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The Best Hotels In Cambridge (England) For Business Travelers, 2020

Finding a good hotel in Cambridge will not be a problem, after all, we are talking about one of the most popular university cities in the world. With a long history of scholarship, literature, movements, and culture, Cambridge has consolidated its place as inseparable in the world of education and human development. This character of the city attracts not only students but also tourists who want to explore the greatness of this city first-hand. Such mammoth popularity only translates into better transportation, educational and accommodation opportunities.

There is a lot to know and understand about this place, including its hotels. Many hotels operate from historical buildings with a rich past; some house few of the best-known restaurants in the world; there are many with excellent views of the outside; and some with excellent location. In fact, you might end up staying in a hotel which has all of these. But, of course, the main question is what suits you the best. A few hotels mentioned in this article will give you a fair idea of what kinds of them to expect. So, without further ado, let us know about them in detail.

  1. The Gonville Hotel
    Address: Gonville Pl, Cambridge CB1 1LY, United Kingdom
    An energetic and stylish hotel which underwent significant renovation recently, The Gonville Hotel is quite a charmer. All of its rooms have been painted in pleasant colours, fitted with classy lamps and quirky mirrors to accentuate the modern appeal, and are supplied with necessaries such as king-size beds, desks, and gorgeous bathrooms. Incidentally, the hotel is home to one of the well-acclaimed culinary bombshells in the city whose menu experiments with your taste buds quite effectively. There is also a rich selection of drinks which will make your stay even better.
  2. Hilton Cambridge City Centre
    Address: 20 Downing St, Cambridge CB2 3DT, United Kingdom
    Hilton is what you need to experience the attractions and the enchanting nightlife of Cambridge. The rooms are air-conditioned and come fitted with desks, lamps, cosy beds and television. Suites come with more services such as a minifridge, coffee maker, and complimentary breakfast. Dining facilities are stylish and serve food made out of local ingredients to ensure authenticity. Just in case you want to organise any event, there are function spaces dedicated to organising myriad events. There is also a well-equipped fitness centre.
  3. Duke House
    Address: 1 Victoria St, Cambridge CB1 1JP, United Kingdom
    Duke House takes flowers very seriously and this is reflected in its generous use of flowers and inspired designs everywhere. This gives the hotel an overall elegant look and vibe. You will get to live in any of 5 rooms each of which is named after a Duke of England. These rooms differ in services, but all of them will feature comfortable furnishings, plush fabrics, refreshing bathrooms and elegant colour scheme. The food here is great, but you should check out other eateries in the neighbourhood.
  4. University Arms Cambridge
    Address: Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1AD, United Kingdom
    Having been built in 1834, University Arms stands as the oldest hotel in the city, and it is these many years of service that has established the hotel as one of the most respected facilities. The rooms are very airy and decked out in elegant interiors to keep you at ease. Each room comes with retro desks, tiled bathrooms and bookshelves. You should upgrade to suites if you want better views, larger bathrooms and more in-room facilities. A dining facility called Parker’s Tavern has a wonderful menu with many delicious food options lined up one after another.
  5. Hotel Felix
    Address: Whitehouse Ln, Huntingdon Rd, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0LX, United Kingdom
    Hotel Felix is a laid-back property offering the right amount of privacy and the right quality of services. There are 52 rooms which are spacious and well-equipped. In every room, you will come across sleek bathrooms, comfortable furnishings, television, and branded toiletries. Continental breakfast is a fine experience here, but lunch and dinner get even more appetizing and are served at the Graffiti restaurant. You also get a handful of complimentary services such as fresh milk in fridges and books in the room.
  6. Tamburlaine
    Address: 27-29, Station Rd, Cambridge CB1 2FB, United Kingdom
    The interiors of Tamburlaine are nothing short of ‘wow’ and inspire confidence in the hotel’s hospitality. From lavish chandeliers to the magnificent spiral staircase, everything about this place is stylish. Rooms get the stylish treatment as well and have been decorated with dark-wood panelled headboards, floor-to-ceiling windows, leather chairs and whatnot. In your room, you will also get a television, marble-clad bathrooms, and a writing desk. The abundance of food options is one of the best things about Tamburlaine, with 3 dining facilities at your service. Indulge in a fine afternoon tea or delectable lamb, whatever your taste maybe you will not be disappointed.
  7. 5 Chapel Street
    Address: Chesterton, Cambridge, England
    If you are looking forward to a stay of calm and quietude, then 5 Chapel Street could turn out to be a blessing. It is a cosy townhouse with a pleasant countryside vibe and assures you a satisfying stay while you are here. Rooms vary in sizes, but all of them come with coffee makers, elaborate showers, high-quality furnishings, and comfortable beddings. While you are here, you will get to dig in homemade food a lot. The breakfast here is, especially, good and comprises many home-made ingredients. Also, do not miss the cream tea which is arranged at 4 PM every day.
  8. The Varsity Hotel & Spa
    Address: Thompsons Ln, Cambridge CB5 8AQ, United Kingdom
    The Varsity Hotel & Spa is all about style and comfort. The interiors are nothing short of class and do not try to stand out. You will notice the display of many scientific journals and sculptures of bicycles throughout the hotel. Your basket of services will include a spa facility with many amazing treatment programs and a fitness centre. Rooms are fitted with excellent views, geometric wallpapers, fragrance-laden toiletries and monsoon showers in bathrooms. The Six Restaurant maintains an ordinary menu offering a selection of burgers and pizzas, but whatever you order, the quality is top-notch. The other restaurant called the River Bar Steakhouse and Grill is the place to go if you want to eat sumptuous beef.
  9. Sayle House
    Address: 38 Chesterton Hall Cres, Cambridge CB4 1AP, United Kingdom
    The generous use of soft colour schemes throughout the property is one of the best things about this place, as it totally lights up the mood. But, the colour scheme is not the only draw-in; the rooms are well-appointed with spacious bathrooms, expensive bed linen, fridge, and puffy beds. While there is a good dining facility here, it is advised that you explore outdoor options as well. But, make sure you do not miss the breakfast here because it is too good. You should know that the property can accommodate only 6 guests at a time.
  10. Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
    Address: 15-19, Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1QA, United Kingdom
    Hotel du Vin & Bistro is a great place to be if you want to be well-located as well as away from the noise of the city. Sign up for this place and you get creatively designed rooms equipped with branded mattresses, comfy beds, spacious bathrooms with branded toiletries and elegant paintwork. An excellent bar facility called the Louche Cellar bar operates which also has a good selection of snacks. You can also hit the streets to explore more culinary options.

