Do You Want An Unfair Competitive Advantage?

August 20, 2014 by

What if your small or medium enterprise (SME) could gain an unfair competitive advantage against the majority of your competitors?

Software manufacturers have advanced exponentially in applications development, mobile devices, and deployment models in just the last two years. Not only are today’s solutions vastly improved over previous offerings, but the evolution of cloud technology coupled with mobility has accelerated their value even more.

Cloud computing has turned the capital equation on its head and levels the playing field between you and your competition. Smaller companies can now afford to run software that performs on par with what only larger competitors used to be able to afford. Money that is saved by this subscription-based model can be redeployed to areas of the business that drive revenue and increase returns. A cloud deployment model also simplifies the management of your software and increases your business agility.

In addition, the rush to mobility has pressed software vendors to offer streamlined, easy-to-use tools that don’t require the “back room” specialists that were necessary in the past. Today, for example, anyone can use the majority of reporting and analytics tools on their mobile phone or any other handheld device. To make matters even more enticing, advancements made in “in memory” computing have delivered a quantum leap in performance that is truly breathtaking. Reports that used to take hours to generate are now available in real-time or near-real-time.

So what can today’s SME business leader do to take advantage of these gains?

If you want to grow and win, the answer is clear. Take the time to investigate how the advanced features of cloud-based, “available on any device” computing can give you an advantage over your less-informed competitors that is almost unfair. Consider this as well: how will your company measure up against a competitor that has already made the leap from the past into today’s new models?

Instead of paying for your software up front, consider how a cloud deployment model could enable you to allocate your cash to areas that deliver new customers, innovations, and business expansion.

Would this give you a competitive advantage?

What’s The Buzz About Cloud Computing?

August 20, 2014 by

Can using the cloud really save you money?

A simple definition of cloud computing is storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just another name for the Internet. The question that most people ask is, is it safe and how can it save me money.

According to the Huffington Post, Parallels, a software company that enables companies like GoDaddy and Sprint to offer cloud services to small and medium businesses, reported that the cloud services industry grew to $45 billion worldwide last year. Helping to drive that were 6 million small and medium businesses purchasing their first cloud service last year alone. And, the report projects that the market is expected to grow annually at a rate of 28 percent through 2015 to be a $95 billion industry.

A cloud storage application that you might consider is Google Drive. Google Drive gives you the ability to securely save your important documents to the cloud. This means that your document isn’t physically stored on any one device, but rather, it’s stored on a secure internet server and is accessible from any Internet or data-enabled device.

In Google Drive, you can create new documents, spreadsheets and presentations instantly. Work together at the same time, on the same doc, and see changes as they appear. With a powerful search feature, Google Drive helps you get to your files faster. Search for content by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Google Drive can even recognize objects in your images and text in scanned documents.

What most businesses like the most about Google Drive is that you can drag and drop files into the Drive Web site and they’ll be uploaded automatically. You can also preview attachments from Gmail in Google Drive, and save those files to your cloud. Where Google Drive excels is it requires very little setup if you already have a Google account. What’s more, if you use Gmail, it’s easy to save attachments from your e-mail directly to Drive with just a few clicks.

Here is how using cloud based storage can save you money …

You’ll save time accesses important files
If you used a cloud storage system, your employees could quickly get access to what they need from any location with internet access. No need for a special in house desktop management system, just easy access.

You’ll save money on infrastructure such as servers, operating systems, applications, etc.
If you switch to cloud storage, you’ll only be paying a monthly fee to your cloud provider. No costly servers to worry about.

You’ll save your IT workers time
The average IT worker has a mountain of tasks to do on a daily basis, and server maintenance can be a big part of their daily routine. Today, off-site means off-loaded; less equipment in house results in less hassles and costs all around.

You’ll save energy
A report, created by research firm Verdantix and sponsored by AT&T, estimates that cloud computing could enable companies to save $12.3 billion off their energy bills. That equals a carbon emission savings of 85.7 million metric tons per year by 2020.

