Monthly Archives: September 2017

Place of Entrepreneurship Competence in Business Success and National Development

The pivotal position occupied by entrepreneurship as a sustainable tool for rapid economic growth and development of a country cannot be over emphasized. This is evident in several available literatures written by scholars on the subject matter but a closer examination of these literatures show tilted emphasis and concentrations on some common areas relating to entrepreneurship.

Increasing competitions, rapid and constant changes in internal and external environment of business activities, and the significant influence of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on the economy generally have resulted in a growing interest in studying the role of factors stimulating successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

Though, entrepreneurship, have played and can play more of these positive roles, is not an easy vocation as it does not always guarantee a hundred per cent triumph. There are several critical areas of knowledge and factors that must be acquired and put in place to enable entrepreneurs achieve a measure of business success and consequently contributing to national development.

Several researches have been conducted in areas of entrepreneurship competency, entrepreneurship success and national development.

Most literatures relating to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success tend to unquestionably argue that most entrepreneurial fiascos are essentially due to inadequate financial resources (e.g. Adeyemo and Onikoyi, 2012). Such research outcomes have no doubt influenced government policy direction in many developed and developing countries of the world through the creation of financial agencies and provision of financial resources to business units for the sole purpose of boosting and sustaining entrepreneurial development for rapid national development.

The above, policy strategy unfortunately has led to the continuous negligence on the part of the government, scholars and business operators in these countries to considering other vital factors like entrepreneurial competency which equally contributes to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

The current literatures on the subject do not provide sufficient explanations to the role general and/or specific competences play in successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. This has thus, made the relationship between entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurship success to be important topic within organizational literatures. The above fact is evident in several available studies done by scholars on the subject matter (e.g Crook, Todd, Combs, Woehr, and Ketchen, 2011; Mitchelmore and Rowley, 2010; Inyang and Enuoh, 2009; Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, 2013 e.t.c).

Many of these studies identified entrepreneurship competences like communication competence, financial competence, marketing competence, business ethics competence, social responsibility competence, decision-making competence and leadership competence as catalysts to entrepreneurship success and national development. We shall be duelling on our discussion more on these entrepreneurial competences to see how they individually contribute to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

As said earlier at the beginning, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success play strategic roles in economic growth, economic transformation and development of the society. These roles are noticeable in the numbers of jobs created, the level of wealth generated and the rate of indigenous entrepreneurship promoted in several countries around the world.

There is no doubt that government of the world have put great efforts in promoting entrepreneurship development, business success and economic development through provision of financial resources directly or otherwise through various agencies and under different terms and conditions, this fact prompt one to ask a question of high concern.

Why are there still high rate of business failure around the world? Without much thinking, the failures are due mainly to entrepreneurial incompetency of those concerned with making the daily business decisions of these businesses. Many business failures can be said to be and are largely attributed to lack of entrepreneurial competence.

Most of the businesses failed unknowingly even before there are started because of lack of one of the required competence; project evaluation and management. This does not therefore; make it surprising while entrepreneurship competence has often been identified as the missing link for successful entrepreneurship, business failure and consequently crawling national development and in some instances stalled economy. What then is entrepreneurship competence?

Before we proceed to defining and explaining entrepreneurship competence and understand the contextual meaning in which it is employed in this writing with simplicity, it will be very imperative to first and foremost comprehend what entrepreneurship is.

Entrepreneurship may be defined as the process through which something new and valuable is created through the dedication and effort of someone who takes on financial, psychological, and social risks and seeks personal satisfaction and monetary rewards (Hisrich & Peters 1986).

European Commission, (2006) defined Entrepreneurship as a dynamic and social process where individuals, alone or in collaboration, identify opportunities for innovation and act upon these by transforming ideas into practical and targeted activities, whether in a social, cultural or economic context.

Critical assessment of the above two definitions summarized the concept of entrepreneurship by stressing creation processes and performance of targeted activities. Entrepreneurship as defined above is not necessarily limited to the roles and characters of entrepreneurship involving creativity, innovation and risk taking, and most importantly, the ability to plan, manage projects and to turn ideas into action in order to achieve set objectives for successful entrepreneurship. But, it requires tact, art and competency to achieve winning edge success.