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AR headset maker Magic Leap shifts to enterprise focus

Mixed-reality startup to support 4 key areas: communication, collaboration and co-presence, 3D visualization, learn and assist, and location-based services.

More about IoT

Magic Leap, a player in the mixed-reality landscape, announced a new enterprise suite of services, as well as an updated version of its Magic Leap One Creator Edition. 

The new edition, not so originally named Magic Leap 1, is really just a rebrand, but the Enterprise Suite presents new features that will help organizations engage in spatial computing, according to the press release

SEE: Cheat sheet: AR Tools from Apple: RealityKit and Reality Composer (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The initial Magic Leap One, released in 2018, was an augmented reality (AR) headset aimed at creative professionals and everyday users, reported CNET’s Scott Stein. However, with a price tag at $2,295, this intended user base didn’t seem like the best fit. 

This assertion was confirmed with the release of Magic Leap’s sales numbers in early December, which revealed that the Magic Leap only sold 6,000 AR headsets in the first six months of launch—falling extremely short to CEO Rony Abovitz’s initial goal of selling 100,000 Magic Leap One systems in that same period.

After such low sales, Magic Leap appears to be changing its audience, renaming the device to shift it from a creator-focused system to a business-focused system. 

With the onset of the newly named headset and Enterprise Suite features, Magic Leap bundled all of the new services and software together, with a $2,995 price tag, assumedly digestible for big business. 

The press release outlined the following the main features of the Enterprise Suite: 

  • Magic Leap 1, an updated version of Magic Leap One Creator Edition.
  • Two-year access to dedicated omnichannel support. 
  • Two-year access to Device Manager with enterprise-level support from Magic Leap. Device Manager lets authorized administrators control important aspects of working with Magic Leap 1, enabling them to configure and set up devices, view usage metrics, remotely distribute apps and updates, and remotely lock or wipe devices if needed.
  • Two-year access to a RapidReplace program, so you can get a new device quickly if you need one.
  • A two-year extended warranty to guarantee Magic Leap 1 always works as it should.

Spatial computing, or the convergence of AR, virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, and human reality, is coming to the enterprise. Magic Leap’s headset, in particular, presents business applications across four key areas: Communication, collaboration and co-presence, 3D visualization, learn and assist, and location-based services, according to the release. 

Applications in each of these core areas are being developed by Magic Leap and its partners including Across Realities, Arvizio, Eon Reality, HyperLoop, Immersion Analytics, Immersiv, Minsar, Nomtek, Obsess, PTC, RoOomy, Spatial, Taqtile, Verses and VIM, the release said. 

“[The] announcement heralds the arrival of a new chapter for spatial computing with an advanced technology platform for enterprises across all industry sectors,” said Omar Khan, Chief Product Officer at Magic Leap, in the release. 

Taking a Leap in four key areas 

1. Communication, collaboration and co-presence

In the next few months, Magic Leap will release Jump, a communication, collaboration and co-presence platform beta program, the release said. 

Jump will allow people who are either physically or digital present to collaborate on projects and meetings. This capability allows organizations to merge digital content and experiences with people in any location. 

For example, architects or real estate developers can walk through a 3D model of a neighborhood or building map during a brainstorming session, whether or not all the members of the meeting are physically present in the same room. Not only does this make collaboration more efficient, but it also reduces the cost of employee travel, according to the release. 

2. 3D visualization 

With 3D visualization, users are able to make insight-driven decision making with quick iteration. Magic Leap One can make visual models of anything from heavy machinery to convoluted datasets, the release said. 

