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If there’s one thing we’ve learned from IT-related events over the past year, it’s that our ever-increasing connectivity is creating more risk: of services and applications failing due to IT events, or as a result of cyberattacks; and of sensitive data being breached by malicious parties. So what we can expect to happen in our connected world over the coming year, and how should we prepare for those events to mitigate their impact? Here are my predictions for the security and visibility challenges that lie ahead. 

1. IoT Risks Are Here To Stay

As the reliance on the IoT grows, so will the strain and ultimately the potential danger associated with hundreds or even thousands of connected devices having the potential to be compromised and turned into bots. These growing risks, and a general lack of Wi-Fi protection will create a constant stream of vulnerabilities, which are more likely to be repurposed. The expansion of the attack surface enables new risks to your enterprise network. If you’re working remotely and on an unprotected, public network you put your entire organisation at risk from hackers, whether it’s from your data or unknowingly roping your device to be part of a botnet. 

2. Data Privacy Is The New Tech Emergency

The panic is setting in as today’s data-oriented companies fear non-compliance with Europe’s upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which...

Further digitalisation of marketing services has led to a significant change in customer behaviour. The possibility to interact with the brand on every channel has made audiences more demanding, but it has also opened up many opportunities for brands themselves. Here are my thoughts on what three trends will define the year in digital marketing in 2018.

1. Big Data & Personalisation

When it comes to getting personalisation right, brands have a mixed reputation. Global research confirmed that we’re particularly bad at it in the UK – in fact 98% of UK consumers believe that there is such a thing as ‘bad personalisation,’ because brands have out of date information (66% of UK consumers said this), or they’re getting personal customer details wrong (63%).

Yet brands say on average they’re collecting seven different types of data about their online customers to better understand their wants and needs. The problem is that companies admit that they’re out of their depth. For example, almost a fifth (18%) admit they lack the skills needed to properly use or analyse the data they collect and 42% don’t have the capabilities to integrate the data.

This means businesses are left with its lots of disparate data sets, intertwined but somewhat skewed – a data spaghetti if you like – which doesn’t enable them to create a true picture of the individual. As a result, customers are left frustrated and harassed when...

It’s that time again when industry experts predict what will be the key trends in the year ahead. Taking aside the three technology-related trends that are dominating trends talk in 2018,  this is where the digital industry is heading next and what will be the five most significant shifts in digital techniques during 2018.

1. The Year Of The MVP

The MVP (minimal viable product) approach has been around for a while now but we’re expecting to see its adoption accelerate in 2018, becoming ‘the accepted way digital is done’. So why will this year be the tipping point? The concept behind an MVP has always been the right approach for digital platform owners, but unfortunately it’s been misunderstood or misused in the wider industry and so stakeholders have been wary of developing their digital products in this way.

The MVP approach isn’t about saving money, cutting corners, or accepting sub-standard work; it’s the recognition that digital products shouldn’t be released to customers in a ‘big bang’.

MVP is one component of lean software delivery and is better referred to as ‘continuous delivery’ i.e. release new features and functionality as soon as they are ready to realise their value immediately – either creating a better experience for end users or more revenue for the business, or both.  This iterative, continuous approach also means we only build things that work, as every iteration can be measured and...

Though not an alternative to human knowledge and ingenuity, AI is considered a supporting tool to help humans. Though Al presently has a tough time completing different tasks involving common sense in the real world, it is able to process large amounts of data faster compared to a human brain.

Artificial intelligence systems play a vital role when unstructured data like images, social media or open-ended surveys are needed to make a decision. Amazon, for instance, recommends products to buyers before even they search for that particular product. Amazon has made this possible using machine learning techniques and now layer in unstructured data on top of its powerful, integrated collection of structured analytics such as product histories, addresses, and payment details of customers.

Amir Husain, CEO of machine-learning company, SparkCognition, said: “AI is like the second coming of software. It is an innovative software capable of making potential decisions on its own and is adept at acting in situations that programmers could not even think of. Unlike traditional software, it has a broader latitude of decision making.“

Those skills make immensely valuable across many industries, whether it’s just enabling visitors and team easily pave their way around a corporate campus or doing a complex task of monitoring the working of a wind turbine to estimate when it needs repairs before it breaks down.

AI has improved customer relationship management...

