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Today’s workers are more empowered than ever. The prevalence of consumer technology in the workplace has given employees new ways to collaborate, communicate and connect with the world. Many technology options exist today to build the next-generation workplace. But determining what works best for your business can be a challenge. To learn more, read CDW’s latest technology insights here.

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“To suggest there is a particular type of technology for nonprofits is akin to saying all of the businesses in downtown Manhattan have similar technology needs.”

Peter Campbell is the author of the Tech Cafeteria blog. He’s also CIO of a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The blog offers Campbell’s perspective as an active professional in the sector, and features content about technology and strategies that support nonprofits.

Check out our Must-Read IT Blogs for the nonprofit sector here.

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What are the top business or IT functions being implemented in the cloud by small businesses? The New Jersey Institute of Technology's “Guide to Cloud Computing in Small Business,” finds out:

  • 63% Email and collaboration software
  • 56% Office and productivity tools
  • 55% Web and e-commerce services
  • 54% I.T. department services
  • 52% Marketing apps
  • 50% Sales apps
  • 48% Customer care services
  • 44% Operations
  • 39% Product management

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Retailers have a new pint-sized weapon to lure shoppers into brick-and-mortar stores and away from e-commerce competitors: beacons. These small, low-cost wireless broadcasting devices use low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages directly to nearby smartphones or tablets. By using beacons, retailers can send prompts to people passing by or shopping inside their stores, serving up real-time coupons and other offers.

The technology’s potential is huge. A report by BI Intelligence says beacons will directly influence more than $4 billion worth of U.S. retail sales this year, and that number will climb tenfold in 2016.

The report notes that many early adopters who opt in to receive beacon-triggered messages will likely be coupon clippers and loyalty program members. The beacons also create the potential for more data collection and personalized offers, as shoppers download beacon apps and share personal information.

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Facebook announced this spring that there are now more than 40 million active small business pages on the social network. But showing up is only half the battle. Here are tips to better engage with customers on Facebook:

1. Create Calls to Action

There are many brands competing for customers’ attention on Facebook. Interact regularly with followers by asking questions and offering discounts that require sign-up.

2. Host a Facebook Party

Everyone loves a party. Create events to give away discounts and other coupons for followers who join and engage with posts.

3. Be Responsive

No one likes being ignored. Respond to comments and questions on posts quickly to create and nurture strong relationships with customers.

4. Invest in Video

Facebook is a visual medium, and like photos, engagement for videos tends to be higher for text-only posts. Post short, helpful videos, and post them often.

5. Provide Local Content

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For CDW customers, the company's cloud offerings just got a little more powerful. In an announcement last week, Los Angeles-based cloud service provider dinCloud said it was entering into a partnership with CDW. This partnership will allow CDW customers to purchase and leverage dinCloud's hosted virtual desktops and servers, among other cloud services and products.

“Cloud solutions continue to gain popularity as businesses look to conserve resources by offloading data center management, while gaining the IT flexibility to meet their evolving business needs,” said Stephen Braat, vice president, cloud and managed solutions, CDW.  “CDW’s hosted virtual desktop offering, powered by dinCloud, puts the direct benefits of cloud computing in our customers’ hands.”

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If your IT department is an EMC shop and also a major proponent of open-source technology, then you'll likely receive the news that EMC's software-defined storage controller ViPR will be open-sourced with glee. The company announced it will create a separate version of ViPR called Project CoprHD, according to a press release from EMC. The announcement was made at EMC World, the vendor's annual customer conference, in Las Vegas. This move marks the first time that EMC has open-sourced one of its commercial software products.

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If you're second-guessing the importance of mobile, you may want to hear what these business technology experts have to say.

IT staffers have learned the hard way that when technology delivers increased automation, management looks to reduce staff. A recent IDC survey suggests that software-defined networks may be an exception. IDC found that companies moving to SDN are more likely to move personnel to higher-value roles than to cut heads.

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