The Benefits of Excel

Excel has all the data analysis tools you’ll ever need. It’s ideal if you know all about these tools, you can focus on the fun stuff while getting Excel to do the heavy lifting. The problem is what if you’re not an Excel expert? Don’t worry. Recommended training specialists provide Excel courses which offer everything you need to know about data analysis.

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Check out online Excel guides which explain how all the functions work. There are plenty of online SEO tools for Excel examples to follow as well as links to more useful technical articles. There’s also an appendix which contains:-

  1. A beginner’s guide to error checking

  2. A list of Excel short cuts that you can use day by day

There is a wide range of Excel functions so you can benefit from this type of data analysis tool.

Find out more about Excel

To find out more about Excel, click on different chapters provided by online training agencies like:-

  • Working with tables of data

  • Working with text and URL strings

  • Working with dates and days

  • Dealing with errors

  • 17 Excel shortcuts you’ll use every day

Great Excel resources

One thing’s for sure, no guideline would be complete without information regarding Excel’s use as an SEO tool. There is a widely used add-in designed specifically for SEOs that speeds up a lot of SEO tasks. This particular kind of add-in is also capable of crawling websites and providing the information directly onto a spreadsheet. Excel is available in basic versions which can also save you a huge amount of time.

Get the tools you need to make the most out of your data

Excel can provide your business with the tools it needs to make the most out of your data. When it comes to making the most of resources and maximising a return on investment, Excel ticks all right boxes. By using Excel, many firms are collecting even greater volumes of data from multiple sources which include:-

  1. In-store transactions

  2. Online sales

  3. Social media

It’s important for any company however large or small, to be able to collate and analyse information quickly. Excel spreadsheets are now commonly used across businesses to display financial information along with other data relevant to the running of the business. Excel provides information about:-

  1. Customer relationship management

  2. Sales

  3. Marketing or HR

With so many business functions now relying on IT and the internet, Excel continues to be seen as a vital tool for administration.

Cost-effective training courses

Hands-on instructors provide the very best in cost-effective Excel training courses. Dedicated trainers are passionate about helping delegates achieve their full potential. Classes are small so you will receive training in a relaxed and highly supportive learning environment.

Professional trainers have many years of experience working within commerce and industry, designing as well as delivering training programmes for multi-nationals, SMEs and private firms. Get in touch with online training specialists about Excel courses soon.

Advantages of Getting ISDN Phone Plans for Your Company

For businesses, there are often only two choices for landline: PSTN and ISDN. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing which of the two you should get depends on the state of your business. In a nutshell, PSTN phone plans are for smaller companies and supply only one phone line using a single number. ISDN phone plans on the other hand allow multiple channel transfer per line and is suitable for medium to large companies.


PSTN, short for Public Switched Telephone Network, is traditionally used by companies which are fairly new as it is a cheaper option if you are only getting one or two phone lines. With a PSTN phone system, the line could only be used for one purpose, thus if you are receiving a call you would not be able to use it to transfer data and vice versa. PSTN also have a much lower bandwidth than ISDN, thus data transfer is slower in the former.

ISDN, or Integrated Services Digital Network, uses digital lines as opposed to PSTN’s analog lines, thus enables you to use one telephone line to carry both voice and data. Larger companies tend to use this phone system as it is way cheaper to get a multiple line ISDN network than a PSTN network with the same number of lines. It is also preferred because it has a much greater bandwidth, thus making them suitable for businesses which needs faster data transfer and reliable video conferencing. In an office with 20 employees where half uses the phone line, you would need 20 PSTN lines as compared to 10 ISDN lines, making an ISDN network much more cost-effective than a PSTN network. Here are the advantages of getting an ISDN phone plan for your company:

Faster Data Transfer

Any ISDN line is at least twice faster than PSTN phone line due to the fact that the former provides two channels for transferring data. This makes transferring important information across the network faster and more reliable.

Multiple Line Functionality

With an ISDN network, each digital line is capable of transferring multiple data simultaneously. Traditional PSTN networks only allow one transfer at a time, making it inefficient for your business. An ISDN network allows your employees to take calls and transfer customer information in one line at the same time, allowing you and your employees to be more productive, reliable, and efficient with their task.

Less Data Interference

Since data is transferred through a digital line, it is affected by less to none interference. Traditional analog lines are highly susceptible to outside interference, thus affecting their efficiency. With an ISDN phone network, you get clearer voice calls and faster data transfers.

If your company is beginning to grow, switching to ISDN phone plans might be better for your business. This will not only help boosts your company’s current performance but also help it grow. With ISDN phone plans usually upgradeable, rest assured that when a time comes for another upgrade, you have room for growth.

