BELLWETHER           Volume 3 | Issue 4 | Fourth Quarter 2012       Increased      Productivity
800-755-0585 Call Today!          YOUR BFF JUST CALLEDTo Say Congratulations! The deal is done. The financing for your pur...
INCREASEPRODUCTIVITY                                                                     “Words may show a man’s wit but  ...
YOUR CR M IS MIS S ING A CR ITICAL P IECE    SalesFUSION360 for Sage CRM & Sage SalesLogix is a powerful yet easy to adopt...
LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR                                                             BELLWETHER                                ...
by Apryl HansonIhave had the pleasure of a long-standing relationship with a mentor. Howard Hansen and I met becauseof Bly...
LEADERSHIPIn your book you talk about the energy                                  Talk to us more about the power of one’s...
by Bill Wiersma    Sound familiar?       When the boss is away, employees tend to play.       Two departments (each highly...
LEADERSHIPyou the one that people feel obligated to check in withbefore taking independent action? When you’reaway, do thi...
SALES&MARKETING                           Increasing                         Productivity by                        Focusi...
Making Workplace Wellness Work for You                                                                                    ...
SALES&MARKETING     Watch Your Aging Sheet,     and Take Action as Needed                                                 ...
Instead, consider finding a service that charges a low flat     this is not possible, as you will always be surrendering yo...
SALES&MARKETING     A Social Journey Guided     by a Sellers’ Compass     B    uyers have long resisted, and often resente...
Don’t assume that buyers are always interested inpurchasing a solution. Their interest is as much abouthow their peers hav...
The Secrets to Increasing     Productivity                                                                                ...
SALES&MARKETINGYou know about the person’s activity, but please don’t tell       When you work with your Ideal Client, you...
COVERSTORY  The CEOs Journey  to theC    loud computing is on the minds of many corporate executives these days     becaus...
IT staff, upgrades included in service, always on the latest version,      Emerging Players  reduction in hardware costs.•...
COVERSTORY (Continued from page 19) Total Cost of Ownership At first glance, a cloud computing applications may appear to ...
Security needs or requirements?                                        a platform for process transformation that will, ul...
THECLOUD A CFO’s Journey Into the Cloud T   he CFO has it rough. As the steward of a company’s     finances, his or her re...
Information security is always a concern for company finance          • Latest versions of applications automatically avai...
THECLOUD The Sales Manager’s Journey to the Cloud                                                                  by Apry...
Bellwether Magazine
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Bellwether, a Blytheco magazine, offers a wide range of stories, interviews, how-tos and information for business leaders. This quarterly publication keeps you up to date on business trends, work-life issues, and the latest tips for making your business and your life better.

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Bellwether Magazine

  1. 1. BELLWETHER Volume 3 | Issue 4 | Fourth Quarter 2012 Increased Productivity
  2. 2. 800-755-0585 Call Today! YOUR BFF JUST CALLEDTo Say Congratulations! The deal is done. The financing for your purchase is approved. Your invoice payment is on its way. All thanks to your dedicated Business Financing Funder (a.k.a. your BFF) 1 Step 2 Approval TM Nobody wants to sort through bank statements and provide pages upon pages of credit references to get deals funded. With Dimension, your customers benefit from an easy 1-step approval process. www.dimensionfunding.com 6 Hughes, Suite 220 Irvine, CA 92618 Contact Mark Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012 2 Bellwether Grimes at 949-608-2249 or mgrimes@dimensionfunding.com
  3. 3. INCREASEPRODUCTIVITY “Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.” ~Benjamin Franklin Letter from the Editor 5s e c t i o n s Leadership 6 Sales and Marketing 10 6 Cover Story 18 The Cloud 22 Customer Relationships Customer Profile 28 29 8 Social Media 30 Tech Toys 34 Industry News Book Report 36 38 14 Marketing 26 18 3 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  4. 4. YOUR CR M IS MIS S ING A CR ITICAL P IECE SalesFUSION360 for Sage CRM & Sage SalesLogix is a powerful yet easy to adopt and use - integrated to Sage CRM & Sage SalesLogix. Offered as a cloud- (Sage CRM & Sage SalesLogix), SalesFUSION adds enterprise- Sage CRM & Sage SalesLogix, you can supercharge your lead to revenue funnel like never before. SalesFUSION is a Gold ISV Development partner for Sage. DE E P F UNC TI ON AL I T Y * * * Web Visitor Tracking * CRM Connectors * Lead Capture * SocialFUSION * Lead Scoring * Event Management Scan the QR code to see a demo! * * Or copy this link into a browser Contact us today at sales@salesfusion.com4 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  5. 5. LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR BELLWETHER A Blytheco Magazine Volume 3 Fourth Quarter, 2012 www.blytheco.com www.bellwethermagazine.com STAFF EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went OPEN FOR AD CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alicia Anderson Dave Barret Joanne Black Christine Crandell Apryl Hanson Ginger Kittinger Cortez NaPue Shawn P. Pynes Genie Whitehouse Bill Wiersma ADVERTISING SALES Ginger Kittinger SUBSCRIPTIONS www.bellwethermagazine.com Or contact Dori Fitch - (800) 425-9843, Extension 1168 dorif@blytheco.com Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Road Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to dorif@blytheco.com This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine. 5bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  6. 6. by Apryl HansonIhave had the pleasure of a long-standing relationship with a mentor. Howard Hansen and I met becauseof Blytheco. When I was working at Sage, I wasBlytheco’s representative for several years for oneof the product lines that they sell.I always felt that my relationship with partners was more of a business Lately,coach than a salesperson, and when Stephen Blythe asked for help we haven’tdeveloping his Mission, Vision and Core values he turned to me. Sage seemed tobrought in a facilitator along with myself to assist in this process and come out of theso began my relationship with Howard as well as a more intimate chronic anxietyunderstanding of the driving force of Blytheco. Fast forward - I now phase, and becausehave the pleasure of working at Blytheco to uphold that mission I was in of that we needthe room to create, and I still have this connection to Howard. more leadership that understands how to beHoward has been working with Steven Geske, and the two of them resourceful from within. Ittogether have advanced thoughts on the need for leadership that is a normal cycling of culturebrings healing to an organization instead of anxiety and chaos. In an and relationships, but it is ainterview with the two on the topics in their book Healing Leadership, problem today because wewe gathered thoughts to share with you, our readers, that will be believe the cycle is stuck – andinspirational and hopefully encourage you, if interested in this subject, we have permanent turmoil into read more in their book. which we aren’t recovering from nor are we learning to develop andIn the book you talk a lot about chronic anxiety, grow.why should a leader pay attention to that? In this cycle, one’s capacity for maturityYou should be paying attention to chronic anxiety because it is the root becomes increasingly importantof our more reptilian or primitive behavior. As a leader and in business especially if the anxious cycle isn’twe need to stay creative. Instead of being uncomfortable with being breaking and we think that the bestuncomfortable, if we address chronic anxiety head-on we become way to outsmart chronic anxiety iscomfortable with being uncomfortable. emotional maturity. We are gettingWhat happens in our society is that there is a cycle, once a generation increasingly toxic messages fromor every 30 years, where chronic anxiety takes hold of leadership, our culture, influencing us to bepeople and society. When this happens, people lose their ability to be afraid, defensive, and capablecreative and nurture and instead we revert to our reactive, primitive, of only limited black-and-reptilian brain. Out of that period comes a rebirth that gives us the white thinking. Only thoseability to become adventuresome and grow. This happens in society that are the most emotionallyand it can happen in a business. mature can manage through this.6 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  7. 