WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

Many people are surprised when I tell them I understand how they feel about IT

They give me that, “Yeah right! Sure you do” look

But it’s true

You’re not alone when it comes to technology making you feel a little out of your depth

I’ve felt like I’m drowning before

I did when I led the project to build Visual LANSA

So that I could “get my hands dirty”, as one of my colleagues put it, I had to learn JavaScript

I didn’t need to be an expert, my colleagues had that covered, but I did need to know enough to be able to talk to them

The first few weeks were terrible

I didn’t want to appear dumb, so I didn’t ask the team

I wanted to survive on my own

So I looked things up on #Google and was none the wiser after reading the pages of information and opinion

I felt utterly useless and unproductive

Eventually though, I swallowed my pride and started talking to the subject matter experts

They helped me find technical solutions to the business problems I had

And the more I engaged, the more familiar and manageable I found my new world

So, if you feel swamped by technology, know that I’ve felt that way too and then give me a call

I’ve found that the best results come when we work together as a team


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MarshallFloyd – People and Technology – Download our free guide with over 100 tip, hints and ideas you can use to improve your IT.

ADRIFT IN A SEA OF BEIGE

No one ever got fired for buying #IBM

That was the conventional wisdom when I started 30 years ago

It was the safe bet executives could make

Today it’s #Microsoft, #Google or one of many more big name players

Do the same as the competition, be part of the pack, and you’re sure not to lose ground

There’s safety in numbers

BUT…

…what if you wanted to be better than the competition?

What if you wanted to lead?

What if you wanted to stand out?

To create an edge

Just a small one

20+ years in IT R&D tells me you can

All it takes is the right mindset

But you’ve gotta want it

You’ve gotta be prepared to differentiate yourself

To make mistakes

To learn from them

It’s the R&D way

Then you can truly #innovate

You can use IT and the many new technologies to solve your problems, not just at a macro level, but also micro

Rather than papering over the cracks, you can fix them

Rather than working round an issue, you can drive straight through

Rather than being just a face in the crowd, you can be noticed

It’ll be challenging

It’ll be hard

It may even be a long way to the top

But nothing worth having is easy and the view will be awesome

I know. I’ve been there

So one question

Who’s coming with me?


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IT’S ALL UP FOR GRABS

What’s stopping CEOs, CFOs et al from enthusiastically grabbing the opportunities that modern tech has to offer?

A lack of understanding of the benefits?

Fear of the unknown?

A lack of trust?

Opinions based on knowledge from many years ago?

Poor experiences with failed solutions?

Vendors with big promises but poor delivery?

A lack of support?

A lack of motivation?

Fear of failure?

A big IT bill and no obvious ROI?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

Close enough is good enough?

Ignorance?

Hubris?

Apathy?

Or something else?

There’s no doubt that the right IT greatly improves profit per person

It increases efficiency & productivity, helping your team deliver more value

It raises morale. reducing business interruption & recruitment costs

It engages with your clients and prospects, increasing customer lifetime value and reducing marketing costs

If helps you stay ahead of the competition

But at least 33% of mid-tier businesses aren’t innovating

And of those that do, for many the results are no better than if they’d done nothing

The next industrial revolution is happening all around us and those who grasp today’s opportunities have everything to gain

Those who don’t have everything to lose

What’s stopping you?


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THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM ISN’T WON WITH TECHNOLOGY

#PurpleBricks has left the building!

Its attempt at a low cost, fixed price real estate business just didn’t gel with the Aussie punter

Why?

I’ll let chairman Paul Pindar field that one. He said, “…our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid, and as a result, the quality of execution has suffered”

One of the accusations levelled at #PurpleBricks is that they simply didn’t create a good experience for either the customer or the agent

And there in lies a valuable lesson about technology use in business today

Disrupting a market with a new model needs more than a functional, flashy website, and an offer to provide a service cheaper than the next guy

And it needs more than an app

It needs human-centricity. It needs the interests of the people in the process to be dealt with first and foremost

But, if you’re simply focussed on being cheaper, and you rely on your tech to deliver the outcomes you want, you’re missing the point and you’re going to struggle

Why?

Because best practice is found when we develop a culture of people AND technology, not people OR technology

Your IT can make you millions, significantly improving your profit per person.

But only if you’re racing to the top

#Techceleration #Worksmarter


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3 BIGGEST COSTS

Just about every industry is ripe for disruption, and there’s an almost limitless array of opportunities for any business that wants to get involved.

