Monday, November 28, 2016

How To Market A Web Development Company: Dos and Don'ts

It is a really a challenge to market a web development company but if you want to stand out from the competition, you should consider these do's and don'ts.

1. Do use SEO well in your website. Good target keywords, good content, white-hat SEO techniques are what you need to rank #1 in Google and other search engines.
2. Do make your website user-friendly. Your website is your online business presence so make sure it says a lot about the potential of your business
3. Do list your business in business directories and listings
4. Do take advantage of some free ad listings online. You need not pay something expensive just to advertise
5. Do interact with your potential clients. When they have inquiries, you should try to get back to them as soon as possible and answer all your queries
6. Do finish jobs successfully with clients. Word- of -mouth marketing still exists.
7. Do some personal branding. Have a good logo and a tagline that touches people.
8. Do some direct contact marketing. Direct marketing techniques like handing flyers to target customers are still effective.

1. Don't do email harvesting. Believe me, its so irritating to see unwanted mails in your inbox, and email marketing has a low conversion rate
2. Don't try cold calling. This is also annoying. Wait for the right customers to come to you and don't force them.
3. Don't hand over some calling cards to potential clients that only contains your name and company. You should at least explain to potential customers what your business is all about and why they should need you
4. Don't do some blind marketing. Plan your marketing strategy well and target the right customers. Study their characteristics and where they hang out. Study their interests.

Bear in mind all these things and you will soon land many clients!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Going Beyond the Business of IT Outsourcing and Consulting

When the internet was discovered, it was easily embraced by people. Web development initially started as a hobby for some. Then it became a business for others. Nowadays, IT outsourcing has become a billion-dollar industry, with a lot of top companies relying on some outsourcing partner/team to do some IT jobs for them. 
And lo and behold, almost everybody wants to start an IT outsourcing company to earn a lot of money. 
But is it a noble purpose?
Sometimes we are just blinded about the money that we can earn from clients. If you are a programmer/developer/IT consultant who only thinks about the money that you will earn from a certain contract, its high time to review your goals.
So how can you as a developer/programmer/IT consultant realize your noble purpose? I will offer some inspiration for you, some thoughts that you should ponder on, if ever you are stressed, burned out or think you are useless in society. 
Does the IT business have a noble purpose?
Yes it has.
When you create websites, think about the people who will read about useful information and how their lives will be touched by your presentation of content and code.
Think about the people whose work will be made easy so that they can have more time for their families and loved ones.
Think about bringing joy to other people when their loved ones buy gifts for them through ecommerce.
Think about the lives you will change when you build some software that can create more jobs for other people.
Think about the lives you may save with your medical apps.
Think about the entertainment you bring to make a lot of people happy and inspire them.
Remember, its not all money. Its the thought that counts. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

To Be A Doctor Or A Programmer? That is The Question

Nowadays I am recieving a lot of mail from doctors and medical students who are torn between their love for programming and medicine. Some of them are already doctors but they want to pursue their interests. In my opinion, it is best to pursue what you love most. What makes you happy? You should pursue your passion!
But today, I just want to highlight why physicians should learn how to code. I came accross this interesting article written by Pieter L. Kubben, "Why physicians might want to learn computer programming"
So why learn programming as a doctor? First of all, it is fun. Being a programmer makes you creative and you are able to solve puzzling problems. Second, programming will help you boost your career. If you program as a doctor, you only prove your ability to transform your ideas into results. Also, expect that our future will mostly depend on information technology, so as doctors, we have complete control of technology in our hands and not just rely on some technical people to do stuff for us. Though we may be busy with clinical practice, yet we have to talk to technical people and we need to speak their language and understand their concepts.
Fourth, learning programming can transform you into a very interesting person. From web development to app development-- all of these can make you appear interesting to a lot of people. You can sell your apps if you want but just keep in mind that some people may not use your app. You can actually turn this into a business idea if you like. You need not hire some programmer who will only mess things for you. As doctors we are already content masters and we just need to have these content published and get the word out so we need to write code. Content and code are a good combination and its not impossible to learn how to code with all those free online courses!
If you are now on the road to programming, don't stop now. Carry on your passion! Live a life of no regrets. Pursue what you love, so that you don't have to complain later on that "I should have done this, I should have done that." Do what you love and stand up for your character.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Current State of Information Technology Affairs

