Collaboration: Corporate groups and SMEs build up similar business communities

In collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Institut für Produkttechnologie (Fraunhofer Institute for Product Technology) IPT, the Forschungsinstitut für Rationalisierung (FIR) (Research Institute for Rationalisation) at the Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen University) (RWTH) carried out an online survey of more than 70 businesses of various sizes with regard to their strategies and preferences in implementing and introducing business communities. The scientists were particularly interested in discovering whether the assessment of corporate groups and SMEs was fundamentally different.

After all, social media is used today in various departments, in human resource management as well as in innovation management, marketing and customer service. Open Innovation Communities, a Facebook site, internal scientific platforms or the popular customer forums are all examples of this. Such business communities are of considerable benefit, particularly in knowledge-intensive areas. By integrating them into the value creation process, they can also help develop substantial productivity potential.

Currently there are hardly any community solutions on the market that sufficiently take into account the interests of SMEs, Marcel Schwartz, FIR scientist and community expert, tells us. “As a result, the wealth of experience of these companies and the area in which the solutions are implemented are, therefore, marginal.” The purpose of a whitepaper summarising the survey is to support SMEs in building up communities and to help software manufacturers to gear their solutions more precisely to the needs of this target group.

The survey shows, however, that SMEs and corporate groups alike prefer company-operated communities that are targeted towards their own members (target group), are driven by intangible incentives (incentive system) and operated by standard software (technological system). The contents are generated by the members. In other words: At the moment, business communities are of no great importance to companies, regardless of their size. That is, companies are not interested in investing in individual software solutions, financial incentives and resources for such schemes.

PWC 18th Annual Global CEO Survey: The marketplace without boundaries

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.59.28This is very exciting – The PWC 18th Annual Global CEO Survey. More than 1,300 interviews all over the world, very useful form of presenting the data and information to the audience.

I spent some time to look into the details especially to find what is in for midsize companies. I want to start with a quote I captured from the website:

“We live in an era of unprecedented digital change – the type of change that’s reshaping the relationship between customers and companies, breaking down the walls between industry sectors and, by extension, prompting forward-thinking CEOs to question the very business they’re in.”

Some figures I think are valuable (and there is a very interactive charting tool in place) based on technology

How strategically important are digital technologies for your org?

  • 81% mobile technologies for customer engagement
  • 80% data mining and analysis
  • 78% cybersecurity
  • 61%  social enabled business processes
  • 60% Cloud computing

How can a company ignore mobile technologies? They are only 3% of the sample and I am sure there are some businesses where you don’t need mobile technologies for customer interactions. So everyone sees the need to be prepared. But is this also the case for the millions of midsize companies in EMEA? I am not sure. There are business threats to keep in mind not thinking to integrate mobile into the current business model

How many years have we been talking about business analytics? I can’t remember. We own tons of data, let’s move them into information and business decisions. But is everyone ready go do so? Do they have a common data model within their IT landscape? Do they have the right questions in mind to search for answers? I believe this is an area where we can create opportunities within the global markets.

Which leads inthe the next area. Security. We have to secure our self, but it is not only a question of firewalls. We have to secure the source of our company, all the data. This includes encryption and also data access management. Keep in mind mobile technologies. It is nice that everything is secure within our own network, but think about mobile devices, local stored information. I still believe the USB ports are one of our greatest security lacks. Secure the communication within the company and also ourside, then secure your overall IT environment.

Social enablement – I am in the middle of such a business – and I can see a lot of opportunities to create business. Social is not a game of teens anymore. If really 60% of the sales cycle is finished before someone gets in touch with a supplier, the customers are using the internet and social media to gather information. Social media is not only Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. There are discussion forums, blogs, message boards and news forums where you can find a lot of information – and we always should keep in mind Google.

Last for today – Cloud Computing. Is it a hype? I don’t believe it. I followed discussions about this topic. They always see the distinction between private and public cloud solutions. Common sense – private cloud is a growing market and every company has to think about non-critical business areas they might use public cloud offers. Does every midsize company has its own payment department – or do they use an external provider? How do they manage the access – via internet? Isn’t it a public cloud solutions?

So have a look into the PWC study. You will find valuable content also for your company.

Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015


Social marketing agency We Are Social has released a 376 page report with complete 2014 stats for all things digital, social and mobile. It contains data for more than 240 countries, and in-depth profiles of 30 of the world’s largest economies.

What’s in it for you? The advent of ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ due to mobile continuing to assert its dominance should strongly influence the decision behind your next marketing plans.

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Cloud Computing: The question of location will be decided in 2015


Cloud computing is not only more widespread in the USA than it is in Europe. Companies also associate it with completely different goals.

While 55% of surveyed organizations in the USA had already been in the cloud for at least three years, the contingent in Europe was only 20%. These are the results of a study for which 542 organizations on both continents were surveyed. But Europe is catching up: During the past two years, the number of European companies in the cloud has increased to reach 38% of all European firms. However, there are striking differences in how it is used. While American companies primarily want to advance innovations, in Europe it is all about reducing overall costs.

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Cloud Computing: Business decision-makers prefer hybrid clouds


In cloud computing for enterprise development, a movement towards hybrid clouds has been observed for quite some time, and is now coming into clearer focus: in a study for the Avanade consultancy, Wakefield Research Analysts have published the current figures. The study reveals that managers from the business sector are currently pushing towards hybrid clouds, and that 72 percent of them want to build one within the next three years. Among IT managers, however, that figure is only 58 percent. A total of 76 percent of business managers would also like to run business-critical applications such as data & analytics, office applications, and customer-oriented services in hybrid clouds. They are convinced that implementing a hybrid cloud will confer competitive advantages on their companies.

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