Top 5 Apps For January

Alexander Roth

 A sales optimization tool, an elegant electronic notebook, and an all-in-one travel assistant. Our first bunch of recommended apps for 2013.

 (Photo: istockphoto) (Photo: istockphoto)

A new year means new apps! To help you get a flying start to 2013, we’ve selected five new apps that will save you time and make your life easier. Paper, the “iPad App of the Year 2012,” lets you transform your iPad into a stylish digital notebook.  If you want to enter orders immediately during a customer meeting, then i-Deal is definitely the app for you. To optimize sales, store managers need constant insight into shelf availability. SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager provides an overview of shelf availability issues on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.

Here’s a list of our top 5 apps for January:

SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager by SAP AG

Having products available on the shelf at all times is a vital success factor in the retail business. To optimize sales, you need a constant overview of the current situation at the point of sale so that you can resolve stock outages fast. SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager for the iPad gives store managers all the information they need on their tablets. The app shows them which products have already had or are currently having shelf availability issues per department – on a weekly, daily, or hourly basis – along with details of how the store associates resolved each of the issues. Based on this information, store managers can plan their resource scheduling and inventory management to ensure optimized shelf availability for all articles.

One of a store manager’s key tasks is to check the weekly statistics for shelf availability issues by department. Functions for drilling down to daily and hourly views help analyze the route causes of stockouts. By drilling down to details of how each issue was resolved, the management team gains a clearer overview of the processes involved and can make appropriate adjustments to optimize them.  The app shows how vendors, business processes, or employee performance may be affecting the on-shelf availability of an article in the store.

To use the SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager app with their business data, users must have SAP POS DM 1.0 implemented on an SAP HANA database, with mobile services enabled by their IT department.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes

i-Deal from L-mobile

If you work in a sales force, you’ll be familiar with this scenario: You’ve had a long day of meetings with customers and you need to document the results online. You can’t do it on site, so you often spend the evening in front of your home office PC. This is where i-Deal, an app for iPhone and iPad, comes in handy: It is specifically designed to let you enter and process orders and quotes immediately during a customer meeting.

The app can be used offline and offers a wealth of functions that sales force and field personnel need on a daily basis.  Alongside a customer database and scaled-down CRM system, i-Deal lets you import photos, data sheets, presentations, and films in all the major Office formats to create your own product catalog. You can also preconfigure the order form and invoice to match your requirements and export them via a PDF, XML, or CSV interface or by e-mail. i-Deal also has a large number of built-in interfaces to popular business systems such as SAP Business One, Sage Office Line & CRM, Lexware, Outlook, and Microsoft Navision. The price of the app depends on the functional scope required and the number of users. A free test version is available.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes (app available in English; description in German only)

Paper by FiftyThree

Named “iPad App of the Year 2012” in the productivity category, Paper transforms your iPad into what numerous mobile end devices promised and failed to deliver: a digital notepad. Whether you work with your finger or a stylus – drawing, coloring, writing, and sketching are all child’s play with this app. If you’ve got a minute, check out the Madewithpaper Web gallery for a selection of quick jots and sketches created using Paper, as well as some genuine mini-masterpieces.

Users can place their notes and sketches into one or more journals, depending on their preferences. Tapping the “Plus” button lets you duplicate either whole notebooks or individual pages.  To share your ideas with others, you simply tap the “Share” button to access platforms such as Tumblr and Facebook or send an e-mail straight from the app.

A highly practical feature of the app is the “Rewind” function, which lets you trace your creative process back to the beginning and pick it up again in a different place.  However, there is no zoom function and no “Undo” button; you have to use the eraser instead.  The free version of Paper includes a fountain pen:  A lead pencil, marker, ink pen, paintbrush, and color mixer can all be purchased separately. The “Essentials” package, which contains all the writing implements and the paintbrush, costs €5.99.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes

Travel App Box from Cerasus Media

Cerasus Media describes this app as a Swiss Army knife for travelers. The Travel App Box for iPad/iPhone brings together 15 handy tools for business and leisure travelers, including a currency converter, flight status function, subway timetables and maps, dialing codes, and pretty much everything you need to get by on a trip abroad. The app is tailored to global travel and provides key information about over 30 countries and 40 major cities. Travel App Box can be used offline, although an Internet connection is required for the flight status function and the route planner. A quick look at the function list tells you that the programmers are seasoned travelers who know exactly what will come in useful, be it a clothing size converter, a unit calculator, emergency phone numbers, or a picture dictionary for situations where the linguistic going gets tough. The app costs just under €2 and, according to the vendor, will be supplemented with additional material on an ongoing basis.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes

Video Photo Looper from ArmorActive

Video Photo Looper provides a quick and convenient option for creating and presenting video and picture shows on your iPad or iPhone. It’s an ideal app for sales force personnel and other field employees who need to display content to customers in the form of digital signage. Initiated by tapping the screen with seven fingers, this app is simple and intuitive to use, particularly because its functional scope is limited to creating video and photo sequences. Files are imported by accessing a folder on the local device; a Dropbox interface is sadly not yet available. The app, which is available free of charge, lets you define individual end pages for your video and slide shows, but offers no further options.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes




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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.


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The Importance Of Leadership On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Charmian Solter

Here at Switch & Shift we strive to illuminate effective leadership practices. We pride ourselves on creating cutting-edge solutions for employee engagement, communication, and creating company culture, to name a few.

Why are these topics so important? Well, according to The Importance of Employee Engagement infographic by NBRI, courtesy of Brandon Gaille, if leadership doesn’t step up and affect change and build trust and engagement, their employees will be busy doing anything but work while on the job! This infographic says it all.


For more on developing more engaged, loyal, and productive workers, see How Empowering Employees Creates a More Engaged Workforce.


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