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Should they Operate more like software companies?

Companies are relying on software for just about everything, to the point that everyone has become, to some degree, a software company. In a new survey of 600 IT and business professionals, two-thirds say that software now drives their company’s most important decisions. Close to one-quarter say the quality of their software — the kind it uses or sells — is paramount to their companies’ success and ability to grow.

 

But are these companies doing enough to ensure the quality and performance of their software? In the past, appliance manufacturers ultimately paid the penalty for shipping faulty washing machines or refrigerators, clothing producers wouldn’t last long selling low-quality fabrics and stitching, and so on.

Now that everyone is in the software business, is there enough attention being paid to this prime product? Unfortunately, not yet, the survey, sponsored by QASymphony, finds. While the survey’s sponsor has a horse in this race (they offer quality assurance automation tools), it’s worth noting that the results point to a pressing need — organizations have changed their business models over the past decade, but are not paying enough attention to their emerging digital sides.

Perhaps there are lessons that need to be learned from the technology industry in designing, producing and securing software. At least 63% say that software companies have their own way of operating, which needs to be examined and emulated where appropriate.

For example, concepts such as Agile development and DevOps are a big deal in the native software industry. That means lots of time and investment in versioning, fixing bugs, and updates. It means more emphasis on shipping software as quickly as possible to achieve time to market, while ensuring quality and usability. IT means automating as much of the software development and release process as possible.

It’s not that companies aren’t working on the challenges. Close to nine in 10 (88%) now employ DevOps methodologies, and 42% strongly agree that DevOps is a top priority for their organizations. However, only 24% express strong satisfaction in the current state of their DevOps programs.

Two-thirds say there are gaps in their software testing, and that as much as half of all time spent by their companies on software development time is consumed by ensuring code quality and/or fixing software bugs. A similar number agree that their testing processes are slowing their time to market.

There are some other traits seen with software companies not covered in the survey that also should be studied. On the plus side, the tech culture that exists within vendors is often very open to innovation, and new approaches to solving problems. For every issue, there is a workaround, most often involving technology — and industry leaders are never afraid to try new things. At the same time, a tech-driven company won’t succeed without solid marketing to help it elevate its products above the noise. But a tech culture isn’t necessarily conducive to marketing, and it’s often a challenge to bring these two sides together.

Source=: www.zdnet.com/article…………….


Enterprise Resource planning

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the setting up of electronic information systems throughout an organisation in such a way that disparate parts of the organisation are brought together, parts that may rarely in the past have had access to information about each other—manufacturing, for instance, and customer relationship management (CRM).

ERP software, designed to implement this, acts as a sort of central nervous system for the corporation. It gathers information about the state and activity of different parts of the body corporate and conveys this information to parts elsewhere that can make fruitful use of it. The information is updated in real time by the users and is accessible to all those on the network at all times.

Just as the central nervous system’s capacity can at times seem to transcend the collective capacity of its individual parts (a phenomenon that we call consciousness), so too can that of ERP systems. They (as it were) make the corporation self-aware. In particular, ERP systems link together information about finance, human resources, production and distribution. They embrace stock-control systems, customer databases, order-tracking systems, accounts payable, and so on. They also interface when and where necessary with suppliers and customers.

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3 Ways Good ERP Software Can Boost Productivity

 

Everyone knows that technology can help raise your business to the next level. The use of cloud computing and the availability of supporting softwares are making businesses – from small startups to large corporations – strive in the face of evolution. There are so many solutions to choose from as well, particular when it comes to its enterprise-level ERP softwares

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How SEO is Important?

SEO blogs and articles are a really, really important part of our online PR services and social media management. At The Content Factory, we write around 40 SEO blogs and articles per week for our clients — not including landing pages — and each one helps drive traffic to their websites. Regularly posting fresh content on your site is one of the easiest ways to introduce potential customers or clients to your brand.

Of course, you can’t just throw a bunch of words on a page and expect people to come running. Pro SEO article writing services know that if you build it, they will come…but only if you build it the right way.