The ability to visualize complex information and concepts in 3D can help teams glean valuable insights, form actionable plans, and create new ideas. For example, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies used this feature to visualize its various technologies and passenger systems, according to the release. 

3. Learn and Assist 

Learn and assist helps
reskill and upskill employees
via spatial computing. By conducting trainings in a spatial computing environment, employees are able to earn in a safe and cost-effective manner, the release said 

Production-line operators, for example, can be trained on new, complex assembly operations that they can practice in a digital environment. This practice could help create better speed and accuracy in daily operations, according to the release. 

4. Location-based experiences 

Magic Leap’s location-based experiences feature allows users to bring the digital world into physical spaces and live events. For example, organizations could conduct pop-up experiences or permanent installations in museums, trade shows, sports venues, and college campuses, the release said. 

With spatial computing, companies can offer product purchases with an unlimited catalogue of inventory, digital product sampling, or unique entertainment spaces, the release added. 

For more, check out Your guide to mixed reality technology on ZDNet.

Also see 


Image: Magic Leap

Source: Internet Of Things on TechRepublic
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Why Crowdsourcing Often Leads to Bad Ideas

Executive Summary

Most crowdsourcing initiatives end up with an overwhelming amount of useless ideas. Dealing with a full submission box is not only extremely time consuming and costly, it also biases how ideas are selected: When firms receive too many ideas, they tend to focus on ideas that are already familiar to them, defeating the entire purpose of crowdsourcing, which is to surface new thinking. Why do many crowdsourced ideas turn out so bad, and what can firms do about it? Recent research finds that it comes down to understanding the motivations of crowd members.

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Crowdsourcing is fast emerging as a mainstream innovation channel for companies. It seems like the crowd has an answer to all sorts of innovation problems – they can come up with ideas for new toys and generate solutions to pressing scientific challenges. In theory, the crowd holds tremendous potential: A large, diverse group of people, consisting of experts and others from all over the world, should have fresh perspectives to bring about breakthrough insights on a given problem.

In practice, however, most crowdsourcing initiatives end up with an overwhelming amount of useless ideas. Consider BP’s crowdsourcing initiative. When a 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig caused the largest oil spill in history, a desperate BP turned to the public to find ways to clean it up. The company received around 123,000 ideas from more than 100 countries within just a few weeks. Sifting these ideas was an enormous undertaking, and most of them turned out to be completely unusable – it was described as “a lot of effort for little result.”

Dealing with a full submission box is not only extremely time consuming and costly, it also biases how ideas are selected: When firms receive too many ideas, they tend to focus on ideas that are already familiar to them, defeating the entire purpose of crowdsourcing, which is to surface new thinking.

Why do many crowdsourced ideas turn out so bad, and what can firms do about it? My recent research finds that it comes down to understanding the motivations of crowd members.

The research drew on qualitative and quantitative data from InnoCentive — one of the largest global crowdsourcing platforms for innovation. I started by conducting a series of interviews with platform members and employees of the company, and analyzing content created by members online (e.g., in company blog, forum, and social media pages). I then ran a survey with 646 members who submitted at least one solution recently, asking them about themselves (e.g., education level, expertise etc.) and their motivations for submitting solutions. I matched survey responses with data the company collected on the quality of their solutions and other aspects of the crowdsourcing challenge (e.g., duration, number of submissions, prize size).

I found that crowd members differ greatly in terms of why they participate. Some take part because they genuinely love creative problem-solving (what’s called “intrinsic motivation”). Others participate because they want to learn new things (“learning motivation”), make a positive impact on others (“prosocial motivation”), or be part of a social community (“social motivation”). Not surprisingly, some members focus predominantly on winning the prize money or other benefits such as recognition and better career prospects (“extrinsic motivation”).

The results also showed that these motivations have different effects on solution quality. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations were associated with higher-quality solutions, whereas learning and prosocial motivations were negatively related to solution quality. Social motivation was not a significant predictor of the quality of ideas.

One explanation for these findings is that some motivations direct more attention and effort toward addressing constraints of the problem (like technical requirements and specified goals), and this leads to more valuable solutions. For example, intrinsic motivation may bring about a stronger focus on the problem and its details, as the problem itself is the main reason for engagement. Likewise, extrinsically motivated people may attend to the problem details because winning rewards often depends on meeting problem constraints. In contrast, focusing on learning, doing good, or being a part of a community might lead to solutions that are off the mark, as the focus is on other aspects aside from the main problem.

So in order to avoid a flood of useless ideas, firms should consider designing their crowdsourcing initiatives in a way that encourages those with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, while making prosocial and learning benefits less salient.

To promote intrinsic motivation, managers could, for example, highlight the joy of problem solving, provide positive feedback, and set the right level of constraints in their crowdsourcing initiatives. They could also offer various extrinsic rewards. A sufficiently large cash prize is important, but it also pays to think above and beyond money: Non-pecuniary extrinsic benefits, such as recognition and career advancement, are also important drivers of quality. Examples include featuring winning solutions and members on various outlets (e.g., the platform itself, company blogs, social media pages etc.) or making use of gamification tools such as leaderboards and status badges to acknowledge successful members.