The Evolving Technology for the Legal Industry

For years, lawyers, legal professionals, and technology vendors have been finding better ways to improve the way modern legal firms utilize technology. Early in 2014, the legal technology market has seen an increased importance of cloud computing, a heightened need of paperless business, as well as widespread use of mobile platforms.

This article highlights some of the digital tools used and how they reflect the growing trend in the legal industry. Law firms who leverage on cutting-edge technology gains an edge over their competitors.


The ongoing surge in legal technology

In 2012, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates passed an amendment proposed by the ABA’s Ethics Commission, which aims to redefine “competence” as it pertains to grounds of legal malpractice.

The definition goes: “To keep the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should be updated regarding the changes in the law and its practice, including the advantages and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in steady education and study, comply with all continuing legal education prerequisites to which the lawyer is subject.” If a lawyer wants to avoid lawsuits directed at themselves, then it’s required to keep updated about all relevant technology.

Marketing: Online customer service

In our current digital age, a law firm needs to allocate a big portion of their marketing efforts to online marketing, or more specifically, to online customer service. A firm need to affirm their authority by giving outstanding customer service. When he does, the firm will be able to solidify the lawyer-client relationship in ways a non-tech savvy firm can.

Daily operations: Using the cloud

The top law firms use cloud computing – it’s that simple. When it comes to online business and cloud computing in general, law firms need to be careful to secure client data as well as avoid crossing any legal lines. Cloud computing is so reliable that the ABA provides a comprehensive list of “Popular Cloud Computing Services for Lawyers”.

Legal Research: Automation

Automatic legal research is a huge importance to most tech-savvy law firms. Based on an article of CNN Money, “Lawyers markup important information in a subset of documents and forward that to a computer program that they can be used for legal proceedings and further research later on”. Automated processes like this allows a law firm to accomplish legal work in much less time with lesser hands on the case.

Mobile Technology: Legal Industry Apps

Mobile devices are undoubtedly the norm these days. It’s a powerful tool that any law firm can apply in their dealings. When a lawyer goes to a trial, knowledge of a particular case (client or suspect) will amplify the evidence on a case. One good example of mobile technology lawyers can readily utilize is verification of identity.

InfoTrack’s IDfy, for instance, allows a legal firm, specifically a lawyer to verify the identity of clients for conveyancing transactions. IDfy lets lawyers take pictures of their client and their identification documents in order to satisfy VOI regulations. IDfy’s intuitive system understands the VOI category requirements and guides lawyers through simple steps to ensure a standardized and compliant VOI process within their office.

So, what’s next for your law firm? Technology is everywhere, but by using the most advantageous tools you can make a name or retain your firm on top.

How to Hire a Web Hosting Company for Online Business

One of the key issues that needs to be addressed before your online business can go live concerns the company that will be responsible for your web hosting. This is a decision you should not make lightly. Doing business with the wrong web hosting company has destroyed many new businesses in the past. You need to make sure that your business is not added to that list. There are certainly many web hosting companies to choose from these days. So how can you tell the good ones from the bad? Here are some tips to use when you are going to be hiring a web hosting company for your online business.


1. Limit your amount of downtime

You will obviously not be able to make any money if your site is offline. This means that you need to affiliate yourself with a web hosting company that has a reputation for being very dependable. There are ways to go about finding out this information. The first thing you should do is talk to the current and former clients of any web hosting company you are thinking about using. Are they happy with the service they have received? Would they recommend that you use the same company to host your online business site? You will be able to tell if the company is good or bad based on the answers they give you. You should also do a simple Google search to see if there are any stories about the company going offline for an extended period of time. 

2. Customer service

You are paying the web hosting company a fee. Therefore, it is not unreasonable for you to expect a high level of customer service for the money you are spending. You should look for a web hosting company that will send somebody out to your house or place of business as soon as you inform them of a problem. Every minute you are offline is costing you money. Therefore, their goal should be to get you back online as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with some of these companies. They act like they are being inconvenienced if you require their assistance. You should avoid dealing with a web hosting company that does not appreciate the business you are giving them. You can go to to learn more about ecommerce web hosting services and marketing.

3. Contract

There are web hosting companies that require you to sign a contract. These contracts can actually be advantageous to the business owner because the rates will be significantly reduced from what you would be paying without a contract. However, some people are uncomfortable being under any sort of contract. They want the freedom to switch web hosting companies at any time without the threat of paying a large early termination fee. This decision basically comes down to personal preference and what you feel is right for your business. There is no right or wrong answer. However, think about this decision carefully. 

