Qantas fast evolving into a digital business, says CTO

Qantas is fast evolving to become a digital business, in response to how customers interact with the brand, the airline’s chief technology officer Rob James said today.

“If you think about it from a customer’s perspective most of their touchpoints with Qantas the brand is through digital channels. It’s only once you finally get to the airport and you experience a lounge or you get on an aircraft that you experience a physical touchpoint,” James told an audience at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on the Gold Coast.

“For the most part you’re not walking into a travel agent anymore to book a ticket, you’re doing it online. You’re preparing a lot of things online or through mobile devices. You’re managing your relationship with the brand online. So we are very fast becoming a digital business,” he said.

James, who has been in the role since August said customer facing technologies were a priority for the national carrier, and were considered a point of competitive advantage.

“There is going to always be technology that just runs your business, and they’ll be parts of that technology stack that aren’t a differentiator. It might be how you manage your workforce, your fleet, your assets or your finances,” he said as part of an Avenade hosted panel discussion.

“But the areas we see that are differentiators are your customer touch points. How you reach out to your customer, how you provide services to the customer,”…

How DJ Irie Built A Real Business And Reinvented Nightlife In Miami

Daymond John, Alonzo Mourning and DJ Irie at the Irie Weekend 2017 Gala

In Miami, summers unofficially kick off with Irie Weekend, one of the most star-studded events to hit the city each year. DJ Irie (born Ian Grocher) is the host and mastermind behind the four-day spectacle that started on June 29 with a fundraiser gala that auctioned items and experiences, like a one-on-one yacht sail with Shark Tank judge Daymond John that alone raised $20,000. This year, ticket sales and sponsorship dollars from Irie Weekend raised $500,000 for music education programs for inner-city youth. The itinerary continued with celebrity golf tournaments, celebrity-filled pool parties, DJ performances and concerts featuring rap artists like Nellie, T.I. and Future. This year, the sold out event attracted 8,000 attendees to nightclubs, venues and hotels throughout the city, including Eden Roc, E11even and Fontainebleau. The grand finale concluded with Kevin Hart’s birthday brunch at Miami River Yacht Club. While Irie Weekend wrapped up in early July, DJ Irie is now planning to host the first Irie Weekend in Jamaica this December and Las Vegas next Spring. Irie says he’s able to produce and scale a multi-day luxe event by relying on his own collection of enterprises that specialize in talent booking (Artist Related), sponsorship marketing (Irie Music, Corp) and event production (Irie Weekend Management). While a single DJ performance can earn Irie four to five figures in one night, his boutique agencies together employ ten full-time staff and earned about $7 million in revenue in 2016. In the following interview which has been edited and condensed, Irie explains how he went from being a DJ to building a business.

Tanya Klich: Which do you enjoy more – being a DJ or running a business?

DJ Irie: The most accurate answer to this question would be that I enjoy running a DJ/Music based business. It’s one thing to run a business but another thing to operate a business in a field that you’re extremely passionate about and engaged in.

Klich: How did you become a celebrity DJ?

Irie: I went from playing at a local skating rink to playing at every major nightclub in Miami. In 1999, marketing executives from the Miami Heat asked me to become the first official team DJ. I’m tasked with bringing South Beach party vibes to home games at the American Airlines Arena. I then became the choice DJ for NBA All-Star games and personal events for ball players and Miami-based celebrities. Now, clients from around the world hire me for private events.

During the gala, Miami Beach Mayor, Philip Levine surprised DJ IRIE by presenting him with a key to the city.

Klich: When did you launch your first company?

Irie: When I was DJing nightclubs throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, “street-team marketing” was big in hip-hop capitols like New York City and Los Angeles. I realized this had no presence in Florida or the South. I also realized my equipment crew of four to six men had nothing to do in between the set up and break down of my turntables, so why not capitalize on their downtime and train them as street-team marketers. In 1997 I created Universal Music Group and partnered with major record labels like Chris Lighty’s Violator to promote artists like Q-Tip and Missy Elliott in my region. We had dozens of promoters in Miami and Atlanta who worked part-time. At its peak, UMG was earning $400,000 in annual revenue.

Klich: What happened?

Irie: As…

Most Businesses Want Agility but Few Have It


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Although many organizations recognize that agility enables better responses to changing business conditions, few have taken the necessary steps to reach that goal, a new study from CA Technologies suggests.

Although two-thirds of the respondents to the firm’s recent survey saw value in business agility, only about 12 percent said their organizations were on their way to achieving it.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said improved business agility could provide a better competitive advantage; 65 percent said it could lead to higher customer satisfaction and retention; and 58 percent said it could result in better employee satisfaction and retention.

Despite those clear advantages, though, many businesses face hurdles in their quest for better agility. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents cited complex environments as an impediment to achieving that goal, while 58 percent cited cultural and political barriers. Twenty-five percent said there was a lack of financial commitment, and another 25 percent cited outdated apps and tools.

