The coronavirus epidermic in China presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to retool themselves and prepare for the growth that lies ahead when the outbreak subsides. “Reflect on what you really want, what you have and what you need to give up, or stick to,” Ma said.
Ma told students to “learn digital working methods” and “adopt internet technology.”
Alibaba launched its Taobao online shopping platform in 2003 when China was locked down during a nationwide outbreak of Sars.
Ma also channelled Kyocera Corporation’s founder Kazuo Inamori, whose management and leadership turned the television component maker into one of Japan’s largest companies.
Inamori had five strategies for companies during times of recession, according to Ma:
Strategy One: Every employees should turn to sales
Every employee should turn to sales, to arouse latent demand among clients, Ma cited Inamori in saying. "Even in a company with tip-top technology, selling a product is still the foundation of the company's operation," Inamori said. "It is impossible to get orders during recessions if employees lack the spirit in making all-out efforts for clients."
Strategy Two: Spare no effort to develop new products
A recession is a golden opportunity for companies to innovate and expand sales. "Clients are too free during a recession. They will also propose new ideas after listening to yours. This would create orders that you never imagined before, so that you can expand your business."
Strategy Three: Radical cost cuts
Recession is the only chance to cut costs, as every employee would strive to make it happen, Inamori said. "You need to lower the break-even point of the whole company by making efforts to reduce production costs," Inamori said. "If a company can maintain profitability when the turnover is halved, it would be even more profitable when sales returns to normal."
Strategy Four: Maintain high production rate Companies should maintain their usual high productivity rate even in times of recession, by reassigning excess labour from the production line to other tasks to maintain the cadence and vibe of the work cycle. "Once productivity drops, it would not be easy to restore," Inamori said.
Strategy Five: Establish favourable interpersonal relations
"The most important thing for managing a company is the relationship between the manager and employees," Inamori said, adding that employers must "love and protect" employees, while employees need to understand the manager, they need to help and support each other.
Read more here.
The "Cloud First" Strategy will be introduced to the Malaysian national agenda, starting with the public sector, as it is fundamental to an organisation's digital transformation, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said cloud adoption would enable the government to rapidly deliver innovative public sector services without incurring a high level of capital expenditure to invest in Information Technology (IT) infrastructures such as data centres, servers and storage.
"This enables the government to allocate resources for more impactful programmes for the rakyat.
"With this strategy in place, it is without doubt that the government is taking the lead in embracing digital transformation," he said after chairing the 29th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting at Perdana Putra, here today.
Najib said the government could also facilitate the adoption of cloud by the private sector.
In the case of regulated industries such as the banking and financial services, healthcare and telecommunications, he said, the regulators were encouraged to accelerate the publishing of progressive guidelines for companies in these sectors to reap the benefits of cloud whilst maintaining compliance to regulations.
Najib said the government would also develop a National Artificial Intelligence (Al) Framework, an expansion of the National Big Data Analytics (BDA) Framework, which will be led by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC).
He said in a hyper connected world, it was becoming abundantly clear that AI was the defining force of the fourth industrial revolution. "AI could well be a "game changer" in improving the lives of Malaysians," he said.
On a wider industry-level, Najib said the government would establish the Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme (D-TAP) for large and mid-tier companies which contribute 63.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to accelerate digital adoption.
He said Malaysia's industries were still far from being digitally ready and the challenges noted included lack of structured approach, budget limitations, shortage of digital workers as well as the perception that digital transformation was too "fast paced and complex".
To accelerate the transformation, he said, the government would appoint Digital Transformation Labs to provide consultancy and assist in prototyping new digital products and services. "The labs will then match participant companies to digital companies.
"This outcome driven programme intends to achieve three main outcomes from increased productivity, reduction in foreign labour dependency as well as create a new business model or source of growth for the participant companies," he said.
Najib said 2017 was the year of the Internet Economy for Malaysia with the next milestone being the launching of the first Digital Free Trade Zone outside China on Nov 3, 2017.
This is a rather interesting article by Jeroen ter Heerdt.
"Data Science is dead. It is quickly getting replaced by stuff great data scientists built. Every big cloud vendor is doing it. Need to do a churn analysis? Done. Need to predict energy efficiency? Done. Want a recommendation engine? Done. Need to process genders, age and emotion from images? Done. From video? Done. Need to recognize certain logo's in images? Done. Need to understand sentiment? Done. Need to translate text or summarize text? Done.
What do you need to use these solutions? Just programming skills. Being able to talk to a REST API, that is all you need. Any programmer can do this. Behind this REST API is a algorithm built by the best and brightest of data scientists in the world that made themselves (and their fellow data scientists) obsolete".
You can join the "debate" here.
If big data really is the “new oil,” does this mean that countries will fight over it?
This is what Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, suggested in a speech at the company’s Google Cloud Next conference in March 2017.
“I think big data is so powerful that nation stats will fight over how much data matters,” he told attendees.
“He who has the data can do the analytics and the algorithms … the scale that we talked about will provide huge nation state benefits, in terms of global companies and benefits for their citizens, and so on.” (You can watch Schmidt’s full keynote speech below.)
