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How Business Intelligence Tools Are Transforming Small Businesses

Business Intelligence (BI), the analysis of business data to extract useful information, has been making the headlines lately, and for a good reason – it’s a game changer. Although still at the infancy stages, businesses that implement BI are not only guaranteed improved sales but can also expect better relationships with their customers.
With more and more businesses jumping onto the bandwagon (Gartner expects BI to be a $22.8 Billion market by 2022), you too should consider investing in BI tools. If you’re still on the fence about the technology, the following are five key BI benefits that will change your mind.
1. Turn raw data into actionable information
Many businesses already collect tons of data. From customer contacts to demographic information, sales data and so forth, SMBs have huge volumes of data waiting somewhere on a PC, external drive, or perhaps even on the cloud.
Unfortunately, collecting data alone can’t help you make useful decisions. You could have several terabytes of data on your server, but if you can’t break down and analyze that information, your small business is no different from those that don’t collect any data.
The primary function of BI is to help convert raw data into useful information for business executives. Through BI tools such as Sisense and TIBCO Spotfire, you can break down large pieces of data and analyze each closely to obtain actionable insights.
2. Make smarter decisions
The way BI tools work is simple – they serve as a technical backbone to all your business activities. All the data generated from every corner of the business goes into a central repository and, from there, a thorough analysis is performed on the data to obtain insight.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution such as Looker typically serves as the heart of the BI system. But remember that a well-implemented CRM system also serves as a bridge between teams in the organization and will help small business owners run reports that deliver key performance metrics, including; productivity, staff performance, sales cycles, core customers, product preferences, market trends, and revenues.
With a BI solution in place, all this information is channeled through the system so that the information can be analyzed alongside other critical data from other areas of the business such as accounting and human resources. In the end, any decision business executives make are based on hard facts and not assumptions or guesswork.
3. Deepen your customer knowledge
We already touched on CRM systems and customer data and therein lies another massive benefit of BI – they help businesses gain a better understanding of their customers.
Markets are saturated; there’s no denying that. This saturation gives consumers plenty of options, making the current market hard to target.
And then, there are technologies that continue to grab consumer attention. A recent study by The Next Web shows that we now spend 6 hours 42 minutes online on average, with most of that time spent playing video games, watching videos, and chatting on social media.
These two trends have pushed the customer as far away from brands as possible, which partly explains why customer loyalty is at an all-time low.
To solve this problem, businesses must find ways to understand their customers better. And that’s where BI comes in! Through BI solutions such as YellowFin BI, you can draw together data from all platforms and various departments, including; sales, marketing, customer service, operations, product development, and finance to create a single source of truth about each customer. As a result, you create a working New Customer Journey for each product or campaign.
4. Deliver exemplary customer experiences
According to another Gartner report, customer experience (CX) is the new battlefront for business competition. The report shows that businesses that are winning the CX battle record more new customers while at the same time retaining most of their existing clients. It further states that owing to the importance of customer experience, 66.67% of businesses say that they have shifted focus to CX.
If you belong in this category, BI solutions such as SAP Business Intelligence can help you advance your customer experience goals. We’ve already seen that BI pulls all vital customer information into a central repository, making it possible to make informed decisions and allowing businesses to understand their customers better. This understanding of your customers can help you give each customer exactly what they want.
One way this works is when sending out advertisements. A large number of consumers have installed ad blockers just because they often receive endless ads, some completely irrelevant to their needs. BI tools help advertisers with information to send the right ads at the right time, so you don’t end up in the consumers’ bad books.
BI can also prove useful in customer support and during the purchase journey as it allows businesses to remove danger spots that might compromise the customer experience.
5. Boost data governance and compliance
While not a primary function of business intelligence, the tools can also help with data governance and compliance.
With regards to governance, think of it this way – without a central repository, business data is left floating around in multiple silos, making it impossible to achieve a 360-degree view of your customers. It means that some of the customer actions may pass you by without you being aware of it. This cannot be allowed as even a small loophole in the sales system opens up gaps for wasted spend and revenue loss. Tools such as MicroStrategy brings all your data into a central warehouse where you can monitor and act upon each customer activity promptly.
As for compliance, the gaps we just mentioned can be costly if they breach the increasingly strong data regulations. Sending insensitive communications, for example, attracts hefty fines in most countries, including the US. Then, there are also laws such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was recently enacted to govern capture, storage, and usage of personal data. Without a sound data management system, it’s easy to make mistakes that breach these laws.
BI goes a long way in keeping data accurate and up to date so small business owners can avoid any mistakes that might breach data regulations.
The Bottom Line
The role of BI in the modern-day company cannot be overstressed. When you implement these tools, you’re not just guaranteed better insights that would help you make improved decisions, you’re also investing in a solution that would help you understand your customers so you can delight them with improved customer experiences.

