5 Amazing Ways Banking Apps Are Enhancing User Experiences

There has been a rapid increase in the number of people who manage their money via online these days, which, certainly emphasise importance of banking apps. Gone are the days when we need to spend long hours while standing in the queues for cash withdrawal and deposits in banks. With apps becoming a necessity for every industry, almost every other bank are developing apps for making their service more accessible and personalised.

Considering the same, following here are some of the best innovations in the domain of mobile banking for maximising downloads, enhancing user experience and increasing customer loyalty.

User Experience Innovations

Giving focus to an excellent user experience has become the major concern of banks and eying this fact, here are some of the innovative features released by them.

  • Improved Transactions
    Banks are making great efforts to cater the basic needs of users and included a series of essential features. Nowadays, people can make P2P payments, pay bills and even add a payee without no need of online registration. Furthermore, the number of ‘real-time’ money transfers is rapidly increasing along with the wide acceptance of contact-less mobile payments.
  • Money Management Tools
    With apps, customers can get access to their transactional history, suggestions or tips on financial planning, forecasting and much more. Furthermore, good communication between the customer support team and customers becomes much easy with mobile banking apps.
  • Simple Login and ‘Explainer’ Videos
    Not all customers are tech-savvy and so, banking apps mostly host a simple login process and easy-to-navigate features. With specific and easy to understand explainer videos, you get the right way to access your accounts easily and faster. You do not need to get tied to your personal computer or laptop to check account balances or make online transfers anymore. All you need to do is just pick your phone to stay abreast of your finances.
  • Extensive Security
    Customers often feel that these are comparatively less secure than visiting the local branch or nearest ATM. However, the security systems and user password of apps are generally proven and strict. While considering the security perspective, the user must deploy a good and tested Internet hygiene while using a banking app. Moreover, it is important for them to download apps from trusted web sources and websites.
  • Synchronisation with other Money Applications of the User
    All the money managing apps of users get automatically synced with their online banking information. This helps users to stick to their budget. Updating your accounts on other money management apps becomes simpler with these banking applications and users can get better scope of viewing a clear picture of their financial inflows and outflows.

Banking apps no longer represent a niche service these days as the number of users is increasing to a great extent. Irrespective of whether it is about simplifying payment processor availing customer support, these apps are here to make our financial transactions easier and faster.

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7 Scenarios Wherein a Car Insurance Claim Might Get Rejected

Car insurance is a mandatory investment as the law. Therefore, a large number of car owners opt to pay a premium for a car insurance policy to safeguard their cars against a possible collision. However despite this, a majority of their claims are rejected by companies. This is because people are unaware or rather ignorant to the intricacies related to car insurance. Therefore, a major chunk of car insurance claims are rejected. To stop this from happening, let’s go through a list of reasons where a car insurance claim might get rejected:

1. Intimating your insurer late or not at all: Please be informed that your claim is destined to be rejected if you fail to inform your insurance provider in the stipulated timeframe. On an average, you should update your insurance company within 48 to 72 hours from the time of accident or collision.

2. Driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug: This one is a no-brainer but still most people are negligent about it. If you are driving when you have consumed alcohol not only are you breaking the law, but even your insurance company will refuse to cover in case of an accident.

3. If your car is being used for commercial purposes: If you have a private car and it is being used for any commercial use such as being used to carry goods or passengers than your car insurance provider can reject your claim. This is because there are different policies for Private car and commercial vehicle policies.

4. If you drive without a valid license: In case you or anyone driving your car is driving valid license and face an accident then your coverage becomes null and void. Therefore, ensure you renew your license on time.

5. Starting the repairs before inspection by insurer: When you intimate your insurer about the collision or accident, a surveyor will visit you to inspect the condition of the car and authenticate your claim. Without this inspection, the insurance company will be unable to trace the degree of the repairs and estimate the cost involved. Therefore, your claim is bound to be rejected.

6. Failing to transfer the policy from the previous owner: There is going to be some verification during the claim process. In case, the car insurance policy is not in your name then your insurer has the right to refuse your claim.

7. An Electrical or Mechanical Breakdown: In case your car is damaged without any external collision due to some electrical or mechanical breakdown then you are not covered by your car insurance policy. In this case, you will have to shell out some money from your own pocket.

Next time be more careful of all these reasons and ensure you make maximum utilization of your car insurance policy.

