1. Web Services – Ultra Fast Broadband increases the demand for video

    August 15, 2012 by admin
     Taryn Hamilton, [1] from internet service provider Orcon, writes that in a bid to boost productivity the NZ government has committed $1.5 billion towards providing fibre optic cable to three quarters of Kiwi homes and businesses. The expected improvements in productivity, competitiveness and standard of living will come about by how businesses actually use the new technology to their advantage. In the UK and Europe higher broadband speeds have seen the uptake of watching video over the Internet skyrocket.  It is predicted that 90 percent of traffic growth on the Internet in the coming years will comprise video transmissions for both work use and for leisure viewing. Driven by video, Internet traffic is predicted to grow some 400 percent by the end of 2013 – which is not too far away!  In the UK, the BBC’s iPlayer radio and TV service recently accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of Internet traffic. A similar percentage of internet traffic was experienced by US, Netflix’ online TV and movie streaming services.  Cloud computing coupled with ultra fast broadband services have created an opportunity for businesses to minimise costs and improve productivity.

    [1] Hamilton, T., (2011), Get ready for UFB, NZ Business, Vol 25, Iss 6, p 53, Adrenalin Publishing Ltd., Auckland

    Neil Crawford


  2. What’s an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever

    July 9, 2012 by admin
    According to dictionary.com an Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. Wikipedia defines an entrepreneur as a person who is willing to help launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome.But what does being an entrepreneur really mean? A risk taker? An innovative person? Or something else? If someone wants to be an entrepreneur, it’s very important to know the right ingredients of entrepreneurship in order to apply them to be a successful entrepreneur.

    When searching the internet you will find that the most commonly known characteristics of an entrepreneur are:

    • Risk takers: an entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.
    • Sacrifice: entrepreneurs also are willing to sacrifice. They give up family time and other personal time, they gave up the comfort and security that working for other people can give. A willingness to make decisions in the absence of solid data.
    • Creative: entrepreneurs are able to make connections between unrelated events or situations. Entrepreneurs often come up with new and simple solutions.
    • Determination: successful entrepreneurs do not believe that something cannot be done, they try again and again till success.

    There are a lot of articles on the internet on entrepreneurship and its definition and how to be an entrepreneur, one of the highly recommended to read is “What’s an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever ” on Inc.com. The article suggests another definition to an entrepreneurship.

    “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

    By focusing on entrepreneurship as a process instead of personal characteristics, the definition opens the term to all kinds of people to adopt.

    What do think? Do you agree with this definition?


    PS. Two great videos on what is an entrepreneur can be accessed here:

  3. 7 Keys to Creating a Culture of Customer Centricity

    July 8, 2012 by admin
    As a way to deal with the rising cost of doing business, some organisation outsource their call centre operations to specialised third-party call centre. While replacing an in-house call centre staff with an outsourced vendor can often save money, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with call centre outsourcing.

    One of the disadvantages of outsourcing the call centre process is the possible decline in quality of service due to the fact that the outsourcing company will not be driven by the same standards and mission that drives the organisation. They will be driven to make a profit from the services that they are providing to their client  and other businesses.

    Also if the outsourcer is operating from a different site (and even different country), with employees that are motivated by a different set of standards, then the organisation do not have any managerial presence within that operation which could lead to a loss of control of the customer experience. And for any company that values the importance its customers, this disadvantage of outsourcing may outweigh any potential advantages.

    To overcome such issue and to create a culture of customer centricity, Ramon Lcasiano of Zynga Inc. shared 7 key guidelines for creating a cultural alignment between customer service partners.