Reduce your carbon footprint
Storing data and information in the cloud can help you minimize your carbon footprint by taking advantage of shared resources, eliminating the need for replicated copies.

The Importance of a Seamless Ecommerce Experience

August 13, 2014 by

Online shoppers today want it all. They don’t just want fast shipping, or free shipping, or ready product availability, or the right to return a product bought online to a local store. They want ALL of those things and many others from manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike as the pace of technology makes it possible.

I was recently part of a webinar Creating a Seamless Customer Experience Across All Your Commerce Channels where SPS Commerce’s executive vice president David Novak shared the results of a recent survey from Retail Systems Research (RSR) and SPS Commerce. Based on the survey responses from hundreds of retail practitioners, suppliers and logistics firms, the 2014 SPS Commerce Retail Benchmark Survey found that 85 percent of shoppers expect immediate availability and immediate shipping, 82 percent expect competitive pricing and 65 percent expect more product variety.

Ten years ago that might have sounded unrealistic. But today, with the retail and supply chain technology available, those expectations can be met, albeit with a fair bit of effort.

What constitutes a perfect customer experience today? And what exactly does it mean to say you’ve got an omnichannel customer shopping or service experience? Omnichannel means a consistent consumer shopping experience regardless of where the consumer chooses to engage a retailer or supplier. A perfect order made through omnichannel commerce means that it is shipped for free and within a day or two, complete, damage-free, easily returned, competitively priced and is highly approved of in online consumer reviews.

However getting to this “perfect” omnichannel purchase order is proving difficult for the majority of retailers and suppliers. According to the 2014 SPS Commerce Retail Benchmark Survey, only 4 percent of respondents have executed an omnichannel strategy.

What separates those in that rarefied 4 percent from the rest of the industry? Integration of their core systems is the major difference. Ecommerce companies that have integrated supply chain, CRM, retail, inventory and other processes can get products in and orders out faster. However, most companies still have disconnected data silos that don’t share information and can’t automatically pass an order from one point to the next. In most cases, they don’t share common data formats.

These disparate systems are breaking down faster as the integration needs between partners become more complex. For example, look at the number of descriptors a product needs today vs. 15 years ago. Back then, a shirt might be described in an inventory system by twelve attributes — color, size, material, batch, etc. Now, it may have as many as 100 attributes and require descriptors like the discontinuation date, country of manufacture, country of assembly, hazardous materials list, pallet width, order lead time, allergens, certifications, etc. Most older systems can’t handle that many attributes.

Moreover, the processes involved in stocking, shipping, servicing, updating inventory, pricing, marketing and all other activities associated with product sales and service have also escalated in complexity. To handle a multi-partner ecommerce network, a company not only needs an integrated supply chain and intelligent order orchestration to move orders between manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, but it also needs an integrated front end that links everything from online sales and CRM data to product specifications and shipping status.

Dynacraft Bike, a maker and distributor of bicycles, scooters and other ride-on toys shows how an integrated platform can solve many of these needs at once. Based in Canyon, Calif., Dynacraft sells to major retailers such as Walmart, Target and Toys-R-Us, who in turn sell Dynacraft bikes both in their physical stores and online. Dynacraft itself doesn’t yet sell online, but is planning to sell direct in a way that is channel friendly and doesn’t compete with their online resellers.

Before becoming a NetSuite customer, Dynacraft owned a hodgepodge of different systems that weren’t integrated. They severely limited the company’s ability to expand its relationships with partners, according to Bob Jellison, Dynacraft’s director of technology.

The legacy architecture wasn’t scalable enough to support any attempts to integrate or synchronize data between systems. It also prevented Dynacraft from taking on a greater role with partners, such as taking on the task of drop-shipping products to keep up with the high demand.

The company really needed to scrap the old systems and start fresh with a single platform that could scale and support Dynacraft’s vision of the future to improve turnaround and the number of retailers it is able to work with.

