All posts by David Chao

David Chao is an experienced strategic thinker and has been a technology thought leader for the past 20 years. With a diverse background from motion pictures to the Internet, he brings a unique perspective to the technology market with his experience in financial services, movies, manufacturing and technology. His skills are focused on setting clear, sustainable strategic differentiators and then manically executing. David enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors fly-fishing and playing golf.

5 Tips on Moving to the Cloud

Move to the cloudCloud computing will continue to grow over the next few years. If your business is done with handling bulky, expensive on-premises IT systems, consider moving to the cloud today. It’ll free up IT resources, streamline and add to your productivity, enable your remote workers, provide business recovery benefits and more.

If you’re like most people, though, you have fears of moving to the cloud — from talking with employees about which data moves to security. Address those fears and get the most out of your move. Here are five tips on how to start:

1. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing

You don’t have to be fully on-premises or in the cloud. Many companies benefit from a hybrid IT environment. If you don’t believe you can move all your operations to the cloud, choose the ones that you can and keep the rest in-house.

2. Create goals

You need to develop a mix of short- and long-term goals for what you want to accomplish through moving to the cloud. This way, you’ll know you’ll be on track for reaching your main objective — a successful cloud migration.

3. Improve communication channels

Everyone should be in the loop during a major IT system restructuring like this. Take time to keep everyone informed and give periodic updates or hold Q&A sessions to give employees a chance to respond. This involves bringing them into the process before decisions are made. This will increase buy-in and ensure a higher adoption rate.

4. Address security concerns

Due to many high-profile data breaches in recent years, your clients and personnel may be concerned about the security risks from a cloud migration. Despite these worries, many companies actually boost their security abilities by switching to a cloud storage provider. Address their concerns to alleviate fears.

5. Use this time to consolidate and reorder data

Like spring cleaning, moving to a cloud-based data center is a great time to consolidate and get rid of excessive data or structures that are no longer relevant or needed. Again, you don’t have to do all or nothing.

Need more tips?

Get more information in our ebook (PDF), Move to the Cloud. You can even start small and move your communications system to the cloud.

Go Cloud Communications

5 Tips to Grow Your Business

As a small business, you may feel at a loss as to how you should effectively grow your operations. If you’re looking to expand or improve profit margins in the new year, here are five tips you might benefit from.

1. Simplify and reduce costs

Focusing your strategy, focusing on best-selling products, focusing on your target consumers … there are many ways to simplify your business to promote future growth. Reduce overhead costs and build up your core team in order to lay the firm foundation on which you hope to flourish. Costs can be associated with your outdated phone system to ineffective communications.

You can also simplify your employment strategy by hiring freelancers or giving up the office you don’t need, and the expenses, and enable your team to work remotely. Roughly $24 / month is easier to swallow than thousands for a downtown office. Reducing costs by simplfying is easier than you think.

2. Reach out to prospects and customers

how a business owner can grow a businessSuccessful marketing tactics revolve around meeting the average consumer where they are. And where most consumers are at is on social media. Build meaningful customer relationships online! Don’t forget a content marketing plan, including webinars.

3. Embrace data

Many small businesses are afraid of data-informed decision-making because they believe it’s costly or won’t support their specific needs. This isn’t the case, as many analytics websites are free or low-cost, such as Google Analytics. Start measuring your progress today!

4. Use video marketing

Most consumers would rather watch content than read it today, which is why video marketing tools are so integral for growing small businesses. If you want to stand apart from your competitors, put videos on your homepage, in your marketing emails, on your social media pages and on your blog.

5. Move to unified communications

Whether you move away from desk phones to enable mobile devices or upgrade your web and video conferencing tools, you need to unify and strengthen your business’s communication strategy. By choosing one vendor, you can save money while providing communications to your company.

6 Trends in Product Management

An effective product management strategy is essential for successfully releasing and selling products. Decision-makers must carefully evaluate each step of the product lifestyle, from planning to forecasting to marketing. Product management is greatly impacted by changes in society and technology. As a result, there are six new major trends in product management this year:

1. Make decisions based on metrics

Courtney and Amanda looking at ReplayMetrics is one of the hottest terms in the marketing and product management worlds at the moment. Every company wants to know how well it is performing online, while all product managers want to know how well their item is selling. In all likelihood, data will be an integral part of key product decision-making in the future.

2. Treat customers like people, not users

No customer wants to feel like one of a thousand. This is why many companies are beginning to treat their customers as people, not users or numbers. This new approach includes targeted marketing efforts, interactive websites and social selling. It also ensures listening to the customer to see what they want as you innovate on products. This relates to trend #3.

