viewed
as a consumers who also use the same product after it‟s too late in the game. Long after the cost center,
smart brands are or service. It‟s hard to argue with a potential sale is made, this hidden problem can
grow starting to use social networks to win/win scenario. into a huge drain on profitability in the form
help offload their support costs of customer support costs. Good customer on to a community of super
service is essential to maintaining a positive users. brand image, and it is a key strategy to eliminate
product returns. The net effect of this strategy is often two fold. Consumers get the support they need
(at virtually no cost to the brand) and they 5
3. market research The value of good information is hard to Having access to tens of for gathering
information. Sure, you‟ll still measure. Launching new brands, millions of consumers who are need
some sharp minds and effective tools developing new products, and effectively openly talking about
their to filter through all the garbage, but there is targeting a new pool of consumers requires rational
and emotional needs is a a reason commercial fisherman use a net knowledge that simply doesn‟t exist
inside newly discovered goldmine for instead of a hook. If you are thinking about the four walls of your
company. market research. changing directions, launching a new brand Traditionally brands seeking
market campaign, or just itching to know what research have had to rely on expensive consumers are
thinking about your business, Real time analysis of consumer trends, firms who pool consumer opinions,
virtual focus groups, and other insightful product, or brand, the answers are closer feedback, and
insights into structured interactions are all made possible at a than you think. presentations that cost
both time and money. fraction of the cost of traditional methods 6
4. brand marketing While this may be one of the most common platforms from Facebook to the iPhone.
While the sheer size of this new channel ways that brands are currently using social Each application
provides some utility for (and half a dozen triple lattes) can often get networks, there are clearly those
that „get it‟ the customer, from store locators, to pre- brands so excited that they can‟t help but and
those who don‟t. The key difference ordering your specially customized drink shout about their product,
the real value is in comes from playing a behavior-supporting before you even get in line. the meaningful
relationship that you can role in the life of your consumer. It is your foster between the consumer and
your job to make their day a little better by brand. Marketers should take notice of enabling a social
relationship with your what they didn‟t do; drown their brand. Want some simple pointers? Take fans in
an over-caffeinated flood Starbucks for example. They have launched of chest pounding information a
slew of social tools across a variety of about their product. 7
5. promotions With the power of direct communication to Some of the most successful (number of
friends) they created a consumer comes the responsibility of promotions have employed the
memorable promotion that had a powerful crafting compelling promotions that get power of the
network itself to viral effect (for every friend that was cash registers to ring, put more butts in create a
fan base that didn‟t exist sacrificed they got a message telling them seats, and create a contagious pass
along prior to the promotion. why; a free Whopper sandwich from Burger effect. Smart, effective
promotions don‟t King). require you to have a million fans before One great example is a Burger King
activation. When brainstormed and built promotion that asked consumers to sacrifice right, these
efforts can be the key to 10 friends (un-friend them on Facebook) in doubling or tripling a smaller social
order to get a free Whopper. By playing presence overnight. with the core emotional driver of the user 8
6. consumer education The consumer interaction process as follows Brands should be leveraging the
Unlike 30 second ads, social networks a continuum of excite > educate > motivate interactive
capabilities within present a platform where you can share > convert. While there are plenty of great
social platforms to educate and information over a longer period of time. examples where promotions
or marketing motivate their consumers Leverage that time effectively and you can campaigns can
execute all of these functions through discussion boards, “ask educate consumers about even the most
in one fell swoop, more often than not you the expert” buttons, threaded complex solutions. need to
think strategically about how you‟re discussions, and other media going to bring your consumer along
the path tools like video, images, and to a point where they‟re „ready‟ to buy & reference quotes.
