Is California Still the Best Place for Tech Companies?

Hollywood, red-carpets, sun, and beaches… These are some of the things that come to most people’s minds when you mention California. Despite the recent success of “Silicon Valley,” we’re sure tech startups aren’t really the first thing people think about when talking about California.

If you talk to a California resident, you’ll get something along the lines of, “tech companies should probably relocate somewhere else that’s cheaper.” On the surface level, this makes sense – if you manage to lower operating costs, you’ll be able to raise your bottom line.

There’s no fundamental reason why a tech company needs to be located in Silicon Valley, right?

Operating in California requires money

The biggest downside of starting a business in California is the price of the commercial real estate and housing in some of the biggest markets, such as San Jose and San Francisco. Tech giants like Google and Apple have billions of dollars at their disposal, so they don’t have any problems paying the rent.

Moreover, according to Bloomberg, Facebook will actually pay its employees ten thousand dollars to relocate and live near their headquarters.

The cost of an entire industry working in this place is simply enormous. A recent study conducted by Zumper revealed that for every billion in venture capital that comes into California’s economy, rents are raised up to $99 on a monthly basis.  

However, there has to be a good reason why so many aspiring entrepreneurs from Baltimore, Detroit, and other cities are traveling to California, trying to start a company.

What makes California so good for startups?

The reality is this – if you’re starting a tech company outside California or New York, your chances of success are much, much slimmer. Here are a couple of factors that make California so appealing to young tech entrepreneurs:

  • It takes less to raise venture capital

In the United States, venture-backed companies account for around 11% of all employment. Venture capital is pretty important for small businesses and the US economy as a whole. And it just happens that some of best performing funds are located in California.

  • It increases the odds of being bought

If you’re located in a tech hub, you have much higher chances of networking with notable executives and engineers in your industry. Simply put, being a part of the tech community considerably increases your chances of being bought in a shorter period of time.

  • It increases your chances of success

The last thing on our list is fairly simple – starting a company outside of big tech hubs in the country significantly decreases your chances of success. The percentage of companies established between 2007 and 2010 in either New York or California who’ve received a second round of funding is roughly 15% higher.

Pros and cons of starting a business in California

Everything has its pros and cons, including the question whether to launch a startup in California. In addition to things we discussed earlier, here are a few pros and cons of starting a tech company – or any business for that matter – in the state of California.

  • Pro: Access to large markets

From Southern California to San Francisco, California is home to a few million consumers. Starting a business in California will give you access to a huge market, which is crucial for a small tech company.

And that’s not all. Unlike other states, California’s market tends to purchase services and goods no matter the economic climate. While there’s no new recession in sight, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Con: Complicated regulations

California’s laws and tax codes are at times too complicated for growing businesses. For instance, in order to get a license for your business in California surety bond is a must-have.

These bonds work as a protection for the public and guarantee that you’ll comply with the state regulations. The smartest thing would be to ask a local professional to help you with legal issues.

  • Pro: High earnings

The state has more than 3.6 small business owners. Although starting a business has its challenges, there are simply too many opportunities when you’re operating your business in California.

For example, the state’s disposable income on average is almost $2,000 higher than the US’s average, according to BND data. Moreover, an average small business owner earns at least $60, 000 annually.

  • Con: High minimum wages

Minimum wage hikes could possibly hinder your growth. At the moment, according to data from the Department of Industrial Relations, the minimum wage in California is approximately $10, 50 per hour.

If you’re trying to watch your expenses – just like many other new tech companies do – this can be more than limiting. But with a proper budget plan, you can actually determine your best course of action.

The bottom line

Every company is unique in its own way. And while we’re not claiming you should pack your bags right this moment and head off to California, you have to realize that the state will simply increase your chances of success.

It’s not like tech entrepreneurs outside California are any less talented or hard-working, not at all. But the environments outside tech hubs like Bay Area are fundamentally different.

Until entrepreneurs in secondary markets acknowledge some of the shortcomings of their markets and find a way to address them properly, things are going to stay the same. The matter of the fact is – if you want to build a tech business where you live, you have to be prepared to pay a heavy toll.

Advertisements

How to Keep Your Best Tech Employees

In today’s business world, where main focus revolves around technology and its advancements, having employees with exceptional knowledge about information technologies is truly a valuable asset. Every company that manages to get their hands on such tech talent will have an advantage in the market.

However, these employees require a work environment and conditions that suit them the best, in order to remain engaged for the company they work for. That’s why you need to find the best way to make your top tech employees happy and ensure the means of their retention. Here are a few way to keep your best tech employees.

Challenge them

A lot of tasks need to be completed in order for a business to succeed, but if your best tech employees get stuck doing mundane tasks, they won’t be too happy about it. That’s’ why you need to challenge them and assign them to projects that will truly put their expertise to the test. Your best teach employees will appreciate the fact that you lean on their skills to solve complex issues.

Not only will they feel a sense of accomplishment once they finish the project, but they’ll also have means to put their minds to work and find solutions to the most difficult problems. In addition, these tasks will help your tech employees hone their skills and maybe even learn new ones along the way.

Reward them accordingly

If you want to keep your best tech employees, you need to be proactive and reward them for their hard work before they come to you seeking recognition. Even though money is a good motivator, it’s not always a top priority for some employees. Rewarding employees doesn’t always have to be about raising their paycheck. You can also choose more personal rewards that will showcase your appreciation.

Sometimes those rewards can be small tokens, such as T-shirts, such as custom pens, and coffee mugs which will remind your employees that you haven’t forgotten about them. On the other hand, you can also choose something more valuable, such as paid weekends for two at a resort or a spa, extended vacation days and other rewards for completing difficult projects or reaching an important business goal.

Praise their value

If you have tech employees with an exceptional talent, make sure you let them know how valuable they are to your company. That way, your tech employees will know that all the hard work they’ve been doing isn’t going unnoticed and that you recognize their contribution to the overall business success.

