Greater Revenue Through Systems of Engagement

Geoffrey Moore coined the term “systems of engagement” to describe IT systems that support multiway communication and collaboration between businesses and customers. These are distinct from “systems of record,” or those IT systems (e.g., databases and management information systems) designed primarily for one-way, read access of structured data. In today’s highly competitive global markets, digital systems of engagement are an absolute necessity for enhanced employee productivity, partnership success, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty ̶ all of which result in revenue growth. In fact, a Deloitte Digital survey found that by the end of the year, digital interactions would influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores.

In its global survey for IBM, “Systems Of Engagement Demand New Integration Solutions — And A New IT,” Forrester Research reports how customer expectations of their business interactions are changing dramatically. What customers want most are easier interactions, the ability to deal with them via their smartphones and consistent treatment across all channels. And as any successful business knows, the customer is always right.

Companies that embrace SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) will be best positioned to deliver systems of engagement that meet these users’ expectations. For example, users want to engage with retailers, banks, and any other personal or business services via any device and any channel, from mobile apps on their smartphones, to tablets, social media and cloud-based e-commerce websites. Wearables are also increasing in popularity, with the Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. reporting that 73% of online adults see “safety and wellness” as one potential wearable-workplace benefit.

Perhaps most important, users expect customized interactions, in which big data and analytics deliver the intelligence required to enhance user experiences and drive new revenue. For example, by targeting customers with personalized offers and suggesting relevant purchases, retailers leverage valuable customer data to encourage new sales. And the multiway interaction continues after the purchase. Customers are engaged in providing retailers with product feedback and chatter on social media about product quality, which the retailer then analyzes to gain insights for encouraging return business. Add the Internet of Things (IoT), and soon organizations will be engaging with cars, appliances and other purchased items, spurring new sources of service revenue that have the potential to last for years.

From the Center to the Edge

Moving to systems of engagement requires an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ that can deliver a satisfying, real-time experience for any user, anywhere, on any device, via any engagement channel.

In an age of digital images, voice and video, more than fat pipes are required ̶ low latency is vital. Low latency comes from proximity, not only to the user, but also among the applications, data repositories, cloud services and other elements that drive the engagement experience.

That’s why successful enterprises are moving from a centralized interconnection architecture, with multiple long-distance MPLS, Internet virtual private networks (VPNs), and other connections emanating from one or two corporate data centers, to a more distributed interconnection architecture that harnesses existing, globally dispersed interconnection/colocation data centers (such as Equinix) that house multiple cloud services, network providers and partner ecosystems.

An interconnected enterprise leverages proximate, direct, high-speed interconnections among clouds, partners and other IT delivery systems for fast, low-latency interactions, bringing all of these services closer to dispersed global users. Rather than building multiple connections one by one, organizations can simply extend their network to the nearest interconnection access point.

With systems of engagement and data pushed to the edge, close to mobile users, the entire user experience on any device is transformed. Countless organizations have benefited from this transformative architecture, including these Equinix customers:

  • A major multinational banking and financial services firm reduced latency by 45% by strategically deploying its banking applications in multiple global interconnection centers.
  • A health care Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider achieved real-time customer service interactions by leveraging a globally dispersed interconnection architecture to securely deliver on-demand software updates.

The future is engagement, which means you need to get up close and interconnect.

DeNA Thinks Nintendo’s Mobile Games Could Attract Up To 200 Million Players

In a recent interview, CEO of DeNA West Shintaro Asako made some interesting comments regarding the future of their partnership with Nintendo. In that, they expect a lot of people to play these games.

While the interview is pretty up front and Asako’s answers are direct, I will be honest in that it does come across a bit exploitative in tone. Admittedly, this is where DeNA are currently in terms of their approach to mobile gaming monetisation. However, as this is a partnership I had hoped that Nintendo’s line of thinking would have become more part of the planning by now.

In any case, Asako made two very interesting comments, the first being that, “Hundreds of millions of people have bought Nintendo consoles. Those are people who decided to spend a minimum of $200 just to get access to Nintendo IP. That number is already twice as big as the Candy Crush total user base. Not only that, every single person buying Nintendo devices spends an average of about $100 per year on software. So I have no question that when Nintendo’s mobile games come out, at least 150 or 200 million people will try it. These people are super core Nintendo fans who used to spending $150 to $250 just to access the content.”

