Tag: strategy

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has exposed weaknesses in many organisations’ workforce management practices.

 While the unique circumstances forced companies to quickly embrace remote working, many were completely unprepared to manage users in their homes.

 This is the word from Graham Fry, MD of local software developer Saucecode, who points out that remote workers have been shown to be happier and more productive – if they are managed correctly.

 “Plenty has been written about what workers should be doing as they adapt to the new remote working paradigm. But it’s what their managers do that means the difference between success or failure,” Fry says.

 There are many tools on the market that let companies monitor their workers, some quite authoritarian, Fry says. “The real value is in not monitoring your workers, but rather in managing them.”

 Saucecode has developed Tistro, an agent-based tool that lets managers measure productivity and helps workers to stay efficient. The company is offering free Tistro subscriptions until 30 June 2020.

 “As a South African company, we felt it was our duty to do something to help the country during this time of crisis, so we have made our workforce management tool available as a free subscription,” Fry says.

 “Tistro gives managers visibility into what workers are doing while helping to improve productivity and efficiency.”

 Brian Little, co-founder of Saucecode, adds that managing productivity is not something that should only happen when workers have to work at home, but the current lockdown has helped to throw the issue into focus.

“What the lockdown has done is expose problems with worker management overall, and shown us that we need a different way of doing things so users can be equally well-managed whether they are in the office or at home.”

 Tistro helps managers to quickly identify which workers are performing well, which need help, and which are super-performers. They can also identify what methods or applications increase productivity and which are counter-productive.

“Its data, so it’s accurate and unbiased,” Little adds. “With a tool like Tistro you can see what is actually happening.”

Companies with as few as 20 users, right up to the largest enterprises with thousands of users, can quickly deploy the free Tistro subscription and start reaping the benefits literally within an hour.

Little explains the process: “Once a company requests the free offer, we set up their profile on our cloud server – which takes just 30 minutes; we then send them their user name and login and the links for the client-side agents; the manager sends these links to the workers in their team; the workers click on the link; and the agent installation takes place. 

“As soon as its installed, the device will start reporting into the system and there is visibility into the user’s work.

“It really is that fast.”

Fry says a lot of effort went into developing a smooth and fast user experience.

“You can’t make it difficult for people otherwise they won’t use it,” he says. “It needs to be easy to set up and to manage. Network administrators are busy people, especially in the current circumstances, and they don’t need additional headaches, so we have made Tistro really simple to set up.”

Once the initial set-up is done, line of business managers can align the data space with their business, deciding which applications can be accessed and ranking their relative importance to the task at hand. Again, this is a simple process and Little estimates that managers should take no more than an hour to do this.

“It is easy to set up the system so it accurately reflects the business and, after that, the administration is minutes per day,” he says.

Saucecode will generate reports based on the criteria set out by managers, giving them realtime visibility into their workforce almost immediately.

Confidentiality is important, and Tistro allows the right hierarchies to be set up so data is viewed only by the correct managers and the users themselves.

The company also has comprehensive tutorials and self-help videos on its website (www.saucecode.tech) which can help IT administrators and line of business managers to quickly set up and become productive.

As an added bonus, the tool offers an accurate look into what applications are being used which can help administrators correctly manage their software licenses and potentially save money.

“All of this ties into a product that is less about monitoring people and more about management, enabling users and business to work together in a trust relationship,” Little says.

How to recognise the lies customers tell

Source: Sales Guru

A white lie here, a fib there …

Just how honest is your prospect being with you?

We uncovered the top 5 lies favoured by your prospect. They’re naughty, but here’s how to play the lying game the professional way.

Lie 5: We don’t have the budget
Almost never true, lie 5 really means “we have the budget, but it’s been assigned to other projects with higher priority”.

Your move: Ask questions to find out where the money is currently being spent. Once you’ve discovered what’s funded and why to reposition your offering and the value it provides so that it becomes a higher priority than budget items that are currently funded.

Lie 4: I make all the buying decisions
NEVER does ONE executive make all the buying decisions. There is always consultation with others or a decision-making process that needs to be followed.

