After endless cycles of hype and hyperbole, it seems most business executives are still excited about the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, a recent survey of 200 IT and business leaders conducted by TEKSystems ® and released in January 2016 determined that 22% of the organizations surveyed have already realized significant benefits from their early IoT initiatives. Additionally, a full 55% expect a high level of impact from IoT initiatives over the next 5 years. Conversely, only 2% predicted no impact at all.
Respondents also cited the key areas in which they expect to see some of the transformational benefits of their IoT efforts, including creating a better user and customer experience (64%), sparking innovation (56%), creating new and more efficient work practices and business processes, (52%) and creating revenue streams through new products and services (50%).
So, with the early returns indicating there are in fact real, measurable benefits to be won in the IoT, and the majority of executives expect these benefits to be substantial, why are some organizations still reluctant to move forward with their own IoT initiatives?
File these thoughts under another thing to keep business executives up at night. Are you tracking the right key performance indicators for your organization? We’re all familiar with the Balanced Scorecard introduced by Kaplan and Norton in the 90’s for tracking objectives. It is simply a tool used to evaluate, define, track and improve core business metrics over time, like a doctor who will measure blood pressure, temperature, reflex and symptoms before diving deeper into diagnosis. It’s gone through several generational refinements over time to include a strategy mapping exercise which seeks to understand causal relationships between interconnected processes and then objective tracking for feedback and iterative improvement. While the core of the balanced scorecard has stood the test of time for providing performance visibility vertically and horizontally through the organization there may be more to consider than the traditional four perspective approach.
When creating a balanced scorecard for your organization one of the first things to do is define time boxed objectives. By what percentage do we want to increase our gross revenue this quarter compared to last quarter? What is our customer
Most companies struggle with planning, budgeting, and forecasting as well as reporting. Planning is a critical area in managing business finance as well as other matters and can determine the success or failure of the business. However, the planning process takes time and is a huge burden to many companies.
Businesses can address the obstacles by leveraging new technologies and employing the best practices in planning, budgeting, and forecasting. With the use of the right software, businesses are able to come up with accurate plans, timely forecasts, and few errors in the management policies.
The software that you select should be able to support accepted best practices in financial planning. This helps enhance the reliability of the information and promotes participation by all departments in the organization. In addition, it should enable the planners to align operating plans to strategic thinking. It should make it easy for the heads of departments to put together their objectives and ways to achieve the goals that the financial managers can eventually translate them into financial targets and the cost centers.
The technology should be tied to the core business drivers
Building your own business requires an enormous responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to start small; the bottom line is, there is a business to run and growing it relies on your ability to handle it. Your initial thoughts will certainly dwell on your capital, your potential market, and the return of investment.
Given these issues, some entrepreneurs contemplate on buying existing businesses. It doesn’t require you to start from ground zero, as you are just taking off from where the previous owner left off. The market is already established and the profit stream is already expected. But then again, all these do not denote that things are going to be easy.
Buying the Goodwill
As opposed to what one may commonly think, purchasing an existing business venture entails higher costs than starting from scratch. Indeed, you may not be required to spend on equipment, buildings, inventory, and the like, and you may even be handed an existing staff, but the larger fraction of the purchase depends upon what businesses refer to as “goodwill.” This pertains to the existing clientele of that particular business.
Just imagine, if the business you’re eyeing to venture in already has a steady and continuous stream of customers,
‘We chose to go to the moon, not because it was easy… but because it was hard’ – John F. Kennedy
For management gurus, growing BIG requires thinking BIG, as illustrated by President John F. Kennedy’s “man on the moon” goal. It was huge and – more importantly – no one, including Kennedy himself, had any idea of all the things that had to be done to reach it.
However, the process of setting beneficial goals is harder than it looks. It takes a lot more than setting stretched goals to actually see any real achievement, and there are often hidden challenges, particularly when it comes down to the execution.
1. Aiming high helps with establishing stretched strategic goals
Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, once mentioned having found that ‘by reaching for what appears to be the impossible, we often actually do the impossible; and even when we don’t quite make it, we inevitably end up doing much better than we would have done.’
When aiming high, thinking differently about goal setting is a game changer – consider a goal to increase 10 times versus one to increase by 10%. The latter drives thinking about how to stretch a current business, using the existing
Ever wondered what a well-planned and deployed business intelligence project can do for your business without all the challenges? By now if you’re not aggressively mining your data you’re not only leaving money on the table, you’re falling behind your competitors. Looking for basic aberrations and trends in data for sales, marketing, operations and customers is second nature to most companies. This will help you tread water for a time but did you know you unlock exponential value to your data once you reach cross functional, role based, and collaborative analysis which enables iterative business process improvement?
The challenges to operative data visibility are pretty easy to identify in a company. Do any of these ring a bell? You have a thousand spreadsheets stored on your network and different departments may have different values for the same measure? The executives have clear objectives and have a strategy but if you ask an individual contributor there is only a vague notion of what they are, or are pursuing their own department objectives? You have data, a vision for analyzing your marketing or industry metrics but your IT department takes so long to assist with setting up the reporting tools and infrastructure that
For a production process to run smoothly, having the right quantity at hand is a must. Whether it takes place in one’s kitchen or in a factory, having control over your inventory is an assurance that production is efficient and costs are kept at a minimum.