While managers could downplay the learning and social opportunities (e.g., getting access to experts, mentors, or resources) involved in crowdsourcing, it is important to consider the overall goal of the initiative before discounting these motivations altogether. Learning motivation is not necessarily counterproductive when an initiative mainly relies on repeated participation of members over time (e.g., the Lego Ideas platform), because members can use what they’ve learned to develop better ideas in future activities. Likewise, despite generating low-quality ideas, prosocially motivated members may still create value when ideas are generated collectively (e.g., the OpenIDEO platform), as they are likely to go the extra mile to help others improve their ideas.

Implementing these insights can help managers get an ideal solution set from their crowdsourcing efforts – one that includes a more manageable number of solutions without excluding any that may have at least some chance of offering a breakthrough for the innovation problem at hand.

Next time you design a crowdsourcing initiative, keep in mind what makes the crowd tick and what it means for their ideas. The key to harnessing innovative potential of crowdsourcing is not motivating everyone and getting the largest possible number of ideas, but designing an incentive structure that attracts the right people. Less may well be more when it comes to getting the best value out of crowdsourcing.

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7 Tips to Manage Your 401(k)

Today, many companies use 401(k) plans for creating retirement accounts for their employees. A portion of your paycheck—often along with a little matching-fund incentive from your company—goes into an account and you are charged with managing the allocation of those funds into an offering of investment products.

Gaining a grasp of some of the 401(k) plan foundations will help you manage your fund with greater authority and ease. With the right basic principles in place, you’ll be better positioned to make the decisions that relate to your individual financial situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Getting professional help to manage a retirement account has been shown to increase 401(k) investors’ returns.
  • If your employer offers a match, be sure to contribute as much as you can to get the full match.
  • It’s important to educate yourself about investing and learn about rebalancing your portfolio.
  • Index funds are a good bet for long-term investing, but target date funds may not have the right asset allocation for your goals and are only as good as their fund managers.
  • Don’t forget to invest in other vehicles, such as IRAs, collectibles, and a home.

1. Consider Paying for Account Management

There are plenty of financial advisors who would love to manage your retirement account, providing you meet their minimum balance requirements. There are also online services that can help you make good financial choices even if your balance is small. Needless to say, both of these options come at a price.

However, a 2014 report published by the retirement investment firm Financial Engines, Inc., found that assets managed by professionals saw an average of 3.32% more in returns than accounts without professional management. Interestingly, professional managers could charge a fee of nearly 3%—in some cases more—of an investor’s total account balance. There are also online services that might charge less.

In general, if you have little investment knowledge, it’s worth getting help from a professional you feel you can trust. Also, some 401(k) plans offer free advice from a professional or might give you model portfolios that you can follow. If you have some knowledge of investments, you may also try to manage your investment portfolio yourself.

You also could choose a combination of a professional manager and a do-it-yourself approach, and there are advisors who will work with you on that basis, too.

2. Contribute the Max for the Match

If your company is matching your contributions up to a certain point, contribute as much as you can until they stop matching the funds. Regardless of the quality of your 401(k) investment options, your company is giving you free money to participate in the program. Never say no to free money.

Once you reach the maximum contribution for the match, you might consider contributing to an IRA to diversify your savings and have more investment choices. Just don’t miss out on the match.

3. Learn the Basics of Investing

In order to evaluate different funds in your 401(k)—or to understand what your financial professional is saying—you need a basic knowledge of investing. It also helps to understand terms such as 12B-1 fees, expense ratio, and risk tolerance.

Read through the information sent to you by your plan. If there are terms you don’t know, look them up. (You can start here; Investopedia has more than 14,000 terms in its dictionary.)

4. Be Sure to Rebalance

Life is full of routine maintenance, and your 401(k) needs maintenance too. In the investment world, rebalancing is another term for maintenance. As different assets move up or down in value, they become a smaller or larger percentage of your overall portfolio.

Financial advisors suggest having a specific allocation of stocks and bonds. If you’re 40 years old, for example, you might have 80% of your money in stocks and 20% in bonds. If that allocation gets out of balance, you may have to buy or sell assets. 

5. Learn to Love the Index Fund

Some people love the appeal of stock picking. Finding the next Google or Tesla that will return hundreds of percentage points over a relatively short amount of time is thrilling, but according to research, the gamble generally doesn’t work that well.

An index fund simply follows a market index. A fund that follows the S&P 500 rises and falls with that index. There’s no guessing which stock will outperform the market, and the fees you pay for index funds are almost always much cheaper than those for funds that try to pick the next great stock. There’s plenty of research that shows index funds outperform actively managed funds over the long term, too.

If you fancy yourself a Wall Street trader, do it with money outside your 401(k); it’s best not to make short-term decisions with a retirement account.

A plan geared toward building a nest egg is better suited to allocating large amounts to index funds.

6. Be Wary of Target Date Funds

Think hard before you simply invest your 401(k) in a target date fund. The idea of these funds is that they’re geared to evolve as you move closer to retirement. If you’re planning to retire in 2035, for example, you would invest in a target date fund that matures in that year. The fund’s managers will continually re-balance the fund to maintain an appropriate allocation as the target date gets closer.