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Cross-Cultural Challenges In the International Business Management

The company where I was working was taken over by a British multinational company in the mid 1990s. The newly appointed Managing Director from UK, during one of his visits to the plant, inquired how Gujarati people eat food at home. Having heard the response, he decided to sit down on the floor and have Gujarati food, along with all the senior colleagues of the plant.

What was the Managing Director trying to do? He was trying to appreciate the cultural norms of the new place and show his willingness to embrace. Such a behavior by the Managing Director obviously helped the local management open up more during subsequent discussions.

In the last 2 decades, cross-cultural challenges in the international business management have become prominent as the companies have started expanding across the territorial boundaries. Even leading management schools in India have started incorporating cross-cultural challenges as part of the curriculum of the international business management.

“Culture” being one of my interest areas, I recently had accepted an invitation to educate the students of a Diploma program on the International Business Management, on the topic of cross-cultural challenges. For my preparations, I browsed through many books on the subject. My knowledge-base got enriched substantially as the treasure of information contained in these books, was invaluable and highly relevant.

This article is an effort to present, some of the relevant issues related to the cross-cultural challenges in the International Business Management.

What is “Culture”?

Culture is the “acquired knowledge that people use to anticipate events and interpret experiences for generating acceptable social & professional behaviors. This knowledge forms values, creates attitudes and influences behaviors”. Culture is learned through experiences and shared by a large number of people in the society. Further, culture is transferred from one generation to another.

What are the core components of “Culture”?

  • Power distribution – Whether the members of the society follow the hierarchical approach or the egalitarian ideology?
  • Social relationships – Are people more individualistic or they believe in collectivism?
  • Environmental relationships – Do people exploit the environment for their socioeconomic purposes or do they strive to live in harmony with the surroundings?
  • Work patterns – Do people perform one task at a time or they take up multiple tasks at a time?
  • Uncertainty & social control – Whether the members of the society like to avoid uncertainty and be rule-bound or whether the members of the society are more relationship-based and like to deal with the uncertainties as & when they arise?

What are the critical issues that generally surface in cross-cultural teams?

  • Inadequate trust – For example, on one hand a Chinese manager wonders why his Indian teammates speak in Hindi in the office and on the other hand, his teammates argue that when the manager is not around, why they can’t speak in English?
  • Perception – For instance, people from advanced countries consider people from less-developed countries inferior or vice-versa.
  • Inaccurate biases – For example, “Japanese people make decisions in the group” or “Indians do not deliver on time”, are too generalized versions of cultural prejudices.
  • False communication – For example, during discussions, Japanese people nod their heads more as a sign of politeness and not necessarily as an agreement to what is being talked about.

What are the communication styles that are influenced by the culture of the nation?

  • ‘Direct’ or ‘Indirect’ – The messages are explicit and straight in the ‘Direct’ style. However, in the ‘Indirect’ style, the messages are more implicit & contextual.
  • ‘Elaborate’ or ‘Exact’ or ‘Succinct’ – In the ‘Elaborate’ style, the speaker talks a lot & repeats many times. In the ‘Exact’ style, the speaker is precise with minimum repetitions and in the ‘Succinct’ style; the speaker uses fewer words with moderate repetitions & uses nonverbal cues.
  • ‘Contextual’ or ‘Personal’ – In the ‘Contextual’ style, the focus is on the speaker’s title or designation & hierarchical relationships. However, in the ‘Personal’ style, the focus is on the speaker’s individual achievements & there is minimum reference to the hierarchical relationships.
  • ‘Affective’ or ‘Instrumental’ – In the ‘Affective’ style, the communication is more relationship-oriented and listeners need to understand meanings based on nonverbal clues. Whereas in the ‘Instrumental’ style, the speaker is more goal-oriented and uses direct language with minimum nonverbal cues.

What are the important nonverbal cues related to the communication among cross-cultural teams?

  • Body contact – This refers to the hand gestures (intended / unintended), embracing, hugging, kissing, thumping on the shoulder, firmness of handshakes, etc.
  • Interpersonal distance – This is about the physical distance between two or more individuals. 18″ is considered an intimate distance, 18″ to 4′ is treated as personal distance, 4′ to 8′ is the acceptable social distance, and 8′ is considered as the public distance.
  • Artifacts – This refers to the use of tie pins, jewelry, and so on.
  • Para-language – This is about the speech rate, pitch, and loudness.
  • Cosmetics – This is about the use powder, fragrance, deodorants, etc.
  • Time symbolism – This is about the appropriateness of time. For example, when is the proper time to call, when to start, when to finish, etc. because different countries are in different time zones.

