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The director of technology at a U.S.-based global accounting and tax firm stood in his Chicago data center a year ago watching images on the news of the World Trade Center collapse from a terrorist attack. His East Coast regional hub was only four blocks away from what suddenly was only rubble and mayhem.

”Our folks in New York were just four blocks from Ground Zero and had to be evacuated from the facility,” says Johnson, remembering the events of Sept. 11. ”Everyone was upset. Smoke was pouring in. We had lost voice connectivity and data connectivity. Everything went red on our consoles.”

But Grant Thornton didn’t shut down. Actually, the company barely missed a beat. The Chicago hub picked up the slack and kept the business running — almost as usual.

”We restored data connectivity within six minutes,” says Johnson. ”We had redundant paths and we rerouted traffic very easily from Chicago… Actually, I had had 100% confidence in our system. We just never thought a Sept. 11 type of failure would be the cause of an outage. We thought it would be some guy with a backhoe in the street.”

Like millions of others in the United States, Johnson didn’t think his computer network would have to stand up to a catastrophic terrorist attack. But unlike a huge percentage of IT managers around the country, Johnson was prepared, and Grant Thornton kept working.

Now a year later, what have all those IT managers learned from the terrorist attacks that stunned the world, crippled some businesses and tripped up the American economy?

Not enough, according to industry security experts.

”Right after Sept. 11, there was an immediate response from IT,” says Dan Woolley, a vice president at Reston, Va.-based SilentRunner Inc, a network security firm. ”We had a gut reaction. We haven’t had a major hit in a while. A lot of people’s eye is coming off the ball… We have a tendency, as a culture, to say if nothing has happened, I’m going to take the risk instead of spend the limited number of dollars in my budget.”

Woolley and other security analysts say the attacks raised awareness of the need for companies to have better physical and network security. It increased awareness of the need to screen contractors, business partners, vendors and employees.

But it didn’t necessarily lead to a lot of major network security changes.

”We saw a lot of people saying they needed a backup plan,” explains Woolley. ”Then they realized they didn’t really know how to put it together and it was going to be a big effort. Then they thought about PC recovery efforts. Most people didn’t know what to backup or where to back it up to. And it was going to cost a huge amount of money. Then they said they would protect themselves from immediate threats, like worms, viruses and hackers. So they spent their money and time on virus protection and intrusion detection.”

And that’s not a bad thing, according to Woolley. It’s just not the major security changes that CIOs and CSOs had been talking about last fall. Some companies definitely have implemented those changes. But they’re not in the majority.

This summer, AT&T did a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. businesses with 100 employees or more. The study showed that 25% of mid-sized and large companies surveyed still don’t have a business continuity or disaster recovery plans in place. And of the companies that do have plans, 27% haven’t reviewed or evaluated them in the past year and 19% haven’t tested their plans in the last five years.

International Data Corp., a Framingham, Mass.-based industry analyst firm, backs up those numbers, stating that 109,000 TB of data are unprotected in enterprises worldwide, and 314 million business PCs are still unprotected around the globe.

And Tom Hickman, engineering operations and quality assurance manager at Framingham, Mass.-based Connected Corp., a PC data protection and management company, says increasing preparedness and security isn’t actually an IT issue.

It’s a strict business issue.

”There is no technology problem,” says Hickman. ”There’s only business problems. That’s how companies have to look at it. It’s all about maintaining the pipeline of incoming business. It’s ensuring that you’re able to function in the even of a natural gas explosion, an earthquake or a wide-scale unspeakable disaster like a terrorist attack.”

For Grant Thornton’s Johnson, the attack validated the time, money and effort they spent rebuilding the company’s computer architecture several years ago. They went from a decentralized company with every office running its own hodgepodge of PCs, switches, and servers to a centralized network with four major regional hubs and a major centralized data center. And the hubs were built identically. Every day, one hub backs up another, sharing information and preparing to bear the added weight of a sister hub going down.

”We were living day-to-day with a redundant environment,” says Johnson. ”We live a disaster recovery model every day.”

Johnson says he wonders now what would have happened if the New York hub hadn’t been four blocks away from Ground Zero. What if it was right at Ground Zero?

He says he figures that 80% of the information in that hub could have been quickly recovered. The other 20% of the information, whether it was jotted down on Post-It notes stuck to computer monitors or messages left on voicemail, would have been lost. Johnson says he’ll be spending the next few years working on lowering that 20% number.