Here are the 7 secrets of professional SEO article writers:

  1. Get your keyword research on. If you’re going to post content on your site anyway, you might as well take the time to make sure Google takes notice of your effort. Find out which keywords and phrases people are searching for (as well as what you can be competitive in), and make yourself a spreadsheet. Keep track of how many times you work the keywords into your web content writing, and use the right tools to track where you rank for the keywords you target. Don’t know where to get started? Check out our comprehensive guide to keyword research for SEO.
  2. Put the keywords to work. It’s not enough to just use the keywords in 2-3% of the copy. You need to put the primary keyword in the title of the blog/article, as well as in the first and last sentence. By doing this, the keywords stand out to the search engine crawlers, as well as the eyes of the readers. Remember, the people using search engines are searching for that particular phrase because they want to know more about it/buy it, so it makes sense to give them what they’re looking for. You’ll get more clicks if you do — it’s one of the tricks of the trade for professional SEO article writers.
  3. Write about something people care about. Nobody knows your business like you do — so what kind of expert advice or tips do you have that you can share? If not, you can at least discuss news relating to your business. When in doubt, look at your list of SEO keywords and see what kind of list, link bait or in-depth posts you can work those keywords into. Don’t be afraid to interview some experts, either (if you quote them and feature their expertise in your post, they’ll be likely to share your content via their social channels — this way, you can leverage larger networks to increase the size of your own).
  4. Make it long enough to count. Sure, 100 words of fresh content is better than no new content at all. Still, search engines tend to give preference to longer blogs and articles. Try to shoot for at least 300 words, but if you can get to 500 or more, go for it. There has been a lot of research that shows that search engines tend to favor “in-depth” content of at least 2,000 words — we’ve seen this work for ourselves and our clients, and many of TCF’s most popular blog posts are at least 1,500 words.
  5. Optimize the optimization of your web content writing. If you use WordPress as your blogging platform, there are lots of free online PR tools (in the form of plugins) you can take advantage of. At The Content Factory, we use Yoast and Shareaholic, along with several others. Free and easy web PR is as simple as hitting the “install now” link.
  6. Edit your work. The only difference between professional SEO article writers and regular people is an eye for self editing. Programs like OpenOffice, Google Docs and Microsoft Word make it easy — the red and green squiggleys give most of it away. Having an eye for aesthetically pleasing formatting is also important. Stay away from super long paragraphs and sentences that go on for miles.
  7. Become your own online PR agency. Once you’ve written and posted the fresh content, the work is only half complete. The final step of all web content writing is acting as your own online PR agency — link to your content all over the place. Comment on blogs and link back to your site. Submit your content to Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon. Social media management and web content writing go hand-in-hand, and as soon as you hit the “Publish” button on your fresh article or blog, you should tweet your heart out. Want more tips?

Source: www dot contentfac dot com/


10 Ways to Get Traffic for Free!

1) Optimize Your Website for the Search Engines

Search engines have always been a major way to get traffic for free. That is why you need to do your homework and optimize your site so that it ranks well for the keywords you target.

SEO is still the most powerful way to get traffic for free, and you really need to invest some time and effort in the optimization of your site. SEO is not that difficult and if you want to get familiar with it in a nutshell, check our SEO Tutorial. If you are too busy for that, you can start with the 15 Minute SEO article.

2) Frequently Update the Content of Your Site

If you expected some shocking secrets revealed, you might be a bit disappointed. One of the first steps in getting traffic for free is trivial but vital – get great content and frequently update it.

In terms of SEO, content is king. If your content is good and frequently updated, you will not only build a loyal audience of recurring visitors, who will often come to see what is new; but search engines will also love your site!

3) Take advantage of social bookmarking sites.

Social bookmarking sites (especially the most popular among them) are another powerful way to get traffic for free. If you want to learn how to do it, check the How to get Traffic from Social Bookmarking sites article, where we have explained what to do if you want to get free traffic from sites such as Digg, Delicious, etc.

4) Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Social networks are also a way to get traffic for free. If you are popular on networks, such as Twitter or Facebook, the traffic you get from there can easily surpass the traffic from Google and the other search engines. It is true that building a large network of targeted followers on Twitter and supporters on Facebook takes a lot of time and effort but generally the result is worth.

5) Get links with other sites in your niche.

Another way to get traffic for free is from other sites in your niche. Getting links with other sites in your niche is also good for SEO, especially if you manage to get links without the famous nofollow attribute. But even if the links are nofollow (i.e. they are useless for SEO), they still help to get traffic to your site. If you manage to put your link in a visible place on a site with high volumes of traffic, you can get thousands of hits from this link alone. If you need a list of sites within your niche where you could get backlinks from, check the Backlink Builder tool. However, be careful if you exchange links because linking to bad neighbors can do you a lot of harm.

6) Use any chance to promote your site for free.

Free promotion is always welcome, so don’t neglect it. There are many ways to promote your site for free and some of the most popular ones include free classified ads, submissions to directories, inclusion in various listings, etc. It is true that not all free ways to promote your site work well but if you select the right places to promote your site for free, this can also result in tons of traffic.

7) Create a free product or service.

Content drives most traffic when you offer something useful. There are many types of useful content you can create and they largely depend on the niche of your site. You can have articles with tons of advice, or short tips but one of the most powerful ways to get traffic is to create a free product or service. When this product or service gets popular and people start visiting your site, chances are that they will visit the other sections of the site as well.

8) Use viral content.

Free products and services are great for getting free traffic to your site and one of the best varieties in this aspect is viral content. Viral content is called so because it distributes like a virus – i.e. when users like your content, they send it to their friends, post it on various sites, and promote it for free in many different ways. Viral content distributes on its own and your only task is to create it and submit it to a couple of popular sites. After that users pick it and distribute it for you. Viral content can be a hot video or a presentation but it can also be a good old article or an image.

9) Use offline promotion.

Offline promotion is frequently forgotten but it is also a way to get traffic for free. Yes, computers are everywhere and many people spend more time online than offline but still life hasn’t moved completely on the Web. Offline promotion is also very powerful and if you know how to use it, this can also bring you many visitors. Some of the traditional offline ways to promote your site include printing its URL on your company’s business cards and souvenirs or sticking it on your company vehicles. You can also start selling T-shirts and other merchandise with your logo and this way make your brand more popular.

10) Include your URL in your signature.

URLs in forum signatures are also a way to get traffic for free. There are forums, which get millions of visitors a day and if you are a popular user on such a forum, you can use this to get traffic to your site. When you post on forums and people like your posts, they tend to click the link to your site on your signature to learn more about you. In rare cases you might be able to post a deep link (i.e. a link to an internal page of the site) rather than a link to your homepage and this is also a way to focus attention to a particular page. Unfortunately, deep links are rarely allowed.

Getting traffic for free is a vast topic and it is not possible to list all the ways to do it. However, if you know the most important ways – i.e. the ways we discussed in this article and you apply them properly, it is guaranteed that you will be able to get lots of traffic for free.

Source :www. webconfs. com/


6 of the Best Free Open Source eCommerce Software Solutions

Now that your questions are answered, let’s talk about the solutions themselves. Please remember that these are in no particular order. Some solutions will work far better for certain retailers than others.

1. Magento

Chances are, if you know anything about eCommerce software you’ve heard of Magento. Magento is one of the biggest names in eCommerce, in general, not just open source.

 

Magento is incredibly flexible and capable – in the hands of the right person/team, it can create a beautiful website for even the largest of retailers. However, all that power comes with a price: Magento is very much intended for expert coders.

You will need to purchase a payment processor, domain name, and security. Magento does not come with built-in security.

2. osCommerce

 

osCommerce is one of the oldest names in eCommerce software, and as such, a lot has been developed for it. osCommerce has over 7,000 free integrations, and huge active community working on it and giving support for it. Overall, reviewers say that this system is rather outdated to work with, so it takes more finesse. However, much like Magento, if you can figure out how to work with this solution, the world is open to you. There is not much this solution can’t build. You should keep in mind, though, that while osCommerce does have security features, but they’re very weak, so unless you can bolster them, you should probably invest in security software on the side.

