Association Today

Association News You Can Use

Association Today is a blog authored by Paul Lundy that talks about the news and insights relevant to the association industry.

More Mobile Managers: 4 Tips for Keeping Mobile Teams on Track

More Mobile Managers: 4 Tips for Keeping Mobile Teams on Track

It won’t surprise you that these days “mobile” is always a part of my discussion with customers and prospects. As I’ve talked with people in the association community, I sense that there’s a real understanding of the importance of the mobile channel and their members’ increasing use of mobile devices both professionally and personally.

This trend towards mobility has already and will continue to impact our workplaces. According to a forecast from International Data Corporation, by 2015 the world's mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce.

The ever increasing mobility of the workplace was front of mind when we created Fonteva For Associations.  It is designed to be users’ all-in-one platform, which can be activated from anywhere at any time on any device.  Fonteva For Associations staff users can perform all administrative functions (i.e. creating reports or changing permissions) remotely.

Fonteva For Associations is completely mobile for users and members. Users can login to the database from any Internet enabled device and constituents can access the portal and enjoy touch screen navigation from mobile devices.

While we believe organizations using Fonteva For Associations are well-equipped to operate in a mobile workplace, we recognize that this trend could pose challenges for managers. In a post on Forbes.com, Mark Dixon, the founder and chief executive of Regus, a global provider of flexible workspace, offers these suggestions for managing mobile workers:

    1. Be engaged, always. Lead by example. Understand the nature of the work you’re overseeing—is it highly structured or unstructured—and customize your approach to fit the employee and the task.
    2. Set clear goals and expectations. Trusting your employees to meet expectations without direct supervision is essential to becoming an effective manager of flexible workers. From day one, communicate goals and expectations clearly and effectively. The goals should reflect quantifiable end results, not process or hours spent on specific projects.
    3. Embrace a flexible lifestyle. Offer employees who work remotely or from home access to professional workplaces when they need it. They need to know they can get professional services and support when required. They need professional locations where they can come together face-to-face, whether for meetings with colleagues and clients or for working on special projects.
    4. Be a connector. I’m a big believer in meetings that matter, bringing the right people together to get talking, thinking, and making key decisions. You can only do so much over the phone or the Internet, so the more virtual you become the more important this is. Also, facilitate and encourage corporate camaraderie by creating opportunities for your employees to socialize, formally and informally.

If those in leadership roles make an effort to implement these strategies, mobility will be manageable.

Continue reading
1525 Hits

App of the Month: Cirrus Insight - Google Goes with the Force

App of the Month: Cirrus Insight - Google Goes with the Force

Yes, there probably is an app for that, for just about anything you want to accomplish professionally and personally. But how do you know which apps are the best ones for your association? With so many of them being available, it can be hard to know which ones will be most effective for your organization. Just because there’s app for that, it doesn’t mean that you need it.

One of the biggest benefits Fonteva For Associations users are able to take advantage of is access to the more than 2,000 business apps available through the Salesforce App Exchange. You may already be familiar with some of them like MailChimp and Eventbrite.

All of the apps featured can be downloaded and used to extend the functionality of both Fonteva For Associations and Salesforce, and I’ll be highlighting one app from exchange the every month so that you’ll have a better idea of what’s available and may be most useful to you in your work.

The second app that I would like to highlight is Cirrus Insight developed by Cirrus Path Inc., a company based in Laguna Hills, Calif., specializing in making apps that integrate Salesforce with Google (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive).

Cirrus Insight is rated the #1 app for integrating Salesforce with Google Apps. Do you have staff members who find it challenging to toggle back and forth between Salesforce and Google? As a result, important information about communications with customers may not be accurately recorded.

Cirrus Insight makes the connection between the two seamless and alleviates the problem of having to exit Google to update information in Salesforce. Users can see customer context in their inboxes, save emails to Salesforce, create leads and contacts, set reminders to follow up, and update Salesforce records. Essentially, this app serves as the ultimate bridge between two of the most important platforms in the public cloud.

