Central Desktop: “Growing pains” – why business expansion leads to inefficiency

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Hot on the heels of a bloody BYOD comes more discomfort, this time in the form of growing pains. This guest article looks at the reason why businesses become inefficient as they grow and how these issues can be avoided, drawing on an paper from 1972 for inspiration – if you’re running a small business or on the verge of creating a start-up this is a definite read!

We live in a start-up culture, where it seems as if everyone is able to have an idea and start a company. Many of these will fail, some will be a success. For those that are a success, they may find that the real challenges are not with that first product launch, but the inevitable growth that success bestows upon them.

The issues that face these companies are nothing new. In July 1972, Larry E. Greiner published Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow in the Harvard Business Review (on paper, of all things!). He describes a pattern that would be familiar to entrepreneurs and business owners everywhere – that of evolution, in which the business grows smoothly, followed by revolution, where the business goes through a crisis brought about by its own growth. Solving each crisis brings about another period of evolution. Despite its age, Greiner’s piece remains amazingly relevant, even if the companies of today are working in very different industries and producing very different products.

So what does cause a company to become inefficient as it grows? The first inefficiency falls squarely at the feet of the company founders.

Read the full article and find out more about Greiner and the five reasons why companies become inefficient as they grow over at Central Desktop.

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Central Desktop: Everything you need to know about BYOD

logo_central-desktop-social_media-with-byodBYOD. Looks pretty scary with all that blood everywhere doesn’t it? Well, never fear, because BYOD isn’t too scary, you just need to know what you’re getting into. My latest article at Central Desktop tells you all you need to know about ‘Bring Your Own Device’, which is why it is handily entitled ‘Everything you need to know about BYOD‘.

It goes a bit like this:

As progressive as BYOD might seem, it’s anathema to the majority of IT departments, being a world away from the structured familiarity of traditional IT hardware policy. So, for IT departments – maybe your IT department – facing up to these challenges, what can you do? Here are the pros and cons of BYOD, and the policy issues you should think about when implementing a BYOD policy.

Read the full article at Central Desktop.

Central Desktop: CMO vs. CIO? The future of marketing + IT

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It’s been a couple of months since my last guest post and the withdrawal symptoms have started to kick in. So here it is, my latest article at Central Desktop: CMO vs. CIO? The Future of Marketing and IT

A short extract for your perusal:

Just a few years ago, asking the question whether the CIO and CMO roles were merging would have been madness. They couldn’t have been further apart. The CMO was a key part of a company’s leadership team, driving performance and changing the course of the organization, while in most cases the CIO didn’t even have a seat at the table.

That’s no longer the case – or, at least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe. If you believe Gartner’s January 2012 report entitled “By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO” and IBM’s annual CIO surveys, it would seem these two roles are on a collision course. Is it true?

Read the full article at Central Desktop.

20 top web design and development trends for 2013

20 top web design and development trends for 2013

.NET Magazine posted its annual predictions article today. There are some great thoughts here, and if last year’s effort is anything to go by, it will be bang on target. So for all you developers and designers out there – go take a look!

As an aside, my own contribution to this years article – thanks to Craig Grannell for asking my thoughts – is discoverability. It’s something I may cover in a post, as I believe its going to be a key area for the big content producers this year. As the amount of content increases (apps, videos, etc), finding the right content becomes more and more difficult. The company that cracks this problem is going to really reap the benefits.

* UPDATE *

Following on from yesterday’s article, I was particularly pleased to see the following article on PandoDaily this morning: “Game discovery platform Chartboost is on fire, scores Sequoia in $19 million Series B“. Maybe we won’t have to wait too long for this prediction to manifest!

Also, for those looking for additional information on 2013 Web Development trends, check out HTMLCut’s “Trends, Expectations, and Truth About Web Design 2013” – it’s a good overview of all the 2013 trends and tips articles published over the last few weeks.

What do you think will be this year’s trends? Do you agree with .NET? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Central Desktop’s greatest blog hits of 2012

Central Desktop’s greatest blog hits of 2012

Another blog, another set of guest posts, and another Top 5. The Central Desktop blog covers a whole range of topics around collaboration systems, from selecting the right system for your company, to integration and change management.

My contribution to the top 5 came in at number 4: Eight tips on successful adoption of collaboration solutions makes sure you cover all the bases when integrating a new system into your organisation. Here’s an extract:

Collaboration should be easy. Right? I mean, we talk to each other every day, we share documents, and most of us have more email than we know what to do with. Moving to an online collaboration system should just be a simple step forward. No? Not always.

Successfully adopting new working paradigms, especially those that have the potential to move employees out of their comfort zone, can be tricky. Luckily, there are some tips that can make the whole process a lot smoother. Here are eight to consider when you’re faced with implementing a collaboration solution into your business.