Entrepreneurship success is a multidimensional phenomenon. It includes multiple criteria of financial characters like profit maximization, revenue maximization, dividend maximization as in the case of shareholders etc., and non-financial characters for example larger share of market, customer satisfaction, perpetual enterprise existence etc. To achieve success in any of the following sections, one must be competent in his/her chosen area of enterprise.

Entrepreneur competence can therefore be defined as the cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills which an entrepreneur must acquire or possess to achieve an outstanding performance and optimize the business objective(s) amidst several constraints. Every job/role has a skill and competency requirement. Every career like entrepreneurship draws on the competence of an individual. For every entrepreneurial undertaking one needs certain competencies. Entrepreneurship competence is simply the skill which an individual needs to do an allotted entrepreneurial job successfully.

Entrepreneurship competence constitutes a cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills, which an individual acquires and uses together, to produce outstanding performance in any given area of entrepreneurial responsibility. Some of these competences may be general and some peculiar to the chosen areas of enterprise. We may describe competences to mean abilities and skills, for a teacher or a performing artist, for example, it is the skill to communicate that plays a decisive role in their effectiveness besides, of course, their knowledge. For a craftsman or an artist, it is the creativity and skill in the chosen craft.

In like manner, entrepreneurial competences are critical success factors required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and of course national development. The subject thus, deserves solemn attention in entrepreneurial discourse and not to be neglected. There is no substitute for entrepreneurship competence for successful entrepreneurship, not even abundant financial resources can. There is no doubt as explained, entrepreneurial competence play important role in any successful entrepreneurial activities.

Cost Benefits Through Assessment in Technology of Business Organizations

Over the period of 10 years, a leading healthcare solution provider had been through merger and acquisition cycles integrating the offerings of the companies acquired into their line of business. Although, this garnered their business value offerings to the customers and broadened their market reach, it internally led to a disparate array of backend data sources ranging across: MS-Access, Oracle, SQL Server, etc. Similarly for the front end reporting needs, client uses multiple tools i.e. Power Builder, MS – Assess, Cognos and SAS.

Business Need

The key business challenges were:

• The current Data warehouse solution needs to be evaluated and re-architected, considering past and future business requirements.

• Currently, there are several resources that are focused in generating reports for various customers of client. Due to the current data warehouse design, disparate data sources and other unknown technical dependencies, time taken by these analysts is significant to generate the reports, thereby increasing the cost of conducting business.

• The usage of current BI/ DWH tools need to be evaluated and if required to be consolidated. The objective is to utilize those tools that are more pertinent to the business need, thereby reducing maintenance costs.

• Help to identify and automate overall ETL, OLAP and reporting process is a key element as this will help reduce manual dependencies, cause less human error and will be a good scalable option for similar or repetitive reporting needs from customers.

• Other challenge of providing timely delivery of reports to customers, due to complex internal environment set-up and dependencies on internal and external data feeds can be eliminated or minimized.

Solution

A Business Needs assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business drivers and objectives and overall context of business need that has been established for the client’s Data Warehouse. When business needs have been defined, the assessment process examines the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness, the priorities of the requirements, and alignment of the data warehouse release strategy and deliverables to the needs.

The team conducted a high level assessment as follows:

• Interview with various Stakeholder i.e. Leadership team, Business subject matter experts, Technical subject matter experts, Infrastructure and IT, Business end users.

• Assessment of current technical architecture.

• Assessment of organizational and infrastructure readiness to support value transparency initiatives including key gaps.

• Assessment of cost/value improvement opportunities.

• Recommendation of high-level architecture and strategy to support defined information needs.

• Specific recommendations for short and long term improvements.

• Cost benefits analysis and ROI.

Organizational Assessment

An Organizational Assessment includes an examination of the existing organizational structure and identification of the roles and responsibilities of both IT and the business community that need to be addressed. Organizational readiness for warehousing is examined, including readiness to assume responsibility for ongoing technical and business support, business requirements definition, and front end applications enhancement.

Business Needs Assessment

A Business Needs Assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business drivers and objectives and overall context of business need that has been established for the data warehouse. When business needs have been defined, the assessment process examines the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness and organization, the priorities of the requirements, and alignment of the data warehouse release strategy and deliverables to the needs.

