Monthly Archives: May 2013

Seven IT Eras Leading CIOs to Become One of the Key Evangelists to a Social Business Strategy (1/2)

In the last 10 years, the modern CIO has transformed himself into an IT chargé d’affaires (mediator) and a key technological emissary.  He has become one of the key players to the development of any successful social business strategy.  In this two-part series, we will review the seven stages that led IT to transform its traditional door-keeping role into the technological beacon of a social enterprise.  Without further ado, let’s review the last fifty years of IT’s technological maturing and unraveling.
 
1. Main Frame Computing
 
In the mid 70s, my dad and I regularly headed to the wholesale outlet in Orléans (France) to get our grocery supply.  As a teenager, one item particularly fascinated me, the huge IBM tabulating machine in the administration hall. 

An employee would insert the punched-cards into the machine.  Then, this giant would print out an invoice with all the trimmings.  Needless to say, this was in the mid 70s state-of-the-art technology:  the era of mainframe computers (mostly used for transaction processing) roughly covering the late 50s through the 70s.  A computer professional would probably smile at the informal way I associate this device to the mainframe era, but at that time it was an impressive technology only larger businesses could afford.

This IBM machine was known as the “Card-Programmed Electronic Calculators (CPC).  Mainframe computers would soon be followed by mini, micro and personal workstations also known as personal computers.

2. PC Era
 
IBM underestimated the fact that by the mid 90s, personal workstations would usher in Personal Computer that eventually would replace the typewriter.  Some of us probably remember the Commodore PET, the first successfully marketed personal computer introduced in 1977.   
The predecessor to IBM AS/400, System/38 was first made available in August 1979.  It was marketed as a minicomputer for general business and department use.  It was sold alongside three other product lines, each with a different architecture not compatible with each other.  Digital Equipment Corporation used this IBM weakness to expand.  Digital Equipment was acquired by Compaq in 1998 which then merged with Hewlett Packard in 2002.  In the meanwhile Paul Allen and Bill Gates had founded ”Micro-Soft,” the combination of microcomputer and software, which became a US$ 42 billion corporation.  
 
3. Internet era
 
Internet service provider (ISPs) began to emerge in the late 1980s and early 1990s. CompuServe (my first email address) was a service provider founded in 1969.  CompuServe was the first major commercial online service in the United States that became a leading worldwide internet service provider.  In 1998 CompuServe became a subsidiary of America Online Inc. (AOL).  Internet has become a global system of interconnected computer networks to serve billions of users worldwide.  Since its email commercial start, Internet technology has added: instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) with services such as Skype, two ways interactive video calls and finally the World Wide Web including discussions forums, online shopping, blogs and more recently social networks.
 
4. Internet broadband and the World Wide Web era
 
Broadband Internet access or broadband is a high-speed internet access that replaced the awkward dial-up “modus operandi” some of us remember.  Dial-up bit rates varied from 33 to 64 kbit/s and required a telephone line.  Broadband started supplying higher bit rates with the crucial advantage of not disrupting regular phone lines.  It also provides a continuous “always on” connection.  Then came the World Wide Web, a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet.  Broadband supports a much faster World Wide Web browsing experience, faster downloading/uploading of information, video telephony, computing mobility with VPNs (virtual private networks) and online gaming experience. 
 
Next week, we will post the second half of this two-part series with the last three reasons why IT should become the technological beacon of a social enterprise 2.0 transformation.  In the meanwhile I wish you a very pleasant rest and a wonderful weekend. 
 
Please follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+
http://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski
http://Linkedin.com/in/BrunoGebarski
http://http://bitly.com/BrunoGebarski
Advertisements

Four Steps to Trojan Horse Back Door Generic PC Clean-up

This material has been so helpful to me that I thought I would share it with my readers and make a blog post out of it: I hope it helps you as much as it helps me on an ongoing basis
 
Here is a series of free PC-tools you can use to clean up your system from unwanted files:
 
1. MiniToolBox
 
Please, download MiniToolBox, save it to your desktop and run it. 
Check mark the following check-boxes: 
– Flush DNS 
– Report IE Proxy Settings 
– Reset IE Proxy Settings 
– Report FF Proxy Settings 
– Reset FF Proxy Settings 
– List content of Hosts 
– List IP configuration 
– List Winsock Entries 
– List last 10 Event Viewer log 
– List Installed Programs 
– List Users, Partitions and Memory size.
Note: When using “Reset FF Proxy Settings” option Firefox should be closed.

