Solution Gap Analysis: Your Solution to the Software Selection Process

Over the years, our team has found that nearly 90% of our customers ask for software selection help when choosing an ERP software.

Our customers know their business – but they do necessarily know how to pick the best software for their business. Nor should they be expected to.

The software selection process can be as overwhelming as the actual implementation of the software itself; and with all of the software options available and advertised, it’s not uncommon for us to hear from clients who are looking for advice.

Too often we meet with clients who share that they had software companies come in to meet with them, only to try and dazzle them with their shiny, supposedly-ground-breaking software, yet never fully address how the software fits the organization’s true needs.

Which is why our team of software selection experts use the approach of “Solution Gap Analysis” to help clients choose a software fit for their business.

Our approach to software selection digs into the core of what a business truly needs, and uses fact-based evidence to choose the appropriate solutions for individual businesses. We take the time to get to know our clients business from top to bottom so no information is missed, and by using a custom need-want matrix, we work to ensure the right software is chosen and implemented correctly the first time around.

The Solution Gap Analysis Process:

1. Identification of Current Business Processes.

Every process begins with a business process review. During this review, our team goes on-site to meet with stakeholders and department leaders to interview and shadow key users and roles of a client. This approach to “show me rather than tell me” of where a business stands allow us to learn the critical internal processes, operations, and future goals of the organization to fully understand how we can help. As we shadow, we record the sessions and screens used to allow for visual representations of before and after a software is implemented.

2. Determination of Need to Have, Nice to Have, and Wishlist.

As we gain a better understanding of the processes and roles of the business we are working with, we work with our clients to determine all that they are looking for in a software solution. We help them to discover three separate lists: what they need to have, what would be nice to have, and a wishlist of additional features that they could benefit from in a software solution. Building and defining these lists are a critical step in the software selection process, as they set the benchmark for what we then look for in a potential vendor.

3. Vendor Discovery and Matrix Comparison.

Upon outlining the need to have, nice to have, and wishlist lists, we identify a selection of relevant software vendors that we know and trust, and send the lists out for discovery. The selected vendors compare their software capabilities and provide feedback for how they can help meet the wants and needs outlined on our client’s list. 

When the vendors return their results on how they can meet our client’s lists of wants and needs, we then take the insight and combine the vendor’s capabilities and our client’s needs into a matrix and sample graph – outlining what the client needs vs. what the vendor can do. We outline a matrix and graph for each vendor, and then choose the first round of eligible vendors based on which ones come the closest to meeting our client’s needs.

Once the top vendors are identified, we sit down with our client and share the fact-based recommendations for who should be considered as a software vendor, based on their needs and vendor capabilities.

4. Vendor Demos.

From here, we schedule up to 5 demos with the chosen individual software vendors. Demos allow us to walk through each platform and ensure that the vendor proves they can do what they have claimed to meet the needs of our client, and the client can see how the software will work with their business processes. After the demos are completed, we work with our client to narrow down the vendor list based on how they can provide unique value and meet business needs compared to the other vendor contenders.

5. Software Selection.

The final step in the software selection process is to choose a software platform. Using the fact-based client need vs. vendor capability matrix along with software demos, our clients can make an educated and well-informed decision to choose the right software for their business.

Partnering with a team of software selection experts helps to make sure the Solution Gap Analysis Process runs successfully, and a strong ERP software is chosen. This entails the identification of current business processes, software wants and needs, research around vendors that fit business needs, the understanding of where vendors play in the market and how they scale, and proof that certain vendors can meet specific needs.


For more information on how our team of software selection experts can help your organization choose the best ERP software for your business, contact Steve Krisfalusy at 440.349.4940 x691.

4 Tips to Keep Your Passwords Strong and Your Information Safe

Keep Your Network and Data Safe with a Secure Password

Happy World Password Day 2017

Passwords play a large part in our everyday life. They keep our valuable information protected from outside wandering eyes and threats, and they allow us to safely trust using our technology devices. That is, if they are done right.

