How To Become A Great Ebusiness Consultant

Everything you need to know about what an Ebusiness Consultant does and how to be a successful Ebusiness Consultant.
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  • Lectures 23
  • Length 13.5 hours
  • Skill Level Expert Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 4/2015 English

Course Description

Michelle Sollicito is a successful EBusiness Consultant and published technical author.

When you pay for the course you get a number of free downloadable ebooks on topics such as angular and bootstrap, many sample documents free as well as Michelle's book on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery free as well as her book about her Facebook group that grew to 50,000 members in just 24 hours FREE.

This course consists of a series of videos describing a different aspect of life as an EBusiness Consultant alongside samples of work, links to useful resources, free copies of books etc. all aimed at helping you to be a successful EBusiness Consultant.

From how to find work as a consultant, through to how to work with clients to ensure the requirements of the work are correct, through to carrying out consultancy work (e.g. business continuity planning, disaster recovery, technical architecture work or RFPs) or implementation work (e.g. analysis and design through to implementation and testing of websites, smartphone apps or desktop apps/software packages).

The course will explain how to get work using technical websites and LinkedIn as well as repeat work from previous clients and work through other consultancies. It will explain how to write RFPs, White Papers and technical documentation.

It will cover how to write and publish training courses and articles about technical issues. How to carry out (pre-)sales and marketing tasks in the IT world, including in-depth Facebook coverage. How to carry out analysis and design of technical systems and how to implement them with optimal quality and reuse built-in. How to ensure that systems meet requirements and interact with other systems correctly. How to ensure that the IT Department is providing good service to the business, that IT Strategy is aligned with Business Strategy, and that risks are mitigated where possible, including how to carry out Audits of IT systems and software, how to ensure a Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan is in place and is effective and how to ensure the Technical Architecture and the Roadmap going forward will provide sustainable IT and software support to the business.

What are the requirements?

  • It would be useful for the student to know something about IT/software before starting the course

What am I going to get from this course?

  • What is Google Analytics and how can it help a business?
  • What are Pay Per Click Ads and how can they drive traffic to your website?
  • What is Search Engine Optimization and how can it get you more customers?
  • What are all the "backdoor" ways to getting work in the IT industry?
  • What is source code control and version control ?
  • How do you write a Business Plan or a Marketing Plan for an IT Startup?
  • How can video be used to present a software product, document that product and demo that product all in one?
  • What goes on behind a website?

What is the target audience?

  • Take this course if you want a successful career in IT Consultancy
  • Take this course if you want to know more about some key terms surrounding websites and ecommerce

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction
Article

Who am I?

- Michelle Sollicito, an EBusiness Consultant in Atlanta.

- Worked for Accenture (Andersen Consulting), Sema (now Schlumberger), Cap Gemini, eBusiness Department for Sainsburys, a large Retailer in the UK, TMS (famous Microsoft consultancy), Bovis Lendlease (large construction company), and for various other clients including Yahoo!, Coca-Cola etc.

What is EBusiness?

- EBusiness is really anything electronic that is involved in making business happen

- websites

- software systems

- databases

- smartphone apps

- network infrastructure

- and integration between all of the above.

What is a Consultant?

- A Consultant is someone with expertise who comes to a business on a temporary basis to help the business resolve a problem

What kind of things does an EBusiness Consultant do?

- writes proposals and RFPs (Request for Proposals) for IT projects / EBusiness projects

- talks to high level executives about Company / Organizational strategy and how IT systems need to support that going forward

- talks to IT Management / CIO about how the IT Strategy supports the Business Strategy

- helps IT Departments to design a technical architecture to support future business needs

- helps IT Departments to evaluate how well they are meeting business needs

- gap analysis

- roadmap

- helps IT Departments determing whether there are "gaps" in the way they operate

  • IT Audits
  • Security Audits
  • Risk Analysis

- Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery

- helps IT Departments to develop plans for future support of the business or future filling of the "gaps"

  • project management / project planning
  • analysis / requirements
  • system design / software design / database design / network design / architecture design / process design / procedure design
  • prototyping or developing software (creating databases, websites, smartphone apps, desktop software, or implementation of packages)
  • quality assurance / testing / documentation
15:14

Who am I?

- Michelle Sollicito, an EBusiness Consultant in Atlanta.

- Worked for Accenture (Andersen Consulting), Sema (now Schlumberger), Cap Gemini, eBusiness Department for Sainsburys, a large Retailer in the UK, TMS (famous Microsoft consultancy), Bovis Lendlease (large construction company), and for various other clients including Yahoo!, Coca-Cola etc.

