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Operational Excellence with Technology

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Listservs Help You Stay Connected

I’m a big advocate of collaboration, groups of people working together to share information. There are lots of ways to collaborate, wikis, forums, listservs, etc.

When I search Google for an answer to a problem, very frequently I’ll end up finding it on an archived forum. Another forum I have recommended for really learning the ins and outs of travel is a website called FlyerTalk, http://www.flyertalk.com.

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Save Your Files to the Cloud

Back in the good old days when backups were done on tapes, there was a lot of discussion of off-site backups. The idea was if your building burnt down, you’d still have a copy of the data you could use to recover your system.

Most people are lucky if they even have a backup, much less one that is off-site. But, when you think of disasters like the fires in California, floods in the Midwest, and hurricanes in the Southeast, there is a very real chance of you losing your primary computer.

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Converting Memos to Speech

A study by the Berman Institute of Selling found the average salesperson spends 17 hours a week in their car.

Last Tech Bit, I suggested using Podcasts to take advantage of that time for product training or other news about your company.

There’s another way to use audio to make your sales force more productive.

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Podcasting, DIY “Radio” Talk Shows

The Apple iPod, and iTunes ability to gather recordings via RSS (really simple syndication) feeds, created a whole new way to distribute music and other recorded audio. That combination for non-music audio became know as Podcasts. Now even though virtually any MP3 or computer media player supports distribution via RSS, the name has stuck.

RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a series of audio recordings, having them automatically sent to you whenever new ones are available. They usually are also on a website if you don’t want to use RSS, often with a written blog.

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Capturing Audio

On my last flight, I was reading Business Week and a photo struck me. Somebody, don’t remember or even know who, was giving a comment and all the reporters weren’t holding microphones or pocket tape recorders. They were holding tiny digital recorders.

I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me, I’ve been using digital recorders for several years.

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Taming the Business Card Monster

If you go to a trade show or convention, you’ll come home with a large stack of business cards and a lot of good intentions about what you’ll do with them.

Or go to some networking event, again you come home with lots of business cards.

You might be really lucky and have an assistant you can assign to enter those cards into your contact manager. But more and more, as organizations flatten, you don’t have that luxury.

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Keeping Track of Your Expenses

If you travel for business, whether you own the company or work for someone else, you have to keep track of your expenses.

If you are the owner, that “boss” called the Internal Revenue Service is likely to ask for your travel and entertainment expense documentation.

If you work for a company, they’ll want an expense report before reimbursing you for your expenditures.

Keeping track of expenses is a royal pain.

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Pocket Hard Drives Let You Carry Your Library

I use a scanner to bring home literature without the weight.

I also converted my three 5 drawer filing cabinets into PDF files that were OCR’d so I can search and find documents when I need them using Microsoft Desktop Search.

I can also carry those 33,458 pages of scanned documents on a pocket sized hard disk.

If I were still a salesman, I’d carry all my literature, technical support documents, manuals, etc. on the same drive. Our salesmen used to have a trunk full of paper to have the information they might need with them while they were on the road.

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