3. Collaborate with consumers

Companies are turning to their consumers to learn more about what they want than ever before. In the past, companies made products and then expected their consumers to like them. Now, organizations are collaborating with consumers to create the best products on the market.

4. Launch a product with video

Companies are turning to social media to launch video marketing campaigns for their products. Videos excite potential consumers and are easy for companies to create and launch.

5. Sell benefits, not features

Consumers don’t want to hear about the various features a product offers. They want to know how it will specifically affect their life. Therefore, many product managers are urging their sales teams to sell benefits, not features.

6. Be transparent about production cycles

Consumers crave honesty. Far too many companies have suffered from various scandals due to a lack of transparency, which is why one of the newest trends in product management is an emphasis on honest and visible production cycles.

5 Signs You’re Ready for Cloud Communications

Determine whether your business is cloud-ready with these 5 questions
If your company has a legacy PBX and you’re wondering whether your business should move to cloud, ask yourself these questions.

1. Do you wish you had more control over your phone system?

Relying on your IT employees or outside vendors to update equipment can get expensive. Besides, wouldn’t you prefer to do it yourself? With hosted voice, resetting voicemail passwords, turning on your holiday schedule and adding or moving users is simple — one click. And there’s no surprise fees.

2. Does your present phone system provide business continuity?

Disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. Instead of worry about ruined equipment or worse, a ruined business, hosted voice protects your company. Your data is protected with backups and is easy to recover. Top-tier providers also have several redundant, geographically dispersed data centers, keeping your systems up, even when there’s an emergency.

5 signs you need cloud communications

3. How much is your premise-based PBX system costing you?

With hosted voice, your fees are lower than with on-site equipment. Your IT resources aren’t burdened with maintaining equipment or attempting to recover it should an emergency happen. If you use a third-party, you won’t need to pay that overhead. It’s just one predictable monthly rate.

More than saving you money, your business will also benefit from automatic upgrades and new features.

4. Do you want to take advantage of new communication tools?

With a hosted voice, you’ll have the ability to receive all your calls on only one phone number using easy features. You’ll also be able to just check your email inbox for all your messages.

And that’s just the beginning. With other unified communications solutions, like Google Apps and Salesforce, integrated with your phone system, you’ll gain even more productivity.

5. Does your IT staff spend the majority of its time fixing issues or making improvements?

Is your IT staff usually stressed out in the server room? Wouldn’t it be great if they could spend more of their time focused on developing new ways to improve your business? With hosted voice, your IT staff can get back to focusing on your core business!

I Want to Own Time

Retro alarm clock on wooden table

I want to own time.

It’s not the first time that phrase has ever been said, but we’re getting closer to making that statement a reality.

Generation 1: Saving time

If we take a look at ReadyTalk’s beginnings back in 2001, we created a way to be really productive and share ideas — all without having to be physically together — with our audio and web conferencing services. Using our services, people had the ability to get together to communicate something without the inconvenience of having to be there. Since then, we’ve been iterating on that idea. You know, we’ve been improving it incrementally to continue to save time and enable people to be more productive. In other words, by freeing you to work where and when you want, we’ve helped you control time.

But it’s just one piece of the big picture. Let’s call it “Generation 1”; you don’t have to be there, so you’ve saved time.

Okay, so what’s next?

Generation 2: Time-shifting

Similar to how the consumption of television toward on-demand has changed over the course of time, we want to use that same principle in the workplace. The consumption of content happens when and wherever people want, using whatever device they want.

We’re taking a similar approach, freeing organizations from wasting time monitoring the minor details of employees’ routines. We believe that when and how you do things don’t matter, just as long as you achieve the same objectives. In other words, workers can really telecommute faster and easier.

While that’s good — ReadyTalk is going beyond that to truly time shift.

  • What if you could consume content on-demand just like you do Game of Thrones or your other favorite television show?
  • What if you could be bi-locate, be in two places at once?
  • What if you could consume that information in a third of the time?  
  • What if you could focus on just the information you wanted — fast-forwarding past the stuff that just gets in the way?
  • What if your meeting was smart — doing things that you found mundane, like sending out notes and emails?
  • What if your meeting was spun into other on-demand content like slides and blog posts for your audience to consume in addition?

That’s controlling time!

We’re exploring all the ways that make it possible to truly “own time.” From voice recognition to artificial intelligence (AI) and more … we aren’t leaving any possibilities behind.

Stay-tuned for more to come.