In short, that means even if you only have a small number of those spending a small amount of money per month then that adds up to big money on a recurring basis. What with Nintendo’s fanbase as it is it’s likely that they will pay up so long as it is handled properly.

This is the key point though, going down the full on exploitative freemium route here would be disastrous and critically damage Nintendo’s brand. However, freemium faces a huge problem within its business model as it relies on users called “whales”.

The Cloud Means (Agile, Scalable, Productive) Business

It’s been 385 years to the month since Gov. John Winthrop founded and named “Boston,” a hilly peninsula that had been settled earlier in 1630 by his fellow Puritans. This week, that historic U.S. city becomes a destination for people looking for insight into the cloud, a technology that’s reshaping the history of the digital world. 

The 2015 “Cloud Means Business” conference is sponsored by Cloud Partners and is being held in Boston from Sept. 16 – 18. Equinix will be there, along with a host of our partners.

As its title suggests, the conference will focus on the cloud’s impact on business, with its opening session specifically looking at how new technologies – including software-defined networking and the Internet of Things – are redefining the cloud marketplace. As we gear up for the Boston conference, our mind is focused on how these technologies will be impacting what companies will be doing in the cloud.

The current and future impact of cloud on the enterprise is well-documented, including in the recent report by Oxford Economics, “The Cloud Grows Up.” The report indicated that nearly 70% of businesses surveyed plan to make “moderate-to-heavy” cloud investments over the next three years. Other findings with implications for the cloud marketplace:

  • 61% of survey respondents expected their companies to have developed new products or services via the cloud within three years, up from 26% that had done so.
  • 51% expected to have developed new lines of business via the cloud in three years, compared to 28% that had done so.
  • 50% expected to have entered new markets in three years, compared to 40% that had done so.

Given the pace of cloud change in the past three years, the cloud marketplace three years from now could look nothing like what we can conceive today. But the two technologies singled out by conference organizers will play a huge role in getting us from now to whatever’s next.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN): SDN’s huge advantage is that it frees the enterprise to shift network control from physical network devices it has to “touch” and maintain (i.e. switches, routers) onto software applications that allow centralized, end-to-end network provisioning and visibility. SDN is at the heart of the kind of cloud services and infrastructures that are becoming less a feature of this interconnected era and more a necessity to operate in it.

That’s because business is changing to require instant, simultaneous interconnection between cloud partners to reach increasingly mobile end users at anytime, anywhere, on any device. That kind of agility can’t happen without a dynamic, software-based architecture. Equinix already offers this capability with our Cloud Exchange, which at its core, uses SDN within the Equinix Programmable Network.

Internet of Things (IoT): A lot of the excitement about the IoT centers around the new business insights it can offer. Until now, we’ve never had sensors on deep sea ships, for instance, spilling out information about weather changes, ocean currents, cargo conditions, so we’ve never had a chance to see the innovations and efficiencies that information might lead to. IBM midmarket business general manager John Mason calls data “the new natural resource.” But this resource can’t exist without the cloud, and it can’t be mined without the cloud, so the growing significance of the IoT in the cloud marketplace is clear – for businesses of every size.

“I think eventually every business has to have somewhere in its portfolio and go-to-market approach a range of cloud services,” Mason told Forbes.

At Equinix, we agree with the folks in Boston that “cloud means business.” Click the link to learn more about how our cloud infrastructure solutions can help the enterprise do business.

Predicting The Future Of Cloud Service Providers

When asked which Value-Added Reseller (VAR) is most likely to win their enterprises’ business for a significant hosting project, the majority said IBM IBM +1.36% (18%) followed by Microsoft MSFT +0.00% (11%), Amazon (8%) and Dell (7%).

Database (57%), e-mail (54%) and business applications (ERP, CRM & industry-specific apps) (49%) are the three leading application hosting investments enterprises will be making in the next two years.

These and other insights are from Beyond Infrastructure: Cloud 2.0 Signifies New Opportunities for Cloud Service Providers (66 pp., no opt-in) a report providing valuable insights into the Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Cloud Service Provider (CSP CSPI +0.00%) landscape. The study was conducted by 451 Research LLC and commissioned by Microsoft. Despite being vendor-sponsored, this study provides several useful take-aways on the broader MSP and CSP marketplace. Please see the first pages of the study for more on the methodology.