”If you live the plan and use it for circuit outages and the wayward backhoe, then you have a better appreciation for it and you can respond even more effectively,” he says. ”My dad was a Chicago fireman for 30 years. He never knew what he was going to face every day, but he knew his team was prepared and they had a plan to face the unexpected. That’s critical for the future of the U.S. economy.”

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It Integration And Product Management Lessons

In a converged infrastructure deployment or, come to think of it, in a go-to-market plan, we often make this same mistake. Let me explain.

Let’s start with the racing lesson to set the stage. Race car drivers like speed, so they often focus on power plays, living for that top speed on the straights because it is both the most exhilarating and, to be totally frank, the easiest part of a course. However, if you do the math, the car spends more time on the slow portions of a course than it does on straightaways. Increasing the speed 10 percent on the slow portions of the course will have a much bigger impact than working at top speed in the straights.

This isn’t obvious because you think faster is better, but it’s average speed you are working to increase not peak speed. When facing a choice, a race car driver is better off focusing on increasing their slow speed time than their top speed time.

I ran into a similar situation while doing my Windows 10 testing. I had a little Acer box with a Celeron processor that was painfully slow because it had a 500 GB magnetic drive and only 4 GB of memory. I swapped in an SSD drive and 16 GB of memory and found . . . it was still slow. I hadn’t realized the Celeron was not only relatively slow but single-core (it has been a long time since I’ve had a Celeron box). I should have focused on bringing the processor up to two cores first then looked at the memory and hard drive. I likely would have created a faster system for a lot less money.

In any converged or complex system what you want to increase is the total system performance. It is really easy to buy and implement faster networking, faster memory and even faster processors, but in each instance the system is likely to bottleneck someplace else. We tend to become enamored with these new technologies which we toss at performance problems like folks playing darts when instead we should be focused on system metrics and overall system performance.

This is one of the reasons I historically prefer the VCE approach to creating a converged system. With VCE you start with a system, not a collection of often poorly matched components. The VCE approach results in better utilization because everything was designed to work together.

I see this all the time in product planning. A great deal of focus is spent on time-to-market but very little on building demand for the result or even assuring there is a market for the offering. Doing market research is time consuming, but if it isn’t done, not only could the product not reach its potential you may find, as I did at one time, that there was no conceivable customer that wanted to buy the damn thing.

We often tend to avoid the slow hard stuff (like vetting a name) in order to just get the product out the door quickly. We can see the result with products like the Apple Watch, which came to market quickly but is currently finding demand illusive and having to overcome a name that doesn’t have an “i” as the first letter. Google Glass was worse. Google was so aggressive at getting this product out the door they may have destroyed the consumer market for this entire class of products as a result. In this instance, the slow parts of this process may not be slowing the product to market, but they aren’t getting done. The result is poor market performance.

The time spent identifying and speeding up the slowest parts of the process will have the greatest impact on overall process/system performance and thus should be prioritized even if they aren’t that much fun. Rather than making the fast parts of anything faster, focus on the slow parts, because that is where the best improvements will be found. Or just start with a system and focus on the system speed as a better way to identify the critical path that will provide the best return on your investment.

However you get there, focusing on not going slow will always be a better strategy than going fast.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

6 Remote Patient Monitoring Lessons Learned From Covid

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) was already on the rise before the pandemic, thanks to changing Medicare reimbursement rules and growing demand for better post-acute care and chronic disease management. When COVID-19 came along, RPM technology moved off the healthcare wish list and became a top priority.

The pandemic has created new use cases for remote monitoring and accelerated hospital adoption of digital healthcare technology. In 2023, 20 percent of hospitals and health clinics had already adopted RPM, and another 23 percent said they planned to do so over the next 12 months, according to a VivaLNK survey.

The pandemic also gave more people a chance to experience the benefits of RPM and other virtual care models. While providers used RPM solutions to keep high-risk patients at home, they also began redefining the future of value-based healthcare — learning telehealth best practices along the way. As a result, 43 percent of healthcare leaders believe that remote monitoring will match in-person monitoring within five years, according to VivaLNK, and 35 percent believe it will surpass in-person monitoring in the same amount of time.

Since March 2023, healthcare leaders have learned at least six significant things about remote monitoring:

1. Remote patient monitoring scales quickly

A longstanding RPM industry leader, Vivify Health has been evolving its platform for years, steadily growing its customer base. But COVID changed the pace of that growth from slow and steady to exponential. In the five years before the pandemic, Vivify experienced 100 percent annual growth. In the first six months of the pandemic, it grew by 700 percent.

