Loading...
Know the Importance of Desktop to Marketers Regardless Of Mobile

Know the Importance of Desktop to Marketers Regardless Of Mobile

The significance of the desktop has not reduced and it continues to be a major part of the digital marketing strategies regardless of the mobile-first strategy adoption by the brands carving online viewers. Forrester reported earlier this year that it expects about one-third of the World’s population owns a mobile device. By the end of this year, more than half of the world’s population expected to access Smartphone. Thus, it is very clear that the interest in using mobile is highly increased than the use of the desktop.

At the same time, the average retailer sees the mobile phone traffic surpass desktop for the first time by this year-end as per the Q2 retailer report published in September by Adobe. In addition to revenue and commercial share continues to direct the way through desktop at 70percent and just 20perent with Smartphone. This is clearly highlighting how desktop maintains its importance in the market and it will be for the near future.

For the last decade, the Smartphone traction growth has been a vital focus for marketers. However, companies must keep in mind about the customer experience, Bookingsuite regional director, Marielle Van Gorp warns the marketers. He describes parent company Booking.com as the tech firm, which concentrates on the travel. Moreover, it aims to look at the clients as an individual with their own behaviors from one country to another. To do so, you need the best SEO service from the top company.

thehoth is one of the leading brands in the market offers superior SEO services for the customers based on their requirements. They provide digital strategies for both Smartphone and desktop that will eventually meet your desire. This company is one of the best places for marketers who will wish to spend money on content production properly and efficiently. It is because the company has years of experience in the field. Desktop marketers are still vital on the ground because the majority of today people across the world use a desktop so far now.

Of course, even some countries like Asia do not have a desktop but it is one of the largest space for customers in Europe. This actually means the importance of desktop remains especially when customers switching their devices during the day. Thus, it is vital to ensure everything that is fully responsive to all devices. The chief product officer of KKDay said in an agreement that his experience in ecommerce platform described the real need of desktop for the company. It was a big space where many kinds of planning took place.

One of the biggest challenges in the year 2018 is making use of the desktop to improve the company marketing strategy.  When compared to Smartphone desktops plays a major role in making a purchase decision based on various categories. Therefore, if you want to take this advantage, you can hire the SEO company thehoth here. In order to continue with the technological growth, you have to face many troubles and come across it. As a professional SEO provider, thehoth offers the superior quality SEO marketing service. Before hiring their service, you can check out their reviews here.

Life Insurance Plan to Secure Your Loved Ones’ Future

Life Insurance Plan to Secure Your Loved Ones’ Future

We all have families that depend on us for their financial needs. In several families there might even be a sole breadwinner. In such cases, there is total dependency. Have you ever thought about what might happen to your family once you are gone? We all do love to think that nothing could happen to us, but you never know. No person can predict the future or be sure about anything in life. How will your family survive if something should happen? Grieving the loss of a loved one is a lot, and you do not want them to grieve over their own means of survival, right? This is where life insurance is highly inevitable. At least you make their future secure before leaving them.

Life insurance makes sure all the financial needs of your family are taken care of even in your absence. This is the best thing you could do for your spouse or kids, or any other dependents. Based on whom you mention as your nominee, that person will get the financial benefits. It is important to educate yourself about its benefits. This way, you will be able to choose a plan as per your requirements. It could also help cover your debts. There are some policies that offer accident coverage as well, depending on the plan you select. This life insurance policy quiz will help you figure out how much you know about life insurance. Basic questions will assess your knowledge and score you. After the quiz, you will come out with a better understanding of the whole concept.

Just like all other investments and financial decisions you take in life, life insurance is also an important step. You must not neglect or delay it in any case. Start planning right from the beginning so you will not have to regret it later on. For all your queries on insurance, you should visit Health IQ insurance to learn more.

A Competition for Talent: Accounting Firms VS. Companies

A Competition for Talent: Accounting Firms VS. Companies

Across the United States, accounting is a high demand industry. Various large-scale accounting firms have increased their recruiting efforts with a goal of hiring top talent- this means that other companies have had to alter their hiring processes and change their standards. The recent changes to the standard accounting principles and financial reporting methods have made it important for companies to hire the most professional accountants,

Importance of Accountants

Accountants are vital to the success of most companies. An accountant is expected to set up financial controls and systems, as well as track critical aspects of the company’s business such as the growth and cash flow. Accountants are also required to work to keep companies up to date with regulations by conducting occasional audits and keeping detailed records.