Dynacraft opted to move to NetSuite’s cloud ERP Warehouse Management Edition and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Today the company is well situated to work with a greater number of partners and handle drop shipping for trading partners that need it.

The next step will be adding SuiteCommerce, which will enable it to support this B2C commerce strategy to sell direct online.

The end result is a company that can do business with major retailers with streamlined processes and fast, automated shipping and billing, and which is now poised to expand sales further through its own ecommerce site. That’s a scenario that makes Dynacraft, its partners, and ultimately its customers, very happy.

Watch Bob Jellison, Dynacraft’s director of technology, explain the company’s experience below:

Before Disaster Strikes, Businesses Should Move to the Cloud at Lightning Speed

August 6, 2014 by

Many of cloud computing’s benefits are well-known, including greater flexibility, scalability and lower IT costs. But cloud also excels in providing business continuity against unplanned disruptions such as power outages, server room fires and natural disasters. In order to protect your business with a sound disaster recovery plan, cloud needs to be an integral part of your company planning.

In a recent webcast, “Reducing Supply Chain Risks with the Cloud,” corporate consulting and research firm Frost & Sullivan, estimated that the 2011 floods in Bangkok, Thailand severely disrupted as many as 50,000 businesses and wreaked havoc on global supply chains going into, or out of, the country. In Brisbane, Australia, a 2011 flood forced 20 percent of businesses in the city to shut their doors for an average of 8 days, with many not returning to normal business operations for31 days .

The same scenario has played out with other natural, as well as man-made disasters. Much of the lost revenue and recovery time isn’t in rebuilding offices but recouping IT systems and data. Companies that keep their critical business applications and data on-premise, in server cabinets or computer rooms, are at enormous risk when disaster strikes. It can be weeks before employees can get back to access their files, and that data may not be in an accessible or useable state when they do.

The scale of the problem grows exponentially for businesses with global interests, such as those in logistics, manufacturing and distribution. These firms operate across multiple locations, with multiple partners and are at significant risk should their central IT systems suddenly become inaccessible.

Shipments, credit, raw materials, inventory information and plenty more data would be on hold leaving the global network in limbo.

According to a Frost & Sullivan survey of business leaders in Asia Pacific, nearly 90 percent of businesses believe that they are vulnerable to an event that could destroy the IT infrastrcture in their head office and 65 percent felt that the use of cloud computing would reduce the impact of that damage.

Mark Dougan, managing director ANZ at Frost & Sullivan listed three key areas where cloud computing, also called software-as-a-service (SaaS), serves as a crtical component of a disaster recovery plan:
1.It enables employees to access data and other corporate resources from off-site locations;
2. It gives employees the applications and other tools they need to do their jobs, even when not in the office; and
3.It ultimately enables staff as a whole to get back to work and keep the businss running even if the physical offices have been destroyed.

According to Dougan, “Cloud providers have a much greater resilency than any busness can provide on its own. Cloud computing should be the central part of any disaster recovery plan.”

Steve Orleow, general manager of BioPak, based in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia, would agree. A maker of environmentally sustainable packaging such as coffee cups, bags, and containers, BioPak moved its IT systems to NetSuite’s cloud-based global ERP solution several years ago, initially to keep up with the business’ projected rapid growth.

“We were outgrowing our existing systems and preparing for fast growth. We wanted a product that supported our business strategies,” explained Orleow.

The integrated, cloud-based NetSuite platform provided visibility into all of the company’s data, including customer orders and status on a real time basis, making it possible for BioPak to keep customers better informed and to better analyse and forecast their own performance. The ability to view performance and operating data in real time also enables BioPak to catch errors in processes faster and give partners more access into the system via a specially created Netsuite screen with pieces of NetSuite functionality, said Orleow.

From a disaster recovery perspective, however, the best benefit is the ability to keep going in the face of adversity, because the data and applicatons are all in the cloud.

“If our business was shut down by a flood,” said Orleow, “we could operate normally from anywhere. Our staff from home could dial in and continue to operate as they would from the office.”

