Job hunting? There’s an app for that

Jill VanHoesen

Jill VanHoesen

According to a February Learnvest article, “politicians and pundits had a field day with the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on the Affordable Care Act and whether it would lead to Americans walking away from jobs now that they no longer had to worry about health care.” This is really only one component of what is a larger growing worry: the number of Americans who are dissatisfied with their jobs and what that can mean to your business and the economy. [Read more...]

Ensure telemarketing compliance

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

The rules have changed for new or existing customer telemarketing phone calls or advertising SMS text messages, cellphone or residential landlines with the latest Telephone Consumer Protection Act regulation. This new ruling, effective Oct. 16, removes the “established business relationship” exception and replaces it with the obligation of the telemarketer to receive “prior express written consent” to make telemarketing calls or send marketing text messages using an auto dialer or robocall technology.

This is the third regulation, stemming from the FCC’s Feb. 15, 2012 ruling, which also brought further consumer protection with call abandonment calculations and automated opt-out requirements, effective in November 2012 and January 2013.

Does your business use an autodialer or pre-recorded voice calls to market and advertise to new or existing customers? Do you make telephone calls or send text messages that include advertisements? If so, have you received a traditional written signature “opting in” from customers you plan on marketing to? Or did you receive an electronic or digital form of signature via your website or SMS message reply? [Read more...]

IP phone systems worth the move

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

Even as more and more people are sporting cellphones, your business’s land line is in many ways still the lifeline to your customers. If you have not made the move already, 2014 should be the time you look to an Internet Protocol phone system and unified communications at your organization. An IP phone system uses your existing Internet connection to converge or unify your voice, data and even video conferencing, providing cost savings over traditional copper telephone lines and a PBX phone system.

Before you make the leap, there are several considerations to ensure a satisfactory employee and customer experience. Voice and video conferencing are not as forgiving as mail and file sharing. Have you experienced a slight delay when retrieving email or downloading something from your file server or the Internet? [Read more...]

Pop your hood for amazing tech

Jill Van Hoesen

It was back in the late 1970s when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began to insist that automakers devise ways to monitor the effectiveness of automobile emission control systems. This led to the birth of the first version of the standardized On-Board Diagnostics protocol. Late model cars now have the second generation OBD, known as OBD-II, and require a Controller Area Network to efficiently connect all of a vehicle’s sensors.

Vehicles are increasingly becoming computers with wheels—a system of software protocols and wires connecting a vehicle’s computers and sensors. [Read more...]

Apps, e-portals improve patient care

Jill Van Hoesen

Does anyone remember a doctor making a house call complete with the famous black bag? Does your health care provider still have shelves and shelves of the color-coded manila folders? I personally haven’t been to a doctor, dentist or even an urgent care office that is not only taking appointments, but now conducting most patient care via laptops or iPads.

During my latest visit to the Women to Women Samaritan Family Health Center, I was introduced to and enrolled in All I needed to provide was an email address and within minutes I had a login, temporary password and the website up on my Android. As a matter of fact, I also got to check my email and send some text messages, but wait times are for another time and column.

The website as well as the Healow app are using software from eClinicalWorks, a leader in ambulatory clinic technology solutions boasting a customer base of more than 80,000 physicians and 472,000 other assorted medical professionals in all 50 states. [Read more...]

Remain vigilant on network security

Jill Van Hoesen

As the world was watching Edward Snowden leak information about the National Security Agency, more than 100 Information Technology professionals were attending the 2013 Western New York Cyber Security Conference, hosted by iSECURE. Special agents from the FBI’s Buffalo field office led a keynote discussion and began with this quote from Director Robert Mueller: “There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be. Even that is merging into one category: those that have been hacked and will be again. Maintaining a code of silence will not serve us in the long run.”

This certainly got the attention of the audience. The presentation continued with explanations of how other countries seek to exploit our trust in email, the devices we carry and the Internet in general. The special agents urged the audience to remain vigilant and mindful about security, as adversaries from across the world are trying to exploit trust and vulnerabilities in companies from “railroads and power generation to everything in between.” [Read more...]

Manage email clutter with strategy

As the nights get longer, the days get warmer and children finish another school year, most of us are thinking about summer vacation.

This is the perfect excuse to change your habits and how you handle the constant onslaught of email messages. With emails coming at you on multiple platforms, from your smartphone and tablet to your desktop or laptop at work and home, here are a few suggestions to master the ever-expanding animal called the “inbox.”

Jill Van Hoesen

With emails now coming in on so many devices you really need to have a plan. By developing good habits — not just for the summer when time seems to be even more of a precious commodity, but to use all year long — not only will you be able to enjoy the north country’s all too short summer season, but you’ll also have more free time. [Read more...]

Ask your vendors pointed questions

If your work life is anything like mine, each week you’re flooded with emails and phone calls from product or service vendors trying to get a few minutes of your time. As much as you might think you don’t have the time, a relationship with your core vendors and service providers is crucial to your company and allows you to keep an eye on developing trends in various areas critical to the strategic choices you have made in technology related services. Spending some time on this just makes sense but how do you separate the potential useful contacts from the time wasters? As part of CIO Insight’s Vendor Value Study, a five-question roadmap was developed to help make these meetings worth your time.

[Read more...]

Evaluate freeware to lower costs

Established long before indoor plumbing and even the home telephone, the Dugas Studio, my family’s business, was founded in 1892 by my great-grandfather and operated quite differently than most family businesses today.

With Internet access continually expanding, handwritten appointment books and accounting ledgers have given way to technology that enables flexibility and sharpens the competitive edge for family businesses. [Read more...]

Expect a few licensing price hikes

Worldwide, information technology spending this year is expected to total $247 billion with 69 percent of that earmarked for server management and administration. Microsoft has ensured an even larger portion of this by increasing the purchase price on some of its most popular and widely deployed server software. [Read more...]