Happy Integrating!

The Top 10 Unbounce Blog Posts of 2012

The Top 10 Unbounce Blog Posts of 2012

On the 21st December, Unbounce published a list of their Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2012. I’m really pleased to have two articles in the Top 10, at number 3 and number 7; it’s been a pleasure contributing to the blog over the last twelve months. Editor Oli Gardner (no relation, just coincidence) even gave me the unofficial title of MVP Guest Author!

The Top 10 article can be found above, but if you want to catch the two articles directly, you can access them at:

#3. 20 Landing Page Designs Get Picked Apart & Analyzed for Conversion

#7. 12 Surprising A/B Test Results to Stop You Making Assumptions

If you were one of the people who read them the first time around, thanks!

Unbounce – Return of the Honey Badger!

Unbounce - LogoLike the Hulk, or to be precise, like Bruce Banner, I’ve been trying to keep my alter-ego under wraps for the last couple of months. Unfortunately the pressure was too great and after an internal struggle full of tension and pulling silly faces, he escaped.

THE HONEY BADGER HAS RETURNED!

You can catch up on the damage he did to other people’s landing pages over at Unbounce, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if you find it distressing. This time the landing pages are focussed on cloud services:

Cloud Services are seen as a way to introduce technology into an organization simply and easily, without the need to get bogged down with IT processes and procedures. That may be an over-simplification, but the audience for these services cannot be assumed to be technical, so the approach taken with landing pages has to reflect this. Jargon is out, features are in, and there should be a focus on simplicity. It’s also imperative to build confidence quickly, creating trust in the solution with the audience.

In this article we’ll look at cloud services offering everything from file sharing through to innovation, and see whether they make the right first impression with their landing pages.

Even for those familiar with landing page design it’s worth checking up on the latest trends in design, but just in case you don’t fancy the article, here’s Hulk doing what he does best in The Avengers (2012).

Central Desktop: Should you open up your internal network to external users?

Logo for Central DesktopGood things come in threes!

It’s true, even Wikipedia says so, and as we all know, Wikipedia is always right. Without it what would we do? Social Media Today’s article ‘What Would Happen If Wikipedia Died?‘ suggests that we would just “get along with other sources”. Obviously, the author doesn’t live in the same world that I do. Anyway, back to threes. Wikipedia says:

“The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes.”

That’s why it’s so important to read my third article at Central Desktop “Should you open up our internal network to external users?

It sounds like a no-brainer, of course you should, but beware! There are, as always, pros and cons. And now, the obligatory extract:

“Collaboration is essential to any business – mediated and controlled collaboration via cloud platforms even more so. But how far do you extend the borders on collaboration? Within your department? Your organization? Your vendors? More? After all, cloud platforms are the perfect vehicle for this kind of collaboration, being equally accessible by all parties involved.

[…]

There are positives and negatives to working in a truly collaborative and open way with your external partners. But for those willing to tackle the risks head on, the rewards may pave the way for even further collaboration in the future (with more diverse partners and potentially greater reward).”

You can find out more over at Central Desktop.

Central Desktop: Why you should keep IT off your cloud

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I’m on a roll at the moment, working on a lot of guest posts, so apologies for the lack of updates right here on the blog: there will be more in the next few weeks. Having said that, here’s the latest article at Central Desktop: Why you should keep IT off your cloud (if you don’t want to make the most of the opportunity.)

It’s something that’s close to my heart as an IT nerd – the changing face of IT and why you should keep them close when implementing cloud services. I promise, we are useful. What’s more, you also get to watch a clip from the brilliant UK sitcom, The IT Crowd.

Here’s a short extract:

Cloud systems – the perfect opportunity to take control of your processes and practices. A system that can boost your productivity and that you can mold to your exact requirements, all without the interference of IT. No infrastructure requirements, no development, no overcomplicated business analysis and project management – just the appointment of a vendor who can take away the pain and make things happen.

Or is it?

Here are four reasons why you should break out of this fallacy and involve IT when implementing cloud solutions.

Read the full article at Central Desktop.

Central Desktop: Security and Privacy in the Cloud

Logo for Central DesktopMyths perpetuate, but your internal processes cause the biggest risk in cloud services

Another guest post went live at Central Desktop yesterday. This time looking at the misconceptions around the security of cloud services. It’s often thought that the cloud solutions is inherently insecure, but it’s much more likely that the security breach will occur through lax processes or simple human error within the client organisation.

Here’s a short extract:

Cloud services: the future of computing and service provision or simply one more headache? If you read enough press, you’ll be convinced that both are true. In reality, when you remove the opinions and biases, the truth is in between, but probably not in the way that you would expect.

Read the full article at Central Desktop.