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Ask the CEO of a company to define succession planning, and there’s a good chance that he/she will confuse it with replacement planning. But the fact is, they are different from each other.
Replacement planning assumes that the organization chart will remain unchanged over time and focuses on identifying “backups” for top positions within the company. The organization chart lists the backups for each top-level position, indicating their readiness to take over the role of the current incumbent. Typically, the organization identifies three individuals as backups for each top-level position.
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Human resource processes, human resources management & othersHead-to-Head Comparison Between Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning (Infographics)
Following are some of the comparisons between Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning.Replacement Planning
All replacement planning activities are tactical in nature. But they are crucial for all organizations, regardless of their size. A replacement plan ensures continuity in operations and focuses on how vital positions can be filled quickly.
All companies must have a replacement plan for all key positions and other single contributor roles to reduce talent risks.
Create a replacement plan with one to three identified individuals for key positions in case of emergencies. It must indicate each personnel’s readiness for assuming the role.
Include appropriate support measures for the person assuming the key role in the replacement plan.
In most companies, replacements are generally perceived as a temporary measure. A replacement candidate may or may not be considered a permanent final contender for the position unless he/she meets all the requirements. While a replacement system is crucial for ensuring organizational continuity, it primarily focuses on short-term needs.Indications of Succession Planning
Several symptoms indicate the time has arrived to initiate a succession planning system in the organization. Succession planning is a more systematic approach that can be carried out through all verticals in a company.
Some of the common symptoms are as follows.
The organization conducted a retention risk analysis to estimate the projected departure dates for each person in the workforce or workgroup. This analysis helps identify potential reasons for departure, such as retirement or other factors.
If the organization experiences a sudden loss of key talent due to death, resignation, or disability, it may take a long time to find an appropriate replacement. The organization cannot respond promptly to such surprises.
Senior managers may lack awareness or perceive the time taken to fill vacant positions, known as the time-to-fill metric, as lengthy.
Managers at various levels may complain about finding people ready for promotion or willing to accept a promotion when a vacancy arises.
Staff members often express concerns that promotion decisions are made in an arbitrary or unfair manner.
The company may not adequately represent women employees, minorities, and other groups protected by law across all organizational levels and functions.
Critical turnover refers to the number of high-potential workers leaving the organization, which is higher than average workers.Scope
There are three reasons to devise a succession plan in an organization. Identifying the replacement for a CEO or other top managers is only a part of the reasons. The reasons are as under.
Replacement of key employees
Supporting anticipated growth
Addressing and dealing with a talent shortage
Unfortunately, many organizations see succession planning as a task to be checked off and set aside, relegating it to other responsibilities. They see it as a means to an end and often perceive it as solely the responsibility of human resources. However, this is the wrong mindset to have. Succession planning should be seen as a talent and organizational improvement initiative that enables a business to thrive and grow. No matter what industry or sector a company operates in, it cannot grow or succeed without strong management talent. Developing, nurturing, and grooming the talent pipeline is not a simple task but essential for any organization’s long-term success and sustainability.
Whether bad or good economic situation, proper talent is hard to get because talent is a combination of behaviors, skills, organizational fit, motivation, and passion. That’s especially difficult to find if you have to hire fast.
Replacement of Key Employees
Most companies tend to believe that the only reason to implement a succession plan is to pick a replacement for the departing CEO or perhaps a couple of top-level executives. This is a major reason for a succession plan. But a complete reason is to identify proper replacements and, in the process, prepare to fill all major positions in the company and not just the CEO or top executives. This is often called “planning many levels deep”, i.e., mid-level executives to section managers and division. Succession planning includes all necessary roles to keep the business moving, even if unobvious. Keep in mind that while executives set the strategy, managers implement them. A company must have strength in both areas to succeed.
Managers and executives will leave a company. They may take up another job in a different organization or be axed. They may retire, become terminally ill, or leave town because of a spouse’s relocation. Whenever a company anticipates a vacancy of a manager or executive, a seamless transition can be possible simply because there’s time for taking care of the transition. It’s when the vacancy is unexpected that the challenge crops up. Maintaining continuity is important because it reduces service disruptions and costs. As the economy improves, growth will take place. A company can support and sustain growth only when it has a talent for managing growth.
