Importance of Digitalization in Airports for Flight Information

In this era of technology, digital innovation is engaging customers and improving their experience worldwide; the same holds for the aviation industry as well. Notably, the airlines flight information provides details about the various flights operated by different airlines across the globe. Specifically, the digitalization of flight tickets makes them popular among the travelers all over the world, as it enables them you to plan the trip and book flights accordingly.

The digitalized flight information of the modern times helps passenger through numerous ways:

  • Pre-travel- online check-in and online reservation
  • Baggage & security, validation and check-in
  • Passenger-way finding and airport services
  • Gates, lounges and boarding
  • Assistance while on board
  • Assistance during arrivals and immigrations

Digital signage hardware

To ensure proper functioning of the aviation industry, the digital signage hardware is of high importance. It controls messaging from a centralized location, influences the customer by triggering content based on viewer features, and combines their online strategy with in-store. The hardware is effective in boosting sales by utilizing displays for the use of advertisement in several specific situations. Preferably, these include the time when the travelers are waiting in the departure hall, baggage claim area, in the bus and the train platform etc. It also integrates real time information like social media, special announcements, traffic info, weather, and more.

Digitalization in aviation industry

The digitalization is also crucial to track the passengers through their smart phones all through the airport journey. Whether it is departure gate, manage queue or car park, digitalization paved its way everywhere. It is equally effective in building new commercial opportunities through the competency to interact with travelers based on their respective locations. The versatile digital signage offers one stop solution to collect the relevant information related to the airport services and the passengers. Some of the important information types include:

  • Trigger/event and information regarding location
  • Time-schedule information
  • Individual personalized marketing/data relating to boarding pass information & age/gender information
  • Passenger categorizing and counting
  • A collection of all customer-based data in a central customer database for additional processing.

Airport app for flight information

The airport app is the need of the hour for the passengers who are longing for information regarding flight detail, tickets and other services. It prevents you to stand in the long queue and avail the desired information in a few seconds. Some of its beneficial features are as follows:

  • Manage account and stepwise sign up
  • Wi-Fi access on terminal
  • Flight search, show and view flight information, include flight to private calendar
  • Information regarding tickets, discounts and offers on off season
  • Service catalogue, buy and search services, incorporation of payment provider
  • Deals, information and services on the basis of expected user location, memorized flights as well as other contextual information
  • Virtual tour and maps

Stock Market Forecasting – Fundamental and Technical Analysis

Market forecasting is a challenging part of stock market analysis as market prediction has become the most complex task of an analyst. Market forecasting helps a trader to choose the type of security, the time of buy or sell a security and the amount that they should invest on that security.

The type of analysis used by the traders or market analysts falls into two major categories-

1. Fundamental Analysis

2. Technical Analysis

Both of the above methods rely on certain information that comes from various news sources, analytical data or investments charts.

Fundamental Analysis-

Fundamental analysis involves careful study of company’s financial operations, economic condition, assets, debts, management, products and completion. Thus fundamental analysis is based on the study of financial and industry information of a company to predict the movement of the price of its stock. Fundamental analysis is usually helpful in long term investment and day traders do not rely much on it. However some believe that the simultaneous study of fundamentals and technical can result better for day trading.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is the method of evacuating securities by analyzing stock charts. It includes the analysis of market data, volume and open interest in order to predict the future trend of a stock. The analysts study the company’s past performance and study the charts to analyze if there are any patterns in the price of that security. Information about a stock’s price, volume and other important information can be displayed on a graphical chart. There are various software where study of such graph can be done very effectively and easily to study the patterns and trends. These patterns further used to determine when to buy or sell a security.

The Role of Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) In The Industrial Sector

Clean water is a basic human need. Humans cannot live without water, especially clean water. Humans need clean water for various activities such as bathing, washing, drinking, industrial processes, etc. The need for clean water continues to increase at any time, no matter whether you live on the coast or in an area with bad freshwater sources, you must have clean water to survive. To overcome this problem, water treatment technology emerged. This water treatment technology is called desalination. There are two types of desalination technology today, they are Reverse Osmosis (RO) and edr water treatment, or often called Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR).

RO technology is one of the most effective technologies in processing brackish water into freshwater because it uses a membrane that can reduce salt levels by up to 95%. The desalination method with RO technology is often used by developed countries such as Saudi Arabia, England, Cyprus, etc., to convert seawater into freshwater. RO technology requires high energy and considerable operational costs, so it is not suitable for all people.