What is EBusiness?

- EBusiness is really anything electronic that is involved in making business happen

- websites

- software systems

- databases

- smartphone apps

- network infrastructure

- and integration between all of the above.

What is a Consultant?

- A Consultant is someone with expertise who comes to a business on a temporary basis to help the business resolve a problem

What kind of things does an EBusiness Consultant do?

- writes proposals and RFPs (Request for Proposals) for IT projects / EBusiness projects

- talks to high level executives about Company / Organizational strategy and how IT systems need to support that going forward

- talks to IT Management / CIO about how the IT Strategy supports the Business Strategy

- helps IT Departments to design a technical architecture to support future business needs

- helps IT Departments to evaluate how well they are meeting business needs

- gap analysis

- roadmap

- helps IT Departments determing whether there are "gaps" in the way they operate

  • IT Audits
  • Security Audits
  • Risk Analysis

- Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery

- helps IT Departments to develop plans for future support of the business or future filling of the "gaps"

  • project management / project planning
  • analysis / requirements
  • system design / software design / database design / network design / architecture design / process design / procedure design
  • prototyping or developing software (creating databases, websites, smartphone apps, desktop software, or implementation of packages)
  • quality assurance / testing / documentation
Who is Michelle Sollicito Pt 2
27:13
02:59


What is EBusiness?

- EBusiness is really anything electronic that is involved in making business happen

- websites

- software systems

- databases

- smartphone apps

- network infrastructure

- and integration between all of the above.

What is a Consultant?

- A Consultant is someone with expertise who comes to a business on a temporary basis to help the business resolve a problem

What kind of things does an EBusiness Consultant do?

- writes proposals and RFPs (Request for Proposals) for IT projects / EBusiness projects

- talks to high level executives about Company / Organizational strategy and how IT systems need to support that going forward

- talks to IT Management / CIO about how the IT Strategy supports the Business Strategy

- helps IT Departments to design a technical architecture to support future business needs

- helps IT Departments to evaluate how well they are meeting business needs

- gap analysis

- roadmap

- helps IT Departments determing whether there are "gaps" in the way they operate

  • IT Audits
  • Security Audits
  • Risk Analysis

- Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery

- helps IT Departments to develop plans for future support of the business or future filling of the "gaps"

  • project management / project planning
  • analysis / requirements
  • system design / software design / database design / network design / architecture design / process design / procedure design
  • prototyping or developing software (creating databases, websites, smartphone apps, desktop software, or implementation of packages)
  • quality assurance / testing / documentation
1 question

What does an EBusiness Consultant do?

Finding Work As An EBusiness Consultant
15:54
Article

In order to be the best EBusiness Consultant I can be I try to read a great deal, keeping up with the latest technologies and trends in IT and software. I also try to read a great deal about business management. One of the most useful books I have ever read in this area is a book that Stephen R Covey wrote called "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

"http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1455892823/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1455892823&linkCode=as2&tag=portables-20&linkId=5G3OEOMWRI6XVYUX

Although in his book he puts his "7 Habits" in a slightly different order, I have found it very useful as an EBusiness Consultant to bear his 7 habits in mind when carrying out any assignments in the EBusiness Consultancy world.

1. Put First things First

I try to remember to put the most important things that have to be done first FIRST. This can take many forms. For example:

  • I need to look after ME first before I can do my job effectively. This means everything from making sure I get exercise and healthy food through to being sure I look presentable (get my hair cut, put makeup on, wear a suit or whatever is needed), right through to being sure I am trained and informed in all areas relevant to a particular assignment. I always brush up on the most important areas I need to know shortly before starting an assignment and test myself using online tests to be sure that I "know my stuff".
  • Always remember that I need to know the big picture first before I start delving into the detail. For example, I need to know the Business Strategy before I need to start looking at the IT Strategy, because I need to be sure that the IT Strategy supports the Business Strategy.
  • I need to know the Requirements before I can start building or designing an EBusiness system.
  • For project management purposes it is important to know which things have to be done first before the next part of the project is able to start - for example, a programmer may not be able to start to develop a website until a web server has been set up and configured properly, so to reduce the lag time before the programmer can start his/her work, it is important to ensure the web server set up is started as early as possible.

etc.