Also, praise your tech employees in front of other employees, so that others may become inspired to follow in their colleague’s footsteps. However, if some of your employees don’t like public praise, then try to find a more subtle approach to let them know just how important they are to your organization.

760

Their work-life balance is important

Relying on your best tech employees for difficult tasks means you’re giving them a lot of responsibility. However, you can’t expect your employees to sacrifice their personal lives for the sake of work. Many good tech employees will be engaged towards their job responsibilities, but they also need time and space to have a normal everyday life. In order to let your tech employees develop a good work-life balance, allow them to have the flexibility they need.

For instance, let them choose working hours if it’s going to help them out, as long as they complete the tasks for the day. Also, let them work from home for a few days if they need it. Furthermore, when they take a day off, let them disengage from work completely. That means you shouldn’t disturb employees on their day off whenever an issue pops up.

Involve them in decision making

Your managers might know a lot about doing business and delegating tasks among employees, but your top tech employees may have important insight into matters as well. Don’t hesitate to involve your best talent in decision making. After all, they may see something your upper management missed.

In addition, asking top employees for their feedback and opinions is a good way to show appreciation and also show them that their opinions are in fact important and valuable to you. Furthermore, your top tech employees have knowledge and expertise that may give you an advantage in the market. Their unique viewpoint may give you a new angle to further develop and grow your business.

Having highly talented tech workers is truly an asset to any organization. Just make sure your top tech employees can do their job unhindered and that they know their hard work is appreciated. That way, you’ll be able to retain them with ease.

4 Traits of Today’s Successful Tech Leaders

In the last few years, the IT industry has been changing at an astonishing rate. With its evolution, the role of tech leaders has also changed. Namely, being an IT leader today is different from what it was about a decade ago. It’s no longer about having a superior aptitude for tech and focusing on end-user needs only. There is a plethora of attributes every successful tech leader should possess and here are some of them.

To Understand your Team, you need to Understand Yourself

There is a thin line between an average business owner and an exceptional leader. Overconfident and close-minded entrepreneurs that don’t take their employees’ advice into consideration usually stay mediocre or even end up failing. Of course, this is something you want to avoid. To succeed, you need to know what your strengths, weaknesses and emotional triggers are. Only by constantly investing in your self-awareness will you be able to leverage your strengths as much as possible and surround yourself with the right people with complementary skills. Most importantly, by investing in your emotional intelligence, you will manage to focus on the people you communicate with, recognize their problems and adapt your interactions based on their emotions and expectations.

An amazing example of the importance of self-awareness for one’s entrepreneurial success is Mark Zuckerberg. Even though he was just a teenager when he launched Facebook, he hired experienced advisors who helped him make the right decisions and, over time, he has become a well-rounded leader.

Make Quality and Timely Decisions

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing,” Roosevelt once said. The tech industry is moving at an astonishing pace and, to keep pace with it, you need to be capable of making the right decisions fast and taking risks when the need arises. If you are sitting on the fence all the time, not being able to find quality answers to your employees’ questions and problems, they might consider you incapable of leading them. Even worse, this might heavily affect your company’s growth.

Uber is just one of numerous examples showing how important bias for action is. Namely, when Lyft, their competitor, started offering scheduled rides, Uber’s executives decided to release the same feature within weeks. In this case, they didn’t have the luxury of doing a detailed research and debating the benefits of the product features. They simply built it and launched it.

Create Safe Work Environment

It’s your responsibility as an employer to provide your employees with pleasant, productive and, above all, safe work environment. Even though you cannot prevent all the incidents from happening, you can at least reduce the risk of workplace injury by developing a strict protocol, including safety education, offering adequate resources, and monitoring potential problem areas.  Most importantly, if the incident has already occurred, you need to know how you respond to such a situation. According to Bordas & Bordas personal injury lawyers, in such cases, employees are likely to hire an attorney to help them protect their right to compensation. As they will ask for all sorts of files and documentation on the employee, and you should cooperate with them and hand this information over.

Recognize your Employees’ Efforts

Steve Jobs believed that “great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” This is exactly why every great leader understands and values their team’s efforts and hard work. By proving that you care about the employee behind the work as the work itself, you will be able to boost your employees’ satisfaction and, most importantly, improve their engagement and retention.

For example, you could develop an incentive program. The studies show that 71% of employees would rather stay with a company that offers rewards than switch to one that offers higher pay. Most importantly, apart from being brilliant motivation boosters, incentives don’t require you to have Google’s budget. Young and small businesses in IT could offer a wide range of affordable and yet highly effective incentives, such as in-house skill-building opportunities, certificates of achievement, flexible work arrangement, gift cards, paid time off, and happy hours.

Conclusions

Never try hard to become the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. You’re simply not them. Instead, you need to know what it is that makes you authentic. Only by establishing recognizable leadership traits and staying true to them will you be able to build a powerful brand that stands out.

Which are some additional traits of distinguished entrepreneurs? Share your favorite ones with us.

Riyadh Header

Saudi Vision 2030 on the Agenda for Inaugural HR Tech Saudi Summit 2017

Leading HR and IT decision-makers will gather to discuss next generation HR challenges and new frameworks proposed under Saudi Vision 2030.

HR Tech Saudi Summit

Dubai, August 31 2017 — As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to transform the workplace with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation becoming increasingly prevalent across industries, Dubai-based B2B event specialist QnA International, has unveiled plans for a first-of-its-kind summit to discuss the unique challenges this will place on HR and IT departments in Saudi Arabia.