As the world continues to become more digital, our connected lifestyles make it so that we all have more online accounts than ever before. Creating a username and password for an account has become the norm, which also means more passwords to keep up with in order to access the accounts that drive our day to day lives.

With so many passwords to remember, it’s easy enough for consumers to take the easy route and use the same basic password for each account. However, with this comes the large risk of hacking, breaches, and stolen information.

We hear all the time to keep our devices and accounts secure with a strong password, but it doesn’t need to be difficult to do so.

To celebrate World Password Day, we’ve broken down 4 key tips to keep your gatekeepers effective, and your information secure.

1. Use a strong password.
Meaning, avoid using the #1 most used password ever: 123456. Not every password needs to be over the top and impossible to remember, but a solid password includes numbers, symbols, capital letters and lowercase letters, is at least 12 characters long, and is not a word derived straight from the dictionary. (Check out the world’s most popular passwords of 2016 here. Tip: avoid these!).

2. Use a different password on every site.
If you use the same password for every account you create, you are opening the door for hackers to access all of your accounts through just one. Don’t make their job so easy. Switch up your passwords for each account, and update them frequently.

3. Get a password manager.
With the amount of passwords to remember, a password manager will help keep you organized and will remove the hassle of remembering numerous passwords. Such programs log you into your favorite websites automatically using multi-factor authentication, and save you the headache of trying to log into a site when you can’t remember your password.

4. Utilize multi-factor authentication.
MFA’s are easy to set up and increasingly effective to keep your information protected. Common practices of using MFA’s include a fingerprint scan on your mobile device, or a code sent to your mobile phone. Such practices make accessing your account or device nearly impossible for outside threats – and the more factors you combine, the safer your accounts will be.

Password security needs to be top of mind for consumers who entrust their personal information with their online accounts and devices. Whether you’re creating a new account online, or trying to remember your password on a site, keep these password security tips in mind to ensure your personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

To learn more about how World Synergy can help keep you and your business protected from outside threats and hacks, contact Steve Krisfalusy at 440.349.4940 x691.

Cut Through the Noise: 7 Steps to an Effective Email Campaign

By 2019, there is expected to be a total of 246 billion emails sent and received per day (Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019). The average business person sends and receives approximately 120 emails per day, and for any business executive, finding the time to keep up with emails can be challenging – and while important, a huge time suck.

The noise of email marketing is overwhelming in today’s marketplace. A one-time email effort is no longer effective, and if your email manages to avoid the recipients clutter or spam folder, the headline needs to be catchy and relevant in order to even consider being opened.

What can be done to cut through all of the email marketing noise, in order to stand out in your recipient’s inbox? Here are some things to keep in mind while creating your next email campaign:

1. Email Campaign Planning. Having a well thought out plan will aid in the execution and follow up of any email marketing campaign.

  1. Identify your target audience. Who is your campaign targeting? Understanding your audience and their needs will help you create and deliver a relevant campaign that will likely engage your audience.
  2. Identify your objectives and goals. What is the purpose of these email efforts? Create awareness, drive more traffic, generate leads or sales, or improve customer relations? Defining and understanding your objectives and goals will help you in tailoring a campaign that is attractive to your target audience.

2. Personalization and Relevancy. Use the information you gathered from your target audience to create a personalized and relevant campaign. Develop special offers for certain audiences, write compelling text for other audiences, or focus on certain areas of interests at the right time to drive success with your campaigns.

3. Catch The Subject Line. The email subject is the first impression the recipient has to want to engage with your email. If they are not interested in the subject line – chances are they won’t take the time to open the email. The subject line should be catchy, relevant to the content, and give recipients a reason to want to open the email in the first place. Using the keywords ‘Free’ can trigger spam filters and deliver your message to the black hole of ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk Mail’ folders where they may never see the light of day.

4. Include Call to Actions. What are they? Where are they? Make sure your calls to action are prominent, and if possible, try to have more than one. These calls to action should include a contact email or phone number, or drive to a landing page that is relevant to the text in the email. When creating a landing page keep in mind your objectives and goals that were determined when creating this email campaign in the first place.