The pressure required for edr water treatment is lower than RO technology. EDR membrane ability is more durable than RO because of EDR process can minimize the occurrence of fouling on the membrane. Also, the investment and operational costs of EDR are lower than RO due to the use of fewer chemicals in pretreatment. The energy used by EDR is electricity so it is more affordable and easy to obtain. Because of these advantages, EDR technology has taken a new direction in water purification and restoration techniques that have never existed before in meeting basic human and industrial needs. In the industrial sector, EDR technology can be applied for industrial wastewater recovery. Industrial companies will be protected from porous and damaged pipe systems due to calcium and magnesium deposits in hard water.

Finally, Reversal Electrodialysis (EDR) is a separation process using a cation exchange membrane, where ions move from one solution to another through the membrane due to the difference in electrical voltage. This process takes place in a place called the electrodialysis cell. In the industrial sector, edr water treatment techniques are widely used in seawater desalination, drinking water production, water separation from waste, pre-demineralization for boiler purposes, also in food and beverage factories, for example, to reduce sour taste in fruit juices, etc.

The advantages of EDR include better water recovery rates, even if the raw water contains high sulfate content. The lifetime of the membrane is up to 7-10 years, it can be operated at high temperatures, the membrane can withstand chloride and high pH, ​​the process is easy to adjust to various raw water qualities, the EDR machine is easy to operate at start-up and shut-down when used briefly.

How Enterprises Will Cope Up With Information Security in 2018

Digital transformation of business organizations has a great impact on the information security industry and this impact will continue for the coming few years. Today, there is more awareness about the importance of security than before, but are things in a better position than a year back? Information security is evolving with every passing day not by choice, but because business organizations are continuously facing new threats to security. We have seen that simply handling the sharing of personal information in different ways will not solve the purpose. The nature of threats is changing too, and it is time to remain prepared for different types of attacks.

To keep pace with the threats, cybersecurity teams have to continuously adapt and evolve the new threat types, often requiring to invest in latest security technologies and adjusting with the new defensive processes. The trends will play a crucial role in enterprise security. Let’s take a look at the new areas emerging.

Sharing big data securely:

As the usage of data increases in every organization and more and more businesses are adopting big data systems, it is important to protect the personal identification information, intellectual property and other regulated data while being able to share the information securely. Today, organizations are switching to a policy based approach for greater access control and to share critical information between partners, departments and customers and ensure that only those who are authorized to view sensitive information can do so.

DevSecOps:

IT leaders have always tried to meet the challenges of various business enterprise in order to better support their initiatives. Development, security and operations, DevSecOps has now emerged as a new means for the cross functional teams to work together. This approach is about considering new services to produce faster than the legacy approaches. It is here that information security plays a great role and it is vital to ensure that uninterrupted delivery practices also embrace great security practices. Secured access control devices like attribute based access control can now be automated like DevSecOps to ensure easy access to microservices, big data and APIs and etc.

Identity and access management:

Most organizations are now focusing on great user experience so that they can stand apart from the tough competition. But any sort of information security breach can instantly destroy their experience and their reputation. Identity and access management is about balancing the customer experience and security without sacrificing one for the other. It enables the organizations to capture and securely manage the identity data of the customer whole profiling the data and controlling their access to various services and applications.

Monitoring and reporting:

Enterprises are also considering to implement advanced technologies to monitor and report any type of internal security threats and to find the culprits within their organization. It is by using machine learning, artificial intelligence or data analytics that they can now identify the anomalies that would go unnoticed otherwise. When any access control that is attribute based is deployed, the activity log data can be used to enhance the monitoring and reporting processes.

Securing the cloud applications:

Moving to the cloud is what organizations are adopting now. Enterprises are now shifting their infrastructure to the cloud and this means that they need cloud native security capabilities and products. The most important security layer is the access control to the data that is cloud hosted and any other business resources. The ABAC model runs in the cloud and is used to secure the cloud assets and this gives high flexibility to the cloud based enterprises.

Today, about 64% enterprises are increasing their information security budget and this means that they are aware of the security threats and want to take initiatives to control cyber threat and risk levels.

How Hotels Can Cope Up With the Airbnb Generation Through Information Outsourcing

Sharing services are disruptive innovations. The emergence of the sharing economy may have been favorable for most of today’s consumers but affected industries consider these advancements as enemies to economic growth. These unintendedly push for the demise of its traditional counterparts.