As experts point out, a target date fund’s performance is largely based on the fund managers. Since you probably don’t know the good managers from the bad, picking a fund is difficult.

Equally important, fees for these funds are often high, and novice investors don’t understand the golden rule of target-date funds: If you invest in one, you shouldn’t mix it with other investments. Most financial advisors agree that it’s close to an all-or-nothing investment. Investing your 401(k) in other funds as well throws off the allocation.

One-stop shopping is appealing, but just because these vehicles are a simple way to invest doesn’t mean that they’re easy to understand or the right place to park your retirement funds.

7. Go Beyond Your 401(k)

Your 401(k) should be one of several retirement vehicles that you have. Your home, a side business, collectibles, and other investment accounts such as an IRA might also be part of your mix.

When you switch jobs, consider whether it makes more sense to roll over your previous company’s 401(k) into your new employer’s plan or into an IRA. The IRA may give you more investment choices. Spread your assets over multiple income streams and you’ll likely see better returns.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of your age, you have to take an active role in your retirement planning. Sometimes that’s as easy as monitoring your investments after exhaustively researching your options. Other times, it might mean working with a trusted financial adviser to set long-range goals.

Retirement will sneak up on you faster than you think. Whether you’re just starting your career or quickly coming up on retirement age, make retirement planning a top priority—and keep it that way throughout your life.

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Healthcare Consulting: What It Is & How to Succeed in It

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is complex. With hundreds of laws, policies, and regulations, the wide range of potential professions and jobs, and daily developments in diagnosis, treatment, and medication, healthcare organizations have a lot to keep track of — and doing so thoroughly and professionally is absolutely vital to their success and the health of their patients.

For example, a mistake in advertising can be detrimental to a company’s image, but a mistake in healthcare can result in serious injury or illness — and that does more than impact a company’s image. In fact, it can derail a healthcare company almost immediately and put them out of business.

That’s why healthcare consultants are so valuable. Although becoming a healthcare consultant takes years of education, time, and skill development, it’s a position that’s crucial to the success of healthcare organizations across the globe.

Keep reading to learn about what healthcare consulting entails, what makes it a desirable profession, and how you can begin working in the field (if you aren’t already).

Download Now: 8 Free Consulting Templates

Why healthcare consulting?

Working as a healthcare consultant is a highly-regarded profession. That’s because it requires a certain level of education and expertise in order to be successful that isn’t necessarily required in other fields and professions.

Wondering why you might want to work in this profession? Here are some benefits of being a healthcare consultant:

  • Provide insights and expertise regarding company decisions that directly impact customers, patients, and other external stakeholders
  • Work with a wide range of healthcare organizations as well as hospitals
  • Maintain strong job security — healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and hospitals will always need industry expertise and advice
  • Make an average salary ranging between $91K and $131K
  • Have 10-year job growth of over 18%
  • Work in full or part-time positions for healthcare organizations, hospitals, or firms, or be self-employed

Since healthcare consulting firms can employ up to hundreds of consultants, they’re able to offer specialized support within various sectors of the industry. This means that, as a consultant at a firm who works within one of these specialties or sectors, you’ll develop a greater level of expertise. This will make you even more desirable to work with for specific clients.

Here are some of the sectors that healthcare consulting firms specialize in:

  • Healthcare systems and processes (strategy, technology, revenue, performance, finance, sustainability, etc.)
  • Pharmacy
  • Clinical operations
  • Federal and state government agencies
  • Hospitals, physicians, and physician groups
  • Payer or insurance provider strategies
  • Delivery systems
  • Medical technology

Whether or not you think a firm is right for you, working in the healthcare consulting field requires the same background. Let’s review the typical steps for anyone looking to get into a healthcare consulting role next.

How to Get Into Healthcare Consulting

The most important part of your experience and background when trying to kickstart your career in healthcare consulting is your education. You need a relevant bachelor’s degree to begin working as a healthcare consultant.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.

To ensure your bachelor’s degree is relevant for your desired position in healthcare consulting, choose a field of study related to the industry such as public health, business, or even nursing. Since healthcare is a complex industry, this will provide you with the necessary background you need to effectively assist your clients and meet their needs.

And speaking of this field being a complex one, a master’s degree is something many of the top firms as well as big clients (such as major pharmaceutical companies and hospitals) look for when hiring consultants.

2. Obtain a master’s degree (if you choose).

An advanced degree will make you more desirable among employers and clients and allow you to land positions with higher salaries and greater responsibilities. Examples of higher-ed degrees you might choose to earn include Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Public Health (MPH).

3. Determine which type of healthcare consultant you want to become.

Next, think about which type of healthcare consultant you want to become — as in, do you want to be self-employed, work for a company as an internal consultant, or work for a consulting firm? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s all a matter of preference based on your goals, aspirations, and work style.

For example, if you’re someone who thrives in a structured work environment working alongside other employees, you might enjoy being at a major firm like McKinsey. If you’re someone who wants complete flexibility to make your hours and choose your clients, working for yourself — or even a small firm — might be a good option.