5. Test, test, TEST! As the saying goes, you only have on first impression. Make sure your email campaign is tested for. Test the email yourself as well as other people to ensure the email works, there are no typos, and all links click through to the correct landing pages.

6. Monitor and Measure Results. Understanding your results for a specific campaign can only help shape your next campaigns. By studying and analyzing your email campaign performance, you can use the insight to better improve for the next email.

7. Maintain a Clean and Relevant List. Keep your list accurate and up to date by making sure you have a scrubbed list. Having a list that has accurate names and titles will only ensure the effectiveness and success of a campaign.

By putting together an effective email campaign, your organization can begin to cut through the noise and use email campaigning as a piece to your overall marketing strategy.

For more information on how World Synergy can help your business grow with email campaigns, contact us or give Rob Andrews a call at 440-349-4940 x690.

5 Quick Online Safety and Privacy Tips

February 7th, 2017 marks National Safer Internet Day.

What better way to support the safe and positive use of digital technology than by brushing up on some online safety and privacy tips?

We have 5 easy things you can do to keep yourself, and your organization, safer on the internet:

1. Store your data offsite by considering cloud computing. The cloud will keep your data safe against all threats and costs that come with the risk of in-house storage, such as server meltdown or building damage.

2. Update your passwords frequently. Use a strong mix of letters, symbols, and numbers, and don’t use the same password across multiple platforms.

3. Never click on questionable links. If you come across a link or attachment in an unsolicited email or SMS, delete it immediately.

4. When on a mobile device, make sure your connection is securedYou can check to make sure your browsing securely by looking at the beginning of the URL; if “https://” is included – your connected to a secure network.

5. Add Firewall & Security Scanning to your hosted website. Keep up with security protection and website scanning with proactive protection to detect Layer 7 DDoS attacks, malicious attempts for access, and malware removal.

For company owners, another tip to keep your organization safe is to make sure your employees understand your Internet Policy. The more your employees are educated on the sensitivity of company information on laptops, phones and other devices, the more you’ll have a way of controlling and safeguarding that information.

For more information on how World Synergy can help keep you and your organization safe, contact us or give us a call at 440.349.4940.

Cost of IT Operation in a Small to Mid-Sized Business

Is your organization in a crunch for time, money, or resources?

Chances are, you are not paying close enough attention to supporting your IT systems. Maintaining a proactive and healthy IT support and services program helps your business leverage technology to run more efficiently and gives you the time to focus on what is important to growing your business – your customers, products, and well-being of employees.

What are the benefits of outsourcing your IT support in a small to mid-sized business?

We have a breakdown:

(Download here)

IT Infographic WS

Outsourced IT

 

For more information on how World Synergy can provide outsourced IT support for your small to mid-sized business, contact Joanna Zinna at (440) 479-9818

Have You Ever Wondered WHY We Split A Wishbone?

The term “tradition” is a familiar yet thought-provoking word. Traditions are often something that people associate with others – whether it’s their friends or family, coworkers or peers. They bond groups together and provide a purpose for acting in a certain manner year over year.

If you think of the traditions that you participate in, have you ever considered the reasons behind WHY you hold on to such traditions, or WHY those traditions exist?

As the winter months draw near, the presence of holiday traditions becomes more and more abundant. While traditions may vary based on the culture of your surroundings, one that stands out as being a universal – yet a more modern American – tradition is the breaking of the wishbone at Thanksgiving.

The wishbone, otherwise known as the furcula of a turkey, is a bone that connects the birds head with its neck; similar to a human’s collarbone. The tradition holds that two people hold on to the turkey’s wishbone, make a wish, and then pull until it breaks; ultimately the person left with the larger half will have their wish come true.