that‟s where the education phase often gets overlooked. 9
7. sales Integrated retail applications can let you This newly born ability to sell is where there are cool
kids and not so cool shop at a virtual fashion show, order a pizza, starting to catch on and more kids. Life
comes full circle with the addition or download the latest album from your and more retailers are
beginning of the shopping mall style checkout favorite band from right inside Facebook. to reap the
benefits of enhancing counters. Smoothie anyone? With the ability to integrate transactions and their
curb appeal inside the revenue generating applications into social social shopping mall. media platforms
comes all of the challenges that online retailers face today, only things The good news is real estate is
still cheap, are a bit more tricky working inside the four and you can always be just one click away walls
of a social application. from your customer. Plenty of people compare social networks to high school 10
8. new product development We‟ve already talked about market their business identify innovative new
directions for their research, and what role social media can innovative new market companies. Cisco
set up a program that play to help streamline and strengthen opportunities, and even assist awarded
the winner of their challenge (to customer development. There are several with development of new
find a $1B opportunity) with a $250,000 other ways that social media can be used to product concepts.
cash prize. By leveraging the reach of social directly impact the product development media, these
companies have been able to process. harness the brain power and innovation Market leaders like SAP
(software) and from minds that exist well outside the walls Cisco (hardware) have recently completed of
their building. Some companies have started programs where they leverage social media to leverage a
public pool of to draw upon the collective wisdom of collective brainpower to help crowds to identify
new products and 11
9. customer relationship management One of the most interesting things about Where list building was
a major tactic for proverbial 15 minutes of fame stretched to social media is the longitude of the
building an inexpensive platform for 15 years or more. One can only imagine relationship with the
consumer. marketing to consumers over the last few what impact a persistent network of millions years,
social media presents an equally of fans could have. What would it mean if a powerful long term
strategy for keeping pop band like the Back Street Boys had a While nobody can predict the customer
relationships in tact tomorrow and persistent social network that represented lifetime membership to
the beyond. The impact of the platforms over even half of the buyers of the 100 million latest social
sites, it seems that time has not been fully realized, but the records they sold? Maybe we‟d still be there
is a chance that they could projections look interesting. With pop music listening to Lou Pearlman‟s next
big boy outlast consumer‟s email and stars, authors, and companies building band instead of Blink 182.
street addresses. networks of millions of fans we may see the 12
10. yet to be discovered… Okay, it‟s true, we told you there were 9 any don‟t fret. This market is
changing From emergency contacts (like twitter sites categories of how you can use social media daily,
so stay tuned to what‟s coming next. set up to stream news after an earthquake) to impact your
business and life. or simple tasks like family management (”I‟ll pick you up from soccer practice at The
exciting part is that we have 6:00″), we‟re just starting to scratch the We lied, there‟s 10. Because of the
yet to uncover even half of the surface of what will evolve in the near rapid evolution in this market, we
decided ways that these emerging future. Nearly every day thousands of new to nominate a 10th
category and have applications and disruptive applications are launched, and thousands coined it „yet to
be discovered‟. Hopefully technologies will impact both more are being drawn up on white boards the 9
other examples we pointed out inspire consumer and corporate life. around the globe, so stay tuned…
some ideas around how social media could impact your business, but if you didn‟t see 13
how to get started Let‟s face it, in the complex and ever- front strategy before lighting the fuse. In
evolving world of social media, it‟s easy for order to help some of the „not so early‟ even the best of us
to take a wrong turn and adopters out there plot a course of action, get lost. That‟s why it it‟s essential
to first we‟ll offer up our four step process. create a highly-targeted social media strategy with clear,
achievable goals; The 4 step process: whether it‟s product development, 1. Plan consumer awareness,
PR, or even offline 2. Build foot traffic and purchase. To fully leverage 3. Promote emerging social media
tools and techniques, 4. Measure it requires that you put together a smart, up- 14
think like Jane Goodall The North social team spends quite a bit of big helping of inspiration by simply
We‟d encourage you to check time trying to keep our callused thumbs on observing those brands that
are currently out the Custom Facebook Page the pulse of what the latest and greatest making the most
of their social presence. gallery and see what some of the campaigns, strategies, customizations, and
One of the easy ways to get up to speed is to best creative minds and integrations. Sure this emerging
media take a look at what other brands are doing, innovative brands in the world platform is still brand
spanking new, but and see what works and (more importantly) have been able to conjure up. there are