Epilogue

“Cross-cultural challenges in international business management”, has become a keenly followed topic in last two decades. There are enough examples of business failures or stagnation or failure of joint ventures, on account of the management’s inability to recognize cross-cultural challenges and tackle them appropriately. There are also examples of companies having compulsory training on culture management or acculturation programs for employees being sent abroad as or hired from other countries, to ensure that cross-challenges are tackled effectively.

The world is becoming smaller day-by-day and therefore, managers involved in the international businesses will have to become more sensitive to the challenges emanating from the cultural and ethnic landscape of the countries they work in.

Ignoring cultural challenges while managing internal businesses is a risky proposition because the stakes are high. It is cognate to the “Hygiene” factor of the “Dual-factor Motivation” theory developed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg in the mid 1960s. In management of the international business, embracing the cultural diversity of the country may or may not bring success, but not doing so will surely increase the chances of stagnation or failure.

Reference:

  • “Cross-cultural Management – Text and Cases” by Bhattacharya Dipak Kumar
  • “International Management: Culture, Strategy and Behavior” by Hodgetts Richard M, Luthans & DOH)
  • “Management Across Cultures: Challenges and Strategies” by Richard Steer, Scnchez-Runde Carlos J, Nardon Luciara)
  • “Bridging The Culture Gap: A Practical Guide to International Business Communication” by Carte Penny and Chris Fox

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IPTV: How It Is Changing the Sports Broadcasting Industry

Watching your favorite sports event used to mean two things only: buying tickets to see the game live and waiting for it to be broadcast on television. Things have changed nowadays as sports fans now have a better option in the form of IPTV or Internet Protocol Television.

IPTV is a broadcasting method that makes use of Internet lines to deliver video feeds. It does not rely on a browser in order to function. Instead, an IPTV provider connects a decoder box to your television for you to be able to view videos. The videos are given to you online and in real-time. The only important requirement for you to enjoy IPTV service is a high-speed Internet connection (specifically high bandwidth broadband).

How IPTV Works

To receive IPTV content, you will need to have a set-top box or an IPTV box. This box is connected to your television source or Internet line/broadband. The box receives packets that it reassembles so that the video stream is decoded into an acceptable format.

The set-up box is like the menu or the basis for what a viewer wants. An “operator” gets content from producers and broadcasters and this is what is converted in to the IPTV video format.

A high-speed Internet connection is essential in making sure that the packets are received without disruption or delay.

What It Can Offer Sports Fans and Broadcasters

In the past, it was quite difficult to follow a game’s progress if you are stuck in traffic or swamped with tons of paperwork in the office. Today, IPTV has made it possible for sports broadcasters to deliver games whenever and wherever. Viewers are given three options as to how they want the content given to them. Linear or Broadcast TV allows for live streaming of games and sports events. VoD or Video on Demand enables users to choose what they want to watch and how they want to watch it. They can pause, forward or rewind the video. This way, they’re sure to catch every breathtaking moment of their favorite sports games. IPTV users can also choose to use their personal video recorders whenever there’s a match or sports event that they want to record.

Here are other IPTV advantages that both sports fans and broadcasters can enjoy:

  1. IPTV broadcasts are in high-definition so it’s definitely a higher quality experience compared to traditional TV viewing technologies.
  2. Unlike satellite TV, IPTV is not easily affected by storms and other similar weather disturbances. For sports broadcasters, this means uninterrupted delivery of sports events in the easiest way possible. For sports fans, this is equivalent to unparalleled excitement when watching their favorite sports events.
  3. Greater interactivity compared to traditional broadcast TV means users can control what programs to watch and even when to watch them (via VoD).
  4. Viewers are more into the program or game because of the interactivity feature. For instance: they can use their remote to vote for their favorite player of the game. IPTV gives them an opportunity to be part of the most important sports events.
  5. Sports fans can use the camera selection feature when watching games or events. This offers a more personalized way of viewing videos.
  6. For sports broadcasters, streaming live games, matches and events becomes easier and more convenient. IPTV also offers more opportunities for lesser known sports like kayaking and sculling to be exposed to the viewing public.
  7. Sports teams and broadcasters can also use the medium for extra revenue and fan reach through advertising and promotions. Broadcasters can even dedicate one channel to a specific sport – like mountain biking or rugby. Football and sports stadiums in the UK now use IPTV to bring games to larger audiences when they happen and as they happen.