“Our platform had grown over the years to facilitate the rapid creation of solutions through our patient-facing technology,” says Vivify CEO Eric Rock. “All these capabilities helped us deliver, literally in a 24-hour period, the CDC guidelines for basic screening. What we’ve done to respond to COVID has been tremendous with solutions to help every patient we can across our broad customer footprint. … This is not just a virtual visit, as you see across the industry. This is connected care that’s continual. And so the benefits that spill off of COVID as we’re transforming healthcare delivery are tremendous.”

2. Remote monitoring solutions adapt quickly

Providers traditionally used RPM to monitor recently hospitalized patients and to help people with chronic diseases manage their conditions. The pandemic increased the need for post-acute care at home and for solutions that keep chronically ill patients out from high-risk clinical environments. It also created a couple of new use cases — screening people at high risk for COVID-19 (including healthcare workers) and monitoring quarantined patients. Vivify Health quickly added this functionality to its platform.

“Now we’re progressing into other solutions as we transition through this pandemic into back-to-the-office solutions,” says Rock. “We have large providers, payers and communities that are serving employers with solutions to help get back to business by helping them manage their own employee base.”

3. Remote patient monitoring is worth the investment

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded RPM reimbursement before the pandemic because the federal government’s own research found that this healthcare technology decreases hospital admission rates and lowers the cost of chronic disease management. During the pandemic, CMS and other payers further embraced telehealth out of necessity, making it even more profitable for providers.

“We saw more change from a regulatory standpoint in the first three to four months after the [COVID-19] outbreak than we did in the previous six years,” says Rich Curry, vice president of business development for Health Recovery Solutions (HRS), another leading remote monitoring solution. “Telehealth and RPM came into play. People were quarantined and under stay-at-home orders. It was too dangerous to have high-risk patients only have access to healthcare by taking a trip to a hospital.”

4. Patients are ready for remote monitoring

Even before the pandemic, people were warming up to the idea of connecting with their doctors remotely, but more patients are on board now that they’ve experienced the benefits of virtual care firsthand. In a May 2023 survey by MSI International, 65 to 70 percent of consumers said they’d be willing to have their care providers remotely monitor their blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and oxygen levels. Why? Among respondents, 43 percent cited RPM’s convenience, 37 percent said it would give them more control over their health, and 36 percent expect the data to allow for more accurate diagnoses and peace of mind.

“People long believed that seeking medical attention was best done physically in front of a doctor,” says Josh Klein, CEO of home health provider Emerest LLC, which uses HRS for remote monitoring. “Sometimes in emergency situations, that’s true. But COVID-19 made people understand there are other ways to seek healthcare. With COVID-19, it was healthier for people, especially the elderly, to stay home. They, their families and their caregivers finally realized they could use technology to still get the healthcare they needed.”

5. Remote patient monitoring enhances in-person interactions and builds community

Telehealth doesn’t replace human interactions and clinician-patient communication; it supplements and enhances those connections. Emerest, for example, uses the HRS remote monitoring tool to screen socially isolated patients for depression and grief, and then uses the tablet-based RPM solution to offer virtual group counseling sessions.

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“We’ve used these technologies to create a community,” says Klein. “Using the Samsung tablets and software from HRS, patients now have a go-to place to address their health from the comfort of home.”

6. Remote monitoring is just the beginning

“The whole market’s heating up with all kinds of shiny objects and potentially beautiful products that still need to scale,” says Rock. “Opportunities are moving very quickly with things like ambient intelligence, AI, machine learning, aging in place, family caregivers and simpler virtual visits for the 80-year-old population — all kinds of wonderful things that we’re trying to stay ahead of the curve on innovation.”

For more guidance on remote monitoring — including how it works, how it benefits healthcare providers and how to get started — check out Samsung’s latest free guide. And before launching an RPM program, discover the entire versatile range of virtual healthcare technologies from Samsung.

Everything We Expect From Apple’s September Product Blitz

With just a few days left until Apple’s big reveal on Tuesday, speculation as to what the company may or may not announce has pretty much approached fever pitch. Without further ado, this is what we expect at Apple’s landmark September 12 Steve Jobs Theater event.

But first, Andrew has a little video for you guys to enjoy.