Supporting Anticipated Growth
This strategy differs from a replacement strategy as it involves creating new positions to support growth initiatives. These positions may be required to expand current products and services into new markets, develop and introduce new products and services, and devise innovative selling methods such as viral marketing.
While identifying growth areas, identify the internal talent and set up and maintain a talent database comprising candidates currently working for other companies.
Addressing and Dealing with a Talent Shortage
In all organizations, succession planning is not an event but a process. Succession planning is a process that’s critical for all organizations, whether they are expecting vacancies and turnover, working to cope with a talent shortage, or planning for growth.
Assign the responsibility of succession planning to executive team members. Make the activity a part of their evaluation process.
Identify critical needs and key roles for the present and future, several layers deep.
Come up with and use tools, techniques, and methods to identify employee aspirations and competencies.
Put in place a structure to develop potential successors.
Implement a structure to transition the successors to and in the new roles.
Identify an interim or emergency process to fill up a vacant position if, for whatever reason, the identified successor doesn’t work out.
Align recruitment initiatives for succession planning by predicting the core needs and interviewing for adaptability and growth orientation.
Evaluate all plan effectiveness and update plans as required, at least annually.Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning- Talent pools
One approach to resolving staff-filling problems could be to develop a talent pool. It’s a group of people prepared to take up more challenging responsibilities.
People in a talent pool can be drafted in several ways. One popular approach is to ask managers to assess and nominate people from their teams. A second approach could be to apply an objective assessment method, like multi-rater full-circle tests, for identifying personnel who could be worthwhile to take up future responsibilities.
A talent pool dramatizes the difference between succession and replacement planning. Personnel is identified as “backups” to specific positions in the latter.
Replacement planning encourages promotions only in a field of specialization. On the other hand, succession planning encourages managers across all verticals to consider talent, irrespective of the department, as a possible successor to all positions immediately above them. Talent pools, thus, can be identified beneath every “level” of the organization chart. However, they aren’t tied to any specific position at the immediately following level.
If the talent pool implementation succeeds, the company will have multiple internal candidates ready and equipped to take up new challenges and responsibilities.Conclusion
Both replacement and succession planning are important for any company. But while succession planning is a more systematic way to fill open positions, replacement planning addresses the more ad-hoc needs. Building up a talent pool is the most important part of replacement planning, where there are many to choose from. But at the same time, a temporary or non-permanent filling up can be of a long-term nature. However, that happens only by chance. A company is unlikely to ask a person to vacate the position after he/she has been appointed to it.
Companies, irrespective of their size, are slowly shifting to succession planning from replacement planning. The former involves envisioning all the vacancies that may arise in the future and over the long term. It pays for a company to have such a system where the internal pool can be kept ready for promotions.Recommended Articles
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Transit navigation app CityMapper has come up with an interesting monetization strategy that could save its users money: a discounted weekly travel pass …
Wired reports that the idea is being piloted in London, initially with just a few thousand people.
Citymapper is launching a subscription service for London transport. Citymapper Pass, a new contactless payment card will combine buses, trains, trams, Santander bikes and Citymapper’s Ride service as part of a weekly subscription […]
From launch, there will be two subscriptions. The first, at about £30 (prices may still be subject to final tweaking), will give Citymapper Pass subscribers full access to zones one and two of Transport for London’s network for a week. For £40, they’ll get the same, plus unlimited rides on TfL’s Santander docked bike shares as well as two journeys on Citymapper’s Ride, its cab-sharing system similar to Uber Pool.
As Wired notes, the £30 fee – if achieved – would offer a worthwhile savings of £5.10 ($6.65) on the cost of buying the same weekly travelcard from Transport for London (TfL), while the £40 option could prove excellent value if you make frequent use of Santander bikes.
You’ll get a Citymapper-branded contactless card, but it’s likely that most subscribers will register this with Apple Pay or Google Pay so they can use their phone or watch to tap in and out.
Citymapper says that London is just the first stage in an ambitious plan, designed to make public transit more convenient as well as cheaper.
London is ahead of other cities with contactless, but as more cities switch their transport system to contactless cards, Citymapper Pass will spread. That doesn’t only mean other cities will also have their own Pass system, but in theory a subscription could cover transport in all cities, meaning Londoners stepping off the Eurostar at Gare du Nord need not fiddle with Euros to buy a carnet of paper tickets. They can simply swipe their Pass like at home. “The vision of this for the long term is if you’re subscribing to this, it works for you everywhere – you could go to any city and we’ll have you covered,” says Yusuf.
