Author: Drew Hendricks

16 Aug


Gadgets That Help Your Home Go Green


As Kermit the Frog often says: “It isn’t easy being green.” But with a little effort and care, there are now a multitude of gadgets in the market today to aid in environmental conservation in the home.

The basic areas of focus should include recycling, composting, water conservation, and gardening. Here’s a handful of examples that will get you started.


Re-using existing materials to create your own gadgetry isn’t as difficult as one might think. Check out your old computers and use some of those antiquated parts instead of junking them. For example, one can create an eco-friendly lighting solution by reusing old circuit boards and energy-saving light bulbs to create a desktop lap.

The 3.5 inch floppy, once a mainstay of portable data storage, can easily be re-used as a notepad, where the front and back covers are constructed from the disks (circa 1980s), recyclable paper is added as the pad, and a binder clip ties it all together.

Also consider recycling PDAs, MP3 players, and other devices so any money earned from the parts goes to worthy causes, which creates a win-win for your home and the charity., for example, will send you prepaid shipping labels, recycle your gadgets, and donate the proceeds to breast cancer charities.


One handy tip for easy composting is to purge your home of plastic bowls and throw all your food scraps into a stainless steel indoor compositor. Compost like a champ by eliminating your vegetable waste, instead of allowing it to be trucked off to the landfill.

Soak finished compost in water to “brew” compost “tea,” a nutrient liquid that can be used for foliar feeding or for watering plants in your garden, back yard, or houseplants.

Water conservation

EnergyStar programs sponsored by the EPA have identified high-performance, water-efficient appliances, fixtures, water systems, and accessories that can reduce your water use in the home and conserve the nation’s water resources.

The WaterSense label, another EPA-sponsored campaign, alerts consumers that products and programs that carry the label meet water efficiency and performance criteria, and will help save water, money, and energy.


While a rain barrel might seem like an “old school” gadget, it is one of the best inexpensive methods to capture mineral and chlorine-free H2O for watering your gardens and lawns. By harnessing a literal gift from the sky, you’ll not only notice a significant dip in water costs, but also a reduction in stormwater runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding.

There are dozens more gadgets for each of the topics mentioned here. Avalon Construction Corp lists some additional options in the blog post titled “Modifications To Make Your Home Green.” Some common-sense tips include “buying only energy efficient appliances,” “purchasing those that don’t take a lot of power to run,” and “using only energy-efficient lighting.”

Matthew Talbot at Avalon says, “When you sit down to make a conservation plan, try to find out where most energy is being used or wasted in your home. Tackle these areas first, figuring out how to optimize your power consumption.”

Filed Under: Earth

09 Aug


Five Technology Innovations Desperately Needed by the Healthcare Industry


Innovations in healthcare industry require huge amount of capital, especially the technological ones. This high capital intensive nature of technological innovations in healthcare works as a resistant for new technology development as well as deployment which must be overcome to satisfy the unmet needs prevailing in the industry.

Following are the top five technology innovations desperately needed by healthcare industry.

Advanced and customized technologies to treat chronic diseases: Healthcare industry needs to develop innovative technologies towards personalized curing processes of various diseases like cancer and diabetes as patients are heterogeneous in nature and response differently to the same treatment process. The life cycle cost of curing a disease has often been over-sighted in healthcare industry due to higher investment cost of the new technologies and processes.

Implanted Sensors and Centralized record: Patients wish for medical treatments which are less costly, effective and less painful. Diagnosis of diseases in initial phases makes the treatment economical and less time consuming. In this regard, a technological innovation in form of sensors which can be implanted in patient’s body would help towards effective monitoring of any symptom. This sensor can also be used to create a centralized record of all information in regard to patients’ diseases, service providers, treatments, etc. which would lead to a more efficient healthcare system.