Hello my dear readers. I am now writing again on this blog of mine that I have "neglected" due to my recent duties as a techpreneur. Today is an important day for me because its my birthday. I figured out it would be best to write on my blog again on this special day.
From now on, everyday, I will be writing some short posts on this blog about my insights on information technology and the sciences. I will now start talking about the current state of information technology affairs.
Information technology and computer science nowadays are high-demand industries in the world nowadays. It is interesting to note that this was not so in the early 2000s. We didn't predict this demand before.  In the early 2000s, I started out as a content writer and people said it was not a lucrative job. Some programmers from the bubble told me that they picked up programming for some IT giants like Apple and IBM because there was "no one else to do it" but the nerds. 
Because there was no one else to do the dirty job of information technology, as an IT worker, you were expected to know a lot of things in the early 2000s. Like, if you provide content, you should not only provide words but also graphics. search engine optimization and layout or web design. If you do web design you are also expected to know how to do backend code. But now, this is not the case nowadays.
When you enter IT companies nowadays, it is interesting to note that they have somehow evolved into different departments. There are web designers, developers, writers, SEO sepcialists. The problem with these young people is that they are too specific in their tasks like they only know SEO, they only know writing. What has happened to the full-stack developer of the early 2000s?
I am not saying this in a negative way, its just that I find it amusing. Of course we must all welcome change. Its just that I think that if we focus too much on a single function, the full-stack developer in us might die. Just saying. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Future Of Health Care IT Outsourcing Looks Promising

A recent research report from the Black Book Research Group claims that the IT payer outsourcing market will exceed $60 billion by the end of 2017. This is due to the demands on data security, benefits solutions and population health. The report was based on a survey that included data from more than 800 health plan IT outsourcing users from Q2 to Q4 2015. Trends were determined in the marketplace of service providers and client expectations. The report has predicted that there will be 40% growth in the next two years. This is due to the fact that better solutions in software has created faster IT expenses than expected with no increase in revenue. This is why outsourcing is now being offered to control organizational costs.

The report said that less than one in 10 of health plan IT executives  are considering  full or end-to-end off-shored solutions. However, the Black Book report was able to show that health plans are budgeting at least 20 percent increases in outsourcing spends for 2016 for service models and functions including application support, desktop support, and help desk support. Nearly 80 percent of larger health plans could turn to outsourced vendors for help desk support in the next 12 months, the survey found.

It is expected that security and privacy projects, and cloud initiatives will grow over 50% of all new outsourcing business initiatives for 2016 in managed care organizations. Payers will soon focus on three additional outsourcing areas by 2016: comprehensive software in core administration, care and network management, and constituent engagement. It expects that by 2018, half of all health plans will demand substantial risk sharing with their outsourcing providers as operational efficiency will become critical at four in 10 of the nation's small health insurers and plans, resulting in the development of more intense data-driven payer strategies.

Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book Research Group said, "Changing government regulations are leading insurers to outsource more IT functions including big data and data base management, analytics as a service, mobile applications, population health, and security solutions,"

The fact is, while there are many business which began to utilize IT outsourcing since the 1990s, the healthcare sector was not quick to embrace the idea. Brown remarked, "The decision health insurance companies have been among the slowest to adopting outsourcing. However, shrinking margins, higher claim disbursement, and increasing competition have forced health insurers to look at outsourcing at this point in time to prove efficiencies and focus resources toward the core functions of product development and innovation."

This is good news to all medical outsourcing companies! Medical writing in the form of pharmaceutical and educational writing can now be outsourced  to companies which offer cheaper yet high-quality services. If you want some regulatory and educational medical writing, SCRIPTUS MEDICAL RESEARCH AND WEB DEVELOPMENT may be the right company for you. They offer affordable writing and web development packages.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I Almost Went Into Computer Science After High School

After High School, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I applied to two schools: University of the Philippines and University of San Agustin. I chose BS Biology, Economics and Journalism as my courses at UP. I took the UPCAT and passed.

A week later after the UPCAT was released, I received a letter from UP Computer Science. It said that they have this new experimental program and they are getting the top 30 examinees and I was included in the top 30. The perks were free tuition, allowance, etc. I asked myself, 'Top 30 for what? I did not even apply in computer science!'

Well, my parents were not believers of computer science. For them, if I took up computer science, I would be like that encoder working in some boring office who's typing and typing all her life.

Because of financial constraints and because I was entitled to a 25% tuition discount, I enrolled at University of San Agustin Medical Technology.