“Success today requires that companies quickly sense and adapt to changes, pivot to address market changes and customer needs, and do so at scale,” said Surya Panditi, general manager of agile management at CA Technologies.

High-Level Execs

More than 150 top executives at selected companies participated in the survey, which Gatepoint Research conducted between March and June of this year. The survey pool’s composition was 19 percent C-level, 15 percent vice president level, 36 percent director-level and 30 percent managerial-level company officials.

CA Technologies has focused heavily on the development ops and cloud space since its 2015 acquisition of Rally Software Development Corp., a provider of agile development software, for US$480 million.

“We’re at a tipping point, and this is just the beginning,” CA Technologies Director of Marketing Marla Schimke told the E-Commerce Times.

Vantiv Case Study

Among the companies that CA Technologies has helped transform since…

Businesses Leverage Instagram Stories to New Heights


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Instagram’s Stories feature, which launched one year ago, has achieved widespread engagement among businesses that want to raise their brand awareness and expand their e-commerce penetration, the company said Wednesday.

The tool, launched in August 2016, allows users to create digital slide shows out of photos and videos in order to convey a story. Businesses ranging from Taco Bell to J.Crew and Starbucks have used Stories to give a behind-the-scenes peek at new products, launch limited sales, or get instant customer feedback about new initiatives.

More than 250 million daily active users are on Stories, compared to rival Snapchat’s 166 million, Instagram said.

Half of all businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story just in the last month, and one of every five organic stories from business members resulted in a direct message, the company claimed.

“That suggests businesses are exploring Stories as a means of interacting with existing and potential customers, and that some are succeeding pretty well in those efforts,” Pund-IT Principal Analyst Charles King told the E-Commerce Times.

Increased Engagement

Instagram rolled out Stories to boost member engagement, and statistics indicate the strategy worked, in terms of increased time spent on the service. Users under age 25 currently spend an average of 32 minutes a day on Instagram, while users over 25 spend an average of 24 minutes a day on the service, according to the company.

Instagram has added…

Advanced Technologies Drive Business Expense Trends

Advanced Technologies Drive Business Expense Trends

Matthew Goss has held the position of managing director at Concur ANZ since 2013. He has been with the company for more than 14 years. He has extensive experience in establishing and managing operations for cloud-based technology companies.

The way businesses process travel, expenses, and invoices is rapidly evolving due to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Big Data. While these advanced technologies are helping businesses save time, simplify tasks, and deliver richer, more personalised experiences today than ever before, the best is yet to come.

The impact of technology on travel, expense management, and invoicing cannot be overstated. This advanced technology will deliver the next wave of cost savings and efficiency improvements, delivering actionable intelligence and automation and making it easier for everyone in the organisation to comply with expenses policies and procedures.

This technological revolution is driving unprecedented change across travel, expenses, and invoicing in three key areas:

  1. AI

    AI helps companies detect noncompliance with company travel and expenses policies. Automated technologies can track and analyse spending activities and trends, and then identify anomalies and patterns in employee expense reports. Companies can then use this information to uncover new ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Amazon’s B2B Business Blows Past 1M Customer Mark


Amazon Business, launched in April 2015, this week announced that it had reached the 1 million customer milestone.

“This is rapid growth,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

It’s attributable in part to a crossover effect from the large number of B2C customers Amazon has, he told the E-Commerce Times.

Amazon Business offers business-only pricing on millions of products, and access to more than 85,000 business sellers.

Customers include hospitals, educational institutions, laboratories, daycare centers, government agencies, restaurants, Fortune 50 companies and sole proprietors. They range from Con Edison to Gwinnett County Public Schools to Johns Hopkins University to the Mayo Clinic and Siemens.

Amazon Business’ Appeal

This is what customers say about Amazon Business:

  • User set-up is simple and doesn’t require any staff training;
  • Pricing is competitive;
  • Customers can track purchases easily;
  • It’s easy to find products;
  • Amazon offers rapid delivery;
  • Customers can get large amounts or large items delivered easily; and
  • Administrative work for procurement is reduced.

Amazon Business provides free two-day shipping on orders of US$49 or more.

The site is Amazon Prime-compatible.

It offers multiuser accounts with approval workflows and purchasing analytics, and it lets users create custom groups to match their organizations.

Customers can pay with corporate purchasing cards or through an Amazon corporate credit account. Amazon offers tax-exempt purchasing for qualifying organizations.

The site can be integrated into customers’ purchasing systems.

Amazon Business offers an analytics dashboard for customers to track and monitor their spending, with dynamic charts and data tables. Both administrators and requisitioners can access the analytics tool.

Customers can analyze spend by individual users,…

Workflow gives you information to manage your business

Workflow gives you information to manage your business

Workflow gives executives the information they so sorely need to both lead and manage their businesses.