Diabetes Care: There is a desperate need of innovation for the diabetes patients as the current process of diabetes care proves to be a pain for them. Daily insulin shots and drawing blood is not a very good treatment to be followed but there is no other existing viable option. New technology must be developed to eliminate the use of needles every time on a routine basis for the diabetes patients. There should be some technology to detect the sugar level through the skin without poking the skin with a needle.

Medical Robots: Healthcare industry requires highly skilled personnel to provide the customers with its services. Unavailability or lack of these experts, mainly in rural areas, limits the reach of various new technologies which affects the efficiency of healthcare industry despite of having capability. This challenge can be solved by the idea of medical robots shown in various science fictions. Healthcare industry desperately needs technological innovations towards robotic checkups which would reduce the number of doctors and nurses required for a particular task and would also lead towards higher penetration of healthcare facilities in rural areas.

Innovative Aspirins to counter sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG): The healthcare industry has yet not founded a proper solution for the most severe form of headache associated with sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) causing head and facial pain simultaneously. Aspirins have their presence in the market for a long time but still are not very effective in curing this type of headaches. Significant researches are being done on this part and a new innovative technology is desperately needed. An electronic aspirin to block the SPG signals at the initial stage is being developed which would be a great help for the patients suffering from migraines and excruciating face and head pain.

Laws and regulations limit the innovations in healthcare industry with their various parameters. The innovators are required to show that the innovation do exactly as been claimed and is also cost-effective as compared to the available alternatives. This cost-effective parameter put high pressure on innovators as it is quite hard to compete the existing and proven technologies in cost part with a new innovation which is in initial phase only. Innovators are also supposed to work with insurers before commercializing the product to be assure that the new technology would be eligible for reimbursements.

Despite of the above mentioned obstacles, healthcare industry is working towards new technologies and processes cautiously. MinuteClinic (, a chain of walk-in clinic in retail format, has established network with majority of the health plans and providing services in lesser price and time as compared to other clinics. Midtronic ( is another example who successfully came with a technology innovation. This company manufactures implantable heart pacemakers for the success of which they worked directly with the surgeons to identify problems and right procedures.

Filed Under: Offbeat

09 Aug


How to Use Cloud Apps to Manage Your Website Efficiently


Cloud apps are increasing in popularity, especially when it comes to keeping your business organized. From cleaning up your website to accounting for your work every second of every day, cloud apps are expected to continue to rise in popularity throughout the rest of this year and into the next.

Improving your website

Part of a successful marketing technique is running a killer website. When your website is smooth, efficient and, aesthetically appealing, you’ill receive more visitors. But how do you know if your website is growing in popularity?

You know with Zopim, the cloud app that monitors your website traffic. In addition to keeping you informed of the number of visitors your website attracts, this cloud app also allows you to engage your visitors in conversation when they are on your site. In addition, it enables you to receive feedback from your customers, which helps you to improve areas that are lacking and understand which parts are the most popular.

Google drive

Google drive is a cloud app that allows your employees to share files and business information from anywhere and on any device.

Picture this: You’re in New York City on business and your employees are in San Francisco at the office. When you need a file to show prospective clients, you simply refer to your Google drive app to pull up the file. You can add to and edit your files from your smartphone, tablet, and computers anywhere in the world, and your employees can get at the most up-to-date information.


This is perhaps the coolest cloud app on the market for businesses. With this awesome app, your customers and clients can log on to your website to check for appointment availability and schedule a meeting online.

Additionally, you can add, edit, and delete appointments on your Appointy app from anywhere, on any device that has an Internet connection. Your business will run much more smoothly with this seamless cloud app.

Other solutions

One of the best ways to improve your workflow and your site is to have constant backups. Using a server cluster is the solution to this particular issue. No longer will you find that your operating systems are overwhelmed by having to operate two or more systems at a time. This kind of backup is invaluable to your business, large or small.

Cloud apps are the answer to your business needs. You can clean up your website and make it more user-friendly for both your clients and your employees, increase production, and eliminate the worry of forgetting a file or remembering to make a notation when you are back in the office.

