Make Difference with Startup Transformation

Startup Transformation: If Not Now, When?

Well, understanding a difference between a startup and other business entity is important these days as most of the startups are getting lot of external supports from the regional government, startups hubs, accelerators, business incubators and other investors & mentors. Why there is so much engagement and focus on Startups?

Startups – Growth and Success

“An entrepreneurial venture which is considered as new, fast-growing business, with scalable business model and that target specific markets by offering an innovative product, process or service”  – a typical definition of a startup.

But we should be aware that a newly founded one does not in itself make a company a startup unless it is capable to grow fast and that is the most important aspect for a startup. There are some typical terms like Unicorn is a startup company valued at over $1 billion. A Decacorn is used for those companies over $10 billion, while Hectocorn for companies valued over $100 billion (An Unicorn Map of US from CBInsights).

The growth is not at all easy without a proper startup ecosystem, which consists of individual entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, mentors, institutions and organizations, business incubators and business accelerators. Startups usually need to form partnerships with other firms to enable their business model to operate for sure.

Startup Ecosystem

A startup hub usually provides such platform for connections and collaboration and usually operates on regional basis. Recent startup hubs Europe‘s overview for startup ecosystem across Europe is shown below.

Recent startup hubs Europe‘s overview for startup ecosystem across Europe

Take a look around some world’s best startup hubs to know more.

There are a lot of efforts and contributions from business incubators and business accelerators for the startups. Many entrepreneurs or startup founders often turn to a startup accelerator or startup incubator for helping other startups.

Accelerators programs usually start with an application process, but most of them are typically very selective and usually have a set of timeframe in which individual startup spend, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months working with a group of mentors and experts to build out their business. Startups are also given a small seed investment, and access to a large mentoring network in exchange for a small amount of equity.

Startup incubators begin with startups that may be earlier in the process and they do not operate on a set schedule. Some independent incubators also can be sponsored by VC firms, government entities, and major organizations.

business-accelerators-and-incubators

Difference on Business Accelerators and Incubators shown above is taken from Help for ACCA and CIMA Studies.

Startups – Slowdown and Failure

We cannot ignore the facts and statistics on the startups, which is an important part of the economy and startup scale-ups definitely effect on the economy, society and innovation in the world. But, while 40-50 percent of startups are dying within first five years of their inception, it could be a wrong conclusion to make about the economy on the basis of the number of these startups. And yes, because of this there has been already a slowdown in economic growth as well, once such clear indication is from US where is the highest number of startup ecosystems.

Statistics also says that 80-90 % fails are ‘in genera’. In other word nine out of ten startups are failing on consistently.

There are numerous articles publishing regularly on the failure of startups, lessons learn from failures. Even one can get through many of the startup failure stories, after all failure is the path to success. Learn from your own the failure is definitely sounds rigid but learn from other’s failure is not so easy for sure. If we try to collate all the failures reasons, stories and analysis from post mortem, we can definitely capture some major and common concrete challenges, as shown below.

Success vs. Failure

There are lots of post mortem done on startup failures, one can see from Quartz and CB Insights to analyse more.

If one start considering the failure percentage, they could realize that, it’s overflowing and it is indeed necessary to find some real valuable solutions or barrier to bring down this failure in the future. But the story is still going on the different path

In spite of so many potential entrepreneurs involved in startups, so much outside encouragement, efforts and helps, startups keep on failing. Business accelerators, incubators, grinds, the whole startup ecosystem is behind the supports, doing incredible efforts for their success; trying to help the startups, building them, nourishing them, mentoring team, teaching them but the results remain the same for last few years.

Why? We keep asking this for long time now. If we need to consider startups as a significant part of economy, this is the time we need to rethink.

Startups – Transformation

If we take a close look into the post mortems, reasons does not looks too complex; so what is stopping us currently? There are a lot of efforts from the startup ecosystem on education & learning, mentoring, networking, funding (one of the major constraints), investing, supporting in all major respects.