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New iPhones

This is the easiest thing in the world to guess because Apple usually unveils new phones in September, barring a few exceptions. Aside from the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus device with LCD screens and updated internals, most of the rumors revolve around the so-called tenth anniversary iPhone (the original iPhone debuted in 2007).

Image: Danny Winget

Here are some of the key features we think are coming to iPhone 8:

New design—The device is said to be thoroughly redesigned around an almost fullscreen face without any form of a physical Home button out the front, with a glass backside to optimize wireless charging performance and prevent overheating.

OLED display—With deeper blacks, higher contrast and increased pixel count, the iPhone 8 screen won’t just look sharper but will also consume less power because OLED pixels are illuminated individually and don’t require a power-hungry backlight like LCD technology. We’re also hoping for the iPad Pro’s True Tone screen feature and ProMotion technology for double the refresh rate at 120Hz.

Inductive charging—While we don’t expect a true wireless charging (the technology just isn’t there yet), iPhone 8 should have inductive charging like Apple Watch. You should be able to charge your iPhone via any Qi-compatible charging mat at about half the speed of the latest Qi 1.2 standard because the inductive charging module will apparently use a slower charging profile running at 7.5W.

3D sensing—Both cameras will be accompanied by depth-sensing sensors based on infrared light invisible to the human eye, capable of scanning objects in 3D even in low-light environments. We’re expecting this to be used for facial scanning and unlocking, Apple Pay, 3D selfies, improved augmented reality tracking and more.

A11 chip—We can guarantee that the next iPhone will use a faster Apple-designed chip, like all prior iPhones. Because it will have dual-lens camera out the back, the phone should have at lest 3GB of RAM like iPhone 7 Plus.

Better cameras—The selfie camera out the front could receive a major upgrade with 4K video capture at 60FPS and increased resolution. The rear cameras should stay at 12 megapixels, but expect super-fast laser autofocus (courtesy of the new 3D sensor), optical image stabilization on the telephoto lens and other upgrades resulting in better low-light photos and prettier images. The rear camera system should also capture 4K video at twice the frame rate.

Storage—Apple is rumored to double the current storage tiers to 64GB/256GB/512GB. While 512GB of storage on a phone sounds like an overkill, 64 gigabytes in the baseline storage should be just about enough for average users.

New name—It’s unclear if Apple will stick to its current naming scheme or brand the OLED iPhone as iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone Edition or some such. If it’s not going to be called iPhone 8, then the iPhone 7s/Plus updates may be marketed as iPhone 8/Plus.

High price—Though the top-of-the-line iPhone 7 Plus model retails for almost $1,000, the baseline 64GB OLED iPhone is said to start at that price. If you need more storage, expect to pay a $100 more for each storage increment.

Aside from the aforementioned goodies, Apple may surprise us with a one more thing, a feature no one saw coming.

Image: Marques Brownlee

If we had to make an educated guess, we’d say that perhaps the company would build on the tremendous ARKit momentum by previewing a dedicated augmented reality glasses for iPhone 8, which is rumored to arrive in 2023.

Apple Watch Series 3

The next Apple Watch won’t look radically different than Series 1 or Series 2, and we don’t expect it to get any thinner. That’s because Apple will add LTE connectivity, meaning it will have to squeeze more chips in an already tiny device. The band mechanism should not change in Apple Watch Series 3 so all your existing straps should work like a charm.

While Apple Watch Series 3 might lack cellular phone calling at launch, this feature should be added later via a software update. Aside from cellular connectivity, expect increased dust and water protection, a faster Apple-designed S3 chip, updated display and touch technologies and maybe some new casing materials and color options.

What to not expect from Apple Watch Series 3: a FaceTime camera.

4K Apple TV

The fourth-generation Apple TV was released two years ago and it’s now overdue for update.

The biggest news should be a major resolution boost to support 4K video output and several wide color video standards such as HDR, HDR10 and Dolby Vision to make it compatible with a wide range of HDR-certified television sets.

Like wide color photography on the iPhone 7 series, HDR video brings higher contrast and a richer set of colors capable of reproducing finer detail than the traditional HD (1080p) standard. Apple is actually catching up to competition here because even Google’s Chromecast supports 4K while other media streamers, like Roku, also support HDR video.