already smart insights that we can what doesn‟t. pull from what is happening in this space today. While
your brand might not have the resources or the will power to blaze new trails into this digital frontier,
you can get a 15
plan Our planning process typically takes a few Evaluate Identify weeks where we work to clearly define
the Evaluating your brand and business Indentifying the right strategic opportunities business goals, and
unfold a crystal clear objectives, your business assets, your for best leveraging your assets and map of
how we plan to get to the finish line consumer, and your overall brand resources, so you can focus on
building leveraging the best tools and resources positioning to help guide and structure each meaningful
customer relationships, increase available. This „strategy immersion‟ process social media engagement
so that is can be organization effectiveness, and grow your breaks down into two main components. tied
back to a business goal. social platform effectively. 16
build From custom pages & content to influence on what consumers feel (and say) Work on it 24/7
promotions & contests, you‟ll probably about your brand. Building up a social media presence is need a
team of talented creative types to put great, but it‟s only one half of the equation. together all of the
essential ingredients you Momentum is generated by dedicated need to create memorable and
meaningful Build great stuff headcount that maximizes and manages all social brand experiences. But
whatever you Tap a team of designers and developers to of your brand‟s activity, which includes both
do, don‟t confuse social media as another build custom Facebook and Twitter pages, inbound and
outbound messages. opportunity to shout about your product. applications, and promotions that Really
take the time to dial in your creative seamlessly integrate with the look, tone, and communications; as
the images, words, and feel of your brand while inspiring content that you choose have a massive
meaningful social interaction. 17
promote If you‟re going to take the time to concept work on is the overarching content strategy events,
user-generated content contests, e- and deploy an interactive promotion, take that will be employed to
help position your couponing campaigns, and product full advantage of the social web and watch brand
for success. Skip this step in the giveaways. These promotional efforts it spread. If you want to be a hit
at the party, process and you can quickly find yourself should center around great content, but don‟t
shuffle around the room handing out on the outside looking in. Remember, in ultimately leverage
integrated sharing and brochures explaining the features and social media, content is king. promotion
technologies that give your functions of your product. The way to message the best shot to grow
organically. develop a large and loyal following is by Create compelling content first inspiring people so
they‟ll want to connect with your brand. A major Deploy a wide range of engaging component of the
project planning that we promotional campaigns, including: exclusive branded content, sweepstakes, 18
measure One of the core components to creating Regardless of the focus of your social Real time
reports value through social media is your ability to strategy, the ability to track, measure, and By
listening in you‟re able to 1) mine measure the impact. We leverage real time listen to millions of
consumers in real time insights for new opportunities; 2) identify API‟s and the latest reporting tools to
pull in presents a strategic opportunity that has key influencers; and 3) understand how our and analyze
millions of daily updates, blog never existed before now. Hint: If you promotional campaigns are fairing.
posts, and mentions about your brand. Each aren‟t tuning into what consumers are Identifying the tone
of what‟s being talked is tracked for both volume, sentiment (good saying about your brand, your
industry, your about online (positive, negative, neutral), to or bad context) and changes in volume or
product, and your competitors, you‟re uncover timely truths which enable you to sentiment. With
robust measurement in missing the point. build better products, promotions, and place you can clearly
see the impact your customer relationships. brand has across the social platform. 19
let’s talk shop Don‟t be afraid to ask Our clients range from start up ventures to global brands. If you
think that you might benefit from a conversation with a Partner at our firm, please don‟t be afraid to
drop us a line, we‟d be happy to talk shop. Please feel free to follow North on Twitter, join us on
Facebook, drop us an email, or just give us an old fashioned phone call. 20
For many people, coffee isn’t just a beverage – it’s the keynote for their entire day. A good cup of coffee
can mean the difference between an average morning and a great morning, so that’s why Minnesotabased Cameron’s Coffee puts so much hard work into making sure its coffee is the best available.
President Bill Kirkpatrick says the company understands that it takes more than just the freshest and
best beans to make a good cup of coffee, and that’s why the company invests heavily in having the best
equipment in the industry.
The company was founded in 1978, and Kirkpatrick purchased it from founder Jim Cameron in 1999.
Since then, the company has experienced massive growth, with annual revenues rising from $13.5
million in 2010 to more than $40 million expected this year. The majority of the company’s products are
made for the retail grocery market, and includes premium flavored coffees, teas and powdered cocoa
and cappuccino mixes.