Being the only event dedicated to HR Technology in the Kingdom, the HR Tech Saudi Summit, taking place 20-21 November 2017 in Riyadh, will unite HR executives with the IT industry in Saudi Arabia at a time when the Kingdom is making significant investments in leading technology solutions, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

QnA Director Mr. Sidh N C

Sidh N.C., Director, QnA International, said: “The debut of the HR Tech Saudi Summit comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is moving towards digitization and hence uniquely placed to welcome the collaboration between the HR and IT capabilities. The summit is the first of its kind in the Kingdom to address the technological revolution underway in the workplace and debate how best to harness its capacity for the success of business in the public, private and government sectors”

In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom has pledged to increase investments in technology in order to continue leading the digital transformation of the region. Under the King Salman Program for Human Capital Development, 500,000 government employees will receive training to upskill by 2020. All Ministries and Government institutions will be required to adopt best practice in Human Capital Development and other organisations will be tasked with enhancing engagement and the employee experience.

Enabled by mobile, remote and real time connectivity, digital HR processes now reach beyond payroll and data capture to incorporate functions such as interviewing, performance management and KPI review. The technology exists for employees in larger organisations to share concerns and feedback, or even complete training remotely, through mobile video.

Sidh N.C. added: “With discussion focusing on the latest HR technology trends, innovations and disruptive ideas, the HR Tech Saudi Summit will help leaders from the HR and IT departments to collaborate on effective solutions to modern human challenges.”

The launch of HR Tech Saudi Summit, follows the three successful editions of HR Tech MENA Summit in Dubai. The 3rd edition of HR Tech MENA took place in May 2017 under the theme of Revolutionizing the Future of Work with discussions ranging from the challenges of rapid technological developments to the need for enhancement of workplaces.

About HR Tech Saudi Summit

Reshaping the Kingdom's Workplace

The HR Tech Saudi Summit is the only initiative that brings together HR and IT professionals from the unique business landscape of Saudi Arabia, on a singular platform, to discuss the newest trends, ideas and disruptions over a period of two days exclusively dedicated to and focused on HR Technology.

Technology today has revolutionized every step of our lives and Human Resources is no different. The influence of technology on our evolution is paramount to making it imperative for HR to keep abreast with newest developments.

Today, HR is en route to becoming smart HR. Concepts such as bog data, cloud, social media, mobility, and gamification are today’s buzzwords and every organization is keen to embrace them in tackling the key issues of talent acquisition, talent management, change management and employee engagement.

Organiser: About QnA International

QnA International

QnA International creates and delivers business learning and development exchange platforms through B2B conferences, bespoke events and trainings. The company also has an expertise in outsourced sponsorship sales and key account management.

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand? | Featured Image

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand?

Written by Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore.

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand? | Main Image

When it comes to demand for IT talent; developers, coders, and programmers have never had it so good. But do those making these key hires always know what they’re buying? As Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore, wonders how long recruiters can stay on the backfoot for.

Peter Cummings, DevScore
Peter Cummings is a highly sought after IT Specialist with expert knowledge in three distinct fields; IT Security, Cloud Computing and Development.

Recruiting for niche IT positions continues to be a problem. It’s not that there’s (necessarily) a shortage of talent, but as demand for connected devices and Internet of Things technology starts to gain traction, organisations that have never before hired software developers and programmers now find themselves in desperate need of them. Yesterday.

Great news for us techies, right? Well, kinda. The thing is we need to make sure that what we’re being hired to do, is exactly what the companies hiring us need us to actually do. That might sound odd, but if (like me) you’ve been in the dev game for a good few years, you’ll appreciate the challenge of being led tentatively towards a role that your skills aren’t the best fit for, or being ushered into an organisation where the need initially identified isn’t quite as urgent as first thought.

With the shoe on the other foot for a moment — it’s hard for those tasked with hiring us to keep track of IT demands. Not just because IT has a pretty steep learning curve; but it’s constantly changing. A lot of HRs and recruiters don’t know what they don’t know. They lack the depth of technical knowledge needed to hire the right coder for the job — because they aren’t coders themselves.

Conventional wisdom just doesn’t apply. Illustrating a developer’s breadth of expertise using just a CV doesn’t work, so recruiters resort to other methods, doing their best to assess skills through coding tests and other time consuming tasks. Which can often be a massive waste of time for all.

Where development’s concerned, for HR types, getting the right person in place matters more than in most other hires — mostly because we coders come at a premium and are often fought over tooth and nail by different companies.

So how can we demonstrate our skills and expertise in the right way?

Well, first we need to emphasise our specific skillsets and explain how experience and expertise supercede formal education. A lot of software developers are completely self-taught (myself included) and few have any formal education (and we’re in good company considering the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg swapped education for entrepreneurship).

The fact is the best person for the job might not be who you’d first expect. This fact requires a bit of a mindset shift from a HR perspective. And while skills are inherently difficult to prove, demonstrating impact is a good alternative to coding tests, in-depth interviews, and awkward discussions.

Overall, it’s crucial that companies hire developers that can hit the ground running — for everyone’s benefit. But getting the right fit for any job means helping HRs and recruiters better understand the value you can bring and guiding them through your specific skills — without dazzling them with technical jargon.

Insight like this will ultimately help recruiters and HR managers minimise hiring errors in an increasingly important and costly area of their businesses.

Plus it’ll make your working life a whole lot easier — so you can concentrate on doing the job you were hired to do, rather than pick your way through Jira tickets and technical documentation until the lead dev gets it together…


If you want to share this article the reference to Peter Cummings and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

London Future

5 Things I Learned At HR Tech World

Written by Peter Cummings, Founder and CEO, DevScore.

Peter Cummings, Founder and CEO, DevScore
Peter Cummings is a highly sought after IT Specialist with expert knowledge in three distinct fields; IT Security, Cloud Computing and Development.

I’m still reeling from last week’s HR Tech World event in London. It was a big one for us — we finally launched DevScore and were delighted with the response we had. Admittedly, it’s been some time since I’ve worked in the HR sector (as a developer) but I’ve done the rounds on the technology scene for a good ten years or more. However, I was more than taken aback at how tech-savvy HR has become. To keep pace, companies of all shapes and sizes are really upping their game on the recruitment front: which is good news for companies like mine that focus on helping businesses meet oncoming challenges.

