Archive for ‘February, 2010’

The Best of the Web

Here are some articles and blog postings that have caught my eye over the past 30 days.

How to Achieve ERP Success


Two articles have appeared on ComputerWeekly.com by Ian Anderson that nicely summarize some of our own thoughts and opinions on this subject.
Part 1: The A-Team
Part 2: The Software

A Little Less Conversation
Joel Spolsky writes for Inc. Magazine about how over communication is killing productivity.
Click here to read the article

Reliance on Gut Feel Hinders Business
An Accenture survey shows that businesses are still failing to make the best business decisions because they lack the ability to analyse business data.
Click here to read the article

Social Media | Why Bother?

In my last post I posed the question why bother with blogs and other social media.  The answer in my opinion is pretty straight forward.  The main reasons why companies have websites will be to build a brand, generate leads or generate revenue (through direct sales or advertising).  Our website falls strictly under the banner of a marketing and PR channel.  We are “trying” to build the Conduce brand and demonstrate our expertise, intellectual property and unique selling points through the website content.

Putting it simply Social Media supports these goals.  It can do much more than that though.  Blogs under the same domain contribute to a website’s search engine performance through additional content, keyword rich content and link popularity.  Blog recency, frequency, popularity and content all help in Search Engine Optimisation activity, therefore boosting traffic and getting your message out there.  Links to active external social media pages all help as well.

We’re using a free tool at www.websitegrader.com to score our website for optimisation.  It’s always a case of continual improvement aggregating the sum effect of relatively minute efforts, but our score is heading in the right direction.  I’m also reminded of a friend and ex-colleague who was a much earlier adopter than most to the powers of social media who last year put this post to his Twitter account.

To find out how we can help you with Search Engine Optimisation sign up for our free SEO audit.

Going from Strength to Strength

An IT company based in Nuneaton has gone from strength to strength after quadrupling in size in under a year.  Conduce employed just four people in April 2009 but now employs 20 full time staff and is still growing.  

As well as staff numbers, their expertise has also diversified.  Over the year, the company has amalgamated with other IT specialists to form Conduce Group and customers are now offered IT support, consulting, software services as well as web design, online marketing, print design and branding.

Steve Russell, CEO of Conduce Group, said: “It was obvious that many of our customers were looking for simple solutions; an integrated service which would meet all of their IT and design needs.  

“So, we thought about the people we’d been recommending to customers and approached Dreamscape Design – also based in the Eliot Park Innovation Centre – to see whether they wanted to become part of the Conduce Group of companies.”

Neville Langston, MD at Dreamscape Design continued:  “My business partner, James and I have our roots in Warwickshire – we both studied at Coventry University– and when it came to looking for a partner for the next stage of our growth, it was great to find a fantastic match on our doorstep.”

Steve Russell believes the flexibility of the Warwickshire County Council-owned Eliot Park Innovation Centre played a big part in the company’s growth.        

“We’ve actually won contracts from customers because of the professional atmosphere at the Eliot Park Innovation Centre,” said Steve.  “And we’re also able to offer doorstep IT and web services to the other tenants.

“But one of the biggest advantages was the centre’s flexibility we were able to move our smaller units to one large office easily.  I’ve been involved in a number of business mergers and this one has been the fastest and easiest by far – business was back to normal in only a few hours!”

Click here to download the press release

Welcome

Welcome to the Conduce Group Blog…

We’ve been thinking about doing a blog for some time, but we’ve had it on the back burner for a while.  We had scheduled social media content as part of the third phase of release to our website, but now we’ve done the design and coding the content seems a little more complicated.  The latest releases to the website include a feed from our Twitter page, links to our social media network and some tweaks to our content management system to allow multiple page layout templates.  Take a look at our White Paper and Articles pages to see what I mean.

We’d been holding out on having a presence on Twitter until I cobbled together a social media strategy, but I was finding it difficult to prepare such a document without being completely au fait with the medium… and besides our web design team needed a link to our account so they could set up and test the RSS feed.  So last week I took the plunge and registered us on Twitter and posted my first “tweet”.  I can’t say that I’ve ever been a major social media freak:  I’ve had a Facebook and Flickr account for several years which I set up to keep in touch with family and friends whilst living overseas and I’ve always rated LinkedIn as a clever mash-up of a recruitment / Wiki / contact management tool.  Having said that, I was responsible for blocking pretty much all social media sites on the network at my last job saving the company thousands each year in recovered productivity.  So I’m almost certainly not on Biz Stone’s Christmas card list.

My first impressions of Twitter were shocking!  Bearing in mind I am pretty conversant in HTML, PHP, Transact SQL and French I was shocked that I just couldn’t penetrate the syntax.  Maybe it’s because I’m the wrong side of 30, but the mix of non-alpha-numeric characters and L33t speak had me thrown.  Ben our Support Manager, (who’s got a pierced lip and hair like Russell Brand so he must know what he’s talking about) after taking the Mick for a while put me on the right track by pointing me to a couple of resources and translating some of the jargon.  So now we’re in the twitterverse and being followed.   Linking the Twitter and Facebook pages is the next challenge.   Once I’ve done that and figured out if we have anything interesting to say I’ll go back and write that Social Media Strategy.  We’re also in the Blogosphere as well now.  But why?  Next time I’ll try to explore that question a little.

If you’re looking for a good resource regarding Social Media Best practise I recommend dipping into the Social Media Toolkit on the Inc Magazine website here.