Microsoft Releases Office Web Apps for SkyDrive

You can now create Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents on Windows Live SkyDrive.

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It is my shortest blog so far!

Docs.com – Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps and Facebook

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps is going to be everywhere.  It is first available to Windows Live users in SkyDrive, and now Facebook added a new feature Docs which would allow its users to create Microsoft Office 2010 documents, share them, edit them collaboratively and discover documents that are uploaded by their friends to their profiles. Docs.com is in beta, so no everyone can create and upload documents initially. If you see the following message on the docs.com home page, you should add your name to the waiting list. Once you gain access to docs.com, you can create Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents, share them with your Facebook friends and even edit them collaboratively. I am going to show you how to create a new PowerPoint presentation. Create a new PowerPoint Presentation

  • Once you are in Facebook Docs apps, you can select to Add a Docs and choose PowerPoint Presentation.

  • You would be directed to docs.com, then you can:
    • Edit your document
    • Changed the file name from Untitled to Hello World
    • Choose who can view and edit this document
    • Copy the Docs Link and send it to your friends
    • Once you click Finish editing, the document would be saved.

Where else do you think you can find Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps?

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

You Can Sell Insurance Online Via Web Conference – part 1

Time is money and it is especially true for insurance brokers. Have you measured how much time you actually spend on selling insurance products? How much time do you spend on travel? If you reduce 20% of your travel time and use them to sell insurance policies, how much more revenue you can gain every year? Can you reduce your travelling time? Let’s start from looking at how you sell insurance today.

You may show your clients some background materials about the insurance products; use software that can evaluate insurance need and illustrate the insurance policy. Of course, you have to go over the insurance contract. There may be other gadgets as well, e.g. pen, paper, calculator or even Excel / PowerPoint. Today’s insurance products are quite complex and it would take you a lot of efforts / tools to show your clients what their insurance needs are and how the proposed package can fit their unique needs. You may have to call and visit your clients many times before they agree to sign the contact. It is a very time consuming processes and to be make it lengthier is the travelling time.

I am going to use Microsoft Office Life Meeting to demonstrate how you can use web conference to market your products / services. But there are many different video conferences software / services available on market, e.g. Skype, GoToMeeting and WebEx. Please discuss with your IT consultant on what would be the best for your business and customers.

Microsoft Office Life Meeting allows you to share with your customers whatever content you show to them during a face-to-face meeting, e.g. marketing materials, insurance contract, newspaper, PowerPoint presentation, video, needs analysis, policy illustration…. etc. Below are a few examples:

  • Upload and share multiple contents with your customers.


  • You can upload a wide variety of content, e.g. PowerPoint presentation, PDF document or even video.


  • Leverage the full capabilities of PowerPoint presentations such as animations and slide transitions.
  • Review and edit any printable document, and you can even zoom in and out the document.


  • Share a program – you can show your customers about their financial needs and policy illustration by sharing the programs with them.


  • Share desktop – if you want to share multiple programs, then you can choose to share the whole desktop or just part of it

 

  • Draw, annotate, and type simultaneously to simulate the natural interactivity of an in-person meeting environment.


  • Share ideas while collaborating on a whiteboard or brainstorming on a text slide.


  • Retain all meeting documents and ongoing annotations, edits, and whiteboard and text brainstorming sessions, so you don’t have to start from scratch during your next meeting

This blog is only the first of the series, which I discuss about the features that would be useful for one to one meeting. Microsoft Office Live Meeting provides many more useful features that you can use to host event and training. I would go into more details in near future.

In the meantime, if you have any question about video conference, please do not hesitate to email me at chan_a@algconsultings.com. I can provide a free 30 minutes Microsoft Office Live Meeting demonstration to the first 4 people who request it; of course, via Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

Voice over IP (VoIP) can do more than just save you money

Every time I bring up the subject on VoIP, I always hear “I know about VoIP, it can save my phone bills”. No doubt, VoIP can save your telecommunication budget, but it can do more, much more than you can think of. It can help you to improve productivity, increase your clients’ satisfaction and it is also a critical component of your business continuity plan (BCP).

Improve Productivity VoIP allows you to record your phone conversation in a file with a single mouse click. You can attach it in an email, or even automatically save it in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. There are so many ways that you can improve your productivity with such mechanism. Let me use an example to illustrate it. If your business is developing software, your client may call to report a potential bug. Your supporting staffs have to spend a lot of time to write down details about the problem. With VoIP recording, your supporting staffs only need to summarize the problem and forward the incident with recorded message to programmers for further details. How much time your office can be saved? And not only saving time, how often have your staffs forgotten to document critical points about their conversation with your clients? One is already too much!