Here are some of the key things I learnt, from talking to prospective customers and other exhibitors, about what’s happening at the crossroads of HR and technology:

Smart devices mean demand for developers will increase exponentially

The emergence of the Internet of Things will add millions of new developer jobs to the market, and demand for coders will scale to previously unseen levels. As more and more devices and appliances incorporate embedded software, companies who’ve never employed software developers will quickly need to upskill their workforces.

We’re talking about big manufacturing companies here: the kind who make everything from vacuum cleaners to electrical screwdrivers. In order for these businesses to compete and stay relevant in the digital age, ultimately they now need people with a different set of smarts — those who know software as well as those who understand hardware.

We need to overcome bias in developer recruitment

Finding developers is one challenge. Finding the right developers with the skills needed to tackle the mission-critical tasks you have is quite another(!). The battle to recruit and retain developer talent is about to get harder. But there’s a lot of untapped potential out there: a wealth of coders who haven’t been able to break into IT development. We need ways to find great people and bring them into the fold.

Development is a field where anyone can play — there are no education, gender, racial, or religious boundaries. We need to be able to find those with the right skills, whoever they are, wherever they are. To do this, businesses need to objectively analyse developers’ skills, and make hiring decisions based on ability. Nothing else.

New sourcing tactics are needed to satisfy demand for developers

Encouraging more coders to participate professionally relies on HR (and IT) professionals changing their perceptions on ‘how a developer is supposed to act’ and instead focusing on ‘what a developer can do.’

For example, there are several initiatives in both the US and UK — like The Last Mile in the US and Code4000 here in the UK — that are teaching prison inmates to code. By giving them work experience (while incarcerated) the idea is that they’ll have the skills to take a junior developer position when they get out.

I personally got into web development with the help of a good friend after working as a chef, and I hope to pass that mentoring experience on to new developers. In fact we’re building a platform, DevForge, to do just that.

Retaining developers means helping them evolve

In an industry where the fight for talent is on, employers need to find more ways to retain their developers. But money and work-life balance aside, most developers see their careers as a work in progress, and a good proportion of them value learning and development opportunities.

A crucial part of this is giving them ‘hack-time’, allowing them 10-20% of their working week to work on their own projects or learn new skills. This could be hugely beneficial for employers; ensuring faster adoption of new technologies, satisfying the developers’ need to evolve, and ultimately could be key to retaining developer talent. That’s the endgame we’re striving towards at DevScore — we’re creating a symbiotic platform where employers can build a roadmap to help their business move forward, while growing developers’ skills.

IT departments need more HR input

There can be little doubt that developers are one of the trickiest resources to manage. Few companies have specific developer talent management capabilities, which means it’s easy overlook an individual’s contribution to a project. That’s why IT departments need to play a more active role when recruiting and retaining developers.

By effectively mapping the skills and capabilities of their teams — including outsourced development teams — IT managers can help make better informed strategic decisions; like who should be promoted, who’s no longer needed, and who would be best suited to managing a project using a new technology.

It’s not just about satisfying demand; a developer’s skillset and aptitude have direct impact on a business’ HR reputation. Getting the balance wrong could lead to high developer turnover, missed opportunities, and big financial and talent losses.

About the Author:

Peter Cummings started working life as a chef and restaurant professional, before teaching himself coding and making the leap into software development. He’s now an internationally renowned IT consultant, thought leader, and founder of DevScore; a SaaS platform that helps recruiters and HR managers source the right developers for their businesses. He’s lived and worked everywhere from Greenland to Nigeria and speaks five languages.

About DevScore:

DevScore Logo

DevScore enables recruiters and HR staff – even the non-tech savvy – to accurately assess and validate a developer’s skills and experience in an easy understandable format. No need to scan every resume anymore – now you can compile a shortlist with the right candidates in record time.

DevScore is a tool for recruiters and HR staff, offering both an intuitive user interface and also an API, so that it can be integrated into your existing tools and applications, providing you the information you need, when you need it.


If you want to share this article the reference to Peter Cummings and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

What Is the Future of Data Warehousing?

Data Warehousing

There is no denying it – we live in The Age of the Customer. Consumers all over the world are now digitally empowered, and they have the means to decide which businesses will succeed and grow, and which ones will fail. As a result, most savvy businesses now understand that they must be customer-obsessed to succeed. They must have up-to-the-second data and analytical information so that they can give their customers what they want and provide the very best customer satisfaction possible.

This understanding has given rise to the concept of business intelligence (BI), the use of data mining, big data, and data analytics to analyze raw data and create faster, more effective business solutions. However, while the concept of BI is not necessarily new, traditional BI tactics are no longer enough to keep up and ensure success in the future. Today, traditional BI must be combined with agile BI (the use of agile software development to accelerate traditional BI for faster results and more adaptability) and big data to deliver the fastest and most useful insights so that businesses may convert, serve, and retain more customers.

Essentially, for a business to survive, BI must continuously evolve and adapt to improve agility and keep up with data trends in this new customer-driven age of enterprise. This new model for BI is also driving the future of data warehousing, as we will see moving forward.

Older BI Deployments Cannot Keep Pace for Success

As valuable as older BI applications and deployments have been over the years, they simply cannot keep pace with customer demands today. In fact, decision-makers in IT and business have reported a number of challenges when they have only deployed traditional BI. These include:

  • Inability to accurately quantify their BI investments’ ROI. Newer BI deployments implement methodologies for measuring ROI and determining the value of BI efforts.
  • A breakdown in communication and alignment between IT and business teams.
  • Inability to properly manage operational risk, resolve latency challenges, and/or handle scalability. While BI is intended to improve all of these, traditional BI is falling behind.
  • Difficulty with platform migration and/or integration.

Poor data quality. Even if data mining is fast and expansive, if the quality of the data is not up to par, it will not be useful in creating actionable intelligence for important business decisions.