There does appear to be a financial gamble involved. TfL says that Citymapper will be paying the full cost of each journey, so the company will be relying on the hope that most people will run up lower bills than the cost of the subscription. However, as part of a move designed to encourage people to simply use contactless cards or mobile wallets, TfL has already adjusted its pricing models so that it’s typically cheaper to pay for individual journeys than to buy a weekly travelcard.
I’m a big fan of Citymapper as a way to navigate London’s public transport network on the occasions that I don’t cycle, as well as finding my way around other cities when travelling. The app works out the fastest route using live service data, tells you how long you have to wait for the next tube or train (handy on stations without indicator boards) and tells you which tube/train section to get in for a quick exit at the other end.
Citymapper offers coverage in nine US cities – New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia – as well as four in Asia, two in Australia, two in Latin America and 18 in Europe.
Citymapper is a free download from the App Store.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
As an undertaking director, you’re continually haggling to track down the best assets for your group. That is on the grounds that having the right assets can represent the moment of truth in a task.
In this article, you’ll find out about the tools that help you design and deal with your group’s ability. You’ll likewise learn:
What is capacity planning?
What is the importance of capacity planning?
What types of capacity planning are there?
What factors affect capacity planning?
Let’s get started.What is capacity planning?
Teams and organizations need the right resources to complete projects. These resources could be people, budget, or tools.
This is what capacity planning is about. Capacity planning can be described as:
Accessing the right resources at the right moment will ensure that you get your project on time and with high quality. Having no access to the right resources can cause delays or even complete derailment of your project.Why is capacity planning important?
Planning for capacity utilizationOptimizes business operations is. It also helps them.Understand the budget requirements acquiring, allocating, and managing resources.
In order to deliver quality work, project teams need the right resources.
The following is an extract from theGlobal Work Culture ReportOver 79 percent of employees will experience burnout in 2023. Your employees are at risk of burnout. These employees include:
2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer
220 percent less engaged
210 percent less likely to promote the business
Let’s now look at the types of capacity planning.What are the types of capacity planning?
There are three types of capacity modeling techniques depending on:
and, strategies used.
Based on the capacity planning level
Capacity planning at the organization level: This is where the organization decides whether it has enough skilled workers. This helps to decide whether a hiring process is necessary.
Allocation of resources at the project level: A manager at the project level identifies available resources and requests allocations for a project. Find out more resource allocation here.
Management of workload at the individual level: You must monitor each member of your team individually to prevent burnout. This will ensure that team members are not overwhelmed or under-worked.Based on the capacity goal
Capacity for short-term use: Teams may increase or decrease the number of employees depending on seasonality or customer demand. Capacity plans for short-term can be for one day, one week, one month, or even a quarter.
Capacity for medium-term use: This is a common option for projects lasting from one to three years.
Capacity for the long-term: The time frame for planning depends on the industry. Experts often look at trends in the industry to forecast the demand for capacity. The forecasts are used to plan capacity.Based on capacity fulfillment strategy
Strategy to increase lead capacity: This is when you increase your capacity to meet demand. This strategy can often lead to underutilized capacity.
Strategy to reduce lag capacity: The lag capacity strategy will only allow you to increase capacity when there is actual demand. This strategy can lead to overworked teams and delayed projects.
Strategy to match capacity: This is when the capacity is increased in small increments to meet demand.What are the factors affecting team capacity planning?
Demand and availability are the basic factors that affect capacity planning. Three other factors are important when it comes to team project planning.
Project schedule: The project schedule determines the amount, time, and type of resources that are needed.
Human resources: Capacity planning is directly affected by compensation, training, and retention of employees within an organization.
Also read: 7 Best Woocommerce Plugins to boost your Store you must knowWhat are the steps involved in resource capacity planning?
We now know what capacity planning is. Let’s take a look at the steps involved.
Current capacity: Firstly, you need to determine the current capacity. This will allow you to optimize your resources for your project.
Determine demand: To estimate the demand for new resources capacity, you should first look at the project schedule and available resources. This demand can also be affected by external factors.
