Top 10 New Businesses To Watch

Business is constantly changing, but you can see trends if you look closely at the top businesses. While today’s businesses are very different from those about a decade ago, you can see that most of them are concerned with tech and user interaction. If you follow these trends, then you might be able to make your own successful company.

Mobile Interaction

Many of the top emerging companies are innovating mobile integration so that people can easily access information from their smartphones and tablets. For example, Square has made millions of dollars by giving business owners the ability to use their mobile phones as credit card processing platforms. Sproxil is a service that allows people to see if their medication is real or fake by typing in a code found on the bottle.

This comes as no surprise because mobile technology has taken the world by storm, and those that truly embrace this technology are winning. This also gives more power to the consumer.

Smaller Companies

Today’s major company is bloated, full of middlemen and has very high barriers of entry. For example, it takes millions of dollars to make a major game, and even more to produce a new console.

Ouya is a new console that is fixing this. Not only are most of the games made by independent developers, but all of the games will be free or offer a free demo and the system is only $100. Another major change is that the console is made to be hackable, which embraces a trend that many gamers hoped major consoles would adopt.

Pig Newton is another company that follows this trend. Formed by the comedian Louis C.K., he has introduced a new way of interacting with fans. Instead of going to clubs and major production companies, he offered skits online for just $5. This model has allowed him to sell hundreds of thousands of videos due to the lower price. Decent profit and happy fans, a true win-win.

Business is changing. The major changes are that the customer is really being considered. Instead of having inaccessible and bloated companies, smaller ones are being embraced. If you want to succeed in today’s market, then you really have to cater to the customer. If not, then you might have a hard time competing against these emerging companies.

top 10 businesses to watch infographic

Top 10 businesses to watch



The Cost of Downtime

Downtime can be very expensive. As more businesses rely on technology, it’s crucial to minimize downtime and cut down on any potential losses. Knowing the cost of your company’s downtime is definitely part of profit maximization strategy. A 2010 survey conducted by Coleman Parkes revealed that the cost of downtime for North American businesses is roughly $159,000 per year for each company. This has serious impacts on finance, procurement, operations, as well as mission critical services. North American Small and medium businesses lose about $15 billion per year from downtime. This is a substantial amount considering the fact that downtime can actually be avoided.

Moderate interruptions to IT services may be unavoidable for reasons such as hardware obsolescence, upgrades and software incompatibility. That being said, businesses should not have to endure long downtimes than the usual minor interruptions to their systems. Businesses generally endure ten hours of downtime each year and another 7.5 hours of downtime while trying to recover lost data. The same study conducted by Coleman Parkes mentions that IT system downtown costs North American businesses a whopping $26.5 billion of lost revenue in a year. The main reason being that many businesses fail to recover quickly from a service outage. Due to IT system downtime, it limited the ability of businesses to generate revenue by 29 percent. Downtime also affects the sales of the companies, resulting a drop of 28 percent, 19 percent and 39 percent for large, medium and small businesses respectively.

In attempts to further break down the costs, a Ponemon Institute study (“Calculating The Cost of Data Center Outages”) has shown that average cost of data center downtime was around $5600 per minute, with the average reported incident length at ninety minutes, resulting in an average cost per incident of $505,500. For business which rely on data centers to deliver IT services to customers, their downtime costs are particularly costly with the highest cost standing at $1 million. This is just for one single event.

During downtimes, businesses not only incur financial losses. Reputation is also at stake, especially if the company is well known and renowned worldwide. It can spur misinformation and doubts about the company’s reliability and efficiency if the downtimes occur frequently. Customers and clients might lose their confidence and loyalty towards the company, causing detrimental effects for the businesses in question. The stocks of a company can go downhill when the news of the downtime spreads, and competitors can take advantage. Staff productivity can also be affected as they would be unable to work during periods of downtime. Organizations today rely so much on IT that an unavailable system would render a significant portion of the business useless and idle as manual processes no longer exist. Employees would be diverted from other tasks to get the IT systems running. This can be very disruptive to the normal workflow.

There are also tangible elements that reflects the impact of the downtime such as the money spent on marketing and media to boost the company’s profile and image after the damage from the downtime. The impacts of the cost of the downtime can have many serious implications for businesses – regardless of size. Ways should be devised to minimize the occurances of downtimes whenever possible. $5600 per minute is simply too much money to waste.

What are Bossless offices and how they are different from what’s out there now?