7. LEADERSHIPIn your book you talk about the energy Talk to us more about the power of one’smanagement model, why is this important to own presenceleaders? Having presence everyday is about knowing “who I am” andSelf-care is a layer we have identified as one dimension of the knowing “where am I’m going”. It is about the process ofenergy management model. Within this dimension, it is all about continuing on the journey of following the answers to those twomanaging our energy. We need to be able to assess when we have questions. A leader must have the presence to stay in these toxicwork to do on ourselves and what work we need to do. The model situations, not trying to change people in them, not being tied tocan also be used as a measurement for after we have done work any one solution but remaining on his or her path and not gettingto see if it was effective or not in lowering our chronic anxiety and derailed.altering our outcomes. What is being in gridlock?How do you know if you are using self-careeffectively? Being in gridlock is being reactive only. You can see gridlock when people are unable to finish their sentences when they areIf you are properly using self-care, you have resources that in dialogue when ideas are met with obvious disagreement,adequately address toxicity and identify the toxicity. To get there overreaction to crisis, and an obvious increase in blaming othersyou must raise resources and lower toxicity. Sometimes toxicity instead of taking responsibility. People feel like they are on anis out of your control and sometimes when it is so chronic it looks unending treadmill of trying harder. You feel like you are workinglike normal – so it can be hard to identify. We call this the boiling harder and nothing seems to change. Gridlock is a symptom offrog syndrome because if the temperature slowly rises, you are lack of leadership. The moral of the story here is that we can benot conscious that your anxiety level is slowly creeping up and human, think, and laugh and have fun within crisis, which will keepbecoming toxic. We sometimes no longer know what low toxicity your creativity strong and will keep you out of anxious behavior.feels like and high toxicity becomes our new norm. You have to work with others on this. It is not a lone endeavor. Only others Get your copy of Healing Leadership at Amazon.com can see this process in us, because we can be fooled. We - http://amzn.to/RZetL0 have this tremendous capacity to be deceived because we can be connected so closely to the source. We need to be a part of an intentional group that is working with the same framework, speaking the same language and can help us with clarity when we ourselves cannot. Community is critical here. 7 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  8. 8. by Bill Wiersma Sound familiar? When the boss is away, employees tend to play. Two departments (each highly dependent on the other) can’t get along. Senior leadership is unwilling or unable to establish a set of priorities and stick to them. The theme for this issue of Bellwether is productivity. These Leadership Credibility examples scream ‘unproductive’. They likely represent instances in which less useful work was produced than was otherwise hoped Leadership models the way. Productivity becomes a strategic for. To be productive is to maximize the amount of useful work priority. Everyone knows it—it’s top-of-mind. There’s no waffling (output) with the least amount of resources (input). about it. There’s little doubt that leadership believes whole- heartedly in the importance of enhancing productivity. How A factory producing 15% more widgets than last month (with the leaders spend their time, how they allocate resources, what gets same amount of resources) has made a wonderful productivity rewarded is all reflective of that commitment. In asking others to gain. Likewise the investment firm that can run its back office with ‘up their productivity game’ they’re not doing so to inflate their six people instead of the customary seven also has made strides ego or get off on a power trip. in improving productivity. Leadership’s credibility is enhanced as they educate why To be sure, the principle of productivity can be applied to productivity is so important. In other words, they’ve made the equipment, processes, systems—you name it. My emphasis in business case for productivity---which is largely about advancing this article is on the people side of the equation---as that’s where the health of the business. Let’s face it; productivity is a means to my expertise lies. an end. And sometimes increasing your widget production by 8% isn’t terribly motivating in-and-of-itself. Managers are (or should be) enamored with productivity, but sometimes employees are less so. Why? Because productivity To give it meaning, to make it real; leaders paint the big picture. is often viewed as extracting more work from employees that Leaders give their people a reason to care. For instance, Wal- may already be taxed. Employees (even ones who consistently Mart’s incessant emphasis on cost-cutting (think: productivity) act in an accountable way) don’t like being played for patsies or ultimately results in their customers ‘saving money, living better’. have their good intentions taken advantage of (think: padding In Wal-Mart’s case a distinct and compelling human need is being manager’s incentive bonuses on the backs of employees). So it’s met—‘living better’. Employees relate to that. not surprising that some employees are dubious when they hear managers ‘talking up’ productivity. Thoughtful leaders also know making productivity fun can have great appeal. Gamification is one method to do so as it takes It’s important to say this at the outset: getting people to be more advantage of humans’ psychological desire to play games. This is productive will likely prove to be an uphill battle... particularly helpful for work that tends to be repetitive. Consider this simple example---keeping score on key performance ...if leadership isn’t credible. indicators (like production levels) between day and night shifts. Done properly, this can be a healthy, positive experience for ...if people aren’t proud of their organization. employees and the business alike. ...if people don’t view their organization as ‘professional’. Today gamification is used widely across industries (including those with sophisticated technology applications) with an eye Low levels of trust, poor morale, and anemic performance are towards driving desired behaviors. Properly applied, it has shown three indicators that the fore-mentioned conditions may exist. to be a powerful vehicle for driving greater levels of engagement-- -largely through higher levels of individual mastery and autonomy. Yet, there are many stellar examples of companies whose The applications for gamification are endless. Thus, it’s essential employees willingly embrace productivity improvements with zeal. to do research for applications specific to your needs—whether For instance, seasonal, entry-level employees at the Morning Star you’re attempting to answer more customer service calls or Company—a California based agricultural concern---have been increase inventory turns. shown to have engagement levels as high as senior executives in white-collar industries. Additional examples—each inspiring in their scope and scale—could be cited. What can be learned from Leaders Instill a Desire In Their People To organizations that are productivity champions? Here are three Become An Even Better Professional important factors: As a leader are you the center of the universe in your organization? When you sneeze does the rest of the organization catch a cold? Are you the one that largely settles organizational disputes? Are8 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  9. 9. LEADERSHIPyou the one that people feel obligated to check in withbefore taking independent action? When you’reaway, do things slow down? If you answered yes tomany of these questions you may be acting as thethrottle of productivity instead of its champion.Instilling a desire in your people to be an evenbetter professional, and whole-heartedlysupporting that aspiration, can prove to bea revelation to those accustomed to leadingfrom a more hierarchical approach. The by-products of centering an organization’s cultureon professional ideals are both numerousand significant. Productivity is just one of themajor benefits—stemming largely from theapplication of self-management principles.Professional organizations just operate better.They’re more satisfying and fun to be a part of.Thus people are always talking them up---whichis why recruitment naturally takes care of itself.In the end, being a professional becomesvery personal—which is a big reason why it’sso impactful. My latest book The Power ofProfessionalism covers this topic in muchgreater detail.Thin the Herd--ManagementTools, Not PeopleIt was Harvard professor Theodore Levitt whonoted “Nothing is more wasteful than doing withgreat efficiency that which should not be done atall.” Managers would be well served to stop (orhighly modify) things that have ceased addingvalue.As organizations grow and scale increases, it’snatural to add processes that aid with the consistencyand efficiency of how