4. Gain experience in the field and grow your network.

Once you choose your healthcare consulting avenue, it’s time to start gaining real work experience. This will allow you to expand your knowledge and grow your professional network. It’s also how you’ll move up in the rankings, expand your responsibilities, become well-known and highly-regarded among clients, and achieve your greater career aspirations.

5. Consistently fine-tune your skills and stay up to speed with industry developments.

Healthcare consulting is a field in which you should consistently fine-tune your skills and knowledge — this is crucial because your clients will be ever-changing. Additionally, healthcare policies, laws, and legislation are bound to evolve over time, too.

Here are some examples of skills and knowledge you’ll want to continually develop and improve upon throughout your career as a healthcare consultant.

  • Communication with a range of client types (and coworkers, if you have them)
  • Analytical skills (which strategies and processes could be improved upon, updated, or removed)
  • Healthcare laws, policies, legislation, etc. (local and federal)
  • Business and mathematical skills (budgeting and revenue)
  • Decision-making and critical thinking
  • Public speaking

Begin Your Healthcare Consulting Career

Healthcare consulting is an impactful, well-regarded, and lucrative career path. You can educate a variety of client types on how to improve their operations, work within the boundaries of the healthcare policies and laws, and streamline company processes and strategies. You’re bound to have an exciting and rewarding road ahead working as a healthcare consultant.

consulting templates

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Order to Cash Cycle: A Step-by-Step Guide for Sales

When I run out of one of my favorite household products, I visit Amazon’s website. There, I search for the item I need, add it to my cart, and head to “Check Out”.

Then, I’m prompted to begin processing my order by filling out my shipping, billing, and payment details. Once complete, the order continues processing, or working its way through the order to cash cycle, while I go about my daily activities.

Why is the order to cash cycle important?

The order to cash cycle is a critical part of the way your business functions — it impacts your revenue, interactions with your customers, customer retention rates, and overall growth. Here are some specific examples that explain the importance of the order to cash cycle.

By optimizing the order to cash cycle, you can:

  • Streamline the buying process for your customers
  • Reduce order-to-fulfillment time for your customers
  • Minimize the need for customer support rep intervention
  • Fulfill orders accurately the first time they’re placed
  • Fulfill orders in a timely fashion for customers
  • Ensure a quick conversion of receivables and collections for customers
  • Avoid order and form information re-entry
  • Prove to customers your business is professional and you value their time
  • Avoid backorders and make sure you have enough product
  • Improve your data reporting and accuracy of records over time

Now that you have a better understanding of the reasons why you should take your order to cash cycle seriously, let’s look into the seven steps within this process and what each entails.

Order to Cash Cycle Steps

Before we dive into what the seven steps in the order to cash cycle are, take a look at this visual to get a better idea of what the process looks like:


1. Receive Order

The moment an order is placed, your online order management system — such as Shopify or WooCommerce — will notify you. Depending on your ecommerce or order management system, specific people, teams, and systems will be notified about an order as soon as it’s submitted by a customer. Then, the rest of the order to cash process can begin.

Note: Depending on which order management software you use, it may connect with your CRM (similar to how Shopify and WooCommerce integrate with the HubSpot CRM). This allows you to manage all customer-facing aspects of your business from a central location.

2. Manage Customer Payment

Next, manage your customer’s payment based on the method they chose to use (e.g. credit, debit, PayPal). Your ecommerce system will help you manage this part of the process as well — when the customer places the order, the system will automatically send the payment through an approval process. The system will accept or deny payment and then move onto fulfillment, if and when it’s approved.

Note: Typically, new customers will go through the approval or denial process while returning customers will move straight to fulfillment because their data is already stored in the system. If for some reason a new or returning customer is denied, a member of your team will likely have to reach out to the customer to correct the issue. Your system may also automatically send a prompt to the customer so they can input their information again (if the issue is as simple as needing to re-enter details like a credit card number).

3. Fulfill Order

Next, it’s time to fulfill the order — meaning, locate and prepare the item for the customer who purchased it. This should be done with the assistance of your inventory management system. (Most order management software has inventory management included in the system, similar to the way Shopify and WooCommerce do.) This allows you to keep track of your inventory in real-time without having to count and/or sort manually.

Inventory management systems help you fulfill orders accurately for customers as well as keep track of your inventory records and data. For example, this type of system will help you know when you’re running low on specific items so you can avoid products going on backorder.

4. Ship Order to Customer

Ship the order to your customer in a timely fashion so they receive it by the date you promised. Whether you do so manually or in an automated way, make sure your package is prepared for shipment using your fulfillment details to ensure the right item is going to the correct address. By doing so, the shipment will be sent both professionally and efficiently. Your order and inventory management system will make a record of the shipment for future reference and reporting.

5. Create the Invoice

Customer invoicing is a crucial part of this cycle to get right. A customer invoice is a document that states the items purchased and the price at which those items were sold to a customer. Creating an invoice for each purchase and order is how you keep track of what’s paid for and shipped to avoid monetary discrepancies.