2. TDSSKiller.zip

Please download TDSSKiller.zip and extract it.
– Run TDSSKiller.exe.
– Click on Change Parameters 
– Put a check in the box of Detect TDLFS file system
– Click Start scan.
– When it is finished the utility outputs a list of detected objects with description.
– The utility automatically selects an action (Cure or Delete) for malicious objects.
– The utility prompts the user to select an action to apply to suspicious objects (Skip, by default).
– Leave the options as it is and click Continue
– Reboot if needed.  Note: By default, the utility outputs the log into system disk (it is usually the disk with installed operating system, C:\) root folder. The Log has a name like: TDSSKiller.Version_Date_Time_log.txt.
3.  SUPERAntiSpyware Free
 
Next run Superantisypware (SAS): 
Please download and scan with SUPERAntiSpyware Free
– Double-click SUPERAntiSypware.exe and use the default settings for installation.
(For instructions with screenshots, please refer to the How to use SUPERAntiSpyware to scan and remove malware from your computer Guide).
– An icon will be created on your desktop. Double-click that icon to launch the program.
– If it will not start, go to Start > All Programs > SUPERAntiSpyware and click on Alternate Start.
– If asked to update the program definitions, click “Yes“. If not, update the definitions before scanning by selecting “Check for Updates“. (If you meet any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here. Double-click on the hyperlink for Download Installer and save SASDEFINITIONS.EXE to your desktop. Then double-click on SASDEFINITIONS.EXE to install the definitions.)
– In the Main Menu, click the Preferences… button.
– Click the “General and Startup” tab, and under Start-up Options, make sure “Start SUPERAntiSpyware when Windows starts” box is unchecked.
– Click the “Scanning Control” tab, and under Scanner Options, make sure the following are checked (leave all other options as they are set):
– Close browsers before scanning.
– Scan for tracking cookies.
– Terminate memory threats before quarantining.
– Click the “Close” button to leave the Control Center screen.
 
– Back on the main screen, under “Select Scan Type” check the box for Complete Scan.
– If your computer is badly infected, be sure to check the box next to Enable Rescue Scan (Highly Infected Systems ONLY).
– Click the Scan your computer… button.
– After the scan is complete, a Scan Summary box will appear with potentially harmful items that were detected. Click “OK“.
– Make sure everything has a checkmark next to it and click “Next“.
– A notification will appear that “Quarantine and Removal is Complete“. Click “OK” and then click the “Finish” button to return to the main menu.
– If asked if you want to reboot, click “Yes” and reboot normally.
– To retrieve the scan log after reboot, launch SUPERAntiSpyware again.
– Click the View Scan Logs button at the bottom. 
– This will open the Scanner Logs Window.
– Click on the log to highlight it and then click on View Selected Log to open it.
Some types of malware will disable security tools. If SUPERAntiSpyware will not install, please refer to these instructions for using the SUPERAntiSpyware Installer. If SUPERAntiSpyware is already installed but will not run, then follow the instructions for using RUNSAS.EXE to launch the program.

4.  EST

Finally run ESET online version:
Hold down control and click on the following link to open ESET OnlineScan in a new window.
ESET OnlineScan
– Click on the “ESET Online Scanner” button
– For alternate browsers only: Microsoft Internet Explorer users can skip these steps:
a) Click on “esetsmartinstaller_enu.exe” to download the ESET Smart Installer.  Save it to your desktop.
b) Double click on the esetsmartinstaller_enu icon on your desktop.
– Check: Yes, I accept the Terms of Use
– Click the  start button
– Accept any security warnings from your browser
– Under scan settings, check  and check Remove found threats 
– Click Advanced settings and select the following:
Scan potentially unwanted applications
Scan for potentially unsafe applications
Enable Anti-Stealth technology
 
– ESET will then download updates for itself, install itself, and begin scanning your computer. Please be patient as this can take some time.
– When the scan completes, push “List of found threats” and proceed as you wish.
NOTE: In some instances if no malware is found there will be no log produced. 
 
Please follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+
http://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski
http://Linkedin.com/in/BrunoGebarski
http://http://bitly.com/BrunoGebarski

10 Ways for Small and Medium Business to Establish a Social Business Strategy (2/2)

Our world is getting more complex every day.  Technology evolves at a speed that is hardly possible to keep up with.  In Part one, we reviewed the first five ways SMBs can set up a solid social business strategy:
1. Regularly review and refine your company mission, values and goals
2. Keep transforming your content marketing into convenience marketing
3. To blog or not to blog
4. Transform your website into a social hub and its visitors into co-creators
5. Carefully choose your social platforms
 
So here are the five last ways SMBs can establish a solid foundation for a social business:
 
6.  Reinforce and share your company vision
 
Share your company vision to employees, suppliers, customers and prospects on your company website.  Communicate your company vision on all your social networks. Reinforce your core values to customers, suppliers, prospects and anyone your business is coming in contact with.  I can guarantee you that it will be a rewarding experience for both your company and your customers who will better identify your vision and enthusiastically share it with the communities of their choice.  Zappos is well-known for its outstanding company culture and the way CEO Tony Hsieh runs his interviews for both cultural fit and skills requirements. On Zappos’ company blog, Tony publicly shares some of his correspondence for anybody to read: management, co-workers, clients, prospects and suppliers alike.  This is a superb way of spreading company culture while avoiding misunderstandings, promoting transparency and informing everyone.  
 