Filed Under: Offbeat

25 Jul


The 5 Small Business Secrets of Inexpensive Shipping


As a small business owner, you are undoubtedly always looking for new ways to maximize the profits of your business by increasing sales and cutting down on expenses. One expense that you may have just accepted as a necessity of a business is the cost of shipping out orders.

Online businesses run into this a lot: shipping to customers, especially those who place orders from overseas, can get incredibly expensive and can even cost more to ship the product than it did to purchase it. This can turn customers away if that expense is on them, or it can rack up bills for your business as you pay for your own shipping.

With the tips below, you can cut the cost of shipping all kinds of item. Watch those savings add up and pass them onto your customers.

The secret to cheap shipping rates

Rather than simply accept outrageous shipping costs for your business and your customers, here are some secrets of the trade that newly established firms and older companies alike can benefit from.

1. Shop around

If you go with the first shipping option that turns up, you’re almost certainly paying too much. All the major shipping companies, like UPS, USPS, and FedEx, explain their services and rates, so there should be no hidden fees or surprises when comparing companies. You can also use tools that compare shipping choices side by side to help you find the cheapest option.

2. Know your products

Whether you do all the shipping yourself or rely on a manufacturer to ship out products, there’s a good chance that there’s a lot of guesswork involved with regard to deciding weight and cost, especially if someone else is handling the shipping. That discrepancy often leave you overpaying for transport.

To avoid this, use more exact tools, like a shipping assistant that helps you determine the cost to ship domestically and internationally, print labels on the spot, and track your shipments yourself. The more control you have over your shipping and the more exact you can be with weight and costs, the more money you’ll save.

3. Come up with a fair shipping policy

Once you have a clear concept of shipping costs, you need to nail down your shipping policy. Businesses that offer free shipping (even for a limited time or on a customer’s first order) are going to have more online sales, but in many cases the shipping costs, even the cheapest options, are a lot for your business to shoulder.

Finding a good middle ground will keep your customers happy and still let you unload some of the expenses on those who place the orders.

4. Let your customers choose

Adding a shipping rates calculator to your checkout process lets prospective customers customize their shipping options and choose the speed and the price that’s best for them. And if you’ve done your research, you should be able to offer the best possible prices to them.

5. Understand the process

If you know the step-by-step process that a package goes through, you’ll start to see other ways to send your shipments off right. For example, knowing the language and process of shipping by freight will help you compare the pros and cons of shipping overseas by boat or by air.

You can even find ways to ship things directly rather than go through a company like UPS or FedEx where you have less control over how your packages are shipped.

Filed Under: Offbeat

05 Jul


Red Bull Hosts the World’s Best StarCraft 2 Players


Last month, eight pro StarCraft II players (yes, there are professional players in gaming) gathered at the Red Bull headquarters in Santa Monica to compete for bragging rights as well as money. The tournament lasted three days, with no less than $8,600 in prize money.

If you’re a gaming enthusiast but not quite up to the professional level, you could have watched the games from the convenience of your own home. The tournament was actually livestreamed on Red Bull’s channel, called Twitch, during the three-day weekend. Of course, since you’re just now reading about it, you probably missed the live feed. Don’t worry, recordings of the game are featured on Red Bull’s YouTube channel as well.

The stages

The tournament lasted for two stages. During the first one, players were separated into two groups. It was during this stage that the players played against one another in a “best two out of three wins” format. The players did not play against the same opponents all the time during this phase of the competition, but faced each other in “round robin” format.

All game play was one-on-one. In other words, no team play occurred during this part of the competition. Players battled against each other in sound-proof booths with intentionally dark lighting. While this went on, the other gamers waited patiently at a table with computer terminals so they could watch the livestream. If they opted to, they could also use PCs provided to hone their StarCrafting skills.

The gamers were friendly competitors. They were all acquainted either personally, from previous events, or from online interactions. In some cases, competing gamers were even members of the same professional gaming team.

What is StarCraft II?