Invoicing software will help you with this step — a system, such as QuickBooks, might be included in your order management software depending on which one you have (Shopify, for example, comes with its own invoicing system).

This way, your invoices will include all necessary information such as items purchased, payment details, order date, and shipping address. Invoices are also important for your business’s accounts receivables team. These employees can review the invoices and flag anything that appears to be problematic. An example would be a payment delay — upon identifying one, a rep can contact the associated customer and take the necessary steps to mitigate the issue.

6. Collect Payment

Next, it’s time to ensure a smooth collection of your customer’s payment. Assuming everything goes accordingly, this step of the cycle should be automated by your order management and invoicing systems — meaning, the customer’s form of payment should automatically process as stated on the invoice. Then, your business can confirm the sale (and receipt of the money that came from that sale) via your order management system.

If there’s an issue of any kind with collection of payment — such as delayed payment or complete lack of payment due to an error that occurred after invoicing — your accounts receivables team should reach out to the customer. Depending on the situation, they might explain the necessary procedures to correct the payment issue. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may also review penalties the customer could be subject to in the future.

7. Report on Data

Lastly, you’ll want to report on all data related to your OTC. Your automated order and invoicing systems make this simple because they already manage all data about your sales, orders, and customers. By analyzing OTC data, your business can determine how well your cycle is optimized as well as its impact on revenue and customers.

Additionally, when you review this information frequently, you can identify inefficiencies in your process before they snowball. You’ll be able to identify and capitalize on the successful parts of your cycle. This way, you’ll make sure you’re consistently accurately fulfilling and shipping orders on time for your customers and maximizing your profits.

Optimize Your Order to Cash Cycle

Without a streamlined OTC cycle, you jeopardize your ability to meet the needs of your customers. This has the potential to negatively impact your business’s growth and revenue — and who wants that?

So, consider the various steps in this process and work to optimize them in a way that works for your specific business, product or service, and base of customers.

Source: Sales
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Marilyn Adler of Mizzen Capital named to 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A


Photo credit: Mizzen Capital

What’s new?
After managing SBIC funds for 23 years, I finally decided to launch my own credit platform with another woman partner, Liddy Karter, whom I have known for 20 years, and Annie Li, who has worked with me for 13 years. We are focused on investing as senior secured debt in lower middle-market companies with under $10 million of Ebitda. We want to be more senior in the capital structure since we’re concerned we could have a downturn in the economy in the next year or two

How are you a champion for change?
It takes a lot of courage to resign and go out on your own but I felt that this was the right time in my life to do it. In a human resources exercise, I was asked to pretend it’s 10 years from now and you look back on your life and ask: “Is there something you will regret that you have not done?” At that moment, I realized I would regret it if I didn’t try to launch a woman-owned fund. Out of 305 SBICs across the country, there is only one SBIC more than 50 percent owned by women. I hope to change that statistic. We decided on the name of our fund as Mizzen Capital because the mizzen sail is the stability sail on a sailboat that keeps you heading in the right direction. We also liked the play on the word (MIZZ) with Ms. Adler, Ms. Karter and Ms. Li.

Source: The Latest
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Shay Brokemond of William Blair named to 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A


Photo credit: William Blair

Describe a recent accomplishment.
I successfully closed five separate transactions over a five-month span. A couple of these transactions were complex carve-outs, including Amcor’s divestiture of medical packaging assets to Tekni-Plex, a transaction that was mandated by the Department of Justice in connection with Amcor’s acquisition of Bemis. What I’m most proud of is the individual attention and deep engagement that I provided to each client as if they were my singular focus throughout the entire process. This resulted in deeper client relationships and ultimately delivered exceptional client outcomes.

How are you a champion for change?
Change starts at home. I’m deeply committed to developing diverse talent, as well as creating a culture where everyone—regardless of their background or position—feels empowered to bring their full and authentic selves to the office each day. I feel a responsibility to my younger colleagues and continue to champion initiatives to embolden the next generation of bankers. That’s why I am so proud to be a leader in William Blair’s Global Inclusion Council. As part of the council, we set priorities and encourage accountability across the firm to further build an inclusive workplace and culture.

Source: The Latest
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Tripp Lite Makes Edge Deployment Easy with EdgeReady™ Micro Data Centers

Tripp Lite, a global manufacturer of power protection and connectivity solutions, has introduced a new line of preconfigured IT infrastructure solutions that make edge computing deployment quick and easy. EdgeReady™ micro data centers (MDCs) are the industry’s first and only MDCs that ship assembled and tested three business days after the receipt of an order.

Organizations in every sector are implementing edge computing strategies to analyze the vast amounts of data generated by Internet of Things (IoT) devices. MDCs are essential to edge computing because they allow data to be processed at its source. According to Gartner research, the data processed outside core/cloud data centers will grow from 10% currently to 50% by 2022.

“Greater dependence on edge computing is driving the need for infrastructure solutions that can be deployed quickly and reliably,” said Tony Locker, Tripp Lite’s Vice President of Product Management, Enterprise Solutions. “By offering expertly configured micro data centers and a broad selection of stocked product options for customization, we help customers get the exact solution they need for edge-of-network applications in less time than ever before.”