work gets done. Simply put,processes are tools. They’re put in place to serve theorganization---largely to improve productivity.Yet consider the representative from the telecommunications giantwhose field call takes 20 minutes---about the same amount of time ittakes the representative to fill out the report summarizing the servicecall itself. The report takes as much time as the work did! Exampleslike these abound. Talk to many field personnel and they’ll tell youthat they feel like they’re slaves to the so-called tools (e.g. reports)that were supposed to aid productivity. Their tools have ceasedbeing a tool, becoming instead a drag on productivity! Managers---stop being a slave to tools (e.g. processes, reports, policies) thatno longer serve you!Organizations that have shown to be productivity championshave done so largely because they’re maniacal about it. Everyprofessional is involved. Each has come to realize that productivityisn’t about extracting more work from employees. Rather, it’s aboutdoing one’s very best work and taking pride in being a part of afirst-class organization. Leadership reveals productivity champions---always has, always will.About the AuthorBill Wiersma is the principal of Wiersma and Associates, LLC, a consultancy that helpsleaders create cultures based on professional ideals. Bill is the author of two criticallyacclaimed books. His expertise has been featured in numerous media outlets--includingthe New York Times. The Power of Professionalism, Bill’s latest book, was a finalist forSoundview Executive Book Summaries 2011 Book of the Year. Follow his weekly blogposts at: www.wiersmaandassociates.com/blog/ 9 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  10. 10. SALES&MARKETING Increasing Productivity by Focusing on Your by Apryl Hanson Big WinnersI n sales we sometimes get distracted by those that need us most on our teams. The low producer that is having a hard time meeting their quota, and our needto coach that person to find a big win and help them succeed gets the best of us.What we don’t realize is happening during this process is that we are being moreemotional than rational, and if we took time to look at the real numbers behindcreating a successful team that is hitting or overachieving their quota, we wouldsee that there are some successful strategies you can put in place to make thishappen.MeasurementsWithout measurements in place it makes it almost impossible they get the least amount of time with us if we are runningto understand specifically what is happening with your around fighting fires. Give your top producers as much timeteams. You need to set minimums in terms of productivity as possible because they are the ones that will help you come– which are those elements where you know your team will up with new ideas and approaches to selling. They will helpbe successful. Don’t know what those elements are? Look to mold others in leading by example, and you will keep themyour high achievers for what they are doing everyday to reach longer as they will feel tied to you because they see you are astheir targets. Items like number of phone calls, number of interested in developing them as you are in them producingmeetings, proposals etc. will help you set the guidelines that great sales numbers. Top salespeople often switch rolesshould make every member of your team minimally successful. because they feel “what have you done for me lately,” but unless they better themselves their earning potential will stayDevelop Structure the same.Once you have measurements in place, develop structure It’s all in the numbersaround those elements, like a sales process to guide your lessqualified salesperson through the process of developing a If the best you can do as a manager is help a person increaselead to a potential customer. Without this structure in place, it their productivity by 20%, you have to be very careful whowill take more management time to share successes between you spend that time with. If you have two sales people whosalespeople, and everyone will develop their own individual are selling $50K a year, and two stars who are selling $250Kprocess which may or may not work for the company. per year – where would you get the most return on your investment? You get an instant increase in the bottom line thatSpend Time with Those Who Spend Time you can see by spending time on the top, and also additional learning from these top producers about the minimums andA lot of sales managers unwittingly ignore those that are the structure you need to develop. Those improvements maytop producers. I’ve always done the opposite. I consider my end up improving your lower producers’ results by a 5%-10%time very valuable, and I chose to spend it with those who are without having to spend much physical time with them.willing to put in the work and do what is necessary to develop.These are usually your top producers and often times10 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  11. 11. Making Workplace Wellness Work for You by Shawn P. PynesW ellness is a concept that has been buzzing in the industry for a number of years, but there has been an increased focus on the topic as changes in Health Care Reform have begun to affect employers.We’ve listed the top five questions we’re asked about wellness to provide you insight into developing andmaintaining a successful wellness program.1. What kind of wellness programs and solutions should small and 4. For employers that are just beginning to implement a program,mid-size companies implement? What kind of results can they what are some tips for getting and keeping employees engagedexpect? in the program?Regardless of the size of the organization, we encourage our clients To implement an effective wellness program, it is important to designto set the ground work for their wellness initiatives. Begin by setting it with your employee population in mind. There may be a number ofgoals, outlining what you are willing to invest and determining the target audiences within your company. Quick tips for engaging yourtypes of results you are looking for from the wellness program. Small target audience include:and mid-size employers should develop a “results-oriented” approachversus an “activity-centered” approach and leverage the resources • Creating a customized program – Understand your population andavailable from their insurance carriers. make it relevant to their needs. Employees are more likely to buy-in to a program that addresses issues they feel are relevant to them.It is also important to understand that return on investment for wellness Utilizing biometric testing and employee surveys, employers canprograms does not only mean dollar savings. Most often, wellness tailor wellness programs to their population.programs for organizations with fewer than 100 employees will see • Communicate effectively – By determining the various audiencesresults tied to improved employee morale, decreased absenteeism within your employees, you can create communication campaignsand increased organizational loyalty rather than through financial which leverage a myriad of tools to reach all segments. Forreturn on investment or reduced claims costs. These results can have a example, engaging Generation Y employees through the use ofgreat impact on a company’s employee productivity and ability to gain social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr forand retain talent. wellness initiatives can increase program usage.2. Outside of incentivizing good health decisions, what else should • Outside-the-box incentives – Incentives do not always need to beemployers be doing to support a healthy workplace? monetary. Develop unique incentives for your organization that can reward your employees creatively. Outside-the-box incentives canComplete employee health is a multi-faceted concept which include an extra day off for top performing wellness employees orencompasses more than just traditional wellness factors, such as special recognition each month as a “Wellness Leader.”weight loss and stress management, by incorporating an effective loss 5. What effect, if any, will Federal Health Care Reform have withprevention program to mitigate traditional workers’ compensation respect to Wellness programs and incentives?risk factors. By creating an integrated approach that addresses healthfactors as well as workplace risks, employers can create a culture of Ultimately, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)safety that protects their employees and supports a healthy work has changed the dynamics of health care to support preventive care,environment. which is the basis of wellness. More preventive care, including routine physicals, well-women exams, immunizations, and screenings, is now3. How can employers proactively address chronic conditions such covered at 100% and will support employees’ education of theiras heart disease, diabetes and stroke? personal well-being and baseline health. For employers, Federal Health Care Reform encourages wellness and created a $200 billionBy building awareness amongst your employee population and fund to grant certain smaller employers who are looking