How Photo Sharing Is Changing The Face of Mobile Email

You probably shared a photo or two in the last 24 hours. If you’re like any normal power user, you’ve got a lot of different options to do that. For mobile email users, this hasn’t always been the most simple process.

The development team at that work on the myMail app have introduced to their very large userbase a significantly easier way to send and forward photos. They took apart their existing mail app workflow and changed it into a much easier, faster process.

A Time Centric User Interface Brought To Emailing Photos

When you think about what you don’t like about it, it’s probably got something to do with including data other than the body of the message. Attachments, whether from your computer or from someone else’s email, are easily disorganized inside an email app.

So, when the guy’s at myMail sat down, they wanted to think of a way to completely solve this frustration. The first thing they did was sit down and develop a baseline for how the most popular email apps send photos.

Apple’s native email client takes 18 taps to attach 3 photos, Gmail’s mobile email app takes 15 taps to attach 3 photos. Not something you should be wasting time on, right?

People will start leaving an app that takes 18 taps to do something simple.

With an overall focus on saving time, the myMail got their app down to 5 taps to include photos in the app. They did that through a deep dive into what steps they could take out, and using new iterations on the staff.

Here’s the major things that made a difference:

  • Understanding the user-interface
  • Adding autosuggestion features
  • Compressing images before sending
  • Specific experience design updates
  • In email preview images added
  • Larger icons

And here’s how the preview looks now.

Market Implications & Resurgence Of ‘New Email”

Email has seen a recent surge of user acquisition and is actually beating social media acquisition overall, and specifically with mobile apps, the trend is now moving away from native apps.

Third party apps are acquiring a lot of clients because of the ability to be agile with different mail services, include a better scheduling interface and be social with files easily.

This new email style looks a lot more like chat, along with all of the features of business user needs.

Between these and other third party apps that approach scheduling, chatting, and calendars, email is changing as we know it. The good news is, developers are starting to design based on our ever-moving work lifestyles.

Email is Still The Primary Way People Share Information

As a related, but influenced, industry, let’s take email marketing as the example. Because of segments in security, age differences, territory, million of people share photos via email, and mobile clients will start losing userbase if it’s difficult to do.

How Email Will Change In The Future

Since everything in technologies history points to being more pervasive, seamless and quick, email will be the same. Think hardware and software here. In areas of our lives that we can interact, we should be able to.

It will become more wearable and built in. It’s on your wrist already, but where else could it go? Dermal displays or cochlear implants? Probably so.

There will also be an advancement of Natural Language Processing where the spoken word and written word will come together to make composing something even more simple. Thoughts on paper. Whoever helps us speed this process up will win in the biggest user base and will see other implications of social impact.

Email as we know it may look totally different, with a more widespread focus on communication as a whole, and time saving areas like:

  1. Finding documents
  2. Discovery areas
  3. Conversation initiation
  4. Consumption

Doing this will user in other players, much like how myMail has tackled letting its customer base use any mail box they want, and still processing their interface with the myMail brand.

For now, updates like shorter task solutions, like this one from myMail, start rolling the future out. For now, we’ve got a much easier way to send business and social photos.

New Statistics Released by Nexus Show the State of the Cloud

Exeter-based company Nexus, which also provides Cloud services, has looked into developments in terms of Cloud usage. They have surveyed over 300 businesses with at least 1,000 employees each in order to create a glimpse into how the Cloud is used. The key finding from the report is the sheer increase in how much Cloud is actually been used.


Nexus, an IT company in Exeter that provides Cloud services, has recently surveyed over 300 large organizations with at least 1,000 employees. They were looking specifically at how the Cloud is currently being used and how much it has grown over the years. The findings were very interesting.

The first element of the study looked at how important the Cloud is to customers today. It was found that:

  • 93% of businesses use infrastructure-as-a-service or are piloting it.
  • 82% of businesses now have a strategy to use the Cloud. In 2014, this was just 74%.

It also came as no surprise that public cloud services are the most popular, even for enterprises. This is also true in terms of workloads. The study showed that:

  • 88% of businesses now use public cloud and 63% use private cloud.
  • 13% run at least 1,000 VMs in the public cloud. 22% run over 1,000 VMs in the private cloud.
  • Businesses expect that the workloads for public clouds will increase soon.

It seems that there is still a lot of opportunity for organizations to adopt the Cloud as well. The study showed that:

  • 68% of respondents have less than 20% of their portfolio on the Cloud.
  • 55% say that their applications are not in the cloud, but could be.

It also seems that businesses’ central IT services, whether in-house or outsourced, are taking the lead in moving to the Cloud:

  • 62% said decisions on how to use the Cloud were made by the IT department.
  • 43% of teams have developed a portal to enable employees to access it, with another 41% planning to develop one.

