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What Are the Advantages of Custom-Written Software?

Every business is unique. Your company’s needs are going to be different from the business next door. In some cases, it doesn’t make much sense for everyone to be using a one-size-fits-all software solution.

When choosing software for your business, you’re faced with two choices. You can either pick an off-the-shelf package or have someone build and customize new software for you.

So what are the advantages of custom-written software? In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of custom CRM software and how your business can get a competitive edge with it.

What Is Custom Software?

Basically, custom software is built from the ground up to fit your company’s needs. As the business owner or manager, you define what you need the software to do. Then, the software developer makes it from scratch for you.

The end result is a piece of software that’s entirely bespoke to your business. This means that it does exactly what you want it to do—no annoying workarounds or paying for features you don’t even need—and in turn, makes your business more efficient and profitable.

The Advantages of Custom-Written Software

At first, it might seem like a massive endeavor to build and pay for your own software solutions. But you can’t ignore the rewards that custom-made software can bring you. Here are some reasons your business should get a customized software solution.

It Keeps You Up to Date

Let’s be real here. Some businesses still use software built over a decade ago. Yours could be one of them.

You can’t just settle on something that “does the job just fine” or “works well enough.” What worked five or ten years ago, or even just one year ago, might not be the most efficient way to do things anymore. Out-of-date software can also be difficult to maintain.

By getting new software that’s fully customized, you’re marching your business into the modern age.

It Simplifies Your Business

Some businesses are forced to “duct-tape” different pieces of software and hardware together to accomplish various tasks. While individually, they may be great tools, it’s easy to see how inefficient this method is.

Custom-made software can solve these issues in one of two ways:

  • Creates an all-in-one solution that eliminates the need to run multiple applications
  • Acts as the connective tissue between the different programs you use 

With customized software in place, you can create more efficient ways of completing tasks. You increase productivity while reducing the number of user errors from juggling different programs.

It Offers a Cost-Effective Solution that Scales

As with any investment, custom CRM software can require some hefty upfront costs. But after that initial investment, well-designed software can save you money in the long run.

Pre-made software might have lower upfront costs, but overtime expenses can add up. Consider these hidden costs from using off-the-shelf products:

  • Renewing licenses
  • Training employees
  • Additional software to cover deficiencies
  • Other maintenance costs

When you use bespoke software that’s tailored to your business’ needs, you can keep your budget under control. 

The software can also be designed with expandability in mind that facilitates your company’s growth. This way, you can future-proof your business and scale it in ways that pre-made applications won’t allow you to do.

Still not convinced you need custom software? Here are 9 reasons why your business needs a custom software solution.

Give Your Business a Competitive Edge

Let’s be real. Your organization needs to keep up with modern trends to stay competitive in today’s world. More and more businesses are turning to customized solutions to stand out from their competitors.

Now it’s your turn. Take the next steps and see how a customized software solution can advance your business. Work with a team of experts who know the software business and how to get customers.

A Massive Shortage of Home Care Workers Threatens the industry

As more and more older adults report a desire to spend their twilight years at home, there has been a boom in home-based care. The trouble is, the home care industry has been plagued by staffing shortages for many years. This makes it difficult for the families of older adults and the older adults themselves, to give older adults what they sorely desire. Often, family members have to become makeshift caregivers, forced to get time off from work, or sometimes even work part-time, use adult day care facilities, or retire early, just so they can give older adults the home care that they need. Getting home care is even harder today, because the risks of having hired help or volunteers in the house often outweigh the benefits. This puts additional pressure on family members to take care of older adults. It’s this crisis that is the subject of a fascinating piece in the New York Times

As the New York Times shows, it can be hard to find help, either through word-of-mouth, local agencies or other means. Often, local agencies will charge fees only to tell you that they don’t have any home caregivers for you. Eventually, some families are forced to place their older adults in facilities, often at incredibly steep rates. The economic consequences of the staffing shortages in home care are massive. 