Increase Clients’ Satisfaction If you’re a lawyer, financial planner or real estate broker, you can record the VoIP conversation and make sure you fulfill all your client’s requests. You can also integrate VoIP with your CRM system. Your CRM system can automatically keep track of all your VoIP activities and remind you when you should call your client again. If you forgot what was discussed a year ago, don’t worry! You can call up the last conversation and refresh your memory. If your sale person has left, you may be glad to find out that all his previous conversations are stored in your CRM system. If your client calls you, your CRM can automatically bring up all the latest information about your clients. And you would stay connected with your clients even if there is a disaster hit your office; they would never get neglected!

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) BCP is a huge subject so I am not going into details but one of the critical requirements of BCP is to stay connected with your clients. Your clients should be able to communicate with you through email, fax and phone call no matter what happens to your office. With VoIP, you can make / receive call or check voice message, no matter where you are; as long as there is internet connection. So your clients can find you when are at the office, home or even vacation at Europe.

Other Innovative Ideas Both Microsoft and Google have launched their own 411 services; Bing 411 and Goog 411 let you find local business, restaurant and check weather, traffic or even movie time. What else you can do with VoIP? Discuss with your telecommunication and IT consultants.

Conclusion VoIP can reduce your phone bill, improve productivity, and increase clients’ satisfaction. It also gives your staffs a more dynamic and flexible working environment. If you don’t have it now, then you should look for a telecommunication consultant to setup one for you. If you already have VoIP, then you should ask your IT consultant to integrate it with your CRM system. If you have VoIP already integrated with CRM, then you may want to consider video! If you are looking for VoIP providers, you may want to check the following providers:

But make sure whatever you choose, can fit into your IT infrastructure and integrate with your existing systems.

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps and SkyDrive – Microsoft’s answer to Google Docs

 Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps Technical Preview is available on Windows Live SkyDrive, a free, 25-gigabyte virtual hard drive on the Internet, accessible from any computer, e.g. Windows, Mac, or Linux at your office, at your home, at your friend’s house, so you don’t need to carry around a physical disk to transport files.  You can easily create, edit, and share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents.  All you need is a computer with a web browser (IE, Firefox or Safari) and an internet connection.

Create a new Office document

Edit an existing Office document


Share Office Documents

Office 2010 Web Apps is easy to use because it is the same Office tools that you are familiar with, in a Web environment.

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps will be officially launched in June, 2010, so why don’t you get ready and start using Windows Live SkyDrive now.  You can seamlessly integrate SkyDrive into your Windows environment as a network drive.  Does everyone in your office need a full Microsoft Office license?  Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps may give you an opportunity to cut some IT budget.

If you have any further question, you can reach me at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

 

 
 

Knowledge is power!

Google Docs – online documents with real-time collaboration

Google Docs provides anytime, anywhere secured online access to your documents.  You can work on your document from your office, at home and on the road; and you can also use Google Docs on PC, Mac, Linux and even mobile phone.

 
 

Google Docs allows you to:

  • Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online – you can create your document from scratch or start from a template.  Google Docs supports a wide range of formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. so you can upload your existing documents to Google Docs as well.

  • Share and collaborate in real time – You can instantly share your documents with other peole.  Multiple people can view and make changes at the same time. There’s an on-screen chat window for spreadsheets, and document revisions show you exactly who changed what, and when. Viewing a presentation together is a breeze, as anyone joined in a presentation can automatically follow along with the presenter.

  • Safely store and organize your work – Your documents are stored online so you needn’t need to worry about local hard drive failures; however, it does not mean you don’t need to have a disaster recovery plan.  You can organize your documents by creating appropriate folders / subfolders hierarchy.

  • Publish your documents – You can publish your documents to website with one click.  With Google Apps, you can easily share important documents, spreadsheets and presentations within your company or group.

 
 

Did I mention it was FREE?

If you have any further question, you can reach me at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

Favorite Places on Google and QR Code (Mobile Tag)

Google has identified over 100,000 businesses in the U.S. as “Favorite Places on Google“. Each business is receiving a window decal with a unique QR code which would let customers or potential customers instantly learn more about a business, by visiting a mobile version of the business’ Place Page on smartphone including iPhone, Android-powered phones, BlackBerry and more.

