Turkeys Voting For Christmas: Is Your Workforce Holding Your Business Back?

Warren Buffett, the American business magnate, said in a recent shareholder letter relating obliquely to corporate bankers ‘advising’ on mergers and acquisitions, “Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut”. Of course he will say you do. Whilst business managers rely on their employees and advisors for professionalism, expertise and objectivity and want to believe that they are always fully aligned to doing what’s best for the company, this isn’t always necessarily the case. Often employees have their own agenda. This is known in economic theory as the ‘principal-agent problem’.

This refers to the situation when the ‘principal’ or employer has one goal but an employee or advisor, called an ‘agent’, may have a different agenda altogether. For example, sales agents might work towards maximising their commission rather than the company’s profit. Ideally, these two objectives would be perfectly aligned, but this is not always the case. This phenomenon is an intrinsic element of human nature. As long as managers are aware of this possibility, it becomes part of their parameters when making a decision.

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Posted in Business Computing, Cloud Computing, Cloud Computing Providers, Flexible working, Hosted Desktop, Published Article, Secure Cloud Computing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How not all Cloud services are created equally…

Almost all businesses use the Cloud in one way or another. Many will have a gmail account or use dropbox to store and share information or use some cloud based backup system.

However, being in the Cloud is as meaningless as saying that the business uses cars – what is really important is the type of cars they use. Are they running 2001 Ford Fiestas or a fleet of new Rolls Royces? Whilst there are both cars, they are fundamentally different products. Similarly, not all Cloud services are the same.

While companies usually invest time in analysing their many options for company cars, mobile phones or computer hardware, when it comes to IT services, sometimes not enough comparison is done. Businesses will often settle with being in the cloud without investigating exactly what these services really offer them and how they compare to others on the market.

The Cloud services market is large and varied, involving a wide array of products with different prices, service levels and security standards.

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Is the term ‘cloud computing’ a turn off for businesses?

The origin of the expression cloud computing is unclear; however, it seems to derive from the practice of telecom companies drawing of cloud looking bubbles to denote networks in diagrams of computing and communications systems. For many businesses, the term cloud computing can be vague and confusing to the point of creating a barrier and preventing them from adopting the services.

Research by Lero, a global leader in software engineering research, revealed that a significant barrier to cloud adoption is people’s perception of the word ‘cloud’ to the extent it ‘scares some people’. The research, conducted at the National University of Ireland, found that while people are comfortable ‘banking online, passing around hard drives and USB keys or running the risk of leaving laptops on trains, once the word “cloud” is mentioned, it evokes a negative reaction’. They reported that as a result, some providers, when dealing with customers, purposely tend not to talk about ‘cloud’ but refer to a new service delivery model.

One of the problems is that the term cloud computing is universally used to cover a multitude of services that probably shouldn’t be lumped together under one heading. It begs the question whether the industry chose the right term to depict the service categorised as ‘cloud computing’. Firstly, the term is too broad and includes services such as remote storage (dropbox), hosted email accounts (gmail), platforms offered to IT professionals (Rackspace) and the industry has also adopted an entire range of acronyms including, IaaS, PaaS, MbaaS which add to the confusion.This is as misleading as grouping together Lewis Hamilton, Ford Motors Inc. and the local mechanic down the road, as providers in the ‘Automobile Industry’. Cloud is an almost meaningless terms without understanding the details.

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What is the future of cloud computing for SMEs

Cloud has often been considered the future of enterprise IT, but what about the smaller business? Joseph Blass, CEO of WorkPlaceLive.com, believes its time has come by allowing them to focus on their business and not IT infrastructure. “At the recent Cloud World Forum event in London, I was a panellist in a Microsoft debate that looked at which new services will drive the future and uptake of cloud computing, and why cloud computing is particularly suited to small and medium-sized enterprises. We identified the following drivers for the future of cloud: Technology should enhance a business and not disrupt it. Business people understand their business and they need technology that adapts to their requirements and not the reverse. Business owners don’t want to adapt their business to technology, which might require training the entire staff and potentially not turn out to be what the company needs. If they are happy with their familiar Microsoft desktop look and feel – why change it? A cloud-based hosted desktop solution can deliver the best of both worlds. It allows business users to access their desktop and all their business applications seamlessly through the cloud, so they can enjoy a familiar user experience in the cloud.” Read more here.

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Is your business ready to meet the new flexible working laws?

The countdown is over and the new flexible working law is active, giving employees the right to request flexible working. David Sturges of WorkPlaceLive, looks at how the cloud can help businesses implement flexible working practices.

Read more: Recruitment International

 

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WorkPlaceLive earns Trustmark recognition from CompTIA

CompTIA Trustmarks are vendor-neutral business credentials for companies that employ industry-proven best practices and deliver consistently high levels of customer service. The credentials were developed at the request of the IT industry, under the guidance of industry experts and leaders.

“These companies have demonstrated a commitment to the highest levels of integrity, professionalism and sustained quality service,” said Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president, industry relations, CompTIA. “Customers seeking the best our industry has to offer need look no further than organizations holding a CompTIA Trustmark.”

Read more here…

 

Posted in Cloud Computing

Easing cash flow and lending problems for SME’s

Joseph Blass, CEO, WorkPlaceLive describes how SMEs can address lending issues by changing their approach to IT procurement and moving to a cloud-based model.

Bank lending to small and medium sized enterprises dropped in the first quarter of this year. Figures released by The Bank of England at the end of May 2014 showed that lending to SMEs under the Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme was down by £700 million compared with last year. Chancellor George Osborne recently urged the UK’s biggest banks to increase competition in lending to small and medium-sized businesses to boost the economy, stating that smaller companies still feel that they are being shut out by the banks when it comes to lending.

Many small businesses are also struggling with cash flow problems. A study from Santander Corporate & Commercial published in May, found that almost one in six small businesses in a UK-wide study are ‘very’ concerned about managing cash flow effectively over the next 12 months, with a further 27 per cent saying they are ‘quite’ concerned. One answer to the problem is vendor finance – short-term loans offered by vendors to familiar customers to enable them to buy assets including IT equipment and ease their cash flow requirements.

However, another and perhaps better solution is for them not to require the IT equipment in the first place. Just as businesses lease cars rather than buy them, or pay energy bills rather than buying generators and fuel to operate them, the same trend is happening in IT.

Read more here:

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