Proper inventory control happens when there is optimal procurement, care, and disposition of the right materials which are required for the manufacturer or distributor. The output of inventory control manifests itself in the proper maintenance of stock that is in line with the market demand and sales trends. It is able to reduce carrying and holding costs as well as improve the stock turnover rates. Furthermore, a business’ reputation can be solidified by having adequate merchandise on stock all the time.
For better control of inventory, here are five steps that help make the process simpler and may contribute to the overall success of a business.
1. Plan the inventory. Efficient inventory control begins with a well-organized and structured plan. The movement of new goods should be organized and must have a well thought out schedule. For instance, stocks that have been on-shelf for several months should be replaced as soon as possible. In the same way,
In today’s consumer world we are all bombarded with choice. Choice of more suppliers, choice of more products, and every one of them promising to provide better service.
It doesn’t have to be January sale time to see that everyone is competing on price as well.
In consumers’ minds this can be a turnoff and cause decision paralysis.
Add to this volatile mix the new threat of disruptive and innovative new business models such as Airbnb and Uber and you had better watch out. You may not be in accommodation or taxis but if you’re not yet struggling against serious competition you can be sure you will be faced with similar challenges soon.
Repositioning is the key
The way to beat this challenge is really quite simple, but most businesses just don’t get it.
It serves us well to recall what Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting said years ago.
“The single purpose of a business is to create a customer, and the business enterprise has two-and only these two-basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.
“Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
In most businesses, owners and managers spend their time in the day-to-day whereas they should
While Talent Management certainly has a significant “training” component to the strategy, the focus is on more than skill building, but rather creating a world centered on performance. The exact kind of performance your company will need in the future.
Talent Management involves several practices linked together and propelled by organizational infrastructure. It begins by having a firm written understanding of the core capabilities needed to perform tasks meshed with the actual business intelligence for the industry. For this article’s example we will be using the financial services industry, but we must remember that support functions like IT, Human Resource, Accounting, and Purchasing have unique business intelligence issues that need to be included any industry strategy.
While banking business intelligence is similar from one institution to another, your market, choice of products and services and unique culture make for a different plan and approach. The clarity of goal for talent management is essential before assembling the pieces.
One of the most complete models for a Talent Management Strategy I have found includes the following nine practices:
- Recruiting & Staffing
- Performance Management
- Rewards & Recognition
- Workforce Planning
- Talent Review
- Succession Management
- High Potential Development
- Leadership Development
- Employee Development
These practices are not in any particular order or priority because they all must be in
Benchmarking has its roots in the Total Quality Management philosophy.
It’s a technique aimed at taking advantage of what other organizations have learned and successfully implemented and improve their own performance.
The benchmarking process is simple: determine who is best in class at something and copy them.
Benchmarking is usually aimed at a business process or operation. Go-to-market processes for products, order fulfillment and human resource practices are among the many organizational functions that get benchmarked.
Disguise it any way you want, but benchmarking is nothing more than following the leader of the herd. And if you’re second in the pack, the view never changes.
Benchmarking is a “tool of sameness”; it adds nothing to the success and survival capabilities that organizations must develop in today’s world of fickle customers, volatile economies and fierce competition.
Copying suck the life out of businesses; it is non-strategic and yet consumes a disproportionate amount of resource given the value it creates.
It lowers the bar and reduces everyone in the herd to the lowest common denominator.
It perpetuates invisibility for herd members. The copiers remain unremarkable and continue to blend in with everyone else.
Copying doesn’t make you stand-out, it makes you fit-in.
The real challenge in business today is to be able
Attracting and retaining customers and ensuring that an organization remains competitive in the marketplace are the primary responsibilities of for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders. Organizations run on revenue, regardless of tax classification. Every three to five years, savvy leaders review their organization’s current state and the environment in which it operates, the organizations’ customers, the delivery of products and services, the competitive landscape, obstacles and threats to success and apparent opportunities and use that information to identify and prioritize goals that will set the organization on a path to a sustainable future.
It is imperative to create the conditions for a successful strategy planning or process improvement retreat/meeting.The world has changed and there is no time to waste on possibly unproductive “brainstorming sessions” that may have sufficed in the past. More than likely, the results of the planning retreat are vital to the organization and it would be unwise to allow the winds of fortune or internal politics to control outcomes.
Engaging a professional meeting facilitator to guide your strategy planning or process improvement retreat will guarantee that participants will identify goals and objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) and earn the support of mid-level managers and other
Strategic thinking, interestingly, is taking the center stage now. Although, that does not mean strategic planning is the fifth wheel; that will never be the case. Through this post, we will give you-the reader-the low-down on thinking more strategically at your workplace. That is because if you are a strategic thinker, you will plan even more strategically. So let us go through the ways to thinking and even behaving more strategically.