Like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), big data is pretty hyped — but even so, this is still a bold prediction.
It came in the middle of Schmidt’s keynote — essentially a sales pitch to attendees telling them why they need to hurry up and move all their data and systems to Google’s cloud services. “Just get to the cloud now,” he said. “Just go there now. There’s no time to waste any more.”
His argument is that Google, with its tens of billions of dollars of investment, can build the underlying infrastructure better than any single smaller company could hope to, so it doesn’t make sense for them to build their own data centres when their resources could be freed up by using Google Cloud and allocated elsewhere.
By using Google’s cloud services, he went on, it allows companies to scale their businesses rapidly — citing Niantic’s “Pokémon Go” smartphone game and Snapchat as two examples.
And once in the cloud, it gives customers access to Google’s tools to access and analyse their all their data in ways they couldn’t do by themselves.
Sweet, sweet data.
“I’ll bet the rest of my professional career that the future of your business is big data and machine learning [a form of AI] applied to the business opportunities, customer challenges, and things before you.”
When people say data is the “new oil,” they tend to mean there are massive opportunities there, making it hugely valuable. With sufficiently advanced technology, you can analyse huge data sets to discover trends and actionable information that would be impossible to figure out before the internet age.
Google, with its AI expertise, is presenting itself as the cloud industry player best positioned to help ordinary companies to unlock these benefits — benefits that could be of interest to nation states too.
Source: Rob Price, Business Insider
During the Computing Conference 2016 held in Hangzhou on 13 October, Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, reviewed the technological progress in the past few years and predicted that the future would be mainly about new type of retailing, manufacturing, finance, technology and resource. Development in these five areas will impact not only China, the world beyond, but also every one of us.
1. New type of retailing. Traditional retailing face rising challenge from e-commerce in modern metropolis because it fails to seize the opportunity and adapt to the future trend. Traditional business only dwells on the past, but don’t know how to adapt to new technologies, how to cooperate with internet companies and how to make us of big data technologies, etc. Whether we admit it or not, traditional retailing business, featured by real estate, will certainly be challenged in the future. If it is not today, then it will be someday in the future.
2. New type of manufacturing. For the past two or three decades, scale and standard are attached high importance to; in the next three decades, however, customized, personalized and smart service will be the new trend. The second wave of technological revolution will occur in IoT field. In the future, machines depend not on electricity, but on data. Besides, as retailing industry evolves, manufacturing industry will also gradually transform from B2C-based to C2B-based.
3. New type of finance. Finance industry was the very support for industrial growth in the past two centuries. In the past, development of 20% of small and mid-sized companies could promote development of 80% of world economy. In the future, however, the core focus of finance industry should become how to facilitate development of 80% of small and mid-sized companies. After the birth of internet finance, equality and transparency will be valued more, thus traditional finance industry will certainly face some challenge.
4. New type of technologies. After the emerge of mobile internet, PC chips evolved into mobile chips, while PC operating system also evolved into mobile operating system. In the past, machines depend on electricity; in the future, data will be at the core of any new type of technology. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data will only broaden the room of imagination for the mankind.
5. New type of resources. In the past, petrol and coal were the foundation of development; in the future, new energy and data will be at the core of any development. Dr Wang Jian once said that this was the first time human kind created a new type of resources. In the past, resources others had used would become useless; today, however, data other people used would only become more valuable if we use it well.
Xero is easy to use online accounting software that’s designed specifically for small businesses. The Xero content pack for Power BI allows you to visualize and monitor the accounting data from within each Xero business. The out of box solution includes information such as cash position, top customers, invoices due and many more. The interactive reports allow you to easily explore your data to understand even more.
Xero Content Pack
With the Xero content pack for Power BI, you can see your data in a format that makes sense, and can analyze it with greater speed, efficiency, and understanding. You can create visualizations for the most commonly tracked small business metrics including cash position, revenue vs. expenses, profit/loss trend, and return on investment.
You can drill down more specifically to uncover insights like your best performing products or services, or see where your time is best spent, with important actionable items being presented front and centre. All the information in Power BI is dynamic, surfacing what’s important and giving you the power to dive into the detail.
Using Power BI - Action items
The Xero Content pack in Power BI has a tile dedicated to Action items. Action Items allow you, at a glance, to get a sense of where things are, and help you understand what things you can do in Xero to bring things up to date. Action Items help you keep your accounting data up to date, so you maximize the value of real time information to impact your business.
With Messages highlighting what you can action, and direct links into Xero, it’s quick and easy to “tick” things off and bring things up to date. And get back to running your business, completely up to date.
If you want your business to work smarter and faster, cloud accounting software is a wise investment. Working in the cloud will give you a better overview of your finances, and improve collaboration with your team.
Accounting software shouldn’t be a chore to use
Small business accounting software that’s not available via the cloud can be tedious. Traditionally, it can suck up far too much of your business’ time and effort. This doesn't add value, and takes the fun out of being in business. Cloud software can save your business time and money.
So what is this thing called the cloud?