Regrettably, workflow is often seen as a narrow technical opportunity or discipline. Something that will allow processes to flow more smoothly, or reduce elapsed time. In reality, workflow is one of the biggest opportunities you may have to invest in speed, flexibility, efficiency, and great customer service.

However, this will only be true if your workflow design goes further than helping you manage the baton-passing from one function to another – it must also provide you with a rich source of insight on what is really going on within your own operations.

Yet how is this so? Well, imagine that today you are responsible for a process whereby customers can apply for a service. Currently one department receives the customer call, another checks the application to ensure all the details are correct, another checks that the basic infrastructure is in place to provide the service, another books the resources to do the work, and only then does another team start the value-adding work.

Let’s also imagine that you have noticed a disturbing growth in the backlog of service requests. Furthermore, your complaint numbers are not looking pretty, largely because of slow service. What is even more concerning, is that you do not really have the information you require to identify the causes of these problems.

You need to know at which steps of the process the issues are occurring, with which teams, and for what reasons, i.e. you need to be…

Authors of Petya Ransomware Made Businesses Invest in Cyberdefense – Qiwi CTO

Ransomware attacks global IT systems
Ransomware attacks global IT systems

The authors of the Petya ransomware managed to draw public attention to the problem of the information security and made the businesses invest in solving it.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The authors of the Petya ransomware, which recently hit thousands of computers around the globe, managed to draw public attention to the problem of the information security and made the businesses invest in solving it, Kirill Ermakov, chief technology officer at Qiwi group of companies, told Sputink in an interview.

“Petya is particularly interesting due to the fact that its commercial compound to extort money served only as a cover. Actually, it merely blocked the companies’ work without any clear intent of its creators… But what they really manage to do is to draw attention to…

Comparing content production models: Which is right for your business?

If you’ve been in content marketing for a while, you’re probably familiar with different content production and development models. Two common ones are hub-and-spoke and skyscraper content. It should be noted that there are other models as well, but these are two of the more popular approaches people take.

How do you determine which one is right for your business? As with all marketing, it’s important to start with your goal in mind. What outcome do you hope to achieve from this content marketing program?

Starting with the end in mind helps us zero in on which strategy will help us the most. You also need to think about the resources you have on hand, the budget available and how much content you can produce in a specific time.

The hub-and-spoke model

The first model is often referred to as the hub-and-spoke model. In this model, you focus on producing big, in-depth content pieces that are often gated and used as an opt-in for your business. These in-depth pieces are your “hub.”

Hub content should address a potential customer’s most pressing needs. It should be in-depth enough to provide value and help them with the issues they’re facing today (or very soon).

The strategy behind hub content is like that of content customer service. You’re focused on your customer and their needs. You create content that addresses their needs.

Examples of hub content can be webinars, e-books, white papers, videos and more. They’re not one-minute teaser videos or 500-word blog posts. Hub content takes time to produce. It may involve a research study.

Hub content should align with a content pillar. In most cases, you’ll want one great piece of hub content for each pillar. Then, you create lots of smaller pieces of content that support your hub content piece.

You might have quick videos, blog posts, infographics or website content that serves as spoke content. Spoke content is generally not gated and shared freely. It’s designed to drive traffic to a site, build links or push a reader to a piece of hub content that’s gated and serves as an opt-in, where the company can get your email address.

The email address is still a very valuable commodity to a marketer. Once an email address is shared via the opt-in content, you’re often added to the customer list and may be greeted by a nurturing campaign.

When you’re following the hub-and-spoke model, you’ll create significantly more spoke content than hub. You may only create a few pieces of hub content each year but multiple spokes monthly.

Advantages of the hub-and-spoke model

Hub-and-spoke works exceptionally well for business development goals. If you’re trying to generate qualified leads for your sales team, this type of content can help. If your spoke content is well-done and addresses your potential client’s needs, people will likely share their email address to receive the hub piece.

If someone is willing to part with their contact information in exchange for a piece of content, it’s likely they feel the content is valuable and will help them in their job or with their business. They’ve essentially selected themselves as a warm lead and are showing that they may be interested in your product.

You may also be able to attract links through your spoke content. If you’re creating content that addresses your customers’ questions and solves their problems, they’ll be more likely to share it with others.

Disadvantages of the hub-and-spoke model

This is a time-consuming content…

CIO interview: Marc Roberts, CTO, HiyaCar

Being CTO at a startup business that uses IT to differentiate itself means there is no legacy hangover and software can be developed quickly to address business challenges.

HiyaCar is a peer-to-peer car rental company, or, as CTO Marc Roberts puts it, “like Airbnb for cars”.

The company, established three years ago, enables members to make their cars available for rent to other members through an online platform.

As head of IT at a startup company that is disrupting a sector through technology, Roberts is in the privileged position of having a group of business leaders around him who understand the importance of digital technology.

When it started up, the company’s initial challenge was not a technical one. The first 18 months of its existence…