LinkedIn Endorsements – Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?

Whether you love them or hate them, I think LinkedIn Endorsements are a fairly good gauge of your professional skills, and especially your online professional persona.  I promised myself that after my personal LinkedIn profile achieved 99+ (99+) Endorsements in any particular category then I would share some of my honest observations on the topic of LinkedIn Endorsements.

I checked a few of my LinkedIn contacts at random and viewed their Endorsements.  Knowing all these persons in various capacities whether it be only virtually, in-person or a mixture of both, I can say that most of these persons highly ranked Endorsements personified their professional skills fairly decently.  In other words, LinkedIn Endorsements might not deserve the harsh criticism they received when initially launched about one year ago.

Are Skills Perception or Reality? (…and does it matter as long as it is accurate)
linkedin reqs 011016Let’s dig a bit deeper and see if LinkedIn Endorsements are truly representative of one’s professional skills.  As a reference, my personal LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements screen print as of 1/10/16 is listed to the left.  As you can see the three Skills for which I have 99+ Endorsements are ‘SaaS’, ‘Enterprise Software’ and ‘Cloud Computing’.

With over 100 of my professional contacts ‘endorsing’ me for each skill, (without asking or any sort of encouragement) anyone that didn’t know me personally would think that my entire career might have been in the solutions and software business.

Au contraire! (On the contrary)

I have never worked one minute for a ‘SaaS’ (as-a-Service) company.  Never have I received a paycheck ever from any ‘Cloud Computing’ organization.  Nor have I been a part of an ‘Enterprise Software’, until the past few years.  So what does this mean exactly?  Are all my Endorsements bogus, or is it misguided individuals or is it blatant propaganda?  None of this – let me explain.


Where there is smoke, there is (professional) fire!

Passion for work, industry and others is I’m sure where my Endorsements came from.  People know Kevin Neal as an extremely passionate professional about the topics of SaaS, Enterprise Software and Cloud Computing.  I don’t hide this passion; in fact I embrace it and wish to share experiences with others with such interests.

* I am a proud Professional Member of AIIM ( – A nonprofit educational organization of the topic of Information Management

* I am honored to be a ‘Expert Blogger’ on the topic of ‘Capture’ for AIIM’s web communities

* I genuinely enjoy using my personal time sharing my knowledge freely with others and with no expectations in-turn.  A few examples are below:

    • SaaS:  saas
    • Enterprise Software:  enterprise
    • Cloud Computing:  cloud

In summary, my professional life is an open book which I am glad to share with others.  I feel it is a pay-it-forward type attitude for those that have helped me so much in my personal career.  I can’t thank them enough and I would just encourage others to do the same.  Share your experiences, express your thoughts and have an opinion.