The upcoming tvOS 11 software update packs in only a few minor improvements, but Tim Cook hinted at WWDC 2023 that we’ll be hearing ”a lot more about Apple TV later this year”. What exactly that might entail is anyone’s guess, but we like to think that Apple may have a few surprises up its sleeve (for what it’s worth, Siri Remote is now on a serious backorder in many countries).

For instance, the next Apple TV could also sport an all-new form factor, built-in Microsoft Kinect-like motion sensors and beefier graphics with a lot faster CPU with more RAM (to support console-quality gaming in 4K), but don’t quote us on that.

OS release dates

New iOS updates always drop ahead of new iPhones and this time should be no different.

That doesn’t mean all OS updates will release simultaneously: iOS 11 and watchOS 4 should hit on the same day (because Apple Watch requires a paired iPhone), but tvOS 11 and macOS High Sierra could arrive at a later date, especially if we’re looking at another event in October dedicated to the next Apple TV and maybe some new Macs (Mac mini, anyone?).

Your predictions?

As always, your guess is as good as ours and your opinion does matter.

Let us know what your predictions are and be sure to like Andrew’s video and subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube so we can keep on producing great content for you guys.

Image: Tim Cook speaks during the September 2023 media event in San Francisco, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lessons From 10 Women Leaders To Inspire Your Professional Journey

Being a member and supporter of the Women in Tech SEO community, SE Ranking – which is an all-in-one, comprehensive SEO toolkit – is on a mission to make SEO accessible for everyone.

As we want to encourage female marketers to succeed professionally, we interviewed 10 prominent women in SEO and digital marketing.

These experts shared their outstanding experiences and life lessons, and we’re excited to share their wisdom with you.

1. Encourage Telling People What They’re Worth Carrie Rose, Founder Of Rise At Seven

The biggest obstacle on my path to success was earning the right to be trusted, respected, and backed as someone of young age at the time.

To combat this, I focused on being confident in my abilities and proving my worth through my work. This involved spending 50% of my time with clients and the other 50% doing the actual work, as well as freelancing to learn how to work independently without extensive resources.

This set me up for success, allowing me to start and scale my own agency to generating £7m a year in just 3 years, and I continue to stay involved in the work to this day as the Founder and CEO.

In the business and career world, I have faced gender discrimination beyond my expectations, as women statistically face more obstacles in achieving success, leadership roles, investment, and building a Fortune 500 company.

Even when launching my own agency with a male co-founder who owned an equal percentage of the business, the hate and negativity I got was on another scale.

In terms of money, I have a slightly controversial opinion on the pay gap in the industry. Do I believe it exists? Yes. In my own case, I was paid less than a male coworker who started within the same two weeks as me, had the same experience, etc.

However, now being a founder, I can see an issue I believe to be true. I’ve found women are natural givers. They have “motherly” traits and do things because they care. And as a result, don’t ask for more money by doing more.

On the other hand, men are less likely to give for free. And more confident to ask for pay raises or higher salaries. This is a real issue. Therefore, here are some ways to overcome it:

Encourage telling people what they’re worth. I’ve had many instances where I have offered a higher salary to people because I believed they were worth it. I gave them the confidence to know and understand their personal value and be open enough to talk about salaries.

Create yearly pay review meetings with salary benchmarks for the industry. I think we as leaders need to give our staff the data they need to be confident to ask.

2. We’re Here To Amplify The Work Of Brilliant Women In The Industry Areej AbuAli, Founder Of Crawlina & Women In Tech SEO

A few years ago, I was truly struggling to fit into the SEO community, and I wasn’t feeling motivated in the industry. I used to attend conferences but did not see myself represented, and I wasn’t too sure if it was a career path that I wanted to continue in.

I remember hearing about a few “exclusive” groups; you needed to be ‘invited’ to be a part of them or know someone. It just didn’t feel right.

So, I decided to start my own thing. I put out a call saying, “Women in Tech SEO, rejoice, we now have our own group.”

This was back in May 2023 – right away, I was surprised by how many people joined. It was over 100 in only 2 days. I made sure that we had rules and values in place.

Everyone who identified as a woman was more than welcome to join; it didn’t matter if they were starting out their SEO career or they had been in it for over a decade.

In other words, Women in Tech SEO is a global community for women in the Technical SEO industry; It’s a safe space for women to connect, learn and support one another. We’re here to amplify the work of brilliant women in the industry.