Digital Transformation, Part 1: Rapid State Of Change

August 6, 2014 by

Innovation is a game changer. There’s a new sense of urgency. We are in the middle of a digital transformation and businesses need to face it – or get disrupted. One message that we hear repeatedly when co-innovating with enterprises across the globe is: “We need to accelerate the pace of change and innovation for us and for our clients.”

And at the heart of this change is the cloud.

But what is digital transformation really about? Have we simply digitized by adopting technology without truly innovating the way we work? Let’s talk about what has changed in business and how a cloud-first and outcome-based approach can help.

Several quarters back, you might have been asking, “Who has a smartphone?” This question is no longer relevant – smartphones are a commodity. This single device has disrupted dozens of companies, enabled millions of applications, and blurred the line between home and work even more than the laptop before it.

For many, the smartphone is the portal to our lives. At the very least, smartphones make one thing clear: we want things instantly. We’ve seen a shift toward delivering outcomes and experiences, rather than features and functions, but I’ll discuss more about this in my next blog.

One big question comes up very often during discussions of digital transformation (#DigitalTransformation): Why is the consumer so much more powerful?

Well, a consumer in today’s network economy can perform tasks that only businesses could do five years ago. Businesses understand that they need to adapt or be disrupted. Think of Uber, Airbnb, and soon, Tesla.

Now let’s have a look at the factors without which digital transformation would be impossible to achieve:

Cloud
The cloud is the innovation layer, the platform for rapid development and business transformation. We are coming to a subscription economy, where more and more will be delivered and consumed as a service. Consumers experienced this first and now it’s time for businesses – they expect outcomes, not products, and they need their services scalable, flexible, and elastic.

Data
It is not about big, it is about right. Don’t get me wrong – big can be important – but what really matters is what you do with it. The right data, at the right moment of the process, is key. We need the ability to handle structured and unstructured data, but more importantly, to transform it quickly into essential business insights.

Network
This is part of the experience layer that creates a vibrant marketplace for your employees, partners, suppliers, customers (existing and potential), and the public. Collaboration inside and outside your company is essential for managing business transformation.

Devices
When it comes to devices, some only think of mobility, but it is so much more. We have officially entered a post-PC era. We now work and use several devices simultaneously. This will only intensify with the rising popularity of wearable devices like smart glasses, smart watches, smart tags, and so on. Though the Internet of Things is in its early stages, it is already disrupting traditional businesses. Just look at Tesla or the Google car to see what it is really about.

Cloud is impacting everything we do
Cloud computing is having a massive influence on every service, every product, and every user. What the cloud enables companies to do is to really place the customer and end user at the center of their business. With that, customers have the full flexibility to consume what they need, when they need it, and on a simplified, unified, real-time platform.

The distance between the engineer and the end user of the service is now dramatically reduced.

The result of this reduction in the distance between the engineer and the end user of a service is unmatched speed of innovation, simplicity, and reduced time to value.

How businesses can prepare for tomorrow
When businesses today want to outpace the disruption happening in the market, they need to equip themselves with technology that will help them adapt to change quickly – and the cloud is the spearhead of that. It’s not only cloud computing technology that is the driving force for business innovation; it is the advent of multiple disruptive technologies, like mobile, in-memory computing, and predictive analytics, coming together thanks to the cloud.

Starting with the cloud offers fast innovation tailored to specific business outcomes. Organizations must take advantage of the technology available to them and invest in it to keep their company at the forefront of the digital transformation happening today.

What 317 Companies Are Saying About Their Enterprise Cloud Adoption And Road Map

August 6, 2014 by

Cloud adoption will more than double in the next 3 years and there will be nearly a 4X decrease in organizations leveraging on-premise solutions. Those numbers are staggering but not only are they based on a recent Enterprise Cloud Computing study conducted with 317 respondents at SAPPHIRE NOW 2014, it represents the shift in most companies’ technology strategy in the coming years. These companies have also articulated that they are focusing their strategy on both back-office processes in addition to core/front-office processes which clearly shows the move to transition to the cloud across the entire business.

