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Is Microsoft Office – Excel a viable Database?

Microsoft Office Excel as a Database

Microsoft Office Excel as a DatabaseMicrosoft Office Excel from the Microsoft Office product suite, is a brilliant tool for assessing, calculation and “what if” scenarios, which is easy to use, taught in almost all schools from primary school up, and commonly available.  But, how good is it as a database.

One of the greatest advantages of Excel, is its ease of use.  So if you need to gather a list of names and addresses, do a mail merge, or auto Email.  You can do this very easily with Excel.

One of the other advantages of Excel, is that it has a Visual Basic Application programming available within it.  This means, that a budding programmer, can use Excel and write code for it, to do a range of simple functions.  This this image is of Excel being used to invoice from.

So if Excel can do all these great things – why do people not use it for everything?

I will explain this in terms of a motor vehicle.

If you needed to run about town each day, you would probably invest in a car suitable for that function, maybe a small economical 4 cylinder car, that was easy to drive, park, and designed for short stint driving.  So If you now needed to tow a heavy trailer for a long drive, even if you could begin to tow in this car, you would probably end up damaging the car and it would stop.

So now, putting this in Microsoft Office Excel terms.

When too many people need to use the same spreadsheet and put too much data in the spreadsheet, it will crash, lock, and sometimes no longer open.

As a programmer, this is regular reason for companies contacting Accede Holdings Pty Ltd.  They have already worked out everything they want, but the spreadsheet will just no longer work.

What Signs Show that the Excels data or usage is getting too much?

  • Locked file
  • Very slow
  • Cant Edit
  • See Odd Symbols
  • Sudden file size jumps

Is there a physical size limited that Microsoft recommends?

This is dependent on your own PC, its operating system and the version of Microsoft Office Excel you are using.  With that stated if you find your Spreadsheet is getting slow, then it really is time to look at solutions.

  • Possible Solutions
  • Reduce the size of your Excel Spreadsheet
  • See if there is a standard product that will do what you are trying to do in Excel, and if so, try it out and use it.
  • Question, if you are using the right tool.  For example, I have seen electricians using wood chisels to chase plaster in brick work, and they have totally ruined the edge of the chisel.  A wood Chisel is designed for wood.  The same goes with Excel and Databases.

When is using Excel as a database a good idea?

If you are trying to work out – what you want or need, and can use Excel well, then use this to work out your needs. Caution however if you wish to keep using this as a database for a business.

The reason for my caution is simple.

  • Corruption or loss of data
  • Less productivity from your staff
  • Limitations on what you can actually do – automatically
  • Not the right tool for the job.

I would equally caution you on creating a database, that you just don’t know what you need.  This is one of the main reasons that databases fail.  One of the main reasons databases do not achieve budget in time or money, is due to what programmers refer to as scope creep.  In the building trade this is known as a variation to contract.

So what are the steps to take if you have a great Microsoft Office Excel product – you are seeing some signs, or should consider using the right tool for the job:

  • Get a fixed quote including delivery time and cost to take the Excel spreadsheet you have, and for an IT professional to transfer this to product e.g. a database. Make sure they include in the quote the transfer of your current data.  An average cost could be as low as $500 or as high as $15,000. There really is no average, as excel is used in so many ways.
  • Look for products that could do this job for you – that are off the shelf
  • Look at what your competition is using to do the same job you are doing on Excel. Why did you need to create your Excel?

What to really avoid.

One of the most profitable areas for an IT company, is to fix a problem when the need is desperate.  This is because no quote is needed, and an IT company can simple charge the highest rates on an hourly basis.

Another trap I have had to ‘rescue’ businesses from, is when a spreadsheet is doing a great job and has for years.  Then the person that created it leaves, you upgrade something – and all of a sudden – nothing works.  Once again, this always happens at the wrong time, and it is always an emergency.

