Captain! Data Iceberg Ahead

YouTube has changed the global communication landscape. It is now the global public broadcaster. The site has become the personal broadcast network to every individual with internet access and a modest amount of abilities. Whether YouTube can sustain this going forward as it currently is supported and monetized is we think an interesting but separate question. Not to mention the issue of some unhappy person or organization (militant, political, terrorist, chaos champion or misguided mischief maker) attacking the site because they take offense to a particular piece of work that has been posted. Yet, since using it is open to almost everyone, perhaps it is safe from such consideration.

The point I wish to focus upon is now everyone can pitch, explain, argue, demonstrate or soap box their ideas, product, philosophy or etc… A personal brand can be established, promoted and networked by the growing galaxy of social media tools and sites. Everyone has an opinion and now every opinion can have a home, can have a platform and can build an audience. 

However all opinions are not created equal. And just because someone else agrees does not make a view truer or less true. Because we have found a blogger(s) we really like might be because they share our perspective or bias and not that they have presented a well-rounded analysis. Nothing sounds more intelligent to me, than someone who sounds like me….

But is that what is really needed to develop and grow as a person, an organization, a culture or as a nation. It might be considered the statement ‘Buyer beware’ is more relevant than ever. Let me suggest it is possible the increased access to information has in fact made us less able to digest what we need. Now we must develop the ability to sort through the noise and shear volume of data that has now been created to get to the facts we need to make good decisions. There are after all three things our minds take in at one time; the event, the perception of the event and the opinion of the event.

The benefit the internet and social media have is the instant access to information and data. At the end of the day education requires the appropriate amount of time and effort to achieve. And that has not changed, just the format. The individual must still sort, analyze and digest or disregard.

We would love to hear your thoughts or provide further views.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the performance development of their people with a powerful online tool. Take control of your department, region or company training initiatives.

Even Customers Have A Date Stamp

The most valued thing to any business; are customers. We cherish them, we work diligently to get them and we appreciate them. We know our customers… right? Sure we do. They’re customers, our customers and they like us. They must, they’re doing business with us… They are like family! (Insert long silent, reflective pause)

Perhaps like family we take them for granted (occasionally, take another second to ponder), don’t communicate enough or ask the right questions… at the right time. We are so familiar, that we lose touch because of our familiarity.

Like that Yogurt in the company refrigerator… the one without the date stamp… we know about it, but realize we’re not sure if we should touch it…? How could something so good turn out so bad? Well like the Yogurt, maybe it is supposed to…

Is it the fact that not having a date stamp requires us to have better knowledge of the yogurt? Is it possible the missing date stamp is a cry for attention! We have a company CRM, email accounts, an abundance of phones, smart and not as much, from which we can talk or text and of course the new broadcast world of social media… how could we not know what the date stamp on our customer? [Every customer has a date stamp, don’t kid yourself!]

With all this technology it just might be we have lost the art of social interaction, which is more than just staying in touch. Arranging the next meeting, forwarding documents, seeking information and other such purely business-motivated interactions create exchange but are NOT communications. And with business happening globally, performance and production teams in multiple locations the art of interaction actually takes greater effort than in those good old face-to-face days.

Has our customer’s interest in a flavour changed, do they still appreciate the value of yogurt, I mean us. (The yogurt is an analogy… a living thing we have put in a container we call our customer).

What to do, what to do? Well consider assigning the responsibility(ies) as one does with any necessary function. Sit down and designate through a session with your team, who on the other team(s) they feel best suited to ‘connect’ with and stay engaged, not just from a process point of view but also from an insight perspective; perspective to the person but also through them to the organization, team and present situation. The situation, like the yogurt (a twist on the analogy…whoa) could be changing. 

Going back to the family analogy, sometimes important information comes out at the most unexpected times, informal times, like at dinner… Knowing how to draw it out is the (client) relationship attribute that needs to be developed and utilized. The secret to relationships is listening. The secret to understanding is knowledge and context. (Ho… there’s a mouthful!)

Have short informal sessions where you have your people talk about their people. Work toward gaining insight and sharing them so understanding of customers is always growing, evolving… like the cultures… in the yogurt.