to implementidentifying future claimants through biometric screenings, employers or further develop their comprehensive workplace wellness programs.will be better positioned to address the most serious chronicconditions leading to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Biometric When you consider these factors in developing your wellness program,screenings test for risk factors associated with Metabolic Syndrome you will be able to engage your employees and drive real results for(MetS) including extra weight around the middle or upper parts of the your program. And more importantly, you will be able to help yourbody, as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Programs exist that employees lead healthier lives.have proven to reverse symptoms of MetS and experience has shownthat 77% of program participants have either sustained weight lossor continued to lose more weight. This leads to a healthier employeepopulation and improved bottom line for the employer.About the AuthorBarney & Barney welcomed Shawn as a Principal in April 2002. With more than 24 years of insurance experience, Shawn provides superior employee benefits consulting service to a widevariety of clients. Shawn manages the Employee Benefits division of Barney & Barney, and in that capacity, he is responsible for the overall leadership and growth of that division.Shawn serves on the Health Care Committee of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and is a Board member of the Council of Employee Benefits Executives. He also currently serves on severalregional and national carrier broker advisory boards and is a member of two national study groups through Assurex Global and Reagan Consulting Group.Founded over 100 years ago, Barney & Barney LLC is a risk management and insurance brokerage providing solutions, services and products in commercial property and casualty insurance,employee benefits, workers’ compensation, compensation consulting, executive liability, personal lines and surety. Barney & Barney is headquartered in San Diego, with offices in San Francisco,Oakland and Orange County. For more information, visit www.barneyandbarney.com, or call 800.321.4696. 11 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  12. 12. SALES&MARKETING Watch Your Aging Sheet, and Take Action as Needed by Dave Barrett I n previous articles, I have covered considerations for extending credit, how much to give, and how to monitor those clients. In the most recent article, I shared ideas on how to follow up on slow pay customers methodically internally, with your staff, or with outsourcing to follow up services. I also covered what kind of information to have on your billing statements. Today I am going to share ideas regarding when to use back for more business if they know they are paid up. a third-party collection agency or attorney, as well as the However, an unpaid balance, unresolved, ensures that they importance of watching your aging sheet and having go elsewhere to get what they need. predetermined steps of action. If your business has systematically pursued a past due Many businesses, or well-meaning people on their staff, account for 60 to 90 days past the due date, and is still not have let accounts age beyond the point of ever being being paid, the customer is sending you a message. If no collected because they “felt” that customers would pay decent size payments have been made, then they are not eventually. While there certainly are isolated situations, the sincere in their efforts to resolve their situation with you. truth is that if your business isn’t being paid, someone else More than likely your staff has requested payment five, probably is. So stick to your predetermined plan of follow six, or more times, in the form of phone calls, letters, and up and take action when needed. Soon it will be apparent statements. The time and financial resources budgeted who intends to really pay and who doesn’t. Appropriate for internal collection efforts should be focused on the action can and should be taken early to insure the highest first 90 days, when the bulk of accounts can and should be chance of recovery. They are not like fine wine that gets collected. better over time. The exact opposite is true. After 90 days, a third party can motivate a customer to pay Keep on the look out for clients who you know need your in ways that your business cannot. If you think about it, services on a regular basis, and who have ordered from if the request for payment is coming from a collection you recently. Are they getting service or product from agency, they will become concerned about the one of your competitors? Are they possibly paying your consequences, like legal action or a bad credit competitor cash for it? Be aware some clients do go and rating. Usually you will get paid quickly, instead of get credit from many of your competitors, as well as you. If the other creditors that they may be juggling. this is true, then monitoring their purchasing habits can be insightful. Getting their balance down to zero will actually Our recommendation would be to consider other get you MORE of their business. They know that with an options than paying a contingency agency or older unpaid balance, you will probably not ship them attorney, as they may charge 25% or more of the more product until the other invoices are paid. So old account balance. If you have profit margins accounts on your aging sheet, left unresolved will actually of 10%, your company is already losing encourage your clients to go to a competitor, where they money as soon as you are placing can sometimes get immediate credit. It is in your company’s accounts with these services. best interest to get their balance to zero as soon as possible to ENSURE more business will be obtained from them, instead of going to a competitor. In this situation, getting accounts paid, even if with a polite third-party collection service, can actually increase your chance of getting more future business from them. They will be thinking about coming12 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  13. 13. Instead, consider finding a service that charges a low flat this is not possible, as you will always be surrendering yourrate, $5 to $15 per account, for example. The agency will profit margin as a fee to that collection agency or attorney.contact the past due account as a “collection agency”, forthese low fees, motivating payments. These results will be See the chart below to further understand how important it is consistently more successful than what your to get your money recovered quickly. This data comes from staff get done, on those over 90 days past the U. S. Department of Commerce and the Commercial due accounts. Law League. It shows the likelihood of recovering your accounts, as the accounts age. If not paid by 90 days, you Because of a low flat rate averaging $10 or your agencies chance of getting paid falls in half over the per account, your firm can feel more next 3 months. Your firm can get twice the results on the comfortable referring accounts same accounts by simply getting help consistently by the earlier to a flat fee collection 90 day time frame, (or earlier, with a flat fee agency). Do not agency, as it is less expensive than withhold accounts from your collection agency or attorney paying percentages. Also, they that are beyond 90 days. The difference in getting earlier can even offer an optional choice assistance on past due accounts with a third party can be of professional contact. With a measured in real profits earned (or rather, not lost!). diplomatic approach they can actually help you maintain a client The light green bars on this chart are commercial accounts relationship for future business, if as they age, and the dark green bars on this chart are the you wish. consumer accounts, which depreciate more rapidly in value. The moral of the story is to recognize when you Understand that successful recovery have a problem account, and to bite the bullet and get help of unpaid accounts receivable is early. more likely when you go earlier to “collections.” Even with balances Finally, consider a flat fee agency as a better third party as low as $110, collected for only a option. If you know it is better to go early to collections, $10 flat fee, on a 10% profit margin, find an agency that does not charge a percentage. Look you can actually still get outside for a flat fee agency that charges around $10 per account so collection assistance and not give you keep your profits that you have earned, not the agency. up all your profits. With typical contingency agencies Please see my contact information below, and let me know if I can assist with any questions that you may have about any of the topics addressed here, or about any of my other articles. To your improved profits, Dave Barrett TSI Greenflag Profit Recovery, District Manager, Woodland Hills, Calif 818-458-4663. dave.barrett@TransworldSystems.com 13 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  14. 