But there are limited or no such efforts in place to work together with those 90% startups, who are making magnificent effort in their journey but because of some trivial mistakes, (major reasons mentioned before) they get failed. Why not transforming those startups completely so that they keep on succeeding in their remaining journey?

For sure there is a necessity to have something or somebody who can helps transforming these startups not only through education, mentoring, networking and funding but also follow up with their experiences, working closely together with these startups in their businesses to face the challenges and crack them.

In this era of transformation where all the organizations are in the process of transforming their processes, business, people; there is also a need for a transformation for the startups, working together for getting the right strategic vision, focusing on customers, products, markets and other challenges. Also being able to anticipate what are the customer expectations and what is the best way to achieve it. For a complete successful journey, these startups need advisory in every aspect, in every part of their experiences.

Idea of introducing Startup Transformers during this stage could be a solution to some extend; for avoiding such circumstances which can lead to a failure. A startup transformer helps a startup to transform completely into a successful business unit; work closely with them, collaborate for them with partners, customers and other peers, helping them by resolving challenges and gradually reform them in achieving the success.

Typical activities of a startup transformer could be varied, but majorly need to be centralized on overcoming the challenges and there should be also a strong focus to provide a platform for networking, community, events and collaboration. Below shown such activities of a startup transformer.

Startup Transformer

Instead of only analyzing the failures; instead of only learning from the other successful startups; instead of only following successful business guidance and mentorship; it is also necessary to start working together with these startups in their journey to make them completely successful. And this can only be achieved when one can start engaging with them not only in their initial stages but in their entire journey, preparing them to avoid the mistakes, work together to overcome challenges, choose a right path for these startups and transform them to be a successful business unit.

A lot of collaboration is needed with different relevant partners, advisors, customers; a lot of efforts need to be put in understanding market & strategy, right business model with scalability, knowing competitors, to develop ideal product and services; making better relationship with customers, better managing team and funds.

Another important factor where some strong efforts need to be in place, is the lack of innovations; the benefits of being innovative in the journey of a startup, it’s growth and scalability of its business is solely depend on the original business model not on a cloned one. It is also crucial for us to keep innovation alive as it is essential for fostering economic growth.

Idea does not work by itself; the reality is only possible whenever one take some initiative from that.

Startup Transformation is no more an idea yet, HRTech Conscience, a venture project on Disrupt HR (majorly engage and focus with HR Technologies) has taken a step forward by applying these concepts and idea for meaningful and valuable results. Currently collaborating with several startups, partners and customers from a diversified portfolio and already become the first Startup Transformer. There could be a success or a failure, but gaining a great experience from this journey of unknown disrupt transformation is definitely valuable for the future. Let’s help changing the world into a new direction with contribution from all of us!

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HR Technology who try to think Out of the Box!

Professional Consultant, Manager, Advisor, Investor in HR Tech. Focusing on Strategies, Mobility, Cloud, Analytics, UX, Security, Data Protection, Developments and Integration in HR Technology & Digital HR.


Source: Make difference with Startup Transformation – HRTechCon

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The Inconvenient Truth of Hidden Conflict in the C-suite – And What to Do About It

Written by Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software. Specially for The HR Tech Weekly®.

The Inconvenient Truth of Hidden Conflict in the C-suite

A little bit of conflict between members of the C-suite is inevitable. When each member has different priorities and business objectives to the rest of the C-suite, it’s possible for this conflict to cause problems. Part of the tension is caused by a lack of consensus on business growth. According to recent research by Epicor, this misalignment of goals could lead to business problems if left unchecked. But if differing viewpoints are channelled positively, using technology and data to inform decision-making, suddenly ideas can foster growth and innovation rather than continue to be a source of conflict.

Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software
Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software

So what else could be contributing to conflict within the C-suite? One theory is that the CEO occupies a lonely position compared to the rest of the C-suite and has very little insight into the inner-workings of the internal departments within the business. CEOs tend to be more concerned with their “outward selves” – answering to stakeholders and explaining numbers to the board of directors.

