Staci Stickovich

Tips for a successful ERP deployment

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications can help businesses increase employee productivity and improve project management by automating time-consuming and redundant tasks. Unfortunately, ERP systems are often overlooked because of the time or scope of the project. Business leaders should look past the implementation details and instead focus on the future benefits and cost-savings it can bring to the organization.

We’ve come up with the following recommendations to help businesses ensure a successful ERP deployment: Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Five ways to improve your customer’s experience using custom apps

Mobility in this day and age is indispensable, and custom apps can be a great way for businesses to connect with their customers. A recent SalesForce study on mobile behavior found that smartphone users spend between 3-4 hours per day, primarily to email (91%), text (90%), and search the Internet (76%) – with social networking (75%) following closely behind.

Businesses have already begun to change their strategies to include SMS messaging, responsive web design, and optimized emails for smaller screens, but there is still a lag in adoption when it comes to custom business apps. Yet, despite slow adoption, consumers’ cite “access to content any way they want” as the most important factor in a mobile experience according, to the study.

Providing customers with a custom app to connect with the business is not only beneficial for you, but also preferred by them. The ExactTarget study noted that 65 percent of those polled have downloaded business-specific apps for more convenient access to information. Of those who do use business-specific apps, 92 percent believe they are useful. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

South Bend medical organization affected by data breach

Hackers were recently able to compromise a Web portal used by the South Bend Medical Foundation to capture demographics information about patients. The incident yet again underscores the need for organizations of all sizes and in all industries to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place.

On May 26, the South Bend Medical Foundation first discovered the issue with NoMoreClipboard, a program it uses to allow patients to view lab results online. The problem may have been around for longer than that, however, as the South Bend Tribune reported that the breach may have first appeared unnoticed around May 7. At the moment it does not appear as though financial information such as credit card numbers were taken in this breach, but the FBI, NoMoreClipboard and others are looking into the cause to find the perpetrators. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

3 tips for disaster recovery

Since the onset of the digital revolution there has been a huge shift in data storage from manual paper to electronic storage. Where there were once rows and rows of filing cabinets now sit stacks and stacks of servers, and while many business leaders believe that their data is safer than it was before the digital age, it is merely a false sense of security unless they have a proper backup and disaster recovery plan in place.

Although digital data storage provides an easier way to archive, store and retrieve information, it does not necessarily safeguard it from potential risks associated with malicious attacks, natural disasters, or unintended human error. In a 2014 study done by Databarracks, the number one cause of data loss over a 12-month time-frame was Hardware (21%)/Software failure (19%), followed closely by human-error (18%), corruption (15%), and Theft/Security breach at 7% each.

The study also indicated that SMBs are not investing, or planning to invest, in disaster recovery or business continuity solutions in the near future despite the risks. Yet, last year, the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s (DRPC) annual benchmark survey reported that, nearly one in five organizations did not fully recover from a ‘serious business disruption’ and one in ten suffered from reputation damage. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Cybersecurity: is the cost worth the risk?

According to Wikipedia, Cybersecurity is defined as the process of applying security measures to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. These measures can consist of access controls, awareness training, audit and risk assessments, vulnerability management and more. There are many different solutions available to help you with protecting your data. Needless to say, the more protection you need, the more you can expect to spend. But how do you know when you’ve invested enough?

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that the average large business spends over $10 million a year to protect its information. Of course, small and midsize businesses cannot afford such a large spend on cybersecurity. To figure out what is most cost effective for your business, it is important to know where your data is most vulnerable. Therefore, a risk assessment should be a top priority for CIOs. It would not be cost-effective to invest in security measures for areas that are unnecessary.  Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Custom apps – good for customers, good for business

Custom application development is growing in popularity. According to The Street, the global custom application development market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.18 percent from 2013 to 2018, and the use of mobile apps by both businesses and consumers has never been more apparent. What’s more, according to TechTarget, mobile application development can be strengthened and accelerated by cloud-based systems. Streamlining app development can have numerous benefits for companies looking to take advantage of the prevalence of mobile technology.

Mobile apps as a marketing tool
For business purposes, the benefits of mobile applications are virtually endless. The Harvard Business Review stated in 2014 that the average person looks at his or her smartphone 150 times per day – and companies can capitalize on this by using mobile apps to grab consumers’ attention. Custom apps to provide consumers with an easy way to interact with the business. Customer relationship management strategies can be strengthened when businesses are able to connect with and understand their consumers on a deeper level. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

FBI security leak demonstrates need for cybersecurity

On June 5, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management admitted that it had been the victim of a vicious cybersecurity attack which may have compromised the identity of up to 4 million current and former federal employees. According to The Wall Street Journal, the federal government suspects China may be behind the breach, but officials in Beijing continue to deny involvement.

This isn’t the first time this year China has been suspected of being behind a cyberattack on the U.S. According to Reuters, at the beginning of May, the U.S. government queried China as to whether hackers within its borders had turned internationally hosted content into a weapon to attack U.S. websites. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

5 reasons your business should invest in disaster recovery

Losing critical company information can mean huge losses for a business. As reported by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, approximately 25 percent of businesses close permanently after experiencing a disastrous event.

Businesses can protect their critical data by implementing a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan into their emergency preparedness plans. By having a BCDR plan in place, businesses are better able to resume operations following a disaster. For instance, in 2011 a big tornado touched down in Joplin, Missouri, and caused a lot of destruction. SNC Squared, a technology company in the area, had a BCDR plan in place and was able to recover all of its data and quickly resume operations, as reported by SmallBusinessComputing.com.

Here are five reasons your company should have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

How to navigate Windows Server 2003 end of life

As technologies improve, legacy systems become unviable for companies to continue to operate. Such is the reason why Microsoft is planning to end support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14 of this year. After that, Microsoft will no longer provide patches or updates to existing software. Businesses that have not migrated their systems off of Windows Server 2003 should begin the process as soon as possible to avoid negative repercussions.

CIOs worried about the cost to migrate should consider the implications associated with remaining on the outdated server. TechRadar reported that this will be the biggest security threat of 2015. Since Microsoft will no longer be supplying security updates, there will be increased risk of cyberattack for the nearly 2.6 millions users that have not yet made the transition. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

How cloud computing is changing ERP

It should come as no surprise that the cloud has changed the way businesses manage operations, particularly when it comes to enterprise resource planning. According to Memeburn, companies are flocking to cloud-based ERP solutions because they are faster to deploy and easier to manage across multiple platforms and devices.

A survey published in 2014 by research firm Gartner indicated that 47 percent of businesses plan to move their core ERP systems to the cloud within five years, including only 2 percent that have already done so. This points to a marked shift in the way businesses are utilizing technology, specifically cloud solutions.Two primary benefits of cloud for ERP are increased productivity and improved cost-savings.

Continue reading