The homecare industry is made up of a hodgepodge of nonprofit programs, publicly funded care, and for-profit businesses and chains, all of whom operate under federal and state regulations. There is also a gray market that caters to clients who want to avoid regulation and so hire privately.

Vicki Hoaqk, the Home Care Association of America’s executive director, says this is the most frustrating period in her 20-year career in the industry. It has never been so hard to find workers. The association is made up of 4,000 agencies and 500,000 people and yet, even then there is a struggle to help people get the workers they need.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the direct day care workforce shrunk by 342,000 workers in the last year. This includes nursing homes, as well as other home care and residential care staff. This reverses a long-held pattern in which employment rose in each category every year. The reason for the contraction in the labor force is that many workers were laid off, or workers resigned because of Covid-19 related fears or health problems, child care issues, and other issues.

Thankfully, employment in the home care industry rebounded toward the end of last year and is now just 3% off from its pre-pandemic levels. However, this rebound occurs at a time when there has been an explosion in demand for home care workers. Other healthcare categories, such as nursing home occupancy and assisted living, are in decline, whereas home care is on the rise. At present, there are over 800,000 older adults and disabled people, all eligible for Medicaid, and all on state waiting lists to receive home care. Those clients who are paying with private schemes or their own funds are being turned away by agencies. With the nightmare of Covid-19 receding, many people have taken the lesson that congregate care settings are less healthy and safe than home care. Resolving this crisis is one of the great challenges the country faces moving forward.

Google and French Alliance Agreement Boosts News Publication Industry

The digital age has certainly driven readers online in search of news, but for some time now questions have surfaced as to the negative implications for publishers who invest in quality journalism and reporting and have seen their earnings eroded by the re-publication of their original content for no reward by Internet giants such as Google.

  1. Licensing agreements offer French publishers access to Google News Showcase

Now comes the welcome news that Google France has reached a landmark agreement with an alliance of 121 national and local French news publications—Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale—to license their content for three years to the tune of $22 million. Individual licensing agreements will offer publishers access to Google News Showcase, a new press publications licensing programme giving readers access to rich content.

Pierre Louette, CEO of the Les Echos – Le Parisien Group and president of the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale said in a press release: “After long months of negotiations, this agreement is an important step, which marks the effective recognition of the neighbouring right of press publishers and the start of their remuneration by digital platforms for the use of their online publications.”

Meanwhile, although there has been a decline in printed newspaper sales over the years, there are some good reasons to consider custom newspaper print solutions for corporate communications and marketing. The spread of COVID-19 has indeed seen companies trim marketing budgets and demand for print advertisements, wrought by the decline in corporate profits, shedding of workers, and price increases.

Most readers will agree that the tactile sensations—the feeling of opening and turning the pages of a newspaper—are irreplaceable. The reading experience on paper is still vastly superior and newspaper print remains more powerful to share ideas, whatever the objective of the paper.

  1. Newspapers enable image-strong corporate communications

To offset the loss of advertising opportunities in print, many companies have taken to promoting their products and services with an original, tangible product made in-house. Company newspapers can be sent to clients and partners, helping build strong and long-term relationships.

A printed newspaper enables image-strong corporate communications and strengthens brands. Corporate newspapers have the potential to keep colours, tone, and company culture consistent, win new business, and shore up client loyalty through instant recognition and personal connection.

While demand for printing is forecasted to continue declining over the next five years—as the era of e-commerce and digital marketing continues to expand—niche, high-value, collectable items in print are likely to remain valuable investments.

One unforeseen trend in the book industry, for example, has seen video sharing platform TikTok’s “BookTok” hashtag driving up sales of paper books, sending old books back to the top of bestseller lists, and launching the careers of new authors. Videos with the hashtag have been viewed a collective 12.6 billion times on TikTok.

As the news industry continues to evolve and re-shape itself—as evidenced by the Google France agreement—there is no doubt that newspaper print will survive. What’s more, newspapers have the potential to preserve values and promote social cohesion within community organisations such as schools, clubs, associations, and events, showcasing work and demonstrating commitment to quality. Newspapers are ideal in creating durable links with custom editorial content.