Businesses that don’t have an accountant are more likely to struggle with growth. Most businesses choose to hire an in-house accountant, but it’s not uncommon for companies to opt to outsource to accounting firms.

Increase in Demand

In 2016, the United States unemployment rate of accountants was 2.5%. In a comparison, it was noted that the unemployment rate for other professionals across various industries within the country was 4.4%. The U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics started adopting new job classifications and began to separate professional accountants in early 2011. At the start of this, the unemployment rate for accountants was at 4.2%, proving that the increase in demand for professional accountants has been steady. By having such a low unemployment rate, the competition among companies and accounting firms has sky rocketed, making it increasingly more difficult to fill open positions with certified accountants.

Shift of Culture

Within the past years, most accounting firms have shifted their focus towards company culture. Pricewaterhouse Coopers has taken momentous steps to decrease accountant turnover and attract talent through company culture. In previous years, associates were required to work long hours and had an unbalanced work-life balance. Because of these new changes, associates have the option to work from home, as well as to work a flexible part time schedule. They also have the chance to utilize in-office perks such as sports game tables and treadmill desks. 

Changes to Regulations

Another important reason for the shift in demand is the changes that have been made to the rules of the Financial Accounting Standards Boards. Accounting firms are expected to use the new regulations when reporting the values of leases and book revenues. These new leasing rules go into effect in 2019, and booking rules go into effect at the end of this year.

Increased Salaries

The average salary for an accountant in the United States is $67,190 a year. Some accounting graduates, however, earn up to $53,000 within their first year of graduating. College placement services often see rates of 90% when placing accounting graduates into jobs.

More Focus on Business Ethics

Fraud has plagued the business industry in recent years and resulted in scandals. Both staff and executive members in various companies have been convicted in serious legal battles.

Accountants are required to scrutinize financial statements to help their employers avoid legal issues and maintain satisfactory business ethics.

Growth of Job Opportunities

The professional recreating company, SelectOne, claims that within the accounting job market, the fastest growing positions are that of staff accountant, budget analyst, and auditor.

A Maryville accounting degree can help you reach your career goals, as it provides courses that are practical and useful in the world of accounting.

Apps and Permissions: Risks and Rewards

Apps and Permissions: Risks and Rewards

To use an app to on any Smartphone, user permission will be requested for on any mobile operating system (Android, iOS, or Windows).  These permissions unlock the full functionality of the device, and the permissions will relate to how the app works. For example, a call app will need access to your contacts list, and a gallery app will need access to your camera.

In some instances, some apps may ask for permissions which have no relation to the purpose of the app. This can be a music app asking for access to your messages. Apps that request for irrelevant access likely working with third-party companies such as analytics companies to gain access to informational data.

While you may not be comfortable with this, Data Governance laws ensure that a user’s privacy is protected by removing any trace of your identity. To make apps work better, the data that is gotten from your Smartphone is used to improve the app and also promote target advertisement.

The use, protection, and maintenance of any data gleaned from web browsers, Internet of Things (IoT), and Smartphones is something a student will learn before achieving a Masters Degree in Business Data Analytics.

The Advantages

Among the seemingly endless list of apps which are available on mobile marketplaces like the App store and the Play store, an estimated 70% of these apps provide data analytics companies with data. These data are used to observe social media activities, monitor app usage and also promote adverts which are suited to each person.

A profile is built around each data from a Smartphone in order to aid developers to provide services which will offer more benefits to a particular user.

The data which is gathered from users can also be used along with hardware permissions such as microphone access and camera feeds to offer a more personal touch to the use of each app by a client.

Roger Hurni also states that the use of geo-location technology with an app is the easiest, fastest and most efficient way to get a beneficial event such as an offer in a store which a user is close to. This also helps small businesses to reduce their expenses by providing them with info for their targeted ads. This was while talking to journalist Jennifer Lonoff Schiff’s in “7 Ways Small Businesses Can Benefit From Mobile Apps” on CIO.com.

The use of data obtained from Smartphones is legal if it used for determining the best-targeted adverts, market research, government research, geolocation targeting, etc.