Your move: Ask about the specific reporting structure and gently probe to find out the “stakeholders” who “influence” the decision. Read between the lines and you’ll probably be able to figure out which people actually have to be sold in order for a deal to go through.

Lie 3: Your competition is cheaper OR we always get a discount
This may be true, or it may not be true. Either way, don’t fall for this popular tactic – it’s simply meant to entice you to drop your prices.

Your move: Position your offering, and the privilege of working with you and your company, as being of much higher value than working with your competitor. If they’re demanding a discount, they’re testing to see whether they ‘got the best deal’. If you do indeed drop the price, you’ll lose credibility and end up cutting a non-profitable deal. Both loses, and no wins (for you).

Lie 2: I’m sorry I missed our meeting
If they miss a meeting more than once, then there’s no way that they’re telling the truth. Fact is, they may want to blow you off and they don’t have the courage to say so.

Your move: Once you’ve calmed down, reassess the viability of meeting with the client again and try to schedule another rendezvous if you think it’s worth it (it’s almost always worth it).

Lie 1: She’s not in the office right now
If you’re cold calling, this is almost undoubtedly a lie – fed to you by the PA or receptionist or similar gatekeeper.
But the gatekeeper is just doing their job: keeping you away from the decision-maker.

Your move: Pretend that it’s true, always, and remain calm. Ask when would be a good time to call. You may need to sell the gatekeeper on the idea that your call is important enough to put through.

Canon unveils new strategy

Canon USA, a leader in digital imaging solutions, concluded its two-day Analyst Summit, an invitation-only event inspiring attendees to embrace the spirit of Canon See Impossible by providing a glimpse into the company’s vision for the future of its Business Imaging Solutions Group (BISG).

“One Canon”, a corporate vision specifically for its B-to-B divisions was revealed. Canon designed this strategy with the intent to help ensure its customers and partners benefit from all of Canon’s offerings and to not only strive for success, but also for the impossible. At the Summit, hosted at Canon Americas Headquarters in Melville, N.Y., Company leadership, industry analysts and customers convened to discuss the current state of business, share in customer best practices and review Canon’s strategy to address today’s changing business environment.

Focusing on the theme of Canon See Impossible, newly appointed executive VP and GM of the Business Imaging Solutions Group (BISG), Canon USA, Toyo Kuwamura, elaborated on his new business strategy, named “One Canon,” and how this new strategy can help transform business. Through his collaborative approach, “One Canon,” the Company will deliver more integrated solutions offerings and leverage the full power of Canon’s capabilities, enabling customers to unlock the impossible and drive business forward into the future.

“I am absolutely amazed by the expertise, insight and passion that drives Canon, our partners and customers,” says Toyo Kuwamura, executive VP and GM, BISG, Canon USA “The attendees at our Summit share a common goal — to help simplify the complexity that often plagues most businesses and their many processes. Our mutual success in achieving this goal can unlock the potential value in all businesses and this is precisely why we wanted to share the stories of our customers and partners as well as insight into the future of Canon.”

Providing informative presentations by leveraging the expertise of the Canon Group Companies, including Canon USA, Canon Solutions America, Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Canon Financial Services and Canon Business Process Services, attendees heard first-hand the forward thinking possibilities One Canon will offer the market.

Based on three pillars – see innovation, see possibility and see smart solutions – sessions encompassed a wide range of topics and success stories, including:

Engaging the Canon reseller community
Included in the “One Canon” approach is Canon’s ongoing commitment to establishing strong partnerships with independent dealers. This is demonstrated through services such as the recently announced Canon Business Services Platform, a self-service online marketplace and virtual storefront providing authorised dealers a simple way to offer, order, manage, bill and deliver subscription-based document and information management solutions from Canon.
Mason Olds, senior VP and GM of sales, BISG, leads the charge to empower Canon dealers with the opportunity to enhance relationships with their customers by helping them navigate through a rapidly changing business environment where offering smart solutions is the key to success.

To speak on this partnership was Leo Bonetti, CEO of Flo-Tech, a Canon authorised dealer and service provider, recognised as one of Canon’s Top 30 Independent Dealers. Bonetti spoke of how his organisation worked with Canon to help facilitate the needs of their customers.