People talk about organizations that are process and project oriented, or horizontal; but Bossless offices are truly more process and project oriented. They have a bigger bias toward cross-functionality, because there are far fewer functions and vertical stovepipes. Two great references can be found in recent articles such as NPR’s “Inside the Bossless Office” and Jeri Ellsworth’s experience at Valve.

Bossless offices put an end to “I’ve got to check with my boss, and you’ve got to check with your boss, and your boss’s boss.” It dispenses the traditional approach that requires functional heads or department heads to get together and make decisions. Instead, decisions are made by the key people networks who have a stake in the outcome of a process, who have expertise in how it should run, who understand what the results should be, and who know from experience when these things should get done. As a result, Bossless organizations are flatter. There are fewer levels of hierarchy.

Why should businesses adopt a bossless approach?

Fewer boundaries need to be managed

The earlier employees within a Bossless organization become engaged in a process because they know they are a part of it, the fewer boundaries will have to be managed. You have people working together on key tasks that need to get done. It’s a completely different mindset from the hierarchical view, which is where “my department does our thing and your department does your thing and we never meet in the middle.”

There is no need for an extensive oversight

In a Bossless office, you don’t need the hierarchy and the extensive oversight and control in order to get things done. When control and coordination come from within the team, you save a lot of time and money, which translates into getting processes running more smoothly, and ultimately getting products more quickly into an increasingly competitive marketplace.

There is a greater opportunity to learn, grow, and be successful.

In a Bossless organization, success is built around what you do, and not so much your place on the org chart. Instead, your success is based on the kinds of things that you do, who you are and what your talents are, as opposed to where you are in the hierarchy. This is a much more fulfilling approach to work.

Managers can be better utilized

“We don’t even need this extra level of management! We have a hierarchy of four levels—maybe we can get by with just three or two.” This allows companies to get more out of their managers, because one manager can now take on strategic roles in fifteen or twenty areas, instead of having to be a hands-on manager in just two or three.

A Bossless office creates more leaders

People use the word “empowerment” today as if it were a newly invented concept. It’s not. Though, if you’re going to maximize your effectiveness in business, you have to empower people down to the lowest level to make decisions, form teams, and get things done without bureaucracy and red tape.

Technology can be used at ease

Employees may be allowed to bring laptops they use at home for work. This makes them comfortable as they are better acquainted with the machine. They many also be able to fix their own work timings.

Ultimately, in a Bossless office, you’ve got the right people in the right place at the right time—people with a stake in the outcome of a given process, a broader sense of expertise than they would have had if they had remained isolated in their cubbyholes, and ownership of the endeavor. Because they are becoming decision-makers, they are growing as leaders. Whatever your organization, whatever problems you face, Bossless office might just be the answer.

More Than 84 Percent Of Organizations Use Or Plan To Use Cloud Storage – Find Out Why!

The notion of “Cloud Storage” has been intensely debated over the past months, as research suggests that five out of six businesses either use or plan to use cloud storage in the near future. At the same time, a study conducted by TwinStrata, Inc. has revealed that one out of three businesses has already been using cloud storage for more than three years.

In addition to this, the same study suggests that the number of companies that have implemented SaaS, PaaS or IaaS has also increased over the past several years. More than 84% of the total number of businesses either use or consider using cloud storage in the future, due to its numerous benefits. This study was conducted at the beginning of 2013 and it was aimed at cloud-friendly respondents.

The statistics are impressive, but what is the fuss all about? In a nutshell, cloud storage refers to a model of enterprise storage where all the data is kept not just on the computer, but also in virtualized pools where it can be easily accessed by other users. This new and innovative form of data storage has numerous benefits, this is why it has become very sought-after in the business industry.

Given these impressive statistics, it’s perfectly fine to ask yourself why are businesses so interested in this innovative type of storage? The answer is very simple: the most notable benefit of cloud computing is the expansion of the storage space. Otherwise stated, organizations have more space to store important data, the information is safe and secure and it can be accessed on a 24/7 basis. Besides this, another important advantage is that users can access the platform regardless of their location, given the fact that the data is stored in a virtual pool on the Internet, rather than on a physical computer. This improves scalability and it facilitates access to information.

A Closer Look At The Statistics

Another reason that has determined the migration of businesses from traditional storage to cloud storage is the fact that storage capacity demands are outpacing the storage density growth. Statistics show that the storage density grows by no more than 20% a year, while the demand grows by up to 60% a year, which is three times faster. In other words, enterprises face the risk of running out of space where they can safely store their data.