IPTV also works on smartphones, iPods and personal computers. Because of this, sports broadcasters are assured of wider exposure and fans get uninterrupted viewing of video content coming from different parts of the world.

Conclusion

Internet Protocol Television has made sports broadcasting more exciting. Sports broadcasters now have more options (in terms of creativity) in bringing their content to the public. It offers them more choices in getting and sustaining the attention of sports aficionados. It is the perfect choice of broadcasters in delivering live games to those who may not have the time or the means to buy tickets and watch the game personally. Best of all, IPTV presents a lot of opportunities for broadcasters to encourage people to embrace sports as a fan, a follower or as an aspiring athlete.

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Healthy Recipes – Are You Ready For Healthy Recipes and Nutrition?

Here you can find another article connected with cooking and eating. As you know I like writing about it. I’m also interested in information about topics and aspects connected with food and eating. I would like to write about nutrition process. Please read this article to the end, if you are interested in this topic. I hope that you will find some interesting information in it.

The nutrition is a process of giving food to every part (cellula) of our body. Food can help our body to be well built. Thank to food we have got a lot of energy. Food is also some kind of reserve for our organism. That means nutrition isn’t only giving food to our breadbasket. After obtaining food from breadbasket, the ingredients are distributed through organism thank to blood. Nutrition is a very important for each organism. It also helps people to be healthy. There are many illnesses connected with nutrition. If you are eating too less you can be undernutrited or have too low weight. If you are eating too much, you can become overweight or obesity.

Many organisms need food ingredients. People are eating food in form of meals. This part of the article will give you some information about culinary (not biological) aspect of nutrition. I would like to write about some advantages of eating healthy food and using healthy recipes. As I written in my previous articles, healthy food can help us to fight with obesity. We can keep fit and feel better thank to healthy recipes for food. They have got a lot of vitamins and other food nutritious ingredients that are important for us. They are also not fat, so we don’t have to worry about heart diseases.

As you can see the biggest advantage of healthy food is that healthy food is… healthy. There are many healthy recipes for this kind of food. For example salads and soups are very healthy, but we can also eat meat (especially boiled meat from chicken and other birds). In my opinion everybody should include healthy food in his/her everyday diet.

That’s all about nutrition process and its biological and culinary aspect. I hope that this article wasn’t boring and that you have enjoyed reading it. I tried to include the most important information in it that can be interesting and helpful for you. Thank you for your attention and for reading my articles (this one and previous). Please be patient and maybe I will write more culinary articles in the future. Now I’m going to look for some interesting culinary topics. Once again thank you for reading.

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An Epitome of Pride: Recipients of Awards and Medals at the College of Art and Design Lahore

After the Colonial period in the subcontinent, two new sovereign states based and divided on the grounds of ideology and two-nation theory, were to find their own path in every meaning of the word. After almost a century-long struggle for freedom, both India and Pakistan earned independence from the British Empire in 1947. However, the Colonial era had acculturated the South Asia in every way, from culture to tradition, from religion to ethics, from cultivation to transportation and from telecommunication to education.

The British rule institutionalized various skills and arts in this part of the world. JJ School of Arts in Bombay (now Mumbai) while Mayo School of Arts and Fine Arts Department of the Punjab University were established in Lahore to promote the enchanting visual culture of the Subcontinent.

The Department of Fine Arts was established under the Umbrella of the University of the Punjab Lahore in 1940 and Anna Molka Ahmed; a young British woman who, after getting married to Sheikh Ahmed had migrated and settled in Punjab, was selected as the first Head of the Department. Two other very talented, learned and capable women were also under consideration for this chair; Mary Roop Krishna and Razzia Serajuddin.

Today the Department of Fine Arts has earned the status of the College of Art and Design and offering different degrees in Painting, Design, Architecture and Art-History. This institution has produced many artists of matchless class and dignified styles whom the government of Pakistan has conferred upon, various awards of high reverence and repute.

Anna Molka Ahmed founded the Fine Arts Department of the University of the Punjab in 1940 and nurtured the first generation of Pakistani artists there. She assimilated western painting techniques, learned during her schooling in London, with indigenous themes and ideas that shaped modern art in Pakistan. Her roles as artist, educator, and administrator remain unparalleled.

She was awarded the Tamgha-i Imtiaz in 1963, the Pride of Performance in 1979, and the Quaid-i Azam Award in 1982.