The custom of snapping a turkey’s furcula into two came to the United States from the English, who got it from the Romans, who learned about the tradition from the ancient Italian civilization called the Etruscans. The Etruscans held a belief that turkeys were lucky and could predict the future, and would rely on them to interpret or solve pressing issues. When a turkey was killed, the furcula was laid out in the sun to dry so that it could be preserved and so people would still have access to the bird’s powers after eating it. After it dried out, people would pick up the bone, stroke it, and make a wish on it – hence why it’s modern name is the “wishbone.”

Legend holds that the reason behind snapping the wishbone into two began with the Romans and problems with supply and demand. There weren’t enough Turkeys to go around for everyone to make a wish on, so two people would wish on the same bone and then break it so that they could each keep a piece of their wish. The tradition then further twisted into who got the bigger piece, also got their wish.

 

What Are You Thankful For This Season?

The Holidays are right around the corner, and World Synergy is giving you something to be thankful for this season: peace of mind when it comes to protecting your network security.

According to a study presented at the International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, small-business networks are attacked every 39 seconds by some type of hacker or malicious software.

This should scare you – no matter how small or large your business is. As hackers continue to battle to take over your network, you can’t afford to fight alone.

So what can you do this season to better protect your business? We have one answer: work with us. By working with our team of IT professionals, we put your security first and provide you with the following “techie” reasons that you can be thankful this holiday season:

You can say goodbye to cyber thieves.  Make sure your networks are covered to stop hackers from accessing valuable information. Having the proper firewall and office network security tools will prevent cyber hackers from getting their hands on your network.

You can put downtime in the past. Hot fixes, patches, and security updates are items that when maintained, generally keep a network healthy and up and running. Cloud based remote management tools allow us to access your system from anywhere, meaning should downtime occur, we can get your network back up and running in no time.

You can be confident in your network backup plan. If a disaster occurs, your business is at risk for being down for days if not weeks. Implementing a backup and disaster recovery solution can help prevent this risk as they virtually copy what is stored on your computers on a daily basis and store the information elsewhere. If you need to access what you thought was lost, we can simply restore what was most recently backed up – and you are back in business.

Want to feel thankful instead of frustrated with your computers this season? Claim your FREE Network Audit with World Synergy before November 30th, 2016 and we will send one of our Network Engineers to your office with no cost or future obligation.

Is Your Computer Network Ready for an Upgrade?

As technological advances continue to shape the world around us, your business needs to continue to keep up. In order to effectively keep up, you need to plan ahead and take notice of the trends that are occurring in the present or are soon-to-occur in the future, so you can have a plan in place before it’s too late – and your left falling behind.

What is your organization’s plan for keeping up with technology changes over the next 6-12 months? As cloud computing becomes an increasingly popular – and nearly mandatory – practice for keeping your network security safe and protected, you should begin by implementing a plan for upgrading your office computer network.

The idea of upgrading your computer network may seem like a strenuous, costly, and complex process – but it doesn’t need to be.

By utilizing smart, efficient cloud computing technologies, we simplify IT for your company, and eliminate the need to purchase, install, and maintain complex and expensive IT systems in house.

In fact, we typically lower our clients IT upgrade and maintenance costs by 25% while simultaneously:

  • Eliminating or reducing system crashes, viruses, slowness, and other technical problems.
  • Providing instant disaster recovery, meaning you’ll never lose data due to a data-erasing disaster.
  • Delivering the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere at any time, from any device.

Begin preparing your organization for a better future by working with us. At no cost or obligation, we’ll come to your office and conduct a thorough review of your computer network, backups and technologies. From there, we’ll show you a simple, cost-effective plan for upgrading your network to the cloud versus the traditional on-premise server and network you currently have.

Claim your FREE Cloud Readiness Assessment with World Synergy today.

World Synergy Announces Move To Beachwood: Crain’s Cleveland Interview

World Synergy was recently featured in Crain’s Cleveland Business on October 26th, 2016. 

Read the original article below:

World Synergy lands what it’s looking for in Beachwood move

World Synergy LLC, an integrated marketing firm, couldn’t find the new office space it wanted to stay in Solon, so it’s bound for Beachwood after finding the right combination of office space and incentives.