Quizz4Bizz is a tool that helps organizations educate on their attributes and learn about the interests and values of customers and potential customers.

The Cloud, what if it Rains?

Once upon a time, we used software like it was a music album.

What store can I buy your software at? Do you sell from your website? Will you ship it to my location? Who pays for shipping? What if it gets lost? Can I download it instead, without viruses? What is your return policy?

Boy, the good old days…

Today, we have The Cloud…  

Yeah, but what is that,,,, exactly?

How does it work? Will it break? What country is it in? Or is it on the Mother Ship? What is the return policy?   Well Ollie, this is another fine mess you have got us in… ! (dated reference from BW movie buff)

We all know the world continues changing. Change has become the only constant. We at QuizzPoint said… adapted or perish. So in a world of change how to deliver our software to the waiting world in the most effective and user convenient manner.

The best way to cover the world, join the clouds… since they already cover it. In the world of software this comparison is very close to the truth. The world is already covered with a cloud, the internet; one big cloud… it envelops the planet reaching almost every point.

“You have a great tool we could really use to help our organization, but you won’t sell it to me… I have to rent it”, says a Customer.

“What is all this about…?”

Think of leasing and not buying your auto. Think of renting instead of buying a house. Think of using web radio instead of buying CD’s. Think of living together before you decide to get married. (Okay, that last one might be a touchy example… but perhaps expresses it the clearest. Just maybe, you don’t get married… you find something better…!) 

The examples are general but from them you can get the concept. Don’t use your equipment to run software, use ours. Well in our case (QuizzPoint) the equipment of our software hosting partner, who has 100 times the resources, flexibility, backed up and resources for hiccups to be treated instantly than with using our own servers. (There were two by the way, but businesses like Amazon, GoDaddy, IBM, Miscrosoft and other such host businesses, large to mid-sized are out there waiting to help). Back when we first did this, explaining to users they couldn’t have our product, they could just use it… well a great deal of time was spent explaining to customers the why’s and wherefores’. Thanks to the Cloud this concept is now almost universally understood and accepted. Say ‘YouTube’ and people start to grasp what is going on.

Consider this great feature of using Cloud tools (software applications on someone else’s equipment), you are always using the latest version. That’s right, no waiting… when the software company makes an improvement… you’re using it next day, heck the same day.

To speed our service to customers, we operate in real time, anywhere in the world from desktop, laptop or tablet, thanks to the Cloud, which going back to the start of this blog… would be a great handle for a band!

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with employee performance development with a powerful online tool. Take control of your department, region or company training initiatives.

Employee Development As The Constant

The Future requires training and let’s be frank and candid, the future is here. At a recent company meeting I offered the following remark, ‘Change is now the only Constant.’ Our discussion proceeded on how we as a company and as individuals cope with this new reality.

Personally speaking more and more of my day is consumed in reading just in order to keep up. The downside of living in the most dynamic time in the planet’s history is dealing with the acceleration of innovation… of change. When the excitement subsides for a moment I sometimes find myself… exhausted. Yet I am charged to push forward again after a short bout of nonsensical television or crashed online video clips.               

Companies today are doing more with less. Sounds like a great verification of a strategic and innovative business initiative, and might be. But more likely it is the driving need to keep up with global competition on every front while as the same global marketplace is driving costs down at increasing rates. Lean is one thing, but I look around at my peers and their organizations and see anorexia!

The issue of monetizing business efforts to the levels needed to be self-sustaining may well be the greatest business challenge of the very and not too distant future. So, how do businesses cope? One clear way is to make sure those resources that arm the store and the competitive battlefield of business are equipped and trained.

Training will become an essential and everyday business activity. Our staff, those resources vital to keeping our business relative must be kept fully aware of policies, practices, procedures and initiatives to support our customers. It is not only necessary to provide training and information but to discover in real time if those steps are attaining the desired results.

As trainers, educators, leaders we need to know in real time if our message is being understood! We need to discover where we have hit the target with our message and where we have missed. We need to get this information in a fast, graphic, clear format so instructors can see in an instant the level of effectiveness being attained.