Keeping Up with Customer Demand Through New BI Deployments

So how can combining traditional BI, agile BI, and big data help businesses grow and succeed in today’s market? Consider that big data gives businesses a more complete view of the customer by tapping into multiple data sources. At the same time, agile BI addresses the need for faster and more adaptable intelligence. Combine the two, along with already existing traditional BI, and efforts that were once separate can work together to create a stronger system of insight and analytics.

Through this new BI strategy, businesses can consistently harness insights and create actionable data in less time. Using the same technology, processes, and people, it allows businesses to manage growth and complexity, react faster to customer needs, and improve collaboration and top-line benefits – all at the same time.

The Drive for a New Kind of Data Warehousing

A new kind of data warehousing is essential to this new BI deployment, as much of the inefficiency in older BI deployments lies in the time and energy wasted in data movement and duplication. A few factors are driving the development and future of data warehousing, including:

  • Agility – To succeed today, businesses must use collaboration more than ever. Instead of having separate departments, teams, and implementations for things like data mining and analysis, IT, BI, business, etc., the new model involves cross-functional teams that engage in adaptive planning for continuous evolution and improvement. This kind of model cannot function with old forms of data warehousing, with just a single server (or set of servers) where data is stored and retrieved.
  • The Cloud – More and more, people and businesses are storing data on the cloud. Cloud-based computing offers the ability to access more data from different sources without the need for massive amounts of data movement and duplication. Thus, the cloud is a major factor in the future of data warehousing.
  • The Next Generation of Data – We are already seeing significant changes in data storage, data mining, and all things relate to big data, thanks to the Internet of Things. The next generation of data will (and already does) include even more evolution, including real-time data and streaming data.

How New Data Warehousing Solves Problems for Businesses

So how do new data warehouses change the face of BI and big data? These new data warehousing solutions offer businesses a more powerful and simpler means to achieve streaming, real-time data by connecting live data with previously stored historical data.

Before, business intelligence was an entirely different section of a company than the business section, and data analytics took place in an isolated bubble. Analysis was also restricted to only looking at and analyzing historical data – data from the past. Today, if businesses only look at historical data, they will be behind the curve before they even begin. Some of the solutions to this, which new data warehousing techniques and software provide, include:

  • Data lakes – Instead of storing data in hierarchical files and folders, as traditional data warehouses do, data lakes have a flat architecture that allows raw data to be stored in its natural form until it is needed.
  • Data fragmented across organizations – New data warehousing allows for faster data collection and analysis across organizations and departments. This is in keeping with the agility model and promotes more collaboration and faster results.
  • IoT streaming data – Again, the Internet of Things, is a major game changer, as customers, businesses, departments, etc. share and store data across multiple devices.

To Thrive in the Age of the Customers – Businesses Must Merge Previously Separate Efforts

Now that we are seeing real-time and streaming data, it is more important than ever before to create cohesive strategies for business insights. This means merging formerly separate efforts like traditional BI, agile BI, and big data.

Business agility is more important than ever before to convert and retain customers. To do this, BI must always be evolving, improving, and adapting, and this requires more collaboration and new data warehousing solutions. Through this evolution of strategies and technology, businesses can hope to grow and improve in The Age of the Customer.

Examples of the Future of Data Warehousing

And what exactly will the future of data warehousing look like? Companies like SAP are working on that right now. With the launch of the BW/4HANA data warehousing solution running on premise and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others like it, we can see how businesses can combine historical and streaming data for better implementation and deployment of new BI strategies. This system and others like it work with Spark and Hadoop, as well as other programming frameworks to bring data and systems of insight into the 21st century and beyond.

Want to learn more about BI, agile BI, the future of data warehousing, and all things big data? 

Follow Ronald van Loon on LinkedIn and Twitter

And, if you have any thoughts on the subject, you may share them in the comment to the original post.


Source: What Is the Future of Data Warehousing? | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

SaaS Economics, Competitive Moats, And Interrogatory Configuration | In Full Bloom

Written by Naomi Bloom | Originally published at In Full Bloom on October 22, 2016.  

[You may also enjoy the Firing Line with Bill Kutik® episode on this.]

warren-buffett-castle-and-moat-metaphor-by-ben-bartlett

There’s been a lot of discussion across the enterprise IT and financial analyst community about the long term economic viability of the SaaS business model. And the enterprise IT community continues to debate the merits of the various flavors of SaaS architectural and infrastructural models. These discussions have ranged over the:

  • fundamentals of profitability in enterprise software;
  • reality that many to most so-called SaaS vendors (both faux and “Blooming”) are not yet profitable;
  • landrush by SaaS vendors to grab market share and to grow as rapidly as possible;
  • spending by SaaS vendors of sometimes huge sums on customer acquisition against a revenue recognition requirement that expenses those acquisition costs on the front end but only allows revenue recognition over the life of the contract; and
  • much more.

If the economic viability of your so-called true or faux SaaS vendors matters to you — and well it should — read on.

When you contemplate further the economics, significant future profitability appears to emerge for those vendors which are able to meet the following challenges:

  1. Reduce dramatically the cost of customer acquisition, from marketing to sales to contract signing;
  2. Reduce dramatically each customer’s time to production and, therefore, time to revenue for the vendor;
  3. Reduce dramatically each customer’s ongoing implementation costs and time as they take up innovation delivered by their vendor and revisit existing capabilities as their organizational needs evolve and change;
  4. Maintain very high customer satisfaction rates — see #3;
  5. Maintain very high customer retention rates, which I do believe are related to but are not the equivalent of very high customer satisfaction rates; and
  6. Achieve very low operational costs and error rates.

Doing all of this at the same time produces IMO the secret sauce of true SaaS economics and, in doing so, creates an enormous competitive moat for vendors who can’t achieve this. Enter Interrogatory Configuration, my recommended approach to creating this moat and the really important and related benefits for both vendor and customer.