Your killer SaaS app

Is your SaaS value proposition convincing enough without automatic data entry? 
Imagine you’ve just created the next ‘killer’ Software as a Service (SaaS) app and you are absolutely convinced your new software service is going to revolutionize a particular industry or solve a significant pain point for organizations all over the world.  You create some compelling sales and marketing materials with a heavy emphasis on Return on Investment.  After all, you have conviction that your service is going to help businesses decrease operational costs, improve worker productivity and provide much better access to information which all translates to achieving tangible payback on your customer’s technology investment.
So you’ve done your research, you’ve developed the software application; you created awesome marketing materials, assembled a sales team and created a terrific support structure but for some reason your totally revolutionary SaaS application just isn’t selling as well as you had hoped.  Do you think that you might be overlooking a feature or function that is so fundamental to providing tangible Return on Investment that customers simply cannot say “No” to immediately deploying your innovative solution?
whats missing_data capture
Time is money
I might really be overstating the obvious but employers pay employees to work, not do data entry.  Whether your core expertise is in accounting, customer service or mechanical, your employer pays you to spend a majority of your time focusing on your respective skills.  However, organizations often overlook the total amount of time that is consumed with such tedious activities such as manually entering data from a bank statement into an accounting system.  Or how many total hours field service technicians are spending collecting and entering work order data into an ERP system.  These are real, tangible costs that the organization is paying.  This directly relates to unrealized business productivity and effects the financial bottom-line significantly.  Time is money and time utilized manually entering data into systems is, quite frankly, a waste.
Use cases for Information Capture
Let’s take a look at a few use case scenarios and focus on Mobile Information Capture, specifically, since there is a lot of interest in this area and there is an abundance of data to support that this is one of the greatest opportunities to achieve quick return on investment.
First, consider the industry of Field Service technicians.  According to a November 2011 study by Dave Wood of Harvey Spencer Associates (HSA) entitled “A Study of the Mobile Capture Marketing in the United States”, he cites DF Blumberg Associates as sizing the Field Service market at $225 billion in 2011 and growing to $500 billion by 2018 with nearly half of the 3 million workers using mobile productivity solutions by then.  Since a good majority of these mobile devices will most likely be equipped with a camera this translates directly into a great opportunity to provide these workers with the ability to nearly effortlessly snap pictures of objects such as work order signatures, checks for payment, assessment photos or even invoices and then automatically have the data extracted from these images to populate database fields in a Field Service SaaS application.  Just to name a few of the Field Service benefits for Mobile Capture could be enhanced customer service, the ability to realize the payments quicker and, of course, improve overall worker efficiency.
In a second use case scenario, also taking data from the same Mobile Capture Market survey, consider the Transportation industry.  For the survey, they focused on Long Haul Trucking.  They found that this particular market featured 1.9 million trucks and 1.7 million deliveries daily.  The research showed that each delivery generated a packet of documents that must be captured for invoicing, with an average of 5 pages per packet.  This translated into a total capture volume of this market of 8.5 million documents PER business day.  The types of items that needed to be captured will slightly vary depending on the particular trucking organization, yet generally documents such as Bills of Lading, Trip Sheets, Scale Tickets and Vehicle Expense Receipts were common amongst most organizations.  After some calculation of the projected number of drivers that will have access to dedicated scanners or multifunction devices, the survey predicted that approximately 400,000 drivers will have only smart phones as their primary capture device.  This presents a terrific opportunity to capture all these documents DURING the trip instead of waiting until the trip is complete which could be days, or even weeks later.
The last use case scenario shared by the HSA survey was general Capture to Cloud.  This was predicted to be, by-far, the largest growth opportunity for Mobile Capture and anyone would be hard pressed to argue this prediction.  With the prediction of 2 billion smart phones by 2018 and cloud storage vendors competing like crazy for market share, it only stands to reason that these factors are going to contribute to huge growth for Capture to Cloud applications using mobile devices.
Bringing easy to use, yet highly-effective Ubiquitous Information Capture into the mix
Now that you have your killer SaaS app ready for prime-time.  Your story is polished and you are earning business because your SaaS application is addressing customer pain points such as decreasing operational costs, improving worker productivity and providing better access to information.   You can prove, without a doubt, a tangible Return on Investment with reduced labor costs associated with manual data entry and you recognize the unbelievable potential in the Mobile Capture market, so the question begs, ‘what do you do to make your SaaS application even more appealing to potential customers?’
current solution offering
‘Add Data Capture to you SaaS’ is the answer.  It’s really that simple.  The technology has evolved over the past couple years so that the technology offers extremely advanced features and functions that are completely transparent to the users themselves.  This helps achieve a pleasant user experience which helps drive adoption of the solution among users.  Additionally, the behind-the-scenes technology is performing tasks traditionally done by humans so the processing is highly effective from an automation standpoint.  The user simply snaps a picture and this technology can automatic recognize the type of document and will intelligently extract all the information from the image.
enhanced solution offering
With this new Data Capture capability not only will your SaaS application provide a much more elegant user experience but you can absolutely guarantee cost savings to your customers with the quantifiable amount of time that is recouped by not having users do manual data entry.  The benefits of your SaaS can be incrementally increased with this new Data Capture capability.  Overall you can offer a truly appealing ROI story before you even being to discuss all the wonderful capabilities of your particular application.  The additional features are just like icing on the cake to solidify the sale.