Here are some suggestions for consideration:

1)   Training must be part of every team members function and for this to happen and have full participation both the employer and employee must be contributing subject matter material.

2)   The training information and review system should be accessible and function from one (device) screen, so the user is not skipping about the internet connecting to a variety of sites and tools.

3)   In today’s world, the materials and review function needs to be accessible to all participants via multiple devices 24/7; desktop, laptop and/or mobile device be it a business or personal devices.

4)   Feedback for the participant must be as readily available as it is for the instructors and managers when possible and not sensitive to security considerations or performance assessment.

5)   The training materials and results data must be updated automatically in real time; it must be a live and dynamic tool.

6)   All relative training results data must be available to provide verification to appropriate bodies to comply with governances.

We would love to hear your thoughts or provide further views.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with their training and performance development with a powerful online tool. Take control of your department, region or company training initiatives.

It’s Time for a Data Diet

You are in your car, the traffic is terrible so you decide to take a quick second and call home since you are standing still or something far too close to it. You will of course do this with a hands free device, perhaps running through your radio… and thinking to yourself just how cool that is. But you begin to notice the road you are on is not the only congested relative space affecting you.

You have voice activated a call and hear it dial. Then… nothing… You look to the screen, yep, the phone is dialing… and dialing… still dialing! This seems to be taking a very long time… but wait, there you go, now it is calling….  and calling… followed by more calling. You have just hit 28 seconds and no call yet. It is suddenly 40 seconds. This is not a very long time and in particular in comparison to your drive time, seeing as you haven’t travelled 40 feet in your vehicle yet either.

What we have here… is failure to communicate! That never ending telecom bandwidth we have been using is suddenly becoming like all the other resources we humans’ blast through. It is evaporating before our eyes… and ears.

You see, almost every vehicle is attempting the same thing or a variation thereof using the electronic communication ethos. Look around; that jerk to your side is texting… the twit behind… losing a game of some kind. Hey that person in front is taking an online test…? What’s with that?

So now what… our dynamic increased productivity… yes both personal and business is slipping down! Just when we were getting used to it and really producing like crazy, this must mean the very end of existence.

Perhaps it just means two things, we will have to be more organized… and shouldn’t we be experts in this anyway and… the technologies we run will have to drop some weight! Yes that’s right, trim down. An electronic diet so to speak. We need to find methods of reducing how etools are transmitted in order to save data space… it is necessary. If not, we will be all back with landlines and home phones. Okay, I started hyper ventilating there for a moment. But smart phones are fat phones… ideal for and sucking up bandwidth for data (games, pics, video and the ever growing linked and forwarded postings on the ever growing hub of social network sites/tools) to the point where we should consider stop calling them phones… they’re computers and talking is just a feature.

In his January 2012 blog, Timo Ketonen, updated the following information; ‘Nearly a billion people now use mobile broadband across the globe’ as reported in The Guardian, January 26th, 2012 and it was noted that Ericsson estimated it to hit 1.4 B by… end of 2012.

The fact remains that telecommunications companies know their money comes from moving data, not voice. And when supply diminishes, well we know what happens to price. So as usage increases, application compression will become King (Queen… President… you get the idea), so start paying attention. Think of your internet handheld computer device that can make phone calls and usage like driving a vehicle, are you in an extended SUV pulling a trailer up a hill or in a Smart Car… (pun intended, but it must be stated we have no connection to the manufacturer of the Smart Car…)? Because the cost to do so is about to matter.

QuizzPoint Corporation makes the training and professional development process of our customers easier by identifying knowledge gaps so improvements can be made to increase understanding and execution. 

The Deserted Island Device Debate – 2012-13

Which device is the best to engage and experience the resource that is the Internet with its Social Networks and communications capabilities? Well the truth is, each one provides certain unique advantages over the others… depending on usage requirements and locations. Many of us have or will have most if not all of the electronic devices that link, communicate, compute and connect. Now let’s play ‘What if’.

Of the desktop, the laptop, the smart phone, the tablet (regular, mini and…. Nano version, can that be far behind?), which one device would you want to have if left on a desert island that for the sake of this scenario had power… so the mini-fridge worked and you could charge your device and access the internet using your only neighbour, the satellite tower. And get this I’ll include an additional big screen monitor…. as in really big. So, what is the device you select?