Only a few have initiated to reinvent themselves to play along with the game their modern competitor has been winning. As per hotels, Airbnb is not just an enemy but is the technology they still have to adapt.

The Hurting Impact

Airbnb was now regarded as the largest peer to peer hospitality service since its conception in 2008. This platform has been doing the old things by trying the new ways. The utilization of digital technology and social media in the marketplace provided a holistic user experience with regards to consumer choices. It has been inconclusive if Airbnb really caused the deflating hotel bookings, but the ballooning industry of Airbnb is undeniable in its own extent.

Apart from moving people to spaces away from establishments, their recent campaign on “living like a local” trended among millennial travelers. Airbnb has also established their online reputation system where previous guests can leave a rating and review.

Intimate and Personal

At the very least, learn from your toughest competitor.

Personalizing the experience has been the trend among generation renters, the millennials. However, hotels need staff who they can talk to 24/7 and to be accountable for their whole hotel experience.

Information outsourcing equips industries with the kind of technology to supplement this need. Apart from better quality of personalized services, hotels will also have advertising campaigns and marketing designs, alongside. Technology workers could also provide hotels with specified programs and apps, organize their logistics, and even manage their internal processes. Recruiting highly- skilled staff of solutions team is not as risky yet cost- effective as it will improve your services a lot.

Equipped with your own technology department, you can now easily outsource direct services such as laundry, cleaning, restaurant, janitorial, and even emergency issues. It can also scope reservations, technical support, customer care, airport transfers, and a lot more. This may also include add-on services such as access to airline bookings, travel agents, tourism offices, public transport, or car rentals.

The hospitality industry has been shifting to higher degrees of process automation. Recruitment of technology talents in hospitality would be a great leap to take the game to your advantage and to reclaim the territory back to its rightful owner.

How Has Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) Revolutionized Engineering Industry?

CAD, Computer Aided Design has brought about a technical revolution in the Engineering Industry. CAD Services can be classified into broad categories like Architectural Services, Structural Services, MEP and Mechanical Services. CAD for Engineers and Architects today is like Oxygen for the living. CAD Services is a boon for all companies’ worldwide who would like to execute CAD projects with minimum cost and quick deliverable capacity. With the consistently growing demands in construction industry and CAD services have achieved eminence across the globe. This technology has contributed immensely in development of Construction Industry, Building and Infrastructure development, Green Building concept along with other Engineering Domains like Machine Designing, Aeronautical sheets, Transformer designing, GIS, Pressure vessel designing etc..

Engineering industry today uses CAD Services to ensure Less cost, best quality, quick turnaround time along with excellent project efficiency. CAD is no longer limited to AutoCAD. There has been a great evolution in the CAD Software too. CAD professionals globally use software which is helpful in are using latest software like AutoCAD, Revit, 3D Studio Max, Pro-E, Solid Works, Inventor, MicroStation etc to execute Designing, Drafting and Modeling projects. With the help of such software, the entire project execution cycle has come to a new arena due to CAD Services. It is now possible to visualize an entire building and it’s detail even before it is completed. This is possible with the help of “Virtual Construction Modeling” also referred to as Building Information Modeling in Engineering Industry. 3D Rendering makes it possible to give any building or product a photorealistic feel before the actual construction or manufacturing of a product. This development has also caused increase in companies providing Engineering and CAD Services. With transformation of blue prints created manually to digitization of CAD Drawings, many opportunities have opened up for Architects, Engineers and Drafters.

CAD services assure absolute digitization of manual drawings to computerized drawings via scanned pdfs, hand-drawn sketches or old manual drawings. Companies are using different approaches and techniques to take utmost advantage in terms of project execution. As mentioned earlier, CAD Services are no longer limited to one particular domain or segment. Arrays of services are covered under one umbrella. Besides project execution, computerized CAD Drawings or Images are easier to maintain, save or send across to clients. There is no risk of images or drawings being damaged in course of time. Errors can be rectified easily without taking much of time and can aid to quick turnaround. In software such as Revit, a change made in one part of the model reflects in the entire model by reducing manual intervention. This also facilitates definition and extraction of individual sheets or different part of drawings and every minute detail.