Kirkpatrick says Cameron’s Coffee’s devotion to quality is virtually unmatched in the industry, and has
been the single most important element of its success over the past several years. The coffee market
may be one of the most crowded in the retail beverage industry, but Cameron’s Coffee believes it has
more than enough advantages to make it stand out from the rest.
The Right Blend
The company’s quest for the perfect cup of coffee begins with the beans. It says it seeks out only beans
grown at the world’s finest plantations, usually grown at a high altitude. Because the beans are grown at
more than 4,000 feet above sea level, they mature slower and stay on the tree longer, the company
says, resulting in a bean with denser flavors and less acidity.
The quality of the beans is only part of the formula, however. Kirkpatrick says Cameron’s Coffee has
made significant investments in its roasting facility and equipment to ensure that those high-quality
beans are prepared and packaged to the highest standards. The company built a new, state-of-the-art
roasting facility a few years ago, and Kirkpatrick says he spent months visiting various facilities around
the world to learn the latest and most effective practices. He says the management team did not skimp
when it came to ensuring the facility had the best possible equipment.
“When [management] came to me and they wanted the budget for some very expensive items, I said
‘yes’ to all of them,” Kirkpatrick says.
The company’s facility uses European-style drum roasters, which have been customized to eliminate
burnt coffee. Its precision grinders create a perfect level of coarseness that prevents the coffee from
becoming too bitter or too weak. On the packaging side, Kirkpatrick says the company’s dual nitrogenflushing system eliminates more than 99 percent of oxygen in bags to preserve the coffee’s freshness for
as long as possible. He says Cameron’s Coffee bags are the sturdiest on the market.
“What it really means is that the bag isn’t going to leak, because as soon as your bag leaks, the coffee
goes stale,” he says.
Kirkpatrick says it also was important for Cameron’s Coffee’s new facility to be one of the greenest in
the world. The company also has a line of sustainable and eco-friendly coffees.
Moving Forward
Kirkpatrick says the corporate culture within Cameron’s Coffee is a major component of its success. He
describes the company’s culture as “very open” and says each manager is encouraged to be a
cheerleader for his or her staff. Kirkpatrick says the company’s culture will help Cameron’s Coffee stand
out to potential employees as it expands further in the future.
The company also has success keeping up with the latest trends in the coffee world. For example, the
rise of single-serve coffee makers prompted Cameron’s Coffee to introduce its own line of single-serve
coffee cups, and Kirkpatrick says that line runs 24/7 to keep up with the demand. He says the company
plans to introduce a biodegradable cup to that line in the near future because more than 10 billion of
the plastic single-serve cups are produced worldwide every year. “Those little tiny cups add up,”
Kirkpatrick says.
The rapid growth of Cameron’s Coffee in recent years has meant the company already has reached its
current capacity, Kirkpatrick says. As such, the company is looking to either build or acquire a new
facility to give it more capacity to keep up with demand. He says the company has its sights set on the
western United States, but however Cameron’s Coffee responds to its growth, it’s clear the company is
only just getting started.
Struggling to find a job? If you’re a financial analyst, physical therapist or petroleum engineer, there’s a
good chance your luck will change in 2014.
These three professions are among the best jobs that require at least a bachelor’s degree for 2014,
according to a new study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI).
The study used EMSI’s rich labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state
employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers, to
find the 12 jobs that grew 7\% or more between 2010 and 2013; are projected to increase in 2014; and
fall within a higher-wage category of $22 per hour or more.
The Forbes E-book: Find And Keep Your Dream Job
The Definitive Careers Guide From Forbes encompasses every aspect of the job hunt from interview to
promotion. Written by some of Forbes best careers and leadership writers, it is available now for
The list identifies occupations that are on an upward trajectory regarding employment,” says Matt
Ferguson, chief executive of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “[It] provides insights
around where companies are investing in terms of human capital and the greater implications for the
overall market.”
The higher-paying occupation that has produced the most jobs post-recession: Software developer
(applications and systems software). Since 2010, 104,348 jobs have been added (11\% growth). In total,
1,042,402 people are currently employed as software developers in the U.S., earning an average hourly
pay of $45.06.