14. SALES&MARKETING A Social Journey Guided by a Sellers’ Compass B uyers have long resisted, and often resented, being sold to. Their rapid embrace of the Internet and social media enabled them to buy on their own terms, circumventing the effort of B2B marketers to push marketing at them. Buying is now not only social; it is also transparent. The successes, missteps and follies of companies and their leaders are observable, in detail, to anyone who is interested. The brilliance of innovative solutions as well as the unfortunate consequences of poor product quality is equally plain as day. With buyers in control, a new requirement that sales teams do not fully understand is that buying today is also based on by Christine Crandell earned trust. Trust, transparency, social media and buyer control have There are five major pre-purchase - enablement - stages fundamentally changed sales. Push marketing has been in the Sellers’ Compass: Define, Search, Evaluate, Validate replaced by buyer enablement and outcome, proof, value and Purchase. and experience. To be relevant, sales must stop focusing on “The Transaction” and start acting as an internal Understanding how the problem is defined and manifests advocate for prospects, enabling them and earning their itself in organizations and the process buyers go through to trust. That only comes from intimately understanding the recognize, acknowledge, accept, and gain organizational buyer’s journey and defining a “Seller’s Compass” aligned commitment to solving the business challenge is the first to that journey. step. The origins of some challenges are clear but many are not and it’s the latter that often trips up sales. For sales to be effective it must redefine how it mediates buyer value with the vendor’s value promise. The way to Search includes investigating industry best practices, engage buyers is by delivering the value they are looking understanding root causes of the problem, and for at key points along their buyer’s journey. Buyers expect collaborating with peers and colleagues. It is not until the value long before they actually make a purchase as well as end of this stage that the buyer defines how they plan to long after they’ve bought. A Forrester study found that solve their problem and begins to investigate potential only six percent of customers felt that B2B sales actually solution providers. While marketing claims to understand tried to align with their needs. the actions and motivations of buyers in each stage, in reality marketers and their tools like lead management Buyer expectation is that suppliers intimately understand and marketing automation focus only on the Evaluate and their business, how they define value, and deliver on Validate stages. those expectations throughout the solution’s lifetime. Any change in that experience impacts trust, vendor credibility Only through market research, in-depth interviews across and, ultimately, the buyer’s confidence. The bottom line a broad spectrum of buyers can Sales understand how the is that sales’ new charter is to gain the trust of buyers by buyer’s thinking evolves, what happens during each stage enabling them; only then can they influence the buyers’ of the buyers’ journey; and how to effectively enable the journey. buyer. Sales and Marketing must discover where buyers go, when, and for what information to achieve which objective for each stage.14 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  15. 15. Don’t assume that buyers are always interested inpurchasing a solution. Their interest is as much abouthow their peers have addressed the challenge (ornot) as it is in the range of solutions they mightconsider. If sales knows where buyers go for whattype of information then it can be at the right place(channels) with the right assets (information) foreach buyer role and offer calls-to-action that are, forthe buyer, the logical next step. Only by aligningto the buyer across all the enablement stagescan sales begin to build trust and, if achieved,influence the buyer to engage with sales earlier.For the buyer, the customer lifetime experienceis more important than the point of purchase.Continually receiving meaningful value is a keytrust building activity. Regardless of the formthe value comes in - whether it is content, tools,connections, and/or free products - the level ofvalue realized during the enablement stagessets the buyer’s expectation of the value they canexpect as a customer.This is a critical time for Sales; it needs to lead withan inspired vision, gutsy and decisive leadership,fact-based decision making and a laser focus onhow to build trust through buyer enablement andsocial selling. Done correctly and consistently, buyerenablement will translate into engagement and driverevenue growth. The real opportunity is for sales toguide the company in how to continually create anddeliver meaningful value; however the market andits buyers define ‘value’.About Christine CrandellWith more than 25 years of marketing andleadership experience, Christine Crandell,President at New Business Strategies, is arecognized thought leader, practitioner, andauthor regarding social business, marketingand corporate strategy. Christine’s Forbesblog, “Outside the Box” focuses on theissues and best practices that CEOs andCMOs use to drive faster revenue growthin the social economy. As President of NewBusiness Strategies, an international B2Bmarket strategy consultancy, she leads clientservices team serving clients including GoodTechnology, Oracle, DotNetNuke and McKesson.Christine sits on several advisory boards includingCoupa Software and Social Dynamx. She is a frequentspeaker and writer with articles published in BusinessWeek,Forbes, B2B Marketing, Investor Business Daily, CMO.com,and Sandhill.com, and a blogger for Forbes.com. 15 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  16. 16. The Secrets to Increasing Productivity by Joanne Black Headline: What Do Productivity and S&P Have In Common? Nothing, if, you mean the stock market. But if you mean prospecting and sales, it’s about suspects and prospects. Suspects & Prospects One of my clients had four categories of people in his database: suspects, prospects, clients, and dead. I asked The Web 2.0 world promises to increase our prospecting him the difference between suspects and prospects. productivity by delivering qualified leads to our inbox at Suspects were names from a purchased list. He was the prospect’s time of need. But are they really qualified, or frustrated with this list, because he made call after call, and are they merely S & Ps—suspects and prospects? he failed to reach people after six to ten calls. He resisted picking up the phone. How It Used to Be Prospects were completely different. Prospects were Let’s take a look back. Prospecting was a random world of people who had been referred, and when he called them activities that marketing led: Website leads, special offers, my client was able to get an appointment immediately. email campaigns, direct mail, trade shows, advertising, cold calling, conferences, and referrals. It used to be, “throw a I asked him why he spent so much time attempting to lot of things against the wall and see what sticks.” connect with suspects, when he didn’t even know if a need existed for his product. Silence. It never occurred to my How It Is Now client that he didn’t need suspects at all. Now marketing automation promises and delivers (for the Define “Qualified” most part) predictable results and increases productivity for salespeople. That may be true. However, it’s our job Many Web 2.0’ers promise to deliver qualified leads as sales executives and sales people to attract our own (prospects) to your inbox. Just because someone visits your clients by building trusted relationships and leveraging our website and downloads an article or whitepaper, doesn’t connections to attract even more business. mean he is qualified. He could be curious, expanding and when you call, you customize your message.16 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  17. 