Two specific features, being DevOps and Docker, were highlighted in particular in the Nexus report:

  • DevOps adoption has reached an average of 66% and some are up to 71%/
  • Puppet and Chef are very popular services, with 24% and 28% of organizations respectively using them.
  • Docker, which is a relative new service, is already being used by 13% of businesses and 35% are planning on signing up.

By far the biggest public Cloud is Amazon Web Services (AWS), although Azure is the big up and comer. AWS is adopted by 57% and Azure by 12%. Azure held just 6% on year ago. Furthermore, Azure is narrowing the gap with a 19% adoption, compared to 50% for AWS. In fifth place, after AWS, Azure, Rackspace and Google, is vCloud Air, with just 7%.

Peter Walker, who lead on the survey for Nexus, stated that:

It will come as no surprise that there is a far greater adoption of internet as a service than what there is for platform as a service, which everybody believed was going to be the next big thing. However, platform as a service (PaaS) is still popular as well, although not among Azure users. Most PaaS users are found with Google users. Internet as a service (IaaS), meanwhile, is being adopted by both Azure and Google and their growth over the past year has been much stronger. We foresee that PaaS will eventually be completely phased out.”

He added:

We are now living in a time period where those make decisions for IT management have a lot more choices available to them. We believe that, soon, the majority of workloads will be running fully in the Cloud.”

Keeping track of productivity in a small business

When you’re running a small business, it’s all too easy to get caught up in managing your finances and keeping up with regulatory obligations, and lose track of what’s most important of all: productivity. If you’re not producing enough, you’re in trouble, and if your production is inefficient, you’re missing out on opportunities for growth. Both these things can be difficult to measure, but with the help of emerging technologies it’s getting easier than ever to ensure you’re in control.


Managing time

Getting a handle on time management is the starting point for maximising your productivity. You can start by walking around your workplace, observing what people are doing at different times of day. Most people are more efficient in the mornings, so shifting important tasks to that time can help in producing clear, focused outcomes. Decision-making tends to be poorer in the afternoon, so this can be a good time for working on simple, repetitive tasks or doing research. Installing software such as Rescue Time can help you keep track of what each individual is doing over the course of the day.

Analysing output

When it comes to measuring productivity, the challenge lies in keeping track of all the separate bits of work your company does. Some of this can be done by asking employees to self-report on task progress or completion in a database or spreadsheet system. As an alternative, and a much more practical option in larger or more diverse businesses, software like Project Partner can be used to identify and integrate outcomes so that you can more easily map overall performance.

Integrating tasks

Rather than spending all your time overseeing work so that you can ensure completed materials move on to the next stage of processing, consider investing in ERP software that can take care of this for you. This makes it much easier to plan employee schedules so that they fit easily around each other and nobody is left doing nothing while waiting for somebody else to complete a task.

Identifying problems

Noise in the workplace is a big problem for some workers, so it’s worth talking to your staff to see if a different office layout might be helpful for them. Simply fitting carpets or adding soft furnishings to the workplace can substantially reduce the amount of noise.

Absences and poor quality work stemming from drug and alcohol misuse can have a significant impact on productivity. Administering the occasional oral fluid lab test is easy to do, minimally intrusive and very effective in encouraging employees to avoid getting into trouble.

Whatever problems your staff may have, it’s always better if they’re confident enough of your support to let you know about them. Taking an interest in your employees as people means you’re much more likely to successfully identify difficulties before they have a serious impact on productivity.

With a combination of technological means and good management, you can ensure that your workplace is running efficiently and your productivity always achieves its potential.

Financial essentials for a tech start-up

For many people, breaking away from the humdrum world of the corporate office into a small start-up company is a dream of freedom. Moreover, the opportunity to work on a personal tech project and make it profitable is also professionally tempting. There are notable success stories of tech start-ups that have hit the big time and earned their founder’s big money. However, that is far from the whole story.


The tech start-up: make money quickly?

Although a tech start-up is popularly seen as a quick way to get rich, that is not often the case. Unless a new product or service is designed, packaged, marketed, and ready to go live, there is lots of work to do before any income starts rolling in. Even if you have few expenses or equipment or materials purchases, there will most likely be concept development time to cover. Furthermore, unless you are a sole proprietor, this will include other people and therefore potentially salaries. Costs add up quickly.

Complications of the tech start-up

A first hurdle for the tech entrepreneur is finding funding to cover the gap between opening a business on paper and commencing trade that generates income. You may have savings to cover this period, but otherwise, seeking finance is likely to be a large part of your work, taking time from the tech side of your new business. Moreover, the initial paperwork of establishing a business format, accounts, and premises cannot be overlooked.