Key take-aways include the following:

  • Enterprises’ highest expectations when moving to hosted services or cloud computing is gaining improved technology quality on platforms and applications (22%), helping to grow the business (18%), improved availability and better business service (13%).  The following graphic analyzes the expectations enterprises have when moving to the cloud.
  • Within two years, 34% of enterprises will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform. 47% of marketing departments will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform in two years.  These and other insights are from the graphic, Future Percent of Applications in Cloud by Department.
  • 63% of all enterprises surveyed are running an on-premises private cloud with a hosted private cloud. 45% using an on-premises private cloud with a public cloud. 32% have a hosted private cloud integrated to a public cloud. The following graphic shows the relative level of interoperability maturity across the three hybrid cloud scenarios 451 Research evaluated. MSPs and CSPs need to excel at mastering cloud interoperability and integration technologies to keep pace with the wide variety of enterprise needs in this area now and in the future.
  • Security (35%), better control by IT teams (19%) and improved performance (17%) are the three most common factors driving enterprises to move workloads from public to private clouds.  It’s interesting to note than only 14% of respondents see workload migrations from public to private clouds being cost driven and only 7% are seeing the shift due to IT centralization plans.
  • Backup and Recovery (68%), Disaster Recovery/Site Recovery (54%),  Application development tools & platforms (47%) and Mobile Services (47%) are the four Managed Services enterprises anticipate investing the most in in the next two years. The following graphic provides an overview of forecasted spending on Managed Services over the next two years.
  • Database (57%), e-mail (54%) and business applications (ERP, CRM & industry-specific apps) (49%) are the three leading application hosting investments enterprises will be making in the next two years. Analytics including Business Intelligence (BI), data mining and Big Data (41%) is the sixth-most mentioned area for future investment. The following graphic provides an overview of Application Hosting investment priorities over the next two years.
  • When asked which Value-Added Reseller (VAR) is most likely to win their company’s business for a significant hosting project, the majority said IBM (18%).  Microsoft (11%), Amazon (8%) and Dell (7%) were mentioned second through fourth. When asked which system integrator (SI) would most likely win a significant hosting project, IBM was mentioned most often (25%) followed by Microsoft (13%).  Please see the second graphic for the top-mentioned SIs.
  • CIO/CTOs are the most influential C-level executives regarding purchasing decisions related to cloud-based Application Development and IT Operations/Administration apps.  CEOs are the most influential regarding cloud-based marketing app adoption.  The following two graphs illustrate the stakeholder decision making authority roles of C-level executives.

WinWeb focusses on cloud industry solutions

Winweb’s cloud-based business management solutions have a new focus on industry-specific requirements, with special applications for retail, wholesale, services, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, non-profit organizations, membership businesses, and franchises.

WinWeb industry solutions offer basic business functions, such as accounting, invoicing and business planning as well as industry-specific functionality, for example multi-location and multi-channel sales for retail.

Read more about Winweb industry solutions at WinWeb.com.

An Alternative to Netsuite?

Is there currently a SaaS offering that is an alternative to Netsuite? Yes! The answer is WinWeb. WinWeb gives you transformational enterprise level cloud computing for your growing business. One unified business management suite, combining traditional back-office, social media, web services, customer care, online & offline multi-channel sales and fulfilment activities. WinWeb CLOUD supports you and your team through the whole business cycle with all the tools you need in one simple, customised cloud interface. Giving your business a limitless, scalable business development platform, for profit and growth.

The pricing structure of WinWeb’s CLOUD offering compares very favourably with that of Netsuite.
The all-in-one customisable and flexible WinWeb Cloud from £599 per month/3 users included, billed annually.

Or why not try WinWeb APPS Industry Solutions for any size business. Whether you are a retail, wholesale, services, manufacturing, health care, financial, non-profit, membership, or franchise. Work from anywhere, updates included. Nothing to install and no long contract.

Everyone should have Business Software this Advanced – Now you can with WinWeb APPS.

Your business software not only needs to grow with your needs, it also needs to be able to change with your needs. Only truly integrated cloud software can deliver these objectives. WinWeb APPS will work for any Micro Business as it will for any Enterprise.

WinWeb CLOUD is a fully integrated and customisable solution dedicated to helping businesses become financially sustainable by providing them with access to the tools they will need at an affordable price. It is a system that is agile and flexible enough to provide custom app offerings to every industry and unlike other similar companies, those custom options won’t break the bank and they are very easy and quick to implement.

