2014 Business Tech Trends study hones in on 3 key characteristics

Last week, we released our 2014 Business Tech Trends study to the public. A replay of the webcast is available.

Image of term definitionsThe study focused on 3 key characteristics of pacesetting companies – those companies who continue to successfully stay ahead of their competitors using transformative technologies.

The study found that the 3 characteristics are rooted in a cultural shift that embraces today’s newest technologies. The 3 key characteristics are:

  1. Partnering is in their DNA.
  2. Analytics is their fuel.
  3. Integration is their breakaway move.

Partnering, as a tool for success, is not a new revelation. Partnering with companies who enhance our own product or service is a great way to increase business. What’s special about pacesetting companies is that they take partnering to another level, choosing to partner with non-traditional types. For example, pacesetting companies will partner with citizen developers as they would with their clients and professional developers. They also partner with academic-minded institutions and start-ups to tap into the latest trends.

Choosing to trust the data they collect with analytics solutions speaks more to a cultural shift that pacesetting companies are willing to embrace. Gone are the days where successful companies rely on instinct to determine their actions. Instead, they harness the power of analytics to shape their decisions.

Integration as the breakaway move is about using all the transformative technologies – cloud, analytics, mobile, social – in concert with one another. With total integration, pacesetting companies squeeze every bit of capability to their advantage. All their data gets massaged into actionable items, giving them a huge advantage over those who do not integrate.

So how is this of value to startups? The 3 key characteristics apply to startups! Pacesetting companies can be large and small! Many startups today embrace analytics and integrate all the technologies without even giving it a thought! They are natives in the land of transformative technologies. But partnering might not yet be in their DNA. Of the 3 characteristics, that’s more than likely the one area startups could improve.

Be sure to check out the replay  and download the study to learn more!


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2014 Business Tech Trends Study webcast: Learn the secrets of Pacesetters

Startups are always looking for advantages. Most of the time, they find out about advantages working with venture capitalists and incubators (including mentors!). And every now and then, startups learn a thing or two from large corporations.

How do companies gain advantages? What are the things they do that set them apart from everyone else? What are their secrets?

We have the answers, and we’re inviting you to find out!

On August 21st, we’ll reveal the findings of key characteristics of Pacesetters – successful companies who use cloud, analytics, mobile and social to outperform their competitors – during a webcast you do not want to miss!

In addition, we’ll turn this information into actions and ideas that will help you approach the market more effectively.

For more information, listen to Sandy Carter’s brief video about the webcast.

Register now for this great opportunity!

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Romesh Wadhwani Inspires Entrepreneurs at TieCon 2014

Guest post by Jeff Saperstein, co-founder of CVC Group and co-author of Service Thinking: The Seven Principles to Discover Innovative Opportunities

Romesh Wadhwani delivered an informed and rousing presentation, receiving a long-sustained standing ovation by those fortunate to hear his life story and candid reflections. He began with an audacious claim: “As I think about entrepreneurship, I have concluded that there is no higher creative calling than being an entrepreneur. More than being a painter, more than being a sculptor, more than being a dancer, more than being a singer… The reason is because entrepreneurs get to create on a very large canvas.”

Founder of Symphony Technology Group, Wadhwani has been a determined serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, who builds companies with “real profits”. As a no nonsense business leader, Wadhwani’s professional life story would be reason enough to cheer; however, more remarkable is that he has pledged half his wealth to philanthropy, devoting his prodigious energies and considerable financial resources to giving back to his people in India through the Wadhwani Foundation: The foundation’s primary mission is to leverage India’s growing human potential to bring about large-scale, high-impact social change.

He was scathing in his critique of lack of social concern in India, citing that while $300 billion is annually donated to charity in the US only $5 billion is donated in India, a country with four times the US population. His focus on social change is to reverse that dynamic and apply Silicon Valley know how to find new solutions for job creation and economic development. The Foundation has introduced entrepreneurship programs in colleges. The National Entrepreneurship Network has created 2000 new companies.

Principles for Entrepreneurship

The core of his message was dedicated to Entrepreneurs and he shared five lessons from his success:

1. Entrepreneurship is about creativity, passion, and perseverance

2. Learn from mistakes and persevere; experience matters

3. Renewal is a critical aspect of entrepreneurship

4. The job of the leader is to Motivate the team

5. Innovation is essential to sustaining a vibrant business

Symphony Technology Group has combined these capabilities to create a different business model: Cross-fertilize 14 companies that have $3 billion revenues with $300 million in operating profit. He takes a sustainable portfolio approach to build great companies.

What is a great company?

1-Continuously increase value to customers

2-Acquire and retain best talent

3-Grow organically through innovation

4-Build high performance culture

Wadhwani suggests it is a journey; one never fully achieves greatness, but shoot to be better than just good.

