Qorus Software named in Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report 2018

Inbound Marketing, Qorus
Image source: Virtual Strategy

Qorus Software has been placed in the top 50 of Fifty Five and Five’s 2018 Inbound Marketing Excellence report for the fourth year in a row.

Qorus Software

We are delighted once again to be included in the Fifty Five and Five Inbound report. We work hard on our Marketing and it’s great to be recognized for the efforts we have put into our inbound, content marketing and CX strategies, said Heather Thompson, SVP of Marketing

(PRWEB) June 12, 2018

Qorus Software named in Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report 2018.

Qorus Software has been placed in the top 50 of Fifty Five and Five’s 2018 Inbound Marketing Excellence report for the fourth year in a row. The report is now in its 4th year, and is looked on by those in the industry as a barometer of marketing excellence in the channel. As with previous years it will be released at Microsoft Inspire, which is being held July 15-19 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

This year Fifty Five and Five analysed nearly 39,000 companies, looking at their web, blog and social output. The report celebrates those Partners who have built a consistent inbound marketing strategy with a clear focus on their customers.

The very best inbound and content marketing in the Microsoft Partner Network

This year’s report includes profiles of the best performing Partners, as well as interviews, insights and case studies from industry experts, including:

  • Foreword from Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft
  • An interview with Mitchell Feldman, Chief Digital Officer at HPE Pointnext, on the ongoing challenge of great content marketing (and life after RedPixie)
  • Insights and key findings from the 39,000 partners we analysed

Get your copy of the report. You can pick up your free copy of the report in Las Vegas, from the Fifty Five an Five stand (#1622). Or you can download a digital copy from: https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/inbound-marketing-excellence/

About Qorus
Qorus helps organizations create business critical documents more efficiently and accurately. Our software is incredibly powerful but highly intuitive and very easy to use. Even the most non-technical users can quickly create accurate, personalized and compliant documents like proposals, contracts, RFPs, pitches, and reports.

Qorus runs on Microsoft Azure and integrates with Microsoft Office to enhance document productivity. Our award-winning Customer Success team ensures our customers across all industries get the most value from our software. We have offices in Seattle, London and Cape Town.

Learn more about Qorus at https://www.qorusdocs.com/

Contact information:
Heather Thompson, SVP of Marketing, Qorus Software

About Fifty Five and Five
Based in London, UK, Fifty Five and Five is a digital marketing agency born out of a recognition that Microsoft Partners face a unique set of challenges when it comes to B2B marketing. They help Microsoft Partners communicate more effectively, reach new audiences and drive leads.

Contact information:
Chris Wright, Founder, Fifty Five and Five

Contact Author

Heather Thompson Qorus Software 
+27 873544763
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Overcoming innovation challenges