2. Begin with the end in mind

It is great to get a picture of what a piece of work / project will look like when it is complete before I start so that I will know how to recognize when you have met your objectives. If a clear picture of the end result exists and is communicated to all on a project, it is more obvious when a project veers off track or something outside of scope appears on the horizon. A good mutual understanding of requirements up-front will result in one of the following depending upon the project:

A clear Scope document

A clear RFP (Request for Proposals)

A clear SLA (Service Level Agreement)

A clear set of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

A clear set of CSFs (Critical Success Factors)

All of the above should include lists / measurement criteria / numerical values for the following:

  • systems to be included and out of scope
  • departments to be included and out of scope
  • personnel to be consulted and out of scope
  • timescales and deadlines
  • risk tolerances (e.g. the deadline can be missed by 3 days max or else there will be severe penalties)
  • consequences of not meeting expectations set out in the document
  • etc.

3. Seek First to understand, then to be understood

It is very important to LISTEN to the customer a lot during the first few meetings, only asking questions where clarification is needed. Let the customer speak as freely as possible so that you capture all their thoughts and ideas, making copious notes. This way you will find out what language they use internally to describe systems, processes and ideas.. and you will find out all the possibilities - including what future work is possibly in the pipeline. Once you think you have them all down, list them all and ask for clarification of what is in scope and what is out of scope. Listening is a very important skill - you earn the trust of the client if you listen rather than talk over them, plus you are more likely to hear everything they need to tell you if you allow them to simply talk about their problem.

Once you have a clear understanding of what they want and what they believe is in scope, THEN is the time to tell them what is possible and what is not possible within the timeframes they need. Do not tell them something is impossible, simply state how much it would cost or how many resources it would take to do everything they need. They will tell you if something is going to cost too much. You would be surprised how often a client has said to me "I want the best software, it almost does not matter how much it costs, so long as it does the job properly because we are going to be out of business without it".

In order to be sure you are understood, write up meeting notes formally and send them back to the client for verification that you have understood correctly. Then write a formal Proposal for how you will do the work - who will work on the project, which resources are needed, what the deadlines will be and what the costs will be. Also include how you will manage changes (e.g. how you will estimate changes in costs and resources due to extra functionality versus how you will estimate changes caused by misunderstandings about requirements), how cost overruns will be managed and how communication will be handled throughout the project (e.g. a status meeting every week with the business sponsor will be used to update the business on progress, emails will be exchanged in addition for clarifications and questions), so that everything you do is clearly understood. Ensure the client is expecting misunderstandings to happen and that there is a process to deal with them because they WILL happen. Ensure the client is aware that if scope changes there will be a cost impact.

4. Think win win

There are inevitably going to be conflicts in your work as a consultant. Try to solve conflicts by giving everyone involved in the conflict something. For example, I often have to help clients prioritize which functionality will go into a "sprint" of software development and there are often two parts of the business competing to get functionality into a sprint. I try to convince all concerned that one piece of functionality should be prioritized over the other for the sake of the organization's overall objectives, but I also promise to the "loser" that their functionality will take priority next time we are prioritizing sprint functionality. That way everybody wins.

5. Be Proactive

Always try to think positively and be proactive when acting as a consultant. Find extra opportunities to add value that are not in your contract but can be provided quickly and easily for free. It helps to build trust if you give away some of your knowledge and it helps you to be adaptable and more likely to be asked back for repeat assignments.

6. Synergize

Remember that as a consultant you can be seen as a threat by people who work within the client organization, but that you need tohse very people to help you to do your job to the best of your ability. By helping them to see that your expertise can help them to do a better job for the company you can help to develop trust and they will see you as part of the team, working to the same ends. Be aware of the sensitivity of others to the fact that you are probably being paid far higher than they are. Be aware of the dangers of coming across as the "expert" who knows better than the people who work at the company. Be collaborative and friendly, not standoffish, elitist or superior.

7. Sharpen the Saw

Look after yourself. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, rest, exercise and healthy food. It is very common for consultants to work so hard they burn out because they eat at irregular times, eat unhealthily, have trouble sleeping, work long hours so do not relax enough etc. Be aware of these risks and take mitigating actions. Take opportunities to be healthy within your role. For example, on a beautiful day, suggest going for a walk with a client you need to interview - it will help them to relax in a more informal atmosphere and you will both get sunshine and exercise! If you have a meeting that can be carried out in a coffee shop or over lunch, take the initiative to do so, and also to choose a restaurant that has healthy eating options.

18:02

Video is very useful when you are an Ebusiness Consultant.


A video of yourself on your website helps the client to see what you are like as a person and whether or not you would be a good fit for the role they have in mind. You can say a lot in a short time on a video and communicate your message much more effectively.


I also use video to communicate work I have done and to show others how to use programs or websites I have developed. Here is an example of a website front-end I architected, designed and built for a Big Data company called OrcaTec specializing in the Legal Discovery market (lawyers have to submit a huge number of documents in court cases and want to be able to identify the documents that are most relevant to their needs - OrcaTec's Orchestrate allows them to do this). The website allowed users to copy their files on to the OrcaTec file system and to process their files automatically in a user-friendly experience.