“Companies want to go to market first with innovations; they want to capitalize on mobile and cloud
technologies; they want to extract, parse and apply Big Data to to make smarter business decisions and
create better solutions for clients,” Ferguson says. “Software developers play a key role in these
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most software developers work for computer systems
design and related services firms or software publishers. Others work in computer and electronic
product manufacturing industries. They typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
The BLS expects a 30\% increase in the number of software developers by 2020 (from 2010).
In the No. 2 spot is market research analysts and marketing specialists. According to the BLS, these
professionals “study market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to examine potential sales of
a product or service.” They also help companies understand what products people want, who will buy
them, and at what price.
About 55,000 jobs have been added since 2010 (a 14\% increase)—and the 438,095 people currently
working in this field earn $29.10 an hour, on average. Strong math and analytical skills are typically
required for this job, as well as a bachelor’s degree. Top research positions often require a master’s,
according to the BLS.
“Individuals who can leverage data to zero in on new markets for growth will continue to be in
demand,” Ferguson says.
This profession is expected to grow by 41\% between 2010 and 2020.
In Pictures: The Top Jobs for 2014
The third best job for 2014: Training and development specialists.
These professionals typically design and conduct training and development programs to improve
individual and organizational performance. Since 2010, 18,042 jobs have been added (8\% growth)—and
they bring in $27.14 an hour, on average. There are approximately 231,898 training and development
specialists employed in the U.S. right now.
“More of these positions are being created to help companies develop the talent they need in the midst
of growing skills gap,” Ferguson says. “Instead of waiting for the perfect hire in a competitive
environment, companies are training candidates who have potential and can grow into the position.”
Elsewhere on the list: Web developers (No. 6), database administrators (No. 8) and petroleum engineers
(No. 11).
“In addition to higher pay levels and solid growth rates, what many of these jobs have in common is a
talent shortage,” Ferguson says. “Recruitment has become very competitive for STEM-related
occupations (science, technology, engineering and math) and other specialized areas. Extended job
vacancies have caused one in four companies to lose revenue, so the skills gap is a very real concern.”
He says the upside to the report is that more high-paying jobs will be created in 2014 that will also fuel
the creation of lower-paying jobs. “Jobs will be growing across industries, company sizes and
The downside is that many of these high-wage, in-demand positions are areas where companies are
already experiencing a shortage of qualified labor, Ferguson says.
“Forty-five percent of Human Resource managers reported that they have open positions for which they
can’t find qualified candidates, he adds.
He concludes: “The private and public sectors need to work together to identify in-demand skills and
prepare workers for them. This goes beyond new college graduates. We need to re-skill workers who
have been in the workforce for 15 or 20 years and there currently aren’t enough programs in place to do
Here are the 12 occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree that have grown 7\% or more between
2010 and 2013; are projected to increase in 2014; and fall within a higher-wage category of $22 per hour
or more:
1. Software Developers (Applications and Systems Software)
Total employment in 2013: 1,042,402 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 104,348 (up 11\%)
Median hourly earnings: $45.06
2. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
Total employment in 2013: 438,095 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 54,979 (up 14\%)
Median hourly earnings: $29.10
3. Training and Development Specialists
Total employment in 2013: 231,898 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 18,042 (up 8\%)
Median hourly earnings: $27.14
4. Financial Analysts
Total employment in 2013: 257,159 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 17,060 (up 7\%)
Median hourly earnings: $37.34
5. Physical Therapists
Total employment in 2013: 207,132 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 14,011 (up 7\%)
Median hourly earnings: $37.93
6. Web Developers
Total employment in 2013: 136,921 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 13,364 (up 11\%)
Median hourly earnings: $27.84
7. Logisticians
Total employment in 2013: 127,892 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 11,897 (up 10\%)
Median hourly earnings: $35.08
8. Database Administrators
Total employment in 2013: 119,676 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 11,241 (up 10\%)
Median hourly earnings: $37.39
9. Meeting, Convention and Event Planners
Total employment in 2013: 87,082 jobs
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 10,867 (up 14\%)
Median hourly earnings: $22.56
10. Interpreters and Translators
Total employment in 2013: 69,887
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 8,377 (up 14\%)
Median hourly earnings: $22.39
11. Petroleum Engineers
Total employment in 2013: 40,733
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 7,158 (up 21\%)
Median hourly earnings: $63.67
12. Information Security Analysts
Total employment in 2013: 75,995
Jobs added between 2010 and 2013: 5,671 (up 8\%)
Median hourly earnings: $41.62
In Pictures: The Top Jobs for 2014
big data
Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Contributor(s): Stephen J. Bigelow
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The Evolution of the ‘Big Data’ Concept
Big Data in Motion: Getting The Data To Where It’s Needed
Big data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semistructured and
unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information.