Consolidation opportunities: Third, determine if it is possible to restructure existing resources in order to meet the demand. You can find underutilized members of your team who are able to meet the demand.
Plan your capacity: Next, make a plan that outlines the actions you must take to meet the current and future demand.
Finally, take action.5 Best Resource Capacity Planning Tools for Teams
We’ve already learned a lot about capacity planning. We also learned about the process of capacity planning and the different types.
Let’s now look at some tools that can help make this process easier. Five tools will be discussed, ranging from the simple to the complex. While some tools are free, others can run into the thousands for enterprise tools.1. Toggl Plan — Simple Project, Task & People Management
Toggle Plan is a simple tool for project planning and execution. It can also be used to manage workload and team capacity.
The team timeline view helps to manage team resources. This team timeline view displays:
A big picture overview You can see who is working on which projects. This will allow you to see which team members are too spread out.
Task estimates To help you find under- or overworked members of your team.
Tem member Vacation and holiday plans so you can plan around incompatibility.
You can also zoom in on a week or quarter or a whole year. This allows for goal-based capacity planning, whether it is short, medium, or long term.
Toggle Plan’s project timeline makes creating a project plan easy. The plan timeline schedule assigns tasks to team members. These tasks are automatically synchronized with the team timeline.
Toggl Plan, a project management tool, is simple and includes task management, project planning, and people management.
There is a free plan available for individuals with unlimited project plans. Paid plans for teams start at $9 per user per month. You get a 14-day trial.
There are many templates online. You don’t need to start from scratch.
It can be difficult to keep your sheets current and track changes.
It is nearly impossible to work in teams.
Pricing3. Teamup — Shared online calendar for teams
Teamup is a shared calendar for teams.
You can schedule work by placing people, events, or places on color-coded sub-calendars.
Also read: Blocked On Snapchat: Figure Out What-To-Do, The Fixes, and FAQs Pros
Use this calendar view to plan team meetings and other events.
Sub-calenders for color-coded plans make it easier to manage visually.
There is no way to gain a short-term or long-term view of your work capacity.
The majority of office suites include a calendar app. You may not need to purchase a separate calendar for your team.
The free plan only allows you to use 8 sub-calendars. Premium plans start at $8 per Month4. 2Plan — Open source project planning software
2Plan is an open-source project planning software. It lacks the user interface and experience of other open-source tools that can help your team quickly get on board.
Toggl Plan is similar to 2Plan.
It has basic time tracking capabilities, which is a plus. It is not a hosted solution. You will need to download, install and maintain the software yourself.
Open-source and free
Available in a desktop version that can be used by one user
Poor user experience. This will mean you’ll spend less time training your team.
The tool will need to be installed and maintained by you.
2Plan is an open-source, free capacity planning software.5. Saviom— Enterprise resource planning tool
Saviom is a capacity planning tool for large enterprises with formal operational efficiency improvement programs.
It has all the necessary features to optimize resource usage. Small and medium teams might find the price and user experience intimidating.
Comprehensive resource management tool.
Ideal for enterprise users.
Small and medium tools can find the user interface intimidating.
For onboarding, you will need to complete formal education in resource management.
Also read: 10 Best Android Development Tools that Every Developer should knowConclusion
We examined what capacity planning is and how it is done. We also looked at strategies and types of managing resource capacity. We also looked at the factors that influence it.
This process can be simplified by using capacity planning tools.
There are several capacity planning and resource management tools available. Toggl Plan is a good choice if you are looking for a simple tool to manage people, tasks, and projects.Daniel Abbott
Daniel Abbott is editor in chief & research analyst at The Next Tech. He is deeply interested in the moral ramifications of new technologies and believes in leveraging the data scientist, research and content enhancement to help build a better world for everyone.
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A review of different frameworks covering the customer journey, brand and content
Today, consumers do not search, engage and consume information within individual channels while making purchase decisions. Their journeys are fluid and choices are influenced by multiple channels, devices and screens, and a vast array of content, both online and offline. Therefore the challenge for businesses today is to understand how their customers behave and to establish a multichannel marketing strategy to effectively communicate with prospects in the right channel, at the right time. The frameworks and digital marketing models I review in this post can help build communications around the consumer rather than a product.Business challenges in a hyper-connected world
Businesses face many challenges today, all of which impact the scope and effectiveness of marketing strategy. Some of the stand-out challenges include:
Smartphones, 4G coverage and social media has redefined how we consume media.
