Database software can help ecommerce companies stay organized during the holidays

Cyber Monday has come and gone but that doesn’t mean the work is over. For many companies, it has actually just begun, as retailers with an ecommerce site must now set about packing and shipping the orders. This may be an especially daunting task this year, as it was one of the most lucrative Cyber Mondays to date.

According to IBM, online sales increased by 30 percent over this time last year and a good 36 percent over Black Friday. In addition, more than 18 percent of consumers visited a retailer’s site on a mobile device, a 70 percent increase over 2011’s Cyber Monday.

“Cyber Monday was not only the pinnacle of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend but when the cash register closed it officially became the biggest online shopping day ever,” Jay Henderson, strategy director of IBM Smarter Commerce, said in a press release. “Retailers that adopted a smarter marketing approach to commerce were able to adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers.”

For companies with an ecommerce site, the rest of this week may be a flurry of boxing, shipping and processing still-incoming orders. As such, with such a huge increase in sales seen across the board, small businesses may want to consult FileMaker developers to create a custom database software that can handle the large influx of detailed information.

For example, in every order there is at least one set of credit card information, a billing address and a shipping address, which could very well be two different locations. And, in addition to that, businesses will need to make sure each customer gets the right product, sent to the right address and with the proper invoices or receipts printed and placed in the package.

With that much information, investing a custom database software can aid with a business’s efficiency and accuracy when processing orders, ensuring that no customer experiences any holiday shopping headaches.

Measuring the worth of a Facebook like

As this blog has reported, social media is quickly becoming a mainstay in every business's marketing strategies. But, this platform is still relatively young, compared to traditional print and broadcast advertisements, and many marketing departments are unsure how to properly gauge the worth of every of retweet on Twitter or like on Facebook.

But, according to Harvard Business Review (HBR), this form of mathematics is going to become critical in the near future as social media continues to expand in its influence – regardless of the lack of hard data available to marketers. As such, a method of measuring influence needs to be developed.

The source goes on to explain how, through a complicated formula consisting of likes, unlikes, links, clicks and conversion rates, businesses can calculate a rough approximation of just how much a single like on Facebook is actually worth to the company.

But, no two businesses are exactly alike. The metrics and formulas that may work for one company might not be viable for another and, therefore, business may need to adjust their formulas or data points to adhere specifically to what's relevant for them.

As such, by consulting FileMaker developers, businesses can create custom database software that can store and analyze the algorithms described by HBR while also maintaining other pertinent information.

Furthermore, companies can use this technology to share the data to other workers and important personnel members. For example, if every employee of a marketing company knew exactly what one Facebook like was worth to the business, they could keep that in mind when planning campaigns and posts. With custom database software, business can even develop projections on whether an advertisement will reap a return on investment, either through clicks, likes or conversions.

What will the President do with all his data?

This blog has recently discussed the story of how President Barack Obama was able to use big data as a way to gain an advantage over his presidential campaign opponent, Mitt Romney. But, now that the election is over, the question has come up from campaign organizers and IT security workers: what is going to happen with all that information?

Throughout the last campaign, the president created a trove of contact information and voter profiles, which he used to increase awareness and draw support. Now this valuable knowledge is just sitting in servers and databases, collecting digital dust.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one proposed solution is for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to takeover the database and use it to help aid future party candidates. But many are skeptical that a massive set of data built around Obama will be of much use to a candidate that would be completely different. In addition, the DNC may have some issues covering the costs that are associated with maintaining sets of data that are this large.

Another proposed idea has been to create an entirely new organization to house the data and even update it. This could come in handy with any future decisions regarding policy changes and legislature.

How to deal with data

Regardless of whether it's the organization supporting the President of the United States, or a small business looking to expand and practice better business techniques, dealing with data is a critical and tricky aspect to using it.

But, by consulting FileMaker developers, companies can create custom database software that allows them to constantly update the information they have, as well as house older data points in case they may be useful in the future. This technology is an excellent for office managers to look more closely at employee productivity and turnover rates, or for advertising companies to analyze campaign analytics.

Bank on database software to aid with medical research

Dr. David Harris, a professor of immunology at the University of Arizona and the chief of science the Cord Blood Registry, was recently awarded the "20 Years of Discovery and Innovation" award by the Arizona BioIndustry Association, for his "pioneering" work with stem cell research.