Marketing is critical to the success of any business, and it’s important to embrace a philosophy which effectively promotes your brand.

A brand is essentially the image your company projects to the public (relevant to your target market), what you offer, and how you deliver on products and services. Effective branding creates a positive perception of your business, which ultimately drives results. Your goal is to create a cohesive image that aligns with your company goals, which should be consistent with your overall business objectives. As a small business, it’s important to understand branding is more than a logo, but is your holistic identity, and represents a tremendous opportunity for growth.

Though logos, taglines, and visible elements on your website are crucial for luring prospective customers, branding usually goes deeper than the eye can see. Correct branding, which should be consistently applied across all factions, can help differentiate your product/service from the competition. Good branding creates memorable companies that are spoken highly of, and most importantly, not forgotten. It can breathe fresh life into your business, paving the way for rapid sales growth by promising an undeniable customer experience.

Correct branding influences customers’ purchasing decisions, to build positive emotions, associations, and memories in the minds of consumers. The stronger your business brand identity, the more likely you’ll build loyalty that generates profit and growth, factors which are critical to the success...

2018 is the year chatbots will come good according to many tech pundits, as they move from test and experiment to the front of many business websites, embedded in most social media platforms and apps.

Chatbot adoption continues to grow across many verticals and lines of business with Netatmo, the smart home company recently launching a Facebook Messenger bot. It allows users to chat and instruct their smart home appliances, heaters, lighting and so on,  through text commands, rather than navigating various apps and options.

Schroders, Japanese forex business Monex and Jordan Ahli Bank are among the latest financial institutions to roll out chatbots offering advice or information to their various customers. Currently in beta, SchrodersGO offers asset management advice for clients, demonstrating advanced features like fund report cards and market links. Check out the video for some interesting details.

The other leading adopter of chatbots remains the travel industry with Singapore Airlines the latest major carrier to jump on the chatbot bandwagon. Their bot called ‘Kris,’ lives on the airline’s Facebook page, the English-language bot can help with baggage, check-in and online booking queries. A live beta, “Kris will be under constant development as we further develop its knowledge library based on what our customers are most frequently asking for,” said the airline.

Looking at the wider travel market, an

HR is constantly changing thanks to new technologies and with so many organisations now collecting data of employees’ activities and performance, most of the trends in HR assessment for 2018 involve people analytics. Software and strategic data analysis also offer solutions for large enterprises where monitoring individuals is more difficult.

1. Using Big Data & AI To Predict Future Behaviour From Past Behaviour

With the potential to gather a large amount of the most accurate information on candidates and employees, people analytics – the usage of big data – has evolved as the primary tool for HR professionals in almost every aspect of workforce planning. The most advanced algorithms can not only mine and analyse data to make strategic personnel decisions, but also take it to a higher level by forecasting future actions.

This is justified by a basic I/O Psychology principle: past behaviour predicts future behaviour. HR decision makers can already merge these data into “relationship analytics”, and can analyse not only each individual’s activity, but also team interactions, and thus, the functioning of the whole organisation. With the help of such tools, HR can predict crucial factors such as who will leave the company soon, who will work together most effectively or who will be the best candidate for the job. This vast knowledge doesn’t only determine the evolution of all the other HR trends, but also leads to AI-driven HR processes.

2. Understanding Through...

If you’re familiar with the famous Gartner Hype Cycle you could safely argue blockchain and cryptocurrencies are currently taking up residence on the ‘peak of inflated expectations’. With Bitcoin hitting the mainstream at the end of last year, not a day goes by without a deluge of headlines talking up the currency and the technology that underpins it. With all this hysteria it can be difficult to unpick exactly what blockchain is and how it’ll impact businesses.

To make life easier, I’ve made a list of some of the most frequent errors people make when they talk about blockchain.

1. There Is ‘One Blockchain’

The reality is that there are numerous blockchains and each blockchain serves a different purpose. Blockchains can be open and public, or they can be privately run by enterprises or even individuals. The idea is to think in plural rather than singular. Blockchain is not a computer program.

2. Blockchain Is Only For Bitcoin

While it is true that the first blockchain was used for the digital currency Bitcoin, the potential of blockchain technology goes far beyond money and finance. Today blockchains are being used to building services on smart contracts, digital identity solutions, cloud storage, voting systems, and even aircraft safety. The blockchain does not care what type of data is contained in the ledger, as it is effectively just a list of records.

