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Why SME’s Should Look to the Cloud for Growth

in the united kingdom alone 581,173 start-ups were registered with Companies House during 2014, this was reported to be a record high as Britain’s hunger for business boomed. So it’s no surprise that because of the biggest IT revolution over the past decade, 49% of small businesses are using cloud platforms. With the power to punch above their weight and compete with larger, skilled companies, adopting cloud software has been the ticket for fulfillment for several young start-ups still in their infancy. Whilst many SME business owners are often scared about the concept of cloud, with concerns raised surrounding cost, complexity, and security if businesses don’t begin to adapt themselves they might soon find they will not compete.

A recent report by Forbes estimates that cloud applications will account for 90% of worldwide data traffic by 2019, and with such a staggeringly high percentage small businesses shouldn't be reluctant to rework their methods. The benefits which will be reaped from embracing the cloud can't only increase productivity but enable them to grow far quicker than traditional businesses who are keen to stay to outdated practices.

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It wasn’t way back that tiny businesses were having to seek out investment in order that they might pay the massive upfront fees for IT and software solutions. Taking out excessive overdrafts is that the last item that a business owner wants, and this is often something the cloud has revolutionized for start-ups. Software as a Service (SaaS) offers a variety of solutions in order that small businesses can pay-per-use, and still have equivalent support and help as their much larger competitors. When cash-flow are some things that SMEs are cautious of, this is often a big aid in enabling owners to stay an eye fixed on costs and still have access to the foremost up-to-date software.

Putting small businesses on A level playing field with their competitors are some things that were impossible before the introduction of the cloud, without potential risk or fear of dramatic financial implications, but the cloud offers an equivalent sophisticated software to all or any without discriminating on size.  organizations adopting cloud computing could cut their software costs by up to twenty  A recent report from the ECU Commission found that organizations adopting cloud computing could cut their software costs by up twenty. The financial agility that's now available may be a fact that should be embraced by small businesses instead of ignored.

Expansion 

The quaint problem of hardware failures, losing time because of delayed projects, and missing staff, is all a thing of the past because of the implementation of the cloud. As long as there’s an online connection, a business can now be done anywhere at any time, meaning that whether you hire freelancers or have employees out of the office, the business can continue running from any location.

Allowing staff to access their applications and files remotely is extremely beneficial to small businesses who previously would have found this disruptive to the normal constraints of working hours, and lost precious time and money. Instead, SME’s are not any longer restricted to a brick and mortar location and may expand their team much further afield and deal with the problems that might have held them back within the past. Gone are the times suffering lost days because your staff is stuck reception thanks to inclemency, or your hardware has died.

SME’s are not any longer restricted to a bricks and mortar location

However, the cloud not only battles old problems but helps to spice up the prevailing problem of attempting to assist a business to appear more successful. for instance, start-ups could have their head office during a more cost-effective area but promote the very fact they're a ‘national’ business thanks to the representatives they need across the united kingdom.

Creating the illusion that a business is far bigger than it appears can enable them to winner bigger contracts and grow more efficiently without being tied down by excessive overheads. It’s documented that SMEs are vital for growth within the UK’s economy, and making the foremost of what the cloud has got to offer is often transformational for these businesses. But the adoption must be an informed one and supported by the broader business and digital communities. 

Is the skill gap becoming a skill famine?

The importance of coaching the subsequent generations has been on my mind recently. With the speed that technology is advancing, individuals are being skilled out by the industry through no fault of their own.  IP Expo is somewhat of a gathering of the minds, with generations of technological talent converging within the Excel Centre in London. I spoke with a set of men that are driving innovation within the tech sector since before ‘cloud’ began.  To begin my second IP Expo experience (IP Expo 2014 was my first ever cloud event), Alan Saldich, vice chairman of selling at Cloudera, dropped this gem:

Data drives the fashionable world”

I completely accept it as true Alan’s statement. We do now sleep in a world that's heavy data reliant, even things that you simply aren’t conscious of have data connections are generating big data which will be analyzed for a far better user experience – yet there's an alarming lack of knowledge scientists available to analyze it.

Last summer David Willetts, the Science Minister, announced a £52 million investment in new and emerging science talent, creating quite 7,800 education and skills opportunities over a two-year period. But will this be enough to fill the void within the STEM professions? Cloudera has taken training into its own hands, implementing training schemes for Hadoop – training over 50,000 individuals through training courses that are publicly available online and in their partner eco-system, also as working with over 100 universities.

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Ed Martin from Kemp stressed that there's a requirement for more individuals within the industry that are skilled in software and virtualization deployment because the industry is moving faraway from legacy systems. 

Martin said, “Universities are becoming better at skilling graduates, but there must be more back and forth betroth the industry and therefore the educators. Social media helps too – it’s improving training, there are numerous webinars and tweet chats now, it is often a resource for education, it offers tons of options to people that are literally trying to find ways to find out .”

Oscar Marquez is Chief Technology Officer at ‘born on the cloud’ company iSheriff – they built a web certification course for his or her partners in order that they might be properly educated on the merchandise, the course is additionally now hospitable graduates. Oscar stressed that for him it’s not a few skill shortages, but more an attention-based problem instead.