But digital disruption doesn’t mean you need to be using the bleeding edge. In fact, all you need is an idea and to leverage the tools that already exist.

To be a digital disruptor, you need to use technology to enhance the value of your products or services, and you need to be better than your competitors and start taking a lot of their business.

But as ever, if you’re looking at the tech, you’re missing the point.

Instead, you need to look at what you do and find where technology can add value for your people.

Get it right, and with just a small improvement, evolution can feel like revolution.


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ASKING THE FOX IF MORE CHICKENS ARE NEEDED

I was talking to a CEO yesterday who told me his $100m business was completely dependent on IT and would lose money at $200,000 per day if it stopped working

And this is a relatively simple business to business component supplier

10 years ago, you could likely have survived with analog systems

Today, and I’ll quote my CEO friend, “We have to have good IT to be able to operate competitively”

This is something all CEOs and CFOs should be acutely aware of

But that doesn’t appear to be the case

Rather than regularly reviewing how their IT effectiveness, they do it when they get round to it

Rather than using an independent assessor, the CFO or Managed Service Provider does it

But CFOs aren’t really IT guys, and asking your MSP is much like asking the fox in the hen house whether more chickens are needed

In short, many mid-tier businesses aren’t assessing their IT often enough, and when they do they use the wrong tool

So, if you want your IT to be the best it can, you need…

a annual assessment
an objective viewer
someone with no technology bias

and above all else, someone who’ll help you find the right answer, not just the first one

Get your IT right and it can save you hundreds of thousands of $$$

#Techceleration #Worksmarter


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KEEP AHEAD OF THE JONESES

CEOs and CFOs – The sole purpose of your IT is to support and serve your business and marketing strategies

It does this by

1 – Serving the team, making them happier and more efficient
2 – Serving your customers and prospects, increasing customer lifetime value
3 – Serving the business, helping it win the race against your competition

1 and 2 should be common sense for any business leader

But point 3 is something that many seem to overlook

And it’s why innovation is often an afterthought, aging hardware isn’t updated and old networks are left to crawl along

If you’re the only player in your market, the performance of your technology is less of a factor

But most of you have direct competition, and this means YOU’RE FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL

And the one with the best toys and technology has a distinct advantage

Why?

Because you all have a finite amount of resources to pay for IT, wages, marketing and so on

AND YOU CAN ONLY SPEND IT ONCE

Smart leaders are spending more on IT to empower and energise the team, and to connect with their prospects and customers

They’re looking for the sweet spot, the perfect balance of human and technological capabilities

And the rest?

Well they’re the Joneses you need to keep ahead of

#Techceleration #WorkSmarter


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IT’S HARD BEING A CFO

For mid-tier CFOs it’s harder still

Firstly, you have to organise the finances of a multi-million dollar business, which is no mean feat

And secondly, more often than not, your boss kindly tells you to sort out the IT as well

You’ve been trained and have many years experience in the former, but rarely can the same be said about the latter

If the business were big enough, you’d have a CIO or CTO to help you keep up. But for most in mid-tier, that’s a luxury you struggle to afford

10 years ago, progressive, forward thinking CFOs went on training courses or undertook an MBA, in an attempt to keep up with the changing IT landscape

Today, the rate of change is exponential, and there are too many choices for anyone without specialist knowledge to keep up

And that severely impacts profitability

Progressive CFOs now use specialists armed with new techniques and technology to help them improve every aspect of their offering, delivering high quality services and exceptional value for their customers

The whole team has the tools and information it needs at its fingertips

They’re racing to the top

Service and the bottom line are the winners

Other CFOs are racing to the bottom, fighting on price

And no one ever wins that race


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HOW A DAY OF TEACHING BECAME A DAY OF LEARNING

I went back to school a couple of weeks ago. Well, not school as such, university: University of Sydney to be precise.

And not as a student either, as a lecturer.

This was an extraordinary opportunity to to share my knowledge, experience and wisdom with the next generation of business leaders, to pay it forward and to give something back to the community.

This was soul food of the highest calibre.

I shared my experience with my readers over at SmallVille


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BUILDING A BUSINESS FOR TOMORROW

BOSSES! You’re the biggest problem most businesses have with their IT and its dragging your profit per person DOWN.