This is where cloud storage steps in and offers business owners the peace of mind they need. The same statistics reveal that in the past year, the use of cloud services has increased steadily: the use of software as a service and platform as a service has increased by 10% as compared to the previous year.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, these encouraging statistics reveal a promising future for cloud services. Businesses all around the world are the ones that benefit the most from the expansion of cloud storage, as this is a safer, more reliable, more efficient and more convenient alternative to traditional means of storing the information.

Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview Has Been Released

Microsoft just recently announced the release of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview. It builds on the release of the Windows 8.1 Preview which was released in June this year. It comes with additional security, management, mobility and more virtualization features that are well suited for business. The preview can be downloaded from TechNet. During the announcement, the company also confirmed the rumors that the life cycle support policy for Windows 8.1 would be the same as that for Windows 8. The support would end on 10th January 2023.

Customers would be given two years to move to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 after the update has been released. This time-frame is seen as ample enough to allow all their customers to move to Windows 8.1. After the end of that period, the company will no longer provide support for Windows 8, but will only provide support for Windows 8.1 and above.

The preview featured many new features that will definitely generate a lot of buzz. The additional enterprise features that have been included in the list include;

– Start Screen Control. IT departments will now be in a position to control how the layout of the Start Screen on company issued devices will appear. They can control the layout to ensure that key apps are easily accessible by users. The control also makes it possible for IT departments to prevent users from customizing their Start Screen. This will help ensure consistency and uniformity in the work place.
– Windows To Go Creator enables IT departments to create a fully manageable Windows 8.1 desktop that can be on a bootable external USB drive. The drive can easily be used to support bringing your own devices to work, and at the same time, can be given to corporate staff without necessarily compromising security.

– Direct Access enables users to connect via a corporate network without having to launch a separate VPN like it was before. IT administrators can also keep the remote users’ PCs up to date by applying all the latest software updates and policies.

– BranchCache. Employees who work in branch offices will no longer have to download content multiple times from the Wide Area Network. This is because Branchcache caches websites, and files them along with any other content from the central servers locally on the hosted cache servers or the PCs.

– Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Users will enjoy a rich desktop experience and will have the ability to play 3D games. It will also be possible to use USB peripherals and to use some touch enabled devices across all types of network whether LAN or WAN for the VDI scenarios. This has been made possible mainly because of enhancements in Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft RemoteFX.

– Applocker: With this feature, IT department can control the apps and types of files that users run on their devices. This will make their devices more secure while also increasing the security of the data the device holds.

– Windows Enterprise Side Loading: It is now possible to side-load Internal Windows apps on domain joined PCs with tablets that are running the Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

The release date of the full version has not yet been announced by Microsoft but it will not be later than August.

CFOs and CIOs can keep up with Business’ growth with Cloud Computing, discovers Deloitte report

The latest issue of CFO Insights from Deloitte investigates the role of cloud computing and focuses on the benefits and decision-making concerns offered by transitioning to this new technology environment.The assessment from Deloitte’s report addresses technology decision-makers, notably the CIOs and CFOs, who will soon need to face the reality that they need to transition their organization’s computing technology, it services, and data to “the cloud”. As cloud computing technology attains wider usage, more businesses will soon have to deal with the decision to shift from an on-premises technology setting to a cloud based one.The idea of cloud computing has prevailed for a long time. The basic premise behind it is that the business can outsource daily management of resources on a need-only basis, identical to buying utility services, such as water and power. However, one crucial factor is that the cloud computing resources are delivered over the Internet.

The Deloitte report underlines the need to have a productive working relationship between the CFO and CIO. The decision to embrace cloud computing is broader in scope than just the information technology department. The CFO can strategize cloud computing to execute financial objectives, and at the same time create a risk intelligent culture. The CIO can increase the visibility of the technology department as an esteemed part of the organization.

Cloud resources can broadly be classified into these four categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Most individuals assume SaaS to be the only cloud computing resource, which involves the administering of software applications on demand. The software applications can range from email, backup and file storage solutions to customer relationship management (CRM) and financial applications.

However, there are other use cases for cloud computing. For example, PaaS is used a software development platform to develop new applications, whereas IaaS is used an on-demand hardware resource platform.

The Deloitte report advocates the introspection of relative costs and benefits of different cloud resources before taking the decision. Most organizations reserve the use of cloud computing to low-risk projects, or tasks ideally unsuitable for on-premises technology.

The most cited benefit by various CFOs and CIOs in their interviews is the flexibility that cloud computing offers; it can scale and react to technology changes very quickly. Significant reduction in infrastructure costs and IT support staff requirements are also a few of the other benefits cited.