It is difficult to seek out well-rounded, accomplished people … There has been a shift from guys who inherit the industry at the base level and work there high learning everything. It’s moved to a moment focus – there are guys who can only install a switch.

Apprenticeships could also be the way of the longer-term – starting someone as a cloud security specialist then moving them up. It’s about learning the entire gamut of the corporate,” Marquez said. 

The best guys [entering the market] are gamers 

There has been a move faraway from mechanics within the IT industry – it wont to be dominated by the blokes who would have sat in their rooms and pulled apart their computer and gaming systems – the people that would find servers on scrapheaps and rebuild them from scratch. a sense expressed by many of my interviewees was that the industry must return and find those people again.

Ian Bayly, VP of EMEA and Channel Strategy at XIRRUS said that for his company graduates were beginning well trained, but the key challenge they're having is keeping millennials motivated.

The speed at which the millennial generation changes jobs is far faster than any previous generation. they're really looking to finish a year, and then, if there isn’t any incentive to remain on, they move up through changing jobs laterally.virtualization technology there's not a guarantee of ‘work hard, climb the ladder, run the company’. Millennials are far more cutthroat with their job choices, if they need to progress they often see the sole thanks to doing so is to seem for a special role.

Bayly suggested that introducing tiers might be the answer to the present, giving a promotion based structure to advancement via learning. ie. you get your cisco qualification, you program a tier and obtain a bonus.

Incentivized learning could also be an option within the future

David Williamson and Scott Breadmore of efficient IP stressed the importance of helping your own employees up-skill, so as to embed them into the corporate culture through empowering them on their education.

“Universities got to build relationships and partnerships with the industry,” said Breadmore, there's room for collaboration to supply students that have one foot in education and therefore the other within the industry and real-world experience.

William Culbert, Manager of Solutions Engineering, EMEA at Bomgar said that each one undergrad got to find the time to urge industry experience, in which their aspirations are being set too high by lecturers.

IT is becoming a vocation

IT is becoming a vocation, so for a few employees, the continued development is more important than having a degree,” said Culbert. Insightful comments abounded at IP Expo, and NetApp’s Elliott Howard had a number of the simplest. Here are, in my opinion, his top three: “I think we'd like to make mentors within the industry, as an industry we'd like to be getting into education and taking control of what we expect students got to know in 15 years.” It is obligatory the industry focus, design, and influence the outputs of universities.” We got to stop sucking the life out of graduates, we'd like to allow them to teach us also, they have to stay challenging us as an industry.”

Chris Pace, Head of Product Marketing at Wallix said there are other thanks to skill employees to the amount you're trying to find – suggesting that removing outsourcing may be a great way to enhance your in-house skillset, but recognized that there's a disparate level of coaching between universities and actual business needs. Traditionally there's a resistance to the core needs of IT security industries. so as for us to develop around cybersecurity, universities got to acknowledge that things got to change in their training around IT security for them to become a neighborhood of the answer,” Pace said.

So can we push more people to hitch STEM professions? I feel yes. Tech is an exciting industry, the masses just got to be drawn in, and skilled, in the right way. When industry and education (of many facets, not just universities) learn to satisfy within the middle, the gap is going to be closed. Here’s hoping to a future filled with apprenticeships and internships, and every one the unicorns the tech industry can dream of. A joint approach thereto to purchasing

IT is documented for being a posh and expensive spend category, but what you'll not know is that it’s also a serious culprit for refusing to follow official procurement guidelines and procedures, choosing instead to form its own purchasing decisions.

We’ve recently conducted research that appears into the procurement’s department’s relationship with other business functions and uncovered that one in three IT professionals prefer to ‘go it alone’ when making IT spending decisions, with an awesome majority (78%) of the IT professionals surveyed pertaining to procurement’s formal tender processes as a hindrance, unnecessarily extending the time it takes to process orders.

According to our CPO Viewpoint research, 36% of procurement claims to have the method of shopping for new technology once it's specified its requirements, however, interestingly, only 12% of IT agree that it's actually procurement’s responsibility.

Where procurement has been involved within the process, only 19% of IT respondents admitted that the procurement team had led the way on cost-saving initiatives in their department. This compared to 43% of procurement claiming that they actually took the lead.

The research findings certainly point thereto having an unfavorable view of procurement and being frustrated over its ‘red tape.’ However, there's also reason to believe that it's failing to recognize the potential value that procurement delivers.  The two departments were also found to possess a polarised view of paying priorities for IT, as procurement’s focus is usually on devices and hardware, while it's more concerned with infrastructure and security.

However, one area where IT and procurement were more closely aligned is around supply chain risk. it might seem that nearly half (46%) of IT identified that procurement’s most vital contribution was within the areas of supplier risk and negotiation.

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So what's at the guts of this gulf between IT and procurement and why should IT stay up and notice of its organization’s procurement policies and procedures? 