The average UK household today has on average 7.4 connected devices.
With so much distraction, consumers’ attention is at a premium and therefore marketers must put the right mechanisms in place to understand how people and devices can be targeted, e.g. 2nd/ 3rd screening
Despite the hullabaloo surrounding Millennials and how businesses should market to them, there’s a good reason for this concern. The Millennial cohort is an example of a demographic that is always connected, always on and always looking for control, and a reminder of the changing face of the media consumer.
Hype around new technologies and innovations can be distracting and unless this is tempered can result in ‘Shiny New Object Syndrome’
Businesses must always align innovation with relevance and value, for both consumer behaviour and the business itself.
Resources such as Gartner’s Hype Cycle can provide very useful insights
Perhaps the biggest barrier to innovation for many businesses is structure and culture:
Other barriers include education, leadership and ideation:
Developing a culture where digital is embraced and integrated rather than siloed gives marketers a much better opportunity to understand and appeal to consumers.
“Customers expect a consistent experience across all of their touch points with companies and product” – Dwight Griesman, CMO, Forrester
Customers do not differentiate between channels, regardless of how a business is structured internally, e.g. brand, marcomms, digital, ecommerce etc.Three key tools for multichannel marketing planning
The process of crafting a multichannel marketing strategy is not straightforward and takes time to implement. There are a number of very useful guides on how to take this step-by-step and Smart Insights’ Multichannel Marketing Growth Wheel provides an excellent overview:
In light of the challenges outlined above, I’m going to focus on section three of the Multichannel Marketing Growth Wheel (‘How we get there?’) and highlight three tools and frameworks that marketers can use to shape their thinking to form an approach to strategy and the development of a proposition:
The three frameworks cover the following areas:
ContentDefining the customer journey using ZMOT
Considering the world we live in today, what is a typical customer journey?
The truth is that there isn’t a typical journey and our influence as marketers is often limited. Journeys vary by industry, brand and category and can be extremely simple or complex, as illustrated by these two contrasting examples:
Booking a holiday:
In this example of booking a holiday, over a 28 day period and lots of shopping around (aggregators, tour operators, review sites), First Choice gets the business in the end following a search once again for “corfu holidays” (which was the query that began their journey). Booking a holiday is an important purchase for many people and therefore consumers take their time to ensure they make the right choice.
Buying insurance is shorter and more direct and is often considered to be a ‘hygiene’ activity that we need, rather than want, to do. In addition to price, consumers also tend to stick with brands they believe to have delivered trust and consistency in the past. If the experience was positive before, people continue to buy.
So how can we approach analysing and planning for different customer journeys?
A US study by Carat and Microsoft revealed three basic patterns in shoppers’ paths to purchase, suggesting that it’s often better to think about journeys from the consumer mindset rather than as touchpoints:
With this insight in mind, and despite many different types of customer journey frameworks available, Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) provides a very useful model that combines both consumer mindset and touchpoints to evaluate the customer journey:
When originally published in 2011, ZMOT suggested that whilst the first moment of truth was in front of the shelf and that the second moment of truth occurred through product trial and experience, the zero moment of truth happened largely online, using multiple journeys and multiple devices.
The useful aspect of ZMOT is that rather than replacing the traditional sales funnel, it adds another layer of context. Different channels play different roles at different stages of the journey:
The ZMOT model has evolved over the last five years which can be seen in Google’s publication of micro moments. However, I still believe it provides a useful frame of reference and a valuable tool for marketers.Understanding brand purpose using the Golden Circle
What is your brand values and purpose? What do you stand for? How do you differentiate versus the competition?
Your brand and business identity is an integral part of how you communicate with customers so it’s therefore essential to have a clear understanding of the purpose that both drives you as a business and inspires consumers to buy from you. One of the tools that I have found to be particularly useful in articulating brand purpose and why you do what you do is Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle marketing model:
Whilst every company knows what they do (e.g. we make widgets), only some clearly know how they do it (the differentiating value proposition or USP). However, it’s sometimes surprising to learn that very few clearly know why they do what they do. The ‘why’ is the fundamental belief and reason for our existence and should be at the very heart of everything we do.