Here at Fonteva, we know first-hand how valuable this app is. Since the beginning, we’ve used it streamline our day-to-day operations by making communication more efficient and effective. Our team uses Cirrus Insight to communicate with customers and prospects.

I really like that the Cirrus Insight pops up when I am composing a message in Gmail and I can easily verify if the contact is already in Salesforce and then add it if it isn’t. Any documents that I send also become part of the activity history. Our team’s entire conversation with the customer or prospect is documented in Salesforce

Here’s what some other users have to say about how Cirrus Insight has helped their organizations be more efficient:

—“I must admit [that] I was a little skeptical at first, but quickly found out this is a must have app. It is a huge timesaver and makes entries into Salesforce from Gmail a breeze. Thanks for this extremely helpful tool.

—“After trying it for two weeks, my sales guys couldn't live [without it] after their trial period ended. They bugged me relentlessly until I purchased it for them.”

—“I’ve had some ups and downs with Cirrus Insight, but my overall experience has been positive. Due to the apps ease of use, it has cut down tremendously the amount of time it took me to update information within Salesforce.”

Read more online to see if this app might be right for your association.

Continue reading
1639 Hits

Safe and Secure in the Cloud: Avoiding the Notorious Nine

Safe and Secure in the Cloud: Avoiding the Notorious Nine

Data breaches at big-box retail stores, financial institutions, and even the federal government seem to be constantly in the news. And the public cloud sometimes gets the blame for these vulnerabilities. To be sure, with all the good that’s come from cloud computing, some new security challenges have been introduced as well.

Fortunately, most of these risks can be mitigated by increasing awareness and putting appropriate measures in place to address them. The Cloud Security Alliance has been in the forefront of conducting research about these issues and facilitating dialogue among members of the cloud community.

Last year, CSA’s Top Threats Working Group surveyed experts in the field to identify the following nine critical threats to cloud security (ranked in order of severity):

  1. Data Breach
  2. Data Loss
  3. Account Hijacking
  4. Insecure APIs
  5. Denial of Service
  6. Malicious Insiders
  7. Abuse of Cloud Services
  8. Insufficient Due Diligence
  9. Shared Technology Issues

At first glance, it may be difficult to determine if one or more of these threats is significant to your association. However, you should definitely be aware of them and take security issues into consideration when selecting cloud-based Platform Solutions.

Fortunately for Fonteva For Associations users, these risks have been readily addressed and are carefully monitored because our AMS solution is built 100% natively on the Salesforce.com platform.

Salesforce.com implements a multi-prong approach to ensure the software Fonteva releases is secure. Specifically, we perform the following tasks to assure security in the development lifecycle:

Architecture Reviews: Salesforce.com architects (including a security team) meet regularly to discuss features that could be considered high risk.

Development: Salesforce.com developers follow coding best practices such as those specified in OWASP (Open Web Application SecurityProject). All code prior to check-in is reviewed. Code quality and security

Quality Assurance (QA): Salesforce.com QA testers analyze their features through both positive and negative testing. Salesforce.com also employs several black box analysis tools (Appscan, Peros, etc.) to help in identification of security vulnerabilities.

Due diligence is definitely required, but it’s definitely possible to be safe and secure in the public cloud.

Original Article

The Notorious Nine: Cloud Computing Top Threats in 2013

Continue reading
1618 Hits

Facebook Gets Fancy with New Features

Facebook Gets Fancy with New Features

Happy Birthday to Facebook! The social network turned 10 on Tuesday. As its 1.23 billion users world-wide are well aware, the network has definitely changed over time.

And it will continue to do so if Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has his way. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Zuckerberg said, “We’re really at this point where we can take a step back and think about the next big things that we want to do.”

Two recent announcements the company made reflect this commitment to constantly changing to meet the needs of the marketplace. The first was the introduction of a new feature, the “Donate Now” button, which allows donors to contribute to nonprofits without ever leaving Facebook.com.