17. SALES&MARKETINGYou know about the person’s activity, but please don’t tell When you work with your Ideal Client, your sales timeme that he’s a qualified lead and a prospect. He’s still a collapses, productivity soars, deals are larger, and thesesuspect. If you want to sell cold, then go ahead. If you sell a clients refer us to others just like themselves. Plenty ofcommodity, you could choose to work that way. Make your these people exist, and it’s not difficult to find them. Weown decision. get what we ask for, so ask for exactly what you want.Referrals Make the Difference Define Your SuccessBut if you sell a service in a complex sale, make certain It’s not about the number of proposals we write or thethat every person you talk to and meet is a qualified number of clients we attract. Your goal is to get and keeplead—a prospect. The fastest and least expensive way to only the right clients—the clients who produce the revenuemeet the people you want to meet and who want to meet and profits you bank on, and who readily refer you to othersyou is to get a referral and a personal introduction. Talk just like themselves. You will talk to exactly the people youabout increases in productivity! What if your list had only want to meet and who want to meet you, and you will seequalified prospects? What difference would that make in that fewer, qualified leads actually produce more business.your business? What a productivity boost! Your biggest challenge will beHow do you find qualified leads? You clearly identify and following up on all your great sales leads. Wouldn’t thatcommunicate your Ideal Client: Ideal Clients value what you be a productive and exciting way to spend our sales time?offer, communicate well, are forward-thinking, reasonable,have a good sense of humor, and give the time, money,and resources to make any project successful. About Joanne BlackDefine Your Ideal Client Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referralCreate a crisp profile of your Ideal Client so you recognize selling. A captivating speaker and innovative seminarperfect opportunities when they arise. Make your leader, Joanne is changing the business of sales. She is thedescription spot-on, so that anyone you meet immediately author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthroughrecognizes your sweet spot. We often think that if we don’t System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dustmention everything we do we’ll miss a sale. The opposite (Warner Business Books). Hit your numbers without hittingis true. the phones, with less sweat and with results you can bank on.The more specific your description, the easier it becomesfor someone to refer you. A long list of the things you do Visit Joanne at www.NoMoreColdCalling.com or emailblurs your image. You want to be recognized as the expert. joanne@nomorecoldcalling.com or 415-461-8763.Clients buy expertise, not one-size-fits-all. 17 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  18. 18. COVERSTORY The CEOs Journey to theC loud computing is on the minds of many corporate executives these days because it is changing the face of business. No matter where you turn, youare likely to hear something about cloud computing. Executives involved inmanaging and optimizing corporate ERP systems increasingly needto evaluate the implications and impact of cloud computing. Whilesome of the economics behind cloud-based computing areappealing, it is important to understand the advantages and by Stephen Blythechallenges before opting to implement a cloud businessapplication. Cloud-based ERP systems are still in theirinfancy and must be fully evaluated to ensure they fit yourbusiness model and requirements. They hold promise,especially as they continue to mature. The most importantconsideration must continue to be whether or not an onpremise or cloud-based ERP solution makes good business sensenow and in the future.Asking the right questions is the best place to • �Platform-as-a-service: In the PaaS model, cloud providersstart. deliver a computing platform typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and webThe cloud is here, but what exactly is it? Cloud computing is the server. Application developers can develop and run their softwareuse of Internet-based services to support a business process. solutions on a cloud platform without the cost and complexity ofCloud services typically have the following characteristics: buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers. The underlying computer and storage resources scale automatically• �They can be rapidly deployed, so they are quick to realize value. to match application demand such that the cloud user does not have• �They offer minimal start-up costs and capital investment. to allocate resources manually. Ex: Microsoft’s Azure.• �Costs for services are usage based; some have no fixed commitment. • �Software-as-a-service: Cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud• �Services can be quickly and easily scaled up or down, some with no clients. The cloud users do not manage the cloud infrastructure and penalty. platform on which the application is running. This eliminates the need• �Services are multi-tenant (many customers leverage the same to install and run the application on the cloud user’s own computers platform). simplifying maintenance and support. Applications with a Web-based• �The ability to customize or integrate a service is limited or restricted. interface accessed via Web Services and Web 2.0 include NetSuite, SugarCRM, Google Apps, SalesForce and social network applications like Facebook.The cloud lets users contract for services at three Top reasons why customers choose SaaS:levels: • �Speed: Speed to deliver, ease of use and access via any device,• �Infrastructure-as-a-service: In this most basic cloud service model, anywhere. cloud providers offer computers, as physical or virtual machines, storage and other resources. • �Cost reduction: Pay for access pricing, reduced demand on in-house18 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  19. 19. IT staff, upgrades included in service, always on the latest version, Emerging Players reduction in hardware costs.• Flexibility: Flexible software, end user configurable, flexibility to try The cloud ERP space is still in its infancy stages. The number with low upfront investment. of proven ERP-in-the-cloud vendors is growing. Unlike popular CRM systems and other SaaS applications, the ERP SaaSTop reasons why customers choose hosted market is not yet mature enough for all companies to consider.managed service solutions: There are only a few true cloud ERP providers (e.g., NetSuite, SAP Business by Design, Infor24 and Workday). We expect• SaaS-like pricing: Upfront costs deferred. the solution offerings to be refined over time and for more• Managed service: Lower IT resource demand, support outsourced as innovation and competition to drive the future of this market. part of managed service. As in the case of on-premise ERP vendors, the usual suspects• Credentials/functional coverage: Same code as on-premise so often (SAP, Oracle, Sage and Microsoft) will have a major role to play same credentials and functional coverage apply. in defining the emerging landscape but, just as importantly, a robust middle market is emerging that will compete based on Top reasons why customers choose on-premise: industry and solution. • Functional coverage: Functional coverage fits best Rent vs. Buy for particular industry/client needs. • Credentials: Ability to obtain detailed There are several parallels that can be drawn between housing experience/credentials, comfort with familiar options (apartment, condo, home and rent or purchase) and architectures and pricing. cloud vs. on-premise ERP Solutions. There are times in a • Integration and customization: person’s life that rental property is better than purchasing a Ability to integrate and customize home and vice versa. When a person is starting out, they are application to company subject to multiple career moves, they are short on resources requirements. and they are flexible and willing to mold to what is available. As one matures and marries and has children their needs change • Control: Company and become more defined. They require security and stability has control regarding and want to customize their environment to their tastes and upgrades, feature additions desires. Later after the kids have moved on and they are retired, and uptime. home ownership becomes more of a burden and they return • Prior investments: to rentals or managed properties. Rental costs rise every year Desire to leverage owned while fixed mortgage payments (software leases) are consistent. hardware/software as well With the purchase model – you own something at the end. The as in-house staff skilled in on- rental model requires increased payment though out the use premise. period. There is a notable advantage to cloud computing. Instead Very rarely is there a one delivery and payment method for ERPof using local computers to run applications, a network of that fits all businesses.computers comprising “the cloud” takes care of it. Anycomputer needs on the user’s end are supported by a third- If your business ERP plans will change in 3 years because itparty data center and the system’s interface software can be run is just starting out, is changing rapidly (size or function), youfrom a web browser. On-premise ERP systems can also provide are planning on selling or shutting down, you do not want tobrowser interfaces such as bly:Mobile for Sage 100 (formerly invest in systems infrastructure, or you prefer to pay for usageMAS 90). (rent) vs. buy, then SaaS or subscription plans may be a good choice for you. Most have monthly or annual plans and canA New World expand or contract as your business changes. Maintenance and support are included in the monthly costs and all upgrades areCloud services are the complete antithesis of the brick-and- automatically applied.mortar technology solutions of the past. An organization canessentially pool its demand for IT resources — such as servers, If you have a stable business, well-defined processes, havestorage or other computing needs — with other companies to already invested in your infrastructure and staff; or requiretake advantage of economies of scale. Cloud services are elastic, customized or fully integrated business solutions, and wantmulti-tenant, on-demand and usage-based. They promise to control over when you upgrade, then purchased on-premise orshift the burden of software development, maintenance and hosted systems may be best for you. The cost of purchase isdelivery from the consumer to the producer, freeing up internal usually amortized over 3-5 years. Even with maintenance andstaff to focus on higher-value activities. support plans, the cost of ownership breakeven is 5-7 years. Today the average use of an ERP system is over 10 years.When you add the cost and scale benefits of the cloud with thestrategic benefits of an ERP system, it provides an even moreenticing prospect. Together, they promise to accelerate time tobenefit, reduce costs and improve agility. Cloud ERP is new andexciting ... it’s not your father’s ERP. Continued on page 20 19 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  20. 