3. Open Cart

 

Open Cart is a rather new solution available – it’s only been around since 2007. For open source, that can sometime spell trouble. After all, as a community developed project, it takes time for the solution to become more complex. But it can also be a good thing – there isn’t as much code to weigh the software down, and it’s still quite simple. In the case of Open Cart, users seem to be split down the middle in which experience they have with open cart. Some people really love it and some people really hate it. If you check this reviews page out, you’ll notice that nearly all of the reviews are either five stars or one. There are only a few that are in between.

Overall, Open Cart is noted for having a sleek administrative dashboard and its general out-of-the-box ease of use. To make a fancy store, you will have to devote some time to the coding, but small stores could potentially use this solution because it does function surprisingly well out of the box.

4. WooCommerce

 

WooCommerce is a unique solution on this list, because it’s not actually a full open source eCommerce solution on its own. WooCommerce is actually an open source WordPress shopping cart plugin.

So why’s it on here? Well, WordPress is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, content management solutions. There are a LOT of websites built on WordPress. WooCommerce is the open source plugin that those sites can use to turn their site into a store. Of course, if you don’t already have a site, you can still use WooCommerce – you just have to download WordPress first.

What do you need to know about WooCommerce? A few things:

  • If you’re used to working with WordPress already, WooCommerce is a breeze to use. It’s fully functional right out of the box and requires little customization. Of course, for those who aren’t used to working with WordPress, there is a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources out there on how to beat WordPress’s learning curve.
  • You basically have to use WooCommerce’s templates to get a template to work, so that makes things less flexible.
  • In fact, the flexibility over all of WooCommerce is rather limited. It will certainly never be able to create a deeply unique store in the same way Magento can, but that’s the price you pay for ease-of-set-up.
  • One very popular feature of WooCommerce is their one-page checkout process. It’s totally unique to Woo, and I’m a fan.

5. SimpleCart

SimpleCart is, as its name suggests, probably the easiest solution to use on this list. Their motto is, “All You Need to Know is HTML,” and according to reviews, that is true. As a result, this might be the best solution on this list for small stores.

 

A few key features:

  • SimpleCart has a very small footprint, so it runs fast. Which, as we all know, is important in the eCom world where every second spent loading loses 7% of your customers.
  • Because you will be using HTML to set up your store, SimpleCart is language agnostic.
  • It also supports a wide array of currencies. Basically – if you’re not doing business in the US, the language and currency flexibility might make this an ideal solution for you.
  • Last thing, SimpleCart has poor security so invest in some security software!

6. PrestaShop

 

PrestaShop is a rather unique open source solution in that there is actually a for-profit company based around it. How does that work? Basically, PrestaShop’s code is available for free download, same as any other solution. However, PrestaShop has an entire shop of add-on integrations and modules, some of which are free, and some of which are a one-time fee. It’s interesting to note that many of the paid modules are created and sold by community members. In addition, PrestaShop offers its services as a developer. That way, you don’t need to go hunt down a developer who knows how to work with PrestaShop – you can just pay them to set up the shop for you. Over the lifetime of your store, as well, you can continually go back to them, not just community support, for training and help.

Source:www. blog. capterra .com


Google Translate Gets a Deep-Learning Upgrade

Google Translate has become a quick-and-dirty translation solution for millions of people worldwide since it debuted a decade ago. But Google’s engineers have been quietly tweaking their machine translation service’s algorithms behind the scenes. They recently delivered a huge Google Translate upgrade that harnesses the popular artificial intelligence technique

Machine translation services such as Google Translate have mostly used a “phrase-based” approach of breaking down sentences into words and phrases to be independently translated. But several years ago, Google began experimenting with a deep-learning technique, called neural machine translation, that can translate entire sentences without breaking them down into smaller components. That approach eventually reduced the number of Google Translate errors by at least 60 percent on many language pairs in comparison with the older, phrase-based approach.

