Buying Software for your Business? A few simple rules…

Many people selecting a new piece of business software have been involved in software projects before. They remember the dreamy vision painted by the software seller, they had expectations that the solution would fix all their problems, that the implementation process would be as smooth as slipping on a silk glove and that life would suddenly be wonderful.Top Technology The reality was often quite different. In surveys around 75% of software implementations either failed to deliver the agreed objectives, drastically exceeded the budget or were delivered long past the intended go-live date. Continue reading

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Big Data

Big Data is omnipresent, yet relatively unknown. It is a technology that affects our everyday lives in so many ways, though most of us do not know it exists. In this blog I attempt to uncover a phenomenon that has become pervasive in many aspects of life and is now impacting, amongst others,  the waste, recycling and environmental sectors.

Before offering some insight into what Big Data is, let’s put forward a few examples that are easy to relate to: A 20’s something female updates her relationship status on Facebook from single to engaged.  She then begins to see subtle (and sometimes less than subtle) advertising for wedding dress shops, romantic holiday destinations and even hotels in her home vicinity that offer the full wedding package. Now, Facebook do not BigData word cloud smallemploy huge teams of data ninjas that monitor your every change in circumstance to then present you with appropriate advertisements, they employ Big Data. Recently, a piece of research from Cambridge University and Microsoft across 58,000 volunteers demonstrated a remarkable ability to predict a person’s age, gender, political affiliation and even sexual orientation just from their “Likes” on Facebook. Apparently clicking “Like” on subjects such as “Britney Spears” or “Desperate Housewives” were among the signs of homosexual orientation! Continue reading

Look, No Cash!

To address the issue of metal theft, the government has amended various bills to implement a cashless system for purchasing in the scrap metal industry. Here I look into the implication of this and how companies need to focus on their IT systems to make it happen, particularly in light of key exceptions.

Metal theft has rapidly become a scourge on our industry, with public sympathy focusing on the victims and eyeing anyone involved in the industry with distrust. The recent amendments to the Bill announced in May and due to come into force in August are generally welcomed in the industry as they offer scrap metal merchants the opportunity to confirm their honesty and integrity. However, the system won’t be foolproof as the Government has had to provide exemptions for itinerant scrap metal collectors who often have no way of receiving payment via any other means than cash. Continue reading

Top 5 Technologies for Recycling & Sustainable Energy Companies in 2012

Out with the Old, in with the New

For many businesses, investment in new IT has been somewhat low on the list of essentials over the last year or two. Despite this, in the hi-tech world, the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google have seen the pace of new developments increase further and faster than ever before. Jason Fazackerley takes a look at why many businesses now have an Top Technologies for 2012opportunity to take advantage of newer technologies. Can these technologies bring real commercial benefit and allow them to make 2012 a springboard to success? And if some IT budget becomes available, where should IT Directors and CIO’s spend it? Continue reading

Acquire or Acquired; having the right IT systems ensures you realise best value

Company A – The Acquired: You spend years building up your business; you make sacrifices, many of them personal as you put business before family, leisure and sometimes health. It is a familiar tale and when one decides that the time has come to sell-up you want, and deserve, to get the best value you can for your life’s work.
Company B – The Acquirer: You have a reputation for building businesses and your investors expect you to maximise the return on the money that they have entrusted in you. To really perform, you go down the acquisition route. You know there are plenty of businesses out there where owner managers are looking to exit (or stay on with a view to cashing in).

The conventional view for most acquisitions is that Company A wants to get as much cash as possible from Company B as a single up-front payment and with no tie-ins. Meanwhile B wants to give as little to A as they can get away with, but secure the transaction by applying all sorts of warranties and penalties on A if it goes belly-up. On the face of it, these are two completely opposing strategies, and have hitherto been reality for many acquisitions, often ending in neither party realising best value.

So, what has this got to do with IT systems? Well, firstly let’s consider the situation of company A: All too commonly, owner managers build businesses around themselves; they are the king-pin without which the company does not operate, or exist! Those companies rely on Mr or Mrs A to determine prices, agree contracts, authorise billing and sometimes even raise the invoices as they are the only people who know the prices to bill. They complete the month-end accounts and manage the costs. The owner is so embroiled in the business that they are able to manage it in their sleep. The sad thing is, if one day they didn’t wake up, the business would disintegrate very quickly. Investing in good business systems to manage and run the business is your life insurance whilst you own the business; good business systems replace the king-pin and mean that the business has true value with or without Mr or Mrs A. And once you have made that transition, you can choose to step back from the business a little or sell, realising true worth and minimising any hold the acquirer may have on you.

For the Acquirer, taking over a business where one can extract the owner manager is generally the most desired outcome – it means that company A becomes part of company B overnight, thus imparting values, systems, processes and controls immediately. If the acquired company does not have good business systems in place, and sometimes even if they do, being able to implement your systems quickly, and we’re talking weeks not months, can secure the investment by stamping your mark on that business. Immediately they have your processes, controls and you have full visibility of its performance, stress points, bottlenecks and capacity to negate cost across the expanded business. Good business systems, with a well thought out and proven roll-out plan, can make this happen. All that’s left is to change the sign over the door.

So, whether you are planning to be acquired, or whether you are the acquirer, good business systems will be a significant success factor in achieving true value.