Business leaders are typically experts in their field and have minimal IT training

In short, they don’t ‘get’ IT

And this leads to 3 very expensive problems

✖ A lack of awareness means IT and technology are considered a cost

✖ A lack of effective investment leads to an inefficient team and higher staff turnover

✖ A failure to connect with customers and prospects leaves them disengaged, spending less and shopping elsewhere

But claiming ignorance and passing the buck down the chain is no longer good enough

If you’re to a build business fit for tomorrow, you must be on top of your tech

My Profitable People Program does that by

✅ Teaching leaders how effective IT is a revenue generating asset

✅ Helping improve staff morale and efficiency

✅ Helping retain more customers, increase brand engagement and improving customer lifetime value

Winning businesses tomorrow will create the best team and customer experiences and they’ll do this using the best technology.

So if you want to improve your profit per person, contact me today.

If my discovery process doesn’t show a 5X ROI, I’ll do it for FREE.


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YOU NEED TO KNOW

You don’t know, what you don’t know

Nearly all business leaders know this, and nearly all know they don’t know enough about IT

Many hand over the reins to their CFO, and as most of these aren’t experienced IT guys, they should know that they don’t know as well

Many CFOs ASSUME their managed service provider will look after them

But CFOS should know that MSPs aren’t the right people to provide impartial, strategic advice about technology

And the MSP should know that it doesn’t know enough about the underlying needs and wants of the business

Confused?

Well that’s kinda the point

If you’re a business leader today, you NEED to know about IT and you NEED to align it with the NEEDS of your business

A failure to do so will cost mid-tier firms hundreds of thousands and maybe millions in unnecessary wage costs, recruitment, business interruption and lost sales

In short, you NEED to KNOW!

The first step to stopping the rot is education

My 1/2 day Profitable People Workshop will teach you how the 7 deadly sins of IT are so costly

It will teach you a structured approach to implementing IT

And it will show you how human-centricity can make you millions, paying for itself many times over

You NEED to KNOW and I can help you learn


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MAXIMISE THE VALUE OF YOUR IT

How often do you assess your IT? Do you test the quality of the technology AND importantly, how it serves your people?

Many IT reviews make this mistake. Quality is important, but if all you do is look at the technology, you’re missing the point.

IT value is governed not by the tech itself, but mostly by the effect it has on the people who use it, because a tool is only as good as its user.

So, to maximise the value of your IT, you must focus on your people, your team, customers, prospects and so on.

This is human-centricity.

As part of my assessments, I ask the team about their tools.

How well trained are they?

How much time does it cost them?

Does it deliver the information they need?

And more

Then I produce a report based on a 15 point methodology focussing on the needs of the business and its people.

But the answers aren’t mine. They are yours.

I turn the experience, knowledge and wisdom of your team in to the written word that tells you where you are .

And I use a repeatable process that can be run again tomorrow to determine the effect of your initiatives.

With hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, can you afford not to know the value of your IT?

Call me today to arrange your assessment.

Read a sample review here


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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

This is a hot topic currently and one the marketers seem to be claiming for themselves.

But if you limit your attention to the needs of your prospects and customers, you’re going to miss out on half the fun and a great may opportunities.

Digital transformation is nothing more than this year’s name for man’s continued use of technology to make life better, and me, and many just like me, have been digitally transforming businesses for 25 years or more.

So, keep calm and carry on looking for ways in which you can leverage modern technology to work smarter in every facet of your business, whether that’s helping customers, prospects, the team, suppliers, partners or anyone else you interact with.

And if, like most business leaders, you look at the immensity of the IT world and don’t know where to start, give me a call.

I’m here to help.


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FAILING FAMILY OWNED MID-TIER BUSINESSES

About 70% of mid-tier businesses are family owned.

Over two thirds won’t survive until the next generation.

And nearly 90% won’t make it to a third.

There are many reasons why, such as nepotism, a lack of financial education of heirs, poor succession planning and a failure to consult trusted advisors.

In the next few years, ineffective innovation will become another.

This is rife in mid-tier businesses.

Two thirds claim to be innovating, but nearly half of those fail to see any meaningful benefit from their initiatives.

And this means that means they’re simply wasting millions of dollars on tools and systems and seeing no return.

Recent technological advances mean that EVERY VERTICAL is ready to be disrupted, and the first one to market with a better model will be in the box seat.

But, with an ageing leadership who grew up in a very different technology landscape, many mid-tiers simply lack the innovation mindset necessary to leverage today’s opportunities.

It’s business as usual, because that’s what they’re familiar with.

And it’s slowly but surely destroying their legacy.

It’s time then to talk to a trusted advisor about how you can become an industry leader rather than just another statistic.