Interrogatory Configuration (yes, I know that’s lousy branding, but I’ve never claimed to be a clever marketeer) addresses the first three challenges very directly and has a positive impact on the last three. That’s why I’ve been pushing these ideas — some would say harping on them — since long before the beginning of SaaS in HR technology. Frankly, I was pushing these ideas from the late 80’s, long before they were possible to execute as they require very specific architectural foundations which, until recently, did not exist within enterprise HRM software.

So what is interrogatory configuration? Interrogatory configuration is easy to explain but VERY difficult to do, at least for complex HRM software. Basically it’s a piece of software (think TurboTax) which poses questions to the client ‘s business analyst (who could be a 3rd party, including the vendor’s implementation services person or that of a certified partner), provides a context for those questions along with the implications of selecting from among the available answers (e.g. explaining what types of organizational structures use what types of position to job relationships and why), and then, based on the selections made (and all such are of course effective-dated and subject to inheritance where appropriate), it does the configuration of the base application without manual intervention of any kind. Interestingly, Google filed a patent for a VERY limited example of this in 1997, which was awarded in 2001, in which they make clear that you can’t do this unless the underlying architecture, the software to be thus configured, is composed of objects that can be manipulated dynamically.

Highly configurable, metadata-driven, definitionally developed, true HCM SaaS is a wonderful thing. But even in configuration, all of the available choices have to be analyzed, selected, tested and implemented, individually and in combination with other choices. And this must be done with care and a deep knowledge of the downstream implications of various configurations, not only during the initial implementation but also every time business needs change, software upgrades are applied (even when applied as SaaS mostly opt-in updates), regulatory rules appear and/or change, including retroactively, new executives bring new perspectives, etc.

More Talmudic than Socratic, this question/answer dialogue continues, with each exchange doing one set of configurations while setting up the next set, until the customer has implemented fully the set of capabilities/business rules/coding structures/workflows/etc. that will be their implemented software as of the selected effective date. An interrogatory configurator is designed to work prospectively, so that you can see how a partially to fully configured application will look and behave before committing those configurations to take effect. For those configurations that are permitted to be changed retroactively, with the attendant retroactive processing once they are approved for implementation, the interrogatory configurator is also intended to work retroactively.

Without interrogatory configuration, every time those hand-done configurations must be changed, all those choices must be re-evaluated against the needed changes, and then new choices made, tested and implemented. Furthermore, the implications of each configuration change for downstream processes must be analyzed and actions taken to at least inform users of those implications. So, while we may be able to eliminate most of the programming implementation work by having great configuration tools delivered with our HRM software, without interrogatory configuration we have by no means reduced the business analyst time, effort and expertise needed to keep things running properly. And great HRM business analysts are really scarce, perhaps even more so than great HRM software developers.

Now imagine that the interrogatory configurator is an integral part of the marketing to sales cycle, allowing for a high degree of self-provisioning, at least for less complex organizations (notice I didn’t say small or quote headcount). And even for the most complex organizations, imagine how much configuration could be done with data gleaned during the sales cycle so that a usefully configured application could become a sales cycle tool which blends seamlessly into the actual implementation once agreements are signed. To the extent that SaaS vendors proceed down this path, the whole dynamic of the sales to implementation processes, not to mention the role, staffing and economics of the systems integrators (SIs), are changed substantially, to the benefit of both the customer and the SaaS vendor.

Customer satisfaction and retention rates are driven by many factors, from having wonderful and useful product capabilities to having a very sticky user experience, and there’s a lot of room here for unique approaches by different vendors and/or for different market segments. Running a brilliant operating environment means building tools for everything from provisioning to payroll scheduling, tools which cannot be bought “off the shelf” and which are themselves complex applications. So one thing I advise all buyers to consider is how far along their proposed SaaS vendor is in having industrialized every aspect of operations, for much of which you must have the right SaaS architecture in the first place.

When I see cost comparisons between on-prem and true SaaS, it’s almost always done on a TCO basis from an IT cost perspective.  But that doesn’t value not only having new functionality but also having it delivered almost continuously. It doesn’t value how much more effective vendors can be in meeting customer needs by aggregating data on feature usability and usage so as to inform their product roadmaps. And it certainly doesn’t value the ability of true SaaS vendors to aggregate benchmarking data which can then be fed right back into their interrogatory configurator, if they’ve got one, and into the analytics-rich, decision-making capabilities of their applications. So there’s a lot more here to consider than just TCO unless your business is so stagnant that you really don’t want or need agility or innovation from your systems.

There are SaaS vendors in our space that have architectures which can’t scale operationally, SaaS vendors which don’t have great operational tools, SaaS vendors whose agility is more about fixes than innovation, and so on. But I think we have some good to great SaaS vendors which will be quite profitable (or already are) because they’ve approached this new business model with the right stuff. And I would add that prospects/customers should be running for the exits from any SaaS (or so-called SaaS) vendor which isn’t well down the path of being able to meet successfully my six challenges above.

The bottom line. Reducing dramatically the elapsed time, complexity and cost of HRM software sales and implementation, not to mention ongoing configuration, is an important enough response to the six challenges above for HRM SaaS vendors and BPO providers — and creates a big enough competitive moat — to justify building interrogatory configurators. Doing this requires having the right underlying software architecture, one which enables effective-dated configuration without writing any procedural code. It also requires the product’s designers to know and be able to express the patterns of good practice in a whole range of HRM areas, from organizational designs to hiring practices, and the good practice combinations of same. And there’s an enhanced opportunity here for incorporating all manner of exogenous data, from salary surveys and hiring patterns to commentary on which organizational designs are common in specific industries — and why. If your vendors aren’t pretty far along on this, it may be too late for them to get started — or their underlying architectures just won’t support this. And if you’re a prospect for new HR technology, be sure to find out if your short list vendors are far enough down this path to ensure that they will remain viable and that your needs will be met. I’d also you’ll watch my Firing Line with Bill Kutik® episode on this.