If you have invested the time to read this blog, you are probably using an Excel spreadsheet in the wrong way, and it is probably time, to look at the right solution.  Realize it is the businesses job to supply the tools to do the job, and it is the employees function to fulfill the job.  But if the tool is not right, one way or another – this will cost the business, either in productivity, loss of staff or loss of business.

 

Answer:

Excel is not designed to be a base holding area for Data – therefore if being used for this, you are using the wrong tool.  Excel really designed for number calculating, and it offers many features.  Excel is a great complement to a database.

So in answer to my initial question – Is Excel a Viable database?

The answer is that Microsoft Excel is not a database at all – in the tradition sense, but it is often used as a database, due to its ease for users.  Excel is an excellent complementary product to a database, as is Word, photo viewers, outlook, and other Microsoft Office products.   It is common for database products to integrate with other applications, especially those in the Microsoft Office product range. Excel can be used as a database, but only to a very limited usage.

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Are you sure your business data is safe?

Or is it just what you have been told?
Photo of Data backing up to the cloud

If I had a $1000 for each business that told me its data was safe, and then I found out that it was not, I would be able to buy a new house – Truly.

So why is it that your IT person says they have a backup and they can restore a file and it is all fine, and I am telling you here, it is not?  It is because for those of you who use a Database e.g. MS SQL , MYSQL, Dataflex, Oracle etc. these are Multi User databases.

A multiuser database has a unique method of backing up.  Most of these databases create a specific backup file e.g. a BAK file.   These files are created even if someone has the database open and is using the data.  Now here is where things become even more interesting.  Some people have really Old versions of databases, and their Bak Files need to be restored in their own version of the database, which may only work on certain operating systems etc.

So how do you make sure you are safe?

Simply, ask your IT person to do a restore and give you access to your data as it was yesterday.  Check that entries you have made this morning are not there, and that you can access, add and edit your data from yesterday.  Once you have done this – you are then sure that your data is safe.

What if you don’t have time for this idea?

Well, you are running a bit of a risk, but give these instructions to your IT person, and ask them to tell you what invoice ABC which was entered yesterday is for.  If they have the same information that you do, then you know the restoration was a success.  If not, then do not consider that the restoration worked, and get someone involved that does know about this style of database backup to review and check your backups.

What else do you need to watch out for?

UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) are really necessary in Australia as we get such extreme heat, and regular power drop outs or interruptions.  So if you don’t know when you purchased your UPS, or if it is over 2 years old, it is time to get a new UPS.  They are no longer a huge investment, and frankly, if you don’t have laptops, you may want to have a couple of UPS’s so that you can keep your server and a terminal going during a power drop out.  These should really be replaced every about 2 years.

What about how long you could be down if the server is lost?

Cloud backups are great – until you need to get going in a hurry.  I know this personally and only too well. I really suggest you need a mix between local and cloud backup technology.  If you can restore local data and get up and going quickly, then you are only updating the changes that have happened since the last backup, and that means that you are not going to take a week to get your data back.  Getting data down from the cloud is generally faster than Up to the cloud, but even so, it could take days if you have a lot of data – and if that is the case, you can’t afford to wait days to get data back. So having a mix between the two is really necessary.

 

Remember – We only need a backup at the worst time.  Never are backups used when everything is going well – it is only necessary – just when you don’t need it.  So check that if you do need to use it – at least it will work.

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Women: Best choice for IT Industry

Women: Best Choice for IT Industry

Women: Best Choice for IT Industry

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and even though my son forgot, and frankly I did not have a very good day I spent time considering what it is like being a mother and being employed in IT.

I have raised a son, for the majority of his school and high school as a single mother, working, employed and employing people in IT. I found that this industry was brilliant for a mum. In fact I cannot sing the praises enough of IT and specifically business programming for mums.

You may ask why, but the answer is simple.

If you are at all creative, intelligent, want a good income, and of course you need flexible time and hours then programming may just be the ticket. Good programmers are hard to find.