Simon Sinek argues that when you communicate from the outside-in you are simply competing on features, price and add-ons. This is not inspiring and doesn’t give people a reason to believe in your product, service or cause.
In contrast, good leaders and brands act and communicate from the inside-out. They explain why they do what they do before talking about what they do and how they do it. For example, Apple don’t start by saying they make great computers. Instead, the foundation of much of their communication revolves around their beliefs in thinking differently which sets a tone and inspires loyalty.
The Golden Circle is a simple but effective framework that enables you to define:
Establishing a clear understanding of your purpose and raison d’être will give you confidence and clarity regarding the multichannel marketing options that align best with your brand.Establishing content excellence using the Content Marketing Matrix
Content forms the bedrock of everything we do as marketers and therefore the format, structure and type of content we choose to produce to engage consumers must be consistent with our strategy and objectives.
Smart Insights’ Content Marketing Matrix is an excellent framework for generating ideas and identifying the most engaging content types for different audiences:
As Danyl Bosomworth explains in his blog post introducing the framework:
“Our matrix is structured to help you think through the dimensions of different content based on how your audience might think and what you’re trying to achieve as a business. What will work where your audience are more or less impulsive or rational? What does that mean for content creation and marketing goals? Depending on the quadrant(s) that you feel drawn to for your audience, it offers a starting point for your ideas generation”.
If we think about the multichannel approach, we can see how the Content Marketing Matrix can be applied to different channel options to give our strategy or campaign depth:
And another benefit of the Content Marketing Matrix is that different content types can be used alongside customer journey models, such as ZMOT, to understand where content can entertain, inspire, educate and convince consumers are different stages of the decision-making process:Summary
Marketing today is a complex process which has made the marketer’s role much more complicated than it once was previously in a predominantly broadcast media landscape.
Today’s media landscape is much more fragmented, consumers’ attention is harder to obtain and technology is constant influence on consumer decision-making. To stand-out and be relevant in such a noisy environment requires precision and flexibility.
However, with careful planning and the use of models such as those we’ve looked at in this post, we can begin to analyse different customer journeys, understand where our brand plays a role in the communication process and assess the content needed to make an impact and drive action.
Business leaders know data is at the heart of enterprise development and growth. But how they use that data is what distinguishes companies from their competitors. That’s where sales and marketing intelligence come in. The data generated from these areas translates to lead generation and stronger connections with target audiences. By anchoring the needs of businesses in data-backed sales strategies, Kforce provides business leaders with the right solutions to meet their goals and make an impact on the global economy.
Kforce is an award-winning solutions firm that specializes in technology and other professional staffing services. The company’s customer-centric solutions enable world-class, outcome-driven results. Kforce’s team is comprised of experts who understand the intricacies, challenges, and pain points that business leaders encounter daily. The company delivers the best possible results so that leaders can deploy development and growth strategies throughout their organizations. This team approach in tackling the largest challenges for the world’s most prominent companies is just one reason Kforce’s solutions group has become the go-to team for innovation.A People-First Leader Simplifying Technical Problem Solving
Ryan executes his job with a people-first approach and always keeps client value at the forefront. In his 10 years with Kforce, Ryan has earned the firm’s annual top performer award seven times. He is also a 2023 Dick Maddock award recipient. The Dick Maddock award is the highest honor an individual can receive at Kforce.A Paradigm Shift in Client Engagement Platform
Ryan describes Sales Intelligence Strategy as bringing together seemingly disconnected data sources to provide targeted, client-specific solutions. This takes the best parts of staffing and consulting services and packages them in a way that accelerates a business’ ability to address change. In addition to keeping his eye on an ever-evolving approach to the market, Ryan established a client engagement platform to track, manage and grow Kforce’s partnerships with each successful project. He also refined the sales pipeline and management process. These are just a few of the reasons Ryan has been tapped to explore how this innovation can make a difference across all aspects of Kforce.Kforce’s Evolution as a World Class Solutions Firm
Growth and innovation are key elements in the staffing and solutions industry. Kforce relies on its people’s unique ability to identify and shape next-generation solutions. This is an unsurpassed differentiator in the eyes of its customers, resulting in more than double the number of solutions team members over the last two years. The COVID-19 pandemic and sweeping technology upgrades are just two examples of how the industry is constantly changing. Ryan’s leadership and innovative nature helps the firm better serve its clients. This industry-leading approach identifies more effective workflow opportunities and helps clients quickly adapt to change.Technology as a Backbone Across Business Operations
The first step of Sales Intelligence Strategy is to evaluate the opportunity. Working with clients during upfront discovery shortens the delivery timeline while increasing quality. This process is counter to standard industry practices but has proven highly effective. Ryan and the solutions team have been able to help clients reduce hiring times by up to 85% and execute their most challenging technology initiatives, including moving to the cloud, rebuilding enterprise data warehouses, and reimagining customer interactions and experiences. The Sales Intelligence Strategy helps clients maximize their spend, decrease their time to market and mitigate risk while obtaining world-class outcomes aligned to their organizational objectives.A New Beginning for Limitless Changes Soaring High with Innovation
Since the news broke that Apple is getting out of the router business, I’ve been looking to replace my AirPort Extreme. I wanted something with more power-user features, and the Synology RT2600ac stood out as a likely candidate. The $229.99 RT2600ac, which is the follow-up to last year’s popular RT1900ac, contains a wealth of new additions, and is considerably more power-user friendly than Apple’s AirPort Extreme.