These are one of the main reasons that across the globe, major construction houses or Infrastructure companies are eminently outsourcing CAD Services. This process over a period helps companies gain advantage over their competitors who do not outsource their requirements. CAD Technology has evolved into a different era in a short span of time and is constantly evolving into giving better shape to the Engineering industry. CAD Services now helps CAD companies and professionals manage their Designing Drafting or Modeling projects more efficiently. Companies offering CAD Services and companies who are constantly upgrading their technical skills will always be in an advantageous position compared to companies who still rely on traditional methods of executing projects.

Tesla Outsourcing Services is an Engineering Outsourcing Company offering CAD and BIM Services to overseas clients.

The Tech Savvy Lawyer – Web Technologies And Legal Firms

The Legal Industry & Information Technology

Like all other industries, the legal industry is not insulated from the tremendous changes in information technology over the past decade, and the challenges and opportunities it presents. If anything, the changes have more bearing on law firms & departments because information management is at the core of what they do – consulting with clients, colleagues or experts; increasing compliance & regulation demands, wading through a constantly expanding sea of legislation and case law; managing outsourcing partners; keeping abreast with latest developments; or managing a mountain of matter files.

Recent Trends

Perhaps the most significant change in the legal services industry the decline of “relationship lawyering”.

Recent times have seen increased competition, & changes in underlying market structure. There has been a continuing trend of decline of “relationship lawyering”. Traditionally strong relationships between law firms and corporates are eroding, with more companies opting for in-house legal departments, or “shopping around” for the best deal. Another significant trend is the increasing convergence of legal markets, where competition is as likely to come from a firm in another state or overseas as from a local firm. These & other developments are exerting greater pressures on legal firms to be more efficient, an it is imperative that attorneys spend their time analyzing information, rather than organizing or managing it.

Drivers of Technology Adoption by Legal Firms

Possibilities of Technology – The primary driver of greater use of information technology by legal firms is developments in technology itself. New technologies & greater bandwidths allow great possibilities in the arenas of information management, productivity and remote collaboration. Information can be moved over the internet with greater security. And unlike yesteryear, law firms can access these technologies without hefty costs and the need to set up specialized IT departments.

In 2004, Forrester Research Inc estimated that some 39,000 legal jobs will have moved offshore by the end of 2008.

Outsourcing/Offhsoring – Legal firms are now increasingly open to legal process outsourcing of tasks they traditionally held close – research, transcription, coding and even legal research and the drafting of legal documents. It is commonplace to see a NY based law firm, subletting research work to a team of professional lawyers & paralegals in Bangalore, India. This enables firms to majorly cut down costs & concentrate on core legal functions. But it also necessitates a greater need to communicate, collaborate & monitor the functioning of outsourcing vendors hundreds or thousands of miles away. Security is also an issue, since performance of the services often requires access to regulated consumer data or other sensitive data.

In 2004, almost 60% of lawyers worked at multi-office firms and over 10% of lawyers work at firms with ten or more offices.

Geographic Diversification – As mentioned before, there is a distinct movement towards multiple office firms, with offices spread both nationally and globally. US based companies are now serving many foreign clients, or serving foreign interests of domestic clients. There was a significant presence of international clients in even the smallest law firms of 1 to 20 lawyers. There has also been a spate of global mergers and acquisitions of law firms in the new millennia. All this necessitates a greater need for communication, collaboration and information exchange between branches.

Regulatory Compliance – Since the Sarbanes Oxley Act came into effect, records management has become an essential requirement. Organizations are required by law to retain certain documents for predefined periods. Also, the amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect on December 1, 2006, and apply to any firm involved in litigation in the U.S. Federal Court system. The amendments mandate that companies be prepared for electronic discovery. Firms have to drastically alter the way they preserve, retrieve and produce electronic data.

Competition is coming both from firms spread across the nation & the globe, as well as consultants & advisors who were traditionally not considered part of the “legal industry”

Competition – Because of the death of relationship lawyering, and “one stop shopping” by clients, firms cannot afford to be complacent anymore. Moreover, competition is as likely to come from the opposite end of the country or globe, as from local companies. Competition is also coming from other quarters, consultants and advisors who offer services that were previously the purview of lawyers. In this arena of intense competition, lawyers have to double up as “rainmakers” ; networkers (legal business development) in addition to traditional roles.

