Saturday, November 12, 2016

Consider the following

This is the second part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

https://doc.co/LyrxvF/qcihGm

and the first part at:

We live in exponential times

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One of the major changes that is a reality in today’s world is the fact that millennials have become the dominant component of the workforce. This also means their dominance will continue to increase as will their influence inside organisations as they move into positions of responsibility and power inside all businesses.

The question therefore becomes, what are you doing to cater for this generation? They work in very different ways from previous generations you will soon find out. Don’t believe me? Ok, tell me what happens when you send a millennial an email? You never get a reply is what happens. Why? Because they don’t use emails to communicate. They typically use social media or chat, especially Facebook. They are going to expect the same style of “social” communications tools when they work in a business. They are also going to expect communication channels such as Slack (and Microsoft Teams now) where they can contribute and be heard broadly and publically across the organisation. If the only tool your business communications support is email, don’t expect it to be a place where the best millennial talent wants to work!

Coupled with the change in worker demographic, the vast majority of interactions people have with technology and information is now via mobile devices, typically their phone. Fewer and fewer people are remaining tethered to a network cable, desktop and cubical in the business. You want your sales people out talking with customers. You want your support staff out with customers in the real world. In fact you want your whole business out in the listening to what customers want and they can only do this if they have access to information through their mobile devices.

So how are you enabling your mobile workforce? Are you supporting and encouraging staff to work from the field? Are you enabling them to work when it suits them to provide a better work/life balance? If you aren’t, then there is a good chance you won’t retain them for long. Work is no longer somewhere you go to, it is something you do. Smart businesses reward their staff on what they do, not how they do it.

We are still at the beginning of the mobile revolution. What happens when countries like India, China, Indonesia and like come fully online? When they do, it will be via mobile devices not traditional desktops. How as a business are you going to enable, and also importantly, control this mobility? How are you going to enable ease of access but also ensure your information remains secure? There are no longer any borders to your network. You business information is free to roam outside your walls, wherever your users go. How are you dealing with that?

Mobile technology puts a powerful computing device within everyone’s hands cheaply. Combined with cloud services like Office 365, Azure, AWS and like it also gives them access to computing power beyond the wildest dreams of the largest governments just a few years back. The cost of all this is mere pennies per month. Importantly, it is also available freely to anyone. Anyone can sign up today for a 30 day trial of services like Office 365 and Azure, no matter where they are in the world. Technology has become pervasive, it is everywhere and technology alone is no longer the differentiator. How you actually use technology is the main determination of how successful you are personally and your business is.

Such pervasiveness allows anyone to deliver a product or service just about anywhere in the world. Mobile app stores are available to anyone who has a mobile device 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Successful businesses understand their greatest opportunity if outside their existing markets. As mentioned before, the sheer number of potential consumer is countries like India, China and Indonesia should have any business salivating ate the prospect of selling into such markets. With technology, it is possible today. Right now.

You can never be a success in business if you do what everyone else is doing. If you are simply selling hardware items you are in a race to the bottom with companies who are larger, better funded and more suited to the commodity game. The rules of this game you should be following are – if you can’t win, don’t play!

Here in Australia we have seen the demise of large businesses such as Dick Smith and Master’s who tried to play the commodity game against stronger players and lost everything. Even our biggest retailers, Coles and Woolworths, are struggling and deathly afraid of players like Amazon coming into our market, which they are by the way:

Amazon plans to ‘destroy’ Australia’s retail industry

The only conclusion a rational individual can make is that the commodity business is for ‘mugs’ and you shouldn’t be in it, yet you continue to see so many holding dearly onto it as their sole business model. Right. Good luck with that.

The world is a very different place from what many believe. The evidence is all around us, plain as day, yet many fail to heed the new reality. In the face of just points the mentioned here alone, you should now be looking to go back to the drawing board and chart a new plan for the future. There is massive opportunities for those businesses that embrace these changes because many are still living in denial. Yes, change is hard but it is also a fact of life. Once you embrace it, it won’t control you, you won’t fear it and you’ll see the opportunities were others only see threats.

We live in exponential times. The actions that you take right here and right now are what will determine your personal and business viability in the future. Grasp the opportunity or fade away. The choice is yours.