Information Architecture Assessment

Information Architecture Assessment includes an analysis of logical data structures, their feasibility, completeness, documentation, and fit to business requirements. Information architecture assessment also includes analysis of data sourcing and transformation, the methods and assumptions applied, and validation of mappings to business requirements.

Technical Architecture Assessment

A Technical Architecture Assessment looks at current hardware, software and network infrastructure, and examines physical database designs. Technical architecture assessment seeks to identify any technical risks or constraints with regard to performance, maintenance, scalability, data distribution, disaster recovery, and sizing.

Architecture Approach

A high level technical approach that has been suggested is using SAS 9.2 to automate ETL, OLAP, Reporting, Dashboard and Data mining for client.

Benefits

Deploying SAS Business Intelligence will enable the client to put reporting tools directly into the hands of its end users, ensuring consistent access to information for better decision making. Key benefits from the solution include:

• Reduced daily presentation time – Presentations for the monthly executive meeting are automatically generated, eliminating the technician time so they can spend more time on higher-level tasks.

• Reduced report creation time – Business users can access the reports they need and make changes and updates as needed, reducing the amount of time spent developing reports and requesting data.

• Automation of processes – Proposed ETL and Reporting automation using SAS Data integrator and Reporting studio

• Enhanced visibility – Because standard reports are updated monthly in a dashboard, they can quickly identify trends or problems.

• Improved data accuracy – Because users can access the data directly and automatically update key reports, they can ensure they always have access to the most up-to-date and accurate data.

• Optimized human resources – Because users can develop and customize their own reports, client has been able to significantly grow its reporting capabilities without adding reporting programmers: since the deployment more new reports have been created without IT intervention.

Fulcrum is a Products, Consulting and IT Services company based in Reading, UK. Fulcrum has delivery centres in UK, USA, Brazil & APAC. Fulcrum has emerged as a trusted partner in UK HE Sector and has been working as a Strategic long term partner for business critical projects. Fulcrum’s focus is to solve business problems and bring innovative as well as creative solutions that could streamline operational challenges and increase efficiency. Today, Fulcrum is driving transformation and collaborating with global clients to help them become high-performance businesses.

6 Steps to Selling a Profitable Business

70 percent of all businesses listed for sale never see an exchange of hands. That means out of 10, only about three sell.

This can be a depressing statistic if you are thinking about selling your business. But crossing the bridge from those that fail to those that successfully make the sale, is not a matter of chance.

It is a result of careful thought and thorough preparation.

There are specific steps to selling a business that you should take, and how well you do at each stage determines the likelihood of making that sale.

Here are 7 steps to selling a business that you should take.

1. Preparation

When it comes to selling a business, the preparation starts even two years before the actual listing. You have to make sure all your records are in place and are actually attractive. This means dealing with any damaging tax and legal issues, settling all debts that may make your business look bad and all your books are in a healthy condition.

2. Fine Tune Your Business System

Before listing your business, make sure your business machine is well oiled and in the best working condition. Make sure all employees are in place and are the right fit. Ensure that all paths to your suppliers and buyers are well defined, and potential buyers can clearly see how the business runs.

3. Find a Business Broker

You can self-sell your business, or you can hire a professional, but, even in view of commissions, you are better off hiring one. Selling a business involves a lot of twists and bends which are best handled by someone qualified and experienced. You also risk injuring the value of your business should you take time off and focus on the sale.

4. Perform a Professional Valuation

Of course, you are selling your business, and that involves pricing. But, how are you going to set the price if you don’t know the value? One of the most important steps to selling a business is to hire a professional to determine the value of your business. There are different methods of business valuation and the right fit depends on the nature of your business and the expertise of your valuator.

5. Get Pre-Qualification for Financing

While this may fall under the buyer’s responsibilities, ensuring your business is healthy enough to be considered for funding by the banks is a huge plus, and it makes your business more attractive to potential buyers.

6. Organize Your Contacts and Information

Selling a business involves moving about, contacting this and that person, and gathering all sorts of bits of information. For a less chaotic time selling, make sure all your contacts are well organized, and all information is correctly filed for easy access. The less chaotic the process is, the clearer you think and the better your decisions.

