Business Answers
Business Answers is a place where HP in the UK can engage with owner-managers in small and medium-sized companies. It embraces this blog, a vibrant LinkedIn group, Twitter and YouTube videos. We hope you find this useful and that you will share your thoughts with us by leaving comments and sharing articles you like with your colleagues.

Displaying articles for: April 2011

2011 start-ups are born in the cloud

iStock_000013210346XSmall-w220-h220.jpgIf the dotcom era’s start-ups were born in a garage, this time around they are being raised in the cloud. According to a YouGov survey for accounting software firm Intuit, over one-third of small businesses are using one or more internet-based application besides email. And according to both Intuit and a US-based poll by online talent marketplace Elance, cloud uptake is set to grow and fuel a boom in entrepreneurship. Read the rest of this article for more about the new generation of cloud-based start-ups.

Data centre video porn

If you're a bit of a geek like me, you'll love these videos that show the latest, high-tech Intel data centres in all their naked glory.

 

 

 

 

 

Making the cloud more tangible

This is a guest post from our friends at Intel IT Galaxy UK. As cloud computing becomes more and more widespread, the data centres that provide internet services will become central. This article gives an insight into how those data centres are evolving.

 

At an event in Geneva recently, senior executives spelled out the future of the cloud from Intel's perspective. With all the expanse of words written and spoken about cloud that often feel quite intangible, it was great to get some real sense of the future of the cloud from a real world point of view.

 

Richard Curren, Director of the enterprise server and software enabling group, at Intel, said that cloud was one of the biggest inflection curves he had seen in the last 25 years.

 

"This is going to change the way we use IT to enhance our business and move things forward. From the data centre perspective we are going to see a massive growth in performance requirements.

 

"There will need to be a continuous level of refresh to meet customer needs as well as maintaining a cost envelope that allows data centres to be competitive.

 

"On the client side cloud computing is moving from a product centric environment to user centric.

"Users be will using many different client devices to meet the needs of their businesses.

 

Boyd Davis, VP of the Intel Architecture Group and GM of Data Centre Group Marketing, said Intel's vision was "expansive and includes the whole industry not just servers and clients but also embedded devices.

 

He said: "We envision a world where cloud is federated - where resources can be shared seamlessly across private and public clouds.

 

"It's automated, where there's no manual intervention and where it's client aware - where devices can be used to their maximum effectiveness and not at the level of lowest common denominator."

 

Check out the new HP SignagePlayer MP8000r

digital-signage-player_tcm_183_814776-w220.pngImprove customer engagement in shops and the retail sector with the new all-in-one HP SignagePlayer MP8000r. Read the attached press release for information about the new device. HP and Scala are demonstrating it at the Screenmedia Expo 2011, Earls Court 2, 18-19 May, booth E23.

A window of opportunity

emmaljones.jpgIn the 11 years in which I’ve been involved with small business, I’ve never known a time quite like it. There is a swell of enthusiasm from people wanting to become their own boss, either on account of having been made redundant (and recognising self-employment as a safer option than employment) or motivated by a desire for freedom and flexibility in their working life. Read the rest of this excellent guest post by Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation for more inspiration and advice.

HP TouchPad for business

Touchpad-w220.jpgThe new HP TouchPad should be available this summer. As the name suggests it is a touchscreen tablet computer with a 9.7-inch screen. It weighs just 740 grams and it's about 13.7mm thick. In other words, it's about as light and portable as a copy of Vogue.

 

Set aside, for a moment, the entertainment features and think about it as a business platform. There are so many web-based services (see Twenty outsourced cloud services for growing businesses)  out there that a tablet like this might make sense for many business applications.

 

Business-friendly features include: built-in webcam for video conferencing, built-in collaboration tools using Google Docs or Box.net, the ability to print wirelessly to compatible networked HP printers. There is an optional, compact wireless keyboard. And, of course, the TouchPad's web browser is fully-featured and includes a beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 so you can get a complete web experience.

 

Visit HP Palm's Touchpad website for more details.

Tags: SaaS| Tablet| TouchPad

Twenty outsourced cloud services for growing businesses

iStock_000013210346XSmall-w220-h220.jpgWhat’s the first question a small business asks a cloud computing expert? “How to begin,” says Andrew Mellish of Advanced 365, a specialist consultancy and cloud software provider.  In other words, it’s not a question of what you can outsource, but what you can’t. Thanks to cloud computing, it’s possible to run a business without much infrastructure at all. Find out how when you read the rest of this article.