IT Needs of the Legal Industry

Centralized Document Storage – The legal profession generates a tremendous amount of digital information in the form of case files, contracts, court filings, exhibits, evidence, briefs, agreements, bills, notes, records and other office activity such as email. This information is the firm’s collective knowledge & learning which sets it apart from competition and needs to be retrieved again and again. Compliance also requires certain documents to be stored & retrievable for extended periods of time. Attorneys across different offices need to access and collaborate on this information.

In 2007, 53% percent of lawyers used a PDA outside of the office, 32% to check e-mail.

ABA Law Tech Report 2007

Remote Access – Ready access to crucial documents and information can sometimes be all the difference between a favorable or adverse judgment. Lawyers now have wings on their feet visiting clients, interviewing experts, or attending outstation court proceedings, and are often out of office. It is important that they are able gain LAN like access to documents from the firm’s repository even when they’re not at the office premises.

Document Collaboration – It is not enough to only be able to access documents from the firm’s storage. A single case file may need multiple inputs from attorneys with different expertise, clients, experts, researchers, and other associates spread over the country or even the globe (in case of outsourcing). Therefore it is important to have the ability to concurrently access and work together on the same file, from right where everybody is.

Remote Conferencing – Sometimes the ability to collaborate on a document may not suffice and actual discussion and knocking together of heads might be needed. Web conferencing allows multiple people to get together in a virtual meeting room and discuss issues as effectively as being there in person.

Security – A lot of the information a legal firm handles is highly sensitive client information, which it is bound my business ethics and contracts to protect. Since this information is mostly accessed and distributed over the public network of internet, and often distributed to third parties at some page, security is right at the top as a concern.

Access Control – Another level of security is the ability to manage who sees what information and what they can do with it. Since multiple parties like attorneys and associates across the company, outsourcing partners, and multiple clients access information from the firm’s central storage this is of prime importance.

Productivity Applications – Although managing documents and information is one of the most important things a law firms IT systems need to do, it is not all. They also need the ability to manage and share schedules, to maintain lists of important contacts, to manage and track different tasks and litigations teams or individual attorneys may be involved with, or billing management.

What They Don’t Need

41% of lawyers had no IT staff at any locations for their firm, while 17% have one person, 8% have two, and 38% have three or more

ABA Law Tech Report 2006

IT Hassles – If getting all the above goodies requires setting up a specialized IT department, installing expensive hardware, and managing ongoing maintenance and upgrades, it might just not be worth it for a small to mid sized law firm. Bigger firms have the deep pockets and incentive to set up dedicated systems, but it might not be sustainable for smaller firms.

Complexity – To ensure that attorneys embrace the IT system, attorneys should be able to concentrate on the information itself, rather than grappling with the nitty-gritties of the system.

Costs – Cost, of course is a top consideration for small to mid sized companies across industries. The ongoing costs and hefty capital investments needed for custom and enterprise systems are just out of reach.

The Software-as-a-Service Advantage for Legal Companies – HyperOffice as a Case in Study

SAAS allows firms to pay for using the software rather than owning it

About eight to ten years back, it was true that access to the above technologies was available only to huge firms whose budget and scale justified dedicated IT departments. Times have changed since then. The software as a service (SAAS) approach, allows even small to mid sized firms easy access to big business technologies, but without having to deal with the messy underbelly and huge costs associated with them.

Benefits of SAAS Solutions

– Low Implementation

– Cost Effective

– Flexible

– Mobile Access

– Enterprise Class Features

– Backup & Security

– Updates & Enhancements

Software as a service (SAAS) is an approach where the software vendor undertakes the burden of creating, hosting, maintaining and securing the application upon himself, and further lets it out to customers over the internet as a service. Customers do not pay for owning the software itself but rather for using it. Some specific benefits of the SAAS approach are as follows:-

No Implementation, No Dedicated IT Department – Since the backend is taken care of by the vendor, users don’t have to bother about hardware, software downloads, server security, configuration etc. Implementation cycles of months are cut down to just a few days. For example, HyperOffice just requires a sign up, and customers can get it up and running within minutes.

Cost Effective: Scale Up & Down as Needed – The cost structure of SAAS solutions is usually a reasonable monthly per user fee. This ensures that minimal costs are locked in, unlike enterprise solutions where tens of thousands of dollars are committed. Moreover, there is no cost uncertainty, as terms are clearly laid out, which allows for greater predictability.