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Big data is often characterized by 3Vs: the extreme volume of data, the wide variety of data types and
the velocity at which the data must be processed. Although big data doesnt equate to any specific
volume of data, the term is often used to describe terabytes, petabytes and even exabytes of data
captured over time.
Breaking down the 3Vs of big data
Such voluminous data can come from myriad different sources, such as business sales records, the
collected results of scientific experiments or real-time sensors used in the internet of things. Data may
be raw or preprocessed using separate software tools before analytics are applied.
Data may also exist in a wide variety of file types, including structured data, such as SQL database
stores; unstructured data, such as document files; or streaming data from sensors. Further, big data
may involve multiple, simultaneous data sources, which may not otherwise be integrated. For example,
a big data analytics project may attempt to gauge a products success and future sales by correlating
past sales data, return data and online buyer review data for that product.
Finally, velocity refers to the speed at which big data must be analyzed. Every big data analytics project
will ingest, correlate and analyze the data sources, and then render an answer or result based on an
overarching query. This means human analysts must have a detailed understanding of the available data
and possess some sense of what answer theyre looking for.
Velocity is also meaningful, as big data analysis expands into fields like machine learning and artificial
intelligence, where analytical processes mimic perception by finding and using patterns in the collected
Big data infrastructure demands
The need for big data velocity imposes unique demands on the underlying compute infrastructure. The
computing power required to quickly process huge volumes and varieties of data can overwhelm a
single server or server cluster. Organizations must apply adequate compute power to big data tasks to
achieve the desired velocity. This can potentially demand hundreds or thousands of servers that can
distribute the work and operate collaboratively.
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Deciding what goes where in a multi-cloud environment
Open source cloud management means knowing your tools
Questions to answer before hybrid cloud adoption
Achieving such velocity in a cost-effective manner is also a headache. Many enterprise leaders are
reticent to invest in an extensive server and storage infrastructure that might only be used occasionally
to complete big data tasks. As a result, public cloud computing has emerged as a primary vehicle for
hosting big data analytics projects. A public cloud provider can store petabytes of data and scale up
thousands of servers just long enough to accomplish the big data project. The business only pays for the
storage and compute time actually used, and the cloud instances can be turned off until theyre needed
To improve service levels even further, some public cloud providers offer big data capabilities, such as
highly distributed Hadoop compute instances, data warehouses, databases and other related cloud
services. Amazon Web Services Elastic MapReduce is one example of big data services in a public cloud.
The human side of big data analytics
Ultimately, the value and effectiveness of big data depends on the human operators tasked with
understanding the data and formulating the proper queries to direct big data projects. Some big data
tools meet specialized niches and allow less technical users to make various predictions from everyday
business data. Still, other tools are appearing, such as Hadoop appliances, to help businesses implement
a suitable compute infrastructure to tackle big data projects, while minimizing the need for hardware
and distributed compute software know-how.
Margaret Rouse asks:
How has your organization used big data to gain a competitive edge?
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How big data works.
But these tools only address limited use cases. Many other big data tasks, such as determining the
effectiveness of a new drug, can require substantial scientific and computational expertise from the
analytical staff. There is currently a shortage of data scientists and other analysts who have experience
working with big data in a distributed, open source environment.
Big data can be contrasted with small data, another evolving term thats often used to describe data
whose volume and format can be easily used for self-service analytics. A commonly quoted axiom is that
big data is for machines; small data is for people.