Think about when you use internet banking. Every time you access this data, you’re using the cloud. The cloud is a platform to make data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere, from any device. Your hard drive is no longer the central hub.
Problems with traditional accounting software
The data in the system isn’t up-to-date and neither is the software
It only works on one computer and data bounces from place to place. For example, on a USB drive. This is not secure or reliable.
Only one person has user access. Key people can't access financial and customer details.
It's costly and complicated to keep backups (if done at all).
It's expensive, difficult and time-consuming to upgrade the software. Customer support is expensive and slow.
Why the cloud and accounting software are the perfect match
You can use cloud-based software from any device with an internet connection. Online accounting means small business owners stay connected to their data and their accountants. The software can integrate with a whole ecosystem of add-ons. It’s scalable, cost-effective and easy to use.
In the cloud, there’s no need to install and run applications over a desktop computer.
In the cloud, there’s no need to install and run applications over a desktop computer. Instead, you pay for the software by monthly subscription.
Cloud security is world class
As a small business owner, you might be concerned about a cloud service provider storing your data. But the cloud is one of the most secure ways to store information. For example, using cloud software, if your laptop is stolen, no one can access your data unless they have a login to the online account. With cloud software, this is where the data lives – as opposed to on your hard drive.
In the event of a natural disaster or fire, being in the cloud means business productivity doesn’t need to be affected because there’s no downtime. All of your information is safely and securely stored off site. As long as you have access to any computer or mobile device connected to the internet, you’re back up and running.
In addition to this, if you invite users to view your data, you can control the level of access. This is much more secure than the old-fashioned way of emailing your files or sending out a USB stick with your data on it.
Cloud-based software companies ensure that the security and privacy of data about you and your organization is always airtight. If you use online banking, then you’re already primed to use cloud accounting.
Five ways cloud software benefits your business
1. You have a clear overview of your current financial position, in real-time.
2. Multi-user access makes it easy to collaborate online with your team and advisors.
3. Worry-free maintenance means you can spend more time doing what you love.
4. Everything is run online, so there’s nothing to install and everything is backed up automatically. Updates are free and instantly available.
5. Upfront business costs are reduced – version upgrades, maintenance, system administration costs and server failures are no longer issues. Instead, they are managed by the cloud service provider.
Work smarter with accessible data in the cloud
The beauty of this software is the flexibility it gives you to run your business from work, home, or on the go. You can be confident that you have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are.
Software updates can be developed and delivered faster and more easily in the cloud. This means you don’t need to worry about installing the latest version and you’ll get access to new features instantly. With cloud accounting software, you have the option to run your business remotely, from anywhere in the world. When data is fluid and accessible, the possibilities are endless.
Reproduced from: Xero Small Business Guides
China’s biggest e-commerce company is going public. With a valuation that could reach USD200 billion, Alibaba could be the second-largest Internet company in the world, behind only Google. The man behind Alibaba is Jack Ma, a former English teacher.
There are many management and entrepreneurial lessons to be learned from Jack Ma. Check out this interesting article: Billionaire Jack Ma teaches you how to be successful in life and business.
The journey of Jack Ma in Alibaba can be viewed in this movie (full movie coming soon): Crocodile in the Yangtze.
Here is Jack Ma, who delivered the closing keynote address "China 2.0: Transforming Media and Commerce", hosted by the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, on 30 September 2011.
Do we need schools? What was the original purpose of schools? What should future "schools" look like?
“It's quite fashionable to say that the education system's broken — it's not broken, it's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated.”
“The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a [schooling] system that was so robust that it's still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.”
Educational researcher, Dr Sugata Mitra (winner of the 2013 TED Prize), reveals more in this TED presentation.
The use of animation (or cartoon) can be a powerful and effective mean of communication. It is fun, interesting and attention-catching compared to old-fashion writing. A simple animation about HTC Evo vs iPhone 4 has gone viral with more than 15 million views. Give it a try - use animation to promote your business, create a movement or simply spread a message.
You can use any of the user-friendly cloud-based animation software such as Go Animate and Xtranormal. Basic features are free. Just log in and be creative. I created this simple animation in less than 2 minutes:
Most companies are innovative especially in their sales and product development (front end). However, the back end (e.g. accounting) may still operate in the same manner for the last 20 to 30 years. How do you know if your accounting people are up-to-date? Easy.
If they are still using dot matrix printer, something is terribly wrong. Common excuses include: we have to print invoices and payment vouchers in duplicates, accounting documents must be printed with NCR papers etc etc. These excuses further confirm that the accounting procedures used are as obsolete as the printer.
Time to innovate, front end and back end. For Generation Y, here is a picture of the noisy "device".
Going paperless is not just about reducing paper costs (or friendly to the environment). The true costs of paper are filing, storage and the most expensive of all - retrieval costs (hours are spent to "look for" documents). With more papers, we need bigger tables, more filing cabinets and never ending search for bigger office space. The chain reaction can be costly. Office space is for people, not papers.
Remember KISS. Think simplicity and technology. Enjoy this classic video, George Carlin talks about "stuff".
Business, economy, education and current issues. Providing tips, tricks and tools in managing business.