By example, Bonetti discussed his co-operative approach with Canon to secure business at RSM (formerly McGladrey), the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. Satisfied with the service provided by Flo-Tech but looking to improve their prior printing fleet, RSM wanted the direct service provided by Flo-Tech with the technology of a worldwide imaging leader. As a result of this cooperation, RSM now has nearly 500 Canon printers installed with uniFLOW solutions across the United States, providing RSM with an efficient workflow in a high volume office environment. The collaboration between these three parties illustrates how Canon and independent dealers can work together to help satisfy the needs of the end-user.

Fuelling innovation in the production and large-format sector
Showcasing award-winning innovations from across its comprehensive and expanding production and large format portfolio, Canon’s mission is clear — to empower customers to grow their businesses. Canon works with customers to identify what equipment makes the most sense and helps drive their business to new heights.

The approach is clearly being embraced by customers as Canon highlighted its successes at the recent drupa event, fuelled by the imagePRESS Series, ColorStream, imageStream and VarioPrint i300. Canon continues to be a pioneer, bringing to market innovative technology like Voyager. Still in development, this B2+ press shown at drupa has been says to have the potential to set a new benchmark for photo quality inkjet output.

Joining Canon in propelling the production industry forward is one of the largest direct mail and marketing service providers in the United States — Access Direct. Lori Messina, executive VP of Access Direct, discussed the company’s decision to partner with Canon with the goal of being an industry leader, not industry followers. Today Access Direct is one hundred percent equipped with Canon and Océ branded equipment including the renowned Océ VarioPrint i300 colour digital press offering a level of flexibility that allows greater options in total print production and the ability to take on additional customer applications thereby contributing new opportunities for business growth.

Igniting possibilities for customers
With uniFLOW, Canon has ignited a world of possibilities for customers, demonstrating Canon’s evergreen commitment to helping businesses optimise their workflow. “uniFLOW is the only true ‘One Platform’ system acting as a single platform for printing and scanning, requiring only one system to manage users, groups, cost centres, rules and security permissions,” says Karsten Huster, founder of NT-ware. “With the latest addition of uniFLOW Online to this award-winning line-up of solution offerings, Canon has expanded its technology to customers that may not have previously had the infrastructure or personnel in place to host an in-house, server-based solution.”

Furthering Canon’s integrated approach to customer problem solving, solutions and services from Canon Information and Imaging Solutions (CIIS) were also highlighted. Via CIIS, Canon has established a local software and services R&D centre capable of driving near customer development and delivery activities leveraged across all Canon customer facing business units. Working in combination with Canon partners and its global R&D centres, CIIS is positioned to rapidly respond to unique customer needs aiding Canon business units in effectively meeting customer’s most vexing challenges. During the summit, CIIS demonstrated how it is utilising its technology and service capabilities to meet Canon’s own internal workflow challenges and, in doing so, is leveraging itself to better support end customers.

Source: www.piworld.com


It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. ~ Warren Buffet.

If you’re in any doubt as to the cogency of this statement, just think Volkswagen, Malaysia Airlines, FIFA, SAA, Bill Cosby, Sony, Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart and Nicole de Klerk. All have taken an absolute beating in the court of public opinion. Some have limped to some semblance of recovery with the help of reputational communications and management specialists, others never will.

For corporate brands that lose their reputational lustre, the impact soon manifests on the bottom line and in the share price – consumers vote with their wallets. For individuals, prospects for employment after a public blunder on the scale of Penny Sparrow’s reprehensible racist rants, amount to exactly zero.

In the digital age, nothing ever escapes Google search or the speed of social media. We’re seeing employees sharing controversial opinions on social media channels that are increasingly putting employer brands in the spotlight. Employers now pay close attention to the company they keep – no job interview is likely to go by without a thorough interrogation of your online persona.

Social media and employees aren’t the only ways that inappropriate remarks can wreak reputational havoc. I have seen countless executives making the most extraordinarily stupid statements in media interviews, and no amount of media training can save them from themselves. Who can forget the ghastly vaseline remarks made by Macintosh Polela after the JubJub trial? The spokesperson for an elite police made an utterly ill-conceived tweet about prison rape as if this was perfectly ok. It cost Polela his job, his reputation and left the Hawks credibility in tatters. Anyone seen or heard from Mac lately?

