The Future of Trading

By Alex Pusco – CEO of ActivTrades

Did you ever think your mobile could be for more than making calls, checking emails and updating social network feeds? Over the last couple of years we have noticed that more of our customers are checking their trading positions on the move.

Around 100,000 of people in the UK currently use their disposable income of around £5,000 to trade whether that be first thing in the morning before heading to work, on their lunch break, or after they have come home from a long day in the office.

30% of customers using ActivTrades’ MetaTrader4 platform login to check their positions on a smartphone or tablet which indicates that the future of financial technology is changing. Though it is still a minority the number is growing which highlights a change in the industry. Continue reading

Technology Headlines: Twitter Hits 10m UK Users And Apple Fights New Claims

There doesn’t appear to be a time where Apple are not fighting a legal suit, or defending themselves against competitor criticism. The latest swipe at the technology giants comes from Nokia, who are accusing Apple of a Siri bias when asking ‘which is the best smartphone’.

Twitter are celebrating that they now have 10 million users in the UK, and 140 million worldwide. Given that it launched six years ago, the figures are even more impressive.

US car giant General Motors has said it will stop advertising on Facebook, days ahead of the social networking site’s share flotation.

A new report by eBay suggests that using technology to enhance the shopping experience like never before could present each of the UK’s 10 largest retailers with additional sales of £235m by 2014.

Increase Business Efficiency With Social Intranets

It’s often been said that a business is only as good as its employees, with the best companies often the ones that invest in their staff and have the processes in place to enable them to thrive.

Increasingly, in our information-fuelled world, this employee-centric approach requires efficiently capturing and sharing knowledge to enable better teamwork and decision-making. The technological solution that many businesses have implemented to facilitate this is an intranet and, for many, it is the primary medium for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

But the intranet as we know it is starting to show its age:

- It remains a one-way medium for ‘broadcasting’ information

- It is over-centralised, with too much control coming from the top

- There is a lack of engagement

- The user experience often pales in comparison to rich, interactive web 2.0 and social media sites

- It inhibits access to knowledge instead of facilitating it

As a result, most intranets are under-valued, under-utilised and, frankly, underwhelming.

A new way of working

Imagine instead an intranet that employees really want to engage with and contribute to; a technology that actually helps them do their jobs and enjoy their work lives.

This is the concept of the social intranet, allowing businesses to harnesses the power of social media to:

- Engage users in the mission of the enterprise

- Encourage people to contribute their ideas

- Make it easy to capture, share and discover information

- Supporting fluid, spontaneous and structured collaboration

Importantly, social intranets support all forms of communication and collaboration, whether it’s one-to-one (instant messaging and email), one-to-many (through blogs, video-sharing and podcasting), one-to-all (in forums and discussion threads) and many-to-many (in wikis, communities, forums and groups).

In short, the social intranet provides a service that is integrated with all existing content resources, communication tools and knowledge assets, providing an incredibly powerful, enterprise-wide knowledge platform with a friendly, familiar face.

So why is the social intranet in today’s business environment so important?

1. Because knowledge gives a competitive advantage – in the global, always-on, always-connected world, the way companies capture, share and discover knowledge has a direct impact on efficiency, decision accuracy and time-to-market.

2. Because it’s a medium of cohesion, inclusion and engagement - getting organisations working together, sharing their ideas and giving honest feedback can be tricky. The social intranet has the power to fuel this new engaged workforce and connect employees with others that have the right knowledge.

3. Because Generation Y is hitting the workplace - younger employees are native to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. If your intranet just sits there, so will your people.

4. Because collective intelligence beats gurus – the collective intelligence of your workforce beats the wisdom of even your most experienced experts, but only if you can tap into it. The social intranet is a natural medium for ‘crowdsourcing’.

5. Because traditional document management isn’t friendly enough - legacy document management systems are hard to use so fewer people use them, less often. And they are not designed for the web world. The social intranet is intuitive and familiar; users can jump in without a single training session, bringing Enterprise 2.0 closer.

6. Because it’s rapid to deploy - creating and deploying traditional knowledge management and collaboration tools can soak up serious time and resources. The social intranet can be as rapid to create and deploy as any other web page – if you’ve got a CMS platform designed for the job.

The future of company collaboration

As social networks continue to gain in popularity, employees are beginning to demand similar networks to become an everyday part of their working lives. This two-way communication and engagement across all levels is something businesses be looking to integrate into the workplace now.

We live in a democratic society where everybody has an opinion they want to share. The benefits of sharing over a controlled network, such as through a social intranet, means employees feel like they’ve contributed while, at the same time, companies can still retain some ownership – monitoring what is going on and stepping in if necessary.

By empowering employees in this way, using social technologies, businesses can make them the driving force of the business itself. An intranet should no longer be a static piece of equipment reliant on leaders and users; it must become a piece of technology that, when used efficiently, can bring out the best in its employees and help them – and the business – evolve and become a success.

By Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing, EPiServer

The 5 Step Basic Strategy To Being Successful On LinkedIn

Frequently, we see people (including so-called “LinkedIn Experts”) believe that they need only a great LinkedIn Profile and then the rest will automatically and magically happen: new customers, a new job, new employees, investors, partners, experts, etc.