Insurance, Innovation, Tech
Image Source: International Travel & Health Insurance Journal
ITIJ 208
For the travel insurance industry, sometimes the development of products and their delivery can seem to be happening at a slower pace than in other industries. ITIJ investigates the challenges insurers have to overcome when trying to bring a new product to market
Speaking to industry experts, it seems that the primary challenges faced by insurers depend on where in the world a company operates. For US-based insurance firms, the complex regulatory environment can cause no end of headaches, although there are ways and means of mitigating the issues that being regulated in 51 states causes. For European companies, meanwhile, the problem of legacy IT systems was mentioned by more than one contributor.
Rules and regs
Carolyn Leckie, Director of Marketing for US-based travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth, believes that the state-level regulation environment in the US serves as a limiting factor when it comes to innovation in the industry, saying that ‘it restricts new coverages’. This sentiment is echoed by Robert Gallagher, Senior Vice-Present and Chief Operating Officer of AIG Travel in the US, who told ITIJ: “The time it takes to get new products and rates filed can be lengthy. While the role of the regulator in protecting the consumer is an important part of the process and one that we endorse, it can extend the time it takes to get from product and service development to availability on the market.”
The path to regulatory approval can be a bumpy one, but there are ways and means to fill the potholes on the way. For Squaremouth, the answer lies in having the right partner. Leckie said: “Finding the right underwriter is key. Our underwriter, Berkshire Hathaway, is proactive, listened to our needs and assisted us. The research they’ve conducted
The state-level regulation environment in the US serves as a limiting factor when it comes to innovation in the industry
helps us determine what is important to customers and allowed us to tailor our new products based on these needs.”
Bringing a new product to market is an expensive business, and even for global insurers the issue of prioritisation of resources is a key consideration when it comes to innovation. Chris Price, Head of Travel Insurance in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Zurich, told ITIJ that a company as large as Zurich has many competing initiatives, some of which fall under the banner of ‘company strategy’ and others that are just good ideas. “The skill,” he said, “is balancing these imperatives for as smooth a process as possible.” IT is one of a number of resource-heavy issues that must be considered when it comes to product – and indeed company –  progression, a concern echoed by Rafael Senen Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of Coverontrip, a new digital insurer in Spain, who is well-versed in the challenges faced when bringing a new product and company to the marketplace. The IT legacy is an issue he faced in particular, as his new business process required the design of new software. Among the other challenges he cited were distrust, immobility, fear, being outside of your comfort zone, vanity, insecurity, and mediocrity. An intimidating list, to be sure. “In order for your innovative product to reach safe port,” he said, “you need co-operation and collaboration within your organisation.”
The issue of regulation, however, is not considered to be overly burdensome by Garcia – as long as products are compliant in the first place. The real question, he said, is momentum of the marketplace itself. How does an insurer know the exact right points, to launch their new product? Is it too soon, too late, are the customers really demanding this from their service provider? “But these questions are not actually obstacles,” he opined. “They are part of the nature of the innovation process.”
Another problem faced by the insurance industry is historic – with huge amounts of knowledge and expertise on the table, sometimes it can be difficult to take a fresh approach to a problem, said Paul Firkins, Hood Group’s Sales and…Continue reading


Revolutionizing everyday products with artificial intelligence

Tech, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence
Image Source: Chelsea Turner/MIT

By Mary Beth O’Leary | Department of Mechanical Engineering | MIT News

“Who is Bram Stoker?” Those three words demonstrated the amazing potential of artificial intelligence. It was the answer to a final question in a particularly memorable 2011 episode of Jeopardy!. The three competitors were former champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, and Watson, a super computer developed by IBM. By answering the final question correctly, Watson became the first computer to beat a human on the famous quiz show.

“In a way, Watson winning Jeopardy! seemed unfair to people,” says Jeehwan Kim, the Class ‘47 Career Development Professor and a faculty member of the MIT departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. “At the time, Watson was connected to a super computer the size of a room while the human brain is just a few pounds. But the ability to replicate a human brain’s ability to learn is incredibly difficult.”

Kim specializes in machine learning, which relies on algorithms to teach computers how to learn like a human brain. “Machine learning is cognitive computing,” he explains. “Your computer recognizes things without you telling the computer what it’s looking at.”

Machine learning is one example of artificial intelligence in practice. While the phrase “machine learning” often conjures up science fiction typified in shows like “Westworld” or “Battlestar Galactica,” smart systems and devices are already pervasive in the fabric of our daily lives. Computers and phones use face recognition to unlock. Systems sense and adjust the temperature in our homes. Devices answer questions or play our favorite music on demand. Nearly every major car company has entered the race to develop a safe self-driving car.

For any of these products to work, the software and hardware both have to work in…Continue reading

Article source: http://news.mit.edu/2018/revolutionizing-everyday-products-with-artificial-intelligence-mit-meche-0601

The Human Connection: A Personal Business Thought

Human Contact, Hands

By Kym Gordon Moore

No doubt our world is rapidly changing through assorted technological manifestations. Our business practice is ladled with scoops of artificial technology, augmented and virtual reality. We seek to do things faster to save time, yet sometimes we seem to need more time to do our tasks faster. Sounds like an oxymoron? Yeah, well it is.

As a consumer, personally going through self-scanning checkouts keep me from standing in a long line and getting frustrated, although at times I want to talk to that cashier and have a personal interaction a machine can’t convey. When I call technical support or attempt to reach a specific department for assistance, I don’t always want to talk to an automated message because if I accidentally press an incorrect number, I have to start the process all over again. If I need a problem taken care of, I tend to put more value in human interaction, at least for acknowledging the problem and offering to help solve it, even if automation is a bit more accurate.

