Enterprise Search

Enterprisesearch Search is the technology through which information and/or data is retrieved with an organization generally through an intranet platform. The information can be presented in any form or format – such as links, documents, emails or simple data. Enterprise search is a boon to the modern corporate environment as it gives easy access to information, increases business performance and contributes towards optimizing the workplace. The quality of enterprise search results is dependent upon the description of the data by the metadata. The fundamental concept of an enterprise search is very much like that of a web search engine i.e. it indexes data and documents from a variety of sources such as: file systems, intranets, document management systems, e-mail, and databases.

Content Awareness – Push and Pull model

The core functionality of enterprise search depends on content awareness or “content collection”, that uses a push or pull mechanism. In the push model, a source system, more like a master repository of information, is integrated with the search engine in such a way that it connects to it and pushes new information and/or content directly to its APIs. This method is used in the case where real-time indexing is important. In the pull method, the enterprise software gathers or collates content from varied sources using a connector such as a web crawler or a database connector. This connector typically pulls the source with certain intervals to look for new, updated or deleted content, and presents data to the user.

The 3 key benefits of enterprise search:

1. Business Intelligence: Enterprise search is now acting as the bases of business intelligence i.e. data and information is becoming easily accessible and available for better business decisions.
2. Social: With the advent of enterprise search capabilities, social features are also getting more and more important. Enterprise search capabilities are now also providing features for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
3. Big Data: Volume and Variety of the data we have to process also needs a new approach. Enterprise search is contributing towards Big Data tools and constantly feeding information into a larger pool/database. Modern organizations are also tracking data and information related to employee behavior and preferences, with the help of search keywords and criteria.

The Future:

Enterprise search products that offer an improved user experience and mobility along with the prospect of a low cost of initial entry will continue to be deployed and used strategically. Corporations and active users of search technologies are already seeing evidence from major players, innovators, and relative startups that the information access setting is changing radically to meet business requirements. It is estimated that Enterprise Search industry is growing at 15-20% per year, and will continue to grow. The current state of enterprise search is modular and fragmented. A successful search platform should be coherent and have the ability of represent more mixed data. The convergence of search and text analytics is definitely a corner stone for next-generation (enterprise) search engines.

So the future of enterprise search is changing dramatically and the technology is here to stay!

The Corruption Perception Index

UntitledIn simple definition “Corruption Perception Index” or CPI is a ranking of countries according to the extent to which corruption is believed to exist. This index was created by Transparency International in the year 1995 that annually ranked countries “by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.” The CPI currently ranks 200 countries on a scale from 100 (least corrupt) to 0 (highly corrupt).

What is Corruption?

The Index defines corruption as “”the misuse of public power for private benefit.” There are generally different forms of corruption that include bribery, extortion, nepotism, cronyism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. This may also facilitate criminal enterprise and activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption.

The birth of Transparency International

Corruption has always been a topic of debate and taboo. History shows that with the birth of modern politics, corruption in many countries has becoming one of the major reasons for economic and political downfall. In the 1990s for example, many companies regularly wrote off bribes as business expenses in their tax filings, the graft of some longstanding heads of state was legendary, and many international agencies were resigned to the fact that corruption would weaken funding from many development projects around the world.

There was no global convention aimed at curbing corruption, and no way to measure corruption at the global scale.

In the year 1993, after witnessing the impact of corruption during his work in East Africa, retired World Bank official Peter Eigen, together with nine associates, set up an organization to tackle the topic of corruption: Transparency International was established with a Secretariat in Berlin, the recently restored capital of a reunified Germany.

Public Sector corruption is threatening Economic growth:

Inadequately equipped schools, fake medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they weaken justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

Here is the corruption Index for 2014:

CPI2014_map_NEW

In the year 2007- 2008 a research was conducted on the CPI data and the results were the following:

The researchers found a correlation between a higher CPI and higher long-term economic growth, as well as an increase in GDP growth of 1.7% for every unit increase in a country’s CPI score. Also shown was a power-law dependence linking higher CPI score to higher rates of foreign investment in a country.