3. Believe In Yourself Because You Can Do It Olga Zarr, CEO At SEOSLY

I know a lot of people who work at SEO agencies, and very often, women with more experience earn way less than their younger and less experienced male colleagues.

I have noticed that this is because they don’t dare ask for a raise and, when applying for a job, are afraid of asking for too much, fearing that they won’t be hired.

And another tip is to always ask for way more than you think you should ask because your mind is most likely undervaluing you. Don’t get fooled by it.

Also, to help freelancers know their worth and be paid as much as they deserve, together with Myriam Jessier, we created SEO Cash Flow, which aims to help underrated freelancers earn more.

4. You Aren’t Alone – Let’s Help Support Each Other! Tory Gray, Founder Of The Gray Dot Company

My biggest struggle on the way from an SEO specialist to a company founder has been about learning to trust myself, listen to myself effectively, and be willing to try and fail – and try again while also not ignoring or forgetting the needs of others.

When it comes to being an in-demand professional – soft skills – that’s where I see most growing SEO professionals lacking today.

There’s too much focus on gaining a specific, technical hard skill that will somehow magically make them feel confident and successful. In reality, most SEO pros need to learn how to be influential, impactful, and empathetic.

This all said, I do think it’s important for women specifically to focus on having a technical or data-focused hard skill of some sort. This is largely practical: Too often, women’s opinions and contributions are brushed aside.

Being better at a specific skill (or a few!) vs. the men in the room is the single biggest way to be heard and make room for yourself. You bring the data, you bring the informed analysis, and they have to listen to you. To be clear, this is not good or right, but it is a reality I’ve experienced.

If you’re just starting your career in the SEO industry, find a mentor! And a support group of women to talk to, learn from, and grow with. As the most important thing is knowing you aren’t alone – let’s help support each other!

5. Don’t Hesitate To Ask For More; You Deserve It! Anastasia Kotsiubynska, SEO Team Lead At SE Ranking

That’s why to make progress, switching to a business-owner mindset is needed. This helps to see a wider perspective of how you can grow the company through what your team and you do.

But even if you are not in a manager position, leadership skills are important. To make things happen, you need to take responsibility, even if you’re not 100% sure you can handle situations and lead processes or people – if there’s a need or an opportunity to do this.

But the thing is, despite having remarkable abilities, one cannot be completely immune to bias in the professional setting.

Unfortunately, I’ve faced obvious sexism at one of my previous workplaces, where my manager used to say things like, ‘Women cannot think so effectively and be so technically wise as men.’

Another problem is that often women in SEO get lower salaries than men, so they earn less because they tend to ask for less.

Just don’t hesitate to ask for more; you deserve it, but it is helpful to back up your request with solid arguments, data, and achievements.

6. Don’t Give Up! Take Help And Support From Other SEOs Ulrika Viberg, Founder Of Unikorn & SEOGIRLS

Grabbing a chance really means creating an opportunity and working hard until it evolves into the next thing. Being a middle-aged woman in the SEO industry certainly didn’t give me any freebies, either.

I started working in the mid-’90s when we had a completely different working atmosphere in terms of gender equality. Things have changed since, even if we feel it hasn’t changed enough.

Even if it has become better over the years, women still experience not being listened to or taken seriously and being questioned whether they know what they are talking about.

Women in SEO often find their knowledge being tested every now and then like it’s an unannounced pop quiz.  In the past, I dealt with it the way we women did then: by coming more prepared than our male colleagues. Working harder, reading up on matters more carefully, and walking two extra miles.

While I think this is still true, we have become much better at supporting each other, lifting brilliant women in the community, and opening up to discuss these discriminations publicly. All of this helps.

Reach out to Women in Tech SEO and other communities for women in SEO, like SEOGIRLS in Sweden, which is a safe place for women to discuss SEO without experiencing mansplaining or being talked over by male colleagues.

We are there for you to support you in your journey!

7. The Goal Is To Remove Or At Least Minimize Discrimination At Work Motoko Hunt, Founder Of AJPR

Besides having the skills to perform SEO work at an excellent level, you need to have good management, adaptability, curiosity, and critical thinking skills. At the same time, you don’t need to be a Jill of all trades. Instead, find the niche that separates you from others.

However, even the most exceptional skills cannot provide absolute protection from workplace discrimination. I have experienced both gender and racial discrimination, not just in my current work but also in my previous jobs.

That comes in different ways and is not always an “in your face” incident. For example, when I was ready to go on an important business trip, the management felt it was for men only as I had children.