Outsourcing and Your Business: What You Need To Know

The business world is truly global as you can easily meet with someone in a different country virtually. Remote work is becoming more popular among companies that want to reduce their overhead costs. The elimination of the need for an office space is a monthly expense that plenty of small business owners will happily save money on. Increasing cash flow can allow for growth to be maximized depending on the business model. Taking a proactive approach to outsourcing can allow your team to run more efficiently and maximize productivity. The following are things that you need to know when outsourcing for your business. 

Areas To Outsource

Small business accounting services can save money for business owners and also save them a headache. Accounting can be quite tedious for someone that simply doesn’t like to organize their books. Allowing another company to handle this can also save more money come tax time which is always important. There are also so many apps that you can stay organized with expenses without issue. 

Marketing is something that most companies should outsource, especially during their infancy. Marketing agencies have established relationships that can be leveraged almost immediately. The fact that they have a plethora of copywriters that can handle the revamping of your content marketing strategy provides ultimate convenience. Quality content helps drive traffic to your website and helps it climb the search engine rankings. Enlisting the help of the right agency is immensely important as some might utilize less than ethical ways to rank. These tactics are considered blackhat as Google has specifically stated they will penalize websites that do things like purchase links or build site networks to drive rankings. 

Sales tasks like that of gathering contact information can be outsourced. There are so many companies that employ people to find this information as data is extremely valuable. Your sales team can also be outsourced but you need to make sure your contractors are representing your company in the appropriate manner. Pushy salespeople can lead to a company being blacklisted in a business niche. The professional world is far closer than it was in the past due to technology. 

Hiring Slowly And Firing Quickly When It Comes To Freelancers 

Freelancers should be hired slowly and through a platform like Upwork that protects your business. Unfortunately, there are a number of people willing to take payment upfront only to disappear. These platforms track communication to ensure that nobody is being ripped off. Firing freelancers that miss deadlines or are poor at communicating should be done quickly. Most freelancers are not going to completely turn their performance around but this is possible. There are so many talented freelancers that it should not be difficult to find a replacement. Setting up a training process for freelancers can make this seamless as some might take on other contracts at one point or another.

Outsourcing needs to be done carefully but can help grow your company in a huge way. Take the time to assess what could be outsourced and look at the cost-benefit analysis. 

Beauty Tech Is Revolutionising the Cosmetics Industry

When people think of technology, they seldom associate it with cosmetics. Though the cosmetics industry can represent the art of the future and the possibilities of tomorrow, its use of science, technology, and research and development is often hidden from the public view. As technology has evolved, so too has cosmetics. The cosmetics industry has embraced the new wave of technology that is sweeping the world. “Beauty tech” is becoming an increasingly important part of how the cosmetics industry conducts research and development, delivers products to its customers, and tries to enrich the customer experience. As Know Techie reports, new technologies are set to revolutionize cosmetics. 

One of the most important developments in recent years has been the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies assumed an even greater importance during the pandemic. As shoppers were forced to stay at home, cosmetics businesses had to adapt to deliver their products to their customers and find ways to recreate the magic of the in-store experience at a time when shoppers could not go to stores. AI and AR came to the rescue. AI uses data to find patterns and draw insights from those patterns and thereafter, perform some task. So, for instance, when you browse through a cosmetics firm’s website, it can recommend products based on your search and browsing history, purchases you have made and other data. AR, on the other hand, overlays actual reality with digital information. So, for instance, while shopping for lipstick, an AR program can take an image of you and apply lipstick on that image so you can see what you would look like if you wore that lipstick. Sephora’s 3-D augmented reality mirror allows customers to try Sephora’s makeup products in such a way, avoiding the need for actual physical contact with the product. A clear advantage of AR is that not only can brands deliver the in-store experience of trying products out, AR is much more sanitary at a time when the pandemic has made us so aware of the dangers of physical contact. AR is also much more cost-effective than maintaining an actual store. Customers can try products from anywhere on the planet using the brand’s app, and order what they like, without ever having to go to a physical store. 