Let’s take a quick look at what a business can get from WinWeb Cloud:

  • Enterprise and Manufacturing Resource Planning (ERP/MRP)

    Including Financial Management, Supply Chain, Inventory, Order Management, Billing & Invoicing, Shipping & Fulfilment, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Production Scheduling, Bill of Materials, Purchase Management, Material Requirement Planning, Capacity Requirement Planning, Warehousing, Subscription and Time Billing and more …

  • Production Data Acquisition (PDA)

    Real-time process and production monitoring/reporting for manufacturing businesses – via Industrial Ethernet and/or industrial PDQ units.

  • Projects & Tasks Management (PTM)

    Project setup, project history, project team management, project pipelines and charts.

  • Multi Location

    Real-time integration of every fixed and mobile location, like multiple stores, multiple offices, delivery vans and trucks, will greatly enhance business efficiencies, save time and money.

  • Business Reporting & Analytics

    Hundreds of standard reports, including financial performance, client, sales, reporting and customised reporting.

  • Customer Service & Helpdesk

    Delight your customers by streamlining your support and deliver faster customer care.

  • Big Data

    Correlating internal business data with large scale external data sources to provide new insights into your business and open your business to new business opportunities.

  • eCommerce & ePOS

    Complete eCommerce solutions, from shop floor to online fully integrated into all aspects of WinWeb Business Cloud.

  • Private Business Cloud (PBC)

    Instead of hosting your cloud applications in the public cloud you can choose to have your cloud applications in your own data centre.

  • Website & Blog Integration

    Promote your business via social media. Interact with your clients.

  • Client Relationship Management (CRM)

    360 degree client view including client history, client file store, social media, transaction & financial overview and many more customisation options for a complete client picture.

  • Business Planning

    Business plan, cashflow forecast, SWOT analysis, business model canvas.

  • Digital Marketing

    Using our proprietary DITE technology (Discovery-Interaction- Transaction-Endorsement) to promote your products and services online, fully integrated into your back-office.

  • Cloud Chat & Message Board

    Real time collaboration tools to keep your team on track and communicating locally, nationally and world-wide.

  • Email, SMS & Newsletter

    Client communication via every channel possible, totally integrated.

  • Social Media Integration

    Communicating with clients on all relevant social media platforms in an integrated way is essential for any sustainable business – and creates lasting brand awareness.

  • Online Disk & Data Backup

    Keep all your data securely and online backed-up 24/7 with as much storage space as you need, fully encrypted.

  • Desktops. Tablets. Mobile

    Access your WinWeb Business Cloud on any device of your choice at no extra cost.

So if you’re looking for an alternative to Netsuite look no further you’ve found one it’s WinWeb.

Now that’s an alternative. The way you like I.T …
To find out more about Winweb CLOUD or WinWeb APPS contact us

The Future of Online Accounting

The increase in the number of online accountants seems to have has coincided with the elevation of online software. As such, small business accounting is as efficient as it has ever been.

 

There are several reasons for the rise of online accounting services. In a world where ease of use is a necessity not a luxury, it seems the simple nature of online accounting platforms employed by accountants has genuine appeal.

 

For instance, online accounting firms make the hassle of paperwork a distant memory by providing a simple online uploading system. You can lodge all of your documents by scanning them in or using your smartphone. You can then leave the rest to your online accountant.

 

Take Nudge for example. Once you have sent your documents through, we crunch the numbers, prepare the paperwork and lodge it on your behalf. When that is done we send you an ongoing monthly statement of your business performance. As the meerkat says, it’s “simples!”

 

Online accounting provides time poor businesses with a contemporary and affordable financial management system. It takes the time constraints of paperwork (sometimes poor paperwork that has to be done again) away from less experienced employees or bookkeepers who should be focusing on running their departments and dealing with staff, customers or stakeholders. It allows business owners to wipe their brow and focus on growth.

 

A further benefit of the online accounting model is the fixed fee structure. With online accounting you know the services you will receive for the price you have paid. There are different fee structures for the level of service you require, but again we live in a world where ease of use and transparency is a major caveat as to whether goods and services are purchased or not.

 

The future lies in a world where there are no appointments, flat fee structures, and any time, anywhere services.

 

It doesn’t matter whether the service or product is tea, tapware, telecommunications or accounting, there is an inbuilt need for online services. And with today’s technologies, there is no excuse for poor online experiences.

 

There is no expectation that traditional accounting will disappear, but as time-poor people look for ways to reduce stress and alleviate any business burden that can be outsourced, there will be an even bigger shift towards the delivery of online accounting.

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