Khalid Iqbal is the father figure of contemporary landscape painting in Pakistan. With his local palette, and western technique, learned at the Slade School in London, under the scholarship of Sir William Coldstream, he created a modern concept of time by controlling subtle tonalities of diffused light and shade. He is considered as the father of Modern Realism in Pakistan that ultimately shaped the modern school of landscape painting in Pakistan. Khalid’s style and his long years of teaching inspired many students to take up this genre, and to evolve it over the years.

His role in the development of art in Pakistan was marked with a Pride of Performance in 1980.

Colin David was one of the three students in the first class for men at the Department of Fine Arts, University of the Punjab, along with Sufi Waqar and Aslam Minhas. His stint at the Slade School of Art London in 1973, gave a fresh impetus to his work. His compositions of figures, combined with still-life objects in well controlled space, create a Surrealistic ambiance. Colin=s work exhibits the knowledge of human anatomy that introduced Pakistani art to the mystery, flair and balance of figural painting. With his smooth line, he crafted figures in landscapes and interiors. Colin received the Pride of Performance in 1995.

Shaukat Mahmood deals in lines; lines that talk and talk loudly, sarcastically and piercingly. After doing his Masters in Fine Arts from the Fine Arts Department, he went on to take a PhD in Islamic Architecture from Edinburgh University, UK. Currently, he is the Coordinator of the Research Center at the College of Art and Design. When he joined a newspaper as a cartoonist, he came into interaction with renowned poet Munir Niazi, who titled him as Maxim. As Maxim the Cartoonist, he appears daily in a Lahore based newspaper. As a social commentator, he has been commenting on very serious issues with his naughty lines and uproarious characters.

[email protected] received the Pride of Performance in 2001 and Sitara-i Imtiaz in 2010.

A.R. Nagori was often labeled as a colourful painter with dark themes. He was among those who had been inspired by the changing social and political scenario of our country. Nagori opened his eyes in the land of colours and thirst; Rajasthan. His art personified the desert owing to the broad panoramic vision he always had, while his style was as colourful as a rainbow, and as thirsty as the sand. Nagori breathed his last in 2010.

He was awarded the Pride of Performance posthumously in 2011.

Zulqarnain Haider fell in love with landscapes the moment he started to paint. Gradually, his style accepted new challenges of Modern Realism concerning study of light and its effects. His canvases display the true colour and texture of the terrain that he painted time and again. His work mirrors different climatic conditions and the changing seasons. Being a true student, and a follower, of Khalid Iqbal, he continued the legacy of his mentor.

Zulqarnain Haider, a graduate of the Department of Fine Arts of the Punjab University, also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts Paris, which nurtured his talents and skills.

Zulqarnain Haider was hounoured with the Pride of Performance in 2000.

Ghulam Rasul was obsessed with landscape painting that drove him to examine nature from a different point of view. He earned his MA Painting from the Department of Fine Arts and after doing MA Printmaking from Northern Illinois University, USA in 1973, he developed his own visual vocabulary by painting in flat colours; this technique ultimately resulted in modernizing his canvas by simplifying forms. At a time when perspective depth was in fashion, Ghulam Rasul concentrated on constructing a relationship between composition and the colour palette.

In 1986, Ghulam Rasul received the Pride of Performance.

Zubeda Javed, a former Chairperson of the Department of Fine Arts, is one of the first female painters of Pakistan to adopt semi-abstract and Impressionistic technique in landscape painting. She, with an intuitive colour sense and painterly brush, produced a unique and aesthetically strong display of colours coming out of deep backgrounds. Her painting style, based on imagination rather than on-spot realistic observations, encouraged the modern approach towards colour, composition and light in Pakistani art.

The Tamgha-i Imtiaz was conferred upon her in 2003.

Khalid Mahmood did his MA Fine Arts from the University of the Punjab, Lahore and then MA Art-History from Hawaii University, USA. His research on ‘Sikh murals of the Punjab’ earned him a doctorate from the University of the Punjab. He has served the Department of Fine Arts as Chairman. His interests, today are very much indigenous in terms of subject matter but modern styles of painting especially Impressionism, has always been an inspiration for his technique. His art displays a flowing brush movement and playfulness of colours.

He received the Pride of Performance 2006.