Understanding business finance

Getting to grips with finance is the first order of business for a tech start-up. This background research is best done, if possible, before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. If you understand the framework of business licences, taxation, employment contracts, and accounting before your first day as an entrepreneur, you are already ahead of the many who leap into start-ups without understanding the financial risks.

Getting the right accountant

An excellent starting point is identifying the right financial expertise for your support network. For example, Pocket Accounts stands out. A tech start-up needs support from people who understand how businesses work at a nuts and bolts level. Accounting and taxation, two of the biggest worries of business owners, are specialities at Pocket Accounts, and from day one a company like this can help you along the right financial path.

Simple tips for a business plan

Especially if you need financing, starting up involves a business plan. In writing this, you get to analyse your own situation. Being honest with yourself at this stage saves a lot of worry later on.

The basics can seem simple:

  • Carefully identify costs, overheads, and taxes

  • Evaluate likely income

  • Quantify the gap between goals and reality

  • Explore ways to bridge that gap

The trick, however, is in the detail. This is where you may need to find creative business solutions as well as inventive tech solutions.

In summary: start up, start right

Jumping in and kicking off a tech start-up can be exciting, and many entrepreneurs find success. Many more find themselves in difficulty because they did not examine the financial implications at the outset. By doing your homework and finding a knowledgeable financial partner before making the first steps, you can start out ahead of the game.

Not your ordinary “MacBook killer” contender. Introducing the Surface 4

Many laptops have claimed to be the next “MacBook killer.” None succeeded. So why another contender? You’ve obviously not seen this new wonder from Microsoft.

 Last October 26, Microsoft unveiled a unique tablet with the technology to replace your basic laptop, the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft continuously innovates their product by making it faster, convenient, and with longer battery life than its previous models. Microsoft released Surface Pro 4 before its main competitor the new Apple IPad Pro with Apple’s desktop operating system, the OS X.402617-surface-pro-4

What’s in it to win it.

The Surface Pro 4 is equipped with 128 GB Intel HD Graphics 520, 4 GB Memory (RAM), and 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 6300U for $999 and running on Windows 10 Pro (64 bit) as its operating system. They maintained its design and almost the same as the Surface Pro 3, but this time they made Surface Pro 4’s displays bigger and thinner. It now weighs 771 grams or 1.7 pounds. It is great for frequent travel and work outside the field. You can learn more about the Microsoft Surface 4 at Harvey Norman.

According to, the new Surface Pro 4 is Microsoft’s victory lap.

What’s good

As a totally new feature, the Surface Pro 4 comes with Windows Hello, Microsoft’s new technology for biometric authentication. The Surface Pro 4 fits a bigger screen with a higher resolution into a tad slimmer body than last year’s model. The pen and keyboard cover are also upgraded, and this is one of the first mobile systems shipping with Intel’s newest processors.

What’s bad

I don’t know why they keep doing this, but Microsoft still refuses to take account of the Type Cover keyboard by default, forcing a separate buy. Battery life is a bit better, but still isn’t enough to last you a day with continues usage.

The Bottom Line.

A host of small improvements cements the Surface Pro 4’s position as the best-in-class Windows tablet — so long as you’re prepared to pay extra wad for the required keyboard cover accessory. Now after three generations of pitching a tablet that can replace your laptop with mixed success, they finally made it right this time.

But is it a “MacBook killer?” I dare say NO. But it serves its purpose well.

The Surface Pro line is less about pitching the very concept of the tablet PC with a detachable keyboard to wary shoppers, and more about seeing how far it can go in refining the final product.

Should you buy it?

If you are a previous owner of Surface Pro 3, then you certainly know the advantages of owning a Surface device: it’s razor thin, portable, and very powerful. While you may be quite satisfied with your current laptop, the Surface Pro 4 will make you reconsider because of its very compelling features.

The Surface Pro 4 is a great device hands down. If you want a tablet that can replace your laptop, then there is no question about it; the Surface Pro 4 is the way to go. Try it, why don’t you?

Internet Faxing vs Traditional Faxing

The fax machine has been one of the mainstays of the modern office for decades. This was a great time saver and convenience, allowing businesses and even private individuals the ability to send printed materials from virtually anywhere in the world by simply using a telephone line. Despite this, as technology continues advancing, the traditional fax machine may be giving way online or internet faxing services. Are there any significant advantages of internet faxing versus traditional faxing?  Continue reading “Internet Faxing vs Traditional Faxing”