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Translating startup-speak for the corporate buyer

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Startups salivate at the prospect of entering the enterprise – and for good reason. The enterprise is rife with legacy systems and circuitous processes that frustrate employees and hinder results — and the startup has just the perfect product to fix the problem.

Too often though, the pitch to the enterprise falls flat or a promising pilot gets sidelined. Sometimes there’s a clear obstacle, like a mismatch between product and problem to be solved, an inability to scale, or the loss of an internal sponsor. But more often than one would expect, the startup’s value is simply getting lost in translation.

Even the most forward-looking enterprise leaders are operating in an environment what I like to call “GAAP-based digital strategy.” The budgeting process supports only certain kinds of purchases, like renewable software licensing fees and support contracts with fixed costs. New models, like variable costs for open source development, require workarounds and explanation in the budget process and cause even the most eager internal champion to lose time and energy.

So what’s a startup to do? The more you can help your internal sponsor translate the cost model to adhere to the established norm, the more traction they are likely to get from the hydra of procurement and finance. Once the project has momentum, your champion can work to change the budgeting process – but that’s a tall order before your pilot is launched and showing results.

The concept of GAAP-based digital strategy extends well beyond accounting practices. Consider internal reporting: large organizations spend an inordinate amount of time reporting up, across, and down in an effort to improve transparency and inspire shared ownership of outcomes. What are the KPIs for the department you are serving? How easily will your results translate into their storytelling? Spend some time up front with your client to ensure your results align with (and show up in!) the existing framework for reporting.

Corporations are aware of how hard it is to navigate these control systems, and so they are increasingly creating “innovation departments” with dedicated funding for one-off experiments using new technology. This is often the start of the relationship between a startup and a new client.

For startups, this can be a beneficial approach, since it offers the opportunity to deliver value before wrangling with cumbersome procurement or IT requirements. But too often these divisions lurch from pilot to pilot, and struggle to find line-of-business champions willing to absorb startup technology into their operations. The biggest challenge here is that there’s often no enterprise template for the handoff from the innovation setting – where experiments can operate in a “clean room” apart from procedures and regulations – to ongoing operations.

Here’s how one startup providing augmented reality headsets and software to a complex pharma manufacturing environment crossed over. Their pilot showed clear results: testing with four-five headsets, their AR software measurably helped workers on the floor by augmenting the workflow with voice recording and hands-free capabilities.

The startup team then came on-site, and they partnered with the workers testing the solution to document the improvements and discuss how to ensure the process complied with regulations. This direct interaction fed into their results reporting to make the case for the 30-40 headsets needed on the shop floor. Rather than wait for middle management, the startup developed a grassroots-fortified case for moving into operations.

Similarly, a startup piloting an analytics product in a CPG enterprise was immediately pigeonholed into the IT department’s analytics budget. Surrounded by a range of solutions from business intelligence dashboards to marketing technology tools, their pilot was getting lost.

By closely analyzing results, the startup saw promising early findings in the trade promotions area. They worked through their contacts to reach the executive in charge of trade promotions who took the pilot under her wing – and into her budget. They avoided being locked into a GAAP-based bucket (analytics), and were connected with an executive to unlock a whole different conversation.

In addition to finding your internal champion and changing the GAAP conversation, spend time understanding the larger enterprise backdrop: the initiatives and themes that are driving this quarter’s shareholder value. Help your client position the solution not only in the context of the specific problem to solve, but the overall enterprise goals.

The annual report is your friend here. The focus may be digital transformation or global collaboration or risk management, and aligning to this priority may enable your client to get buy-in internally. Make sure you are fluent in the visible, budgeted, CEO-led, cross departmental initiatives — and how your solution plays a role here.

Take heart: this translation won’t always be a one-way street. The deeper your engagement, the more your enterprise clients will benefit from your startup’s perspective, and change technology, process, and language to reflect that understanding. Ideally, GAAP-based digital strategy recedes as long-established protocols reduce structural lag with how business is conducted today. In the meantime, consider the art of translation as important as pitching the outcome.

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Satechi USB-C Slim Dock For 24-Inch iMac Review: Fixing Shortcomings

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There are plenty of iMac docks on the market today, especially after the launch of the 2021 M1 models. Part of the tradeoff for the computer’s gorgeously slim design is the dearth of ports, all of which are hidden behind its screen. But while many of these docks and hubs are advertised as compatible with the 24-inch iMac, Satechi’s new dock takes that to the extreme — in fact, the USB-C Slim Dock is designed only for the 24-inch M1 iMac. Sure, you could use it for other computers, but then you lose one of its biggest features.

That feature is actually the wide gap on its bottom that perfectly fits the base of the iMac. This makes the dock look almost like it’s part of the iMac itself, especially if you get matching colors. The dock also creates a wider base that you could put things on if you like. Either way, its exclusivity to the 2021 and 2022 M1 iMacs works in its favor, creating a seamless appearance that fits the machine perfectly.

Whether you match colors or not, the Satechi USB-C dock matches the build quality of the iMac it sits on. Made from durable aluminum, the accessory looks premium and stylish, adding some character to your desk just as much as the iMac does. The material also makes heat dissipation more effective, which comes in handy given its hidden superpower. If there’s one disappointing aspect of the dock, it would be that it’s available only in silver and blue colorways that won’t color match all the available iMac hues.

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This Space-Age Electric Scooter Has Steering-Assist And A Controversial Design

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Bo’s e-scooter was never meant to be conventional. However, there is a danger that the ditching of a long-established mechanical element may cause some debate and controversy within the e-scooter community. The change involves the hinge most e-scooters have between the stem and the deck, which bo has removed entirely, meaning the M is un-foldable. It’s too early to say if bo’s choices will lead to a full-blown scooter civil war, but the company is standing by its decision, with CTO Harry Willis saying, “Aware that to some it is controversial, we made a conscious decision to eliminate the fold, launching bo M with an unbroken Monocurve chassis.”

The startup argues that the benefits of ditching “the fold” outweigh any inconveniences. Those claimed benefits include increased ride quality, safety, and reliability. “It represented a point of weakness, so that directed us to this final design,” Willis said. The downsides are essentially limited to the scooter taking up more space when not in use. This may not even be an issue at all, with bo claiming the majority of people never even bother to fold their scooters in the first place. They also claim this puts the M in an entirely new category, with it hovering somewhere between a classic e-scooter and a larger, more practical, e-bike. Sometimes change is good.

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The 5 Best And 5 Worst 3-Wheeled Cars On The Market

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Hailing from the Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish sea is the Peel P50, which is said to be the smallest production car ever made. Looking at it, it is hard to disagree. The P50 has enough room for one person, barely, and offers minimal protection from the elements. The Peel offers minimal car in general. For someone who wants to own a piece of curios history and have a toy to bring out every once in a while, the P50 is fine. For anyone who wants a vehicle, even as a weekend toy, and drives it often, the P50 is terrible.

The Peel was made in the early sixties and only managed to produce 49 in total. It is powered by a 49cc DKW scooter engine, providing a whopping 4.5 horsepower. It’s got 3 forward gears and the reverse is handled literally by a handle. You must lift up the rear and turn it in the direction you want to go (via BBC). Such niceties as climate control and electric start are pipe dreams for this car as well.

For reasons unknown, someone has decided to make new models. Since there were only 49 made in the first place, a dearth of tiny and useless cars drove up the prices and it seemed somehow to be necessary to create more for someone to drive for some reason, presumably. In the end, it’s an oddity that is impractical in every way and should not be driven ever.

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