Ajaz Anwar, who holds a PhD in Muslim Architecture from Turkey, has visually documented the culture, the heritage and the festivities of Lahore in watercolour. He, with an intentional effort, tries to record the traditional architecture of the walled-city of Lahore. The sky in his paintings is often dabbled with the fresh shades of variegated kites flying over the architectural labyrinths of the Old City. Ajaz Anwar amalgamated his love for architecture and his passion for painting, in a way, that has become his own signature style.

In 1997, he was awarded the Pride of Performance.

Mian Ijaz ul Hassan is a painter with diverse themes. His interest and knowledge of English literature made him to think and act in accordance with new ideologies of the socio-political scene of Pakistan in the seventies. His figural paintings were rooted in communist and socialist doctrines. However, he not only dug up the fragile soil of his land but also sowed the seed of the yellow Laburnum (Amaltas) tree that blooms in the most unfavorable conditions. His socio-political canvases as well as his foliage paintings exhibit vivid and pure colours.

In 1992, his contribution in the field of art was acknowledged with the Pride of Performance.

Hasan Shahnawaz Zaidi is an artist, a poet, a singer and above all, a mentor who served the College of Art and Design as its principal. Commissioned portraits of national heroes have been his forte as a painter. He comments on socio-historical themes that are present in his poetry as well. Zaidi’s love for poetry and music has led him to a rhythmic quality of line and to the warmth in his palette.

The Government of Pakistan honoured him with the Tamgha-i Imtiaz in 1998. He received Pride of Performance in 2013.

Rahat Navee Masud, uses the female figure, as a vehicle, to express the ‘human condition’, seeking truth and spirituality in it. She is one of the chief exponents of the pastel medium in Pakistan having developed a unique style of working with pastels and gold leaf, mainly on hand made paper. After obtaining a Masters degree from the Fine Arts Department of the Punjab University Lahore, she went on to do her MA in Art and Design in 1995 and practice-led PhD in Fine Arts in 2010 from Kingston University London. She also served the College of Art and Design as its principal from 2009 to 2013.

Rahat Naveed received Pride of Performance in 2012.

Jawed Iqbal, as a cartoonist with perseverance and commitment, has come up with a fresh image daily in a Lahore based newspaper of Pakistan. For years, the populace of Pakistan has observed the mischievous lines and playful skill of Jawed Iqbal, recording the socio-political life of the country. Moreover, he created numerous cartoons in live TV shows in Pakistan as well as abroad. A graduate from the Department of Fine Arts, University of the Punjab, Jawed Iqbal has made a mark in the field of caricatures.

Jawed Iqbal received Pride of Performance in 1993.

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Mobile Banking Apps – Provides Consumer Flexibility

Mobile banking apps provide consumers with remarkable flexibility in conducting financial transactions remotely. Unlike online banking that requires an internet or Wi-Fi connection from a specific location, mobile banking allows a member to access a variety of banking functions from a cellular connected device. As more Credit Unions adopt banking mobile formats that can be accessed through different apps, we are seeing mobile phones, laptop computers and tablet PC's becoming instant banking centers.

How Mobile Banking Apps Work

Many Credit Unions utilize the Mobile Finance Manager, which is a fully featured banking mobile app. This small program can be downloaded directly to any compatible smart phone, where it provides nearly all of the same features that are available through online banking.

Mobile Finance Manager is currently available for a number of platforms, including Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Palm Treo, and Java. Within the context of each operating system, there are literally hundreds of phones that are compatible with the app.

Popular Features

Popular mobile banking applications offer a number of useful features and functions that are simple to access and navigate. Among these are the following:

– All account balances can be viewed simultaneously.

– Access to all available functions 24/7.

– Graphic Reports enable the account holder to easily track assets.

– Online bill pay with repeat pay options ensures payments are made on time.

– Funds can be seamlessly transferred between accounts in real time.

– Secure encryption of transmitted data prevents unwanted intrusion.

– User ID and password are identical to the online log-in that members use at home.

The Latest in App Development

Advanced apps include a branch and ATM finder that taps into the phone's GPS capabilities. Users can also access all available branch information including hours of operation, contact details, and available services.

As mobile banking apps continue to develop, expect to see Credit Unions offering applications that provide a fully functional banking environment that can be accessed through any remotely connected device.

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Best Auto Insurance

The truth is that there is no one company or policy that is considered the “best auto insurance.” What is true is that for every individual there is a policy that is the best for you. There are three main types of auto insurance policies available to the average driver; liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage.

