Benjamin Brandall – Process Street

All posts by Benjamin Brandall


How to Build a Culture of Accountability with Processes

According to the American Management Association, one-quarter of workers seem to avoid responsibility on the job on average, and 21% of companies believe that the figure is as high as 30-50%. From these stats, it’s clear that low employee accountability is wasting company money on a massive scale.

At the same time, almost two thirds of employees believe their company does not have a strong culture. The link between these two factors is strong, argues management consultant and author Roger Connors. Connors blends The Wizard of Oz with now-influential writings on employee accountability in a series of best-selling leadership books including The Oz Principle and Change the Culture, Change the Game. In the latter, he says:

“Our experience proves that accountability, done the right way, produces greater transparency and openness, enhanced teamwork and trust, effective communication and dialogue, thorough execution and follow-through, sharper clarity, and a tighter focus on results. Accountability should be the strongest thread that runs through the complex fabric of any organization” — Roger Connors, Change the Culture, Change the Game

To paraphrase Connor, a business’ employee accountability depends on leaders creating a transparent culture where responsibility is clear, transparent, and owned. One way to bring clarity to the way your business operates is to use standardized processes and leverage technology that helps track activity, assign tasks, and facilitate hand-offs.

In this article, we’ll go through the links between processes, accountability and company culture, and give you tips on how to improve your business in those areas. But first, let’s look closely at the ties between accountability and culture.

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How to Move from Business Analyst to Business Architect

As an analyst, you spend your day designing your organization’s processes, measuring their performance and ironing out the fine details. You focus on the “how”. You’re very good at it, but maybe you’re more interested in the “what”? If you want to move past the nitty-gritty of processes and devise end-to-end models and strategies instead, then you’re looking make the leap to business architect.

The necessity of architects is a byproduct of digital transformation.

There’s a growing need for talented pros who can reduce complexity, establish solid technology processes and ensure tech’s used consistently across business units and functional areas.” — Sharon Florentine, CIO

What is a business architect?

As a business architect, you will design the structure of the business as a whole by looking broadly at systems design and requirements. Your aim is to improve the business’ operations in line with goals and strategy. Architects do this by theorizing and testing the components of a system (the technology, the flow of work, the deliverables) and overseeing the implementation of the systems by someone in a business analyst role.

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How A-Team Lending Made Employee Onboarding Paperless with Process Street

The A-Team Lending is a California-based mortgage broker with over a dozen full-time employees and 20 commissioned salespeople. The A-Team hired process consultant Cary Wan to handle their marketing and improve their business systems

Within the first month Cary has already managed to fully automate a large chunk of their HR systems which would otherwise require them to cover at least $30,000 extra in staffing costs to do manually.

A-Team Lending is rapidly scaling up and adding new salespeople to its team. This level of growth drove the firm to make big changes to the way they approach the onboarding process.

Why the A-Team needed Process Street

Instead of bogging the new hire down in a stack of forms to scan, sign and print, Cary uses Process Street as a trigger for form automation, allowing both him and his new hires to save hours per week on repetitive data entry.

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How to Create an Efficient Incident Response Plan (Including a 17-Step Checklist)

Benjamin Brandall
March 28, 2018
IT

Only 9% of information security professional believe their organization has effective incident response processes. The biggest issue? Well, you’re reading Process Street so you probably guessed it: the lack of standardization. Almost half of the respondents to the SANS Incident Response Survey said that their lack of a formal incident response procedure was holding them back and causing security issues.

It’s not even like preparing for serious security incidents is wasted time or that you’d be going overboard with precautions; 61% of companies have experienced critical incidents in the last two years — that includes data breaches, unauthorized access, and denial of service attacks.

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34 Linux Server Security Tips & Checklists for Sysadmins

Benjamin Brandall
March 21, 2018
IT

Linux (or Unix-like) software runs the majority of the world’s servers. This is owing to its incredible power, transparency, and customizability.

While Windows is built for the average home-officer, gamer, or grandparent — and comes with its own set of controls to stop these users destroying their operating systems — Linux enjoys a total lack of restrictions but also exposes the user to an incredible amount of complexity.

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The Myth Behind Loading Times: Software’s Most User-Friendly Lie

Staring at the tiny LCD progress bar of the vending machine in a lobby, I realize nothing pisses us off more than indefinite waiting times. Especially people waiting for their coffee, their cheap flight comparisons, or their computer to finish doing whatever it’s doing.

Since the creation of software, there has always been loading times. An early example comes from Bob Stahl’s way-ahead-of-its time article in February 1986’s Computerworld.

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5 Employee Training Tips for Proven and Scalable Results

Nikos Andriotis. Nikos has two decades of professional experience in education, IT and eLearning. He holds a degree in Informatics and his writing has been featured in dozens of tech industry publications. Currently, he shares tips and insights about online training and other business-related topics for TalentLMS.

Do you think you’re doing a good job with your employee training?

If you do, you’re in the minority; only 38% of organizations think their training is effective, with 62% believing they aren’t doing a good job meeting learners needs.

In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, it is always the employer with the better-trained personnel who gains the upper hand.

Well-trained, highly skilled employees are much more efficient and produce better results. This kind of efficiency and productivity is what gives an employer the much-needed competitive advantage.

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7 Customer Success Integrations That Let You Focus on Retention

It’s thought that a high-touch approach to customer success does not scale.

Here are the common objections:

  • There aren’t enough hours in the day to personally oversee 10,000 users.
  • Even if there were enough hours in the day, there aren’t enough of us to do it and still be profitable.
  • Even if there were enough of us, there’d be no way to keep track of it all effectively.

Zapier, a SaaS middleman for app integration, thinks differently.

The idea is simple: connect your SaaS app to Zapier, and Zapier will connect it to over 1,000 apps. The formula is one programmers will be intimately familiar with since it’s basically an if/then statement. For example: if a user submits a Zendesk ticket, then post the ticket to a Slack channel.

Apps can create actions and triggers, controlling each other and automating frustrating admin work behind the scenes so you don’t have to bother with it.

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How to Write a Cold Email: 10-Point Checklist for Sales Emails That Convert

The following is a guest post from Forster Perelsztejn. As content marketer, Forster gathers sales data at Prospect.io in order to deliver powerful and insightful advice to salespeople. Check out his Top 10 Cold Email Templates Based on 3,327,652 Emails Sent! and connect with him on LinkedIn.

An essential part of my job at Prospect.io is to help customers craft cold emails that actually get replies. Why is that? Because cold email brings business in!

Yet, you’d be surprised at how many of those emails are poorly written. Most of the ones I get are a cringefest even though they were sent by professional salespeople. For that reason, I feel it’s essential to spread the word about cold email best practices.

Use this 10-point checklist below to optimize your sales emails to make it more likely you’ll get results. After all, only around 1.7% of cold emails get a reply…

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6 Useful Applications of AI & Machine Learning in Your Business Processes

A 2017 study from Pew Research found that more than 70% of the U.S. is scared that robots are going to take over our lives. And, while we can’t perfectly predict the emergence of a Skynet singularity, we can say with some certainty that technology is set to take over the repetitive, dehumanizing elements of our jobs instead of putting us out of work.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a strategic priority for 84% of businesses, and in some cases has been used to improve sales team efficiency by over 50%. Even I’ve used AI in the past to generate hundreds of relevant hashtags for social media posts at the click of a button.

It was once the stuff of utopian science fiction and huge enterprises, but now practically anyone can take advantage.

For this post, I set up two powerful AI systems using free or cheap technology, and show you exactly how you can do the same without coding:

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