21st Century World
 
7. Create a dual strategy by combining your brick and mortar shop with a state of the art HTML5 web presence
 
Strive to create a superb online and personal shopping experience while rewarding your customers with loyalty perks and status.  Shoppers often use smartphones and tablets to get access to relevant information.  About.com has qualified three main distinct search types being made on the internet: “answer me (46% of all searches), inspire me (28% of all searches) and educate me (28% of all searches). Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make “answer me, inspire me and educate me” the three-dimensional crusade of your content marketing strategy?  Ask your customers, both online and in your shop, what answers they are looking for?  What inspires them? What educates them?  Gather your customer data directly into your database: the business headquarters of your people-centric customer information center.  This custom-made marketing know-how will help your business tailor make your content marketing output and assist you schedule personalized marketing messages via email or SMS.
 
8. Social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) and free Internet access
 
Would you rather have customers and prospects find out about competitive pricing inside or outside your shop premises?  If they search within your business, it might be easier for you and your staff to find out about competitors’ pricing and promotions.  It will also grant you the chance to intervene and give away “spur of the moment” discounts while bringing in more sales.  Providing customers and prospects with free internet access is a sure way to keep them inside your brick and mortar shop is not it?  No matter what, customers will find out what they want so you might as well give them the chance to do it while there are “browsing” around. It’s time for your business to harness wireless technology and give your visitors the shopping experience of their lives.  Why not consider an indoor positioning system (IPS) and lead your prospects to the right aisles? Why not consider near field communication (NFC) and QR codes to provide visitors with more product information?    
 
QR Codes Europe
 
9.  Free is a wonderful motivator
 
We all love free things don’t we?  The concept of free automatically appeals to our human nature.  Would it be possible to provide your business with a little coffee and snack corner? Could you add a few tables for prospects to linger around and visit?  This could be a wonderful opportunity to create a local’s corner while gathering precious ideas about business dos and don’ts.  Ask your customers what they expect from your business and reward the top ideas with prizes (first, second to five and 11th to 20th or more if you can). Give, share and get altruistically involved with your community.  How about giving away a free coffee for every new Twitter follower or Facebook likes?  Be creative, try new things, and encourage mistakes among co-workers and team members.  One last word of advice from Dan Erwin: “Shift your networking orientation from getting to giving and your long-term success is assured.”
 
10.  Refine your web and shop loyalty program
 
Loyalty programs should become digital and mobile. There are clients combining web and shop loyalty programs who can adapt their products to your specific needs and beyond.  It is fundamental for customers to get rewarded.  Customers both love rewards and status.  Status gives a sense of belonging, a feeling of being part of something bigger.  Among the 36.8 million followers Lady Gaga enjoys on Twitter, she concentrates on the top 1% she names her “little monsters” … “These fans evangelize for her and bring new fans in the fold”.  Lady Gaga understands her fans’ needs to emotionally wanting to connect with her and goes as far as interrupting her concert while calling one of them on the stage with her.  The more customers purchase, the more unique their reward and status development should be.  Think of airlines bronze, silver and gold levels as an example.  Rewards and status are the motivation that channels patrons into buying more of your products and services, but also to evangelize your business.   Be creative, different, and provocative, and reward your customers with an exhaustive loyalty program that shows genuine gratitude towards them. 
 
Now it’s your turn. Which advice would you give a combined brick and mortar digital shop for it to thrive in this contemporary business environment? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
 
 
Please do follow Bruno Gebarski
on Twitter, LinkedIn or on Google+:
http://Twitter.com/BrunoGebarski 
http://linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski
http://http://bitly.com/BrunoGebarski

10 Ways for Small and Medium Businesses to Establish a Social Business Strategy (1/2)

Our world is getting more complex every day.  Technology evolves at a speed that is hardly possible to keep up with.  The amount of information is exploding and as Clay Shirky points out, we need to avoid filter failure.  We are at the threshold of intelligent marketing because now, Big Data is available.  We are moving from descriptive and predictive to prescriptive business intelligence.  How do we establish an effective business strategy, the one that will give our businesses the necessary room for successful growth and development?  What should its priority list look like?  Social media, blogging, inbound or outbound marketing, curation of information, website updating, brick and mortar shop, digital shop?  Trying to answer such a complex question within a ten point two parts blog article is a daring undertaking, but here is a modest attempt at doing this.     
 