    If both the organisation and vendor collaboratively move towards these seven guidelines, they will allow for the creation of a seamless customer experience culture that pays dividends in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    1. Align on Core Values: A culturally-driven customer experience is about believing more than it is doing. Customer service partners want their paychecks and will step up when asked, but if they are not fundamentally committed to the same priorities and objectives as the brand they represent, they will always fall short in uniting to delight the customer.
    2. Reinvent Partner Engagement: Partnerships cannot be predicated on “us and them” mentalities, let alone “us versus them” mentalities. The “seamless” experience offered to customers must be rooted in a truly seamless internal experience that makes agents from the outsourcing provider feel dialled into the brand and brand staff feel dialled into the vendor.  Cultural exchange programs and agent swapping are among the practices that will actualize this concept.
    3. Unite on the Guiding Principle, the “Moment of Truth”: Did you delight the customer?  Check yes or no! In addition to sharing core values, the partners must share in recognition of a clear result that occurs at the “moment of truth” when the customer evaluates the experience he had with the brand. Contrasting views of success are unworkable here; if both brand and vendor are not united in their interpretation of that ultimate “moment,” they will struggle to create truly successful customer engagements.
    4. Magnify the Voice of the Customer: Customer service is ultimately about the customer. Excitement about organizational culture often manifests itself as “Kumbaya” initiatives that are nice on the surface but ultimately meaningless for the customer experience. True cultural revolution is about assuring that the service organizations are uniting to create the experience the customer wants, and that means basing call language, metrics, CRM programs, promotions and upsell opportunities on their ability to bridge a real gap for buyers.
    5. Motivate Agents to Excel: Excel is the key word when it comes to agent engagement strategies. Anyone can throw pizza parties or offer up half-hearted cries of, “Good job, sport!” but truly-connected, customer-centric managers know how pivotal agent happiness is to customer satisfaction. Rewards should be meaningful, substantial (think, more than a free cup of coffee) and in the spirit of the organization’s culture. Rewards are only worthwhile if they help make agents want to succeed as brand ambassadors.
    6. Shore Does Not Matter: Focus on Customers at Every Touch Point – As long as customers are at the center of support efforts, shore need not be a concern. Some businesses prefer to keep their processes in-house. Others see value in outsourcing their workloads.  But neither is inherently better than the other; the differentiator is a customer focus. The office’s location does not matter if your brand can consistently be there for the customer. Successful agents identify themselves by their role in delivering customer satisfaction rather than by their native accent or office location.
    7. Stand for Something Bigger: Research continues to show that customers gravitate towards brands that stand for something. It might not be wise to vocally support a polarizing political candidate, but showing evidence of morality and support for the community is a clear key to the customer’s heart. It is also a great means of engaging agents, who want to feel a fundamental attachment to the brand they represent. Believing in what the brand believes them will make them infinitely more confident and comfortable representing that organization to customers.
    This blog is credited to Brian Cantor – see his full blog for further information.


  4. What is Unified Communications (UC)?

    May 18, 2012 by admin
    Unified communications (UC) systems integrate disparate networks, devices, and business processes.UC allows users to send messages on one medium and to receive responses on another one. For example a voicemail message could be accessed via e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender was currently online according to the “presence information” and currently accepting calls, a response could be sent immediately using text chat or a video call. Alternatively it could be responded to using a non real-time message to be accessed using a variety of media.

    In the following clip Joe Schurman, founder and CEO of Evangelyze Communications, is interviewed by Russ Cappers on the Business Makers Show. Joe simply and clearly explains what Unified Communications (UC) is, he also highlights fascinating innovations in communications and collaboration technologies.



  5. Design Thinking: a pathway for innovation

    January 4, 2012 by

    If you are a design engineer, process engineer or even someone just interested in understanding how to facilitate innovation in your organisation you have probably heard of the term “Design Thinking”.

    Design thinkers use a number of tools to facilitate innovation processes e.g. mind mapping, sketches, and rapid prototypes, and brainstorming to build on the ideas of customers and the design team.

    Design thinking can be broken down into the following four stages:

    1. Defining the problem
    2. Creating and considering many options
    3. Refining selected options
    4. Picking a winner and executing the solution or design
    Design thinking is used to solve complex problems as described in the clip below which explains how a design team developed two revolutionary prototype pint glasses for reducing injuries resulting from glassing attacks.

    Our next Best Practice Report which is programmed for publication in February 2012, will cover the subject of “Design Thinking” in detail.

    If you are not already a BPIR member this is an excellent time to consider joining and enjoy the many BPIR membership benefits.

    A 20 percent discount is available this month only when joining (offer expired).

    Ahmed Abbas