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A Decade in Software

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

When 2010 rolls in it will mark the end of a decade that truly welcomed internet technology.  Think back to the turn of the millennium  and the software tools that you primarily utilized online:   things sure have changed.  Whether it be the advent of ‘the cloud,’ the rise of mobile devices, or a change in philosophy to ‘simpler is better,’ this decade has truly changed the way that people interact with the internet.

I’d like to take a walk down memory lane and look at internet software at the start of the millennium, and then survey where we are now in three distinct yet intertwined arenas.

Email

Email was one of the original hallmarks of the internet – a simple yet efficient way to demonstrate the power of the web by digitizing the long-standing concept of mail service.

During the last decade, free email services like gmail and yahoo mail have perpetually dominated the arena – providing large amounts of data storage for free to the masses and proving that ‘online only’ applications can be a viable alternative to local email software like MS outlook.

As we head into a new decade, email seems yet again ready to morph, as inboxes are perpetually fill with spam and people clamor for new modes of communication.  Google Wave claims to have an answer, but can it really replace email?

Online Media

The last decade has been a Topsy-Turvy roller coaster for online media – from the tiny startups that became media moguls to the media conglomerates that desperately sought out new models of business.  The year 2000 marked the height of Napster- a new breed of P2P network that allowed people to download pirated MP3 music files.  Since then, illegal networks like Napster have both flourished and fallen, eventually paving the way for legitimate music hubs like itunes.

Online video also has gone on quite a ride, highlighted by the creation of YouTube in 2005.  The viral video boom has not only changed the way that people consume and publish video, but also has disoriented the TV and film industries.

As the decade comes to a close, we are still seeing  industry experimenting with new models of business that can adapt to online video culture. Although some methods of providing free, high quality, syndicated content online (ala Hulu) have garnered popular approval, a stable revenue source still remains elusive.

Business Software

The way that businesses, both small and large, interact with one another and an online consumer base has drastically changed due to various facets of evolving business software technology.

Sales departments can now more efficiently give online presentations through Webinar technology like Dim Dim.   Salesforce has pushed the boundaries of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, allowing companies to improve their communication with customers and sales prospects.  Hiring managers and recruiters can now efficiently track and manage job applicants online through solutions like Newton Software. Paypal has revolutionized online payments, allowing web stores and companies with Software as a Service (SaaS) business models to easily install a revenue stream.

All in all, this past decade of software has enabled tech savvy businesses to perform their functions more efficiently, honing in on niche models that add value for both consumers and other businesses.


The Hiring Slump is Over. Now What?

December 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama’s job stimulus package will target several fronts to create more jobs for Americans, including green incentives to retrofit homes, building energy-efficient infrastructure and providing relief to small businesses across the country.  Between these initiatives and a bevy of other job stimulus strategies, it seems like a surefire plan to get the US job market back on track.

However, once this happens, and there is a surplus of job openings and available talent – then what happens?  For the past year and a half businesses have been in hibernation, attempting to run as lean as possible due to the economic downturn.

Downsizing has been the norm and hiring has definitely become somewhat of a rarity for the majority of US companies. When the job market picks up, and we have a surplus of talent as well as openings, how can businesses best get back on track and manage their resources for the hiring onslaught?

Open Up the Gates

Whether you are a small business that receives help from the stimulus or a larger company that suddenly gets a ton of green contract work; open up the gates to let the talent out there know that you are hiring again.  For the past year and a half you’ve probably let many of your new talent funnels get outdated – whether it be the employment section of your website, or a job board you regularly post to.  Take the time to make sure you are up to date with all the previous resources you utilized, as well as some new tactics that have emerged since you’ve been out of the hiring game.

Hiring Software

One new management resource for hiring that is constantly evolving is hiring software.  Modern day hiring software can make the lives of hiring manager and recruiters within your company far easier.  Not only does hiring software make recruiting simpler, it makes it more efficient.  Whether it is tracking a large number of job applicants, auto posting to job boards, sending out automated thank you letters or keeping up with a variety of statistics, hiring software can pretty much do anything nowadays.

Don’t Overdo It

Learn something from the past two years.  Running trim and slowing down your hiring lets you hone in on the important parts of your business: the cogs that are integral for survival.  Although the lean, mean days are starting to disappear, don’t suddenly jump into needless spending mode.  Get a hold of some statistics to determine what worked and what didn’t and capitalize on this newfound knowledge.