There are 40 different EdgeReady MDC stock configurations available for immediate order and shipment in three business days. Customized models can ship in as little as five business days. Stock configurations integrate a floor-standing or wall-mount rack enclosure, UPS system, network management card, downloadable power management software, environmental sensor and power distribution unit (PDU). Floor-standing models can ship as fully assembled and tested units, and all models are available as validated kits ready for onsite assembly.

Key Benefits of EdgeReady Micro Data Centers

  • More Choices — 40 stock configurations offer a wide range of rack sizes, power capacities and battery backup runtimes.
  • Easier Deployment — Preconfigured infrastructure standardizes installations for quick, easy, repeatable deployment and service.
  • Reduction in Site-Related Costs — Tripp Lite’s experienced solution experts validate configurations to simplify ordering, prevent design errors and reduce field costs.
  • Fast Turnaround — Stock configurations ship in three business days; customized models ship in as little as five business days.
  • Unlimited Customization — Options like active cooling and console KVMs are available to match diverse business and technology requirements.

Source: IoT For All
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Don’t Attack Charters Schools – Learn From Them

As “Public Education Forum 2020” comes to Pittsburgh this weekend, let’s state the obvious truth: our nation’s education system is shockingly failing most students and teachers.

On national, international, and local data points, must schools are failing to provide the personalization and mobile economy necessary to teach and learn. And rather than offer effective solutions for students in desperate need of revolutionary change, the Democratic presidential candidates scheduled to be at the forum have already embraced the status quo, backing programs and proposals that add more power and money to failing institutions.

Something we also won’t hear this weekend: that American education today is inadequate for most because parents do not have enough power, and because public dollars are spent on bureaucracies that deny educators freedom and funds to teach and excel. Rules, not results, are valued in a system that looks exactly like it did 150 years ago.

Enter one of the most path-breaking solutions in the history of public education: charter schools.

Charters were first designed nearly 30 years ago to turn the top-down, mismanaged, financially inefficient, and educationally failing status quo on its head. They give educators and citizens the ability to start new schools that are tightly regulated for outcomes and financial integrity, but free to operate – and innovate – in any way that faculty and parents believe works for their children.

The result? In almost every place they’ve opened, charter schools have created a revolution in educational excellence, especially for so many of our nation’s most vulnerable students. How? Because, among other things, charters are a parent’s choice, accountable for results, and able to be closed should they underperform. And that’s a good thing!

Between 1992 and 2011, only 15 percent of charter schools were closed, mostly because of financial challenges caused by state and local politics, not the school itself. Nevertheless, the indisputable academic results that charter schools produce in proficiency and progress have made them sensibly embraced by leaders in both parties.

Because charters work so well, and are subsequently so popular, defenders of the old public education empire have been losing their grip. Since it’s a bit harder to condemn parents who simply want the best for their kids and vote with their feet, the public school industry fights back by attacking the very schools that rescue kids and offer them bright futures. Over the years the attacks have only become nastier, with teachers unions smearing charter school proponents as everything from “anti-public education” to “fraudulent,” and worse.

Alas, on Saturday we can expect charters schools to either have a starring role – as the lead villain, of course – or just be ignored. Rather than praise innovation and demand the kind of  flexibility that charters prove work, the organizations hosting the forum will instead be using their voices to secure commitments from the presidential candidates to protect, defend, and, in fact, expand the status quo. While purporting to represent education, these powerful entities are steadfastly committed to reducing parents’ ability to choose schools that better meet their kids’ needs outside of their zip code, and will make lockstep agreement the price of support.

At their core, charter schools believe that the best way to arrive at success is to be free to pursue it and measured regularly. Prior to charter schools starting, there were no performance indexes for any school in the Pennsylvania’s schools, or elsewhere. The pressure on traditional education applied by the advent of charters, multiplied by the freedom by which charter schools can operate to perform (and not guaranteed enrollment regardless of success or failure), resulted in states creating accountability measures that track and report educational progress.

Student success, curriculum flexibility, parental choice. These are the discussion themes the presidential candidates should be having. Instead they are working to curry favor with powerful unions that boast an overabundance of public money and resources to deploy in elections.

Do the candidates honestly think they’re being invited to share novel ideas and debate the best way to educate kids? If so, they’re fooling themselves.

If Public Education Forum 2020 was to be a forum about what works, then the candidates would be listening to Pittsburgh’s – and the nation’s – best school leaders, regardless of sector. They’d be probing the creative minds of local leaders from schools like Propel Schools. Instead these schools, their leaders, and the happy families they serve were not even invited.

Saturday’s forum is about nothing more than which candidates will best do the special interests’ bidding. The more they agree, the more likely they are to get endorsed. That’s it.

It’s a disheartening truth to be sure. But if 2016 is any consolation to those candidates who might want to step up and put kids ahead of politics, Hillary Clinton gave the unions what they wanted, sang their tune, and got their endorsement. And as we know, it didn’t translate into a win. To avoid a similar fate, the candidates should add history to their education lessons before they take the stage.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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