The data provided by the Corruption Perception Index and other international bodies clearly shows how nations are ranked and/or compared on a common index. It reveals not just the problems but also the percentage and the level of the problem in any country. Measuring corruption statistically is difficult to a certain extent due to the illicit nature of the transaction and imprecise definitions of corruption. However, it is not impossible to measure and compare these numbers and it is about time nations around the globe took notice of this index.

McDonalds – Brothers in Business

McDonalds - Brother in BusinessRichard McDonald and his brother Maurice McDonald were the founders and pioneers of America’s biggest fast food chain – McDonalds. In the 1920’s the brothers moved to California, where they opened their first hot dog stand in Pasadena. It was a typical drive-in setup and one of its kinds in that era, where drivers parked their cars and carhops came to take their orders. In the late 1940’s they closed the hotdog stand and opened a larger restaurant in San Bernardino. This was apparently the official McDonalds restaurant.

Brief History

The McDonalds family moved from to Hollywood in the late 1920s, where brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald began working as set movers and handymen at motion-picture studios. In 1940, Maurice and Richard opened up their first official McDonalds restaurant in San Bernardino, California. The restaurant was renamed “McDonald’s Bar-B-Q” and had a menu that had mostly barbecue items. In 1948, after running their shop for almost 8 years, the brothers realized that most of their profits came from selling hamburgers. This made them eventually close down their successful carhop drive-in to establish a more streamlined system with a simple menu. The restaurant became more of a self-service operation. The brothers took great care in setting up their kitchen like an assembly line to ensure maximum efficiency and output. The restaurant’s name was changed again, to simply “McDonald’s”.

Around 1952, the brother realized that they need to optimize their establishment and make it more visible, appealing and eye-catching in appearance. They collaborated with Stanley Clark Meston, an architect practicing in nearby Fontana. Working with the McDonalds brothers, Stanley came up with the idea of the “Golden Arches”.

The Franchisee

In 1954, Ray Kroc, a seller of milkshake machines, learned that the McDonald brothers were using eight of his machines in their San Bernardino restaurant. He became curious, and went to San Bernardino to take a look at the McDonalds’ restaurant. Ray immediately became inspired by their organized establishment and financial success of the brothers’ concept. He partnered with the brothers, and within a few years turned their small idea into the huge franchise that would become the McDonald’s Corporation.

Ray Kroc opened the Des Plaines, Illinois restaurant in 1955, and with the first Golden Arches, launched a renowned brand. He saw the value of a restaurant system that could be famous for offering constantly prepared, quality food that tasted the same in every location and every time. In 1958, McDonald’s sold its 100 millionth burger.

The Present

As of 2015, the McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers everyday in 119 countries across 35,000 outlets. The company also operates other restaurant brands, such as Piles Café. A McDonald’s restaurant is operated by a franchisee, an affiliate, or the actual corporation itself. The revenue revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. The primarily menu include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts.

Poland – The Land of Business Oppertunity

2000px-Kotwica_symbolPoland is a country with a strong cultural and economic background that has benefited with the post-communist economic liberalization. The political freedom seen in past few years has let the country in becoming the 22nd largest globally by GDP. With much of Europe still struggling to recuperate from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, Poland stands out as a territory of economic success, a place where companies and individuals plan for growth rather than decline. The reasons are simple: a large internal economy, a business-friendly political class, and the dynamic potential of a developing country catching up with its global competitors.

The Past:

The secrets of Poland’s sustainability and resilience trace back to the post communist era, when its leaders pulled the country through a set of painful but ultimately effective reforms. In the 80s and the 90s Polish consumers had limited choice when it came to buying products. Mostly everything was developed by public sector organizations driven by stringent political reforms. These organizations had 30-year business plans which were based on political principles rather than market research or analysis. So the consumers had limited choices of products that did not met their demands or tastes.