Oh, and one other thing. No extra accessories like a keyboard… you use only what the device comes with. Many of you may be irked with this rule,but its only fair if we are to engage this ‘what if’ scenario. And you will notice there are no game devices on the list because they aren’t really communication devices…yet.

Now for those of you who can program and would want to create some great technology to enhance your stay on the island, lets say like a security system against island intruders, you will likely lean toward the desktop, which with the second monitor would make the process easier. Some financial, medical, engineering, production and other professionals might also lean towards a desktop because of the functional advantage of dual screen use. For the desktop leaning people you would have to build a table… and find or create something to be a chair…. no hammock use or beach sitting here. And you will need to put up a tent for when it rains.

The laptop gives desktop computing equality with mobility so the beach and hammock are in play!  Okay there are some power and speed differences but really… unless you are building a rocket… come on, YOU CAN BE ON A BEACH!!!! Screen size and clarity are excellent, you have a decent keyboard and being wallplug-free for periods of time make it in my view a device that continues to be useful for the long term.

The tablet is not yet a full computer (as of the end of 2012) but how far away is that… (2013)? Keyboards, sorry… not there yet. If you type a lot they are ‘ugh’. Though more convenient to carry and often easier to navigate and control, they have the advantage (disadvantage?) of touch screen. Screen size might be an issue for some depending on what the use of the moment is.

For the (smart) phone – don’t care which one – screen size is the issue. Yes its okay some of the time… but seriously, you want to watch the championship or James Bond… on a phone!

However the big thing about the phone, is that it is in fact, a phone. And works well for that purpose, like on the island you will want to order pizza, what’s a desert island without pizza delivery. The voice is the oldest, fastest and properly used, the most efficient method to communicate.

The advancement of voice recognition and user development of dictation skills will change the landscape for all devices… because really if you can just say it… and of course the great thing is that the device will have to listen, unlike some people we may attempt to communicate with! (I shall say no more.) Maybe it’s just me, but its still faster and more effective to type. Siri or Suishi or… these feminine techno clones that know too much about you, still need to improve so in a noisy restaurant the order from the next table does not end up in your text message or lead to some off topic web search. And the process of writing (typing the word) is supposed to help in crafting the thought… with the exception of tweeting it seems.

So we have a variety of uses and a variety of features… but which one is the must have…? which is the ‘can live without’?  And what is the must have ranking, top to bottom?

State your case.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the training, performance development and employee empowerment with a flexible, easy and inexpensive Cloud tool. People make the difference. 

3D Printing – Next Game Changer

        There has been a very quiet earthquake that very few have yet to even notice but that has changed the landscape forever. In 2013 consumers will be able to purchase, likely from some retail outlet, a little device called a 3 D printer… perhaps for as little as a few thousand dollars.

         Boom! That was the sound of a paradigm shift. The landscape is moving under our feet.

         A small device that can sit on your desktop, okay you may need a larger desk, but none-the-less makes you not only a design firm, team or individual… It makes you a manufacturing facility. For all that entails and with all the implications attached.

         So to call it a printer is really a misnomer. It is actually closer to a injection mold machine… Put your design in one end and out the other comes your widget, ready to ship in the colour  wanted and exactly how your customer needs it. That should be Boom #2.

         Begin to let your mind wonder. This past year Mercedes Benz, as did every other auto manufacturer one would surmise in this competitive global sector, undertook a re-design of their just in time manufacturing process to increase efficiency for a specific model series. The auto industry since the 1980’s has swung to the ‘Just In Time’ production process, a production philosophy and method that has grown and expanded to other industries since.

For those of you not aware of this method let me give you a very brief example. You order a new car, but want red seats not grey and the order goes to the plant to be manufactured. As your car starts down the assembly line… there actually are no seats, anywhere. In fact there is not dashboard, steering wheel… you get the idea. Your seats like all the other parts arrive at the assembly line to be placed into your car by the team or machine… just moments before hand. The exact red seats you asked for. Your car is finished and sent to the dealer for you to pick up as ordered it.

