“What use could this company make of an electrical toy?” asked Western Union president William Orton, brusquely turning down the chance to buy the patent for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone in 1877. Over 100 years later, Nokia squandered its position as the global leader in mobile phones by refusing to recognize that data — not voice — was the future of communication. Though a century apart, both of these companies failed to heed the headwinds of new technology, to their detriment. In hindsight, it’s easy to laugh at this sort of hubris, yet today, many CEOs and their executives are at risk of taking precisely the same approach with digital technology, and it’s putting their companies at risk. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics and virtual assistants are transforming business operations, product manufacturing and service delivery, while many new entrants and tech giants are capitalizing on their scale and (analytical) prowess to disrupt new industries. In today’s environment, embracing digital
Who would argue that Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) are the powerhouse of the US Economy, driving innovation, adding jobs and helping the economy grow? According to ADP, 63,000 jobs were added to the US Economy in January 2019, by small businesses alone. However, as we've seen at MWS Group, you only have to spend some time in a few small/medium companies to see that as they face global competition, they will be at a distinct disadvantage. The reason is that US SMBs generally
Thomas Kohlenbach On July 5, 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an online bookstore. Within two years the organization generated almost $16 million in revenue, and in 1997 it went public. Over time, Amazon became the largest e-commerce retailer in the world, and in September 2018 it became the second publicly-traded company in the world to achieve $1 trillion in market cap.
Consistently achieving results, Amazon’s performance illustrates the revolutionary role that technology and vision can play in an organization’s progress. Interestingly, research shows that operational excellence is another aspect that creates a viable, sustainable foundation for lasting business success. According to Harvard Business Review, companies that have strong management processes by far outperform those that don’t on high-level metrics such as expansion, productivity, profitability and longevity.
What is operational excellence? According to the experts, operational excellence is a company-wide focus on leveraging operational capabilities to drive productivity, expansion, innovation and profitability in the long-term by means of strong business processes. It begins at the top — with the CEO and other executives emphasizing robust business process management. Ultimately, it makes a business more agile and responsive to market opportunities than its competitors. Obstacles to achieving process excellence Considering the clear value of operational excellence, why don’t more organizations achieve it?
By Christopher Mims Updated Sept. 18, 2016 8:37 p.m. ET
Every year, America’s office workers print out or photocopy approximately one trillion pieces of paper. If you add in all the other paper businesses produce, the utility bills and invoices and bank statements and the like, the figure rises to 1.6 trillion. If you stacked all that paper up, it would be 18,000 times as high as Mount Everest. It would reach nearly halfway to the moon.
This is why HPInc.’sacquisition ofSamsung ElectronicsCo.’s printing and copying business last week makes sense. HP, says a company spokesman, has less than 5% of the market for big, high-throughput office copying machines. The company says the acquisition will incorporate Samsung’s technology in new devices, creating a big opportunity for growth. Yet by all rights, this business shouldn’t exist. Forty years ago, at least, we were promised the paperless office. In a 1975 article in BusinessWeek, an analyst at Arthur D. Little Inc., predicted paper would be on its way out by 1980, and nearly dead by 1990.
What a great time to be a customer or a vendor as the technology to automate processes has really evolved to make it very economically viable to implement. This combined with the current drive to digitize infrastructure and operations, affirms that there is no better time to start on the automation journey.
There are different ways to approach your automation roadmap all of which may hold elements of value, but they do not always factor in the big picture. Often solutions over-complicate the process to be automated and do not yield results in a timely manner. So, what is the answer? There is a simple 4-step approach that depending on the size of your organisation and the complexity of your processes can be scaled accordingly.
Step 1: Process Selection There will be many processes that can be considered for automation and it may not be apparent at first glance which one will yield the best results. It is therefore important to list all the key processes while gathering basic process metrics to assist in the final prioritized ordering. The following metrics can be used to help qualify a process:
While there’s been talk of an economic slowdown ahead, and declining optimism among the business community, the latest stats on small businesses (SMBs) are quite positive. Better-than-expected job performance, as well as new evidence from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on SMBs’ contribution to the economy, are the bright spots in this week’s B2B Data Digest. “Small businesses continue to be big contributors to the U.S. economy,” said SBA Acting Chief Counsel Major L. Clark in a statement announcing the report. “While their contribution has grown at a slower rate than that of large businesses, small businesses continue to be at the forefront of driving innovation, jobs and economic growth.” However, as SMBs drive innovation for the U.S. market, other research released recently showed the headwinds that small firms are facing from global competition and larger rivals, particularly when it comes to embracing digitization. “Small and medium businesses are punching above their weight when it comes to competing in the global market against large firms with big teams and big budgets,” said TradeGecko CEO Cameron Priest in another statement. “But as they grow, they are being stretched by operational issues and manual processes.”