Why mission-critical computing is at the heart of cloud services

Intel LogoFrom a user's perspective, cloud computing is easy and simple. You need a PC, an internet connection and a web browser. But from a provider's perspective, you need powerful computers, large datacentres and lots of resiliance. This is where Intel comes in. This article the Intel IT Galaxy UK website goes into Intel's vision of mission-critical computing, which is at the heart of cloud services. Check it out: Xeon redefines Mission Critical.

Tags: Cloud| Intel

State of the small business nation: the latest HP research

Download the latest HP research and SMB Index by clicking on the attachment icon below.

 

HP LogoOver the past six months UK small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have grown on average by six per cent despite the broader UK economy struggling according to the latest SMB Index from HP. 

 

HP’s survey of 1,000 SMBs, with between 1 - 50 employees, shows that compared to the previous six months growth for UK SMBs has slowed slightly but optimism is still strong, with SMBs expecting to grow by up to 13 per cent over the next year. Optimism in the economy is also strong with 66 per cent of SMBs optimistic about the year ahead. SMBs in Financial Services have grown the most (13 per cent), followed by Manufacturing (10 per cent). SMBs in Retail (4 per cent) and Professional Services (1 per cent) have seen the least growth.

 

Nearly half of UK SMBs (48 per cent) are turning to social media to help grow their business and reach new audiences, with 56 per cent of sole traders recognising its value the most. Although SMBs are finding social media beneficial for networking purposes (83 per cent), and as a mechanism for advertising (57 per cent), many SMBs are underestimating its true potential for business growth and lead generation.

 

It’s encouraging that 34 per cent of SMBs are using online business forums to share insights or as a tool to seek advice. Having identified ‘expert advice’ (65 per cent) as the number one influence on their own purchasing decisions, along with peer recommendations (42 per cent), it is surprising that very few SMBs recognise the importance of adding value to their own customers or prospective customers via online communities which could positively impact lead generation and growth.

 

“The internet is an important tool for business growth, and it is savvy SMBs who understand its potential, beyond ecommerce,” explains Katie Ledger, professional branding expert. “By investing time in customers and prospective customers, whether by responding to requests for advice in business forums or making recommendations, SMBs can immediately build credibility and trust to their brand, and gain advocates. All it takes is a bit of time.”

 

“Since setting up my strategic marketing consultancy just over two years ago, I’ve built my entire business through networking. In that time I’ve generated over £500k in business through conversations that initiated on online community platforms,” explains Bryony Thomas, Founder of Clear Thought Consulting. “Whether you’re a sole trader, freelancer, a small business stretching a modest marketing budget, or a sales person in a larger SMB, time spent on online communities can definitely be a profitable investment.”

 

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, SMBs are focused on the specifications and functionality of PC’s and notebooks well above how stylish or desirable the brand name might be. After ‘sales’ and ‘special offers’, IT support formed a significant 61 per cent of the factors on the priority list for purchasing. Extended warranties were also high on the list.

 

“Whether it is the use of social media, enhanced security measures, collaborative working capabilities or the need for heightened processing power, we’re constantly seeing how advances in technology can transform the way businesses operate,” explains Gavin Parrish, UK & Ireland Commercial Category manager at HP. “We aim to help SMBs make the right decisions for their business by listening to their feedback and requirements and adjusting our product specifications accordingly.”

 

To help support UK SMBs, HP has launched the HP Business Answers community on LinkedIn, a forum designed for peer-to-peer discussions and sharing expert advice. This includes regular case studies and exclusive access to white papers commissioned by HP. 

 

About the SMB research

The following research was conducted by Vanson Bourne in January 2011. The 1,000 decision-makers were divided into four categories: sole traders; 2-10 employees; 10-25 employees; and 26-50 employees.

FREE HP white paper: Small is beautiful

Big fish, little fishIt’s easy to forget today, but market leaders such as HP, Microsoft and Intel® were start-ups too. HP still has its original garage. They didn’t (quite) go from garage to gargantuan overnight, so how did they outpace their competition – and how can small businesses do today emulate their success?