The benefit to the manufacturer in this case should be obvious, they are not pre-manufacturing parts and holding them until your red seat order arrives. They don’t need to have the extra space to inventory them, the investment in making them or the gamble of guessing if you wanted red seats in the first place. When you want red seats they buy them hours ahead of time and the auto parts manufacturer sends them having been given only a day or two notice… and guess what, they don’t actually have the seat cover when they get their order… and so on.

I am guessing you can see the logistical issues that arrive in getting the red fabric to the seat frame assembler in time to have it at your car at the very moment it is being built. Manufactures have replaced the day when the auto plant was surrounded by auto owned support manufacturing components facilities. The seats were made just out the back door of the auto assembly line, the doors in the building beside and the…

Auto plants were geographically huge. Today, that seat comes from thousands of miles away. But… if you can, in a very short time custom make that one seat, as needed from a small work station just to the side of the seat installation assembly line location… or grey, or white, or blue (from the same unit) the changed landscape, is changing back? Now this process will need to evolve to where it is a total cost equivalent to the system now in place, but it will provide the manufacturer flexibility and greater control. Redesign will be done… live, on the spot. The manufacturing process will become fully dynamic.

Now think clothes, your office furnishings, your…. KaBoom! So think about what you are going to ask Santa for this Christmas after you take a look at the following:

QuizzPoint Corporation makes the training and professional development process of our customers easier by identifying knowledge gaps so improvements can be made to increase understanding and execution.

Employee Development – The QuizzPoint Story

        The core of the QuizzPoint management team first came together in a business (Bright Lights – Big Picture) that created multimedia, software tools, ecommerce function, and corporate presentation solutions to North American organizations including Fortune 500 companies. Several in the group had performance training expertise and this became an additional consulting service provided to customers, providing employee development and training.

         In an effort to do the most effective job we could for clients with training and education projects, while at the same time making our execution as simplified as we could make it for ourselves, what is now the back end and database structure of QuizzPoint was first developed. As new customers saw the reporting and administrative functions we could bring them, new features were added based upon their input.

         The QuizzPoint interface was then tailored to enhance not only functionality but provide a more dynamic architecture structure with increased control. This allowed us to provide graphic representations of information that allowed clients to make almost instant assessments of our training initiatives.

         In order to speed our customer service to clients, email and communication utility was added to distribute the data, test results, test reports and link to the training participants and client managers. The next logical step was to allow the training participants to have access to their performance results at the appropriate time via our framework. Soon we were able to do this in real time. Back when we first did this, prior to Cloud tools we referred to this as a virtual platform… and spent a great deal of time explaining to customers just what that was. Thanks to iTunes this concept is now almost universally accepted… but back then there was a lot of ‘where exactly is it and is it safe and will it disappear when we don’t want that to happen…etc, etc..’

         Then came the ability for some of our customers to create their own content and just use our tool. To assist with this request the software was configured to distribute content and later to link to content. This meant our customers could produce their own PowerPoint presentations, use PDF files, create their own training videos and finally access and link to public domain content that resided on the internet; Again a bit of an unusual concept prior to YouTube. But customer began to ask for this ability more and more frequently.

         After several internal conversations the business model for what is now QuizzPoint, a stand alone tool for organizations to use from the cloud to educate, train, track, verify and administer came to the fore. We had the very good fortune of having customers from our consulting business assist with not only the development, but provide the proof of concept with many of the project we were retained to deliver. The software was used under short period heavy load requirements, mid and longer term mid load requirements with peak periods (think exam week) and longer term and continual user volume requirements.

         QuizzPoint was rolled out in a soft launch business model in 2010 as the former business was begun to be wound down. Today, we use our expertise to assist customers create valuable education and training structures.

         QuizzPoint recently was given a new business face to help visitors to link directly to information that would help them with their particular objectives. We help them discover ‘What their people know and don’t know, so knowledge gaps can be identified, strengths and weaknesses reviewed and improved strategies and methods incorporated to improve efficiencies of teams, groups, companies and organizations. We look forward to assisting organizations improve their performance with the use of training and education.