 
 

 
 

With just a simple scan of the code, your customers can quickly:

 
 

  • Read reviews to see what other users think about the business
  • Find a coupon that the business has posted to their Place Page
  • Star the business to remember to check it out later, or to remember to visit again
  • Leave a review right after you leave the business. What’s a better time to write what you think, than when you’ve just visited?

Google is making use of QR code to promote its clients’ business.  What are you going to do with QR code?  Here are some tips, you can put it on your business card, flyer, newspaper, or even menu (if your business is a restaurant).

If you have any further question, you can reach me at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

 Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

Google Places – where your customers can find you

Have you ever used google.com or Google Maps to find a coffee shop, restaurant, theatre…?  Your customers can also find you on Google; all you have to do is to add a FREE listing of your business to Google Places.

Add your business to Google Places is very easy; just sign up now.

 
 

Once you sign up, then you can add a new business. 

You need to enter your contact information; and you have the option to specify the nature of your business, services area, operation hours, and payment options or even include photos of your products or your storefront.

If you are going to hold a special sale event for 5-7 pm tonight or issue a coupon for this coming Saturday, you can post the news to your Place Page directly from your Local Business Center dashboard. Once it is posted, it will go live on your Place Page in just a few minutes. 

 
 

 
 

To keep track of how your business listing is performing, Google offers a personalized dashboard within Google Places that includes data about how many times people have found your business on Google, what keywords they used to find it and even what areas people traveled from to visit your business. With the dashboard, you can see how your use of any of these new features affects interest in your business and make more informed decisions about how to be found on Google and interact with your customers.

Add your business to Google Places and let more customers find you now.

If you have any further question, you can reach me at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

 
 

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

Microsoft Outlook LinkedIn Connector – effectively manage your professional network

You can already send email, fax, call (VoIP), and SMS in Microsoft Outlook.  Microsoft Outlook Social Connectors even allows you to stay connected to your social and business networks, e.g. LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Windows Live … etc.  Microsoft Outlook is now your central communication hub!

 I am only focus on Microsoft Outlook LinkedIn Connector in this article and come back to discuss other Microsoft Outlook Social Connectors later.

 Microsoft Outlook LinkedIn Connector allows you to:

  • Keep track of all your LinkedIn connections` latest activity for who e-mails you right at the bottom of that e-mail.  If they have a Profile Photo, you’ll see that too.

  • Get the latest contact information from your LinkedIn connections.  Outlook would add a new Contacts folder “LinkedIn” and automatically sync information from Linkedin.

  • E-mail your LinkedIn connections directly.  You can make use of all Outlook power features including mail merge to send personalized email to all your LinkedIn connections; and you are not restricted to only send to 50 connections in each email.
  • Click the green “Add” icon next to any email sender to easily invite them to join your professional network on LinkedIn.

Microsoft Outlook LinkedIn Connector is a FREE, easy to use but yet powerful tool to manage your professional network in a central place.  You can download it from http://www.linkedin.com/outlook; however, you must download and install Microsoft Outlook Social Connector first.

If you have any further question, you can reach me at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

 
 

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

  

Mobile Tag

Mobile tag is a two-dimensional barcode which contains data such as a URL or contact information, can be scanned and read by a smart phone with a camera.

 
 

 
 

It is a very effective tool to integrate your traditional marketing channels (e.g. newspaper, flyer) to your online media (e.g. website, social media).  Since most Smartphone have the decoding software, all your customers have to do is to take a picture and they would be forwarded to a website.   
Below are a few examples on how you can use mobile tag to promote your business.

 
 

Local Real Estate Agency Windermere is using Microsoft Tag for their listed homes. The interested person now has the house information on their mobile phone and instant access to more information about the home including photos, video and other critical information.
 

 
 

Sacramento Book Review has transformed static print into dynamic actionable content and allows its readers to scan Tags and launching their mobile browsers to a well known online book purchasing site.

 
 

A giant mobile tag was installed in downtown London to promote the DVD release of 28 Weeks Later. 

 
 

 

A mobile tag on your business card is a good way to start a discussion in a networking event and increase the chance that they would add your contact information to their address book.

There are so many opportunities to use mobile tag no matter you are a financial planner, restaurant owner or fashion boutiques owner.  And it is free to use!
 
Add one for your business now!

If you have any further question, you can reach me at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

 
 

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.