See also: big data as a service, big data management, Oracle Big Data Appliance
Social Media for Business Marketing
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Theater Mode
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Social Media for Business Marketing
29m 38s
Continuous Play
Rise of Social Media for Business Marketing
1m 34s
Social Media Goal & Focus
1m 21s
Understanding Social Media Users
1m 12s
Consistency in Social Media
4m 49s
4m 58s
Instagram & Pinterest
1m 28s
1m 49s
Comprehensive Social Media Strategy
3m 30s
Monitoring Social Media
3m 9s
Social Media for the Modern Business
1m 5s
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The use of social media to promote business is one of the fastest-growing areas of marketing today.
When used correctly, popular social media platforms offer the ability to connect—easily, affordably, and
directly—with customers and prospects to build brand awareness and loyalty, improve customer
service, and much more. How, then, should a company go about implementing social media as a part of
its marketing mix? This program clearly and concisely explains how to get started with social media;
make the most of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Yelp; and develop and manage
a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. A Films for the Humanities &
Sciences/MotionMasters Coproduction. A part of the series Digital Media for Business Marketing. (30
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Technology made large populations possible;
large populations now make technology indispensable
Joseph Wood Krutch
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with others, and in the classroom
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Math and science;
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and personal pages
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Writing white papers
White papers
Form the foundation for a marketing strategy for your products for your potential clients
as well as the products technical documentation
Demonstrate your knowledge of client technology and its challenges
Introduce your product or technology as innovative
Emphasize the uniqueness and advantages of your solution
Influence customer purchasing decisions
However, in this document, success is demonstrated in the force of your solution, not the hype around
your product
Define characteristics of the targeted audience
Highlight their concerns and problems
Consider their time and method of reading such papers
Provide an engaging though succinct initial overview/summary/abstract
Conclude with reviewing your solution
How it addresses the clients problem
follow up procedure
Review successful papers for models of development
Consider the venue for publishing
Web site based presentations are written differently than paper published documents
Keep the narrative positive, in active voice, and non-technical:
Technical treatments are best left to the documentation
Marketing language is best left to subsequent strategies
Begin with a
Well developed overview/executive summary/abstract
Must capture your target audiences attention
Content: A critical one-paragraph summary
Provide material that gives them a good reason to read further,
keeping in mind that busy executives may jump to the end paragraphs/conclusion
State the Problem
Two-to-three paragraphs demonstrating your knowledge of your clients challenges and industry trends
Avoid hidden assumptions and agendas
Avoid technical complexity, acronyms, etc.
Define that which cannot be avoided and must be understood
Identify the main objectives of the paper
Describe your product
Incorporate design decisions; industry standards, testing and reliability;
best practices and ease of use
Liberally illustrate with simple and well-labeled diagrams and illustrations
(Rely on a graphic designer!)
Address how your product resolves the problem; tie the two together
Demonstrate with evidence
Illustrate with case studies and expert testimonials
Entice with
benefits and returns on investment (ROI)
future applications, developments, and timelines
Conclude: with confidence and credibility
Refer to the abstract and summarize your main advantages
Conduct an independent review of the paper before publishing
Seek out the most appropriate venues of your clients to promote your work.
Writing assignments
Writing for the Web | The five-paragraph essay | Essays for a literature class |
Expository essays | Persuasive essays | Position papers | Open book exams |
Essay Exams | White papers | Lab reports/scientific papers |
Research proposals | Seven stages of writing assignments
Science series
Following the scientific method | Studying text books in science |
Writing lab reports and scientific papers | How to write a research proposal |
Writing white papers | Lab safety
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Course Code: MBA5102-8
Course Start Date: 10/31/2016
Section: Technology and Communication
Week: 7
Activity: Prepare a White Paper
Activity Due Date: 12/18/2016
Activity Description
For this assignment, assume that you have been hired as an intern by the president of Cameron’s Coffee (,
a $40 million dollar premium coffee manufacturer located in Shakopee Minnesota (Petersen, n.d.). 
As the president’s executive assistant, you will be assigned special projects.  The president has been busy with the opening of a new
roasting plant in Shakopee and has been unable to keep up with recent trends regarding the ways in which businesses use Social Media,
Cloud Computing, and Big Data.  He would like to know if Cameron’s Coffee could benefit from any of these recent trends.