The Change:

Since the collapse of communism in 1989, Polish economy has grown rapidly. On 1 May 2004, Poland joined the European Union and thus became a member of the vast European single market where goods, services, capital and labor move as freely as within one country. Another point to note is that during the recent global economic downturn Poland has been the only country in Europe to show growth in GDP.

The Future:

Economic restructuring, capital inflows, trade liberalization, privatization, and the gradual adaptation of legal and administrative standards to market oriented practices have improved economic structures dramatically. The Polish government has also streamlined the process for transferring property, made paying taxes easier, reduced the time required to enforce contracts, and strengthened the business liquidation process.

Also, a recent KPMG report shows that the Poles’ budget for spending is going up. For example: Poles spend 18% of their income on luxury goods, and aspirational Poles spend 13% on luxury goods. The total spend in Poland in 2012 on luxury goods was 36.8bn zloty (around £7.2bn), up by over 10% since 2011. This figure is expected to keep rising, hitting 46.4bn zloty by 2015.

Recent reforms in areas such as financial markets, company and competition law, accounting, and intellectual property rights have improved the environment for private business and boosted economic growth.

So for new businesses there is great news, as the country offers a range of business and industry options. Research suggests that Poland is ranked among the top 20 most attractive markets globally for retail brands. The fast developing tastes and stable economy mean that if retail is your business, Poland is a great country to target. Also, due to the modernization of healthcare in Poland, the pharmaceutical industry is likely to keep growing, making it a key focus for UKTI and UK exporters. So the Polish pharmaceutical market is another good bet. Finally, considering that the breadth of products needed is so diverse, the potential for selling and exporting there is huge.

Resolution 2015: Try to be more LIKEABLE

likeableIt is not about the looks but the attitude you carry that makes you likable. Such people are more likely to become leaders, make more money, get better opportunities, and attract other positive people as mates. Look around, and you will find that the most likable people make it their business to stay attractive regardless of how life shines upon them.

Here are the top five things you could do today to become more likeable:

1. Listen

Active listening is the key! Most likeable people have mastered the art of listening. We come across many people who are always preoccupied with themselves and what is on their own mind. They are always thinking and planning on what to say next and simply forget to listen actively. While communicating, a likeable person is aware of the fact that it is important to make the opposite person comfortable by listening to them and acknowledging their presence.

2. Learn

We have all heard the saying, “It is never too late to LEARN”! Also, there is no doubt that smart is sexy and ignorance is ugly. Amazingly attractive people know that it’s not necessary to be a genius to uphold admiration, but it helps to be aware of current events and develop your mind by always learning new things. Try this: give an hour a day to making yourself smarter and see a whole new crowd of people join you in discussions.

3. Watch what you speak

It is important to have control on what comes out of your mouth. Nothing makes attractive people unpleasant faster than stupid things they say. Incredibly likeable people know that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to retain interest, but demonstrating your ignorance is sure to shove people away. It is always seen that being enigmatic and attractive goes together, so whenever you get an opportunity, say enough to generate interest and always leave people wanting more of your brain.

4. Believe in giving

A generous soul is an enormous attractor. Amazingly attractive people know that selfishness is ugliest when it’s on the physically privileged. There is something magical about genuine selflessness and generosity. So the moment you try to offer yourself freely, you will see the universe embracing you and showering you with love.

5. Smile

Stay happy, stay positive and make it a point to always SMILE! Extremely likeable people love life, and all aspects of it. They enjoy the pleasure of challenges as much as they enjoy the rewards of success. They are humble by heart and always have a positive outlook. The key is to making the most of every minute and live in the moment. Likeable people are not afraid to share their joy in their movements and on their face. So if you ever feel unattractive, try finding the little joys in your day and express each positive notion with a big SMILE! Trust me it always helps. Soon or later people around you will wonder what’s causing your happiness and want to join you in experience that joy.

Top 5 books to read this holiday season

Person reading a book on the beachThe end of the year holiday season is considered the best time for businesses to shut shops and re-look at their objectives for the coming year. The holiday season acts as a boon for many entrepreneurs, as business is a slow and this is the time when you can focus on redefining or re-engineering your business for the coming year. The time is best to rejuvenate your mind and the best way to do it is to indulge in some good read for learning and inspiration.