StarCraft II is a real-time strategy game set in a sci-fi, militaristic environment. The idea behind the game, as is the case with many other “God” games, is to allocate resources quickly and efficiently so you can defeat your opponent.

The resources that you allocate can be used in exchange for other resources, or you can use them to build up your military might. The trick is to know how to allocate resources between defensive and economy-growing operations.

The multiplayer space

StarCraft II is very popular in the multiplayer online gaming space. As noted previously, there are professional gamers who have managed to turn StarCraft II into a career. If that’s your interest, be sure you get a good start with online gaming by seeing how you stack up against other, relatively inexperienced players. If you think you might have the knack to make a living out of gaming, then consider taking a serious shot at that dream.

Filed Under: Offbeat

03 Jul


Celebrities Say Goodbye to Natural Hair


It was only a few years ago that Britney infamously shaved her head, but wigs have gone mainstream in La La Land seemingly overnight. How did this happen, who’s behind it, and the biggest question of all: Why didn’t celebrities figure this out eons ago? There was a time when wigs were only used for Halloween, but now they’re revered as one of the easiest ways to change a look and have flawless locks in an instant.

Especially in the younger celebrity set, performers such as Adele and Nicki Minaj are talking candidly about their wig usage. Adele has admitted to naming her wigs. Beyonce reportedly spends in the millions when it comes to her wigs, even though she has a history as a hair products spokesmodel. And of course Lady Gaga depends on wigs to shake up her on a regular basis.

Back in the day, only older actresses wore wigs because, well, they needed them. That’s no longer the case.

Wigs go mainstream

Just like Tina Turner, the use of wigs used to be kept on the down low and only whispered and speculated about (kind of like plastic surgery). However, leaders like Gaga are opening the public conversation, which means fans will surely jump on board soon. Many people don’t even realize some celebs like Adele wear wigs, and she’s certainly not known for being over the top in the primping department. How many other celebs are wig-dependent but not so vocal about it?

The good thing about celebrities being open about wig usage is that it “levels the playing field.” There’s not much they can do about the airbrushing on magazine covers, but by dishing about wigs, it helps younger fans to see that celebrities aren’t perfect.

And there’s a great, safe, and affordable way to mimic their looks. Hair can be the foundation for self-esteem for many people, and the influx of available wigs makes things just a little bit easier.

An easy fix

Some people have self-defined “bad hair” whether it’s thin, prone to split ends, just doesn’t behave, or doesn’t grow anymore at all. The cost of salon shampoos is astronomical, and it’s easy to blow a lot of money trying to get celeb-worthy locks. Extensions are expensive and can lead to alopecia — and of course, they do nothing for hair that’s thin on top. However, with wigs, the answer is easy; and the only downside is feeling a little too hot on those vacations in the tropics.

It’s easier than ever now to look like a celebrity, but what about the prices? Granted, there’s something for every budget, but it’s not necessary to spend a small fortune on a quality wig that looks completely natural. Shop around and see what’s out there. A wig can do wonders your self esteem.

The right wig

Just like finding “the one” for marriage, there’s a “one” wig for you … or maybe a few “ones.” Celebrity wig shopping can be great fun, and there are endless choices to select from. Available in a variety of styles and colors, nobody will be the wiser when you find the right wig. People can change up their looks daily, or stick with a few similar options so that nobody will realize they depend on a little help in the mane department.

The benefits of a wig go well beyond looking and feeling better. It’s also a great time-saver, since most women spend the majority of their “getting ready” time trying to force their hair into submission. There’s no more drying, straightening, curling and spraying. Simply put on the wig and charge out the door.

Filed Under: Offbeat

02 Jul


6 Amazing Side Effects of Going Green


Everyone knows that going green helps the environment and can sometimes lower energy costs. While that should be enough to make anyone adopt a more sustainable life, many other perks aren’t as widely touted. Going green extends beyond Mother Nature and the pocketbook. It can actually benefit nearly every part of your life.