How to Save Instagram Photos on PC or Mac

Instagram is a mecca of inspiration so it’s no surprise that you want to learn how to save Instagram photos on your PC or Mac.
But since Instagram does not allow users to save images directly to their computers (due to copyright regulation), you’ve probably found yourself taking a multi-step process to save your images.
Whether you’re a brand that needs to save UGC photos for reposting or an Instagram user who loves keeping a folder of their favorite photos, here’s how to save Instagram photos on PC or Mac when double tapping or your saved photos folder just isn’t enough!
How to Save Instagram Photos on PC or Mac:
There are 4 different ways to save Instagram photos on PC or Mac.

Taking a screenshot
Searching via page source
Using Sked Social’s Chrome extension
Saving your own Instagram photos

Method #1: Taking a Screenshot
If size or resolution isn’t an issue for you, the easiest way to save or capture an Instagram image to your PC or Mac is by taking a screenshot.
For PC:
The most convenient way of taking a screenshot of your Instagram image on PC is using Windows’ Snipping Tool. Follow these steps to start screenshotting like a pro!

Navigate to your Instagram photo within your desktop browser.
Open the Snipping Tool on your PC. You can find it by selecting the ‘Start’ butting and typing ‘Snipping Tool’ into the Windows 10 search bar.
Adjust your Snipping ‘Mode’ and then click ‘New’ in the menu toolbar.
Select the area of the image you want to snip.
After capturing your snip, select the ‘Save Snip’ button.
In the Save As box, type a file name, location, and type, and proceed by clicking Save.

For Mac:

Navigate to your Instagram photo within your desktop browser.
Hold down Shift + Command + 4
Drag to select the area of the image you need to capture.
After taking a screenshot, find the image saved as a .png file on your desktop.

Method #2: Searching Via Page Source
If you want to save Instagram photos at the highest resolution possible, saving via your browser’s Page Source is your best option.
Here’s how it’s done:

Navigate to the Instagram photo you want to save in your browser.
Click the “…” at the top right of the photo.
Click ‘Copy Link’
Enter the link in your browser’s window and press Enter/Return
Access Chrome’s Page Source by clicking View > Developer > View Source in Chrome.

6. In the ‘View Source’ window pane, click CTRL + F (PC) or Command + F (Mac) and paste or type in “.jpg”7. The first URL to appear is usually the image you’re want to save (highlighted below). But you may need to employ trial and error.8. Copy and paste the URL into another tab/window to produce a window with the image.9. Right-click on the image and save it to your PC or Mac.

Method #3: Using Sked’s Chrome Extension
When you need to save Instagram photos to repost them for your user-generated content (UGC) campaign, the most efficient way to do so is using Sked Social’s Regram Chrome extension.
Sked Social Regram allows Sked Social users.
Follow these steps to start leveling up your regram skills:

After signing up for a Sked Social account or free trial, open your Chrome browser and download the extension here. (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sked-social-regram/ffgpobfpdejceccaekjgoohkbllpohcp?hl=en)
Click the ‘Add to Chrome’ button and approve any browser prompts.
Click the Sked Social Regram icon in your Chrome extension toolbar and sign in using your Sked Social account credentials.
Navigate to the Instagram image link you want to regram and click Sked’s Regram icon.
Enter your new caption in the caption box

6. If you wish, you can hide hashtags in the First Comment box.7. ‘Queue’, ‘Schedule’ or send your post to ‘Drafts’ automatically. Note: Before queuing your posts, be sure that your queue posts have been set up in Sked Social.
8. Click ‘Submit Post’
Besides this, you can also use the ‘Upload from Instagram URL’ option on Sked Social to regram images.
The Instagram scheduler Social Media Strategists trust
Plan & schedule your brand’s Instagram posts, Stories, videos and more.