I would even be as bold as to say, that women make better programmers in my opinion than men. I will clarify this by stating, that in general Women are plodders they make a plan of attack and plod towards it. Men on the other hand are naturally hunters and they go full pelt and then stop. This is why most men only last 8 years as programmers. Those that last longer, you will find that in general they have a strong feminine side to their personality they are generally plodders. Those that leave programmer generally go into management, project management, consulting, teaching etc. However, women programmers get more experience, paid more and still choose their own times and work pressures.

As a woman I have been programming for 34 years. Admittedly I also manage other people. But it is programming I love. I feel great fulfillment when my code works and works well. I find that I get annoyed at my male colleagues when they do not do due diligence, or just pound through work, without seeing the end result.

The other type of better programmer is person that has not only excellence in empathy, but also in knowing what items are important / show stoppers and what are not. I have found some people just don’t understand this. Only today, I faced this miss understanding of the level of a problem. I think some programmers just do not connect to the real world.

So if you love computers, think programming is all about game creation, and you really just want money, but not feel like you are working. Studying to be a business programmer is wasting your time just stop.

I was interviewing for a job opening here in the last 3 weeks, and I was astounded by the quality and level of applicants. However for most applicants they will be looking for a long time. Either that or they will be offered help desk work, get annoyed at the pay and opportunities offered to them by IT and leave.

I did however find it interesting, how many people retrained into IT from other jobs, quite often when they found their other job too stressful. I consider IT stressful, especially when your code is supporting hundreds of lives and jobs. But this is a woman’s view point, and from what I have interpreted from my colleges (all males), they do not always consider the end use of the code.

So if you are seeking a career choice, and plan to have a family and home which you can give yourself time to be with your children when they are sick, or on sports days etc. Consider programming. It could be well worth your consideration.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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How a Business Cope with Staff Loss

image from saveup.com

image from saveup.com

2 weeks ago, one of my Key staff  in fact a person I have been training for 3 years to replace myself was head hunted and decided to go with the offer given to him. This was a shock and a blow not only to myself, but to clients and fellow employees. So how does a business recover from this?

In the IT trade, moving jobs is a common occurrence. This is not something I am proud to express, but it is a fact. So many people are working on contract today, and the demand for quality programmers is so high, that contracts constantly overlap each other, that a person can really choose not only where they wish to work, but the type of IT work that they wish to do. So at all times I prepare for staff to leave and make sure that all people duplicate each other and that all information is recorded.

We have systems that cover for staff turnover. So the core work is always being achieved, and clients are not being disadvantaged by changes of staff in a technical sense. However the human sense is affected.

This occurrence can cause impact on current staff, as they have to learn to work with a new staff member.

CRM in word tag cloudSo one part of the solution to this problem, is that for core work, you need to have good systems, in fact a good database. What can you expect from such a system? A CRM or customer relationship management systems can control not only your customer, but generally link the data you need to retain about your customer, your contacts, your quotes, your invoices can link to this as well if it is a good system.

At Accede we have recently been interfacing off the shelf CRM’s to Accounting products, estimation packages and other products. By creating this interface for the client, it is a seamless way to see the whole of the customer’s information.

Other places I have created solutions for include knowledge based systems. These systems in fact hold expertise, experience etc. from key people. Knowledge bases for a user is like talking to the expert about a problem. The knowledge base take a person through a potential issue, what questions they should ask, what possible answers they may get, and what to do next. It is a like having the expert right beside you without having them there. I have noticed, however, that this is generally the main reason that the loss of Key staff is hugely impacting.

The other part of the equation, being the human affect, is solved only by communication. This communication is essential if you wish to retain clients, build new clients and retain existing staff members.

Losing staff and clients is a fact and generally not in your control (unless you need to review your management). However retaining clients and staff is something you need to constantly work on. The key to this retention is communication. Take the time. Discuss. Share. Find ways to openly communicate in a respectful manner. Praise where praise is due. Discuss problems without being personal or denigrating. Work as a team.