 

Technology has provided small businesses with new tools to slay bigger rivals. But where small firms used to use the internet to disguise their size, now they revel in it, using size itself as a competitive advantage. Download our free white paper Small is Beautiful for practical tips on business jiu-jitsu

Real companies using Microsoft cloud services

cloud-power.pngReal businesses - and not just big, multinationals - are already enjoying the benefits of cloud computing thanks to Microsoft online services such as Microsoft Exchange Online.

 

For example, Real PR, wanted to set up a completely virtual company without a central head office. But they still needed to be able to share documents between staff working from home and from client sites and they needed a professional email system to compete with larger (but less agile) PR firms. Read their case study, attached below, to see how switching Microsoft SharePoint Online and Exchange Online saved them money, increased their flexibility and helped them compete.

 

Tags: Cloud| Microsoft| SaaS

Interview with a cloud entrepreneur

david-terrar.jpgTechnology entrepreneur David Terrar on how cloud computing is transforming everything about business, including the way we manage teams. Read the rest of the article to find out more.

What is HP doing in the cloud?

iStock_000013210346XSmall-w220-h220.jpgHP is committed to cloud computing. Our CEO, Léo Apotheker, has outlined a vision for the future that is based on the convergence of cloud computing and connectivity. In HP’s view, a hybrid environment that combines the best of traditional environments with private and public clouds will be the prevailing model for many large enterprises for a long time.

 

HP has underpinned this commitment with fundamental research at its Labs, in particular around cloud computing and security.

But what are we doing in the cloud today?

 

HP cloud services for consumers:

  • Friendlee: Create a location-aware digital village with your mobile phone.
  • Snapfish: Share, print, and store your digital pictures and video online
  • HP Mediascape: Create context-aware multimedia experiences
  • CloudPrint: Share, store, and print documents using your mobile phone
  • BookPrep: Purchase out-of-print books on demand
  • MagCloud: Be your own publisher – print your own magazines
  • Snapfish Lab: Take your digital photos to the next level
  • Tabblo – HP Smart Web Printing: Make printing from the Web a more 

HP cloud services for small and midsize businesses:

  • MarketSplash: Easily create inexpensive marketing materials.
  • Logoworks: Harness top design talent from around the world via the Internet
  • HP Web JetAdmin: Remotely manage your company’s printers

HP cloud services for enterprises:

Six things your accountant should probably tell you (but probably won't)

Christoher JenkinsStarting a new business involves gathering information about a lot of new things very quickly and talking to as many people as possible, one of which should be your Accountant. But what will they tell you about launching your new venture? Will it just be things like how to register for VAT and what the rules are for filing your accounts with Companies House? Or will you talk about what really matters? Read the whole of Christopher's Jenkins's article for six Golden Rules that will help everything turn out just fine.

Microsoft cloud computing services: BPOS and Windows Intune

cloudpower.pngCloud computing is simply subscribing to various IT services, such as email, CRM or web conferencing, which are provided by a third party and delivered over the Internet. This guest post from Microsoft's Small Business blog explains more about cloud computing and outlines two of Microsoft's offerings: BPOS and Windows Intune. Read the whole article to find out more.

HP supports talented, creative graduates with workstations

dadlogo.pngHP has joined forces with D&AD, a not-for-profit organisation that represents the international design, advertising and creative communities, to launch The Graduate Academy supported by HP and D&AD. This initiative will help the next generation of talented graduates break into the creative industry.

 

It starts with a five-day creative boot camp for the 100 entrants and culimated in a paid-work placement for the Academy's 50 most talended pupils. HP will support the Academy’s best graduates by offering them one of the company’s most powerful and flexible platforms, the HP Workstation, to support them throughout their professional journey.

 

The scheme launched on March 28. All successful entrants to this year’s D&AD Student Awards are automatically eligible for the scheme. Alternatively, final-year students and recent graduates can register their interest online under www.dandad.org/talent and have to answer a brief set by HP and D&AD. 

 

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The cloud's silver lining

iStock_000013210346XSmall-w220-h220.jpgThere’s a fair weight on the shoulders of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprise community: regularly described as the ‘backbone’ of the economy, they now have the added onus of dragging it out of recession.

But if there’s a silver lining, it may come in the form of cloud computing, which has been heralded as a true opportunity for smaller organisations to bounce back from recession. April is 'cloud computing month' here on HP Business Answers. Read the rest of this article and stay tuned for more information and insights about this breakthrough technology.

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About the Author(s)
  • Matthew Stibbe is CEO at Articulate Marketing and TurbineHQ. He is an HP fanboy.