Focus is the key
“Focus,” the term, is incredibly misused-even when we are talking about strategies. One harsh truth is that none of us can focus aptly. But in terms of business, focus means a lot more than just thinking properly. Focusing is an important skill that one needs to practice. If, however, you build an effective shield that will repel all useless distractions from penetrating your field of thinking, you will be able to build effective, workable strategies.
Try thinking like an Einstein
Now, this point nowhere means you to behave like a genius; this point actually implies that you need to think in relative terms. No organization exists in a vacuum-if you make better choices, you will transform the way your competitors, suppliers and customers behave; this behavior, then, will become
Are you a nonfiction author who uses your writing to fuel revenues? Do you want to use books to generate interest in your other services and products such as information products, consulting, coaching and/or speaking?
Whether you’re a seasoned author, or first time author, books are a great way to build a loyal following, drive traffic to your various offerings and generate revenues.
Granted, there are may authors who only want to write and writing is not part of their business model. Yet, there are untold numbers of experts who do want to write books to fuel a highly successful business.
Consider this; the more visible you are, the more buzz your books get, the more opportunity you have.
In days gone by, gaining visibility was a lot tougher than it is today. Now it’s a matter of having a plan and working the plan… consistently.
Gaining visibility for you and your book(s) is not something you do once your book is published. Visibility needs to start as soon as possible and be an aspect of “business as usual.”
With all that’s available to virtually any expert who writes, it’s merely a matter of making the decision to do something every day to raise awareness within
Setting priorities starts with a plan. A good plan creates focus, sets goals, creates alignment throughout your organization, and provides a means for accountability. Have you reduced organizational activity down to the minimum to achieve maximum results? Are anyone’s priorities working at cross purposes to the company’s? Are your daily activities properly aligned toward your goals? You are likely emphasizing the wrong set of priorities to your team if you don’t address these issues.
Planning Equals Prioritization
Planning requires prioritizing initiatives. This will help you to send the right message to your team and prevent time and resource loss. As with most plans, I recommend there be no more than five annual initiatives (less is preferred). Once you have your Critical Numbers, you can determine which initiatives are most important to undertake, maintaining at least one annual initiative focused on just your critical number(s).
After meeting hundreds of business owners, I find that most fail to create a good business plan. The secret is in the annual initiatives. Many leaders confuse budgeting with business planning. Others confuse action steps with priorities or initiatives. Others are not thinking big enough when creating their plans. Are you finding it challenging to create a good business
Long time ago, a lion fell in love with a woodsman’s daughter. Mesmerized by her beauty, the lion approached the woodsman to ask for the maiden’s hand in marriage. The woodsman was entirely against the arrangement, but feared the displeasure of the royal beast if he refused to give his consent.
”Your majesty and the King of the forest,” the woodsman said, my wife and I are flattered by your proposal, but fear some harm could inadvertently befall our young daughter when you are expressing your affection for her. If you would consent to having your claws removed and your teeth extracted, we would consent to making you her bridegroom.”
The lion was deeply in love that he had his claws and teeth removed. But when he returned to claim the maiden, the woodsman, no longer afraid of the harmless beast, grabbed a thick club and drove the groom-to-be back into the woods.
James Collins and Jerry Porras in their classic work titled ‘ Built to Last’, identified a set of companies they call Visionary Companies. These are organizations that have been successful as world leading companies for at least half a century. Few examples of these companies are General Electric (124
Data science is a burgeoning area in which businesses are investing to help make better decisions to improve their productivity and handle customer data more efficiently. However, how you collect and analyse your data is of fundamental importance to your business. Here are the top 7 tips for how to collect and use your business data:
1. Define your question
This may sound simple, but you need to set out a key question you want to answer with your data. This will allow you to conduct focused analysis later on without making things too complex. For example, if you want to look at how A is effected by X,Y, Z, then you need to only concern yourself with collecting high-quality data on these variables. You may waste time and money collecting variables which have little or no use to answering your question.
2. Define your variables
Once you have determined your question, you need to define what variables you need to collect. This is important as your data collection can be tailored towards collecting these variables. If you invest a large amount of money into collecting X and Y, and later find out Z is also of interest to you, this mistake can be
Surveys are a form of market research and in the competitive world of today; each industry thrives upon and drives towards being the best for their consumers. The most common and easiest way for primary research, surveys take the lead. In the biggest of universities and the largest of organisation, surveys are used in order to assess their products/surveys and be a thorough way of taking feedback from their consumers and their opinions based on past performance, current decision or future forecasts. Surveys are indeed the most important and essential tool which allow market researchers to gain information from their target audience regarding their product. The types of surveys which can be used to carry out market information can be online surveys (most common), paper surveys, phone surveys, and with the advancements in technology, mobile surveys have also become increasingly popular. Surveys can be qualitative as well as quantitative; Surveys help crease strategies and business models in order to aid marketing strategies to direct towards maximum profitability. If the surveys are conducted in and efficient manner and executed according to plan, there are a number of widespread advantages which can be useful to a business.
Something which many would know, surveys