 

Google Translate has already begun using neural machine translation for its 18 million daily translations between English and Chinese. In a here Google researchers also promised to roll out the improved translations to many more language pairs in the coming months.

The deep-learning approach of Google’s neural machine translation relies on a type of software algorithm known as a recurrent neural network. The neural network consists of nodes, also called artificial neurons, arranged in a stack of layers consisting of 1,024 nodes per layer.

A network of eight layers acts as the “encoder,” which takes the sentence targeted for translation—let’s say from Chinese to English—and transforms it into a list of “vectors.” Each vector in the list represents the meanings of all the words read so far in the sentence, so that a vector farther along the list will include more word meanings.

Once the Chinese sentence has been read by the encoder, a network of eight layers acting as the “decoder” generates the English translation one word at a time in a series of steps. A separate “attention network” connects the encoder and decoder by directing the decoder to pay special attention to certain vectors (encoded words) when coming up with the translation. It’s not unlike a human translator constantly referring back to the original sentence during a translation.

This represents an improved version of the original encoder-decoder method that would compress the starting sentence into a fixed-size vector, regardless of the original sentence’s length. The improved version was presented in a paper that includes Cho as coauthor. Cho, who is not affiliated with Google, explains the less accurate original encoder-decoder method as follows:

If I made an analogy to a human translator, what this means is that the human translator is going to look at a source sentence once, memorize the whole thing and start writing down its translation without ever looking back at the source sentence. This is both unrealistic and extremely inefficient. Why wouldn’t a translator look back at the source sentence over and over?

Google started working on neural machine translation several years ago, but the method still generally proved less accurate and required more computational resources than the old approach of phrase-based machine translation. Better accuracy often came at the expense of speed, which is problematic for Google Translate users, who expect almost instantaneous translations.

Google researchers had to harness several clever work-around solutions for their deep-learning algorithms to get beyond the existing limitations of neural machine translation. For example, the team connected the attention network to the encoder and decoder networks in a way that sacrificed some accuracy but allowed for faster speed through parallelism—the method of using several processors to run certain parts of the deep-learning algorithm simultaneously.

“We believe some of our architectural choices are quite unique, mostly to allow maximum parallelism during computation while achieving good accuracy,” Schuster explains.

Another innovation helped neural machine translation handle certain rare words. Part of Google’s solution to this came from the previous work of Schuster and his colleagues on improving the Google Japanese and Korean speech recognition systems. They figured out how to break down rare words into a limited set of smaller, common subunits called “wordpieces,” which the neural machine translation could handle more easily.

A third innovation came from using “quantized computation” to reduce the precision of the system’s calculations and therefore speed up the translation process. Google’s team trained their system to tolerate the resulting “quantization errors” that could arise as a result. “Quantized computation is generally faster than nonquantized computation because all normally 32-bit or 64-bit data can be compressed into 8 or 16 bits, which reduces the time accessing that data and generally makes it faster to do any computations on it,” Schuster says.

Google’s neural machine translation also benefits from running on better hardware than traditional CPUs. The tech giant is using a specialized chip designed for deep learning called the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). The TPUs alone helped speed up translation by 3.5 times over ordinary chips.

When combined with the new algorithm solutions, Google made its neural machine translation more than 30 times faster with almost no loss of translation accuracy. That huge speed boost made the difference in Google’s decision to finally begin using the deep-learning algorithms for Google Translate in Chinese-to-English translations. The results seem impressive enough to outside experts such as Cho.

“I am extremely impressed by their effort and success in making the inference of neural machine translation fast enough for their production system by quantized inference and their TPU,” Cho says.

Google Translate and other machine translation services still have room for improvement. For example, even the upgraded Google Translate still messes up rare words or simply leaves out certain parts of sentences without translating them. It also still has problems using context to improve its translations. But Schuster seems optimistic that machine translation services will continue to make future progress and creep ever closer to human capabilities.

“If you look at the history of machine translation, you see a constant uptick of translation quality and speed, and we only see this [continuing] until the system is as good as a human in communicating information from one language to another,” Schuster says.



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