The demerits

Ensuring that the privacy of a user is secure remains a top priority in the world of data analytics. Any information which contains personally identifiable information (PII) needs to undergo de-identification, especially in a developed country. There are regulatory controls in the United States such as the patriot act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which guard against the spread of data which could aid fraudulent activities against a user.

For a definition of what a PII refers to, the HIPAA’s Privacy Rule offers the most comprehensive. In the healthcare industry, a PII is known as protected health information (PHI). The HIPAA’s privacy rule also extends to third-party vendors that interact with any healthcare establishment, healthcare providers, clearinghouses, and health insurance companies.

Information such as vehicle identification numbers, social security numbers, account numbers, first names, last names, and addresses are under the protection of the privacy rule.

The protection of data in other sectors, outside the healthcare sector, also follows similar procedures to the privacy rule. Unlike in the United States, there are countries where there are no laws to protect user privacy. According to Nathan Vanderklippe, a legal writer, he states in his article titled “China Collecting Sensitive Personal Data Through Android Apps: Report,” that some search engines such as Baidu collect data which can be used to identify a user

He then explains that according to the laws in the country, the search engine company provides government authorities with access to the data they collect.

This means that with access to comprehensive data on a user, the profiles built can be personalized. Affected may not only be Chinese citizens but U.S. citizens as well will have their information passed across to the Chinese authorities.

With this problem looming, it would be best to use apps which follow government protection laws and only provide data to analytics companies. While Google is still coming up with techniques to filter apps which request unnecessary permissions, this is the path with the lowest risk.

Brian Reigh in “Google Can Tell Which Apps Are Asking For Too Much Of Your Private Information” on AndroidAuthority.com, he states that there is a machine-language from Google which will be able to categorize apps using the user metrics, text descriptions, and other metadata. This reduces errors when creating categories.

Maryville University’s Master Degree In Business Data Analytics

Maryville University’s online Master’s of Science in Business Data Analytics degree produces experts in business analytics who are currently in high demand by companies. As students become graduates, they are ready to work as data governance specialists, data scientists, or statistician.

What Maryville University teaches students is the monetization of data, decision making using analytics, handling data sets, and creating various infrastructures. As graduates, they will have undergone training on how to use analytical tools along with operational data from businesses.

 

Restaurants cry fowl over the demise of the small chicken

Restaurants cry fowl over the demise of the small chicken

Portuguese barbecued chicken restaurants in Toronto are struggling with a supply shortage of the younger, smaller chickens they cook on charcoal barbecues or rotisserie spits.

“Where is all the chicken?” asks Guiherme Salera of the Portuguese Chicken Guys, a downtown restaurant. “We are calling all our suppliers, scrambling.”

The eateries, called churrasqueiras (a Portuguese word that translates to barbecue restaurant), have over the decades become a popular dining option in Toronto; dozens of the family-owned shops thrive across the city and the suburbs. But several restaurateurs say that for the past few months they have been unable to find the 1.1-kilogram chickens that taste the best.

At its heart, their beef seems to result from a clash between taste and efficiency.

Canadian farmers prefer to raise heavier chickens, because they get paid by weight. Abattoirs have set up their shackle lines — where workers slaughter, defeather, eviscerate and chill the chickens — to process the bigger birds. It takes about as much time to process a small bird as a big bird.

The restaurants, however, have equipment designed for smaller birds, and a business model based on price: $12 to $13 for a whole roast chicken. Lightweight chickens cook more quickly and taste better, the restaurants say. Sea salt and other seasonings can fully penetrate from the skin into the meat. It’s a preference, the way some people prefer veal to beef.

“The younger bird is more tender, more juicy,” said Eugene Antunes, who founded Churrasco St. Lawrence, a fixture since 1989 in the famed St. Lawrence market. “You buy an older bird, it’s been around. It has tougher, fatter meat. If it is a very big bird, it will singe before it cooks properly.”

Antunes said his suppliers have warned him of coming shortages of small birds. He is gathering signatures on a petition directed at the Chicken Farmers of Ontario to keep the 1.1-kilogram chickens coming.

The petition notes, “because we’re a BBQ house a larger bird is of no value to us because it won’t cook the same way.”