From mild confusion through to outright panic, the looming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has left organisations across Europe sweaty palmed and hyperventilating. Scheduled to hit on the 25th of May 2018, the scramble to prepare for the legislation is fraught by the huge financial penalties that could be levied against those who fail to get it right. To be clear, GDPR is a data law not a marketing law, but we all rely on customer data and we will be in the spotlight when it comes to GDPR compliance.

What Is GDPR Anyway?

Data protection is not a new concept. Since the age of the internet and mobile devices, however, data and privacy regulations have become increasingly important to businesses, regulators and consumers. While the specifics of GDPR are new, it is in fact merely a replacement for the Data Protection Directive, which is over 20 years old.

The new regulation now shifts the focus on to the consumer, protecting the privacy of every EU resident and citizen no matter where the data is collected, stored, or processed. The EU has also upped the ante with the introduction of hefty fines for non-compliance of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of annual global turnover – whichever is higher. For businesses, this is potentially crippling.

Most worryingly, marketers are simply not prepared and as we learn more about GDPR, our confusion only deepens: the number...

Business expansion is every young entrepreneur’s dream. Yet, there’s always a chance that even the most pleasant of dreams will quickly turn into a complete nightmare. Expanding too fast too soon will only break the bank and gain little in return. Patience is a virtue, after all. One must be certain that there’s an actual need for expansion as well as the funds and infrastructure to back it all up. This, however, takes careful planning and consideration, which is so often overlooked. Therefore, here are some of the best ways to ensure that your business expansion goes as planned, to help you rest easy at night.

1. Conduct Market Research

Before making the first step, you need to make sure that there actually is a great demand for your products or services on the market. Otherwise, it would be foolish to commit to an expansion if there’s no prior need for it. You probably already know the situation on your current market, but if you’re planning on expanding overseas or in a foreign country then you may want to check on a few things first. Namely, if there’s a niche for your particular business in a foreign country you need to conduct market research on the desirability and demand of your products there. Perhaps there’s a cultural difference in place and there’s no demand for your products whatsoever, hence there’s a niche in the market there in the first place, or you...

For many, CRM trends for the New Year seem pointless for three main reasons: long technology development cycles, the industry’s obsession with one or two big ideas over the course of multiple years, and journalists’ penchant for trends that are either too obvious or too outlandish to really drive value. But, thanks to some hyper-development in CRM (and tech in general) driven by AI, mobile and the cloud (as well as some less obvious drivers like GDPR, we’re finally seeing some interesting changes take shape and fuel new possibilities.

Given this backdrop, here are some CRM trends that could actually be worth considering.

1. Relationship Intelligence Emerges As A Category

Despite ongoing rumblings about AI and machine learning meshing with CRM software, we haven’t seen a lot come of the hype yet. But, as AI finds more practical use cases inside the lead-to-cash lifecycle — and especially given that we currently live in a subscription economy (more on that later) — I believe we will see the emergence of a separate category, “Relationship Intelligence,” which is somewhat separate from core CRM.

Big data, AI and machine learning are coming together to drive insights in new and exciting ways for customer-facing employees. These insights can be delivered as SaaS/cloud services. While they might leverage some CRM data, the real gems are found in the oceans of data outside the corporate firewalls. By adding algorithms to this data and...

UK retailers can be forgiven for sleepless nights and knee-jerk reactions. In the UK, more than 2,500 high street retail outlets – about 14 a day – closed their doors in the first half of 2017, according to reports. High street sales are at their weakest point since the Great Recession of 2008, and while the losses were somewhat offset by new store openings, retailers continue in uncertainty as consumer shopping continues to move online.

The pressure on retailers to provide consistent experiences and competitive pricing all while protecting their margins and serving a customer who increasingly shops outside of the store, is at an all time high.

But it is important to understand we are talking about change here, not catastrophe. Just because stores are struggling doesn’t mean consumers have stopped shopping. In fact, retail sales grew about 4%. Much of that comes from e-commerce, which grew an astonishing 14% in 2017.

That shift has many in retail, fashion and consumer products focusing on business models that get their products directly to consumers faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than ever before.

The net effect has been an increased, almost myopic focus on last mile delivery. And we’ve seen lots of ideas for how to solve it – autonomous vehicles, drones, subscription services, and...

