Embrace The Internet Of Things

Is your business ready for the Internet of Things (IoT)?

In your everyday life you may already be a part of the IoT, e.g. thermostats, home alarms and entertainment centers joined together digitally and managed from a computer or mobile device. Businesses also can, and increasingly are, bringing together sensors and cloud-computing with office equipment, factory machinery and order fulfillment/inventory systems, streamlining sales and production processes wirelessly. This improves customer relations, productivity and on-time delivery.

There’s no time like the present to get involved. Knowledge@Wharton is an online business analysis journal of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In March its experts in collaboration with Dell posted an article to guide businesses through the ever-expanding digital landscape. Leveraging the Internet of Things for Competitive Advantage describes IoT as an “ecosystem” that “consists of data sensors, networks, cloud storage, applications and devices all working together to help companies and consumers manage their digital lives…”

How hot is the topic? What are the trends? International Data Corporation (IDC) is a premier global provider of market intelligence for IT professionals and business executives. Its infographic Connecting the IoT describes what is and forecasts what lies ahead through connectivity. A few insights from IDC:

  • There are currently 13 billion connected things worldwide, expected to grow to 30 billion by 2020.
  • By 2018 60% of IT solutions will become open-sourced allowing vertically-driven IoT markets to form.
  • Millennials, representing 16% of population, will accelerate IoT adoption.

Now is the time to embrace IoT. Consider what devices you frequently use and what data you would like to leverage. Is there client information you want to capture and share with your sales team? What operational systems could be integrated and managed remotely?

Of course there is cost. eMarketer.com cites an Accenture study showing that Internet users worldwide (62%) have concerns that purchasing IoT devices and services would be too expensive. Many (47%) are concerned about privacy and security issues. Businesses might require a cloud-based platform to serve as a data center or eCommerce solution. They might need technical support to set up the network and train employees. Plus, what devices should each employee have: a tablet, a smartphone, a laptop?

When you’re ready to look at IoT capabilities for your business, seek the guidance of an IT expert. Though the upfront investment may seem steep, the savings gained from a connected workforce and improved customer relations quickly prove the value of IoT.

Pehr Designs

mentorship

Mentorship Grows Business

mentorship

What if someone told you that doing one thing – at no cost – would increase your company’s revenue by 83%? It might sound too good to be true but that’s what micromentor.org found in its 2014 Business Outcomes Survey. Whether you’re a mentee in need of a mentor or a company grooming mentees to build your business, there is great value in mentorship.

Luis Velasquez is a leadership coach, employee engagement expert, and management trainer. He says in his mentorcloud.com blog post “7 Trends In Employee Engagement and What Role Mentoring Plays” that employers must mentor their workforce to be competitive in today’s marketplace. The benefits include higher job satisfaction, increased retention and improved productivity. He writes: “Acquiring knowledge through mentoring and applying that knowledge to their current job will not only increase employee output, but will also increase their level of discretionary effort.”

Creating maximum efficiency among your workers means that you’ll need fewer employees to get the job done as your company grows. You’ll avoid the reoccurring expense of searching for and replacing employees. Experts at ZaneBenefits estimate losing a salaried employee can cost as much as two times their annual salary, especially to replace a higher level executive.

Not only will mentoring increase productivity, it will allow you to expand your business without adding more employees. This, of course, leaves you more money for growing your business via strategic planning, marketing analytics, technology, acquisition, or structural/office space, etc.

As an owner of an expanding business you too can tap into the value of mentors. Perhaps you want to grow sales in a new market. A mentor with experience in that arena can shed light on what strategies would be effective and who the “players” are in the industry.

There are many useful resources ready to pair mentors with mentees and visa versa. One helpful organization that matches those in need of mentorship with mentors is SCORE. Its volunteer mentors bring real-world business experience. They are working and retired business owners, executives and managers who have been through the same challenges and decisions that many entrepreneurs face. In addition, SCORE business mentors offer valuable expertise in specific industries.

Engaging pays off. SCORE reports more than 100,000 businesses increased their revenue in 2014 thanks to its mentoring efforts. Those businesspeople with three-plus hours of mentoring not only achieved higher revenue; they experienced an increase in business growth.

Image by The Blue Diamond Gallery

Recent Fundings – May 2016