Posted on June 23, 2017 by Alex Perala Microsoft has launched a new dictation feature for Outlook, Word, and even PowerPoint. Developed through Microsoft Garage, an innovation program run by the company, Dictate leverages the speech recognition technology used in the Microsoft Cognitive Services development platform. It does just what the name suggests, allowing users to dictate the text of an email or document without having to type; and Microsoft says that it supports over 20 languages.
It’s a reflection of the growing importance of voice and speech as a user interface. To a large extent, the trend is emerging because of voice interaction’s utility with devices that don’t support a traditional user interface, such as a keyboard, but Microsoft is evidently seeing increasing demand for this kind of interactivity across the board – in a blog post announcing Dictate, the company asserted that Dictate “quickly grew its fan base” after an initial prototype was built.
Of course, Microsoft isn’t the first big IT company to announce such a system: Google enabled dictation for its Docs last year. The companies have proven competitive in this area, with Microsoft researchers announcing they had reached human parity in speech recognition last autumn, and Google bested its accuracy rate this spring. Source: The Fire Hose
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Successful business leaders are always pushing the limits of success. They seek new ways to increase profits. Asking good questions of their team members can help them gain important knowledge of how to increase profit margins. Good questions provide insights. Insights into new ways to increase sales and optimize operations. As a successful business leader I find it useful to ask questions that encourage my team to think deeply about the success of the company: to look at it from a “big picture” point of view; to think about how to increase profits. When the company is successful, it means success for the entire team. Yet asking good questions is not an easy task. It requires us to look beyond traditional questions and answers and to encourage our team members to do the same. It requires being open to new ideas. It requires being willing to listen and being diligent in our follow up.
I believe there are two essential questions that are useful in a variety of contexts in the workplace. In fact, these two questions are so important that they are the only two questions that I must ask on a daily basis. I believe these questions are tremendously valuable for anyone in a position to lead or influence others. We need to ask these two simple questions of ourselves and our team every single day:
1. Does it contribute to revenue? Does the activity I am engaged in currently contribute to generating revenue? Some activities like sales prospecting are obvious. Other activities like mailing out birthday cards to clients every year on their birthday or calling customers to let them know we’ve deposited their last post-dated cheque might not be so obvious but client retention is an important revenue generator.
I once asked my team this very question when they were placing very expensive newspaper ads that required a significant investment in graphic design and advertising costs. They responded “Well yes, of course it does”. I didn’t disagree entirely however I did ask this next question: “What is the most important sales activity you could be engaged in right now?” and “Is there a better way to do this activity?”
The response turned out to be “The most important sales activity we could be engaged in is calling clients to suggest additional services.” The team knew that direct contact with our clientele was the most effective manner of increasing sales. Ads might be easy but not always the most effective. A direct or indirect path to revenue generation is what is most important.
2. Does it decrease expenses?
Does the activity I am engaged in decrease expenses directly or indirectly? Things like re-using clean waste paper as scrap paper not only decrease our use of notepads; it also benefits the environment. I love these activities that help our bottom line and help us be more socially responsible corporate citizens. Some activities may appear to help us lower our expenses but they actually cost the company money.
I once worked with an owner that insisted on mailing paper copies of statements to all their clients even when it was clear that 95% of the clients would welcome digital invoicing. It cost thousands of dollars every month to continue this practice and it had a negative environmental impact.
If the activity doesn’t increase sales or decrease expenses then we need to take a hard look at the activity. Why are we doing this? How does it contribute to the company? We get “stuck” doing the same things over and over without asking why we are doing it and how it contributes to the overall growth of the company.
As a manager, I regularly ask my staff “Why are we doing this?” I get all kinds of answers from employees.
“We’ve always done it this way.” “My manager told me to.” “I like doing it this way.” “Everyone else is doing it.”
Asking “why” helps them get them focused on what is most important. Businesses exist to generate revenue. Even social enterprise exist to provide services. Being more efficient only contributes to the greater good. Over the course of years our team got really good at asking this question and paring off the unnecessary activities.
We became a very lean operation
Our sales increased
Our expenses decreased
Our team knew exactly what they should be doing and why
As we seek new ways to increase profits we need to ask good questions of our team members. We need them to ask themselves: “how does this increase sales or decrease expenses?” In doing so we create high performing teams that are laser focused on increasing sales and optimizing operations.
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Work flows and processes are depicted and streamlined to foster a more effective collaboration within the organization. The program comprises Financial Accounting, Marketing and Sales Management, HR-Management & Payroll, Inventory, Servicing, Buying Procurement, Contract Management, and other helpful modules. Not only for our customers in the Real Estate Industry i. e. in Property Management or Facility Management it is crucial to effectively work with Accounting and the CRM Database both of which are connected to a Document Management System.
As Dynamics NAV can easily integrate with existing systems or corporate solutions such as Financial Accounting, Document Management Systems, or Cash Management / Payment / Banking Solutions and many others, we help to provide these connections where necessary and helpful.
Besides implementation, support, and maintenance for NAV, we develop NAV vertical solutions for specific industries that are fully integrated and extent the abilities NAV. For our the real estate and property management clients we have developed specific verticals (add-ons) that can handle the specifics of their business. Due to our decade long experience with Dynamics NAV, we are able to service all Microsoft Dynamics NAV clients to improve, upgrade and maintain their system. This relates of course to all kinds of industries besides Property Management and Facility Management as well.
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