Sometimes I wonder what had happened to me if I grabbed that opportunity. I may be working in tech firms now. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

On Breaking Rules: Being a Woman, Being a Doctor, Being in Tech

When I was in college, my professors would usually talk to my mom, who is also a college professor herself. Always, they have just one thing to say, "Your daughter has her own mind. You cannot teach her what to think. She has her own mind". That's what I am according to them: stubborn.

Well, there were many instances in my life wherein I have broken rules and have proven many people wrong. Let me enumerate some of them.

1. Being a Writer/Editor While Majoring in the Sciences

They say that when you are good in writing, you should be in journalism. And when you are good in math and sciences, you should be majoring in science, business or engineering. But I am proud to say I was able to graduate from Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science despite being a campus writer. People used to ask me if I really want to become a medical laboratory scientist and I said yes, and they got this weird look in their eyes that say "Then why do you keep on writing stuff?". And when I went into hospital internship, I juggled press work and hospital laboratory duties. Well, I survived.

2. Becoming a Doctor While Doing Freelance Web Writing/ SEO

They say that when you go to medical school you should drop your other sidelines and just concentrate on studying medicine. Well, I also broke that rule. I turned to content writing to help finance my studies. During the early 2000s, writers who went to content writing were viewed as being stupid. After all, content writing consisted writing articles with repetitive keywords and outbound links. No journalism graduate can handle that, que horror! To earn some decent income I was willing to be trained in that "dirty" job of SEO writing. I began to write for ad companies who trained me more on SEO writing. I did not expect SEO to become this big. But I know I did the right thing, picking up the dirty job to earn gold.

3. Becoming a Resident Doctor in Internal Medicine and Doing Freelance Online Jobs

Yes, a resident's physician's duty can last for 36 hours in the hospital. But I still found time to write, as I needed the income still. I was able to finish residency training and pass diplomate exams while being a freelance writer. Not only did I become a writer, I also learned front-end web development because clients didn't want to spend more on getting a separate designer. And so I learned HTML, CSS and Javascript. I met some crazy web developers and digital marketing experts (all of them were males) who became my precious friends. They were the ones who taught me more about digital marketing and some back-end web development (PHP, SQL).

4. Starting a Drugstore and Distribution Business With Limited Capital

They say that you will need a million bucks if you want to start a drugstore and distribution business. I started small with minimum capital but I did not spend the income I earned. Instead, I used it to purchase stocks until my inventory grew and grew, along with the profits.

5. Entering the World of Web Development As a Woman and As a Doctor

Because of my skills in web development and SEO, some of my clients who owned web development companies began to invite me as a part of their teams. And so, I am a doctor during the day, but a web developer during the night until the wee hours of the morning. I was attractive to clients because I am a doctor-writer possessing IT skills. I am now a part of various web development teams from the US, India, Israel, Romania, UK and Singapore which focus on online pharmacies, medical websites and medical e-commerce sites.

So there I was, dividing my time as a doctor-by-day, vampire-by-night. I was happy. Until one day, a message popped up in my Slack saying "Hi sexy. You're so beautiful. Got a boyfriend?" It was from one of my teammates in a US-based web development company.

It was then that I realized that I am a WOMAN and I am different from them. Physically. I realized that I have long hair and that I wore a bra.

A cold realization swept through me: I am a woman. Yes I am, but what's the fuss about it? I write well, I get things done on or before the deadline. I don't do sloppy work. Why? What have I done to deserve this?

Why is there gender bias in the tech industry? This happened to me not only once but twice: my co-workers online calling me names. Was it because of how I look? Well, I admit I am not ugly-looking, but this face is just a mask. I am still a human being capable of doing what a male web developer can do! I was hired to work and not just become a teaser here! But I have NOT noticed this among Caucasian developers who came from countries where there are many women in tech. I have observed this among co-workers coming from countries where tech is a male-dominated industry, particularly in the Middle East, Pakistan and India.

I know I am not the only woman lamenting on this. This is why large organizations such as Google are encouraging more women in tech. Maybe these talented women just stopped coming to work because they were called "babes" or "sweethearts". Maybe they even experienced some form of abuse.

I know that tech work is very demanding. Even though IT is not my primary profession, I spend 8 hours a day or more doing website projects. Whenever there are projects I usually finish the job according to schedule. Even though I am very tired, if I have a deadline, I would make sure I will finish it, even if it would mean staying up late until the morning.

I hope this issue will end soon among women in science and technology. I am willing to work towards this realization. I want to end this judgmental attitude. I have broken many rules and have proven many theories wrong. Now, as a woman doctor who is currently learning to write code, I have managed to break rules again.