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Why Virtual Staffing is Important for Business Growth

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Virtual staffing (Image: SuccessDigest)

You may have come across the term virtual staffing or outsourcing before but if you haven’t then you need not worry because by the end of this piece you’ll have all the information you require to determine whether virtual staffing is the right solution for your business.

Essentially, the term virtual staffing is broadly associated with outsourcing, which is simply a process by which companies either contract individuals or agencies in order to meet their business objectives. Contrary to some myths perpetuated by the industry’s critics, virtual staffing tends to actually begin when organisations understand their unique competitive advantage and gain insight into the areas of their offering that others can perform better. For example, if a company’s core competencies are in product design or development, it is sensible that it seeks expert resources to meet its non-core competencies from those individuals or agencies that are more specialised in those areas in order to achieve optimal efficiency outcomes. In short, it is getting the best talent wherever it may be located even if it means outsourcing.

Virtual Staffing Varieties

Most businesses today currently use some form of outsourcing at some point in their value chain. Technology has advanced the virtual staffing process and we have to remember that these developments have been largely driven by consumer and investor needs. For instance, most manufacturers today outsource significant portions of the components of their finished products. Similarly in the service industry, businesses now regularly make use of virtual staffing to run their back office operations from customer service, HR, accounting to technical functions.

Virtual staffing can be classified according to location. As far as the different kinds of companies, their operation can be identified by three main areas of activities:

  • Local staffing – applies to companies whose operations are restricted to the local market in terms of their labour requirements.
  • Offshore staffing – refers to instances where businesses tend to seek expertise outside their national borders in order to access the specialisedlabour which may not be easily available locally.
  • Nearshore staffing – refers to strategic outsourcing to areas which share commonalities such as language and these tend to be within the creative industries where communication is key to the success of undertakings.

Furthermore, virtual staffing can split into two categories. These are Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). Some of the main differences between the two include:

BPO

This implies outsourcing particular process tasks for instance customer service or payroll. The nature of the work is typically front office or back office related. This includes tasks such as technical support and customer orientated work like marketing. Other types of activities that are associated with business process outsourcing include virtual staffing for data entry services, writing, typesetting, or transcription services, bookkeeping, multimedia and design related jobs.

KPO

Knowledge Process Outsourcing on the other hand typically requires much more virtual staff involvement in tasks. Companies seeking to employ advanced levels of research, analytical and technical skills such as those sought after in research and development work, legal services, intellectual property research, architectural and industrial design, just to name a few. There tends to be higher engagement and advanced sourcing negotiations associated with KPO work.

Finding The Right Talent

The great thing about virtual staffing is that there are higher chances of finding the right talent because of increased availability when looking beyond borders. If your hiring is restricted to the local market then there are also chances that companies can miss out on a better or more equipped labour force. To get access to a wider talent pool businesses have long been searching for the best candidates across borderlines. Due to the competitive nature of many industries it’s no longer adequate for businesses to use local resources only for the simple fact of keeping things local. Today, with many businesses now part of the digital economy, entrepreneurs are waking to the fact that to be successful, utilizing the appropriate online tools is key.

The pressure to deliver the best quality in order to maintain competitive advantage has never been greater so businesses are using the convenience of technology to locate the best talent. Often it is as simple as registering a business on internet platforms, advertising the positions and providing the necessary jobs specifications and then drawing workers from all over the globe to your offer and doing the necessary assessments and due diligence and actually getting projects underway is a very short space of time. That is the power of social networks today. However, it’s sometimes better for companies to find the right virtual staffing partners who are reliable and have the reputation and proof to back up their claims and let them handle the recruiting.

There are also a number of trusted online platforms which help connect clients and virtual staff including online sites such as Upwork and BidModo.

Why Virtual Staffing Might Be Ideal for Your Business

There are numerous reasons why so many companies are turning to virtual staffing services. Some of the benefits of outsourcing include:

  • Greater access to a highly skilled workforce.
  • Increased flexibility allowing businesses to hire according to their business requirements.
  • Virtual employees tend to be happier workers because increasingly more people want greater employment flexibility to allow them to work as and when it suits them.
  • Higher scalability because companies do not need to rent or buy larger office or industrial space in order to carry out their business functions and this also strengthens business balance sheets since there are less operational costs. 
  • There is increased efficiency because tasks can be outsourced to workers in different time zones allowing companies to operate on a 24/7 basis.