As if a zero energy bill from installing solar panels wasn’t enough, it’s time to consider the further side effects of a green lifestyle. Don’t we all want a better life, especially when it’s a win-win for everyone involved? Here are six amazing side effects to going green that many people may not be aware of.

1. Better spiritual health: the karma effect

Many people in across the world and of all religions (or none at all) believe in some version of karma — basically, what goes around comes around. When you put out positive energy through green choices, you might receive some good karma in return. Even if karma isn’t a tangible relief, belief in it can garner positive energy around you.

2. Better physical health

There’s no end to the physical health benefits of going green, but it depends on which measures you take. For example, choosing a water filter instead of disposable water bottles can help you avoid potentially dangerous BPA. Getting produce from the farmers market instead of the grocery store can help you avoid pesticides (or those periodic disease outbreaks from foreign-grown produce). Your most important long-term asset is your health, so you should protect it.

3. Better mental health

Peace of mind is something everyone deserves, and it’s easier to achieve when you know you’re doing the right thing. Once a person starts thinking about the side effects of not recycling, it’s easy to feel guilty. By being proactive and green, you can more easily attain a clear conscience. Mental health ties directly to physical health too, so this one’s a double whammy.

4. Better emotional health

Similar to mental health, going green can help a person regain control over the downward spiral of the environment. Yes, global warming is getting worse and more flora and fauna are in danger because of over-consumption. However, you can feel better knowing you’re doing your part (however small) to change things. Solid emotional health can positively affect careers, relationships, and self-esteem, so it’s important to keep in check.

5. Leading future generations

“Do as I say, not as I do,” is parental advice that has failed for generations. Children usually follow by example, so showcasing a green lifestyle can set that example for children, grandchildren, and others to do the same. It’s going above and beyond personal responsibility, and helps steer future generations in the right direction. Preparing for the future so that kids can enjoy the earth is one of a parent’s biggest responsibilities.

6. Making an informed voter

Whether it’s a local, state, or national election, there’s usually at least one green-centric issue involved. When you stay up to date on green news and green practices, you can make an informed decision and help friends and loved ones do the same. Don’t depend on campaign ads and speeches to make potentially life-altering decisions. As a citizen, you are responsible for doing your own research to make wise choices.

These are just a few of the examples of how the benefits of going green can extend well beyond what many people believe. Whether it’s teaching children green ways or clearing up some blocked karma, there are endless perks to a more sustainable life.

Filed Under: Offbeat

23 Jun


5 Phones Built for Sharing, Blogging, and Social Media


There’s a good reason more web designers are focusing on responsive design: people are depending on their smartphones for just about everything. Whether it’s sharing a Facebook status, blogging, or re-pinning, smartphones have taken over. Some people are even using them in place of their laptops.

Entire blogs can be written and shared from a mobile device, and it’s important for tech-savvy users to have only the best. Some phones are better for sharing and blogging than others, but how can you narrow down the choices? Are the newest smartphones necessarily the best?

It all depends on how you plan to use the phone and your comfort levels. For instance, some people still prefer to type on an actual keyboard, and touchscreens might not be the best bet for bloggers on the go. Below are five phones that are perfect for heavy users.

1. Samsung Galaxy S4

The latest Android phone has received rave reviews, due to the big five-inch screen and light but sturdy casing. It also features eye-tracking technology, so you only have to tilt your head to scroll down blogs and articles. There are more pixels per inch than any other phone, and it’s incredibly user-friendly, which cuts unnecessary steps to get things done. It’s a fan favorite, and bloggers especially enjoy the ease in reading.

2. Blackberry Q10

If you still aren’t ready to write full blogs with a touchscreen, the Blackberry Q10 features a keyboard for easy typing. It has a smaller screen, but the plus side is that the battery lasts longer than phones with larger screens. There are plenty of apps, web browsing is simple, and it’s being marketed to professionals who need to send longer emails or type reports from their smartphone. There’s less chance of typing “I’m god” and “See you son” when you put your fingertips to the keyboard.