The convergence of technology in this digital age is phenomenal. At the core, every organization is looking forward to a single speedy solution that provides them with the opportunity to streamline their operational efficiency and cut costs of IT functionalities. From the release of application to customer support, every aspect of the enterprise needs faster solutions. The competitive distinctness, customer loyalty, and good business outcomes are all dependent on the acceleration of business processes.
While the legacy IT infrastructure is still essential, it has become more of a utility. Enterprises today need an agile, flexible and quickly scalable technology foundation to drive business, which has pushed it to the back seat. Companies with traditional technology architectures, therefore, face a predicament: on how to strike a balance between the present and required state of IT infrastructure. To achieve this balance, the first step should be to discard is IT’s an obsession with legacy systems. And the second would be to adopt – IT Infrastructure Automation.
I recently re-connected with fellow entrepreneur and leadership expert Lyle Ball. Those of you who’ve heard his name may recall his roles in advancing Open Source technology for Caldera and Lineo, Bungee Labs and a number of other technology and venture capital firms. Most recently he is heading up a SaaS technology company, Avii, providing a unified practice management platform for tax, audit, advisory, management consulting and compliance.
One of the things we discussed is automation in business. Few topics provoke more opinions or emotions, Lyle notes. And even in the most advanced organizations, there are plenty of people doing it wrong. To help, he suggests people first recall the definition of automation-- the concept of setting up a machine or software process to perform work automatically. The main idea isto save on the costs of human capital, improve efficiency and reduce human error. To find the things you might best automate and to get started he offers the following helps:
Consider any task you repeat more than three times in a given time period. For example, a leading professional services firm on the east coast uses Google.docs as their means of secure document exchange with clients. But here’s the challenge. This company, which works in the compliance space, requires a significant number of folders and subfolders for clients to load their documents in. For each new client, a senior professional was taking up to four hours to purge out files from prior accounts to create a clean template with new names, new logos, etc., for the incoming client to use. This is something effective automation can accomplish in minutes—yet for every new account it they were spending four professional hours.
If you’re having a hard time judging whether automation is good or bad, start with your client relationships. As a matter of principle, Ball suggests you never require your client to pay the price for your own delays in software automation. So, while you’re trying the concept on for size, take the benefits to the client side first. You will benefit with stickiness to your service and satisfaction in the area where it matters the most. The clients will stay with you, will grow, will be satisfied and will tell others. This principle also applies to situations where you may want to automate, but stakeholders are digging in their heels. When you take the benefit to your clients, first, interestingly, everyone seems to soften their stance. Revenue and clients become the benefit that allows the newer decisions to flow.
What aspects of your company are employees most annoyed about? If you can’t easily answer that question, it’s not that problems don’t exist; it’s very likely that you’re not paying close enough attention.
The fact is that no workplace is perfect. There is something within your organization (often, many things) that annoys your employees. Whether it’s slow onboarding processes, unresponsive IT departments or even printers that malfunction in a regular basis, there are always issues that workers will cite as sources of frustration.
No workplace will be able to completely eliminate employee annoyance, either. It’s a fact of working life. But enterprises do have a choice in terms of how they respond to it, either by passively processing grievances or actively engaging with them. Workplaces that take the latter approach -- and see the opportunity in irritation -- can turn employee headaches into positive business change.
At the 2018 Gartner Symposium, Simon Black of Mendix described the challenges businesses still face when adopting low-code systems. By Alison DeNisco Rayome |November 13, 2018, 6:00 AM PST
At the 2018 Gartner Symposium, Simon Black of Mendix spoke to TechRepublic's Alison DeNisco Rayome and explained the challenges businesses still face when adopting low-code systems. The following is an edited transcript of the interview. More for CXOs
So some of the biggest benefits that companies can get from addressing and using their low-code platform is, first of all, they can reduce their overall cost of development. Mendix allows different types of developers within your organization to be able to build applications. So you don't need to have those expensive developers building those applications. Also, a low-code platform allows you to build six to ten times faster than traditional development, and this is because we're not creating code. We're visually modeling an application and encompassing the full application life cycle. Everything from designing, development, and deployment is all handled within the platform.