20. COVERSTORY (Continued from page 19) Total Cost of Ownership At first glance, a cloud computing applications may appear to For a service that’s going to be critical to your company, the be a lot cheaper than on-premise solutions, but you need to best advice is to ask a lot of questions and get all commitments be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Does the cloud in writing. application have all the features of the on-premise software or are the missing features important to you? Is ERP cloud computing right for your business? You also need to be sure you are doing a total cost There are some key questions an organization must consider comparison. While many cloud computer vendors present before choosing a cloud-based ERP solution. themselves as utility-based providers, claiming that you’re Ask yourself: only charged for what you use, this isn’t true; in most cases, a company must commit to a predetermined contract How well does ERP complement my other independent of actual use. To be sure you’re saving money, applications? you have to look closely at the pricing plans and details for ERP vendors acknowledge that the desire for a single, master each application. system to replace a tangled-web of legacy systems is more The cost savings of cloud computing primarily occur when a of a fantasy than reality. We live in a world of “apps” where business first starts using it. SaaS applications will have lower multiple systems are linked together and must be able to talk total cost of ownership for the first two years because SaaS to one another. As such, it is vital to determine how the cloud applications do not require large capital investment for licenses or on premise ERP system will integrate with your application or support infrastructure. After that, the on-premises option portfolio. If your primary goal is to create standardized, can become the cost-savings winner from an accounting efficient business processes that are technology agnostic, then perspective as the capital assets involved depreciate. As ERP should enable, not hinder this effort. the ERP application becomes “end of life” on-premise users discontinue maintenance and support plans - thus may have no Will a focus on service levels lead to a “one-size- costs for the last 3-5 years of use. Cloud users are required to fits-all” solution? pay through the last day you want access to your data. Once your ERP is dependent on a cloud service provider, you As with any service, with the cloud you should always will gain a new appreciation for terms such as “availability” make sure that you know what you are paying for and what and “reliability.” Associated service level agreements (SLA) are measurements exist to show you are actually receiving the not mature and may not meet your company’s data recovery service. You should pay careful attention to: or uptime standards. Furthermore, the remedies these agreements offer may not cover the losses to your enterprise • Service levels - Cloud providers may be hesitant to in the event of an outage. Service providers may not be commit to consistency of performance for an application interested in lengthy contracting processes, particularly since or transaction. Understand the service levels you can the “one-size-fits-all” solution offered gives them very little expect for transaction response times, data protection and leverage. Your company’s ability to adapt to a new standard speed of data recovery. may also be challenged by the solution-limiting configuration changes to meet your “unique” requirements. • Privacy - Someone else hosting and serving your data could be approached by the U.S. government to access Do you want to be the driver or a passenger? and search that data without your knowledge or approval. Current indications are that they would be obligated to A real concern for most corporate executives is the risk of comply. poor performance with the inability to influence outcomes by “throwing more resources” at the problem. The overall nature • Compliance - You are probably already aware of the of the cloud-based ERP service is to be dependent on the regulations that apply to your business. In theory, cloud network and on the service provider. The service provider must service providers can meet the same level of compliance walk you through monitoring, escalation, troubleshooting and for data stored in the cloud but, because most of these resolution processes. services are young, you’ll need to take extra care. What is your backup for possible downtime? • Data ownership - Do you still own your data once it goes into the cloud? You may think the answer to this question Cloud computing makes your small business dependent on is obvious, but it is not. Ask Facebook users. the reliability of your Internet connection. When it’s offline, you’re offline. And even the most reliable cloud computing • Data Mobility - Can you share data between cloud service providers suffer server outages now and again. (Google services? If you terminate a cloud relationship can you get Cloud Computing Service Outages in 2011 ) your data back? What format will it be in? How can you be sure all other copies are destroyed?20 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  21. 21. Security needs or requirements? a platform for process transformation that will, ultimately, improve operational performance. A successful ERP initiativeFor those who engaged in the service bureaus of the 1980s requires strong executive support, corporate focus, superiorand the outsourcing debates of the early 2000s, you will process redesign, the right technology partner and a trustedfind a similar discussion in the existing concerns about data adviser to help you navigate the process.security when it comes to ERP. How does the shared networkimpact your data privacy requirements? To alleviate some of Stephen Blythe is Founder and CEO of Blytheco.these concerns, the service provider must be able to explainthe physical location of your data, its security policies andany other partners who have touch points with this data.The service provider should also clarify if your infrastructureresources will be shared and how they segment this usage.Your organization must be able to monitor access and obtainadditional capabilities to achieve the desired level of comfort.In today’s regulatory environment of SOX, HIPAA, PCI andother industry-specific requirements, ERP cloud workers willhave to provide detailed evidence of compliance and datagovernance policies.Finally, the fact that you are using a hosted ERP solutionshould not give the service provider any addedleverage to inhibit your ability to change serviceproviders, if necessary. Many companies facesimilar issues with outsourced hostingproviders. The difference lies in the inabilityto switch from a true cloud ERP provider,since they are typically the onlyproviders for cloud-based ERPofferings.The main allure of cloud-basedERP solutions is cost savings and apredictable level of cost on a monthlybasis. It is, therefore, imperative thatsuch an effort actually leads to costsavings. Special consideration shouldbe given to upgrades and customizations.If costs go up over time, it can lead to someuncomfortable moments. What if your SaaS providersfuture cost increases?Conclusion - An Attractive Option for SomeDespite the emerging nature of the market, ERP-in-the-cloudcan make sense for some businesses. Smaller companiescan realize significant benefits from bypassing a large ERPimplementation for a nimbler version provided by a SaaSsolution. For companies facing expensive upgrades to heavilycustomized systems, they might consider a cloud-based ERPsolution, if there is a fit for the business. As long as you can getcomfortable with security, data privacy and governance issues,ERP-in-the-cloud can be enticing.What made an ERP an attractive solution for a company inthe past still holds true today — with or without the cloud. Itis a strategic investment that can provide your company with 21 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  22. 22. THECLOUD A CFO’s Journey Into the Cloud T he CFO has it rough. As the steward of a company’s finances, his or her responsibilities are only growing during a challenging business environment, and by Alicia Anderson the stakes are ever higher. In a survey of CFOs in the US, Italy, and France, recently conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, CFOs are pessimistic. The CFO Optimism Index dropped eight points from the previous quarter, the lowest since Q2 2009. They also don’t look for things to improve anytime soon, predicting less growth than the previous quarter in several key business areas over the next year. The challenge to today’s CFO is to get strategic, using their expertise and tools to influence the business positively. CFOs can play a hugely important role in enhancing a company’s business performance and facilitating growth, but must also keep a sharp eye on managing risk. Several of the key issues that plague CFOs today can be managed with effective technology, including “cloud” or internet-based business solutions. CFOs in Crisis Mode CFOs have understandably been in crisis mode lately, due to economic volatility, unemployment, uncertainty about taxes and inflation, regulatory changes, and so many more issues confronting them.22 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012