Insurance of key staff, often helps with the financial aspect, but good systems will help with the core work and management. Plus make sure your staff’s work is overlapped, so that people can take holidays and the loss of a staff member can quickly be covered.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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ANZAC’s Centenial Anniversary in relation with today’s IT industry

image from whatsbestforum.com

Come this Saturday the 25th of April 2015, we in Australia and New Zealand, will remember those who fought for our freedom. This will be a special event as this is 100 years since our landing at Gallipoli. So why would something that happened so long ago, affect us and especially IT today.

Gallipoli saw a mindset change occur here in Australia. We were no longer going to be the cattle to be used and abused by the British. We became a voice and a power. Since this change, Australia has matured and grown quite well. However, we still are quite weak when it comes to standing up for our rights internationally.

With that being said, we still let our citizens be abused by other countries, laws, and charlatans. We seem too afraid to stand up to other countries, and seem only content to ride along as long as we don’t create too many waves. Therefore, what is the correlation between this and IT? Well read on.

Australian have always been a creative people, and here is why I state this:

Aboriginals and their skills with living in this harsh land and their mystical skills displayed in their relationship with our land. For example, did you know not one aboriginal was in Darwin when cyclone Tracey hit, but many Anglo Saxons were?

Think about some of inventions that we have created. E.g. Hills Hoist, Baby Safety Capsule, WIFI hotspots, the Paper Notepad, Plastic wine casks, Electric drill just to name a few. We have created out of need. They say that Need is the father of all inventions. Remember when our soldiers left Gallipoli, we had invented in that difficult area and site, a self-shooting gun, that fired when a water can filled to a set position. Need certainly is the father of all invention and this is testament. So how do inventions affect IT? Simple, IT is created by ideas or Need, and here is where we excel.

We at Accede are contacted from all over the world because of our creative ability, backed up with skill, history and cost effectiveness. We are not alone. Here in Australia IT absolutely creates solutions and it does this in a truly cost effective and time effective manner. We are really world leaders. So often I hear of code being created here and sold off shore. Our Government supports R and D, and this R and D is creating Export dollars for Australia. We do however as a country need to consider how we sell our inventions, e.g. completely, license or partial.

I recently spent many hours reviewing websites for software companies. In the USA, I saw mainly, sales or management of Virtual Companies or Programmers. Here in Australia, custom software, products created, and those for sale are huge. Even in Accede when our sales to clients have been quiet our R and D broke new boundaries. We have created quite a few new products, and are still doing this.

So our freedom that was purchased at such a high price, that we remember during this Saturday anniversary, has really bought us creativity in IT. Now, I challenge our IT industry, to be world leaders, not only in IT creativity, but in IT export. We really do lead the world in IT. We need to take the next step and learn how to really take our products from here in Australia to the world and to bring in the export dollars to Australia.

So my blog is a call to action for all of us involved in IT. For those involved and have skills in Exporting and commercializing join with IT and let’s make Australia a leader in this area. Truly, our skill base and the creative environment we live in makes us uniquely positioned. Let’s leverage from this position.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

 

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Traits of a Not-So Average Entrepreneur

image from pixabay

image from pixabay

In this modern time of creating a potential business empire, hardwork is not enough for entrepreneurial success. Most of the time, it requires a centered mind and a handful of skill set to establish your business. Let us focus on what traits entrepreneurs should possess to make him extraordinary among others:

 

  • Go-Getter in almost Everything Every entrepreneur should be enthusiastic to accept and take challenges. It is essential that they balance their optimism and their perception of any risks involving a certain project or decision. They must also be rational in making decisions and mitigating tasks to their subordinates.

 

  • Determined to Go for their Business goals Business owners must emphasize their goals not only for this year but for also 5 to 10 years prior. They must also align their employees with their perspective goals. In addition, entrepreneurs must not only possess a tremendous work ethic but also not a quitter. He/she should see failures as stepping stones for improvement and not a roadblock of failure. With these traits, they not only overcome obstacles, but also inspire others to work further.