#Techceleration #WorkSmarter


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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE WARES

There are three ‘wares’ in the IT world: hardware, software and the often-forgotten, firmware.

Hardware – The physical machines that you use such as your PCs.

Software – The applications that run on them such as Microsoft Office or a browser.

Firmware – The software that runs your network routers, firewalls and also starts your PC.

If you want your systems and solutions to be as efficient and effective as possible, all three need to be kept up to date and ‘just right’.

Here’s my latest article for SmallVille.


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YOU CAN’T MANAGE WHAT YOU CAN’T MEASURE

This quote from Peter Drucker tells us that business improvement only happens when we track performance.

But in his day, there were a great many things that were, if not impossible, certainly impractical to measure. And those you could assess often relied on the analysis of failure.

Fast forward to yesterday at the Microsoft IOT in Action event in Sydney, and Peter’s eyes would have lit up at the prospect of applying modern technology to, well, just about anything.

Today’s technology lets you measure performance in real time, whether that’s location, temperature, vibration, air pressure or one of doubtless many more environmental factors.

There are tiny #RFID tags can be used to track inventory location.

A simple accelerometer attached to a fan can now detect anomalies long before the fan fails.

A Fitbit like device can now be worn by the team to monitor for high fatigue environments, reducing the risk of accidents.

The emergence of Internet of Things devices is revolutionising man’s capabilities, but as ever, this is not a silver bullet.

It’s just a technology that can help us work smarter.

So, today you can measure everything.

All you have to do is decide what you want to manage.

#Techceleration #WorkSmarter


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YOUR IT IS ONLY A COST WHEN YOU DO IT BADLY

Far too many CEOs, CFOs and other business leaders think of IT as a cost.

BUT THEY ARE WRONG!

This is an IT myth and a fundamental bit of wrong thinking that is ‘s holding businesses back.

When you buy manufacturing equipment, it’s considered to be an asset.

Why?

Because an asset is something that adds value to an organisation, and machines machines do this in two ways.

Firstly, they make things that can be sold.

Secondly, they do it quicker, more reliably and more accurately than people, so they save on wages.

And your IT does EXACTLY THE SAME!

PCs add significant value by helping your business get a job done with fewer people.

It’s why we no longer use pencils, erasers and dusty old ledgers.

Spreadsheets can tot up the totals so much better than a Boroughs Class 3 Adding Machine, with far fewer digit transposition issues and it’s much easier to find mistakes when they do occur.

So, when you buy a PC, you buy an asset that saves you money.

When you buy software to manage data, you buy an asset that saves you money.

When you buy a network router…ah, you get the point.

Implement IT well, and you maximise the value of your human assets.

But implement it badly, and it’ll cost you


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DIGITAL DISRUPTION

Just about every industry is ripe for disruption, and there’s an almost limitless array of opportunities for any business that wants to get involved.

But digital disruption doesn’t mean you need to be using the bleeding edge. In fact, all you need is an idea and to leverage the tools that already exist.

To be a digital disruptor, you need to use technology to enhance the value of your products or services, and you need to be better than your competitors and start taking a lot of their business.

But as ever, if you’re looking at the tech, you’re missing the point.

Instead, you need to look at what you do and find where technology can add value for your people.

Get it right, and with just a small improvement, evolution can feel like revolution.


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PODCAST – STORIES BEHIND THE GRIND

Super excited to be the subject of Aidan Vuocolo’s Stories Behind the Grind podcast this week.

Delightful to be able to spread the word about the value of IT and the opportunities it offers to #SME.

It’s available on Spotify, iTunes, Google and Pocket Casts.


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GET THE POINT?

Super excited, and a bit nervous too, after being invited to deliver some lectures at University of Sydney

The topic, “If you’re looking at the technology, you’re missing the point: How human-centricity can make you millions”.

For a punchier version…

‘Technology will make your people more profitable’.

This is the ‘BIG idea’ that underpins everything I write and talk about.

What I’ll tell the students is that IT is just a tool, an enabler that should help their people do what they do more efficiently. It should improve morale, reduce staff turnover and lower wage costs. It should help the business engage with prospects, and retain more clients to increase customer lifetime value.

Employees and lost customers are expensive. One team member costs $100K each year and half as much again to replace. And finding a new client is up to 25 times more costly than keeping an existing one.

But if we look at their needs and wants, we can create technology solutions that solve their problems and maximise the value of each and every one of them.

So, are your employees, suppliers, partners, prospects, suspects and more in sharp focus when you assess your technology?

Or are you listening to the bells and whistles and missing the point?