Generally speaking, liability coverage is the least expensive, followed by comprehensive, then collision being the most expensive. However, there are many more factors that go into the cost of a policy. Age of primary driver, the location of the vehicle to be insured, make and model of vehicle, driving record of primary driver, and even the safety ratings of the vehicle all go into considering the cost of your policy.

By law, every car that us driven in the United States must be insured. The mandatory nature of this can make it tempting to purchase the cheapest policy possible, especially if you are not a rich person. Many people have made that assumption and bought the cheapest possible insurance only to find out after an accident or a theft that the policy they bought didn’t cover anything! The best auto insurance is most likely not the cheapest. Liability coverage does not cover any damage to your car that occurs in an accident, regardless of which driver is at fault. It also doesn’t cover and theft or the vehicle, which could leave you one sorry car-less driver.

Comprehensive coverage will cover a stolen vehicle and is usually only a little bit more expensive than liability coverage. When is comes to auto insurance, it is best to not be a cheapskate because you could end up losing much more in the end. Comprehensive pretty much cover anything other than a collision, such as acts of nature ie. rain or fire.

Collision coverage will give you the most complete coverage and because of this, it is usually quite a bit more than comprehensive coverage, on average 50% more. Collision coverage will cover any damage done to your car from a crash of any kind, whether it be a collision with another car or crashing into a tree. This type of policy will also cover everything that is covered under comprehensive. Although the monthly payments might be pricey they can pay off big time in case of a major accident or any other kind of incident.

Keep in mind that there is always a deductible that needs to be paid when you file a claim. Usually, the higher your deductible, the lower the monthly payments are. One might be tempted to opt for a high deductible to keep their monthly payments down, but this tactic is short-sighted and could bite you in the rear or you ever do need to make a claim.

Hopefully, these tips and pointers have helped you decide on the best auto insurance for you!

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IRACIS – A Roadmap to Business Intelligence ROI

So often when companies are considering a business intelligence project or software purchase, a question arises that seems to stump everyone involved.

“Where is the ROI in this project?”

This question has stopped many a business intelligence project in its tracks. Maybe it’s asked by the CFO or CEO. Maybe it’s brought up in one of the meetings with a vendor or consultant presenting a solution. The sad truth is if you can not answer this question with hard numbers in specific areas, the ROI probably isn’t there.

I.R.A.C.I.S. is a simple acronym that can be used to quantify a business intelligence project’s worth to a company. It stands for the following:

Increase Revenue – How will this application and functionality drive more sales to new or existing customers, shorten the sales cycle, and/or bring down the cost of sales?

Avoid Costs – By far the area most focused on in BI project justifications. How will this application help us improve efficiency, put more information in the hands of our business people and eliminate wasteful processes?

Improve Service – Will this application affect our client base noticeably? Will we be able to provide more timely and valuable information to our customers, prospects, and suppliers?

Many times in a business intelligence effort, there are outcomes that are deemed desirable. Things like ad-hoc report generation, more informed operations staff, and less lag time in financial reporting are nice. But they will not justify the investment in a business intelligence solution from a quality software vendor without direct and secondary benefits quantified in the there areas mentioned above.

Let’s face it, business intelligence solutions are not cheap. There are many scalable solutions on the market today that range from traditional software implementations, to SaaS (Software as a Service), and even open source solutions. Large companies have long embraced the benefits of business intelligence and now with these diverse offerings the small and mid sized companies are also taking advantage. However, any business intelligence project is only as good as the planning, effort, and data that go into whatever software platform you are using. Hence another phrase often heard in many BI projects, “garbage in, garbage out.”

By using the I.R.A.C.I.S. model to quantify the value of the solution to the company, you provide everyone with a clear roadmap to what is deemed a successful project. From the executive sponsor at the company, to the vendor you are working with, there is no ambiguity as to what is expected as a final outcome. I would challenge any company that is considering a business intelligence project of some sort, that if you can’t find a solution that addresses at least one of the three areas above, if not all three, that the project is probably not worth doing at all. And if the solution or software product is incapable of scaling to address all three areas in the long run, then it probably isn’t the best product for you. This may seem like harsh criteria, but in an era where most large companies own 3 or 4 separate business intelligence tools, it’s apparent that more critical thinking is needed before a solution or platform is purchased.

Not only is this acronym a good way to quantify a project’s worth to a company, but it can become a brainstorming tool for the types of applications you are looking to create. Above I noted that the Avoid Costs portion of this acronym is by far the most focused on for business intelligence projects. Why is that? Is business intelligence only good for eliminating waste and making an organization more efficient? Can it not be used to increase revenue by putting valuable information in front of prospects you haven’t been reaching yet?