Clearly, technology may be a complex spend category, and people authorized to get within it's going to claim it's quicker and easier to forge ahead with their own buying needs. However, it's crucial that IT thinks twice before side-stepping procurement’s official processes as potentially they're putting billions of pounds in danger annually.

This department is additionally missing out on procurement’s supplier negotiation and risk management skills, which could help reduce costs, minimize risks, and potential project failures. Surely, it's therefore vital that these departments look to figure together more effectively.

Working with, instead of against procurement can deliver numerous benefits so how can the 2 departments work towards collaborating more effectively within the future?

Here are our three top tips for facilitating this process:

Deciding on spend priorities must be a shared responsibility between IT and procurement. this may help procurement gain a much better understanding of what the department needs are now and within the future.

IT should stop dismissing procurement’s processes as unnecessary ‘red tape’ but to re-examine them instead – will the extra steps add value or necessary diligence to the project. Are there any bottlenecks within the process, and if so how can these be overcome? determine if it’s possible to simplify formal tender processes and make ways to figure together more strategically and collaboratively.

Savings targets identified by procurement should be aligned with the IT department’s objectives for the year. Are there any opportunities to save lots of in low priority areas, contract terms that would be negotiated that mitigates cost increases? Both teams got to spot which opportunities can meet joint objectives and overall savings targets set by the organization. a far better understanding of how procurement processes work will help IT recognize the advantages of this approach.

IT purchasing is often complex and demands a particular balance of autonomy and assistance to drive great returns and value. Establishing goals, identifying key areas of spend, and utilizing the talents of the procurement function presents IT and procurement with the chance to actually drive a tangible difference to an organization.

6 Questions for Paul Gill, Head of Digital Engagement at Oxfam

Ahead of his presentation at Digital Strategy Innovation In London, we spoke to Paul Gill, Head of Digital Engagement at Oxfam.

Paul runs the Digital Engagement team at Oxfam GB.information technology schools The team crafts engaging digital experiences across the online, email, social media, and digital marketing that make Oxfam’s supporters (existing and potential) feel a part of their work and mission. They also transform Oxfam’s digital culture to assist achieve this by being experts and role models. He features a personal specialize in user experience and therefore the cross-channel experience for Oxfam’s supporters. Before Oxfam, he worked at digital agency Torchbox on UX and digital strategy.

Which company does one think utilize digital most effectively?

Given the wide spectrum of digital, this is often a difficult question to answer. I’ve considered it from the perspectives of product, cross-channel marketing, creative use of the medium, user experience, and a strategic approach. I’ve also had to question whether I should include a standard organization who is doing its best to use digital, or an organization rooted in digital within the end, I went with Netflix. They understood the elemental shift within the market, realized what consumers would want, invested heavily within the infrastructure, invested within the product (and the user experience), used the merchandise, and WoM to plug themselves. What I also like is that they seem to be an overnight success story. They’re not – their history is DVD-as-a-service but transitioned to on-demand about 10 years ago.

I also just like the (perhaps apocryphal) story that, in 2000, Netflix was offered for acquisition to Blockbuster for $50 million, however, Blockbuster declined the offer.

With traditional strategies, there’s a long-term and short-term plan. Are long-term strategies possible with digital or does its constant evolution mean that you simply can only plan for the short-term?

As you’ll guess from my answer to the primary question, I do believe that long-term strategies are possible. But you've got to be flexible enough to adapt because the situation changes within the short term. Sometimes, not investing (and justifying that lack of investment) in opportunities within the short term to realize the future may be a difficult, but necessary decision.

How central is digital to your company’s overarching strategy?

Oxfam aims to become a digital-by-default organization. As a result, our nascent digital strategy (for public engagement) is going to be very closely aligned with the overarching organizational strategy.

Oxfam aims to become a digital-by-default organization What’s next for digital in terms of its development and what does one see it affecting next? I don’t have a ball, but two themes I’m interested in are:

Fragmentation. Of devices and networks. I really like XKCD’s world map of the web (https://xkcd.com/802/) and see this becoming far more granular. and that I love that the granularity comes from sorts of networks and kinds of interest. information technology degree The map illustrates that geographical boundaries that do such a lot to define us currently, will shift our definition to become more of the networks and places during which we chose to spend our time online. By fragmentation of devices, I mean any object becoming a part of "> a part of the web – therefore the internet of things being part of a continuum that started with the primary phones.

Privacy. Mass-market awareness of privacy and issues concerning conversations and private data being digital / anywhere is merely just starting. I see public perception of this becoming greater, and having an impact on online services from any organisation.

Which sorts of companies do one thing will find it most difficult to implement digital effectively?

Slow-moving and risk-averse organizations are most in danger. and people with rigidly-defined silos. To become digital-by-default, you can’t corral digital into one team – it’s a meme, a theme, a routine that works across the whole organization. And whilst, for giant organizations, digital may be a long-term piece, you've got to be flexible (or agile) enough to either make use of opportunities as they arise, or decide to not.

What can the delegates expect from your presentation at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit?

Understanding how the digital channel can both reflect and influence other channels and a few guides to how this will add an outsized organization – illustrated with some compelling examples from our humanitarian, fundraising, and campaigning beat last year.