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario did not return repeated calls requesting comment.

Frank Sardinha, owner of Churrasqueira do Sardinha, buys chicken from Maple Leaf Foods Inc. A box of 20 chickens “used to come in 21-23 kilos,” he said. “Now the cases weigh 24-25 kilos. The bigger birds don’t taste as good, but I gotta take them. Beggars can’t be choosers.”

Salerna added that when restaurants buy older birds, they have to cut up to 200 grams of fat from their thighs and neck before roasting them — wasted weight for which the restaurants have to pay.

Mike Dungate, executive director of the Chicken Farmers of Canada, insists the push for larger chickens does not come from his organization, which tells each province, each year, how many kilograms of chicken they can raise, but not the size of each fowl.

“All we do is set the volume of chicken you can grow,” he said. “We do not care what size of chicken they grow.”

Even so, the rules dictate that farmers must raise chickens on an eight-week cycle in Ontario; if a farmer sends a younger chicken to slaughter, his barn sits empty longer until the next batch of chicks arrive. (Manitoba is on a seven-week cycle, so Manitoba chickens tend to be smaller, Dungate said.)

Told that restaurants seek 1.1-kilogram chickens for their superior flavour, Dungate burst into laughter. “I’m not quite sure on that one,” he said. “That’s a very small bird.”

Profits

Chicken processors prefer bigger birds because they earn more profit, said Robin Horel, chief executive of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processing Council. He said the birds are not older, but simply grow more quickly than they did in the past.

“Birds have been getting bigger in the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “It’s more financially beneficial for farmers to grow a bigger bird, and more profitable for processors. The genetics of chicken make it more financially advantageous. And restaurants buy bigger birds because it’s cheaper for them.”

Indeed, Kentucky Fried Chicken Canada Co. confirmed that some of its restaurants now source bigger chickens, and slice the birds into more pieces before they put them in the fryer.

“In response to changes in sustainable farming practices, KFC suppliers in some parts of the country are sourcing larger, meatier chickens from Canadian farms,” the company said in an emailed statement. “In these locations, some pieces may look different due to a new way of cutting the chicken.”

Chicken is a fast-growing source of protein. In 1975, the average Canadian ate 13 kilograms of chicken and 47.4 kilograms of beef. Last year, each Canadian ate 32.5 kilos of chicken and 25 kilos of beef, according to Statistics Canada.

To supply the market, farmers have doubled production since 1990 to more than 1.1 billion kilograms of chicken raised last year. Chicken Farmers of Canada data also confirm a gradual increase in the size of the average live chicken, from two kilograms in 1990 to 2.3 last year.

Some in the industry say chicken kill facilities are working to squeeze smaller chickens out of the marketplace. Ontario rules make the small bird shortage worse, they say.

Most provinces have “open sign-up,” which means a farmer and an abattoir can agree to work together. In Ontario, the chicken farmers since 2011 have decided which plants will get chicken supplies.

Still, if some restaurants prefer a smaller chicken, why won’t their suppliers provide it?

Chris Hobbs, vice-president at ADP Direct Poultry in Toronto, has been wrestling with this question for months. His company buys chickens from abattoirs and further processes the meat for restaurants and grocery stores. They are a main supplier to churrasqueira.

“If you pull small birds from the market, people will be forced to adapt to a bigger bird,” Hobbs said. “This is not a consumer-driven change. Right now, it’s a bit like 1980s Russia: you can get any car you want as long as it’s a black Lada.”

In a three-page letter in May to the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Hobbs asked for permission to directly buy smaller chickens from farms. The association has now agreed to meet him in August.

Specialty market

Paul Wideman is in a similar predicament. Wideman, whose family has worked for many years in the animal feed business, teamed up with investors three years ago to buy a decommissioned abattoir in Dundalk, about 100 km northwest of Toronto.

Wideman said his group invested $1 million to certify the plant, Conscious Living Cuisine Processing Ltd., with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and he wants to slaughter younger, smaller chickens for the specialty market.

So far, however, his plant has only slaughtered ducks, geese and guinea fowl, because the plant has not been granted plant supply quota from the Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

“We really didn’t think we’d have this much trouble convincing the powers that be to send us some chicken,” Wideman said. “It’s been delay, delay, delay.”