 

  • Creative in Finding Solution and Information for Business Growth An entrepreneur must be a visionary, one that knows the trends and how to use it to his advantage. They must acquire in-depth information that will make their business grow or stable. Lastly, they must explore options and solutions to solve their problem. As the old idiom goes, Leave no stone unturned.

 

  • Confident and Independent As a businessperson, they should know how to present their selves well in public. They should have that confidence that they can build their brand well and initiate new trends among competition. They also can communicate well their vision and ideas efficiently. Apart from that, they are proactive, can multi-task, and possess a strong sense of responsibility among their subordinates.

 

  • Builder of Harmonious Relationship in the Workplace What entrepreneurs should understand is the art of making your people work with you, not for you. Their employees must feel confident and secure working in your organization. They must feel that you, as a business owner are open, positive, and socially aware.

 

Building a business not only requires entrepreneurs technical, marketing, and accounting skills. Most importantly, they must highlight their exceptional talent and traits in order to inspire others and work with them to achieve success.

 

We at Accede Holdings provide the best in accounting and database management technology for business owners in Australia and around the world. For over 30 years, we have created over 600 business applications in every business industry. You can attest that your certain business requirements and needs be met by our experienced pool of developers and coders. Call us today for a free quote at (08) 8363 5699.

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7 Great Ideas to Earn Money Online

work-space-232985_1280Nowadays, people spend 5 or more hours online for browsing, watching videos, reading articles, and update their social accounts. Have you ever thought that you can use the internet to make money online? At this point, you might have read ideas about startups, studied your target market, or might even setup your own website and email. Let this guide provide you with ideas on what kind of business you can setup online.

  1. Online Sale/Auction House Setup an online store or auction house using Ebay and other sites to sell your goods. You can either specialize in one item type (example apparel, cookware, gadgets) or generally sell all types of items anytime, anywhere. With online sales/auction, a person can make as much as $1000 with just working two days a week. You can also contact local and regional businesses and collaborate with them. Sell their goods and services to your website in case they have no budget setting up their own.
  2. Online Art Gallery If you have the eye for detail, you can setup an Online Art Gallery. Contact local artists and sculptors, take pictures of their artworks or art pieces, and post it on various auction websites. You can also setup your own website to sell their artwork or offer your online advertisement space to local art supply stores, local framers, etc. This way, you can make even more money using your website.
  3. Virtual Classroom You might have a special skill or talent that you want to share like arts and crafts. Start by writing a course about it and teach it online or create modules/guides that users can download. You can also contact learning centers and offer your services to teach technically challenged people to use the internet.
  4. Online Travel Service If you like traveling or know a lot about places, try setup a travel website. Collaborate with local travel agencies or travel stores and post their travel goods and services on your website. You can setup a blog or bulletin board about traveling and encourage others to participate.
  5. Online Events Organizer Do you know any groups or organizations in your area? They might need someone who will organize their trips, parties, and special events. Setup a website to drop inquiries or attract them to use your service.
  6. Survey Business The internet is also a great avenue to start your own survey business. You can conduct surveys and polls for companies. The data you can get from your subscribers is essential for market or product research.
  7. Online Magazine and Talk Show If you are confident that you have online followers, try setup your own magazine or talk show. Write about community or local events, affairs, politics, etc. In addition, engage your local establishments and businesses to advertise their goods and services to your site. You can also setup Q and A sessions featuring local celebrities or prominent people in your area. Consider setting up a YouTube or podcast channel to broadcast your talk show.

Source:

Online Opportunities Small Business Opportunities Magazine Jan. 2015: page 66. Print

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Hope behind Endings

Accede Holdings begginings endings
Accede Holdings begginings endings

image from one-story.com

For those who read my blogs, you will know I am currently in Lent. Last week’s my studies took me to consider Death/Endings. To top this off, I have felt like death warmed up. In fact I have been in bed for days. So whilst laying up and getting over this horrid cold, I have had time to consider Endings.