Rob Morris, managing director and general manager of intellectual property at leadership consultancy firm YSC believes CEOs may feel the burden of growth more than other members of the C-suite. He refers to the CEO operating “like an island, despite the stereotypical image of a CEO projecting confidence and stability”. A recent study in Harvard Business Review examined how the burden of being responsible for tough business decisions can make a difference. It found that “93% of CEOs require more preparation for the role than they typically get” and are typically unready for the “loneliness and accountability that lies ahead”.

A variety of new technology roles could also be aggravating the tension within the C-suite. As a Wall Street Journal article reports, CIOs and CTOs are struggling to “differentiate their responsibilities”. The article goes on to say, “With so many roles, even other C-levels may not know where to turn to address a particular IT-related issue or problem. And the overlaps and conflicts may well lead to infighting”.

But while it is normal to have differing opinions and views – it is when these conflicts turn unhealthy and start becoming a strain on maintaining strong and healthy business operations that it becomes a problem. As Morris says, “conflict in a healthy team climate can lead to more effectiveness, but when the conflict remains hidden, confined to disagreements between only one or two key stakeholders, it can quickly become dysfunctional”.

So how can disagreements be turned into opportunities for innovation? Ideas and opinions can be shut down if they lack enough clear data to back them up. Having access to real-time information and insight can solve this. This means that key business discussions can be based on detailed metrics rather than simple “hunches” or gut-feelings. Senior business executives can then propose new ideas based on facts in front of them changing the conversation from perceived issues and problems to actionable steps designed to promote business growth.

As the Epicor research reveals, it is natural to have different ideas from other members in the senior team. But it is equally important to be aware that the battles should not be based on biased agendas that can only hinder business growth.

Some CEOs have already noted the positive impact the use of data can bring to ease the burden of managing business growth. The research, which questioned over 1,800 business leaders, revealed that 40% of CEOs agreed that access to information is of very significant importance to them, compared to 34% of CFOs, COOs and CIOs on average. Furthermore, 35% of CEOs agreed that having the right technology has made growth possible. Interestingly, one-in-ten blamed a lack of technology in hindering business growth.

“It’s essential to be able to interpret the data you have, and make good strategic judgements based on that data. But alignment of goals and information is key if the use of data is to be effective. Like rowers in a boat, C-suite members need to work together, if they are to make conflict a force for healthy business growth,” says Morris.

Still, whilst there are many benefits to using data to inform decision-making, challenges remain. A report has found that it’s possible for C-suite members to suffer from an “information overload” when the data cannot be used effectively, because there’s just too much of it and they lack the technology to make sense of it all. C-suite members must foster a culture of “collaboration and transparency”; using relevant information to build trust and tackle business challenges together.

The emergence of technology and the differing opinions within the C-suite are bound to crank up the tension amongst executives. But a failure to see the wider repercussions on the business can be disastrous. That does not mean differing opinions must be stunted. A healthy conflict based on data and facts can turn a tense situation into a positive experience for the business.

The journey from conflict to healthy debates must start with the provision of accurate and relevant data. So how do businesses achieve this?

If it’s important that C-level executives are exposed to the same information, in real time, the provision of up-to-date data via intelligent software becomes invaluable. The latest enterprise resource management systems (ERP), for example, can be accessed anywhere. So, whether it’s the CEO at a stakeholder meeting, or a COO discussing plans with teams, it is possible for them to base their business decisions on the same information. Once they are aligned in this way, they can discuss business priorities and concerns more effectively, changing the conversations in the boardroom and positively impacting the whole business.


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What you need to know about Agile Performance Management

Agility Words 3d Collage Modernize Improve Innovate Change

Agile performance management is a collaborative, continuous feedback and development practice that is steadily replacing traditional performance management.

Traditional performance management has proven to be insufficient to assess and enhance an employee’s contribution. Its primary focus is setting up a series of processes to measure the employee’s performance over the whole year. These processes end up having an unanticipated effect of managers focusing on employee’s weaknesses.

It is difficult to distinguish performance, except for the truly poor performers or high achievers. Being a year long process, below par or mediocre performers can’t be identified early on. Once a year performance review, with little to no feedback, gives no scope for development to the employees or the managers.