Supply management may have brought stability to Canada’s agricultural industry, he said, “but when you ask for something outside the mainstream (such as a smaller chicken), it all falls apart. The system no longer serves the many and diverse ethnic communities of Ontario.”

Back at St. Lawrence Market, Antunes said he owns a farm, and raises chickens for his own family meals. The rules, however, forbid him from raising chickens for his own restaurant.

“We want to sell chicken,” he said. “We could grow our own, but they won’t let us, and they won’t give us what we want, so what are we to do?”

Fans flood San Diego Comic-Con at Wednesday’s preview night

Fans flood San Diego Comic-Con at Wednesday’s preview night

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Convention Center was packed with people as soon as it opened its doors for Comic-Con.

Fans with four-day passes to the annual pop-culture convention were treated to a preview of the showroom floor Wednesday night: 460,000 square feet of TV, film and video game displays, along with toys, art and comic books for sale. Panels, presentations, screenings and celebrity appearances begin Thursday and continue through Sunday.

Forty-nine-year-old Tony Saxon bee-lined it for the Hasbro booth, where he loaded up on two massive bags of collectible toys.

“I spent $700, and that’s just the beginning,” said Saxon, who has been coming to Comic-Con since 1993. “I’m going to be broke by Sunday.”

Besides being packed with thousands of fans, Comic-Con’s showroom floor was alight with flashing screens and giant character displays touting the latest shows, movies, games and toys. The Mattel booth boasted a life-size replica of the new Batmobile from “Justice League,” which looks like a tank crossed with a sports car. Sanrio’s booth showed Hello Kitty reimagined as Sonic the Hedgehog. “The Walking Dead” booth was crawling with zombies. And players were so engrossed in their games at the Yu-Gi-Oh! booth, it was like they couldn’t tell Comic-Con was happening all around them.

“I just got here and it’s crowded,” said Miles Messenger, 35, as he waited in line to buy an exclusive toy at the Nickelodeon booth. “But I keep coming back because I really enjoy the atmosphere and the community, and being with people who share the same interests.”

What started as a comic-book convention with 300 participants in 1970 has grown into a corporate-heavy media showcase that draws more than 130,000 attendees. Netflix, Warner Bros., Fox, HBO and Marvel Studios are among the companies hosting large-scale presentations with top-name talent. But while Hollywood has raised Comic-Con’s profile, comic book enthusiasts say it keeps edging out the book buyers and sellers at the heart of the event.

“I think the biggest story about Comic-Con this year is that Chuck Rozanski and Mile High Comics isn’t attending… He is THE guy in terms of retail comics and he cannot afford to do the setup that he would usually do because he just doesn’t get the sales that he used to get at Comic-Con,” said Harry Knowles, founder of the fan site Ain’t It Cool News and a Comic-Con regular since 1971. “The sadness that’s going on is the people that really made Comic-Con worth going to from the very beginning are being squeezed out by the entire corporate structure of Hollywood, of the industry that is creating so much awesome stuff for us to obsess about.”

Among the fan obsessions on view this year: “Stranger Things 2” and “Marvel’s The Defenders” from Netflix, which also promises a surprise screening Thursday night; HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld”; “Justice League” and “Blade Runner 2049” from Warner Bros., along with an anticipated appearance by Steven Spielberg showcasing his adaptation of “Ready Player One.”

Jamie Newbold, who’s been attending Comic-Con since 1972 and selling comic books there for more than 20 years, said that as big entertainment companies have seized on the convention’s fan base, the cost of exhibit space on the showroom floor has become prohibitive for small vendors.

The owner of Southern California Comics in San Diego still plans to bring about 15,000 books to the convention, but he used to take triple that.

“I have a lot of friends who do what I do, and when they look around and see the booths on either side of them are corporate booths, they’re big businesses, and we’re just little guys from LA or Colorado or New Orleans,” Newbold said. “It would be nice for us to see some form of compensation to keep us there since we’re the seeds that sprouted this massive tree.”

His wish? That Comic-Con would make its 50th anniversary a celebration of rare and vintage comic books.

Jud Meyers, co-founder of Blastoff Comics in Los Angeles, remembers when comic book sellers dominated the convention centre showroom. Now big studio and video game exhibits are front and centre, with booksellers are in the back.