When you talk about skincare, most people think of moisturisers, cleansers and things like that. Brands will often promote these products as important elements of skincare, which they are. However, these products are not the be-all and end-all of skincare. Technologies and apps are becoming a very important part of skincare routines. These technologies can be used to analyse your skin and monitor UV exposure. SkinScanner is an example of a product that you connect to your smartphone. SkinScanner scans your skin and helps you find irregularities there. FaceGenius and Clinical reality are other examples of skin scanners that are now widely used. These technologies won’t do your eyebrow microblading for you, but they do allow you to intelligently scan your skin and ensure that it is at its healthiest.

Using Artificial Intelligence To Help Keep Your Financial Data Safe

Cybercrime is 24/7 and is always testing your organizations’ cybersecurity systems. Hackers are attempting to break into your network and get away with your personal identifiable information or your financial data.

Cybercriminals try to exploit your weaknesses in several ways, whether through phishing, malware or through weak encryption. Regardless of the size of your organization protecting requires a vigilant solution, one that is constantly testing for vulnerabilities and adapting to new threats. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can help supplement your traditional cybersecurity systems for your business, and your customers.

How Artificial Intelligence Enhances Your Information Security

What makes AI such a powerful protector is its ability for machine learning. Machine learning is where algorithms automatically improve through experience. In the instance of cybersecurity systems, AI can learn as new threats emerge. AI’s ability to identify patterns or abnormal actions also proves useful when monitoring users. Even if AI doesn’t identify anything suspicious. It is still analyzing for weaknesses within your cybersecurity system.

One of the most common examples of cybercriminals attempting to access cybersecurity systems is phishing. Phishing is where an attacker sends a fraudulent message that attempts to access sensitive information. By sending emails that appear official, criminals can trick employees to send sensitive information or install malware onto personal networks. With AI constantly monitoring, it can pick up the fraudulent email and get rid of the email before it is even sent to an inbox.

Safeguarding your most valuable financial data requires having cybersecurity systems that never stop assessing threats. For more information and tips on how to use AI to help keep your financial data safe, check out the resource below.  It discusses a few more common ways attackers get access to your data, as well as how AI addresses each of those threats.

Infographic created by Donnelley Financial Solutions, a financial consolidation software provider

The Importance Of Backup & Disaster Recovery For Remote Workers

The current pandemic has rapidly shifted the current workplace toward remote work. As companies return to normal operations, remote work is here to stay. With this change comes a different landscape for security. Most businesses were forced to design and deploy a new digital security strategy overnight for remote workers. This left IT professionals and employees with an increased risk for potential problems in security.

To reduce the risk, it’s important for an organization to create a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan. If you are interested in learning more check out the resource below. It describes tips for creating a backup and disaster recovery plan for remote work.

Infographic created by MXOtech, an IT network management company

Proving PTSD after a Car Accident Claim

When it comes to car accidents, physical injuries are often the first thing that comes to mind. However, these events can also leave lasting emotional and mental damage ranging from mild emotional distress all the way to diagnosable Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In fact, the American Psychological Association states that car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD for non-military Americans. Emotional and mental damage are equally as debilitating as the physical injuries one suffers in accident but can be more difficult to diagnose. Here’s how to prove you have PTSD after your car accident claim.

Diagnosing PTSD

You’ll need your primary care physician to help you diagnose this condition before you can prove it to your insurance company or in court. However, it’s up to you to watch out for the signs and symptoms. Knowing the red flags of PTSD is the first step in getting help. They are:

·         Anxiety over being inside a vehicle

·         Nightmares about getting into accidents

·         Recurring flashbacks about the accident

·         Insomnia

·         Sudden irritability

·         High blood pressure

·         Fatigue and body aches

·         Feeling “jumpy”

·         Difficulty working or concentrating

Showing Proof

With your symptoms identified, the next step is to visit your doctor for a diagnosis. If you’re working with legal aid, like this car accident lawyer in San Francisco, then you may want to talk to them first. A lawyer can recommend a doctor or specialist for you that will get you the proof and help you need.

