There’s some running humour that there are 2 types of organisations – those that have been hacked and those that don’t yet know they have been hacked. Certainly at the big end of town in the United States there have been some very high profile attacks by cyber-criminals in recent months and many organisations are now scrambling to see if they’ve already been hit.
Keeping up with your own business is difficult enough without having to think about random attacks from cyberspace – but if you’re a leader then you need to pay attention to this most recent hack by Sony. It’s important.
If you’ve missed the news, Sony have been subjected to what one could only describe as a humiliating, destructive and costly compromise of the very core of their business. The hackers – arguably suspected of being North Korean government or at the very least inspired by them – gained access to company emails and documents many of which should have never seen the light of day – racial remarks from senior executive staff, sensitive information about ongoing legal battles to do with movie and music piracy and a slew of intellectual property – all of it is available on the Internet and the damage is ongoing and irreparable. Another recent breach of major health care provider Anthem in the states is gathering similar attention.
What happened to Sony and these other high profile businesses can and will happen to your business if the appropriate precautions are not taken. The ease in which these criminals were able to access and destroy Sony’s reputation is astounding. Continue reading →
Being in business is challenging as it is, but keeping up with technology has to be one of the toughest ongoing hurdles most business people face today.
When I speak with clients I am often reminding them that no matter what business they are in they are now also in the technology business whether they like it or not – and so are you.
You only need to look around to see how many companies are thriving through the use of new technology from social media marketing to automating software and the cloud. No matter what industry you are in, new technology can make you better, faster and stronger or leave you feeling left behind.
So how do you keep up when technology is moving so fast?
We humans are capable of making near-instant decisions based on sight alone. When the needle on your car’s fuel gauge nears the “E” along with an orange light then we know it’s time to get fuel. Locally here in bushfire prone Australia, when I see the roadside Fire Danger warning arrow point to Red along with an “Extreme Danger” subtext then I know it’s going to be damn hot and not a good idea to light a camp fire. In both of these cases I am informed instantly at-a-glance and I can make a quick decision.
Gauges and traffic lights exist to keep us out of danger in our personal lives yet in the business world very few companies that I meet with have a simple way of seeing an oncoming train wreck in the form of productivity problems, cash flow issues, negative customer feedback or a weak sales pipeline. Most businesses resort to gut instinct, Excel-style “yawn” reports that are often delivered days, weeks or months after preventative action can be taken or worse still – and this is the reality I’m uncomfortable with – this important data is not tracked at all.
Red Light Orange Light Green Light
There are numerous ways to display information but we only need to take to the streets to see that that the majority of us respond pretty well to Red Light (stop.. <insert expletive> not good!), Orange Light (This could go Green if we act now or this could go BAD if we do not!) or Green (Great! we’re achieving our target!).
But how do we get this same sort of instant data gratification from our business? Continue reading →
One of the greatest advantages to any business is the constant improvement of process. Good businesses are perpetually on the lookout for new innovations and ways to automate and save time.
Yet ironically one of the most overlooked improvements a business can make is ensuring that procedures are clearly documented and followed. It’s said that a business without written processes cannot scale because it lacks the ability to train new staff quickly and effectively and fails to create a consistent customer experience.
Just Upgrade Your Software?
Recently I met with a local company here in Sydney who were looking to upgrade their primary business and accounting software. The management were convinced that the current system wouldn’t keep up with the demands of their growing firm and that many of the issues they were currently experiencing could be resolved with a major system overhaul. The proposed upgrade was in excess of $100,000. Yet when we discussed the various problems the organisation was having, it was in fact a lack of documented procedures and best practices that was causing so many issues for the staff. Continue reading →
At the beginning of the smart phone revolution, long before Apple and Samsung, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile dominated the scene – though you’d hardly know it because very few people had nor wanted email on their phone and Apps hadn’t been invented yet. Most punters carried a Nokia device with simple call and SMS features.
Blackberry came along and commercialised the smartphone and businesses small and large jumped on the band wagon. Now Blackberry is a smouldering, fossilised asteroid backlit by what most would agree are the 2 remaining stars in the industry – Apple and Samsung (Google Android).
But, lets not close the history books yet. Microsoft’s $7.2B acquisition of Nokia and the ongoing development of Windows Mobile (now simply called Windows Phone) is evidence that there is room for at least one more.
My last 2 phones have been Nokia/Window’s Phone and today I have been invited to attend a Microsoft event for them to showcase the new Lumia 830. Full disclosure – I bought and paid for all of my own phones and have never received a freebie from Microsoft.
While we unwrap the packaging, here’s why I switched to Windows Phone, and more importantly why I have not switched back… Continue reading →
One of my personal topics of interest for pretty much forever has been how I can be just as effective working remotely as I am when I am in the office or the board room. After all, if I can just eliminate an hour in traffic every day, that’s an hour I get to reinvest in our clients. That’s why I’m reading Remote (highly recommend!) and just as I’ve reached the end of that book I started thinking beyond the usual challenges we all face when working remotely i.e. accessing company data, meetings, document sharing and paper based systems (we’ve overcome most of these) … but what about pitching a new idea to a client? how about presenting your business model to a prospect? and the most challenging of all.. team collaboration? I find much of this sort of high energy stuff requires the use of a physical whiteboard.
Anyway.. before I could say “I’m working from home tomorrow” low and behold.. someone has invented a useful tool to bring the board room to the beach err.. i mean.. to the home office.
Check out Rocketboard – the video on their home page speaks for itself but in short Rocketboard lets you stream your whiteboard via a phone straight to all of your participants who may be working from home, sitting in a cafe or waiting for a flight. It looks very cool and i’m keen to play with it before my next big presentation.
How about you. Are you successfully working remotely without compromising on productivity? Have you found any killer applications that have spared you the commute to the office? Share your tools and ideas in the comments below.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to Michael Alf from Digital4Lawyers. Michael founded Digital4Lawyers at the end of 2013 after a successful international executive career in Europe, Asia and Australia. By bringing together his corporate background and his internet marketing background his aim with Digital4Lawyers. Continue reading →
Do you have trouble coordinating meetings with people? – you know, when there are more than 2 parties involved and nobody can agree on a date and time? The result is usually a long trail of emails before someone picks up the phone – circumventing the technology – and attempts to organise it that way. Wasn’t email and calendar sharing supposed to make these sorts of things easier?
Moving is never much fun, especially when you need to do it twice. But after this month’s move from Balmain to our temporary premises before “the big move” I can say for sure that it was a lot easier this time around – especially since our migration to I Know IT Online (Our version of the Cloud)
“Google Docs is better because it is cheaper and it has Google Drive”. “Office 365 is better because it is Microsoft, it connects to Office on your desktop and has lots of different options”. “The Galaxy S5 is better than the iPhone 5S because it has a bigger screen” “Yeh but my iPhone has longer battery life and it has iCloud”
Mac vs PC, HP vs IBM, Amazon v Rackspace, Salesforce vs Infusionsoft, Flash vs HTML5, Linux vs everything. The choices are limitless and to a degree – pointless.
The Pointless Debate
The debate over technology is relentless. I can only imagine at the time the wheel was invented there would be frequent debate over which wheel had the best dynamics. The net result of such debates is that business is often paralysed by indecision or left with buyers remorse as their friends and colleagues point out the inevitable flaws in their latest tech acquisition.
“Why did you go with the server option John? Don’t you know they have the cloud now??”
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the real winners in this debate are technology company’s themselves and that the real losers are Continue reading →