All the endings I have faced have been painful and hard. I may have felt glad it was the end of a bad situation, but even with that, endings are painful and hard. However, without endings, there cannot be beginnings. I wondered why they are painful and hard, my logic understands that this is part of a process, and one that is necessary. I am not a person who fears change, I have accepted that Change is the only constant in life. So why, I wondered are Endings hard and painful?

As stated, I have had time to ponder.

When a relationship comes to an end, whatever the reason, without meaning to, we review or at least need to review. We see both the good and the bad. We see happiness and sorrow. We call this mourning and we do need to do this, so that we can let go and move on. Even a bad relationship we need to mourn, not due to missing the other person, but to allow ourselves to put things into perspective. How often people who have issues find when they explore these issues, that they need to go back and mourn or review a past relationship. Moving on without mourning, really creates many issues.

I wondered why in Lent we need to Give up and Take on things. By giving up something generally that something that creates clutter in our lives (too much food, too much shopping, too much alcohol etc.) we give ourselves the space to review which in my opinion is the Taking on of something the review.

Endings are rather interesting. I have been reading about some old traditions regarding the end of a year and the start of a new one. Quite often this time is spent in festivities. Brushing away the old, and welcoming the new. Some funerals are a celebration of a person’s life, and a renewing of old friendships.

So in business. A contract comes to an end. Why do we have such a range of emotions Gladness, hollow, empty, happy, satisfied the list goes on. The emotions are natural and need to be allowed to be reviewed. We review so that we can improve. If we allow ourselves to review, then we can improve. Nothing is more helpful than experience. But experience will only cement itself to being useful if we review what has past ended.

I am now in my 34th year of being a business owner and employee. I am preparing for my own succession my own ending at Accede. I still have habits of reviewing my performance on a weekly basis something I have done since my first 6 months in business (note: I lost 18 secretaries in my first year of business pretty bad boss!). I have learnt, and now I am passing this on. Endings are natural, but even being natural, expected and accepted they are painful and they hurt.

I realised that this is just a fact and a fact I have to accept. My only hope as my succession comes, that the pain and hurt I feel, I hope to minimise for my staff, my clients and my friends.

Only time will tell.

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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Millennials on Family and Business

image from uws.edu.au

image from uws.edu.au

I have a son who is almost 21 years of age. I am lucky. He has a work ethic, and even though he would love to be Peter Pan for his whole life, my blunt, no nonsense approach has made him face the facts that Peter Pan will not give him the life style he so demands.

However with this said, I have recently been involved in another family members life crisis. 5 months ago a family member was made redundant. He has apparently looked for jobs, but won’t return phone calls, or even keep his phone on him and turned on. Why, I can only assume because he will get a job, and can no longer excuse his laziness and desire not to work.

If you are reading this, you may think I am harsh. However, I will back this up, by stating, we offered him work, and he has elected for the last 2 weeks not to take up this offer. He did not return 2 phone call messages, or even answer the phone on the agreed call time. Blamed his 5 year old son for having his phone. In the end, he decided not to work this week, because he hopes to have job interviews! Just to get this in perspective, the offer was made because his family (wife and 2 children under 6) would not be able to make their mortgage payments in 5 weeks time.

I can repeat this story for other family friends, their children, nieces and nephews.

What is with this generation?

Personally, I am tired of working hard, paying tax, and knowing this paid tax is literally just propping up these lazy people. Before we had such a welfare state, people worked or starved. I am not stating I would like people to starve. However, I am really tired of our government stating we should work until we are 70 to keep propping up these lazy people.

Enough is enough!
image from fastcompany.com

image from fastcompany.com

Our whole country is drowning, and no one is taking the hard calls. Our politicians are too busy feathering their own nests. Those employed are busting butt trying to get from A to B. Big business, care for those that are part of their group, and too bad for the rest. Some companies only care about the bottom line. For the last 20 years, our government has just demanded businesses give more. Well businesses have had to go too far, they are now leaving the country or giving up (quitting or retiring).

So where does this lead?