About the Author:

naomi_bloom_400x400

Naomi Bloom is a leading independent voice, business and platform strategic advisor, market influencer, blogger and speaker about enterprise HR technology and outsourcing. After many years acting as a change agent and HRM delivery systems strategist/coach for global corporate clients and as a consultant on business strategy and product/service design to several generations of HRM software vendors and HR outsourcing providers, Ms. Bloom now limits her consulting practice to strategic advisory roles with vendors whose management and products are market movers and as a provider of competitive insight and due diligence to the investment community. Naomi built the only vendor-neutral HRM domain model and application architecture “starter kits.” Licensed across the industry from 1995 through 2013, Naomi’s IP has been considered to be not only the state-of-the-art but also a primary contributor to many of today’s best practices in HRM enterprise software.

Naomi is a formidable advocate for the HRM and HRM delivery system end-user community, focused entirely on achieving breakthroughs in organizational performance outcomes through effective HRM enabled by great HR technology. She is well-published, to include via her blog InFullBloom.us and is a much sought after, compensated speaker/author for her thought leadership, presentation effectiveness, clarity of vision, and humorous delivery. Naomi has been a general session speaker at the annual HR Technology Conference since its inception in 1989, a main stage speaker since its 2nd year at HR Tech World Congress, and is the author of Human Resource Management and Information Technology: Achieving a Strategic Partnership, which was published in 1984. In 1995, Ms. Bloom’s industry contributions were recognized with IHRIM’s Summit Award, and in 2011, Naomi became a Fellow of the Human Resource Policy Institute at Boston University. Ms. Bloom is a member of The Enterprise Irregulars and founder/chairman of The Brazen Hussies of HR tech.

twitter  linkedin  facebook


Source: SaaS Economics, Competitive Moats, And Interrogatory Configuration | In Full Bloom

Cloud Is Growing, But Will It Be Your Organisation’s Downfall?

cloud-is-growing-but-will-it-be-your-organisations-downfall

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

hesham-el-komy-sr-director-channel-epicor-press
Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software

The reality today is that most enterprise applications are well on their way to being cloud based. We’ve seen it with simple workloads such as HR and payroll, travel and expense management, and in the last decade we’ve seen the cloud as the new normal for customer relationship management (CRM) deployments. In fact, a July 2016 Gartner report[1] predicts that the public cloud services market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will grow by 18.3% in 2016 to US$879.3 million. More specifically, the cloud application services (SaaS) market is forecasted to grow by a staggering 207% from US$166.1 million in 2015 to US$509.8 million in 2020.

So what are the benefits of cloud based ERP solutions? Below are eight reasons why moving your ERP system to the cloud will benefit your business and support business growth.

  1. Freedom of Choice

Put quite simply, not all cloud ERP systems are created equal. Specifically, very few ERP vendors respect your right to choose the deployment model that is most appropriate for you, and revise that decision down the road as your business grows or technical needs change. Your right to transition between on-premises, multi-tenant, and single tenant is an important one. It recognises that the “best” deployment model for you today might not be the best model in a few years, or even a few months. By providing the choice of Multi-Tenant (with its compelling economics and seamless upgrades) or Single Tenant (allowing more administrative control and administrative ownership), you can choose the model that works best for you.

  1. Compelling Cloud Economics

Despite the cloud having proven its value beyond just good financial sense, there is no doubt that for companies of all sizes the economics of cloud deployment are undeniably compelling, moving from capital to operational expenditure. Some of the more hidden economic benefits of the cloud include:

  • Not being as capital intensive as an on-premises deployment because of the subscription-based pricing model.
  • Better and more instant scalability, allowing clients to add (and sometimes remove) users to their system on demand and saving them from having to invest in hardware and software at the “high water mark”.
  • The direct and indirect costs of your infrastructure, from server to database systems to the actual hardware and replacement cycle cost.
  • The hidden costs of maintaining the servers yourself.
  • The benefit of the reduced deployment times (and corresponding improved ROI) that are typical for cloud deployments, as the necessary infrastructure is in place already.
  1. Better IT Resource Utilisation

At the end of the day, most IT departments are stretched pretty thin, and find themselves spending too much time on low-value (but admittedly critical) activities such as verifying backups, applying security updates, and upgrading the infrastructure upon which your critical systems run. There is tremendous business benefit to assigning those tasks back to your ERP vendor as part of a cloud deployment, freeing up your IT department’s time to work on more strategic business projects such as creating executive dashboards, deploying mobile devices, and crafting helpful management reports.

  1. The Cloud is More Secure

Today, it’s hard to imagine a client who could possibly create a more secure operating environment than leading cloud providers. Indeed, Gartner reports[2] that “Multi-tenant services are not only highly resistant to attack, but are also a more secure starting point than most traditional in-house implementations.”

Security today is a comprehensive, end-to-end mind set that has to be built across every layer of the ERP environment from the physical network interface cards to the user passwords. It means a holistic approach to anticipating and minimising possible natural, human, and technical disruptions to your system to ensure uptime and peace of mind.

  1. Upgrades

Cloud deployment redefines the experience by designing upgrades—big and small—to be deployed by the ERP cloud operations staff as part of standard support services, without imposing software installations on your staff. Minor updates are transparently deployed in a non-disruptive fashion, and major upgrades are announced well in advance, and include a sandbox training environment and end-user training.

These major upgrades are designed to require little to no project management on your part, short of double checking that everything is working the way you expect it to and ensuring that your internal users are prepared to take advantage of the new version.

  1. Mobile and Collaborative

Moving to a cloud-based system gives everyone the real-time system access they require as a routine part of their jobs while driving out the inefficiency of paper-based processes and the burden and security risk of figuring out how to deliver this yourself.

Opening up your ERP system by virtue of cloud deployment allows you to retire the poorly defined ad-hoc “integration by Excel file” workflows that might have cropped up across your organisation. In their place, you can deploy real-time integration processes that link your employees, suppliers, partners, and customers.

Cloud deployment brings the opportunity to redefine many of your legacy business processes and workflows in a way that leverages these more open, connected, instantaneous integration paths.