Big Business Features – A range of big business functionality is available to users, but they don’t have to bother about the complex backend which goes with implementing this functionality, since that is the vendor’s headache.

Flexibility & Mobility: Keep Connected Always – These solutions are developed with a view to delivery over the web. This ensures that the system with full functionality is available over simply a web browser, saving users from tiresome downloads or implementations on local workstations. Moreover, since these solutions are children of the internet & mobility era, they also allow access over mobile devices. HyperOffice allows almost full functionality over many mobile device with internet access including iPhone.

User Friendly – Ease of use is of prime importance to a non techie attorney. SAAS solutions are out-of-the-box. Emphasis is on ease of use, with the messy backend taken care of. The entire HyperOffice solution can be managed from a central console and needs no technical expertise at all – truly child’s play!

Backup & Security: Let the Experts Handle It – Ensuring security and disaster preparedness requires effort. Antivirus software needs to be purchased and implemented, the system needs constant monitoring, and physical security of the servers needs to be ensured. Disaster recovery plans also have to be put in place in case of events like fire, natural disasters etc. Backup servers and magnetic tapes have to be maintained, frequency of backups has to be managed etc. Whew!

With SAAS, all this is a part of the messy backend taken care of by the vendor. Moreover, these vendors have developed an expertise hosting and securing applications, since this is their core operation. This is an expertise a mid sized law firm can not, nor would like to develop.

Updates & Enhancements – Since it application resides on the vendor’s servers, the vendor can simply add updates, enhancements and new features at his own end which are instantly available to the users of the application.

Information On Different CDL Endorsements

Before you go through and complete your CDL test and are issued your license, it’s important to know as much about the process and know everything that is offered to you first. Getting your CDL opens the doors to the truck driving industry to you, but there are also other doors that get neglected, which could prove to be a career-boosting road that you would have driven past if you didn’t know all about the CDL’s various endorsements and how to get them.

CDL Endorsements Available

While it will depend on which state you live in, there are CDL endorsements that you will always see listed, including:

  • Hazardous Materials
  • School Bus & Passenger
  • Doubles & Triples
  • Tankers
  • Air Brakes
  • Receiving CDL Endorsements

The process is not too different form receiving the actual CDL test, in that you need to take a written test, pass a background check, and, for Hazardous Materials Endorsement, you will be subject to an inspection of your truck by the government to prevent it from being used as a potential weapon or terrorist operation.

The HAZMAT clearance must be renewed every two years, along with the background check, but it typically goes much quicker during the subsequent updates. For all other endorsements, though, there is no retesting or renewal process necessary, not any truck inspection.

Why should you get CDL Endorsements?

Besides the endorsements that you know you will be using, the question remains whether or not it is worth the time and the money to be endorse for all the other clearances. If you ask any experienced truck driver, they will tell you that you are better off getting them all done at the same time because it will be much less likely that you will ever want to go back and get them, unless you have a sure-thing waiting for you once you pass the endorsement test.

If you want to, you can skip the HAZMAT endorsement, as that one takes the longest to complete, but all the others are done by a short test, a small fee, and no other commitments.

Never say “Never”!

The motto for CDL endorsements should be “you never know.” As in, you don’t know if sometime in the future you’ll ever find yourself needing that job driving a tour bus around, hauling sensitive materials around for a pretty penny, or whatever the case may be. It’s better to have that stamp on your license, than to be handicapped for no reason during a time of need. You can’t say for sure that you’ll be driving a truck for the rest of your life, right? So, the minor inconvenience of passing all the endorsements will be more than worth the effort if it helps your transition from one career to another or allows you to do something that is both economically convenient and personally convenient, like driving a shuttle bus around a nice private community, where the passengers tip well and the sights are heavenly.

An Information Technology Consulting Company That Is Perfect for a Biotech Firm – 7 Signs

Small and midsize Biotech companies do not have the financial resources that their larger pharmaceutical counterparts have. This means that they must be even smarter in how they spend. Larger firms have deeper pockets for their projects while Biotech startups and medium sized firms must find investors if they do not have enough in the R&D budget. Thus, due to budget limitations, the small to midsize Biotech companies must find creative methods to use their limited resources while growing their business. The most effective way for them to do this is to make sure that the company they are hiring is a great long term match. When looking for an Information Technology firm to hire, Biotech companies should look for seven major signs.