Anyone drive a Volkswagen? In the heat of the emissions “dieselgate”, the once trusted car brand was forced to recall 500 000 vehicles and slapped with a potential fine of $18billion by the US Environmental Protection Agency (does this hurt yet Mr Financial Director?). VW issued all measure of statements with little solace. Volkswagen’s stock price fell in value by a third in the days immediately after the news broke, its group CEO resigned and it was claimed by Der Spiegel newspaper that at least 30 people at management level in VW knew about the emissions deceit for years – something that VW denies.

Amidst all of this, Wheels24 reported that Volkswagen SA was not “affected by the emissions saga”. VWSA said at the time: “South African VW/Audi vehicles are not affected. South Africa does not have a legislative emission standard so this issue does not apply locally. We meet the CO2 emissions as published in our official specification sheets for all our vehicles.”

Really! So the mere fact that a global citizen like VW lied to the public for six years and intentionally used a device in its cars to evade clean air standards, which are a threat to public health, should not matter to me here in SA? Reputation 101 – just like pandemics, screw ups on this scale know no geographic boundaries. And know that a multi-national reputation brings with it all measure of complexities and multicultural nuances to consider.

Given just how easy it is to send a hard-earned and expensive reputation up in smoke, it really is not surprising that damage to reputation /brand has emerged as the #1 risk facing companies worldwide according to Aon Risk Solutions. The global risk management business polled CEOs, CFOs and Risk Managers in it’s 2015 Global Risk Management Survey, providing comparative insight into different perceptions of risk.

The Aon report goes on to add that with the rapid development of media technology and heightened awareness of multiculturalism, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ways a company’s reputation can be damaged. However, the tools and levels of effort business leaders use to manage their reputations are lagging, heightening such risk. Despite the fact that damage to reputation is cited as the No.1 Business Risk, the survey shows that 40% of businesses are unprepared to deal with a major reputational crisis.

While some brands may have cookie-cutter plans in place for dealing with a crisis of reputation, few have thoroughly interrogated and documented all the potential risks and scenarios they could face. In fact, few have made a distinction between crisis communications – the what is said, to whom, when and why and managing stakeholder perceptions – versus crisis management – the all-important logistics and background work across multiple departments to sort the mess out. Most simply view crisis communications and management as one big amorphous mass.

For those endowed with a greater appreciation of the power of words and communication, they’ve intrinsically known the value of reputation since forever. But it took a few monumental gaffs to make financial executives realise that there simply is no line item on the financial statements that can calculate the true monetary value of trust, which is after all what reputation is about. Until the paw-paw hits the fan, that is! Then the realisation that broken trust equates to lost sales and dismal turnover manifests faster than a VW can dodge an emissions test.

The reality is, in our hyper-connected society, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ways a company’s reputation can be damaged. But none of these should come as a complete surprise. A tsunami might be a surprise because you were expecting fire and brimstone instead, but then, you would still have your natural catastrophe recovery plans in place which would work for either scenario. However, product recalls, data breaches, offensive language or slurs on social media, in the workplace or customer communication, fraud, money laundering, system crashes, inappropriate remarks or behaviour by company executives and supply chain disruptions cannot be on your list of unexpected incidents.

And yes, there is insurance cover available to manage such a reputational crisis, but insurers expect clients to have proper plans and resources in place at the outset. The reality is that while insurance can cover the immediate costs of resourcing the response and crisis management campaign, can you really quantify the value – current and in the future – of lost clientele, patronage and respect from public, shareholders and the media?

As Aon says in its risk report, companies need to treat damage to their reputations as understandable and even predictable challenges that one should expect in today’s business environment.

As a final parting thought, there are more than enough factors outside of your control that can impact on your brand’s reputation that will demand your attention and resources. So walk the fine line, keep your promises and always behave in an ethical manner towards your clients, suppliers and stakeholders. Do that and you will have removed at least 80% of the serious risks that can blow your hard-earned reputation to pieces. Behave like a rogue and no amount of reputation management is going to save you from a public execution.

By Teresa Settas, founder and MD of  Teresa Settas Communications

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