According to a press release by AdiCyte, Harris was one of the first individuals to begin banking stem cells for future use and created the Arizona Cord Blood Bank. Throughout the 20 years that Harris has been researching stem cells, it is likely that the software he used to store and analyze his findings has changed drastically.

Research can be a critical aspect to how well a university or healthcare facility performs and is received by the public. Institutions that have award winning researchers are often awarded grants, endowments and are in higher demand than less lauded competitors. But, in order to have a dynamic facility with top-notch researchers, an organization must have the software to keep up, as many scientists rely on this to aid with their discoveries.

How to use custom database software to store and share research

Healthcare facilities can benefit from implementing their own research and development software. By consulting with FileMaker developers, hospitals that also conduct research can create custom database software that allows them to store and recall critical information and results, and also share this information with other doctors in the network.

By doing this, healthcare providers can create a community that is on the forefront of research and innovation within their field, and also inform fellow physicians and nurses on the latest data available in the field. This can help foster an organization that is innovative and committed to success.

How custom software can help prevent high turnover rates

It can be hard to measure just how much of an effect one employee has on the company they work for. But, according to the Center for American Progress, it may be necessary for companies to start using technology in order to gain an estimate, as the costs of employee turnover can be crippling.

According to the source, an average company will spend about one-fifth of a worker's salary just replacing that employee, should they leave. For businesses that typically function with a high turnover rate, this can quickly increase expenses and hurt the bottom-line – not only in rising costs, but also in overall productivity. The more workers that come in and out of the office doors the less work is ultimately accomplished.

More specifically, the source's research found that positions which do not require a very specific skill set will create, on average, a turnover cost of 21 percent of an employee's annual salary. In addition, the cost of turnover between workers that are paid $50,000 annually and those that are paid $75,000 is less than one percent.

With turnover rates proving to be so costly for businesses, it may benefit managers to invest in software that allows them to quantify approximately how much of a return on investment the company gains from each employee. By consulting a FileMaker developer, businesses can create custom database software that can aid in this process.

Furthermore, by using this technology to store important employee data, managers can calculate how effective a worker has been and how much it would cost to replace this individual, should he or she leave or need to be terminated. This information can encourage supervisors to implement benefits that help retain employees longer, or improve their ability to make more informed hiring decisions.

Shaken, not stirred: Data organization in the latest James Bond film

The latest James Bond film, "Skyfall", is being lauded by many critics as one of the best in the historic series. While it has certainly seen an impressive box office performance, not normally experienced by 007 films during this century, it maintains the same conflicts that have been prevalent in most of Bond's roles: the battle between traditional ways and new technology.

CNN recently explored whether one scenario in the film, where a terrorist and James Bond are fighting for a hard drive that contains the identities of all the secret agents at MI6, is a plausible one.

"That's very consistent when you're not part of the government and you lack the infrastructure to build out a big system that a national security agency does," Morgan Wright, an experienced law enforcement agent that has performed cyberterrorism work for many United States defense agencies, told the source. Wright explained that smaller organizations must often find ways to access or store information in one place because they can't afford to "build out a big system."

Using custom database software to organize data for a small business

Intentions and spy movies aside, there is something to be said about the need for small organizations being able to store and access necessary data in one place – much like the hard drive at question in the Bond film. While this may create some security issues, being able to maintain an accurate and dynamic database of essential statistics and information in one location can aid small businesses, which are often understaffed and overworked, in operating more efficiently.

By consulting FileMaker developers, companies can create custom database software that can be specialized to their individual needs. For example, a subscription-based business will need to be able to quickly access and adjust customer contact information as its operations rely on delivering the product to the customer.

A small business that requires an aggressive sales team will also need to be able to access client model configurations and prospective sales information, often within minutes of each other should a representative be preparing for a call. By keeping necessary information in one comprehensive and custom-made database, small businesses can ensure they run effectively and organized.

Gaining insights on employee behavior with custom software

While having a productive workforce is critical to a successful business, it's even more important for managers to be able to pinpoint exactly how efficient their employees are and where the weaknesses lie. This information can drastically improve the human resource decisions that supervisors make and can be analyzed through an investment in custom database software. In fact, a recent study by PI Worldwide shows that many companies are using technology to gain insight into critical employee behavior.

According to the source, leveraging this behavioral data can help ensure that a workforce is not only more engaged, but that managers get the most out of their investments in manpower.