Here is a list of the top 5 books that will inspire you and get you geared for the coming year:

1. The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us
This landmark book is written by award winning poet and writer Diane Ackerman. The content of the book talks about the human relationship with nature and how it has radically changed the way we do things. How man is on the verge of exhausting all possible resources on planet earth. The writer takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating and shaping our future and that of our fellow creatures. At the end, the book allows the reader to think about the ultimate future of humanity.

2. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
A non-fiction book written by Evan Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker, the book is a firsthand account of the authors travel in China, where he interviewed people swept up by economic, political, and social change. This book is considered to be a vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation. A must read for all westerners as it gives a unique insight into the radical change that the country is currently going through and how it is shaping the future of business.

3. The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
This unique book is written by documentary filmmaker and activist Astra Taylor. If you use the internet, then this book is a must read. The book analysis how the Internet changes and affects today’s culture, from journalism to music. The author lays out one of the smartest arguments about the nature and effect of technology in our digital age. This remarkable book talks about how the internet is slowly becoming the people’s platform and the ongoing changes that it is brings with it.

4. Everyday Sexism
Or more popularly known as The Everyday Sexism Project, is a website founded on 16 April 2012 by Laura Bates, a British feminist writer. The objective of the site is to document everyday examples of sexism as reported by contributors, later adapted into a book. This bold, jaunty and ultimately intelligent book documents the verbal and physical abuse a lot of women have to put up with, predominantly by men, almost on a daily basis in the UK & US. This is a wonderful book that details the struggles that women face in everyday corporate life due to sexism/misogyny. It is eye opening and well researched.

5. Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
Written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, this book teaches us all to think more productively, more creatively, more rationally i.e. to think like a “Freak”. The author’s argument ranges from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, the authors ultimately induce the reader to think with an open mind and come up with unique concepts and ideas.

What is your competitive advantage?

Competative advantageIf you think you are the only one selling a certain kind of product or offering a niche services, then think again! If you look around you would see that there are many entrepreneurs and business owners that are constantly trying to do things differently, or trying to solve a problem in the most innovative ways. So how does one get an edge over their competitors in the market? Though you might be offering the same product or service, but how can you stand apart in the competition and also get noticed?

With the changing global economy, finding your businesses’ competitive advantage has become the most critical aspect and to add to that, the way you market that advantage will eventually play a key role in how you succeed in the market place. In simple terms, competitive advantage is something that occurs when a business develops certain attribute or characteristic that allows it to stand out and outperform its competitors. This unique advantage could be things like access to specific resources, skilled manpower a specific business model and/or technology. All of this could help in creating a unique product or service or even act as a competitive aid in the overall business process (for example, better identification and understanding of customers).

While identifying your advantage, try to divide your competitive strategy into three broad categories:

– Expertise: If you are a specialist in your field and think that you are offering a cutting-edge product or service, then expertise is something you would need to focus on while marketing your competitive advantage. Also, if you or your business has been involved in one industry for a number of years, you can add that to your competitive advantage.

– Business Process: If you feel you manage your business better than your competition then that is something you could show as your competitive advantage. Focus on your results based and customer centric approach by including testimonials and case studies in your marketing material. While marketing your business process you would need to always keep in mind that your high quality staff is the most critical piece to the success of your business.

– Relationships: If you spend the time making your customers feel special and understood, then focusing on your customer relationships might be the way to go. Though there are potential risks involved in this option because you would need to dedicate time and energy to these relationships and that may mean you can only take on a select number of customers at a time. However, it helps if you are able to build a good ongoing business relationship with your customers and market that advantage at the right time.

As an entrepreneur it is important to analyze your business and find that unique aspect that will make your product or service stands out from your competitors. It is important to always focus on one area or aspect and market it as your competitive advantage, rather than focusing on multiple advantages and marketing them all together. It is always advisable to start small and slowly penetrate the market with your uniqueness that would eventually offer you a long lasting competitive advantage.