Enterprise technology is extremely diverse and exciting these days, as the cloud changes approaches and needs, and as the boundaries between personal and work life get increasingly blurred.
As a result, scores of entrepreneurs around the world are braving regulatory uncertainty and a slowing economy to launch new businesses. These ventures spread across a multitude of industry sectors, but most focus on using technology to deliver products and services in a better, faster and cheaper way.
According to Anton van Heerden, GM at Altech ISIS, established companies can all learn from these start-ups, starting with their innovative approach to common problems.
“No matter how good you are, or your idea is, it will fail if you are employing an outdated approach to solving business problems. While tried-and-tested solutions form an essential base from which to tackle problems, out-of-the-box thinking opens up a multitude of other opportunities,” he explains.
The second thing start-ups have in common, Van Heerden points out, is passion for their offering, and passion in the way they approach their business.
“Success follows passion, not the other way around,” he says. “It’s almost impossible to have a great vision for something if you don’t have the passion for it, and it’s equally difficult to create success without that passion. Start-up companies all have passion in common, but that tends to dissipate as they get bigger and as time goes on.”
The key, he adds, is that start-ups tend to have a “delivery focused” attitude, which translates into a much more productive environment.
“So many companies measure employee productivity by measuring output. How many lines of code did you write? Did you deliver the specification on time? But these outputs do not create value. It takes a big shift in management culture to allow teams to pursue value directly – in other words, to measure teams based on the outcomes of their work.
“Perhaps one of the best reasons to foster a sense of enjoyment and camaraderie in your office or workplace is that it helps boost value-adding activity in core times, leading them to become more productive.”
In addition, many start-ups are composed of distributed teams. Many more have flexible office hours. Many Gen X and Millennial employees see the ability to work unhindered as a huge benefit.
“If you trust that your employees can handle themselves and get their work done on time, consider letting them adopt more flexible work hours. Your night owls will appreciate the opportunity to work with all pistons firing, and your early birds will love getting home to their loved ones before rush hour traffic starts.
“The benefit is that, like we have seen at Altech ISIS, the focus is not on clock watching but on delivery – and this greatly increases efficiency and productivity,” Van Heerden says.