Also Read: Chidi Nwaogu: Multi Award-Winning Entrepreneur Launches Global Fellowship Program for Aspiring And Early-Stage Entrepreneurs

How to Get Started

It’s actually not complicated to find the right virtual staffing solutions and start benefiting your business. What companies need to do is find a reliable virtual staff provider, outline their specific requirements, provide detailed project briefs and preferred candidate profiles and set up a system for quality checking the virtual staffing services and literally start giving the green light on projects and achieve the desired business objectives.

There are several reliable freelance sites where you can get skilled labour to meet your virtual staffing needs. There are a variety of expertise you can outsource to Upwork, Fever and such virtual staffing sites including design, writing, marketing, and administrative tasks. Another reputable site is Toptal where businesses can find quality virtual staff to execute tasks that are particularly tech related. It’s well known for having great clients from some of the biggest corporations in the world. Other sites like Freelancer are also good for outsourcing jobs quickly. A new wave of outsourcing is also emerging with the likes of TaskRabbit and AirTasker which are platforms where you can virtually find people to do almost any type of job fast and efficiently. There is also the potential to network with freelancers and virtual staff who are willing to work remotely through platforms such as LinkedIn,Behance, 99 Designs and PeoplePerHour.

Written by: Heath Muchena, author of The Digital Economy Survival Toolkit, a book that highlights why being online is important for startups and small businesses and The Digital Entrepreneur Manual, a comprehensive list of descriptive links to free resources, tools, platforms and apps that you need to set up an income generating business on the internet.

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Press Release

Releaf Partners with IITA to Improve Growth and Sustainability in Oil Palm Production

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Releaf VP Sourcing – Ayodeji Jayeoba (left), Nteranya Sanginga – DG, IITA (Middle) Ikenna Nzewi – CEO, Releaf (Right) (Image: Supplied)

Releaf, an agtech startup that develops proprietary hardware and software solutions that makes African farmers and food factories more efficient and profitable, has partnered with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to improve growth and sustainability in oil palm production in Nigeria and across Africa.

The partnership will enable the startup and the award-winning research-for-development organisation to explore ways to increase oil palm yields, deploy the best intercropping mechanisms, and work with fabrication and mechanisation experts to foster further innovation and development in Nigeria’s smallholder-driven oil palm sector.

Despite having 80 percent of market share, 4 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria’s oil palm sector are unable to maximise the opportunity available to them. Due to relatively low yields and limited access to adequate processing equipment. Releaf has invented Kraken – West Africa’s most advanced palm nut de-sheller. Which can process up to 500 metric tons of palm nuts per week to produce premium palm kernel products at 95% purity, better than the 88% industry standard. Releaf also works with farmers to improve their output. By encouraging the adoption of best practices to increase their yield. And supporting farming activities that are good for the environment.

In the early 1960s, Nigeria was the world’s largest oil palm producer with a global market share of 43 per cent. Today, it contributes less than two percent of total global production. IITA will support Releaf with soil fertility analysis, access to its facilities, oil palm management programmes and leaf analysis for improved productivity. The partnership will also explore how insect waste can be recycled into organic waste that can be used to fertilise oil palm or as a source of nutrition for livestock.

According to Ikenna Nzewi, CEO and co-founder of Releaf, “IITA has a long and rich history of working with international and national partners to impact agricultural value chains. And we are really excited to be partnering with them. IITA also represents the beginning of the journey that led me to co-found Releaf and I am grateful for the opportunity to take this relationship forward. Oil palm is one of our most ubiquitous plants and we must continue to develop technology to improve its sustainable impact on rural communities’ livelihoods.”

IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga said, “We are really impressed by what Releaf has already achieved in such a short space of time. I recall our first meeting with Ikenna in 2015 and it is great to see what that first encounter has led to. Investing in research and development is always a great advantage for everyone. And we are looking forward to working with Releaf to explore more ways to add value across the agricultural value chain.”

 

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Press Release

Social media main enabler for growth among women-owned businesses

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95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool to drive their business ventures

Mastercard, the Official Payment Technology Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, and Female Fusion Network unveiled new research at the first in a series of workshops for the region’s female entrepreneurs at the world’s largest cultural gathering.

Held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion, in collaboration with Cartier, the session focused on the power of the digital economy in enabling women-owned businesses to go online. In a study conducted among Female Fusion’s network of 20,000+ members across the region, it was revealed that 95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool for their business ventures. Other channels include their own e-commerce websites (72%) as well as messaging services such as Facebook and Whatsapp (50%).

