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Thankful for Technology

thankful-technology-620x471As you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and loved ones, you’ll likely spend time thinking about what you are thankful for.  For some families it’s tradition for each person attending the holiday gathering to share their gratitude with the group. In that spirit, Fonteva staff reflected on the technologies that they are most thankful for. They are thankful for technologies that: Help them stay in touch with family and friends I’m thankful for video-chat, such as Face Time and Skype.  It’s great to get to see my nieces and nephews while they’re living hundreds of miles away! —Christine Clark, Project Manager I’m thankful for WhatsApp. It allows me to communicate with my family members all over the world for free. All I had to do was download the app for 99 cents. Then, I created a “keeping in touch” group and added all my family members from South Africa, the UK, and Australia to it. Now I always know what they are doing and feel like I’m part of their daily lives. —Kizaan Knapp: Marketing Director  Facilitate communication and collaboration from anywhere at any time I’m thankful for mobile devices. —Jerry Huskins, CEO I’m thankful for network attached storage. —Aaron Fluty, Platform Solutions Architect I’m thankful for Instagram. —Ulas Kutuk, Software Engineer I’m thankful for cloud computing. The cloud has changed the way people store their own data, such as notes and recordings, videos, and music. —Paul Lundy, President Make it easier to preserve memories I’m thankful for digital Photos.  No more having to buy film, remember to get it developed, and put together an album.  With digital photography I can check to make sure I got the shot instantly, take 50 photos, and only keep 3 if I want. What more could you ask for? —Juliann Paladino, Accountant And we couldn’t ask for better colleagues and clients. We are thankful the talents and expertise that you share with us every day. Enjoy your holiday!
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DreamForce 2013, Day 1: It’s All about Accelerated Apps

6a00e54ee3905b88330191043e1a96970c-300wiMy first day at DreamForce was quite busy with shuttling between the all venues (Moscone North, South and West; The Marriott and the Hilton). Fonteva is exhibiting at the Foundation Zone, and we have a great booth location. I saw a number of our customers and partners the first day even though I am just one of the 128,000 attendees expected at the conference this year. My next three days here will provide a tremendous opportunity for learning, meeting with customers and prospects, and engaging with the Salesforce Foundation and Independent Software Vendor teams. As the conference gets under way, the theme of mobility, mobility, mobility is evident. According to the most recent data from Salesforce, there are now more than 2,000 apps in the AppExchange Marketplace and over 2 million downloads. Further, more than $2 billion has been invested in app exchange companies. The numbers speak for themselves and to the ongoing need for additional AppExchange Apps that enable users to do more and extend the Salesforce platform. To respond to this need, Salesforce announced the availability of a new platform called Salesforce1. One hundred percent in the cloud, the platform is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of apps. The overarching concept behind the platform is, “Develop Your Cloud App Fast.” And organizations of all sizes can benefit from using the new platform to build apps faster to address their business and customer needs. As reported on Forbes.com, Fergus Griffin, senior vice president of marketing at Salesforce, described the new platform as the “re-architecting of all of what we have to make it ready for the coming connected era. It’s all about cloud, social, mobile and being connected. We think it’s a bulls-eye for where our customers are going.” How close are you to hitting the targets that you’ve identified for your organization? Perhaps, you want to make it easier for members to renew subscriptions or navigate your annual meeting from a mobile device. Do you have an app for that? These are some of the questions that came to mind as I reflected on my first day here. I’ll keep you posted.
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Stand Up and Collaborate

images“To work together.” That’s the dictionary definition of collaboration. And it’s deceptively simplistic as is the presumption that your organization’s staff members have the willingness and wherewithal to work together. Too often collective sharing of information does not happen when and where it should. It’s taken for granted that staff members will communicate with each other appropriately. In his article “High Performing Teams through Partnering: the Elements,” author and speaker Ed Rigsbee, CAE, identifies “an information free-flow in all directions” as a necessary element for high performing teams. He writes: “What might be the value of information sharing? The list goes on and on; communication, productivity, comfort, security, feeling good about the workplace just to name a few.” It’s important for organizations to put specific mechanisms in place to facilitate ongoing communication and collaboration. Fonteva uses two primary strategies to collaborate internally. Every morning we have a company-wide "standup" meeting. It lasts about 20 minutes, and everyone states what they did over the last 24 hours, what they will do over the next 24, and if they have any barriers to success. This is an extremely effective way to ensure everyone is focused on creating the most value for that day. Additionally, we use a number of online collaborative tools; Jira for product development and Google Drive for document collaboration and storage. Our product development team also has its own standup where we schedule and discuss what functionality is going to be released in what two-week period, which is driven largely by customer needs and prospect requests. From a client perspective, we hear from customers frequently via our various support channels, and we also schedule top-to-top meetings annually with senior leadership to ensure we are aligned. We also publish release notes, so customers can see what new functionality is being released and offer training sessions to help customers understand how to use new features. Information free-flow -- both internally and externally -- is essential for our ongoing success as a team. Collaboration is synonymous with a healthy work environment, and as a leadership team, we’re willing to stand up and work together.
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Five Ways to Get ROI from Technology Training

in-person-training-1Employee training is definitely an investment. Research on staff training and employee job satisfaction suggests that it’s one worth making. According to the Accenture 2013 “Skills and Employment Trends Survey: Perspectives on Training,” 51 percent of the 400 executives surveyed indicated that their companies expect to increase investments in training over the next two years, and 35 percent of executives whose companies are facing a skills shortage acknowledged that they have not invested enough in training in the past.  In the Society for Human Resource Management’s research report “2011 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement,” 62 percent of employees cited the opportunities to use their skills and abilities as a primary factor in their job satisfaction. Further, 33 percent indicated that having access to job specific training was a key factor. At Fonteva, we encourage the organizations that work with us to allocate appropriate time and resources to offer a robust training program for employees when introducing them to new technology tools. Here are some ways to get the most benefit from your investment in training.
  1. Ensure executive leadership participates. Their attendance, if only briefly, communicates the importance of each staff member fully understanding the organization's primary technology system.
  2. Schedule on-site training. This is especially important when implementing new systems. You can give staff exercises and engage with them. You’ll be able to see what people are really doing as they learn to use the new technology.
  3. Ensure that your technology vendor has properly "scoped" training hours. This is easy to underestimate, but one of the most important factors for user adoption. You want to be sure that your entire training plan has been taken into consideration when estimating costs.
  4. Schedule ongoing training. It’s important to build training into the culture of your organization. One example would be hosting monthly "lunch and learns" that serve as user groups where fast learners in the company are able to help colleagues. Programs like these help to solidify ongoing interest in and commitment to using the technology effectively.
  5. Ensure you have a training plan for new hires. There’s nothing worse than starting a new position and not being able to access your new employer’s IT systems. Whether the training occurs internally or externally, all new staff members should receive formal training on using the organization’s technology system.
The need and desire for training are evident. Your challenge is making this investment worthwhile from a business perspective.
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How Can Association Management Reach Out To Young Donors?

If association management wants their organizations to succeed in the future, they must inspire the nation’s next generation of donors; those 20- to early 30-somethings called millennials. According to a new study highlighted in an Association Now article, the key to attracting these donors is having a digital presence and mobile accessibility.
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