An Information Technology consulting company that truly understands and embraces their Biotech clients’ needs should be experienced and knowledgeable in serving the Biotech industry. We believe there are seven traits that a successful IT partner should have:

1. They should have an understanding of the biotechnology industry and specific needs that may come up such as regulatory requirements, clinical trial needs, GMP standards, HIPAA (in some cases), FDA compliance, ISO certifications, trade secret protections, vendor relations with proprietary lab equipment manufacturers etc.

2. They should have a leadership background and many years of experience in the industry (over 10 is a good number). They should be able to work with C-level executives as well as line workers so they know the needs at the front line as well as the needs of a growth business at a high level.

3. They must be responsive and agile. In the biotechnology industry, innovation is key and getting to the market faster means reaching profitability sooner and thus, having less need to get additional rounds of funding. In other words, an agile response is equal to time and money saved.

4. They must work closely and strategically with the company. They should not just be on-call technicians who come and fix things without seeing the big picture. There are two distinct needs within every biotechnology company: administrative and research. Therefore, technicians must be able to keep computers working for admin purposes but must also be technologically strategic enough to leverage their knowledge of technology into profits; thus allowing their clients to increase productivity, decrease costs, and get to the market quicker.

5. An Information Technology firm that has their clients’ best interests in mind will consistently be thinking about cost savings. Based on their years of experience, a veteran IT firm will have several methods as to how to cut or even eliminate extra costs dealing with equipment, labor or time, for their client. Thus, by choosing an IT money saving expert, the client will be able to save on expenditures.

6. An efficient IT firm knows how to find creative solutions to a current network issue a client may have and may even be able to foresee related issues in the future and prevent them from happening.

7. An Information Technology firm that is familiar with the nuance associated with proprietary lab equipment is able to understand that they are manufactured differently and that they are unique in their operation. For example, some are standalone units, some work in an active directory domain environment, some operate in a quasi-domain environment, and some come with very lax security protection that should be corrected. The IT firm will also understand that they all require careful security reviews and possibly security changes in order to integrate it to the company network.

As the owner of an Information Technology consulting company in San Diego, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of San Diego based biotechnology companies. Often times, the pains and needs that they share with me are very similar. After all, they are all racing to bring their products to market sooner, they want it done right the first time, and done cost effectively. Some say, with this economy we have to do more with less. I say, you should do more with less – always!

Being well-versed with the biotechnology sector does not give the IT consulting company license to overcharge their Biotech clients. A good Information Technology partner will have a good handle of human resources on their team to appropriately assign the needed resource when that expertise is required on a project.

An IT firm that is dedicated to their client establishes a relationship with them that is more of a partnership. Instead of labeling the client as just another account, an Information Technology consulting company that truly cares for their client’s best interests goes the extra mile for them. Here in San Diego, we once got a call from a client that had a problem with his laptop computer. He could not get it to work and had an important presentation at an executive meeting to do. We took his laptop, fixed it for him and delivered it to his meeting just in time. Our client was very pleased and so were we.

The perfect Information Technology partner for a technology, research and development oriented company is one that can leverage IT and help their client move agilely with the market, get their products to market sooner and, most importantly, do more with less.

Vendor-Client Relations – Winning Strategies

It’s not our fault; it’s the vendor’s fault! Sound familiar? After over 25 years in the Financial Services industry as a vendor and a contractor of vendor services, I have seen the best and worst of vendor relations. From this experience, I offer you a brief outline of practical strategies to create a win/win scenario with your vendors.

The best place to start on building a solid vendor relationship foundation is to know what you want to accomplish with your vendors and your vendor relationships. Define your approach to vendor relations clearly within your business organization through your strategic plan development. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a thorough iterative strategic plan for your business organization that includes initiatives necessary to promote good vendor relations. Don’t stop there! Cascade your strategic initiatives into ethical policies, procedures and practices throughout the organization so that you build a culture around good vendor relations. Make sure everyone knows, understands, and is committed to adopting and practicing the strategic concepts supporting good vendor relations. Consider using a documented positioning statement requiring attestation such as a Vendor Code, Vendor Affirmation, or Vendor Ethics publication.