With this shift in strategy, organizations articulate that integration will be a top challenge that must be addressed as they evaluate the move to a hybrid and/or cloud model. This statement is supported as over 58% of organizations are still on-premise today and they will need to think through how to seamlessly tie their cloud and on-premise solutions moving forward. That being said, these very same organizations are dedicated to the cloud because of strong business and IT value available to support keeping up with the rapid pace of change occurring in their markets today. The overwhelming majority of these organizations articulate that they will align themselves with a trusted partner that will ensure a secure environment to drive this value within their businesses.

Below is a summary of the key insights from this study and documents exactly how mature organizations are as it relates to leveraging cloud for enterprise core processes. We found that:
•Today, only 4% of organizations leverage cloud but in the next 3 years, 81% will move to a Cloud or a hybrid model for most or all of their processes.
•48% of organizations have started to leverage cloud for their back-office processes but the percentage is fairly high at 38% for even for front/core-office processes.
•80% of respondents state that a secured environment with a trusted partner is the most important expectation from a cloud solution.

These insights validate the technology strategy shift I referred to above. Below is the full infographic with even more insights from this microsurvey.

Future_of_Enterprise_Cloud

CommVault Implements NetSuite in Five-Month Period with the Right ERP Team

August 5, 2014 by

A year removed from attending SuiteWorld 2013, when they came to learn all they could about NetSuite prior to an implementation, CommVault representatives returned this year to explain how a great implementation can be achieved if you get the people process right.

A public, multinational, $2.5 billion market-cap company, CommVault recently went live on NetSuite OneWorld in less than six months, replacing 12 packaged and homegrown applications.

Perhaps the most important step to ensuring initial ERP success is building the right team, according to Eric Luehmann, CommVault’s financial systems manager. Luehmann explained his company’s operational approach in a breakout session at SuiteWorld 2014, detailing aspects such as how to approach NetSuite optimization exercises, how to implement a new NetSuite module and how to get the best out of a new ERP implementation overall.

The right team requires more than just smart people with expertise in one area, Luehmann explained. Instead, it demands a diverse group of people with a variety of strengths. The first thing to decide is who within the organization is best suited for a NetSuite implementation.

“The only way you can really successfully do a project like we did is to understand the problems that you have and to build a timeline to implement solutions to them,” said Luehmann.

With an aging legacy financial package spread across multiple systems, CommVault was unable to comprehensively integrate its fragmented IT stack. An over-reliance on Microsoft Excel didn’t help either. The need to change, update and move on to a next-generation cloud platform was clear.

While CommVault is still working with Excel, it is now using the spreadsheets in a more streamlined fashion so that individual users do not have to turn to the application as frequently, Luehmann said.

“It worried my boss to think that we were going to put all our data into the cloud. But at the end of the day, we don’t have to worry about having a guy in IT around who might just accidentally kick the plug out,” he explained. “Plus, we don’t have to think about maintenance and updates.”

When structuring your team for a NetSuite implementation, Luehmann said it’s important to build a group of people that are, when working together and taken as a whole, capable of “doing everything that will be done when you go live.” This means that more support knowledge is instilled up front in the workforce as part of the implementation process.

“We rolled out worldwide in five months and that is not easy to do,” Luehmann said. “We built a project team with a steering committee and an oversight lead. We also designated functional managers, geographical experts, testers and more. The only way you can really get a project like this done is to involve all the stakeholders up front.”

Luehmann also said that it’s really important to know what all team members are doing at any one point in time, even if it is inconsequential, or just appears to be inconsequential, at the time. Although talking and face-to-face contact is really important, Luehmann urged other firms looking to implement NetSuite to put facts down in email so that conversations are never lost.

Additionally, keeping a list of open items at all times also provides a great means of tracking project progress. Advocating an Agile approach, Luehmann said that it’s important not to get too attached to ideas as things may change at any point in time. His team was able to work with changing requirements and ensure that NetSuite was brought online successfully.