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DEVELOPMENT 101 CHECKLIST

Many startups seem to have a limited grasp of what they want to make

This WILL increase development costs

So, a few things to check that you’ve done, BEFORE you let your developers near your baby

KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE

Pare your vision back to the basics

Don’t spend thousands on features unnecessary for version 1

BE CRYSTAL CLEAR

A few mock-ups and saying “it’s a bit like [xxxxxxxxx]”, ain’t gonna cut it when you present your idea to a tech team or VC guys for funding

You need a complete plan

IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN YOU THINK

It always does

Set realistic time frames, because running out of money stings

DO YOUR MATHS

Even off shore developers are costly

Know what your money will buy

STICK TO THE PLAN

Changes mid-project are ALWAYS expensive

More planning = Less coding

SINGLE VERSION

Do you need an app AND a website?

Unless you NEED specific device features, consider using just a website

DATA

Write a detailed list of EVERY bit of data you want to capture

IF YOU THINK IT, INK IT

Ideas in your head are WORTHLESS. Write them down

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Commercial grade software takes skill and precision, so pick your development partner wisely

Are you REALLY ready to start development?


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CURE THE DISEASE

Your team is only working 3 hours a day.

For the other 5 hours, they’re checking #facebook, #instagram and other social media, reading the #news or even looking for a new job.

Poor employee engagement has many causes and one is that the IT tools they’re expected to use are too old, unhelpful, or simply that they haven’t been properly trained.

You can if you wish try to treat the symptoms, but better is to cure the disease.So give them the tools and training they need because

Team + Tech + Training = Triumph


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THE BIRTH OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION

Yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of Dr Trevor Pearcey, the creator of #CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic computer.

And thanks to the Pearcey Foundation, I had the great pleasure of an afternoon geeking out and listening to some extraordinary speakers talking about his life and legacy, at Sydney University’s Nanoscience department.

We heard of the importance of science and the latest telescopes to be built in WA and South Africa.

We were told of data volumes so large they had to be processed immediately because they’re too big to store.

We learned how advances in photonics will make computers faster, smaller and greener, and how the rise in quantum computing will change everything.

In November 1949, #CSIRAC ran its first test program multiplying some numbers. 70 years on, the cutting edge of computing is taking us back to the beginning of time and giving us processing power far beyond the fantasies of just a few years ago.

Scientists and industry continue to innovate in IT because they appreciate the value and outcomes it can deliver.

And this begs a question. IT clearly works so well for the science community, so why do so many businesses struggle to justify investment in their own systems?


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5 SMALL IMPROVEMENTS

All too often, businesses seem to be looking for a panacea, that one IT solution or system, the next big thing, that will change their fortunes.

But what if they were to take a more measured approach?

What if they adopted a 1% improvement policy?

If one can die by 1000 cuts, it must be possible to succeed by making a 1000 tiny improvements.

So if you were to look at every facet of your IT and make a small change to a process, or UI, or data, or whatever you could think of, how much of a difference could you actually make?

This is Toyota’s Kaizen approach and the same one Sir David Brailsford used to transform British cycling.

And if it works for them, it can work for you.

Here’s my latest video for SmallVille.


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MarshallFloyd – People and Technology – Download our free guide with over 100 tip, hints and ideas you can use to improve your IT.

DAIRY DIGITAL DISRUPTION

I spent the weekend immersed in all things dairy and precision #agtech with ‘The Ladies’ at BenMar farm on NSW mid-north coast.

And I mean “immersed” almost literally.

I gathered the herd at 5:30am and walked the cows to dairy across the paddocks.

I helped with milking and fed the calves.

I loaded their first house cow on to the buyer’s trailer, and I even helped rescue a new born calf from a certain death in a cold wet ditch.

Who said IT was boring?!

Proprietors Carissa and Karyn have an encyclopedic knowledge of their industry and know their herd intimately.

They can spot an illness simply by the cows arriving for milking in a different order.

But they want to know more, because the quicker they can spot issues, the cheaper it is to resolve them.

So when finances and the drought allow, they’ll invest in technology that will provide data on body temperature, weight, location and movement.

They’ll automate features of the dairy to precisely regulate feed volumes and they’ll automate much of the milking process.

This is small scale, organic, ethical farming using technology to improve the lives of their herd, the farmer and their profitability.

Data is the new gold.

It’s time you started digging for it.


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MarshallFloyd – People and Technology – Download our free guide with over 100 tip, hints and ideas you can use to improve your IT.