5 Stage Process to Maximize Business Profits

Every business works with the aim of earning profits and this can be achieved by taking the right business decisions. Business leaders take innumerable decisions that influence the work in various ways. However, the ultimate goal is to make the decisions effective enough in order to carve the path of profit for the organizations. Hence, successful implementation of plans is the foremost need of every business and Business Intelligence proves helpful in this context. Let’s get an insight to Business Intelligence and its components:

Business Intelligence:

Business Intelligence plays a primary role while implementing strategies and the right planning procedures. BI technology assists its users in gathering, storing, accessing, and analyzing the data. The set of applications covered under Business Intelligence allows the companies in effective implementation of Decision Support System, applying Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) concepts, Statistical Analysis, Forecasting, and Data Mining.

Business Intelligence serves in sending the information to the right decision makers at the right time. BI is preferred by lot of users, as it leads them in reaching the facts based on conclusion or more commonly known as ‘single version of the truth’. This gives the best end product and leads an organization to convert the raw data into useful information; thus, bringing profits.

Characteristics of a Business Intelligence Solution:

  • It is a single point of access to information
  • It gives well-timed answers to business questions
  • It allows effective implementation of BI tools, applications, and systems in all departments of an organization

Stages of a Business Intelligence Process:

Business Intelligence process gathers raw data and converts it into useful information; and further transforms it into knowledge that must be used with intelligence. The BI process is based on five major stages mentioned below:

Data Sourcing: This stage works on gathering the data from different sources including, E-Mail messages, images, formatted tables, reports, sounds and other relevant sources. The major role of Data Sourcing is to gather the data in digital form; therefore, the sources for collecting data are computer files, digital cameras, scanners etc.

Data Analysis: The next stage is to arrange the data collected from Data Sourcing and estimating the data depending upon the current and future trends. Also known as Data Mining, this stage also predicts the information that will be needed in future.

Situation Awareness: This stage of the Business Intelligence process helps in filtering the relevant data and using it in relevance to the business environment. The users compile the data by keenly observing the market forces or Govt. policies, so that it becomes easier to take decisions. Combinations of different Algorithms are used to aptly identify the Situation Awareness.

Risk Assessment: Taking risks is part of every business; but, if one can take precautions, it turns extremely helpful. Risk Assessment stage helps in identifying the current and future risks, including cost benefits; choosing the best options; and comparison between two decisions to identify which one will turn beneficial. It summarizes the best choice amongst varied options.

Decision Support: This last stage in BI process aids in utilizing the information with intelligence. The aim of this stage is to warn the users about various crucial events like poor performance by staff, takeovers, changing trends in market, sales fluctuations and much more. It aids in taking better business decisions for improvising staff morale and customer satisfaction.

Significance of Business Intelligence:

Business Intelligence plays a significant role in the working of organizations and helps them to continue with progression. Following is the significance of Business Intelligence:

  • BI helps in studying the changing demands; therefore, a company can have accurate and updated information about customer preferences
  • It aids the Managers to remain informed about competitors’ behavior and their actions
  • It assists the analysts in knowing the adjustments that need to be done for maximizing profits
  • It helps organizations to make future plans based upon relevant data organized to give better results.

Business Intelligence Users:

  • IT Users: These users make use of BI tools for development purposes, including Data Integration, Data Modeling, Report Generation, Presentation, and Final Delivery. IT users also use it for supporting the individuals in the organization and provide reports to the outside customers.
  • Power Users: These types of users include ‘Professional Analysts’ who have been using the BI tools. These users study the pre-defined reports and provide support in taking the right decisions, but they are not obligated to take decisions.
  • Business Users: They review the analysis report presented by the Power Users. These users can apply their own queries on the data, and create reports based on those queries.
  • Casual Users: These users have the privilege of making changes in report information and may enter the data that can help to perform further high-level research.
  • Extra-Enterprise Users: These users are usually not a part of an organization and are external sources that help the companies in taking more tactical decisions. These may include External Partners, Customers, Business Analysts, Suppliers etc.

Hence, Business Intelligence solutions assist the organizations to take effective decisions and get a deeper insight of business data in order to meet the specified goals. By using all the tools, applications, and systems, organizations can speed up the delivery of product by achieving the targets.