However, the CFOs and CIOs also raised a few concerns in their interviews regarding the safety and reliability of using cloud computing. Is the data safe? Where is it stored? Is the data backed up? What should a business do when it needs to shift from one cloud technology provider to another? These are all the questions that are asked frequently an organization before embracing cloud computing.

Nevertheless, the CFOs and CIOs also reported that cloud vendors are more likely to provide higher levels of performance and better security. The vendors have to perform as their business depends on it; if they fail to provide a good service, then they will lose all their clients and reputability.

The report recommends the business to assess its technology needs in the context of its purpose and needs. As the business changes and evolves, the technology also needs to keep up with it. By evaluating the business’ administrative concerns and how the availability of cloud technology will influence the organization, the CFOs and CIOs can make sure that their business transits fluently into a cloud computing environment.

If you’re interested in learning how can help your business save money by utilizing cloud services, be sure to reference our cloud computing consulting services.

A Storm of Money Coming to the Cloud

One way to tell if something is going to get bigger is to see how large companies are willing to invest in it.  These companies don’t care about fads; they are in for the long haul return on investment.  IBM and are together are increasing their cloud infrastructure by 4.5 billion dollars.

Salesforce is buying Exactarget for a 2.5 billion dollar price tag.  The move is thought to allow the company to have a deeper reach into ad revenue on social media sites.  One study cited claims that by 2017, marketing departments will spend more on technology than CIOs.

IBM on the other hand, is buying Softlayer.  Softlayer specializes in building in-house cloud servers.  This acquisition will help IBM shore up the gap in its current cloud service line-up.  Don’t think it’s worth it?  Well, IBM think it’s worth 2 billion dollars.

For more on cloud services click here.

Should Your Business Accept Bitcoins?

You’ve probably heard of bitcoins.  But what are they, really?

There’s an old saying that everything is worth what its purchaser will pay.  Bitcoins are a great example of that.  They first started trading a few cents apiece.  As of May 23rd, 2013 they are trading at $126 to one bitcoin.

So the real question is: should your business accept them?  In my personal opinion, I’m going to have to say no.  Recently in the news, bitcoin exchanges have been shut down .  Also, because the volatile nature of bitcoins, you may end up worrying about the market rate rather than running your business.

On the other hand, most businesses that accept bitcoin see such transactions as a very small percentage of their total revenue.   However, the fact that bitcoins are untraceable currency from the ether (most currencies are) attracts less than upstanding citizens.

Skype’s Manager Tool Is Here For You

Skype now launched a new business management tool in over 170 countries.  From Brazil to the US, administrators now have the power to allocate and oversee Skype subscriptions.  There are plenty of new features to consider.

Subscriptions can include the ability to make calls to land and mobile lines.  The advantage over other VoIP services is that you can pay based on a fixed location.  For example, unlimited calls between the US and the UK will cost about $7.14 a month.

You can further streamline usage by assigning privileges of who can call and how often.  That way, those who need to can call as much as they want while lower-level employees have restricted or denied access.

This Skype Manager tool has endless uses.  It can help bring a more solid company policy of sale pitch time limits, communications blackouts, or even just to redirect bandwidth to places you need.  The more you know the more effective it will be.  For more information about IT infrastructure management click here.

Get Working From Home To Work

Allowing your employees to work from home is a great way to introduce flexibility to your production schedule.  In the past few weeks, there’s been a backlash against this kind of work option.  However, the benefits to both employee and employer can’t be ignored.  Here are a few tips to help keep everything on track.

Get Rid of Preconceptions

Working from home is a great way for an employee to make their career fit into their lives.  That means shedding the nine-five notion of working.  As long as you set deadlines and those deadlines are met, there’s no reason to inquire of when the work is being done.  Letting your employee allocate their own time is a sure way to increase trust and reduce stress.

Face Time

This doesn’t have to do with Apple.  You should keep up with face-to-face interactions.  Whether it be a weekly meeting or via the Internet, seeing and being seen is a more effective way to touch base.  There is something to be said about the way human beings have evolved.  Transmit have the information we wish to convey through tone and facial expressions, something that is lost with text exchanges.  You know what I mean?

The Little Things

If you don’t already, you should create a method of dominating small talk to your remote employees.  Things like a newsletter that lists things like birthdays and office events.  That way your remote employees can feel like they are part of the loop.  With social media and other tools, these workers can feel more integrated into the company and vice versa as well for their office bound counterparts.