Using video in this way can serve numerous purposes: it helps the client to understand progress you have made, it helps users to understand how to use the new software you have created, it serves as a great resume for future jobs if you can show a video like this to potential clients, and it kind of serves as a form of documentation of a product you have created. It can also be used to promote an upcoming product via Youtube - potential users might see it on Youtube and contact the company to ask questions.


Another way I use video is to promote websites or products. Sites like Jivox make it really easy to create adverts for websites or products. I attach in the resources section some example ads that I created to market my own company/website txttoad.com - I created these ads in about 15 mins each!

Section 2: Typical EBusiness Assignments
15:56

Mainly about Javascript and its many libraries and derivatives


Javascript libraries, MVC, MVVM etc.
12:37
16:35

udemy dot com quickcert.com for training in IT topics

udemy - some courses are free, some are $10 - 30

learn about asp.net mvc, sql server, javascript topics etc.

performance testing - why are web pages slow?

webpagetest.org - great site for testing a web page to see why it is slow

it will tell you how long it took to load each component of the site

1. time to first byte (if web server is far away, this will be longer)

cloud services get around this by providing servers all over the world, redirect call

to the closest server to respond to the request

e.g. Azure (Microsoft cloud platform) has servers all over the world.

AWS Amazon Web services (Amazon's web service cloud platform)

2. Time to download the html page itself -

- is the web page too big?

- is caching effective? repeat read will be lower if caching is effective

- iis (web server) can be configured to respond better to calls made to it

- images - smaller image size can reduce time to load a web page (lower resolution for smaller images)

- cdns - host big files on a common domain where file is cached and optimized, takes the load off of your server

e.g. google has jquery files available on cdn (cloud) caching speeds up serving of the file

- minimized files are smaller, compressed files - easier to download

- bundled files - reduces time to download javascript or css files typically, separate connections for each js file not needed

- back end

- database calls

- optimize queries (aim for 100% coverage)

- use indexes effectively (clustered and non-clustered indexes)

- joins should use clustered index at one end to retrieve at least

- use non-clustered index where you do not know the clustered index on the join

- use query plans in sql server to tell whether or not covered indexes 100%

- table structure and definition (Schema) of database must be right on projects due to performance issues if not

- entity framework encourages laziness - but you should resist laziness - do the query on the database first

BEFORE linq queries are done like take or where clauses in linq.. do it in stored procedures first

- otherwise we will bring ALL the data to the client an then later do the take clauses etc

- dev and testing - may work fine doing it in linq but when you scale it up it will be SLOOOOOW if you are

doing takes in linq etc.

- debug code look for loops that take a long time

- look for lazy loading problems

- look for lots of ajax and jquery which repeatedly goes to the server to get data

55 pages

The main part of this lecture is a great FREE book from Oreilly on Software Architecture Patterns!


In the Resources section:

- yEd which is a graphical tool that is FREE and very useful for drawing technical diagrams in your role as a Technical Architect.

- a link to a Udemy course "Become an Enterprise Architect with TOGAF 9.1 Certification!" by Scott Duffy

- a copy of a sample Technical Architecture document produced by Deloitte that I believe illustrates some of the most important aspects of a Technical Architecture document

Technical Resources For Technical Architects
27 pages
116 pages

Michelle Sollicito is an expert in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. She has written a book on the topic, see Content.

37 pages

I am a published author and I have a degree in English (Language and Literature) as well as all my skills and experience in the technical realm, so I like to think I know a little bit about writing. I also love to write!

Books Published

Business Survival (A Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery)

Advanced Visual Basic 5 (TMS/Microsoft Press)

Advanced Visual Basic 6 (TMS/Microsoft Press)

Snowed Out Atlanta - the Inside Story of the Fastest-growing Facebook Group In History

Home Theater Toolkit - A Guide to Making Your Home Theater Dreams A Reality (co author)

Many "techies" find writing to be a tortuous part of their job and take great pains to do as little technical writing or documentation as possible. Thus, a lot of clients employ me simply to find out how their software works and to write good documentation for it, or to document the requirements in terms that the "techies" will understand so that the "techies" do not have to write up the requirements. It works to my advantage that I am one of those rare breeds - a "techie" who likes to write, and is good at it!

If you are also a techie who likes to write you may want to take advantage of this discrepancy. In the Resources section here is a link to an article providing some great technical writing tips.