There needed to be a more dynamic performance management practice that could evolve and adapt according to the changing environment.

Elements of Traditional Performance Management:

  • Traditional performance management (TPM) reviewed employees annually or biannually. They were given a feedback for their overall performance of the year.
  • It set rigid goals for everyone for the entire year, that did not account for any changes. Employees were reviewed at the end of the year. They couldn’t fulfill these goals as unforeseen changes were not considered. This hampered their reviews to a high extent.
  • Spoon feeding was done on a large scale. Employees were believed to be inherently incapable of setting up their own goals.
  • Communication was a one way process. Employees felt their work is being dictated to them. Not only was this unproductive, but also created resentment at times.
  • Earlier, employees worked under tremendous pressure. Their performance review was largely dependent on their ability to deliver on time. Race to fulfill quantity often compromised on quality work.

Thus, Agile performance management was introduced. Its three key aspects are regular feedback, communication and coaching. These aspects bridge the gap between goal setting and performance evaluation.

Agile performance management focuses as much on the process as the end goals. Continuous improvement is the key.

Agile Performance Management [Infographic]

Let us look at a few ways to introduce agile performance management in your organisation:

Incorporate regular 360° feedback

In an age of instant communication, feedback should be given on an ongoing basis. A constructive feedback helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses. Managers can help employees address the issues that hamper their productivity.

Similarly, employees can give regular feedback to their managers. It is the virtue of highly effective managers that they accept these feedback and improve themselves as well.

The stakeholders/customers too can share their expectations. A 360° feedback mechanism is highly beneficial for everyone involved.

Keep goals flexible

Employees are as different from each other as apples and oranges. Everyone works at a different pace. Individual goals should be assigned for individual development. These should be aligned with team goals for consistent growth and development. In case of any change in direction, they should be flexible enough to adapt to that change.

The expected outcome should be clear. Goals for the organisation as well as teams can be designed and modified accordingly. Goal setting frameworks such as either MBO (Management by Objectives) or OKR (Objectives & Key Results) are relied upon.

Collaborate more

Agile performance management lets employees find out their capabilities. Together they can determine a time frame in consensus for achieving their goals. This authority brings in a sense of accountability and boosts performance.

Focus on consistent development

Now, managers’ focus on consistently developing their employees through various means. It could be regular feedback, training or even recognition for their work. Developed employees are able to perform better and increase productivity.

Supportive Leadership to increase 2 way communication

Employees should be given an opportunity to voice their doubts. A 2 way communication ensures that the managers and employees are on the same page. There is a clear understanding of what is the purpose of their work and what is to be achieved. This ensures they do not deviate from the end goals and work hard to achieve them.

Agile performance management is changing the way organisations are looking at assessing & enhancing employee contributions. Not only build your softwares in an agile environment but also manage the employee performance with agility.

About the Author

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Yatin Pawar leads the Marketing and Content writing efforts at Amoeboids Technologies for UpRaise. Fascinated by all things Marketing, everyday he seeks to learn best practices and new concepts to help his company grow. A voracious reader, Yatin enjoys reading fiction, fantasy and mythological novels in leisure.

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Growth fears: How can businesses align business growth with employee satisfaction?

Written by Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President (EVP) International at Epicor Software, specially for The HR Tech Weekly® blog.

Happy Employees

When a business experiences sudden growth, it creates a myriad of emotions from joy and excitement to dread and fear. The progressive mind-set that stimulates growth can inadvertently cause us to be less sensitive to the negative emotions that might emerge as a result. Because we are creatures of habit, it is probably not surprising that some of the increased complexity and ambiguity can be quite unsettling. Paradoxically, this emergent fear can start to hinder growth, as leaders pick up on it and start taking preventative measures to avoid damaging customer relations, reducing service quality, and minimize the mounting pressure on operations.

The reality is that progress is part of doing business, and with some careful planning and forward-thinking, the growth period does not have to be ridden with pain. The right IT infrastructure can help to facilitate some of these big changes and make the process a lot smoother.