Values do matter: how you deal with customers, talent, culture, and real tangible outcomes associated with them. Symphony Technology has a 4X outcome of comparable companies.

Romesh Wadhwani has lived an inspiring life and celebrates success by paying forward to help new generations of entrepreneurs. We would all be better served if his wisdom, experience, and drive were more widely known and appreciated.

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It’s all roses for Rosie at SmartCamp Cambridge

Photo of SmartCamp Cambridge attendees

Attendees at SmartCamp Cambridge

The house was packed for last week’s SmartCamp Cambridge event! With 6 startups competing for the win, it was Rosie that rose to the top to win the SmartCamp Cambridge!

rosie_logoSo why Rosie? Well for starters, Rosie is a leading SaaS provider of predictive online and mobile shopping applications to local merchants. Their solution is aimed at improving the grocery store shopping experience by predicting the grocery items shoppers need before they run out, at the lowest price from local grocers and online retailers.

What does their solution do for grocery retailers? Rosie provides e-commerce, delivery opportunities, and deep data services to local merchants. And for consumers, Rosie enables customers to shop online for their favorite local stores for delivery or in-store pickup.

The other 5 finalists were (in alphabetical order): Astra Identity, Capital Market Exchange, Disease Diagnostic Group, Measurance, and Myndlift. Be sure to check out their websites and follow them on their social channels. And, a huge thanks to them for participating in SmartCamp Cambridge!

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VacantBoards wins the first ever Lagos SmartCamp!

The first IBM SmartCamp Lagos was a huge success with a strong turnout from business leaders, mentors, and other entrepreneurs interested to see this great event!

Photo of the winner, VacantBoards

Tunji Ajao (center) of VacantBoards after winning SmartCamp Lagos

The winner of the SmartCamp event was VacantBoards! Their solution of maintaining inventory of vacant billboards and leveraging analytics, mobile and big data technology to connect small-medium business to the available, low-cost outdoor advertising opportunities was seen as the strongest in the field of competing startups. VacantBoards’ solution was seen as the best example of using big data and mobile technology to drive greater value for their clients. And, their solution certainly seems to be scalable!

Photo of crowd at SmartCamp LagosAn impressive turnout of the local ecosystem including academia, existing and potential start-ups, technology and industry professionals was evident at the event!

All in all, a great event for Lagos and a great addition to our IBM SmartCamps!


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IBM SmartCamp Lagos attracts diverse field of startups

The IBM SmartCamp Lagos event will be held on July 18th at the IBM West Africa campus in Lagos.

Once again, this SmartCamp is co-sponsored by Tech4Africa! Both IBM and Tech4Africa have enjoyed a successful partnership in the SmartCamp series. Last month, Tech4Africa and IBM held a similar, successful  SmartCamp event in Nairobi. The Lagos event promises to be just as successful!

The startups participating are:

Gidi-Farm logoGidiFarm provides up-to-date market information of different agro-produces, connects farmers to buyers/markets through the agro-market, and provides an online agro-market place for buying & selling of agro-produces.

Mobile OES
OES logoOnline Exams Simulation (OES) helps students prepare for and pass grade school exams. Multiple mobile and cell phone platforms are supported.

iQube_logoiQube is an Applied Computer Science Research & Development company that aims to provide custom app-based solutions to challenges that are locally relevant using mobile and web technologies.

Asuqu logoAsuqu is a web channel that provides an online portfolio for photographers, animators, short film creators, creative directors, UI designers, web designers, architects, engineers, fashion designers, make-up artists, models, musicians, and other creative professionals.

Don’t miss this event! Make sure to register to attend!

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Cloud, Mobile and Social startups win at SmartCamps!

We have more exciting news coming from SmartCamps in Africa and Europe!

Recently, we had SmartCamps in Milan, Lille and Nairobi. And at each location, the local entrepreneurial ecosystem was engaged and participated!

Congratulations to Social Bullgard (Italy), Seclud-IT (France) and Digital Vision East Africa (Nairobi)!

social bullgard logoSocial Bullgard gathers and structures social media content to help companies react quickly to requests and opportunities, as well as avoid and manage crisis efficiently.

secludit logoSeclud-IT’s solution, Elastic Security, brings to cloud infrastructure providers the ability to provide on-demand computing resources to their customers, without compromising with security.

chamasoft logoDigital Vision East Africa’s solution, Chamasoft, is a simple to use web and mobile application that automates all activities in an investment group. Their solution also promotes transparency and accountability within investment groups.

What an impressive list of startups! And all that just from last week! There are more to come, as our SmartCamps are happening around the world. Find out more about a SmartCamp near you!

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