What does Amazon's Purchase of Whole Foods really mean to the Retail Industry?
6/28/17 2:50 PM
There’s been a lot of hype during the last two weeks around Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Just when you thought that the traditional retail industry couldn't be in a more serious state of upheaval, e-commerce and cloud pioneer Amazon announced its plan to purchase the high-end grocery store chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion - it's largest acquisition ever. It would be an understatement to say that this deal will only have serious implications for the future of grocery stores, as it’s going to impact the future of the retail industry as a whole. Disruption and innovation are nothing new for Amazon, in fact, it's what the company is a master of. It's just another spur (and a sharp one) for retailers to get moving on new strategies to be able to survive in today's rapidly changing and hyper-competitive world of commerce.
AWS vs Azure? What You Need to Consider Before Migrating to the Cloud
6/14/17 11:49 AM
While many organizations have already moved at least some of their business workloads to public cloud infrastructure, some of you are just beginning the journey. The benefits are clear: elimination of capital expenditure on infrastructure, instant access to applications and data from any device wherever a user is on the network, additional agility to create and remove infrastructure as needed, improved collaboration and productivity, better security, unlimited storage and simple backup and recovery, and of course the cost advantages of paying only for the highly scalable resources you actually consume. Sounds great, but the next big question is which cloud provider should you choose.
Solving the IT Talent Shortage – Define your Core and Leverage Outsourcing
6/7/17 9:00 AM
Today, any CIO can tell you that one of their biggest concerns is the growing lack of IT talent in the market. With the massive uptick in cloud and mobility in industries across the board, the demand for both highly specialized and more general IT skills is creating a huge headache for businesses that are trying to remain competitive. Just look at any company's job listing page and you'll likely find that there are more openings for technology jobs than any other department. In fact, in the IT security space alone, Cybersecurity Ventures issued a 2017 report claiming that the workforce shortage will reach 1.5 million by 2019, more than 209,000 jobs in the U.S. are currently unfilled and that postings are up 74 percent over the past five years.
Help Desk Outsourcing: Six Reasons Why You Should Consider It
5/17/17 12:00 PM
Help desk outsourcing has become more popular. Why? Should you Outsource your Help Desk?While help desk services are essential for businesses of all sizes, operating one in-house is essentially a non-core function of your organization. In other words, if your employees are too busy resolving customer's technical and related issues, they are kept from working on more strategic and innovative projects to grow your business.
In today's cloudy and mobile world, people expect to be able to access what they want wherever they are on the network and from whatever device they choose. To satisfy this demand, businesses need to become agiler and have the ability to scale resources up or down on-the-fly. Procuring the infrastructure to enable these elastic environments in-house, however, can be extremely expensive and time-intensive, and you often end up with more resources than you need - in other words - IT becomes a drain on your budget. In fact, organizations are often paying around 40 percent of the IT budget for over-capacity, according to a recent article by CIO.
There's no question that IT security trends are constantly changing. For instance, think back to early 2000’s when we had applications running on physical servers in an on-premises datacenter. Basic security measures were put in place to prevent the virus, malware, and network penetration attacks through perimeter-based software tools and physical appliances. Attacks were noisy, but once cleaned up, did not leave much damage. That all changed in the mid-2000's with the emergence of virtualization, as well as the proliferation of mobile devices, and security evolved to adapt to this changing paradigm.
2017 POS Technology Changes and Security Challenges Taking a Big Toll on Merchants
4/3/17 6:03 PM
With the latest 2017 POS technology changes to PCI-DSS, and ever-changing security requirements in a world in which electronic transactions are constantly under attack, there are significant changes afoot when it comes to processing credit cards. Last year, for instance, most companies were forced to migrate from SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm) to SHA-2 because the former was deemed insecure, and the likes of Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla announced that they will no longer accept SHA-1 certificates in the browsers in 2017. Likewise, companies have until June 2018 to stop using and update current versions of unsafe SSL and TLS protocols, which have also been proven insufficient in the face of more advanced threats that have emerged.
When Innovation is a Four Letter Word: Keys to Innovative Leadership
3/20/17 2:52 PM
Recently, I was meeting with a client after performing an assessment on their back office operations. Unfortunately, the assessment highlighted a number of areas where the company was significantly under-performing when compared to industry benchmarks. The company’s head of the shared services organization sat stiffly as I, as gently as possible, relayed the details of our assessment and proposed major changes to their organization.
Outsourcing vs. Captive Shared Services: Which Model is Right For You?
1/13/17 9:47 AM
Shared Services and Outsourcing models are no longer just for Global Fortune 500 companies. Today, we see an ever-increasing interest from middle-market organizations (companies ranging in revenue size from $200M-$2B) to reduce their back office costs and improve productivity and performance. More than ever, outsourcing is being viewed as one of the best ways to achieve these improvements, creating a new kind of shared services operation for these smaller organizations. In addition, if you are a larger organization and have still not considered shared services and/or outsourcing, you are late in the game.
When Good Employees Turn “Bad” – The Challenge of Employee Tenure
12/19/16 1:39 PM
Did I get your attention with this title?
In reality, good employees don’t turn, “bad”, but in a lot of cases, they can outgrow the roles that they are performing in your organization. Employee tenure, without professional growth and development, can hurt an organization, both financially as well as operationally. And you’re not doing your employee any favor either, if he or she is doing the same job for many, many years.
“Demanding Satisfaction!”, or Overcoming Customer Service Challenges in the Digital Age
11/15/16 3:08 PM
There's no question about it - today's customers are more demanding than ever. With an ever-increasing number of channels becoming available to research, compare prices, find deals, purchase, receive and return products and services, retailers must not only deploy the technologies to support an omnichannel world, but deliver the best customer service possible.
If the cloud is not on your roadmap, it should be. While server sales are falling flat, the cloud market is booming. In fact, Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud market alone will grow 17.2 percent in 2016 to $208.6 billion, up from $178 billion in 2015. Of that, the highest growth will come from infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), with the firm estimating a jump in sales of 42.8 percent in 2016. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is also expected to grow significantly in 2016 - at a rate of 21.7 percent - to reach $38.9 billion. With these staggering projections, as well as the fact that Amazon AWS reported 2015 sales of $7.88 billion in 2015, cloud is something no business can afford to ignore.
Omnichannel Optimization: Aligning Technology with Business Processes
11/8/16 7:44 AM
In an increasingly omnichannel world, customers have a wide variety of channels to choose from when making purchases. Thanks to Amazon and other ecommerce innovators, those same customers also expect to receive their purchases almost instantaneously, regardless of what channel they are accessing. To illustrate this change in demand, a recent report by Technavio estimates that the market for same-day delivery in the US will hit $987 million by 2019. Today's customers are also increasingly opting for the buy online and pick up in-store option, with 82 percent of respondents of a recent Temando survey stating so.
I recently attended a conference on shared services, and throughout the 3 days, there were multiple sessions focused on the millennial workforce: hiring them, motivating them, retaining them, and developing them.
New Business Technologies (RPA! Cloud Solutions!) The Future is Here? Not so Fast…
9/21/16 1:56 PM
It seems like you can’t log into the Internet without being bombarded with proclamations about new business technologies solutions that are streamlining and improving back office processing across the globe. Apparently, Skynet isn’t only planning the destruction of mankind; it’s also processing and paying your invoices.