For example, custom database software tweaked to monitor employee behavior can help managers gauge the importance of each individual worker. As organizations trim their size during a down economy, this puts particular onus on ensuring that every employee is performing to their potential. For human resource departments, custom software can allow them to form algorithms that determine how well a worker is performing and at what capacity of their overall workload.

This can help reduce hiring mistakes, which the source found to be incredibly expensive – upwards of 90 to 200 percent of an individual's salary. While major corporations may be able to afford turnover mistakes that result in an employee leaving before they can create a return on the company's investment, small businesses can find this lack of retention to be crippling.

Furthermore, by consulting FileMaker developers, managers can create a database that will allow them to store and analyze retention rates of specific employee models. For small businesses that are looking to scale, having a low turnover rate can be critical to ensuring that a stable foundation is laid for the company to grown on.

Improving a sales force: How to decide between big and little changes

When managers are stuck with falling or poor sales results, they are often forced to ask whether they need to fine-tune their sales teams or make massive renovations. Coming to a decision isn't an easy process with clear, black and white answers. But while traversing the grey area of this decision, there a few things managers need to look at.

According to Harvard Business Review, these include crucial elements  to a sales force such as the overall sales process, how it profiles and recruits sales representatives and even the types of clients they are targeting.

But, in order to make these determinations effectively, managers will need to undoubtedly analyze massive amounts of sales data.

Using custom technology to make sales force adjustments

This conundrum can be answered through the use of custom database software.

By maintaining and analyzing an abundance of sales force statistics, managers can begin to create a comprehensive picture of their team. This should be able to inform them on whether a couple small adjustments are needed in specific parts of the process to maximize the forces potential, or if the whole department needs to be gutted and re-arranged to get the most out of the available talent.

By consulting FileMaker developers, managers can create the custom sales force software that will aid them in this process. This technology can be crafted to analyze the basic data points that affect all sales teams, as well as whatever specific ones the company may need for its own, creating a more complete picture.

Managing marketing data from beginning to end

When designing a marketing campaign, businesses will need to look at more than just art and copy. Statistics and data have become main factors in the way managers decide where to place advertisements and how to word promotions and calls to action.

According to iMedia Connection, marketers should be monitoring data points before they even begin a new advertising campaign. It's important for every company to know which methods may have worked in the past, and which ones fell short. By doing so they'll know what to avoid and emphasize.

In addition, mid-campaign statistics are vastly different than post-campaign data. Businesses will need to monitor engagement and conversion rates at an on-going pace, while afterward they should look at it from a more encompassing point of view.

How custom database software can make the most of marketing analytics

By consulting FileMaker developers, marketing managers can create custom database software that measures the statistics that are specific to their own marketing campaigns. Although many businesses will need to measure basic data points such as conversion rates and click rates, not every company emphasizes the same avenues of marketing in their campaigns.

For example, one businesses may rely heavily on social media marketing while the other leans more toward email blasts. While each of these companies may need to keep a careful eye on how well its website is performing and the effectiveness of their call to action, the bulk of their statistics will be very different. One will consist of retweets and Facebook likes while other will look closely at the behaviors and characteristics of its subscribers.

Each can be accomplished using custom database software.

Customize big data by adding business-specific signals to the database

As discussed by this blog, big data is a mainstay in business operations. It's become essential for companies to now have the technological means to accumulate and analyze massive amounts of marketing and customer behavior data. But, choosing which variables to measure can be a complicated task, mostly due to the massive amount of data that's available.

According to Harvard Business Review, companies can increase the effectiveness of their analytical methods by adding what the source calls "signals." These data points are essentially more columns in a spreadsheet, but help add texture to the data that's being collected.

For example, a retailer that tracks customer spending habits would probably keep track of the customer's name, if they bought more than one item and what time they purchased the product. But, by adding in another signal – or variable – like whether the customer has a rewards card, businesses can gain a clearer picture on what types of customers are behaving in what way.

This can allow companies to adjust marketing methods and promotions, which, if done correctly, can foster better sales and a more efficient workforce.

But, in order to achieve this, businesses will need the technology to help maintain and analyze these statistics.

By consulting FileMaker developers, companies can create custom database software that can keep track of whichever signals they choose. Since no business is the same, the more customized the data can be, the more likely the company will benefit from its analysis.

As the article's author stated, "opinions are great, data is better," and using custom database software can provide a more effective way to analyze big data and make important decisions.