“I don’t think we can blame Hollywood,” he said. “Dedicated comic book stores are at a low we’ve never seen… The comic book world is not just about comic books.”

That may be most clear at Comic-Con, where fans of sci-fi, superheroes and other genre fare can connect with their favourite characters through movies, TV, toys or cosplay, as well as comics.

Knowles, also a producer of the 2011 documentary “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope,” said Comic-Con isn’t a battle between Hollywood and comic books.

“It’s not about who’s out to win Comic-Con,” he said. “The people who are going to win Comic-Con are the ones who paid for tickets to arrive to Comic-Con. They’re going to have the greatest time ever.”

Rogers Communications beats the Street with 35% profit surge

Rogers Communications beats the Street with 35% profit surge

TORONTO — Rogers Communications is reporting a 35 per cent increase in second-quarter net income, beating analyst estimates.

Its net income was $531 million or $1.03 per share, while adjusted profit was $1 per share.

Analysts had estimated Rogers would have 90 cents per share of net income, or 93 cents per share after adjustments, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue was $3.59 billion — up four per cent from last year’s second quarter and within analyst estimates.

It’s the first financial report issued by the Toronto-based telecommunications and media company since Joe Natale became its CEO in April.

Natale is a former CEO of Telus, where he had a reputation of building customer satisfaction and reducing turnover.

He said in today’s announcement that Rogers will improve customer service but also intensify a company-wide focus on controlling costs and improving profitability for shareholders.

 

Blockbuster Avista deal lifts Hydro One into Top 20 utilities on continent

Blockbuster Avista deal lifts Hydro One into Top 20 utilities on continent

Hydro One Limited, the largest electricity transmission and distribution provider in Ontario, has struck a deal to purchase Avista Corp., a pure-play regulated electric and gas utilities holding company that has operations in U.S. northeast and Alaska, for $6.7 billion.

The acquisition, which will see shareholders of publicly listed Avista receive US$53 a share and which was announced after the markets closed Wednesday, marks Hydro One’s first transaction in the U.S. since it went public in late 2015.

The purchase,marks a proud moment for Canadian champions as we grow our business into a North American leader,” Mayo Schmidt, Hydro One’s chief executive, said, adding the transaction “will be accretive to earnings per share in the mid-single digits in the first full year of operation.” More importantly the acquisition offers shareholders of Hydro One “a significant and stable increase to earnings and cash flow underpinned by fully regulated utility operations.” Hydro One has promised to continue to pay out 70 to 80 per cent of its earnings as dividends.

Investors, however, were not impressed and Hydro One fell the most in eight months Thursday morning after the deal that analysts said is too costly and exposes the Canadian energy company to regulatory hassles.

“Hydro One is paying the price to gain exposure to U.S. markets,” Shahriar Pourreza, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities, said in a note Thursday. The “very rich valuation” is “likely a near-term anomaly.”

Hydro One fell as much as 5.4 per cent to $21.32 in Toronto, the biggest intraday decline since Nov. 10, before paring losses. Avista rose 20 per cent to US$51.83 in New York.

If and when the transaction closes — and the two parties are targeting the second half of 2018 — the combined entity will have an enterprise value of $31.2 billion, and assets of $32.2 billion. It will rank in the Top 20 North American utilities that are focused on regulated transmission, electricity and natural gas local distribution and serve more than two million retail and industrial customers.

In entering the U.S., Hydro One is following the lead set by two East Coast utilities, Newfoundland-based Fortis Inc. and Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc.

And Hydro One is following the lead set by those two entities in the way it finances such acquisitions: it is selling $1.4 billion of 4 per cent convertible debentures represented by instalment receipts.

In that structure, investors will be paid one-third of the cost of each $1,000 debenture on closing with the balance ($667) being paid at a future date when all the conditions have been met. As a result, holders will receive an effective 12 per cent yield on the first installment. The rest of the purchase price will come from placing US$2.6 billion of debt.

When the transaction closes, Avista will be run as a Spokane-based stand-alone company. Synergies between the two companies are expected to be small given that “no workforce reductions” are planned. Instead efficiencies will flow through “enhanced scale, innovation, shared IT systems and increased purchasing power.”