  23. 23. Information security is always a concern for company finance • Latest versions of applications automatically availableleaders. Recent IT breaches in large companies like EMC, TJX, • Reduced costs for IT infrastructure (servers, software,and Sony have increased concerns, and the growing influence staff)of Software-as-a-Service, or “Cloud” solutions cannot be • More reliable ITdenied, though it presents its own set of security concerns. • Mobile-friendly solutionsSecurity is not just a problem to toss over the fence to the ITdepartment anymore. • Improved collaboration Cloud-based solutions offer an opportunity for the CFO toProductivity optimization is a continuing challenge for the reduce the capital costs of IT, moving the costs of technologyCFO, who is tasked with keeping an eye on operations costs to primarily an operating expense. The cloud becomes moreto maximize the bottom line, reducing the paperwork of day- cost-effective and scalable in this way.to-day management, and streamlining the close process, aswell as maintaining compliance. What about the risks inherent in the cloud? Security and reliability are foremost among the risks. Cloud providersCash flow optimization is a continuing challenge for the CFO, have made risk management part of their business model,in these days of little available credit for the small to mid- and reputable providers have industry certifications thatsized business. Customers are strapped, so adjustments in demonstrate their adherence to best practices. TheseReceivables expectations are needed. Dealing with increasing providers know their business depends on security, so theycapital costs, particularly energy, is a major concern particularly devote massive headcount and resources to their commitmentfor the distribution business. CFOs must also work with the to security, something a business could not do.sales team on strategies to get accurate sales forecasts anddrive revenues. Uptime is another concern about the cloud, but the reality is that solid providers provide availability over 99.5% of the time,Automate to Succeed and are willing to share uptime statistics with customers. In reality, uptime for the cloud is generally better overall than forA June, 2010 report from IBM called “The New Value on-premise.Integrator, Insights from the Global Chief Financial OfficerStudy” defines the best practices of leading CFOs who The move to the Cloud can be strategic and incremental,outperform the competition across several measurements, thanks to “connected services” that work with on-premiseincluding bottom line, income statement, cash flow, and applications. Online collections management and sales taxefficiency metrics. These leading CFOs recognize the value automation sites, for example, can help keep overhead lowof technology in helping them manage risk: “According to while effecting vital controls. Web-based systems that connectthe report, value integrators express a heightened interest in to software may provide the best of both worlds for companiesusing technology to further increase data accuracy, streamline in transition, offering the cost benefits of the cloud and theinformation delivery and develop a richer base of information security and checkpoints offered by on-premise systems.for deeper insights into managing risk.” Today’s CFO should get involved in IT decisions, sinceToday’s cloud ERP systems provide the CFO with the tools he they bring a valuable perspective to the evaluation andor she needs to lead and succeed. The availability of advanced implementation process. Finance can be a strategic partnersystems to the middle market has brought formerly enterprise- to IT, helping them focus on projects that improve businesslevel features to smaller businesses, and integration across the processes and result in greater business insights. CFOs alsoenterprise with sales, marketing, production, shipping, and need to be involved in order to keep an eye on risk: IT projectsHR means more and better information for making business and system changes present their own set of inherent risks.more efficient. Do the research and work with a partner who understands and helps you manage the risk.What are some ways that cloud-based businessmanagement technology empowers the CFO? Risk is inherent in the CFO office, but finance leaders can and should identify risks and put procedures in place to manageInternet-based applications bring major benefits for business, them. Use automation to help create structure and disciplineincluding greater scalability, speed, and flexibility, not to in your company to eliminate as many potential risks asmention cost savings. In a survey commissioned by Google of possible, and to provide you the information you need to dealover 800 CFOs worldwide, over 80% of US respondents said with risk as it occurs.they believed implementing cloud technology could improveemployee productivity. Business benefits specifically citedincluded: 23 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  24. 24. THECLOUD The Sales Manager’s Journey to the Cloud by Apryl HansonI f you are that busy sales manager that is always running from phone call to phone call, whose e-mail box is overflowing and calendar is constantly overbooked,then the cloud may have answers to your burning questions of how to make yourlife and your team’s life easier, and how to make achieving your quota as painlessas possible. by Alicia AndersonAccess to what your teams are working on ones or the right contact. How can you make the mostanywhere of the leads your team is receiving? With tools like InsideView, you can make the most of those leads byWouldn’t you rather be at ease when you are getting finding out what the hierarchy is in an organization andon a plane knowing that all the information you need who the buyers are. Connect to those people sociallyis accessible at your fingertips? Anytime, anywhere and read about what is happening in their organizationaccess is what the cloud is known for, this can be critical before you make the call. Your teams will even havewhen going to meet a client or opportunity and can access to call prep questions for the industry they arebe just as critical when your sales team needs advice in. This makes your job as sales manager even easieron a deal that they are working to closing this month. because your teams will have the information they needIt is impossible with the speed of business these days at their fingertips, and you will spend less time gettingto have conversations with everyone on your team to them up to speed.stay updated on the most important opportunities. With Information for your CEOthe CRM packages available today in the cloud, youcan have access to all of the information you need as if When you have anywhere access, it is much easier toyou were in the office. Not to mention, have automatic send that much needed status update to your CEO andreports and alerts sent to you so that you can keep on share information with him online as well. Not everyonetop of situations that need your immediate attention. wants or needs to physically be in the office in orderConnection to your marketing team to have access to the key performance indicators that will help make business decisions. When you both shareYour marketing team may be producing leads for you, in the access anywhere then you can spend your time but they may not be the right talking about the latest strategies, not the information itself. Communicate better with your suppliers When you are out at meetings with your suppliers, information at your fingertips could make the difference in your negotiation power. If you’ve been selling more and more of a vendor’s products or purchasing services, why not negotiate better pricing? Instead of waiting until you get back to the office, have information and data that you can share with those that are with you to help you get the pricing you need and want.24 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2012

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