Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Industrial IoT, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Industrial IoT: Blog Feed Post

Extranets Allow Start-Ups to Bill More Hours

Hey did you know that the term “Start up” isn’t exclusive to technology companies?

Hey did you know that the term “Start up” isn’t exclusive to technology companies?  I was shocked earlier this week when a few accountants wanted to have coffee and discuss their start up.  Immediately my brain started to think about the types of software they must be creating.  As I entered the local coffee shop and met the duo I quickly realized they were starting up an accounting practice.

It was amazing.  Two guys with a skill set outside of technology that were creating a new practice from the ground up.  They called it a start up.  After I got over my initial shock and awe, I settled into the discussion and quickly saw where they were going.

The pair was ready to leave their corporate jobs and continue their practice full time.  They already had a dozen clients and had dozens more ready to jump when the time was right. The reason they pulled me into a meeting: they were scared.  Not scared of leaving their jobs or starting up a new business. They were scared that they wouldn’t be able to meet the needs of their clients.  They were scared because they knew they  couldn’t scale as quickly as they needed to.

I thought to myself what a great problem to have.  But the more I chatted with the pair the more I realized how smart they were.  They knew that there was a finite limit to the number of hours they could spend in the office every day.  They knew that there was a correlation between billable hours and happy customers.  They knew that to be successful and still be able to see their kids, they needed to take advantage of the internet and get customers to help themselves as much as possible.  They wanted to know about the technology I was working on and how it applied to their practice.

Instead of launching into a sales pitch I really wanted to find out where their non-billable time was spent.  As Certified Public Accountants the team had both individuals and companies as clients.   Each client could have dozens if not hundreds of documents over the course of their relationship.  Clients constantly call looking for a copy of their quarterly statement, access to documents or information from last years tax return.  Storing, finding and moving around documents between clients was a tremendous headache that eMail was not well suited to solve.

The second biggest challenge for the pair was after hour phone calls. For some reason clients always have their questions at 9pm at night.  As a start up the team wanted to give the best service possible yet they didn’t want to keep answering the cell phone at all hours of the night.

It was clear to me that an extra-net could really solve these problems.  Extra-net you say?  Is that some new clever concept?  Is that Web 2.0? Web 3.0? Alas, I must come clean.  The concept of an extra-net is not new.  It’s not shiny and all twitterly.  It’s a proven technology that gives customers a private place to do business with a company.  Extranets used to be expensive and only available to the big companies with giant IT budgets.  But with the adoption of Software as a Service and the ultra low cost of online applications, extranets are now available to even the smallest of businesses.

I showed the two an extranet style application that I’m invoved in called MioWorks.  We quickly entered the information for a few of their clients,  clicked to enable the private portals, uploaded documents and sent private messages.  It took about 5 minutes for the light to come on and the pair to exclaim “THAT’S IT!”.

Here it is two weeks later.  As I sat at my desk this morning the phone rang.  It was one of the accountants.  He thanked me for taking the time to talk to them about their business.  He also wanted to tell me that over the weekend the pair made the final leap.  Our discussion and the technology I showed them made them feel comfortable that they could scale and deal with the needs of their clients.  The felt that they could maximize their hours, spend less time on the phone with clients and do more billable work.

Just before we hung up the phone, they asked if they can add me to their MioWorks portal!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David Abramowski

David Abramowski is a technologist turned product leader. David was a co-founder of Morph Labs, one of the first Platform as a Service plays on AWS. He was the GM for Parallels Virtuozzo containers, enterprise business, and most recently he is the leader of the product marketing team for the IT Operations Management solutions at the hyper growth SaaS company, ServiceNow.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...