3. Sony Xperia Z

This big, waterproof phone has a five-inch screen, just like the latest Galaxy. Square corners make it easier to grip, and many people think it’s larger than the Galaxy because of the design. If you need a lot of real estate to manage your social media sites, the latest comeback kid from Sony is a sure winner. It’s also incredibly thin and lightweight, which makes it easy to re-pin on the go.

4. Google LG Nexus 4

Users who adore Google have no choice but to go with this Google phone that features an Android platform. It’s all-Google all the time, and people who believe Google+ is the future of social media can take full advantage of it here. Google-direct updates and wireless charging are just a couple of the perks, and though it comes at a high price, for a Google device it’s a great deal.

5. HTC One

The interface of the One lets users put all social media in one place — a must for any social media manager. It’s user-friendly, and the constant consolidated newsfeed is a great time saver. The casing is incredibly sturdy, meaning there’s less chance of damaging it … and getting left out of the latest updates. The new leaked information about the Mini One also has bloggers buzzing.

Many bloggers are on a budget, and shopping for a new smartphone can be stressful. Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest gadget, only to wish for something else in a few months? Comparison shop online since there are some great, reputable sites where the latest phones can be scored on a budget.

Bloggers can also save money by investing in that monthly insurance plan. Wait until the contract is up, or find out when the carrier allows for an upgrade at a discounted price. Unlocked phones are also a possibility, but they can be a gamble, so tread carefully.

Filed Under: Offbeat

22 Jun


6 Ways Young Female Graduates Can Build a Budget Wardrobe


Cultivating a professional wardrobe on a student budget isn’t easy. Once student loan repayments set in, finding extra cash for fashion purchases can be almost impossible.

Instead of opening an expensive line of credit and heading to Neiman Marcus, the aspiring young professional should take a more calculated, grown-up approach. Breaking an outfit into six variable pieces, and mixing and matching elements, is the secret to creating many elegant, tasteful, and business-appropriate outfits.

The following list should guide any young professional’s look to success.

1. Head

Any successful outfit starts with great hair. This is good news and bad news, because hair will be one of the most expensive elements of your outfit — but it will also be one of the most versatile; not to mention the least expensive to change on a daily basis.

So, first thing: get a great hair cut/color. Make sure the cut is long enough to play with, then buy some excellent accessories, gels, curlers, etc. at whatever local pharmacy or beauty store you prefer. Once you’ve made the investment in a quality haircut, and regularly attend to it, the rest is pretty cheap.

Makeup should be addressed next. This can be one of the biggest expenditures for some women, but an up-and-coming professional can’t afford to shop the department store makeup counter. Don’t be afraid to scale back the cost and opt for some Neutrogena or Cover Girl; they’re generally just as good as the pricey stuff, and no one can tell the difference.

Last comes jewelry. Earrings and necklaces will really pull an outfit together. There’s no reason to despair because you can’t afford the latest Tiffany charm bracelet (or even the knock-off). Remember that developing a personal style (one that isn’t wholly dependent on current trends, but unique to your individual tastes) is essential to building a persona and professional brand.

Instead of buying brand-new jewelry, or cheap imitations, try hunting through vintage stores, consignment shops, and antique malls. The items there will be one of a kind, and they won’t break the bank.

2. Torso

Think simple when it comes to your midsection. Touching up a classic cream-colored blouse with a scarf around your neck is much better than owning twelve overpriced shirts in a variety of colors and styles. While a wardrobe should contain an array of clothing broad enough to last two weeks without fully repeating any single outfit, your midsection is one spot where repetitions will be missed if accessories are done correctly.

So find five blouses (in non-cotton blends) that compliment your figure and skin tone, and dress them up. Don’t forget, flowing fabrics are more flattering than stiff ones, and if they don’t require ironing you’ll save a lot of time and energy.