After examining a few unofficial polls, at times people noted they tend to feel alienated because artificial devices are replacing that human connection. Upon talking to many consumers, they sometimes express they feel like a number or inanimate object when they only interact with artificial intelligence vs. natural human intelligence. Yet, there’s an overwhelming number of consumers who are unmoved by the absence of human contact. The world they are accustomed to is mostly automated.

We find ourselves so entrapped by our smart devices, that we don’t even have eye to eye contact with each other anymore. We don’t stop and smell the roses because virtual flowers on apps, graphic images or memes entertain our sight and senses. We don’t observe the obvious that stands before us because we are being navigated by a computer led artificial compass which redirects and repositions.

Life is not an invisible touch, even in our technological savvy lifestyle. As we reflect on our business operations, let’s not forget to personalize our services, not simply through the personalized greeting in an email or generic letter, but by using our vocal cords to have interpersonal connections, as we reach out and touch the soul of another…the soul of our customer. Perhaps we have to get back to basics and learn how to truly “listen” again.

When the Stars Align: A New Constellation of Innovation

Innovation, Constellation
Image Source: Karina Mullen Branson

By Samantha Becker and Seth Greenberg | EdSurge

Innovation is happening all over higher education today—but it is happening in islands, pockets and clusters. Around the country it’s happening at large four-year public institutions like Arizona State University and small two-year colleges like Wayfinding Academy in Oregon. On campuses, it’s happening in the Office of the President, where grand visions find their footing, and in the office of an instructional designer, who may be helping a faculty member create their first course integrating VR content. Each of these institutions are home to optimistic changemakers: people who are passionate about supporting engaging, relevant learning experiences that are accessible and affordable to all.

But who are these people?

At the end of April, about 130 of these “dreamers, doers, and drivers” gathered for an unconference at Arizona State University’s research center, EdPlus, under the umbrella idea of Shaping the Future of Learning in the Digital Age. The event was brainchild of ASU’s new CIO, Lev Gonick, and co-convened by 13 institutions and organizations, and included representatives from industry as sponsors and thought partners. The backdrop of ASU was a fitting one; Edplus represents arguably the largest innovation hub at any higher ed institution and the university more broadly has been recognized as the most innovative school in the country by US News and World Report, in part for leading the charge for more accessible, affordable education.

The format of the event is worth reflecting on. Intimate events for increased information sharing, network-building, and cross-campus collaboration are becoming more popular. And the unconference format enables participants to engage with major themes—and each other—in ways that deeply resonate with them.

Even in a space where everyone was bound to have their own institutional and personal agendas, we saw several themes emerge, some of which become became fodder for “neighborhood” action-oriented discussions.

1: Innovation in the Neighborhoods

As participants leveraged the power of ideation and design thinking, along with a helpful tool called Ideation360, here are a few of the ideas that bubbled to the top:

  • How to foster personalized learning environments (PLEs):
  • Understanding the implications and use cases of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality VR) — categorized as extended reality (XR), along with artificial intelligence (AI);
  • More effective understanding of how to use data and analytics to measure learning and drive decision-making;
  • Applying micro-credentials to recognize all forms of learning;
  • How to nurture the next generation of diverse, university leaders
  • Rise of new organizational models for collaboration

Each of these topics shared more questions than answers. A collection of popular tweets represents…Continue Reading

Article Source: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-05-07-when-the-stars-align-a-new-constellation-of-innovation

Real estate tech’s game-changers

Real Estate, Artificial Intelligence, Technology
Image Credit: Illustration by Daniel Nyari

By Adrienne Gaffney | The Real Deal

Of all the hats a broker must wear through the course of the job, data scientist is a recent addition. Generating leads through complex algorithms, using microtargeted marketing, and even paying for properties with a virtual currency have become a part of the way business gets done. And with centers for such innovations so close by, with Silicon Valley to the north and Silicon Beach right in town, it behooves L.A.’s brokers to get in on new technologies early.

“If you’re not using powerful technology to propel your business, you won’t remain relevant into the future,” said Markus Canter of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

Tools like customer relationship management (CRM) technologies and artificial intelligence-reliant programs are musts, and collecting data is now just part of doing business, experts said.

Not all technology has made it into mainstream use — yet. Bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies, has been creeping into conversation, experts said, even if only a few deals have actually been done using that particular payment system. Still, the question looms: How much of a role might it come to play in property transactions?