Recent research conducted by Epicor has explored the different approaches organisations take to growth. It’s been found that the three priorities tend to be in turnover and sales, profits, and expansion into new industries and product areas. The outlook for 2016 is positive; 70% of respondents expect growth in 2016, and 79% have made (or are making) investments in integrated IT infrastructure as a key to supporting growth.

But what happens if the growth is unforeseen, or experienced as a surge? Leaders can find themselves on their back foot if they have not developed the appropriate skillset to handle the new changes.

Rob Morris, Head of Innovation and Thought Leadership at YSC, the premier global leadership development firm, believes that hiring for and developing the right skillset for growth goes a long way in dealing with the excessive demands placed on the workplace.

“Although we plan for growth in linear and rational ways, it often looks more like chaos in practice. When growth happens at such an unpredictable pace and scale, you don’t usually hire for that growth. As a result, you will not have the people resources to deliver on the new scale that you have created for yourself. The downside is people end up doing more than they expected, and often outside of the roles they were hired or trained for.”

A growing business can hinder employee satisfaction

A risk associated with business progress is employees becoming increasingly disengaged in the workplace due to heavier workloads, pressures, and deadlines. According to the Epicor research, 43% of leaders are concerned that as their business grows, workloads may increase to a level that places too much pressure on staff, prompting key personnel to leave the organisation.

Morris believes that a key predictor of job satisfaction is whether employees find ‘meaning’ in their work and warns that an employee’s personal values and missions can become misaligned with the company’s goals once the company starts growing.

“If I am asked to do things outside of the boundaries with which I joined the company, suddenly I may be less committed to it. If employees have less of a connection with the tasks involved or when they take on too many new tasks, too fast then it creates job dissatisfaction.”

It is vital to have the right infrastructure in place to support employees during growth. If technology can be used to ease the strain of increased workloads, employees can even find themselves empowered by growth. They may, for example, find themselves working on a wider variety of tasks, working closely with leadership to drive growth, and gaining more access to corporate knowledge if their roles are facilitated by the right technology.

How can businesses reduce the ‘pain’ of growth and plan ahead?

Any big change in a business – especially a surge in growth – can be disruptive and can filter through the organisation. According to Morris, this collective expression of pain typically manifests as resistance or disengagement. But businesses can get ahead of this curve by planning for any potential problems and ensuring they have enough resources to cater to increasing demands by the workforce[1].

The Epicor survey findings revealed that the top two stimulants for growth are ‘technology leadership’ (40%) and ‘skilled workforce’ (39%). This can be a two-edged sword. Organisations that are stuck with legacy systems might find themselves falling behind, unable to adapt to new business processes, or meet the demands of employees who expect modern technology in order to do their jobs. On the other hand, the organisations that leap onto new technology, will find themselves ahead of their competitors, ready to embrace new challenges.

A key facilitator in managing this process smoothly is to make investments in the right technology as the “demand for quick communication and transaction” increases[2].

Many progressive businesses are already doing this – according to the Epicor research 79% of businesses have made or are making investments in integrated IT infrastructure. Increased data visibility, for example through the use of the latest enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can allow businesses to perform in-depth analysis of key KPIs, so that they can manage costings and profitability more confidently. Customer relationships can likewise continue to prosper during the growth period with agile and scalable ERP and manufacturing execution systems (MES) that meet their demands.

According to Morris, employees need “emotional support to withstand the pressures of growing.” He also recommends “fostering a robust culture so people can be resilient throughout the growth surge.” It’s clear that this culture can be more robust if people are supported by the technology they need to do their jobs. Although it seems counter-intuitive, e.g., deploying technology in support of an emotional challenge, investment in the right IT infrastructure is therefore essential, and will help maintain the emotional well-being of employees throughout this transitionary period.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/apr/22/growing-a-business-efficiently

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/the-elevator/12095150/steps-to-business-growth.html

About the Author 

Sabby Gill - EVP - EpicorSabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president, International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


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