Tag locations, users and products
Get hashtag recommendations
Collaborate with clients & manage approvals

Method #4: Saving Your Own Instagram Photos
If you want to save your own Instagram photos to your PC or Mac, the process is simple and quick, but requires you to enable a feature within the Instagram app before posting.

Log in to your Instagram account from your mobile phone.
Tap on your user icon in the lower right corner.
Tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner.
Hit the Settings menu, in the lower right corner.
Click ‘Account’
Enable ‘Save Original Photos’ by toggling the option to the right.

Enabling this feature automatically saves every photo to your phone in a separate album named, ‘Instagram’.
Over to You
If you want to learn how to save Instagram photos on PC or Mac, you’re not alone! From UGC campaigns to shoutouts or just plain-simple inspiration, the methods discussed above put you on the right track for success.

The Influence Of Buyer Goals On Content And The Search For Good Ideas

One of the most under-realized areas of understanding in marketing today has to do with the powerful influences of buyer goals and their goal-directed behaviors. This is especially true in B2B marketing. Most notably, in terms of understanding the impact of buyer goals on how buyers conduct informational searches, as well as, gather content and make choices based on the information acquired.
The ongoing concern for many senior marketing executives is the lack of effectiveness in content marketing today. Surveys in the past two to three years indicating marketers are struggling to break through even being thirty to forty percent “somewhat” effective with their content marketing efforts. Making decisions on how much to allocate resources specifically to content marketing quite difficult.
Consumer And B2B Buyers Differ
The fact that buyers, including B2B buyers, will spend time researching online is not debatable. This consumer-first behavior has transferred to business buyer behavior rapidly. Depending on which survey you read, the percentage of business buyers indicating research is their first form of activity hovers between the eighty-five (85%) to ninety-five percent (95%) level. An established fact, which has made not necessarily just content marketing important, but also several other areas of marketing such as branding.
While this research first behavior has become similar for both consumer and B2B, things get quite different when you start looking at the goals of B2B buyers. In the consumer world, goals tend be more concrete in nature.
For example, if you are seeking a new dishwasher for your home, you may begin researching the factual attributes of dishwashers. Such as price range, delicate versus normal settings, stainless steel tub versus plastic, and other types of factual product attributes. Abstract oriented goals still are very powerful in consumer behavior as well. Usually related to affinity and feelings towards brands. In this same example, you may have a strong emotional and affinity attachment to Kitchen Aid due to your experiences with the brand.
B2B buyer behavior differs significantly in this respect. Research and surveys show a majority of business leaders first research ideas and concepts. A recent The Economist Group survey of five hundred (500) global business executives indicated for seventy-five percent (75%) of those surveyed, the primary purpose for seeking business content was to research a business idea.
In my own buyer research efforts, conducting in the vicinity of twenty-five hundred buyer interviews over the past fourteen years, this is a distinct pattern I have seen.
The Connection Between Ideas And Goals
There is a powerful connection between ideas and goals. They share in both being a form of abstract thinking. Meaning they are conceptual in nature, cannot be easily described or articulated, reside below the surface, are not fact-based, and involves mental thinking. Consumer behavior tends to have more concrete thinking as opposed to the high degree of abstract thinking in B2B.
The implication here, especially for B2B marketing, is very significant. When you shine this unique light on the big problem of content marketing ineffectiveness, one aspect becomes clearer. That is, we see content marketing (especially B2B) addressing primarily concrete and factual-based thinking versus ideas and goal-directed thinking, which are more abstract in nature.
How does this look? You see content marketing tied, still, to facts and products. Messaging on concrete elements related to product and outdated buyer profiling due to lack of insights into buyer goals and their connection to ideas. It is no wonder then that more than seventy percent (70%) of the five hundred (500) business executives surveyed by the Economist Group indicated business content lacked substance.
Understanding Buyer Goals Leads To Understanding Content Desired
Increasingly in the B2B marketing world, many organizations are beginning to realize they can no longer use conventional approaches for understanding buyers. Many efforts have gone into doing so, including attempts to develop buyer personas. However, such attempts to develop buyer personas have had a high failure rate. This failure rate is largely due to the same problems plaguing content marketing. It is akin to passing along a viral contagion between content marketing and buyer persona development.
In this case, the contagion is focusing in on the same concrete product, facts, and criteria based profiling of buyers. Profiling buyers on concrete facts related to company initiatives, product criteria, buying criteria, success or risk factors, and etc. A form of profiling, which cannot explain nor ever go deep enough to gain insights into how and why buying decisions are made.
Years of research in the psychology, business, and academic fields have proven that goals and goal-directed behaviors are the largest, as well as, the deepest forms of influence on purchase decisions. Yet they reside in the abstract and takes skilled qualitative research to uncover. Thus, if organizations truly want deeper buyer insights and understanding, they must go beyond concrete based thinking and get to the deepest levels of buyer goals and their goal-directed behaviors.
Influencing Through Content Connected To Ideas And Goals
As of now, we can reasonably estimate that seventy-five percent (75%) of business executives researching business ideas are finding instead, seventy percent (70%) or more of the times, product and criteria-based content. Thus, no help in furthering the important ideas and goals they are thinking about.
The unique shining of light, through buyer goals, on what ails content marketing as well as buyer personas provide a powerful compass to CMOs and their teams then. In order to truly impact buyers with content and information, they must first connect with the deeper understanding of their ideas, goals, and goal-directed activities.
The evidence is clear. If an organization is unable to make this connection and continues to focus on concrete facts and criteria-based content, then whatever content they produce will wind up in the small corner of the window of a buyer’s PC, tablet, or mobile phone device. Dragged into the trash icon located on most devices – along with the other seventy-five percent (75%) or more of content already there.
(What follows is a short video on Where Good Ideas Come From? by Steven Johnson. He covers how good ideas come from connectivity with others. Involving a slow level of abstract thinking. As mentioned above, global business leaders primarily search for content when researching a business idea. Content, then, must be helpful in enabling the pursuit of goals and the gelling of good ideas.)