3. Waist

It’s the rare outfit that doesn’t require a belt. Consider buying belts in colors that provide a snappy contrast to the dark and neutral colors of suit pants and skirts, and experiment with sizes and textures. Belts are relatively inexpensive, and can be purchased cheaply without appearing cheap. Consider a variety of widths, and don’t be afraid to put on a belt even if there are no belt loops.

4. Waist down

A mixed selection of slacks (preferably with matching jackets) and skirts are naturally what you’d want to stockpile for this section of the wardrobe, but don’t forget that when seasons change, so should your fabrics.

Try getting by with no less than 3 skirts and 4 slacks for starters. One of each should be made of wool or some heavier material if you live in cooler climates. These are some of the hardest items to find on a budget, but thanks to the Internet, that’s changing.

Web shopping for expensive essentials will drastically reduce your price (sometimes for designer items), and make you look like you’re already a success.

5. Legs

In the summer, nylons will be necessary. Just so there’s no confusion, let’s reiterate: under no circumstances are bare legs professional. Thin nylons in the summer, and thicker nylons or tights in the winter. These are cheap and also tear easily, so keep clear nail polish and a spare set handy (in the car or purse or desk) at all times.

Own at least 10 pair, and match them carefully to your true skin tone.

6. Feet

The second most expensive item in a well-planned professional wardrobe is shoes. Loving shoes is fun, but cutting corners when it comes to shoe expenses can be bad for your health. Don’t buy extremely high heels for professional outfits — two inches should be the maximum, lower if you’re willing — and don’t wear stilettos, even though the pretty television lawyers do.

Find a brand that offers quality and comfort without making you think of Crocs, and dedicate a considerable portion of your wardrobe budget to keeping a selection of these stocked. Remember, black, nude, tan, brown, taupe, navy … these are all colors worth having around. There’s nothing worse than having the perfect outfit, but lacking the shoes to match.

Filed Under: Offbeat

18 Jun


4 Signs It’s Time to Ditch Your Analytics Software


Today, businesses rely on cutting-edge analytical software to retrieve, process, and report on all the various kinds of data they need to make informed decisions. But with a broad array of analytical products available, how can you be sure the data you’re getting is the data you need?

If you suspect you’re not getting all that you could from your software, here’s a few warning signs that’ll confirm that your business analytic software isn’t all it should be.

1. Can’t see the forest for the trees

Business is a numbers game, but some numbers are more useful than others. When it comes to software, the difference involves which data is readily available and which programs will have you searching for hours on end. If you’re constantly finding that your BI software leaves you squinting through existing reports rather than producing specialized ones that immediately tell you what you need to know, something needs to change.

2. Adaptability and agility

Business Intelligence relies on the ability to extract the data you need when you need it, quickly find the most valuable elements of that data, and implement the results of that analysis as soon as possible. That’s the heart of business intelligence. When you’re shopping particular features in a BI program, make sure yours will allow you to make small changes even when the cycles are ongoing. Agile programs ensure that you can process data in the short term and avoid potentially large overruns.

3. Long cycles vs. short cycles

While business operates on the day-to-day basis, most analytic software manufacturers manage to forget this somehow. Long-term assessment is an important aspect of business, of course, but a continuous overview of short-term business cycles is vital. It ensures that you avoid cost overruns and make the best decisions based on up-to-date information, especially in today’s fast-paced market.

Programs like Agile BI, which create shorter cycles that can generate reports every few weeks, rather than on monthly or even annual cycles, go a long way toward helping you keep a watchful eye on costs.

4. Unused features

As the name implies, business intelligence is all about knowing how to collate necessary data in order to make the predictions that keep your projects on time and on budget. While it may seem handy at first to have as much data as possible, most end users of BI software shouldn’t be surprised to learn that a 2009 study found that 64 percent of all BI software features were underused, with 45 percent going unused entirely.

If you’re not using the features, why waste money paying for them?

Filed Under: Offbeat