“It’s relevant in that, in a market like Los Angeles, there’s a lot of investment in Bitcoin,” said Canter, who is working with a client who is looking to invest his Bitcoin profits in a new home. “It’s a conversation that’s happening.”

But while Bitcoin real estate deals have been making headlines, they’ve yet to become a real consideration for most agents. Still, buyers have used the cryptocurrency to purchase homes in and around Los Angeles, including two deals last year in Manhattan Beach, for just over $3.2 million and $1.8 million.

Bitcoin sales in Austin, New York City and Miami have also been reported, but there’s good reason for many buyers to remain hesitant (though sellers might be happy). The $3.2 million Manhattan Beach house was purchased in January 2017 with 3,300 Bitcoins — this March, those Bitcoins would have been worth $34 million. In April 2017, the second Manhattan Beach home sold for around 1,285 Bitcoins. Although the cryptocurrency took a dive this winter, its value is still up 650% year over year, according to reports.

Other tech-savvy investors may have their eyes on projects like Aperture Real Estate Ventures, which launched a real estate-backed cryptocurrency at the end of February. The company said it will give investors an “opportunity to own a professionally managed portfolio of real estate assets via the blockchain.”

Whether these investment tools become standard in the industry is another question. Plenty of technology is already in the hands of real estate professionals, however, whether it’s used for managing clients or monitoring marketing efforts.

‘The most critical tool’

Canter’s office relies on CRM programs to help manage its communications with potential clients.

“As a team that averages about 75 transactions a year, without a CRM we would not be able to do that,” he says. “We find that CRM is something we’re using constantly.”

While the technology has been around for a while, refining and advancing it continues to be a huge priority for those looking to maintain, and advance, their competitive advantage.

Berkshire Hathaway uses Top Producer, which allows for capturing prospects and facilitates maximizing repeat and referral business.

“I still think that databases in general, CRMs, are the most critical tool that an agent has to have functioning for them at a high level and a thing that agents really want,” said Rob Aigner, the CEO of Keller Williams’ Westside office.

Several years ago, Keller Williams launched its own CRM, called eEdge, which Inman News deemed real estate’s Most Innovative Web Service of 2011.

Compass — the tech-savvy residential real estate brokerage that expanded from New York to L.A. in 2015 and now employs go-to Kardashian agent Tomer Fridman — recently received $100 million in Series E funding from investors like Fidelity and Wellington Management. The company announced that the funds would go in part to creating its own CRM in 2018.

Tracking traffic

When dealing with ultra-high-end properties, Canter looks to statistical tools on individual property websites to analyze where the hits originated.

“These tools allow us to track how many people are looking on the pages and allow us to track where the traffic is coming from,” he said. “If you’re sending out target marketing through e-cards or in the MLS or you’ve done an L.A. Times ad … you can track to see whether the money you’re spending is doing an effective job.”

His favorite service is ListingZen, a service utilizing A.I. to help real estate brokers. It’s also a marketplace for real estate-specific services ranging from photography and drones to floor plans and inspections.

“I can see where, not just in Los Angeles, but around the globe, people are looking on the website,” he said. “So I can quantify, ‘Is my marketing working? Do I need to change my marketing in order to reach the right buyers?’”

The Pasadena-based company was founded in June 2016 with the intention of creating a unified spot for listing agents to address all of their needs.

“We’re connecting that to all of the listing tools they need,” said founder Michael McNamara. “The website, social media stuff and distribution channels of all of their print materials and digital content so they can create it and send it out.”

As the company grows, its goals include using the data it has collected to analyze for trends and using A.I. to provide critical insight into what works and what doesn’t. “To see, for instance, if houses sell faster if they get photography and drone together. Or if houses sell faster if an agent spends 50 percent more than the average agent spends on marketing,” McNamara said.

The trick, he said, is not gathering the data itself, but “being able to utilize it.”

Platforms that address multiple needs at once are increasingly becoming a priority, agreed Keller Williams’ Aigner. The company recently launched an A.I.-based personal assistant for its agents called Kelle, plus a platform called Keller Cloud through KW Labs, a division devoted to creating proprietary technologies.

Companies are trying to create “all-encompassing” platforms so agents don’t have to have so many different tools, he said. “To me, it’s a simplification, where everything resides in one portal.”