Dollar depreciation creates a domino effect from lesser lifestyle standards to higher crime rates. I believe if a survey was done, those unemployed for 3 months, it would be clear, how much emotional damage has affected these people. We have a responsibility not only to the physical welfare but the emotional one as well. Pacifying welfare recipients is a recipe for disaster in this country. Our government need to be responsible and face these facts.

What do I think we should do?

Experts in this area will bring many ideas. These ideas need to be considered and an active plan put in place, that must be followed and reviewed by each government party whether they be Liberal or Labour. This generation needs to understand that Peter Pan is dead! Living off their parents after the age of 21 is abuse (unless studying and this should be agreed to by the parents prior, with a specific end date).

The Welfare State as we have it, should cease. We need to find our own path. Review the pluses and minuses of the Welfare systems in the UK, the USA and other countries. Come up with a plan and option that will work for Australia.

I feel we are looking at this a bit like the Carbon issue. Doing too little, too late. We will pay the penalty.

I for one, will not stand by and let this happen. I am taking the hard calls today, and hope that my son, will learn, rise above, and be an achiever for his generation. The few that do stand up, will be given opportunity, and will reap success.

As far as business and myself. Well, I try to find the gems in generation Y. They are there, even though hard to find. But Gems they are, and as such, greatly valued by myself.

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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Dissatisfied Customer = Business Harassment

telegraphcouk

image from telegraph.co.uk

As a business, we need to be cost effective, make profit, staff care and the list go on. So part of this has meant that we have automatic phone systems and services e.g. reminders. Nevertheless, have we gone over the top?

I recently had an incident that meant I was late on a credit card payment. On the day following the due date, I received 8 phone calls, from the name phone number in a matter of 2 hours. None of which I could not answer as I was in a meeting. So when I finished my meeting at 2 hours and 10 minutes, the 9th phone call came, which was a machine informing me I was late on my payment.

I feel that 9 calls in less than 2.5 hours is harassment. We have pressed privacy, but it seems that now we need to press what are the rules of harassment.

If I behaved in this manner, I can honestly state that I would lose clients and my reputation will suffer. Why do banks and corporations feel that automated systems do not have to follow the same rules?

The same effect comes out be automatic phone answering systems. I elect to use AAMI because as an insurance company they do not have a phone answering system, but a human operator. I have gone through phone answering systems and waited for 40 minutes for a response from a person e.g. Australian Taxation Office dreadful. I love it when a product you have purchased is faulty, and you call up and for 20 minutes play with phone responses I purchased a bad product where are the customer’s rights?

image from metaopsmagazine.com

image from metaopsmagazine.com

Here is a great form of harassment. Filling contact forms on a web site. The site has a fault of their automated email does not send e.g. it bounces back to your email service, so you call them to ask the question and inform them of the situation. Then you get the inquisition. What did you do wrong? Did you not do it the way they expected? Therefore, when they finally check it, and they have an error do you get a thank you, or a discount, or anything No! Instead, your time is wasted, you are treated awfully, and you get no recompense, in fact, you should consider yourself lucky if you got an answer to your question.

So the question is, do we accept this treatment? With age comes experience, I now know, that Person A cannot change Person B. Therefore, I know I cannot change this treatment. However I can refuse to accept it, and I am. If I see an unknown phone number on my mobile I won’t answer it. If they call more than once, I will save the number in my address book, and mark it as a banned number. This stops the 8 calls in 2 hours.

If a company’s phone answering machine is more than 3 steps, I will use webs and contact forms rather than sit on a machine. If the web contact bounces back, then I will find an address and write a short note to the address.

In short, I will no longer comply. I will not assist companies with feedback, unless it is in person. I will not play this abusive game anymore. If enough people think the same as I do, well then businesses will elect to change or else they will not grow or attract users.

If I continue to be abused, then I will write in a forum, such as Trip advisor. This is why these websites are becoming so popular and so many people use them.

I think businesses in 2015 really need to review how they plan to service customers. Data is essential, but so is service. Let us all support good businesses that have good business practices.

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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