Our research, knowledge, thoughts, and recommendations about building and leading businesses on the Internet.
Thank you to everyone who recently joined us for our final installation of the autumn B2B webinar series focused on data integration and data management basics!
We plan to put together more informational webinars in the new year. Before winter settles in, though, imagine yourself on a deserted, tropical island with only a boat and just a few hours until sundown. In the distance, you can see other islands and you know each of them has just one thing you need — food, water, fuel, shelter, etc. The problem you now face is how to get to all of the islands in an efficient manner before sundown. However, without knowing which island has the fuel to power your boat, you are left guessing and hoping you can get everything. If only you had a map – or all of the supplies could be obtained from a central location – this process would be so much quicker, simpler, and easier. In the workplace, this problem plays out every day when you need to search for reports, documents, and other digital assets that help you efficiently run a business or project.
Do you find yourself using multiple systems to get your work done – Salesforce for lead tracking, G-Suite for collaboration, Box for digital storage, Sharepoint for site management, etc. – and feel like the technology gets in the way as you bounce from one application and window to another? Each time you sign up for an online service or install an app, you create a data island or data silo. These semi-isolated islands can rapidly grow in size and number and, without a plan to manage this growth, can quickly lead to wasted time and money as you look for things or redo a previously completed report. Last week’s webinar touched on these issues and, more importantly, shared how you can take control and bring these islands together with a knowledge management system and enterprise search.
Knowledge management is the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information generated by your company. Martin White, an enterprise search and information management strategy consultant, has defined enterprise search as, “a managed search environment that enables employees to find information they can rely on in making decisions that will achieve organization and personal objectives.” These two concepts complement each other and the webinar goes into far greater detail about their importance to your company and how you can think about them as you set up or revamp your knowledge management processes.
Remember, just like with a car or bike, there are systems to meet all sizes and budgets. We highly recommend you take the time to assess the systems you are looking at and understand what some of your objectives are before spending the money to connect your islands and silos of information. Having these goals and objectives in mind beforehand will save you countless hours during setup and limit the time and expense of future changes you might want to make as your company grows. You might ask yourself, “Why should I go through the headache of this in the first place, it sounds dreadful,” and, to this, I would reply that not leveraging technology will leave you at a competitive disadvantage. With a proper knowledge management and search system in place, you will be nimbler and obtain more insightful analysis into your operations and clients at both a tactical and strategic level.
You can find the slides from the presentation below:
This webinar was the last in a series of three others which included:
Enterprises throughout history have brought about innovative products that improved the lives of their clients. While enterprises in the past required extensive capital and labor to develop, manufacture, and deploy their products en masse, the advent of the Internet has seen the rise of a new class of enterprise: Software as a Service. As one might elucidate from the amazing successes of technology companies such as Google and Facebook, Software as a Service is the new trend for profitable enterprises.
Imagine that you could create a product for free (or that you could otherwise ignore production costs). Even in this ideal thought experiment, you would still have to expend resources in deploying the product, marketing to consumers, communicating with your partners and employees, and organizing your company. What this gedankenexperiment (thought experiment) emphasizes is that a company is more than just its product. A successful company considers and optimizes the background operations which support its existence and prosperity—operations which, like others in a company, cost money.
The Nobel-winning economist Ronald Coase would go on to call these expenditures transaction costs. When Rahul began to write The Modern Enterprise, he realized that the new paradigm of Software as a Service had the potential to lower these transaction costs and optimize the efficiency of modern enterprises. Businesses could develop enterprise software to market to other businesses, reducing the cost of processes necessary for operation and sales. The “Best Online Tools” series dedicated itself to showcasing some of the most useful online services in optimizing each Area of Responsibility of a company, including FreshBooks, PayPal, and Zendesk. The Anant Corporation uses many of these tools in managing and executing its own processes.
The Software as a Service industry is growing so rapidly due to innovations reducing transaction costs—in fact, the SaaS industry is worth 16 billion dollars as of 2014. Decreased transaction costs lower barriers to entry. In other words, the Software as a Service industry is open and approachable for startups and small enterprises. It is with small-scale start-ups in mind that Rahul wrote The Modern Enterprise and formulated its accompanying modern enterprise canvas. This does not exclude large companies from adapting to the principles outlined in The Modern Enterprise—to the contrary, the most successful ventures at any scale are those best able to exploit technology to optimize their processes and reduce transaction costs. On the other hand, enterprises no longer have to be massive in scale (like the Facebook and Google examples cited earlier) in order to make a sizable difference in the world. The Internet and other technological and communications developments have increased the potential of startups and the modern enterprise.
The Modern Enterprise yields a concrete canvas for modern companies to follow. Dividing organization into discrete areas of responsibility and dissecting a company into people, processes, information, and systems, The Modern Enterprise is a road-map to navigate the new world of Software as a Service.
Rahul Singh is the CEO and a Co-Founder of Anant Corporation.