Total Hours x Dollars per Hour = Tangible Cost Savings

This helps achieve a few things in your favor as the preferred software vendor of choice:
* Encourages your customers to make a quicker decision on purchase and implementation of your solution because every day they choose not to make a decision they are squandering money and resources
* Helps differentiate your application from competitors with valuable business functionality that makes the user experience much more enjoyable and helps drive higher adoption rates
* The likelihood of selling more subscriptions to your customers is higher because they can justify adding more licenses due to the fact that they have proven ROI
So, are you ready to take your killer SaaS app to the next level with Ubiquitous Information Capture?


Economies of scale: Cloud processing

Economies of scale:  Cloud processing

Document Capture technology has been available for many years and is a proven method to decrease operational costs and improve business efficiency.  However, this technology has traditionally been expensive to purchase, implement and deploy.

In organizations, small or large, Information Technology systems are comprised of similar components:  Hardware, software and services.  The emergence of Cloud Computing offers a new method to provide workers with technology such as Advanced Data Capture that was traditionally only available to Enterprise organizations due to high cost and technical complexity.  Now organizations of all sizes, in many different industries can benefit with the Economies of Scale with Cloud Processing as a service.

Businesses purchase computer hardware as a resource for workers to get their jobs accomplished.  As it relates to data capture from paper documents specifically, more than ever these businesses can benefit from advances in technology.   For example, most smart phones today are equipped with cameras that are capable as acting as a portable image acquisition device.  Or, to capture higher volumes of documents a business might choose to purchase dedicated scanners or use the office copy machine’s scanning functionality.  The point-is that there is still a certain amount of equipment that a business needs to function.

The fast-growing popularity of Cloud-based storage also makes Advanced Data Capture as a cloud service extremely logically and quite complimentary.  There are billions of users currently using some form of cloud storage whether it be business users of applications such as, or social networks such as Facebook or hybrid applications such as LinkedIn.  Additionally, and especially with the undeniable trend of using mobile devices for business data consumption, it only makes perfect sense to allow these devices to also contribute information easily via advanced data capture.  Consuming information on mobile devices is easy but to add a business contact, for example, is difficult and frustrating with small display sizes and awkward virtual software-only keyboards.

One of the most logical services to utilize Cloud Computing is Data Capture.  Why?  Data Capture is a service and with cloud computing an organization can ‘rent’ this service as a shared resource.  Since data capture doesn’t store images or information, then it’s ideal for sharing this resource and, therefore lowering the cost to use this service.

Cloud Capture is appealing for many reasons.

First, it allows small and medium sized businesses the opportunity to finally realize the benefits of Advanced Data Capture by sharing resources.  This reduces total ownership costs to the organization because these companies ‘rent’ this data capture service.  Secondly, it allows the organizations to quickly start utilizing this technology because they do not have to install, configure or maintain these services.  This is all taken care of by the hosting company which allows organizations to focus on their core business instead of being burdened by supporting technology.


Additionally, a Cloud Capture platform is also appealing to Enterprise customers.  Why?  Within any large organization the business typically has many different departments such as Administrative, Marketing, Sales, Purchasing, Accounting and others.  Also, the Information Technology (IT) department typically uses many software applications and services to support the business units.  With the emergence of Cloud Computing and with more and more corporations moving applications to ‘the cloud’, one service that makes the most sense is Data Capture.  Since Data Capture truly is ‘a service’ and does not store data permanently then capture technology infrastructure is ideal for Cloud Computing.  Scalability to add additional capacity or seamlessly incorporate new services are added benefits.