Tag Archives: competitive advantage

Competitive Advantage, Business

How To Have A Competitive Advantage In Business

We are currently experiencing one of the most disruptive technological revolutions in 30 years.  This change is advancing the way we do business, and with it is requiring businesses to change the way they compete in order to have a competitive advantage.

The ability to be flexible is what will make you soar above your competition and succeed.

New Technology

The cloud is changing everything, yet many have not heard about it, or if they have, do not really know what it means to them.

To put it simply, the cloud lets us compute on demand.  It has taken away physical restrictions and advanced the capabilities of what we can do with our smartphones, tablets and PCs.  Now, we are becoming more connected than ever before.  The idea that the PC is the sole place to store our digital lives is no longer accurate, and now we can connect and store everything “in the cloud.”

With the cloud, we are able to enhance our communications and work together easier and faster at a lower cost.  And when put that way, it’s easy to see why this is taking the world by storm.

New Competitive Advantage

With this extreme shift in how we do business, companies have to adapt.

Flexibility is now a consumer expectation.  To stay competitive, businesses must have the right tools in place to meet the new demands from their customers.

Competitive advantages set companies apart and are the determining factors in why customers choose them over other services available.  A competitive advantage, in the old sense of the term, used to be a specific product feature or offer that only a specific company could deliver. Now, with the shift in technology, the competitive advantage of many companies is their ability to be flexible and adapt to their consumers’ needs quickly and easily.

New Service

Software companies are not ignoring this revolution.  Instead, they are taking advantage of it and offering more to businesses so that they can in turn increase their ability to serve client needs.

New communication tools allow companies to increase their competitive advantage and become more flexible than ever before.  Now, businesses will have a place in the cloud where they can connect with their clients and maintain deeper relationships.  They can create loyalty and enhance their service with easy-to-implement tools.

When looking for a software tool to aid adaptability, it is important to find a solution that does not require extensive setup or transition time.  Solutions that include multiple collaboration features in one place are ideal for small businesses as they are easier to use and generally less expensive.

Companies who fail to begin using these new cloud solutions will have difficulty surviving in the current economic climate.   However, those firms who adapt to this shift in how we do business will be successful and have the tools to thrive!

i/o Data Centers

i/o Data Centers Keeps Companies Nationwide Up And Running

Despite an ongoing recessionary climate, Phoenix-based i/o Data Centers just keeps on growing and doesn’t plan on stopping.

In the last year i/o doubled its number of employees and is looking to expand its Phoenix location. In Oct., i/o announced it closed $200 million in financing for the company’s expansions.

In addition to its Phoenix and Scottsdale centers, i/o wants to establish locations throughout the U.S., as well as manufacture modular data centers, called i/o ANYWHERE, that would allow data center capacity anywhere a customer needs it. The modular data centers would be manufactured in Arizona, adding to i/o’s employment capabilities within the state.

The i/o Data Centers in Phoenix are co-location data centers, which means individual companies hire i/o to store and secure their data at an i/o facility. Approximately 400 companies store their data in i/o’s two Arizona locations.

The impression that i/o stores data is misleading, the company is merely the keeper of the outside package not the internal information, says Jason Ferrara, vice president of marketing at i/o Data Centers.

“You can say i/o stores data, and that’s where I think confusion comes into play,” Ferrara says. “We don’t touch anyone’s data. … We don’t have access to your data, which is a really important thing because the companies we deal with here are literally some of the biggest in the world.”

Its clients, companies such as AAA Insurance and Fender Musical Instruments, “have a competitive advantage by being here,” Ferrara says. Some companies refuse to be named as an i/o client because it gives them a large competitive edge.

“Really what i/o does is we just allow other companies to do their business,” Ferrara says. “We provide them with the infrastructure, the power, the cooling, the network and the access control so that they can conduct their IT operations without failure.”

By using back-up power sources, an evaporative cooling system, and maintaining tight-as-Fort-Knox security, i/o ensures its clients will never go offline.

“They can effectively conduct business 24 by seven by forever,” he says.

Round-the-clock power and flawless security are particularly important for companies such as banks that allow clients to make payments or transfers online, or a company that stores personal information, such as credit card numbers.

Ferrara says Arizona is a perfect place for a data center because of three reasons – Arizona is an exporter of power, which means i/o will never go without power; Arizona is business-friendly; and finally Arizona is free from environmental threats like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and tornadoes.

Although many people question the efficiency of running a data center – known to produce a large amount of heat – in one of the hottest cities in the nation, i/o uses a fairly green method of cooling, Ferrara says.

Evaporative cooling systems, which are more effective than air conditioning systems at keeping temperatures low, cool its data centers. Other green practices include LED lighting and variable frequency dry fans, which only operate at the frequency necessary to keep the room at a particular temperature.

In addition to keeping the temperature at a certain level, i/o also uses ultrasonic humidification devices to prevent static electricity from creating a spark and causing an outage, Ferarra says.

“That’s our goal – is uptime – keeping our customers’ computer systems online all the time. And they pay a lot of money for that.”

Time is money

For Employers, Time Is The New Currency

With all the cost cutting employers have had to do during the recent recession to stay afloat, it’s comforting to know that a key employee benefit near and dear to everyone’s heart has survived — paid vacations. According to a WorldatWork research report, Paid Time Off Programs and Practices*, a majority of U.S. employers still offer paid time off. In fact, three out of four survey respondents say it’s necessary to offer paid time off programs and do so in traditional and non-traditional ways.

Three types of paid-time-off programs:

Traditional system — Gives employees separate allotments for vacation, personal and sick days.

PTO banks — Workers receive a pooled number of days off that can be used as needed (generally excluding fixed holidays, jury duty and bereavement).

Unlimited leave – Employees can take as many days off as needed.

The United States is among the minority of countries in the United Nations with no guarantee of paid leave for workers. The WorldatWork study found that a majority of U.S. employers offer it as a key employee benefit even if they are not mandated to do so. With the focus of the Obama Administration and Congress on expanding access to paid leave programs, the research shows that employers recognize the competitive advantage of offering paid time off and believe in continuing these programs, in good times and in bad.

Other key findings:

A vast majority of employers provide paid sick leave.

The average number of paid sick days in a traditional system is nine.

PTO bank systems do not distinguish between vacation and sick time.

Employers offer an average of nine paid holidays each year.

Amidst pay cuts and wage freezes, time is emerging as the new currency, and it’s nice to know employers remain committed to rewarding and motivating employees with paid time off.

*Published in May 2010, data for the WorldatWork Paid Time Off Programs and Practices survey was gathered from Feb. 17-March 5, 2010. Of the 1,036 responses, 37 percent came from companies with 5,000 or more employees.