I also attach here some samples of my written work.


18 pages

Clients often ask for my help with writing Business Plans for technical projects, new website companies etc. Here is an example of a Business Plan I wrote for my own business/website, TxtToAd. It shows the kind of information to include in a Business Plan, the kind of monetary information required etc.

11:10

Sometimes I am asked by a client to write a Marketing Plan because of my social media knowledge coupled with my extensive experience with SEO, Pay Per Click, Backlink marketing, etc. So this lecture covers some key points when developing a Marketing Plan. Paying participants in this course will get high quality sample Marketing Plans in the next Lecture.

A Marketing Plan should include:

- Full Competitive Analysis

- Projection into the future based upon Market Research, studies etc.

- Gaps in the Market that you will exploit

- Full description of your target user / customer type(s)

- SEO strategy

- Social Media Marketing strategy

- Facebook app / smartphone app strategy

- Articles / content (offsite / backlink marketing)

- Media (Youtube video / tv spots)

- PPC (pay per click ads) / Facebook Ads etc.

- Timelines for each

- Goals of Marketing and how these reflect Business Strategy / Objectives

- How you will measure these Goals / objectives (SMART)

35 pages

Attached in the Resources are some sample Marketing Plans from past work I have carried out. Note that I have not included more recent Marketing Plans which would contain more up-to-date Marketing techniques because I do not want to give away ALL my secrets!

Sample Technical Patent (unfinished, of course!)
7 pages
Section 3: Some More Unique EBusiness Assignments
01:32:50

Some days I carry out presentations on my social media expertise, often to Emergency Manager personnel in Government agencies (Cobb EMA, GEMA, FEMA, Governor Deal's office - and even to George H W Bush's friends including Ben Carson, Condolezza Rice and other governmental leaders from his administration!), but also to companies such as the Weather Channel.


Many people ask how my Facebook group Snowedoutatlanta got 50,000 members in less than 24 hours. I answer that it was the "Perfect Storm" (pun intended) of a mixture of factors. There are various models for analyzing why social media successes happen and with hindsight I found a couple of models that made sense of the mind-boggling success to me.


I attach in the resources some slides that show these models and hopefully you can see from this video plus those slides why this phenomenal success happened.

158 pages

In order to capture as much as I could about the success of my Facebook page Snowedoutatlanta, I wrote a book about the experience. I tried to include as much as possible about what Emergency Management / Disaster Relief personnel could learn from the experience especially with regard to social media. I am often asked to talk to groups about my social media expertise as a result. Here is the summary about the book.

Michelle Sollicito has gained many awards for her work on Facebook helping people in emergencies, most notably for her Snowedoutatlanta Facebook group which was the "fastest-growing Facebook group in history". This section offers her book about the whole experience for free. Find out what made the Facebook group so popular, find out how much it helped people and how Michelle has worked with Emergency Management professionals since then to enhance their understanding of Social Media and its power to help people in a crisis.

101 pages

Learning new technologies all the time is key to being a successful ebusiness consultant. You can use udemy to find free / cheap courses on most technologies to help you with this. Google search is also an amazing tool for finding new learning resources, and if you can afford it a Quickcert annual membership is great for learning lots of technologies and becoming certified in them. One of my favorite ways to learn new technologies is by downloading a free book from succinctly. I have attached a selection of their free ebooks here to help you to learn:

- ASP.Net MVC (4)

- Bootstrap

- Javascript libraries like Node or Knockout

etc.

23 pages

I wrote this White Paper on how to use the Facebook API with C#. Hopefully it will help you in two ways - firstly it will help you as it serves as a sample White Paper you can use as a template for creating white papers of your own. But also, if you want to know more about how Facebook works "under the hood" or how you can program its api using C# (or javascript), it will help you with that also.

Section 4: Something a little unusual
Venture Capital Meeting
07:10

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Instructor Biography

Michelle Sollicito has practiced metaphysics for 20+ years in the UK and New Zealand and has completed the Metaphysical Wheel. She has worked with Heather Andrews Dobbs, a metaphysical guru in the UK, attended many courses with her, and many seminars and events related to Metaphysics including those run by Louise Hay (Hay House), Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Doreen Virtue. Michelle previously ran and edited the Celestial News in London (a guide to Metaphysical events, books, videos etc. in the London area) and now runs Metaphysics courses and counselling sessions in Georgia, USA. She is famous for using Metaphysical principles in creating the "Fastest Growing Facebook Group in History", Snowedoutatlanta, which helped save many lives during the Atlanta snowstorm of 2014. For this she was presented with many awards including the Points of Light award by George HW Bush.

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