I would argue that some of the best and most successful business intelligence applications I know of, focus on the first category of Increasing Revenue. Business intelligence is all about putting the right information into the right hands at the right time. For some company’s that might be an internal business analyst. But for so many others it can be putting information in front of your customers, prospects, and partners to provide new insight on a purchasing decision. When companies are selling complex products and services, sometimes you need to track the customer down where they live. You need to reach out to them with a compelling message about your product or value proposition and give them a reason to act on that information.

If you got an e-mail from a major car insurance provider, showing your current car insurance provider and the estimated rate you are paying, and then a graph showing a $700 savings in rate comparisons for the same coverage over one year, that would be a compelling e-mail to receive. It would probably motivate you to pick up the phone or go to a website to instigate further.

This would in turn Improve Service and Avoid Costs. Being able to present this kind of accurate and timely information to a prospective customer shows them that you have systems in place to save them money and provide the best possible service. It shortens the sales cycle and the cost of sales, driving up margin and profitability. It instills confidence in the company from a customer standpoint and also gets people talking about your product or service.

In the Information Age we live in, the data and information that companies have are their most valuable assets by far. Getting this information out in a usable format to the correct audience can be the role of business intelligence in any company. This should be a goal when looking at what business intelligence can do for a company. Don’t limit yourself to just eliminating waste and automating internal processes. I certainly think projects that focus on those topics are worthwhile and valuable to a business. But when you expand your thinking and remember that using the internet to deliver information in a variety of formats is the most cost effective way to reach a critical mass of people, only then can you realize your full ROI on the purchase of a business intelligence solution.

So the next time a discussion breaks out about a business intelligence project or initiative, think of the I.R.A.C.I.S. model as a way to discuss and evaluate a projects worth to your company. You might be surprised what you can come up with when your thinking turns towards revenue generation and service improvement. Just remember, after you’re done creating a new line of business or increasing an existing one, to ask your boss for a commission.

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7 Tips For Spirituality – Making A Connection

This article on tips for spirituality came about as the result of work done with people in addiction recovery. The concepts are applicable to most every one however. The question is often asked, what can I do to improve my spirituality?

Addiction can be viewed as a disease of isolation, becoming disconnected to life. Addiction recovery and spirituality can be viewed as the process of becoming connected. The more connections in our lives, the greater the chance of coming into harmony with our surroundings.

There are basically four areas of life, or types of relationships we work toward in becoming connected. Positive spirituality may be viewed as having a healthy relationship and positive self-esteem with yourself, firstly. Secondly there is the relationship you may have or want to develop with whatever form of Higher Power is right for you. It can be God, Nature, a Force of Universe, it is up to you. Please note we are not mixing religion with this idea of spirituality. The third are to develop healthy connections or spirituality is in relationships with family. Lastly is the area which is kind of a catch all, community. This includes casual relationships, work, social situations, etc.

Here are 7 tips for spirituality that are very concrete areas for development. It is very important to be working in each area, set up specific goals that are measurable and achievable. Instead of saying ‘I will start meditating’ say ‘I will spend 10 minutes before breakfast and ten minutes after dinner alone reading the meditation of the day’.

Without further ado:

1. Use personal prayer and/or meditation. This is quiet time to start to develop time for yourself and to assess how things are going in your life.

2. Spend time in groups. This could be attending a worship service, singing in a choir, acting in a play or any group with positive interaction and direction. This enhances our ability to develop relationships with other people.

3. Spend time learning. Grow your mind. This could be taking a few classes at the community college, book study groups, self-help or mental health material.

4. Take time for yourself. Plan a quiet day just for you, away from family and work. Indulge yourself in quiet. There are many retreat areas where you can find peaceful surroundings for recharging yourself.

5. Physical fitness and proper diet. There is a very satisfying feeling that comes from taking care of yourself physically. Get in shape to be the best person you can be.

6. Recreation. Indulge in some activity just for sheer fun. Explore hobbies, sports, whatever floats your boat, but make time for it. Do not plan to ‘get around to it someday’. Just do it.

7. Be of service. Do some volunteer work or engage in random acts of kindness. It really does feel good and build self-esteem to help someone with no thought of reward. This is a cosmic win-win situation.

We hope that gave you some ideas about how to improve your relationships with self and others. The key thing is to take action. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Why not take steps to improve your spiritual connection?

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