Once your business organization’s strategic intentions are clearly defined and cascaded throughout the organization, evaluate your vendor selection processes. Vendor selection processes should be driven by selection guidelines and methodologies divided into two components, general and specific criteria. General criteria apply to any vendor and would include evaluation components such background reviews of vendor financial performance, references, litigation history, principle leadership, and industry information. Specific criteria apply to the specific vendor product requirements needed to satisfy the business objective and include items your organization would put in an RFP or a call-for-bids. There are vast bodies of knowledge (BOKs) on building sound ethical general and specific selection criteria in various purchasing and supply chain professional groups. This body of knowledge far exceeds the scope and capacity of this article to define. I refer you to these ‘well-healed’ BOKs for detailed analysis and guidance on developing your final detailed selection process. However, from a relationship standpoint, here are a few key points to remember during your vendor evaluation and selection:

o Does the vendor have a clearly defined strategy for client relationships that goes beyond an organization chart and hierarchical account executive and sales representative assignments?

o Do key executives for the vendor organization make their contact information available to you in addition to the assigned account executive or sales executive?

o Does the vendor organization have a mechanism to periodically evaluate customer satisfaction and remediate any areas of concern?

o Does the vendor seem to make an effort to know about your business and your industry?

o Is the vendor willing to go beyond the scope of your agreement to provide meaningful recommendations to your organization that can help build revenue or cut costs?

o Does the vendor extend an open invitation to visit or tour their home office and or remote locations?

All of these are questions designed to help you determine if your vendor is “vested” in the business relationship beyond the clinical terms of your agreement and willing to embrace the opportunity for a healthy vendor relationship.

With an ethical vendor selection methodology in place, and a vendor(s) selected, the next step is to negotiate an agreement. Never accept the vendor’s standard agreement at face value. Negotiate the basic terms of your agreement and let the legal staff’s of both organizations build a binding contract that includes the basic terms of your negotiated agreement and reflects each organization’s values toward vendor/client relationships. Many of the contract terms are customary, mechanical in nature, and include NDA’s, cost schedules, prescribed duration of service(s), SLA’s, performance rewards and penalties, and specific deliverables. While these are undeniably important to creating a clear understanding of each party’s performance obligations, certain other language in the contract will point to an agreement that also represents obligations toward establishing and maintaining a healthy vendor/client relationship. Too often, the sensational wording of the mechanical and legal aspects of a contract take precedent and relationship tactics place second – if at all – to the necessary legal tedium required to pin down deliverables. Each of the mechanical and relationship agreements are equally important to a defining a healthy vendor/client relationship.

I strongly encourage you to define and commit to relationship initiatives that cultivate the business relationship on an ongoing basis. Don’t wait until there is trouble to begin this effort. For example, contract language should define minimum intervals for constructive contact ranging from periodic phone calls from account managers to onsite visits by vendor executives. Invitations to be involved in vendor sponsored user groups, slotted invitations to vendor/client annual meetings, and advanced notice on product developments. These agreements represent a forward looking and proactive effort toward client satisfaction and healthy vendor relations. Taking preventative actions like these can prevent difficulties and reduce costs. Contract language should also delineate constructive and cost effective approaches to problem remediation including vendor/client negotiations and structured arbitration options as a means to civilly resolve problems and preempt costly and damaging litigation. A litigious solution is the absolute last resort and can signal the end of any hope at restoring vendor/client relations.

Aside from litigation driving vendor change, how do you gracefully change vendors even when vendor/client relations are good? The answer lies in setting up the terms for this inevitability at the outset of your vendor selection and contract negotiation phases. The reasons for discontinuing a vendor/client relationship are limitless so make sure you “leave the door open” for a graceful parting for both parties. This is otherwise known as an exit strategy. For example, I have participated in vendor selection and contract negotiation for dual suppliers with contract commitments representing a 50/50 percent volume commitment, room for renegotiation of changes in volume commitments, or exclusivity. Each vendor knew there could be three possible outcomes to this arrangement; continue at 50/50 volume commitment, shift a majority volume to one or the other vendor, or exclusivity.

Why bother putting so much effort into vendor/client relations? The reason is that the investment is worth more than the cost of a bad decision. It only takes one explosive ethical issue or one costly litigious engagement to realize the value represented by investing in good vendor relations. Treat your vendor relationships as valued partnerships in the pursuit of accomplishing your business organization’s strategic mission. Include language in your business organization’s value statements that respect and embrace vendors as well as your industry, your customers and your community. You and your vendors are a mutual extension of each other. So, be careful to enter into relationships that represent a good alignment of values, business objectives, and mutual cooperation which will reflect well on both the vendor and client.