From there, the challenge is getting your insurance company to work with you. These companies are notorious for covering the least amount of damages possible after an accident, which makes proving PTSD after a car accident claim difficult. To do so, your lawyer will need to prove the following:

·         The other driver’s owed you a duty of care and failed to do so

·         The other driver was acting negligently or carelessly

·         Psychological trauma led to lost wages, pain, and suffering

·         Your PTSD symptoms are a direct result of the car accident

Your insurance company will want to see your medical history, which your lawyer will help you gather and provide. Expect your insurer to use any prior mental illness against your claim. While it is unfortunate, especially on top of your emotional distress, your legal aid will help you fight your case.

Seeking Help

While it’s vital that you gain the financial compensation you’re entitled to, it’s equally as important that you address your PTSD and seek psychological help. Unlike physical injuries, PTSD isn’t something that heals on its own.

After your diagnosis, your doctor or lawyer can recommend psychological professionals. Therapy and counseling are the most useful tools for overcoming PTSD and its symptoms. This condition is one you have to work through, one step at a time, until you regain control over your mind and your life.

On the plus side, proving your PTSD to your insurer and in court will ensure that your treatment is paid for and that can you recover any lost wages from time off work. It might be a long road ahead, but seeking the compensation you deserve makes it that much easier.

Lowes Under Scrutiny for Recent Sexual Harassment Claims

Lowe’s came under scrutiny this week over a lawsuit filed with the Solano County Superior Court in California. The lawsuit shows a troubling pattern of male-on-male sexual harassment, alleging numerous causes of action against the retail giant.

Both the Lowe’s Home Center and 1751 E. Monte Vista Ave. store are involved in the lawsuit, with the claimant’s attorney stating egregious harassment that would have been, “difficult to imagine being ignored had the victim been female. Here are the details so far.

Male-On-Male Harassment

Harassment is often thought of in the context of male aggressors and female victims, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Any man can harass another man just as one woman could do to another. Unfortunately, complaints like these made by male employees are rarely taken seriously.

The case has been picked up by a San Francisco sexual harassment attorney, first filed by Kelly Armstrong on behalf of the victim who has chosen to withhold their identity due to the nature of the case. The attorney has been very outspoken about the reality of male-on-male harassment often being swept under the rug.

The Case

The Reporter obtained a copy of the 17-page complaint filed Tuesday, which the court has acknowledged. It alleges a hostile work environment, failure to prevent harassment, and even retaliation against the employee, all of which violate California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The document also alleges wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. Armstrong has spoken about how Lowe’s management repeatedly ignored numerous complaints with excessive detail about a growing culture of sexual harassment within their Vacaville store.

The complaint explains that employees spread rumors about John Doe having sexual relationships with other employees, that he gave some STDs, was having group sex, and even that he slept with another female employee.

It also talks about an employee named Mark Fox, an assistant store manager. Fox, according to the complaint and written testimony from Armstrong, repeatedly made inappropriate comments to Doe ranging from describing his genitals to photographing Doe in the restroom while at work and sharing them with other employees.

A Lack of Action

Doe reported each and every instance to Vacaville store management as well as corporate management, but Lowe’s failed to act on those complaints according to the court filings. When addressing Vacaville manager Dave Berlin, Doe was told to drop the issue and threatened with termination.

Doe took the complaint to Lowe’s Associate Care Center, but was then threatened by Fox with physical violence. Armstrong alleges that this was overheard by a department manager but that nothing was done. Doe then requested to be transferred and took a leave, but was denied the request.

What’s to ComeThe court has acknowledged the complaint, which means testimony is the next step. The court will then have to decide if the case moves to trial. In the meantime, Armstrong is urging anyone from the Vacaville location to come forward as a witness. She’s also encouraging any Lowe’s employee to speak up about harassment when they see it.

6 Essential Points Why Cbd Is a Good Space for Investors and Innovators

The CBD industry is flourishing and has birthed many entrepreneurs wanting to create something new and exciting. Cannabis has been in the dark for many years despite its medicinal value. Significantly CBD may help in dealing with many health conditions. Luckily, that’s changing lately, with many countries and states legalizing the use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes. 