Research these subjects, and then prepare a white paper in which you provide the following:
Summarize the perceived technology needs of Cameron’s Coffee. 
Provide recommendations that Cameron’s Coffee could use for each of the following:
1. Social Media
a. Briefly define social media and how businesses use it.
b. Provide two recommendations on how Cameron’s Coffee can use and/or improve the use of Social Media.
c. Explain how each recommendation will resolve any issues and fulfill Cameron’s Coffee’s needs.
2. Big Data
a. Briefly define big data and how businesses use it.
b. Provide two recommendations on how Cameron’s Coffee can use Big Data.
c. Explain how each recommendation will resolve any issues and fulfill Cameron’s Coffee’s needs.
3. Cloud Computing
a. Briefly define cloud computing and how businesses use it.
b. Provide two recommendations on how Cameron’s Coffee can use Cloud Computing.
c. Explain how each recommendation will resolve any issues and fulfill Cameron’s Coffee’s needs.  
Length: 4-6 pages not including assignment cover sheet, title page, and references page. Begin your assignment with the NCU cover sheet,
followed by a title page, and then prepare the white paper for the president. Be sure to present your white paper in a way that the president
can quickly scan through it by using headings and bullet points liberally.  Be as specific as possible and make sure you explain and support
your ideas with cited material and a references page.
Your response should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and
insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect professional business writing and current APA standards.
Upload your assignment using the Upload Assignment button below.
Learning Outcomes
4.0    Discuss ways in which organizations might adapt to the changing environment of business in the twenty-first century.
5.0    Interpret the impact of technology on businesses in the twenty-first century.
Big Data Analytics: What it is and why it matters?
Griffith, E. (2013, March 13). What is cloud computing?\%2c2817\%2c2372163\%2c00.asp
Lynn, S. (2012, December 11). 20 top cloud services for small
North Social. (2009). Nine ways your business could be using social
media, but probably isnt.
Petersen, C. (n.d.) Camerons Coffee. (2014). Big Data.
Smith, J. (December 12, 2012). The top jobs for 2014.
How to write a white paper
Films on Demand. (2014). Social media for business marketing
[Video file].
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View Video
Technology and Communication/Prepare a White paper
For this assignment, assume that you have been hired as an intern by the president of Cameron’s Coffee
(, a $40 million dollar premium coffee manufacturer located in
Shakopee Minnesota (Petersen, n.d.).
As the president’s executive assistant, you will be assigned special projects. The president has been busy
with the opening of a new roasting plant in Shakopee and has been unable to keep up with recent
trends regarding the ways in which businesses use Social Media, Cloud Computing, and Big Data. He
would like to know if Cameron’s Coffee could benefit from any of these recent trends.
Research these subjects, and then prepare a white paper in which you provide the following:
Summarize the perceived technology needs of Cameron’s Coffee.
Provide recommendations that Cameron’s Coffee could use for each of the following:
1. Social Media
a. Briefly define social media and how businesses use it.
b. Provide two recommendations on how Cameron’s Coffee can use and/or improve the use of Social
c. Explain how each recommendation will resolve any issues and fulfill Cameron’s Coffee’s needs.
2. Big Data
a. Briefly define big data and how businesses use it.
b. Provide two recommendations on how Cameron’s Coffee can use Big Data.
c. Explain how each recommendation will resolve any issues and fulfill Cameron’s Coffee’s needs.
3. Cloud Computing
a. Briefly define cloud computing and how businesses use it.
b. Provide two recommendations on how Cameron’s Coffee can use Cloud Computing.
c. Explain how each recommendation will resolve any issues and fulfill Cameron’s Coffee’s needs.
Length: 4 pages not including assignment cover sheet, title page, and references page.
Begin your assignment with the NCU cover sheet, followed by a title page, and then prepare the white
paper for the president.
Be sure to present your white paper in a way that the president can quickly scan through it by using
headings and bullet points liberally. Be as specific as possible and make sure you explain and support
your ideas with cited material and a references page.
Your response should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the
course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should
reflect professional business writing and current APA standards.

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