Synology’s routers run the SRM operating system, which makes managing the RT2600ac similar to driving one of the company’s popular NAS boxes. But does this router make a good replacement for the easy-to-use AirPort Extreme? Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough as I showcase 15 of my favorite RT2600ac features.Speed and power
As far as wireless coverage is concerned, I noticed that my iPhone was able to maintain full wireless signal strength anywhere in my house when connected to the RT2600ac. With the AirPort Extreme, I had a few areas where the signal would drop a bar when connected to either band.
Airport Extreme vs RT2600ac from the same spot in my office
I performed a speed test from my office, which happens to be one of the areas where the signal drops, and I noticed a moderate speed difference while on the 2.4 Ghz band. Granted, this is far from a scientific test, and more of a feature overview, but I’m quite happy with the RT2600ac’s wireless performance in various areas around my house. It even performs well out in the garage, a spot where I usually have trouble maintaining a decent connection.
That said, I live in a fairly modest house, so you might be better off checking out mesh network options like the eero or Google Wifi if you dwell in a large multi-floor abode.
Powering the RT2600ac is an unspecified 1.7 Ghz dual core chip, which is accompanied by a healthy 512 MB of RAM. Such a hardware investment proves to be worthwhile, as it ensures that the unit’s SRM web interface is responsive and snappy.Video: Top 15 Synology RT2600ac features
Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more hands-on videos
Update: Synology has pushed an update for the RT2600ac to fix the KRACK WPA2 exploit. You should update to SRM version 1.1.5-6542-3 as soon as possible.Smart Connect
Synology’s RT2600ac ships with a feature called Smart Connect, which combines the unit’s SSID with the shared Wi-Fi settings for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
As you move a supported device closer to the router, it will automatically switch to the 5 Ghz radio, which is more effective at closer range. But as you venture further away from the router, the device is switched to 2.4 Ghz. Hence, Smart Connect affords compatible devices the best possible connection based on location, and the user doesn’t have to worry about manually connecting to a certain SSID.DS Router app & SRM web interface
One of the best things about the AirPort Extreme is how easy it is to set up and manage using the AirPort Utility app. Synology, too, is known for its easy-to-use interfaces, and it doesn’t disappoint with its iOS app.
Simply entitled DS Router, the app allows users to manage router settings, monitor traffic, adjust parental controls, and see the status of all devices connected to the network.
SRM is the beautiful web interface that features much more fine-grained control over a sprawling suite features. You can use SRM from an iOS device, but for quick management, the DS Router app is the way to go while on mobile.Parental controls
The RT2600ac can help parents manage what their children are allowed to view online, and is a major perk to owning this router. To set up content filtering, simply visit the Parental Control section of SRM to select a device on your network to filter. You can even use parental controls to schedule specific Internet access times.NAS features w/ USB 3.0 port
Because it’s from Synology, it only makes sense that the RT2600ac contains built-in NAS features. Thanks to the router’s USB port and SD Card slot, users can connect an external drive or SD Card to transform the router into a basic NAS. Keep in mind, though, that USB 3.0 may cause interference with the 2.4 Ghz radio. Synology gives users the option of downgrading the port to USB 2.0 if desired.Package Center
Synology’s Package Center on SRM is loosely synonymous with Apple’s App Store. There, you’ll find a handful of packages that can be used to enhance your experience and add new features to the router. And because the RT2600ac features external storage capabilities, users can download both router-specific and NAS-centric packages.Smart WAN
It’s possible to use the LAN port closest to the WAN port as a secondary WAN port for failover and load balancing. Doing so will reduce the number of available LAN ports from four to three.