“You can’t always get what you want, but NetSuite will give you what you need, and if you work with this technology properly, you will be able to extend out the system and build what you want,” Luehmann concluded.

You Can Only Manage What You Can Measure: Cloud Is Impacting Everything That We Do

August 5, 2014 by

The distance between the engineer and the end user of a product can be dramatically reduced – thanks to cloud. The result is unmatched speed of innovation, greater simplicity, and reduced time to value. The cloud has enabled businesses, whether they are using public, private, or hybrid solutions, with the simplification of processes and time to value that trumps any other technology.

But for cloud, there are new rules of the game. There is no lock-in any more – cloud contracts provide customers with flexibility to adapt their usage of the solution. As a result of this, providers must find ways to ensure the solution is consumed and business benefits are obtained. Otherwise, customers will decide not to renew, or to reduce their footprint. Cloud is about usage and consumption; there is no shelfware in the cloud.

Therefore, consumption and respective benefits need to be measurable, because we can only manage what we can measure, and metrics provide proof of value for all stakeholders.

You can use cloud performance metrics to optimize your business operations in numerous ways:

Optimize the business
In a cloud economy, there are substantial benefits beyond software, supporting optimization of consumption and usage as an industry best-practice.

Cloud solutions do increase closeness to end-users by providing targeted, consumption-based advice on how to run business processes better with the respective solution. And by measuring success, they ensure motivation for improved and extended usage.

Optimize the solutions
Consumption goes beyond pure usage measurement. The question is not only whether the solution or its parts are used, but also how effectively they are used to optimize business outcomes.

For this, we do not only need measurement and KPIs on usage and business results, but also contextual information that views each process as part of a holistic endeavor.

This end-to-end visibility enables us to optimize the best-run business and benchmark it against industry best-practices.

Optimize the usage
In a cloud economy, the optimization of solutions is not achievable by adding more features and functions. Measurement allows focus on the key use cases and detects the value achieved. It also enables course corrections along the way. Simplifying existing processes and behaviors is only possible if we can prove the impact.

Comparing against industry best-practices can help the clients and also engage the ecosystem, enabling partners to identify white spaces and additional offerings, following the paradigm of “everything-as-a-service.”

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Hyper-Growth Organisations

August 4, 2014 by

There is no blueprint for establishing and running a successful company. However, even in the tough economic times we have faced over the last few years, there have been a number of organisations that have set themselves apart from the competition. Going from strength to strength these organisations include well-known brands such as Hailo, Orlebar Brown and GoPro. In this blog, I will share some insights into the approaches and actions of today’s most successful, fast-growing organisations and the seven habits that you should consider when mobilising your business for hyper-growth.

1. Offer Value and Spot Emerging Trends
Customers want true value from you – not perceived benefits. Customers are also continuously redefining their needs and wants, so the market is continually changing. This means that you have to build a product or service that adds consistent and compelling value to your customer beyond that of what competitors can offer. You have to spot opportunities and grasp them. Hailo, the online taxi booking service that matches taxi drivers and passengers through a mobile app, has done this incredibly well. It spotted a gap in the market and built an entirely new type of service around it – which has led to immense disruption in the industry and great success in a very short period of time. They were agile, audience focused and were able to scale rapidly once they hit a rich seam of success.

2. Identify Growth Opportunities
Companies can grow in two fundamental ways. They can grow their existing customer base organically – leveraging new products and services or they can acquire new customers, move into new markets or diversify their portfolio of offerings. The key to your organisation’s hyper-growth lies in your ability to identify the largest growth potential and then support that strategy across business divisions, sectors or even countries. Will you follow GoPro’s example: continuously developing new products to sell to customers as add-ons to their existing purchases? Or will you set yourself up for entering new markets like fashion retailer, Orlebar Brown, when starting to sell to the US market from the UK? Identify the opportunity and set the strategy (bearing in mind that you must continually reassess performance and market).