TDSB defies wage freeze to give director a raise after hearing other Ontario school boards did the same

TDSB

TORONTO — At least 21 of Ontario’s 75 school boards ignored the public sector wage freeze in 2013 and gave pay increases to their directors of education, according to figures compiled from the sunshine list of public sector workers paid over $100,000 a year.

The issue came to light after the Toronto District School Board voted Monday night to allow its director of education, Donna Quan, to keep her $289,000 salary even though her predecessor was paid $17,000 less.

TDSBTDSB director Donna Quan

Education Minister Liz Sandals sent the TDSB a letter in December saying Quan’s salary should be $272,000, but trustees voted for the increased rate after hearing that 20 other school boards also gave their directors of education pay hikes despite the wage freeze ordered by the Liberal government.

Most of them received salary increases of less than five per cent, but some of the pay hikes went into double digits.

Sandals’ office said Tuesday that the government was looking to see if all the school boards were in compliance with the rules on executive compensation during the period when wages were supposed to be frozen.

“It is important to note that the locally elected board of trustees are responsible for negotiating contracts with the director of education,” said Sandals’ press secretary Nilani Logeswaran.

The Progressive Conservatives said the Liberal government has never stuck to its vow to impose a real wage freeze, especially in the education sector.

“It’s going to be very difficult for the public to swallow when they see people getting handsome increases when there is still a jobs crisis in the province,” said PC education critic Lisa MacLeod. “It is the wrong signal to Ontarians, who believed the Liberals in the last election when they said they’d meet their deficit reduction targets.”

The Liberals’ attempts to impose a wage freeze on more than one million public sector employees to help eliminate a $12.5-billion deficit ran into strong opposition in the education sector, with teachers withdrawing from extracurricular activities, engaging in work-to-rule campaigns and protesting in the streets.

Premier Kathleen Wynne eventually reopened the contracts for public school teachers, which the auditor general said cost Ontario taxpayers $468 million.

“Kathleen Wynne and Liz Sandals have never demonstrated an ounce of discipline when it comes to deficit-reduction targets within the education envelope or within the broader government,” said MacLeod.

A report from an independent review of the TDSB ordered by the Ontario government after some very public fights between some trustees and Quan is expected to be released within days.

“We are expecting the report later this week from Margaret Wilson that will have examined operational issues, including the director’s contract,” said Logeswaran.