You know you need customers to bring money into your business, but they can provide so much more. Your customers are an incredible source of information that too few businesses take advantage of. If you’re not regularly gathering input from your customers, you’re missing out on some remarkable benefits.

1. Minimise Turnover

Whether you’re polling your customers to discover what they want from your business, the issues they have with your business, or ways you can improve their overall experience, you’re collecting information about how to keep them as loyal customers. If you gather and implement their input, you’ll see a significant decrease in the amount of customer turnover in your business.

2. Gather Innovative New Ideas

The business world is all about innovation. That’s why most businesses have specialists, consultants, or entire times of analysts working to come up with new ideas at all times. But what if you could get some innovative ideas for free? You can—if you ask your customers. All it takes is a quick survey asking them what kinds of improvements they’d like to see you make. By collecting and managing that data with innovation management software, you’ll be able to track trends, identify needs, and use that information as fuel for your company’s next big innovation.

3. Improve Customer Service

It’s hard to know how your customer service is doing when you don’t experience the...

Welcome to 2018. Every year I try to spot some trends that will influence or perhaps change our lives in the future. Often, even incremental advances can lead to big changes over the course of time. Here are my top five trends for advances that have the potential to change how we live our lives. 

1. Materials

The physical foundation for invention is materials. New innovations in materials enable the development of new products never thought possible. Graphene is the material that will make many 21st century tech, medical and industrial innovations possible. Graphene is a newly discovered carbon-based material that has unique properties at the atomic level. The physical science behind it would take a while to describe but the possibilities for advancing technology are great. Because of the atomic structure and strength of this material, it is a better conductor than copper, currently used in semiconductors. In fact, at only one atom in depth, graphene is the fastest, smallest, strongest and lightest material yet discovered.

What are the potential uses of graphene? This new material is being used in labs now to develop faster chips, more efficient solar panels, touch screens, OLED displays, computers, flash memories, medical devices and super-capacitors. In addition to the super conducting properties, other graphene properties are impermeability and light weight leading to possibilities in the automotive and airline industries as well. For example, an impermeable...

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When I look back to my first big presentations I now see why they weren’t very successful. Like many people giving technical presentations I was totally absorbed by the content design. I know realise, with the benefit of having talked to numerous audiences (small, large and huge) that I what I needed to do was work on my mindset. Let me give you the POWERful framework I’ve developed.


Presence of mind-creating a mental connection with your audience. This can be achieved using questions everyone can recognise and respond to: “Have you ever had to make a difficult decision?” Creating mental images is also effective. “The heat of Southern California! As a child there was nothing to compare with the fourth of July! Even now I can smell the sizzling barbeque, taste the luscious ice cream…

Mental connection with your audience is often ignored. I’ve seen many corporate presenters get straight into the facts and statistics and fail to build rapport with their audience. We need time to allow us to connect. By being present in mind, we are effectively priming our audience to be receptive to what we about to tell them.

Presence of body. As the presenters we can use our natural authority, to create anchors. Move left and then discuss a wonderful holiday experience: your audience will come with you...

Data is power. It’s a prime commodity for businesses, which in turn means it is constantly under threat. Just try and think back to a week where a data breach or cyber attacks did not hit the headlines, and you’ll struggle. Not only are these threats a growing problem for any organisation, but the issue becomes more paramount when combined with upcoming changes in compliance. The surge of data created by the digital age has called for a change in how organisations store and handle it. The consequences of non-compliance are well-documented by now, whether that’s in the form of a fine, insolvency or even closure.

Surely then it can be assumed that this issue is being taken sufficiently seriously by organisations across all industries? Initial findings from recent global research suggests otherwise.

My company’s inaugural ‘The Little Book of IT’ study found that in the UK, 30 per cent of business respondents who classified their security technology as “fully implemented/integrated,” reported that no security improvements could be made. This bold assumption would infer that over a third of businesses believe their systems are fully prepared to deal with the security challenges facing them, and may explain why a seemingly inadequate 10% of IT budget is being spent on security provisions (which represents only 2.25% growth over the previous year’s expenditure, with next year’s spend set to be marginally even less at 1.86%).

Whilst it’s nigh-on impossible to...