  1. Business Consistency and Process Alignment Globally

Increasingly, companies have staff working across multiple locations and they aspire to provide the efficiency of a single unified ERP system across the enterprise to support them. Deploying a single cloud ERP globally (where the only infrastructure requirement is Internet access) removes many operational obstacles, and gives you the confidence that your continued expansion efforts can be accommodated without a significant IT effort by simply enabling that new location in your existing cloud-based ERP system. With consistency comes improved transparency and increased efficiency.

  1. Reduced Risk, Greater Visibility, Better Value

Many clients choose a cloud-based system (ERP and other workflows) because it allows them to deploy a much more complete solution than they could otherwise manage or financially justify under legacy deployment models. Not having to make a massive upfront investment in the ERP system and its supporting infrastructure is critical in allowing smaller companies to perform beyond same-sized competitors from an enterprise application quality and completeness perspective.

ERP solutions aren’t just software. They are tools that can be used to help grow your business profitably, offering flexible solutions that provide more accurate information in real-time, driving smarter, faster decision-making, and enabling customers to quickly meet changing market demands to stay ahead of their competition. The cloud increases the business benefits that ERP offers and can accompany your business on the road to successful growth.

Sources:

[1] Gartner, Inc., “Gartner Says Public Cloud Services in the Middle East and North Africa Region Forecast to Reach $880 Million in 2016,” July 04, 2016

[2] New Report: Gartner MQ for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, North America

If you want to share this article the reference to Hesham El Komy and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Global Study Reveals Businesses and Countries Vulnerable Due to Shortage of Cybersecurity Talent

Intel Logo

Intel Corporation
2200 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054-1549

Global Study Reveals Businesses and Countries Vulnerable Due to Shortage of Cybersecurity Talent

82 Percent of IT Professionals Confirm Shortfall in Cybersecurity Workforce 

News Highlights:

  • New report by Intel Security and CSIS reveals current cybersecurity talent crisis
  • Cybersecurity skills shortage is worse than talent deficits in other IT professions.
  • Shortage in cybersecurity skills is responsible for significant damages.
  • Talent shortage is largest for individuals with highly technical skills.
  • Hands-on training and practical training are perceived as better ways to develop skills than through traditional education resources.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – August 01, 2016 – Intel Security, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), recently released Hacking the Skills Shortage, a global report outlining the talent shortage crisis impacting the cybersecurity industry across both companies and nations. A majority of respondents (82 percent) admit to a shortage of cybersecurity skills, with 71 percent of respondents citing this shortage as responsible for direct and measurable damage to organizations whose lack of talent makes them more desirable hacking targets.

“A shortage of people with cybersecurity skills results in direct damage to companies, including the loss of proprietary data and IP,” said James A Lewis, senior vice president and director of the Strategic Technologies Program at CSIS. “This is a global problem; a majority of respondents in all countries surveyed could link their workforce shortage to damage to their organization.”

Despite 1 in 4 respondents confirming their organizations have lost proprietary data as a result of their cybersecurity skills gap, there are no signs of this workforce shortage abating in the near-term. Respondents surveyed estimate an average of 15 percent of cybersecurity positions in their company will go unfilled by 2020. With the increase in cloud, mobile computing and the Internet of Things, as well as advanced targeted cyberattacks and cyberterrorism across the globe, the need for a stronger cybersecurity workforce is critical.

Raj Samani
Raj Samani, VP & CTO, EMEA, Intel Security

“The security industry has talked at length about how to address the storm of hacks and breaches, but government and the private sector haven’t brought enough urgency to solving the cybersecurity talent shortage,” said Raj Samani, VP & CTO, EMEA, Intel Security. “To address this workforce crisis, we need to foster new education models, accelerate the availability of training opportunities, and we need to deliver deeper automation so that talent is put to its best use on the frontline. Finally, we absolutely must diversify our ranks.”

The demand for cybersecurity professionals is outpacing the supply of qualified workers, with highly technical skills the most in need across all countries surveyed. In fact, skills such as intrusion detection, secure software development and attack mitigation were found to be far more valued than softer skills including collaboration, leadership and effective communication.

This report studies four dimensions that comprise the cybersecurity talent shortage, which include:

  1. Cybersecurity Spending: The size and growth of cybersecurity budgets reveals how countries and companies prioritize cybersecurity. Unsurprisingly, countries and industry sectors that spend more on cybersecurity are better placed to deal with the workforce shortage, which according to 71 percent of respondents, has resulted in direct and measurable damage to their organization’s security networks.
  2. Education and Training: Only 23 percent of respondents say education programs are preparing students to enter the industry. This report reveals non-traditional methods of practical learning, such as hands-on training, gaming and technology exercises and hackathons, may be a more effective way to acquire and grow cybersecurity skills. More than half of respondents believe that the cybersecurity skills shortage is worse than talent deficits in other IT professions, placing an emphasis on continuous education and training opportunities.
  3. Employer Dynamics: While salary is unsurprisingly the top motivating factor in recruitment, other incentives are important in recruiting and retaining top talent, such as training, growth opportunities and reputation of the employer’s IT department. Almost half of respondents cite lack of training or qualification sponsorship as common reasons for talent departure.

Recommendations for Moving Forward:

  • Redefine minimum credentials for entry-level cybersecurity jobs: accept non-traditional sources of education
  • Diversify the cybersecurity field
  • Provide more opportunities for external training
  • Identify technology that can provide intelligent security automation
  • Collect attack data and develop better metrics to quickly identify threats

For more information on these findings, along with Intel Security’s proposed recommendations, read the full report: Hacking the Skills Shortage: A study of the international shortage in cybersecurity skills.

About Intel Security:

Intel Security, with its McAfee product line, is dedicated to making the digital world safer and more secure for everyone. Intel Security is a division of Intel Corporation. Learn more at www.intelsecurity.com.

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Contacts:

Vernon SaldanhaVernon Saldanha

Procre8 (on behalf of Intel Security)

vernon@procre8.biz