3. Hire Leaders with Focus
Little can be achieved without having the right leadership in place. Even if you have a great value proposition and you know where growth may come from in the future, you need a leadership team in place that can execute to your company strategy and objectives. True leaders will not only buy into the company vision but will drive it forward and help it to adapt to an ever changing market environment – spotting trends that can affect your business, sometimes even before they happen. To paraphrase Peter Drucker: ‘management’ is doing things right, but ‘leadership’ is doing the right things. You can’t have the former without the latter.

4. Create Effective Processes
Brilliant, fast-growing companies are built on brilliant processes. Processes must be efficient and scalable – linking the back and front offices in ways that enable decision makers to make the right choice at the right time for the benefit of the organisation, its employees and customers. Today, the majority of these processes are driven from within technology platforms such as ERP systems. It is therefore critical that any system you purchase sets you up for growth by offering you the scalability and flexibility you need at the drop of a hat.

5. Engage Brand Ambassadors
Nothing is as powerful as your customers telling the world about your great product or service. From the outset of developing your growth strategy you have to identify your brand ambassadors – whether they are employees, customers or wider influencers. Whether they tell your story through social media engagement, word of mouth or through interviews with media, you need others to tell your story to support your marketing.

6. Measure Your Success
Success is not luck. You constantly have to monitor what’s working within your business and what is not. You cannot control external factors, but you can measure and react to success or failure. Data-driven companies invest in technology that enable them to have the real-time information visibility, flexibility and response mechanism their organisations require, no matter the time, place or company structure. Big data leads to big advantage – if you can harness it more quickly and with more insight than your competitors.

7. Be Agile And Keep Innovating
Once you have built a fast growing organisation, the temptation may be to take your foot off the gas. But the world rapidly changes – and today’s winners can fast become losers if they do not continually reassess their position, customers and market opportunities. After all, the thing that many of the companies I have mentioned today, including my own company NetSuite, are doing so well is continuing to strive for innovation. Customers have more choice than ever before, and your competitors will spring up around you. Always be one step ahead.

I hope these seven drivers of hyper-growth organisations provide you with some food for thought. My question to you and your management team is, are you currently applying any of these habits? Do you agree? What is your recipe for success? We’d love to hear from you.

Cloud Cappuccino: Why SMB’s Should Think Cloud Computing

August 4, 2014 by

For any small or midsize business owner, the costs of doing business are every bit as important as the revenues created. With sometimes-limited buying power, it has to be this way because small upticks in volume rarely yield great decreases in cost.

Over the past decade, technology has been as disruptive as ever to the SMB landscape. Social media, digital marketing, Big Data, and other emerging trends have brought new capabilities to business while shifting the investment in many cases from capex to opex.

Another rapidly emerging trend that is radically changing the cost of doing business for small companies is Cloud Computing. Cloud is a “Newish” technology that has actually been part of most people’s every day life for some time, however, only recently has it become highly disruptive to business.

While cloud technology has created software packages that can Web enable everything from your phone to your accounting system, the greatest shift that may be underway is the shift from big one time expenditures to ongoing operational costs that can scale up and down as business needs require.

Running your small business for the price of a daily dose of caffiene
In the old (traditional) way of thinking, businesses would make massive investments in technology. If they needed a server, software or other technology it was going to be looked at as a purchase, use and depreciate model.

For some businesses, this worked when cash flow was strong and the returns were measurable. They could depreciate over several years and use the technology without taking a giant hit to their bottom line.

This model was highly dependent upon the investment being consistently used for 5, 7 or even 10 years.

Now with software being innovated on a daily basis and server requirements changing faster than your Twitter stream, the idea of purchasing any technology that can be expensed and used on demand seems almost silly.

Data center, servers, applications and software are now bundled and available to run at precisely the size of your business. If your needs grow, it’s a call or click away to get the support you need. If it shrinks (and let’s hope not) It is just as easy; often times without any long-term contracts or agreements. It’s like a dream come true for entrepreneurs because they pay for only what they need which may be little more than the price of a fancy cup of coffee.


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