I believe the goal is to remove or at least minimize discrimination at work. Though it’s important to let them know that it’s a problem at the time of the incident.

Rather than just react, I suggest you document them and discuss them with the management and HR. If other employees are experiencing similar problems, doing this as a group will give you a bigger voice.

Another problem is the payment gap between men and women, which is not unique to the SEO industry.

So, when you need to negotiate anything with the company, you need to prepare. When you discuss the salary (or the promotion), “I’ve been working hard” or “I deserve more” aren’t the best way to approach it.

You have a better chance of succeeding in the negotiation if you can quantify your value to the company, i.e., the increase in conversions/sales your work brought to the company.

8. Show Your Worth And Ask For More! Aleyda Solís, Founder of Orainti

Sadly, the SEO industry’s payment gap between men and women is certainly there. How to deal with it? Show your worth and ask for more! What’s the worst that can happen? That they say no? Perfect – ask for more!

If you want to succeed in the SEO industry, I would recommend having an overall knowledge of the SEO process, how it all works, and every activity/area that influences it: how a search engine works, how people search, crawl, indexing, content relevance, link popularity, etc.

Then, depending on your skills and preferences, you might want to focus on technical SEO, content optimization, link building, or in a specific area, like local SEO or ecommerce SEO.

Whatever you choose, ensure you understand how it works from a tactical standpoint and how it aligns and fits from a strategic one to the whole SEO process.

Then, learn about communication, prioritization, coordination, influence, and project management, which will allow you to successfully sell and manage SEO processes, whether as an external solo consultant, in an agency, or in-house. These are critical skills.

I highly recommend those looking to learn more about SEO take a look at LearningSEO to go through all of these areas and learn about them.

And at work, remember to always be professional, show up and do what you said you would do, and commit and focus on your project’s success and your own as a professional!

9. Be Your Own Biggest Advocate Chima Mmeje, Founder Of The Freelance Coalition For Developing Countries

I don’t think there’s any woman in any industry who hasn’t experienced gender discrimination. It’s sadly a part of our lives.

I feel like some men speak to women in a condescending tone they wouldn’t use with other men. I hear it in the way they cut me off when I’m speaking, brush off my ideas, or try to mansplain something to me.

If you want to achieve outstanding results in your professional life, listening has to be at the top of the list for soft skills. Hard skills depend on your industry, but everyone should learn to write. It’s such an underrated skill, even for developers and technically inclined folks.

You can build a personal brand when you know how to communicate with your preferred audience using words they connect with.

Also, staying nimble, especially in the age of AI, is an essential skill. We need to constantly learn how to use AI as a friend to improve our current processes instead of ignoring it because it’s not going away.

Build your own website and use it as a testing ground to improve your skill. Document your progress in public so people can help you along your journey.

10. Know Your Strengths Jo Juliana Turnbull, Founder of Search London and Turn Digi

In our industry, the hard skills that help to succeed are knowing the area you want to specialize in or having a broad knowledge of SEO.

Technical SEO, on page optimization, and digital PR require learning on the job and/or taking a course with a supportive team member to answer your questions.

One of the biggest soft skills is the determination to keep learning. I talk a lot about soft skills, and these are the ones that are important to SEOs (and in many industries).

Emotional intelligence: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills.

Communication: Be a clear communicator and be aware of nonverbal communication.

Empathy: Ability to understand and sense other people’s emotions.

Active listening: Conscious efforts to hear the words and engage the speaker.

Confidence: The feeling one can do a task well.

Overall, learn as much as you can, and find a good support system and a great mentor. If you do not know something, ask, and people will help you.

I would also recommend taking the CliftonStrengths Assessment. This way, you can find out your natural strengths, which, when you work on them, turn into your talents.

To sum up, if you’re a female marketer and want to succeed in the SEO industry, you need to:

Be brave enough to stand up for yourself.

Value your skills, experience, and expertise, and never stop evolving.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more.

Network with other professionals in the industry. The people you connect with will become your friends and mentors with whom you can share your struggles and happiness.

Remember that people are always here to support you.

More resources:

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Lessons In Outsourcing Customer Care

By Chuck Sykes

Some of the largest consumer-facing companies in the world are looking to solve what we call the “triple whammy” — how to get the best customer support performance at the best price, while treating customers like the world revolves around them.