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors can benefit from the high demand in the CBD industry for a better ROI. So if you are keen to enter the CBD industry, here are six reasons that indicate that it is a good choice.

Source

1.  Product Value and Diversity

The CBD industry is not just a flourishing one but also a diverse one in itself. You can find various CBD products ranging from CBDistillery to CBD topicals for acne. That gives CBD manufacturers focus on creating unique CBD supplements for their users. For instance, you can create CBD supplements like pills and capsules that fall under the health and wellness category. Similarly, if you incline towards skincare, the list of CBD topicals like body butter, facemasks, bath bombs, and lotions is endless too. The best part of all is that with more research about CBD and cannabis, the variety of CBD products may expand further in the future.

Source

2. Lower Regulations

The U.S CBD industry has witnessed massive growth lately, thanks to the Farm Bill 2018. The bill legalized the use of CBD products all over the country. That boosted the sales to revenue of $358 million from $108 million in 2014 when CBD products were still not legal in many states. The farm bill also legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp in the country. That played a significant role as well since manufacturers use CBD extracted from hemp rather than marijuana plants. A high concentration of CBD and a low concentration of THC is why manufacturers use hemp-based CBD. Though CBD products may contain THC, the authorized level states that it must not exceed 0.3%.

3. Increased CAGR in the CBD Industry

The growth rate in the CBD industry has been increasing and may continue to remain that way, looking at the market trends. Cannabis was not much of a mainstream herb in the past, probably due to its psychoactive effects of THC. But, the separation of THC from CBD changed it all. Estimated reports suggest that the CBD industry may reach $13.4 billion in sales with a growth rate of 21.2% by 2028. Through proper management and execution, any business owner can make profits with that growth rate. While the numbers mentioned above represent the CBD industry as a whole, the CBD oil industry alone may experience a growth rate of a whopping 38.4% by 2027.

Source

4. Pet CBD Market

The CBD industry is not just beneficial for humans but also for pets, mainly dogs. Many pet parents use CBD products to help their fur buddies deal with various issues like anxiety, aggression, etc. CBD may help deal with health conditions by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), present in almost all mammals, including dogs. That is the primary reason CBD may be efficient in helping with pet problems as well. The opportunity in the pet CBD market is also increasing recently, with more pet parents relying on CBD for their pet’s overall health. From yummy treats to CBD oils for pets, the product line in the pet CBD market is also diverse.

5. Customers Understanding the True Value of CBD Products

Here’s another factor contributing to the growth of the CBD industry. Users are now able to differentiate between average and high-quality products. Surprisingly, many CBD brands are failing to deliver the customer’s expectations. So, as a CBD brand or company, if you can reach the users’ expectations, you can boost sales. Moreover, achieving superior quality CBD products is not rocket science anymore. Through the proper extraction techniques, procuring high-quality raw materials, one can manufacture the best quality CBD products. Cultivating your hemp is one of the best ways to ensure the final products are of high quality. 

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6. High Scope For Product Research and Development

The best part about CBD is that it may help deal with various health conditions, physical and psychological. For instance, research suggests that CBD can be efficient in reducing chronic pain and inflammation. So whether the user experiences inflammatory pain caused by arthritis or pain from a tedious physical exercise, CBD products may help. CBD may also help reduce insomnia, anxiety, stress, and depression. As it serves various purposes, it allows manufacturers to create products and get into multiple niches in the CBD industry. You may choose to develop products for pain relief or anxiety relief initially when entering the market. Moreover, the CBD skincare industry is also flourishing since CBD may help deal with skin problems like acne, dry skin, etc.

Final Thoughts

The CBD industry is a fast-growing sector. It is not only flourishing but also an easy one if you plan accordingly. Whether you are keen on investing in a CBD company or creating a brand, high-quality products play a crucial role in its success. So, it’s essential to choose the appropriate niche, customer base, and robust business plan to make huge profits in the CBD industry. 

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