The button will be visible on posts from the nonprofit in the user’s news feed and will also appear at the top of the nonprofit’s Facebook page. Users can make donations using debit/credit cards or PayPal. According to Steven Shattuck, vice president of marketing at Bloomerang, this new feature will be especially advantageous to those nonprofits that already have a strong Facebook presence and solicit donations via a third-party app.

Currently, this feature is only available to 18+ nonprofit partners, but Facebook expects to roll it out globally in the near future. Organizations interested in the “Donate Now” button can complete a form online.

The second announcement was the changes made to network’s news feed algorithm. In a recent blog post for Advertising Age, Blinq Media CEO Luis Caballero offers these observations about the changes: “The changes -- especially noticeable on mobile -- make Facebook more Twitter-like, giving much more weight to links from outside the site, rather than the personal updates that many have associated with Facebook.”

In general, the shift is content driven in that it means more attention will be given to popular pieces of content. According to Caballero, this means marketers will have think differently about how to present their brands on social media.  He says they “now need to use Facebook and other platforms to gain a deeper understanding of their audience.”

Caballero goes on to say that “marketers ought to ensure that the content they are creating is native to the platform. That is, if you are a retailer, your content should have a timely, specific, meaningful message that is location-appropriate.”

At Fonteva, we can relate to this approach as it served as the foundation for the development of our Fonteva For Associations app built on the Salesforce platform. We wanted our users to have the information/data most relevant to them at their fingertips without having to request costly customizations or upgrades to their AMS. Fonteva and Facebook – great minds think alike.

Original Articles

Facebook's News Feed Changes Will Require New Marketing Strategies

The New Facebook ‘Donate’ Button – What You Need To Know

Facebook Turns 10: The Mark Zuckerberg Interview

Continue reading
1672 Hits

Cooperation in the Cloud: The Native Approach to Apps

Cooperation in the Cloud: The Native Approach to Apps

You’re probably familiar with co-ops as they relate to an attractive housing option that allows tenants to share resources and amenities in a multi-unit building while having the benefit of managing their individual units more efficiently and economically. Well, this approach translates to the most recent developments in cloud computing. In this context, it’s known as multi-tenancy or platform as a service.

New web platforms have emerged that foster interoperability and collaboration among independent software vendors as they develop apps. “Native” is the term commonly used to define and distinguish these apps.

In a recent white paper, DreamFactory CEO Eric Rubin highlighted how cooperative or native apps can be leveraged to streamline cloud deployments “by sharing assets that would otherwise be redundant and eliminating unnecessary middleware that would otherwise be needed to connect applications.”

As a case in point, Salesforce.com has maximized this model by sharing hosting, data, document and security services via single implementation throughout its customer base of thousands of companies and organizations. This approach is far more efficient than if these same services were to be distributed as single tenant implementations.

When we developed Fonteva For Associations, we recognized how powerful the Salesforce platform was and will continue to be. We knew how valuable it would be for our app to be a native of Salesforce ecosystem. The advantages our customers get because we developed our app in this multi-tenant ecosystem are incomparable:

Single data store. Fonteva For Associations enables customers to eliminate point Platform Solutions and manage all transactions and interactions from a single database.

Ongoing innovation. Salesforce also has three product releases each year (spring, summer, winter) that are available free to all Fonteva For Associations customers.

Interoperability of apps. Fonteva For Associations customers can access the Salesforce marketplace and select from over 2,000 business apps that can be downloaded and used to extend the functionality of both Fonteva For Associations and Salesforce. 

Speed, security and scalability. We use the Salesforce platform to deliver world-class data management, security, service availability, and a highly intuitive user interface. The stability, reliability and scalability of the Salesforce platform are unparalleled.

Moreover, because Fonteva For Associations is 100 percent built on the Salesforce public cloud, customers are able to perform tasks and customize the solution themselves rather than pay their AMS vendor. We focus on cooperation, so you can concentrate on being competitive.

Continue reading
1584 Hits