1. Regularly review and refine your company mission, values and goals
 
This could be a daunting task, but a simpler way of restarting the process is to review your unique selling proposition (USP) and then divide it into three sub-categories: company mission, company values and company goals.  Having a sharp and targeted vision is quintessential for refining and pursuing a suitable strategy.  Reviewing your mission is crucial as business opportunities and changes do take place.  IBM, in the mid 80s, was the personal computer leader. IBM wrote US$ 16 billion of losses under the baton of Lou Gersten with 35.000 workers made redundant.  IBM finally sold its mainframe business in 2003 and, under Ginni Rometty’s leadership, concentrates on three core areas: analytics, cloud computing and emerging markets. Should IBM have failed to adapt and change, who knows if IBM would have become the thriving social business leader it has been now for the last several years. 
 
IBM-Social-Business_Ginni.Rometty_01 
A challenging way of applying technological trends could be to ask yourself if you could “create your 140 character brand promise”?  Can you summarize your company’s strategy in 35 words or less? The shorter and the clearer, the easier it will be for your communities to understand your mission and purpose.  It will help your business to energize its community while making it an active part of its purpose and vision.  Here are three USP examples which are each worth billions of dollars:
Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free.”
FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”
M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
 
2. Keep transforming your content marketing into convenience marketing
 
Traditional marketing is no longer sufficient.  Businesses which mostly concentrate on their own activities and products are promised a tough time ahead.  Today there are many companies that master innovation and customer experience by creating and listening to their communities. Such companies like IBM, Amazon or Starbucks give their customers the opportunities to consult, advise and recommend new products and services.  Starbucks understands that some of the best ideas come from their own grass root marketers, the ones entering their coffee-shops day in and day out.  Could there be a better source of feedback than the one coming directly out of their customers’ mouths?  
Consider your website as a customer hub with people coming and going, uploading and downloading information. The more your business listens to its community, the more focused its content marketing will be.  Some of the platforms to distribute your content could be  how to, tips, recommended sites and resources, books, authors, literature, recipes, videos, interviews, podcast, webcast, webinars and so much more.
 
Image Credit: www.hyken.com

Image Credit: http://www.hyken.com

3. To blog or not to blog

It’s great to hear what Chris Brogan has to say about blogging:  “No matter what, the very first piece of social media real estate I’d start with is a blog … It’s a website, with lots of built in features that make it useful from the search perspective, and simple from a content creation perspective…”  Blogging is like jogging for the brain.  Euan Semple once said:  “You do not know what you think until you write it down.”  At first blogging could be a strenuous way to ratify your thoughts, but the best way to freely express your personal ideas, views and expertise.  A blog is all yours and you may write (within reason) whatever your heart desires.  To blog or not to blog, this is the dilemma and the sooner your business starts the easier it will get. Blogging, like jogging, takes training, dedication and relentless commitment.  Avoid blogging about your products and services.  Concentrate on answering, sharing and inspiring.  Give your community what they want.  This will be the first act into bringing traffic to your website, and a natural way to gain traction and attention. 
 
4. Transform your website into a social hub and your visitors into your website co-creators
 
Amazon is a fabulous example of information crowd-sourcing.  When inquiring about books, the first thing most of us do is to find out about customer book-reviews.  Amazon has long understood that their website is not about them, but about the communities reading the books it sells.  It’s about letting visitors write reviews, comment on other people’s reviews, create groups and meet like minded readers.  It’s about customers’ wish-lists (a fabulous way of gathering marketing information) and remembering their interests, likes and dislikes. Amazon is a platform where people meet, read, comment, upload videos reviews and create personal profiles.  A company’s website should altruistically answer, inspire and educate its community.  It is not about your products or services, it is about your community, their worries, their interests and what inspires them.  Consider reserving enough space for uploading videos, reviews, articles and for giving your visitors the chance to become your website’s co-creators.
 
5. Carefully choose your social platforms
 
According Wikipedia, “Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks … It allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”  Social media is the new technological platform businesses use to promote physical or digital goods.  Social media networks should be kept to a minimum: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.  Pick three or four and get professional help.  A Facebook and Pinterest expert like Mari Smith will save you time and money as she keeps up with ongoing platform changes and updates. Mari will provide you with the necessary support while you concentrate on your business.
 
In part two, we will review the last five fundamental points connected to the ongoing review of a successful social business foundation.  
 
Please do take the time to follow Bruno Gebarski
on Twitter, LinkedIn or on Google+:
http://Twitter.com/BrunoGebarski 
http://linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski
http://http://bitly.com/BrunoGebarski