The 24-person company has received an incentive agreement from the city of Beachwood providing it the ability to receive a check annually from the suburb equal to 30% of the city income tax paid by its employees. The incentive would be in place for three years. The firm’s application said it plans to expand its payroll with another 22 jobs over the next three years, which would take its payroll to $2.85 million annually from $1.6 million in 2015, the first full year it’s scheduled to be in Beachwood.

Glenn Smith, founder and CEO of World Synergy, said the company needs room to grow.

“We’re literally sitting on each other’s desks here,” Smith said in a phone interview. Over the past 11 years, the firm grew to its current size in a 3,000-square-foot office at 6830 Cochran Road. The 5,500 square feet that it has agreed to take at 3700 Park East Drive, which is known by its address, will give the firm room to expand and accommodate additional hires it forecasts making, Smith said. Moreover, owners of 3700 Park East, an affiliate of Beachwood-based ORG Portfolio Management, agreed to make additional space available if the company needs it.

World Synergy had its tenant rep, the Cleveland office of Avison Young, scour the market for opportunities before it settled on the Beachwood location, Smith said. The company ruled out a move to downtown Cleveland because it did not want to burden its employees with additional drive times, Smith said, and “not a lot of our clients are downtown, although it was an exciting idea.”

Smith founded World Synergy 18 years ago with the idea of combining both web, and later mobile, technology services with other more traditional marketing services so clients did not need to hire multiple vendors.

“Then it was like a boxing match between the right brain and left brain,” Smith said of the idea of combining programming capabilities with more traditional marketing skills such as email marketing. “Once they began communicating, it was refreshing.”

World Synergy has forecast its gross sales at $3 million in 2016, a 27% increase from last year. Its clients are primarily middle market companies in manufacturing, distribution and professional services.

When World Synergy settles into Park East this December, it will occupy space on the building’s third floor that was formerly occupied by Brandmuscle, a technology services firm that outgrew the space to move downtown.

“There’s a good vibe there,” Smith said.

Edward Schwartz, an ORG principal, confirmed the owners of the building are doing a deal with World Synergy.

5 Easy Things You Should Do To Protect Your Business Today

What have you done to protect your business this month?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, so we’ve decided to celebrate by offering a FREE 60-minute “Protect My Business” consultation. We will send one of our Senior Network Engineers to your office to help you address a checklist of questions that you should be considering to help keep your organization stay safe from a technology disaster:

  1. Is your general liability insurance up to date? Review your business insurance and make sure it covers all of the assets you’ve accumulated in your office over the years. Computer equipment and devices, desks, chairs, art, supplies – the list goes on. It’s important to take the time to review your general liability insurance and update your coverage because should damage occur, you will need something to rely on to help pay the cost.
  2. Is your company well-equipped enough to take advantage of a move to the cloud? Store your data offsite by considering cloud computing. Keep your valuable data and assets in a highly secure, highly available data center with failover and redundancy built into it. The cloud will keep your data safe against all threats and costs that come with the risk of in-house storage, such as server meltdown or building damage.
  3. Is your data secure enough to be protected from theft? If you keep any sensitive information on laptops, phones and other devices, make sure you have a legitimate way of controlling and safeguarding that information. Theft is ever-present in today’s advanced world – and is an entity of its own that you do not want to encounter.
  4. Have you developed a simple disaster recovery plan? Help to ease the stress of an already stressful situation by making your recovery plan as simple, but efficient, as possible. ‘Simple’ is the key word here – because if it becomes too complicated, you will have a hard time implementing it should you ever need to.
  5. Do your employees understand your organizations internet policy? As more and more time is spent on the internet, it is extremely important that your employees know where the line is and what information they can and can’t post online. Make sure you internet policy is up to date and recognized by the employees of your organization.

Schedule your FREE 60-minute consultation today at worldsynergy.com/protectmybusiness or call us at 440.479.9818.