This is not what occurs in reality!

How many times do you use LinkedIn to find someone to offer them a job, hire them as a consultant or buy their products? Not often, right?

The problem for such people is failing to start from their goals; moreover most people fail to set goals at all.

To REALLY benefit from LinkedIn this needs to change. A passive presence needs to be transformed into a proactive approach. We help by giving you our 5 step basic strategy for success.

Step 1: Clearly Define a Specific Goal

Take a piece of paper (or whatever you use to write—Word, Notepad, your IPad). Write a goal that can relate to finding new customers, a new job, new employees, partners, suppliers, advertisers, sponsors, volunteers, experts…make it as specific as possible.

(This is the first step in our G.A.I.N. exercise (Goals Achieving via the Immense power of your Network). If you want to do this exercise with lots more tips to help specify your goal, download this exercise from the free “Video & Tools Library” at www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com

Step 2: Think of the People Who Can Help You Reach Your Goal

Review your written goal and reflect on “who are the people in the best position to help me reach my goal?”

Expand beyond the people you already know! You can reach anyone in the world via 6 steps, maximum, so keep an open mind and list the people who are in the best position even if you don’t know them or even their name.

Step 3: Use LinkedIn’s “Advanced Search”

Log in to LinkedIn and go to “Advanced Search” (this is the word “Advanced” next to the search bar on top of your Home Page).

Use the parameters of step 1 and 2 in the fields available on this page. Looking at these fields might cause you to think of some more parameters for step 1 and 2 or to change them.

Now you can have two results: you either find the person or you do not. If you have found the person, go to the next step.

If you haven’t found this person, the reason might be that he doesn’t have a Profile on LinkedIn. However, there can be other reasons:

- They filed with a different function from the one you are looking for. For example, maybe you typed in Human Resources Director while this person is profiled as HR Manager. You might need to use different descriptions of a function for a successful search.

- You used other parameters in your search than those in their Profile. Experiment with the options by refining your search on the left-hand side (or change the sort options at the top of the search results). Perhaps they no longer hold the same position anymore (change the “current & past” option for Title) or moved to another company (change the “current & past” option for Company). Or maybe they listed themselves under a different industry from the one you chose.

Tip: Cast a wide net and fine-tune later on. When applying different parameters, start with the major ones first (e.g. country, function, company). If you find any results (big or small), add extra parameters (e.g. postal code, industry, language, relationship). This way you can see the effect of some of the parameters you are using.

Step 4: Find People Who Can Help You

If you have too many or too few results of your search, change your parameters on the left hand side.

Then choose the most interesting Profile and look whom you know in common. You can do this by clicking on “x shared connections” in the result list (only for 2nd degree connections) or you can click on someone’s name to read their Profile first and then look at whom you have in common on the right hand side (you have to scroll down).

If the Profile you are looking at is not what you want, or you are looking for more people, repeat this step.

Remark: if you don’t find many 2nd degree connections (those are the ones you are looking for!), that probably means you don’t have a big enough LinkedIn network yet or don’t have the right LinkedIn network yet. Use the tools LinkedIn provides you with under Contacts/Add Connections to quickly build your network.

Step 5: Get Introduced To People Who Can Help You

Once you have found the people who can help you reach your goal and your mutual connections, it is time to leave LinkedIn to ask for an introduction.

Although you can also use the “Get introduced through” option on LinkedIn, we don’t recommend using it because you don’t know how well they know each other.

They might have once met at a conference or even just connected with each other without knowing each other personally. If you ask for an introduction via the “Get introduced through” option, you might wait for a very long time for a reaction, if you get one at all!

Tip: if you insist on using the “Get introduced through” option, you should know that both the person who introduces you as well as the one being introduced can read both messages! Most people are unaware of this and write something (too) personal in the message to the person who will introduce them. For example: let’s assume you want to be introduced to the Marketing Manager of Microsoft and you notice that a friend from university is connected to both of you. In your message accompanying your request to be introduced, you mention some of your “extra-curricular” (going out, drinking, etc.) activities because that’s what you have in common. However, your first impression to the Marketing Manager, who can also read those words, will (probably) be your last one!

What’s the alternative to the “Get introduced through” function?

Pick up the phone, explain your goal to your mutual connection, and ask how well they know the person you want to reach. If they don’t know them well enough, thank them for their time.

If they DO know them and want to help you, ask them to connect you by introducing you to each other via a NORMAL EMAIL (not via LinkedIn). We call this the Magic Mail. Why? Because the results can be magical!

Let us clarify this by showing you the difference between using the “Get Introduced Through” function and an email outside LinkedIn.

If you use the “Get Introduced Through” option, YOU need to write a message that can be forwarded by your contact. This is a cold message that is warmed up a bit by your contact. But it is still you, a stranger, who wrote the message.

On the other hand, when the person you want to reach on LinkedIn, receives an email from your mutual contact, someone they already KNOW, LIKE and TRUST to a certain level, they will be much more open to the message. At the least this person will be more open for a conversation with you; at best you are already “presold” by your mutual contact!

Conclusion

Whomever you are looking for: a new customer, employee, employer, partner, supplier, investor, expert or anyone else who can help you reach your goals: use this 5 step basic strategy to find them on LinkedIn.

By Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach