Every year Kaseya holds its premier user conference, Kaseya Connect. If you are a Kaseya customer, you have probably seen the promotions, and are asking yourself, “Should I attend?” As you might expect, the Connect event features all of the right components:
Today’s guest blog post was written by Mike Walsh, Founder and CEO of Tomorrow, a consumer innovation research lab. Hear him present on what it takes to lead a 21st century IT organization in his keynote address at Kaseya Connect, “Business Re-Imagined.” This post first appeared on Mike’s blog.
Why do some companies survive and others simply crumple? And stranger still – for star-crossed giants such as Yahoo, RIM and HP – why did major investments in innovation not save them from being blindsided by the future? In my view – it is all a problem of scale. Big leaders favor big solutions for big problems. But just the like the Higgs Boson, sometimes in order to understand how dramatic transformations happen, you have to start by looking for things that are very small.
Top down strategy is sexy. Wall Street gets it, your board gets it, your employees get it – and most importantly if you happen to be the top dog at work – your ego gets it. But here’s the catch. You can spend a weekend retreat thinking about blue oceans, innovator’s dilemmas, and tipping points – but come Monday, you will be faced with a real challenge. How do you get the rest of the organization to change their thinking and behavior along with you?
Resist the temptation to simply create an innovation department. Creating a new department where all the fun stuff is going to happen is like announcing to the rest of your team that their contributions are soon to become irrelevant. Trust me – politics and bureaucracy will ensue. I call this the ‘Mirror Effect’. The bigger your innovation department, the more likely it will become a microcosm for all the things you are trying to change in the first place!
Successful companies think small. They focus on the most basic particle of change in the enterprise – the project. Money people like projects. They value them by analyzing their cash flows over time. But as a change agent in your business – you should learn to love them too. They are the building blocks of how interesting ideas gain mass, and become real. More importantly, the diversity and quality of projects in a business is the best litmus test for your company’s chances of surviving the future.
Here’s a thought experiment for you. Think of it as your own personal innovation Hadron Collider. Grab a piece of paper and rule a line down the middle. Write a list of all the projects you are managing or involved in at the moment. Now place the ones that are focused on protecting your existing business practices and fighting fires on the left. And now, add any of the remaining projects that involve new ways of making money, new markets or challenges to the status quo on the right. Review your results. How much of your time is spent on defending the past as opposed to building for the future?
Of course, it is not enough just to get excited about your particles of change without thinking about what makes for a great project. From our research at Tomorrow, we have observed that great projects are defined by five important characteristics.
- Bottom up: championed by the people closest to the customer’s pain points
- Horizontal : supported by a cross functional team of people from different parts of the business
- Visible: transparent and actionable by the rest of the organization
- Quantifiable: a clearly defined payback or monetary opportunity
- Small: nimble, focused, and targeted to a well defined problem
For me – the real question at the heart of the business transformation debate is not how much money or resources you spend on coming up with new products or ideas – but how quickly can you innovate around your innovation process.
Business leaders today are under incredible pressure to perform against the backdrop of uncertain markets, changing patterns of customer behaviour as well as disruptive technologies. Frankly that calls for an entirely new type of enterprise – one that is flexible, adaptable, and natural born for the 21st century.
So, are you ready to re-imagine the way you do business?
Today’s guest post was written by Mike Walsh, Founder and CEO of Tomorrow, a consumer innovation research lab. Hear him present on what it takes to lead a 21st century IT organization in his keynote address at Kaseya Connect, “Business Re-Imagined.” This post first appeared on Mike’s blog.
By now, you have heard, read and seen more about the Cloud than you probably ever wanted. And, for those of you who live in corner offices – you are almost certainly wondering why everyone keeps bothering you with something that surely belongs in the dark realms of your IT department. But from Amazon’s new self-serve super computing platforms, Google’s low cost enterprise productivity tools to Apple’s vision for online entertainment – the Cloud is a business revolution that no CEO can ignore. Here is your cheat sheet on the top 5 strategic issues that you need to know about.
1. Cure Yourself Of Cubicles
A client of mine wanted to transform their staid bank headquarters into an office of the future. Most offices are designed to a simple formula – 70% desks and 30% communal spaces. The bank, to their credit – flipped the equation, replacing traditional cubicles with cafe style public spaces and meeting areas. Even better, in lieu of desks every employee was given a locker for their personal possessions and a Macbook Air to do their work. Staff loved the new offices – but there was just one problem. IT had installed old school productivity software on all the new Macbooks which ran unbearably slowly and at times, failed to work properly at all.
Just as important as rethinking the spaces you work in, is challenging the tools you work with. Meeting in cafes to discuss projects is great – but you have to go one step further. When your teams can easily collaborate on documents, projects and presentations by simply accessing a Web browser or mobile application – you can start really creating a culture of innovation and disruptive thinking.
2. Reboot Your IT Department
IT departments, until very recently, believed that their manifest destiny was to defend the fortress at all costs. The outside world was full of threats – hackers, viruses and malware – and their role was to build high walls that kept marauders out, and some of the wayward employees in. Things have changed. Instead of a fortress, the role of IT is closer to managing a marketplace. And more importantly – as any CEO or business leader will admit these days – the suits really need the geeks to make their innovation agenda a reality. Open digital platforms, data sharing with strategic partners or the adoption of new ‘software as a service’ tools are the mark of a 21st century company. And that requires a new type of IT manager.
Moving forward, you may no longer need massive server rooms in your building or teams of technicians to keep your fleet of devices and systems running. What you will need are smart, young technology innovators who can identify the best global enterprise platforms to partner with, assess the new generation Cloud based security risks, and help educate your people on how to manage passwords and their personal identities online. Put simply – this is a shift from ‘no’ to ‘know’.
3. Win On Customer Experience
How easy is it for your customers to do business with you? How many pieces of paper, forms, approval processes and other impediments to getting deals done has ‘traditional business practices’ put in the way of winning on customer experience? One of the great advantages of new Cloud based platforms is that they offer companies a chance to fundamentally transform how they engage, serve and ultimately delight their customers.
Here’s a simple example. Some time ago my company moved to Freshbooks – an entirely Cloud based invoicing platform. The benefits to my customers were immediate. Rather than paper invoices, my clients were emailed electronic invoices, which displayed in real time the status of payments as well as the entire history of prior billing transactions. From my perspective, there were also some unexpected benefits. The moment one of my clients receives and opens my invoice, I am informed – forever ending those infamous ‘cheque is in the mail’ or ‘your invoice never arrived’ conversations. Further, using clever comparative data analytics, I can also see how my business is performing on payment collections compared to other companies of my size and billings.
4. Disrupt Your Industry
If you could create a new product or service, at a fraction of the normal price but with a better service proposition for your customers – would you do it? Or would you wait for one of your competitors to disrupt your industry first?
Last week I was speaking to the CEO of an accounting software company. For many years they had enjoyed a comfortable business selling practice management software to accounting firms. However in recent years, new Cloud based platforms had made life difficult – not just for them, but for many of their clients. When I asked the CEO to explain – he said that the problem was not that their competitor was giving away partner editions of their software away for free but rather the existence of a cheap Cloud based solution had led to the creation of thousands of cut price accountants, working out of cafes who were now making life difficult for traditional, high cost bean counters. Take this as your warning – from professional services, to healthcare, finance and retail – the disruptive impact of the Cloud on your industry is only just beginning.
5. Move To A New Cost Curve
The final, and perhaps most important thing you need to know about the Cloud is its impact on costs. In a traditional IT based organisation, costs are a step function. Launching a new division, adding more people or planning a new product or service will in the short term dramatically shift your cost base to a new level, which over time is hopefully amortised over new revenue growth.
The Cloud offers leaders a very different calculus. Even the smallest of companies or startups can access world class applications, storage or computation services on a per user basis, allowing them to ramp up very quickly as demand increases. Think about it. Could Instagram have scaled to millions of users and sold for a billion dollars in twelve months on a traditional technology development model? And even if you can’t imagine how your organisation could innovate as nimbly as an Internet startup – what would happen if one of your competitors did?
The Cloud is not just a topic for technology types – the broader implications of on-demand, web delivered services is a strategic discussion that belongs in the boardroom, not in the basement.
Here’s my advice – plan an executive team meeting in the near future to brainstorm the issues raised by these five points, and while you are at it – put the most important question of all on the agenda. Can new technology not only change, but help you re-imagine the way you do business?
Cloud computing, mobility and big data demand unprecedented scalability, reliability, speed, performance and usability. These are the big disruptive trends that are completely transforming the way that organizations conduct business. They also pose big challenges and big opportunities for today’s MSPs and IT organizations. At Kaseya Connect, our CTO, Prakash Khot will dive deep into some of the key trends and use cases that are driving change within organizations, he’ll define some of the challenges they represent for IT, and lay out principles for an ideal management platform that will help IT professionals manage transformation in the era of cloud computing, mobility and big data.
2.) What is going on with remote control?
Remote control sessions depend upon various pieces of technology such as signaling, encryption, messaging, video codec, dynamic buffering, P2P, PsuedoTCP and Relay. The Kaseya team has been busy rebuilding our entire remote control solution from the ground up with a focus on speed, performance and reliability. At Kaseya Connect, our product experts will reveal the latest on the next generation of Kaseya’s remote control.
3.) How can I take my Kaseya administrator skills to the next level?
Kaseya Connect includes a number of sessions specifically focused on helping you develop your advanced administrator skill set in Kaseya Virtual System Administrator, Kaseya Traverse, Kaseya BYOD Suite and Mobile Device Management. Those looking to become a Kaseya Certified Administrator (KCA), should also look into attending our Pre-Conference Training. In the two days leading up to the Kaseya Connect, we’ll be offering a course for experienced Kaseya administrators who want to take the KCA exam and get certified and a boot camp course especially designed for those who are new to Kaseya and want to get on the right path to eventually becoming a KCA.
4.) What can I learn from other companies using Kaseya solutions?
Nothing beats hearing from other Kaseya users so you can benefit from their best practices and lessons learned from their years of experience with Kaseya’s solutions. That’s why the Kaseya Connect agenda is full of customer driven panels, case study sessions and best practices sessions. Attend Kaseya Connect and benefit from the wisdom of other successful Kaseya customers such as Anchor Point IT Solutions, CodeBlue, CWPS (Connected WorkPlace Solutions), Shield Watch, UTG Solutions and more.
If you haven’t decided to attend Kaseya Connect this year, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Kaseya Connect and get answers to all of your burning questions. Register today.