In addition, three out of four (72%) women-owned businesses said they rely on word of mouth to market their products and services. The workshop identified how SMEs can make the most of their online footprint, and better connect to their consumers in a digital economy.

Speakers included Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard, Sarah Beydoun, Founder and Creative Director of social impact fashion business Sarah’s Bag in Lebanon, Ioanna Angelidaki, co-founder of Instashop, and Maureen Hall, Founder and CEO of COÉGA Sunwear.

“The findings from the study indicate a clear need for further education and empowerment. Mastercard has long pushed for the success and growth of women as we break gender barriers around the world. Digital tools and technologies are the greatest equalizer for businesses and as the shift towards e-commerce becomes increasingly permanent, we are committed to helping women businesses go digital and grow digital as they pursue their entrepreneurial passions,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

The recent unveiling of the inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index also revealed that in terms of a digital footprint of the region’s women entrepreneurs, social media (71%) leads the way followed by a company website (57%).

“We are proud of the successful launch of our workshop series in partnership with Mastercard. As a growing community of ambitious women leaders, Female Fusion Network looks to support our members with access to platforms that offer simple yet effective takeaways for them to grow their business. We look forward to having more of these impactful sessions during Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Jennifer Blandos, Managing Partner, Female Fusion Network.

Mastercard has made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025 as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world. As part of its efforts, the technology leader recently launched  ‘The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey’ a first-of-its kind digital education platform that brings together a range of world-class academic and business resources to help small businesses learn and thrive.

 

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Press Release

Acronis, Cyber Protection Leader appoints Technology Veteran Paul Maritz, as Chairman of the Board

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Acronis Board Chairman, Paul Maritz (Image: Supplied)

Acronis, a global leader in cyber security and data protection, today announced that Paul Maritz has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective September 21, 2021. Maritz will be responsible for the governance and leadership of Acronis as it strengthens its position in the service provider market preparing for significant growth in the future.

Earlier this year, Acronis raised $250M at a $2.5B valuation, and announced former GoDaddy’s partners business president, Patrick Pulvermüller, as the new chief executive officer. The strengthened management team will use the momentum to provide Acronis’ partners with the tools that they need to deal with a rapidly changing digital world.

The challenge of providing MSPs with effective tools to manage the environments of their customers is becoming increasingly complex, particularly in a world where security is becoming an overwhelming issue. Security can no-longer be handled by having an SMB end customer put together a plethora of individual tools. Modern threats have exposed the need for an integrated approach and automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of the modern digital world.

Acronis Cyber Protect provides all the management tools of the future that service providers need to do an effective job for their customers to help them grow their business. As well as developing its own technology, Acronis will continue to make acquisitions to become one of the world’s major players of providing the most innovative backup, security, and management tools on the market. Over 12,000 service providers trust Acronis Cyber Protect to manage over 2,000,000 workloads around the world, positioning Acronis for even more company growth in the future.  

“Paul brings a wealth of experience developing products to meet market demands and take companies to the next level. His becoming Chairman represents another step forward for Acronis in solidifying its position as a global leader in cyber protection. Paul’s experience with innovations at scale will help us to continue delivering easy, efficient, and secure cyber protection to service providers and their customers of any size,” said Patrick Pulvermüller, Acronis CEO.

“With its strength in backup and security, Acronis is well positioned to build a platform for a comprehensive list of management tools, helping service providers deliver modern cyber protection to their customers today and in the future. Acronis Cyber Protect is a great example of what can be done. Acronis will continue extensive research and development in this direction, helping partners optimize their operations and stay ahead of the competition,” said Paul Maritz, Acronis Chairman of the Board.

Maritz first joined the Board of Directors in May 2021, bringing 40 years of experience in computer science and software to the cyber protection company.

In his previous executive roles, Paul served on the Executive Staff of Microsoft, was the CEO of VMware, and was CEO and Founder of Pivotal Software. Paul currently is an active investor and serves on the Boards of several start-up technology companies.

Paul graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town. He is active in the nonprofit world, served for 10 years on the Board of the Grameen Foundation, which supports financial inclusion and technology in the developing world, and supports conservation efforts in Africa.

Paul Maritz replaces René Bonvanie, whose leadership helped Acronis develop an effective strategy to expand global presence and deliver easy, efficient, and secure cyber protection to customers of any size. Acronis wishes to thank René Bonvanie for his contribution to the company development and growth.

 

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