Jupiter Research is projecting that with more complex products being sold over the Web, voice interaction will be the support of choice, and e-mail will follow. Businesses are already finding that the number of customer interactions is growing, despite the era of online self-service. Customers are moving to the Web to shop, but they want a higher level of contact and right now they are turning more frequently to the telephone.

People still want to interact in a human way — they still need to talk, so you have to find a solution to meet this expectation. Offshore and hosted facilities can help alleviate the pain in managing this rise in customer demand.

For an organization that needs a contact center to service customer demands and interaction there are some options. You first need to decide whether you can afford to locate, build, equip, staff and operate your own contact center; whether a joint venture is feasible; or if you can outsource the entire job to a reputable company.

Here are few thoughts to consider for each path:

The lock, stock and barrel route.Be prepared to commit up front and ongoing multi-millions in capital to locate, build, equip, staff and operate your own contact center. If you have the expertise, or can hire an experienced consulting organization to achieve your goals, this might be a good choice.

The carpool path.Joint ventures can be a good way to share risks and rewards in an area where you do not have total expertise. Your partners need to understand the intricacies of local government, staffing and cultural issues, as well as technical infrastructure.

The hired hand approach.By outsourcing the entire job to an experienced contact center business you gain control of how you want your customers treated, and at what costs. Be sure to decide up front whether you want the company to link up with your systems and also gauge their reputation in the country you have selected. Once you decide to outsource to the hired hand, ask yourself the following questions to ensure the best partner in the initiative:

Has the management team run a contact center of the size and scale required to get the job done?Hands-on experience cannot be underestimated. The number of skills required span from workforce scheduling to training, call handling and data-mining. Selecting an outsourcer that can provide skilled staff and management from a CRM background, as well as the systems and site expertise will provide security.

Does the organization have a full understanding of any local government regulation, employment and business issues in the offshore destination?An in-depth knowledge of local tax issues or employment laws is imperative. On the ground, a provider should also be able to source and prepare regional businesses to support a new call center location, (such as telecom, security firms and other vendors). All contacts need to be examined by a trusted provider who understands the local culture as well as the expectations and standards of your business.

Can you get the right staff?Customer service or technical support agents need to be carefully selected and trained. The location needs to have the raw talent available and the right mix of part- and full-time employees to keep the contact center at optimum operational levels, while allowing for the fluctuations in volume and demand. Offshore facilities in developing markets offer an open and untapped labor pool, and one that can be trained and developed to a companys own standards.

Channel capabilities — can the center handle all incoming contacts, including voice, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), fax, as well as e-mail, for example? Your customers want to be able to use any channel of communication they choose. Voice is the hardest channel to take offshore, but remains important in making your customers feel part of something local, close and comfortable.

Companies using a hosted center want guarantees that by putting their customers in someone else’s hands service levels won’t fall. As a checklist, in order to be there for your customers at every stage, what steps should a host provider follow and what should you expect if you outsource?

State of the art technology.Some of the main ingredients of a top tier outsourced solution would include: a software system with open architecture to link with you and support a heterogeneous environment of carrier networks; ACD (automatic call distribution), PBX (private branch exchange or private telephone switchboard) , IVR (interactive voice response), Web, and e-mail platforms; and complementary software applications.

Less investment risk.As businesses improve customer service to help them become more customer-centric, there is a risk that companies will invest considerable time and money building second-generation CRM systems and find themselves fenced in when customers start demanding third and fourth generation services.

Synchronized reporting and routing.The service solutions should allow you to obtain a real time view of customer contacts and the software needs to make contact-routing decisions for populating agent desktop applications.

Trained, customer-centric, staff.A highly skilled and customer-centric workforce trained in technical skills and “soft” skills will engender a close bond between your brand and your customer.

Flexibility. As your business expands, or as you face peak customer contact periods in the customer life cycle, you need an outsourcer that can ramp-up quickly to support your growth, as well as tool-down during slower business periods.

If someone else is playing host, you should be able to sit back and reap the benefits for your customers, if you’ve covered these bases and found a solid partner. Any provider needs to have the expertise in understanding, using and supporting the technology to maximize the investment in a hosted service. But only when combined with the right people and processes to manage it will this deliver a world-class service that meets the triple whammy on all sides — giving support, at a fair price, for the best customer service.

Chuck Sykes is senior vice president and general manager, the Americas, for SYKES Enterprises. This article first appeared in eCRM Guide, an chúng tôi site.

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