A brokerless brokerage

REX is a digital brokerage that works outside of the MLS and uses A.I. and data to connect buyers and sellers. The company boasts just a 2 percent fee, versus what might be twice that for a traditional agent, said co-founder and CEO Jack Ryan.

That’s possible, he said, both as a result of eliminating the middleman and the company’s ability to utilize data. REX “makes predictions about who is the right buyer for your home based upon the data and then reaches out to those people and shows them your home and says, ‘Would you like to buy this?’” said Ryan.

A former partner at Goldman Sachs, Ryan said that company used “supercomputers that could trade shares electronically with other people. We drove the cost of trading shares from 12 cents down to half a penny. The exact same thing seemed possible to do with residential real estate.”

Ryan believes the time has arrived for a new real estate model that better serves the consumer. REX also has tools to aid customers with mortgages and escrow and will soon add some to help with insurance.

Similar thinking is happening on the commercial side. CREXi, unrelated to REX, is a two-year-old marketplace that looks to streamline the process for those seeking commercial real estate.

The company, which is headquartered in Venice Beach and has offices in New York and Miami,  was founded by former employees of Auction.com. Its aim is to help clients with buying, selling and researching properties. Currently, the site hosts around 53,000 listings.

Article source: https://therealdeal.com/la/issues_articles/real-estate-techs-game-changers/

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on 2018’s Top HR Trends

Artificial Intelligence, Tech, Human Resources
Image Credit: Shutterstock
By Pallavi Jha, Chairperson and Managing Director, Dale Carnegie Training India


With the rise of artificial intelligence, several of today’s larger organizations face the issue of restructuring. Several global companies believe their organizational design is less than ideal, but few know how to go about remedying it.

The answer to this is to make sure the global workforce “upskills” to be qualified enough to handle fresh positions. Adapting to a rapidly-changing world of work will be the defining task of our time – organizations ought to invest in their workers to ensure they aren’t left behind. Those with the right skills will be at an advantage to choose how, where and when they work. The rate of advancement and globalisation cannot be offset, but we can invest in employees’ skills to enhance their resilience. Equally important is nurturing learnability and adopting new skills to stay abreast and remain employable.

As indicated in the trends listed below, while AI-related technological developments may cause sluggish growth in some areas of hiring, it will, as a matter of fact, create jobs too. Below are some of the HR trends that we will see gaining prominence in 2018, some of which will see artificial intelligence playing a supporting role:

1. HR Becomes a Strategic Business Partner

As strategy is usually undertaken by top management, this requires HR to work more closely with top management in order to become a strategic business partner, if not one already. A vast portion of today’s CHRO’s have already begun to implement this. HR ought to focus on understanding the wishes, needs and competencies of employees, which are integral to designing a highly-coveted employee experience and becoming a fantastic employer brand.

2. Renewed Emphasis on Employee Productivity

When filling positions is a time-sensitive priority, it gets tougher for recruitment to be scrupulous. A lack of quality talent causes an increase in the levels of coordination and management required, meaning that productivity goes down.

When the hiring emphasis is on quality and productivity, benefits increase for the organisation as well as for its employees. People analytics can support HR in gathering data to determine the habits and characteristics of the highest performing people and teams. The findings of which can be used in future recruitment and talent development.

3. Focus on People Analytics

People analytics was once a technical discipline owned exclusively by data experts. Today, it has carved out its own niche as a business and managerial discipline; meaning 2018 will see an increase in the number of organizations with a stand-alone people analytics function. Among other tasks, the PA team will be responsible for creating means by which to link team leaders and senior management. The real challenge will then be to generate insights that can inform decisions relating to people, teams and the best ways to support them.

4. Learning in Real-time

With micro-learning gaining popularity, learning modules are being increasingly broken up into more digestible pieces, providing employees with access to learning material when they need it, AKA ‘just in time’ learning. An L&D approach can also be adopted through gamification, with new virtual and augmented reality offerings making it more enjoyable. The challenge will be to track and measure the performance of an organization’s human capital, to be able to find or create the most appropriate learning solution.

These trends point to a superior workplace experience in 2018. And although companies may face new hurdles in making them a reality, they will likely be met with a more streamlined approach, higher productivity and greater engagement.

Article source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/312152

* Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.