According to a survey conducted by RightScale, 85% of organisations, big and small, have a multi-cloud strategy. More than 60% of Fortune 500 companies use at least three Microsoft’s cloud technologies. This means that we can finally lay the IaaS versus on-premises debate to rest. This doesn’t mean that on-premises infrastructure is dead, this just means that the cloud gets the lion’s share of a company’s budget when it comes to spending on software, platforms, and infrastructure. When it comes to infrastructure as a service, you can choose between renting dedicated machines or building virtual machines. Let’s quickly jump into the basics before we get into a comparison of Azure virtual machines and dedicated servers.

Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS)

As the name implies, IaaS is you renting someone else’s infrastructure for your use. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and a number of other organisations provide this service. You tap into the machines present at their datacentres for hosting your website, applications, and/or database, and you pay for the use of these resources. All you need is a stable and fast internet connection, and the devices present at your location connect with the devices present at their datacentres. You need to manage your use, install and manage software, and constantly monitor your usage requirements so you only spend on what you need and can upscale and downscale as needed.

Dedicated Servers Vs Virtual Machines

Logistics management can be rewarding, satisfying, and lucrative – but for companies and consumers alike, it’s still only a means to an end. The end is profit and happy consumption. And in 2018, the logistics industry will confront many challenges in delivering both. Here’s why.

Consumers Only Expect What The Best Innovator Can Deliver

If you remember a couple years ago, business enemy number one was the all-powerful millennial consumer who ditches brands at the slightest provocation and demands the world. Well, people have sobered on that idea a bit. It turns out consumers aren’t inventing new expectations out of thin air and hurling them at brands. They’re being taught what to expect, almost entirely by Amazon.

If you look at the history of both consumer and business technology, expectations only rise when there’s an innovator who can competently execute a disruptive new vision. Cell phones were on a dull path before Apple, as were social networks before Facebook, and electric cars before Tesla. When there hasn’t been a competent disruptor, the status quo reigns, like in most enterprise software. Customer expectations for fulfilment were one thing before Amazon, and entirely different after.

For the past few years, the logistics industry has tried to play catch-up to Amazon’s policies, fuelled partially by other retailers struggling to compete. But Amazon will continue to set the stage in 2018. It’s already extending its logistics management prowess and, more worryingly...

A live streaming event has already made a stand in the current market and is a promising venture for the future. Aided by spectacular live streaming software the live streaming business has been able to generate huge revenue in the past few years. Primarily to stream a live event from anywhere, be it a house or a workplace you need to work hard and put in enough effort for a brilliant outcome. The workflow needs to be without any hesitation or any issues.

There are no shortcuts in commencing a live streaming platform with proper live streaming software. The ones looking to create a website have different specks in mind compared to the ones looking to launch a live streaming video app. The budget would totally depend on the features included.

However, in this article we are going to discuss ten of the best features which you need to consider if you want your live stream to carry on without any hindrance.

1. There Is More Than A Single Way To Do It

There are literally thousands of ways around you which you can take up to live stream an event without hitch. Every technique has its own perks and none of them can be ignored. Dylan Armajani from Viacom states “Don’t limit you to a single workflow”, which means that rather than wasting time on a single workflow you must dig deep into the matter and...

It might surprise you to know that most ransomware victims choose to pay a ransom to have their data restored. As long as victims continue to pay up, ransomware will continue to be a go-to strategy for cybercriminals. Furthermore, Forrester Research predicts that cybercriminals will increasingly use ransomware in 2018 to monetise attacks, as end-to-end encryption in payment systems often prevents them from stealing credit card data.

In 2018, ransomware will be used as a backup method for when initial attacks fail. Adversaries will adopt new strategies, which I will outline in this article. Interestingly, ransomware is also likely to be used to leave a false trail to conceal other attacks.

So here are my top seven predictions for this year. Ransomware will:

  • Target Linux systems
  • Become more targeted
  • Exfiltrate data
  • Be used as a smokescreenBe an attack of last resort
  • Be used as a false flag
  • Leverage social media.

Last year, we observed attacks hitting MongoDB which suggest that ransomware will increasingly target Linux systems in 2018 in an effort to further extort larger enterprises. Overall, ransomware will become more targeted by looking for certain file types and targeting specific companies such as legal, healthcare, and tax preparers rather than the “spray and pray” attack we largely see now. There is already ransomware that targets databases, preying on businesses, and small tweaks...