Advanced users can connect two outward-facing Internet interfaces, such as a cable modem and a DSL modem, and have them work together to help ensure stable connectivity at all times. When one interface goes down, the other will shoulder the Internet connectivity responsibility.
There is also load balancing + failover, which lets administrators distribute network traffic flow between two interfaces to ensure the best connection.4G dongle compatibility
As if an extra WAN port for network interface failover wasn’t enough, the RT2600ac supports select 3G and 4G dongles for sharing cellular connectivity with the client devices connected to your network. This gives users a backup plan when the main Internet connection goes down.Power and Wi-Fi button
This may sound like a simple feature, but I love the fact that the RT2600ac features a hardware power button for turning off the router, and a Wi-Fi button for disabling Wi-Fi. These are good features to have when you’re troubleshooting, and it makes it so that you don’t have to disconnect the power plug in order to turn it off, and you don’t have to venture into SRM to disable Wi-Fi.Disable LEDs with custom LED schedule QuickConnect and DDNS
QuickConnect is a Synology feature that affords easy communication with the router from outside of the network when using Synology apps. You can also use DDNS to access your router while away from your home network. Synology provides a free and easy-to-remember chúng tôi domain for those that wish to keep the process simple and straightforward.2-step verification
The RT2600ac supports 2-step verification, which requires you to enter a code from a second device in order to log in to the router. I wholeheartedly recommend enabling 2-step verification, as it provides an extra layer of security.Built-in VPN features
By installing the VPN Plus Server package, users can quickly use their RT2600ac to set up a VPN. Synology offers its own SSL VPN with corresponding iOS and Android apps for quick and easy VPN access from anywhere.
The RT2600ac also supports SSTP, OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP. If you often use Wi-Fi hotspots while on the go, Synology’s VPN features can help keep you safe and secure while away from home.Traffic Control
Want to limit the amount of bandwidth or guarantee a certain amount of bandwidth for a particular device? SRM’s built-in Traffic Control feature lets you individually manage device bandwidth, and even outright ban a device from your network.Monitoring and reporting
If you’re looking to monitor bandwidth usage on your network, then you’ll be happy to know that the RT2600ac features awesome monitoring and logging tools built right in. For basic device bandwidth monitoring and logging, you can look at the Monitor page under the Traffic Control section of the Network Center in SRM. This allows for live bandwidth monitoring, but also lets you see traffic over the last 24 hours, last week, etc.
For more in-depth statistics, you can generate traffic reports over certain periods of time. These traffic reports are extremely in-depth, and provide overall bandwidth usage, as well as individual device bandwidth activity. The reports are attractive and easy to read, which means that you don’t have to know a lot about networking in order to understand them.Conclusion
If you’re moving from a device like the AirPort Extreme, then I recommend considering the Synology RT2600ac. Not only should its wireless tech serve you well into the foreseeable future, but it’s also extremely easy to use thanks to SRM and the DS Router app.
Ease of use is something that’s normally not associated with networking hardware, which is one of the things that made the AirPort Extreme and its companion AirPort Utility app so attractive. But Synology’s SRM offers a remarkably good-looking and easy-to-use interface that’s way more powerful.
SRM balances ease of use with power-user features in a way that I’ve never seen on a router, and while there is a slight learning curve involved, it’s well worth it for all of the features that you get.
If there’s one knock to make against the RT2600ac, it’s that it is nowhere near as good-looking as the latest generation AirPort Extreme. The slanted black plastic chassis with four antennas emerging from the body isn’t going to win it any design awards.
But the looks of the router are easy to forgive once you experience the variety of features and performance offered by this router. Chances are it’ll probably be hidden away from eyesight anyway.
You can purchase the RT2600ac right now from Amazon or from B&H Photo Video.
What router are you currently using? If you’re an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule owner, do you have plans to move on to different hardware?
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