Thursday, December 13, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
While teens often spend their time with their heads buried in mobile devices, there are valuable business lessons to be learned from this multi-tasking generation.
From my vantage point as a father of two teenage girls as well as a CEO looking towards the landscape of tomorrow, I see a world undergoing a huge demographic shift that is changing how we think about developing products and services.
So what can we learn from this next generation of customers and employees? A lot.
Focus on First Use: Teenagers don't question, they just learn. While many of us fumble through user manuals, teens just open the box and start navigating and adding apps. They expect and demand simple intuitive design with the products they use and in the places they work.
Harness the Power of Many: Don't expect teenagers to sit on the sidelines. This generation wants to participate and help shape the products they use. Embrace their passion to contribute.
Embrace Multi-Tasking: The ability to respond to several different stimuli at the same time is called "continuous partial attention," and it is prevalent among the next generation of employees and customers. In the workplace, build a culture that encourages this ability to do multiple things simultaneously.
Learn to Listen: Create a culture of experimentation and invite teens into your business to uncover new and innovative ways to drive impact
Friday, December 7, 2012
BLOG: How IT can better equip the mobile office
Yaj Malik | Dec. 6, 2012
In Asia Pacific, the typical employee connects on average four personal devices to the corporate IT network each day. There has also been a large increase in the number and type of applications used on these devices. How is this changing the modern workforce? Citrix recently conducted a study to learn more about mobility - now ranked the second highest priority among CIOs, behind business intelligence and analytics - to better understand business priorities as we make these workplace shifts.
What did we learn? In short: IT departments must better support employees who are choosing where, when and how they want to work. The objective of any corporate mobility strategy should be to securely manage corporate data on any device, simplify the management of decentralised applications and improve control over app and data delivery. Here are five steps to designing a mobility strategy optimised for an increasingly dynamic IT environment.
1. Unify cloud apps: A unified content controller approach with a single sign-on can provide the necessary management across a broad array of application types. Centrally managing access to corporate Intranet, Web, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and virtualised Windows desktop applications from the cloud is a key strategy for any enterprise. Since most Windows apps are typically designed for use on a keyboard and mouse, the key for these applications is to optimise the user experience for mobile devices.
2. Secure local content on mobile devices: A better approach to device management is through local application and data management, which moves access and security away from the device, putting fine-grain information control back in the hands of IT. For native mobile apps, there are two keys to securing and delivering mobile applications - programming the application for native execution, and providing flexibility for cross-platform development, such as HTML5 apps. For cloud data on mobile devices, this involves encrypting the data files on mobile devices, providing access across all devices, and supporting the ability to wipe the data, if needed.
3. Control access based on identity: With the proliferation of apps in the enterprise, a key issue is mapping apps to job function. Core to this principle is role-based identity management. Solutions here include support for multiple authentication types, active directory federation, role mapping to appropriate applications and data stores, single sign-on, and 'active' identity management to automatically provision and de-provision access to resources.
4. Control access based on policy: Policies must provide 'contextually aware' mobile information access. Key checks and policies need to include location, device type, network, authentication requirements and event-drive access disablement. These policies should then be applied down to the specific application or file to allow or restrict access.
5. Bring it all together: Once the control steps above have been made, enterprises will then be ready for any app, device, or data. What is left is balancing IT control with an end-user experience built around convenience through an enterprise app store. Key components of any enterprise app store should include a unified storefront for all apps and data, app availability based on role, app request workflows, self-service subscriptions, native app delivery for mobile devices in use, and 'follow-me' access to information across devices.
Following these steps will result in freedom for employees to choose their own devices, access the content they need for their jobs and use their apps and data wherever and whenever they choose, while allowing IT to retain control over all corporate apps and data in use by employees.
Yaj Malik is Area Vice President, ASEAN, Citrix.
Monday, December 3, 2012
E-commerce is ubiquitous and has already permeated the life of online users in South East Asia. Mobile shopping may be the fastest growing retail trend this year and next. How merchants market to mobile shoppers could soon have a significant impact on sales and customer loyalty.
There is no question that shoppers are using mobile devices — smartphones and tablets — to research buying decisions or make purchases. There's a whole new generation of e-commerce players and two of them happen to be brothers: Fadzli Shah Anuar and Fadzarudin Shah Anuar.
Fadzli Shah Anuar, is the Managing Director of New Era Strategic Thinking (NEST) whose company recently started Voucheres, a web app for finding nearby discounts in Malaysia.
Coincidentally, Fadzli is also the brother of Fadzarudin Shah Anuar who is currently the CEO of Fashion Valet.
Fadzarudin Shah Anuar and his then fiancée Vivy Yusof started Fashion Valet in November, 2010. They've have since married and today Fashion Valet seems only to be going from stength to strength.
Read more about Fadzarudin Shah & Vivy Yusof at http://www.businesscircle.com.my/how-to-compete-against-the-big-boys/
Researchers claim that people need around 8 hours of sleep to function properly.
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO
Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder and Square CEO
Donald Trump, chairman of The Trump Organization
Kelly Ripa, host of "Live! with Kelly and Michael"
Jay Leno, host of 'The Tonight Show'
Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
Dominic Orr, president and CEO of Aruba Networks
Willie Gest, MSNBC host
Sergio Marchionne, Fiat CEO
Steve Reinemund, former PepsiCo CEO
Tom Ford, fashion designer and director
Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines
Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods
Martha Stewart, chair of Martha Stewart Omnimedia
Condoleeza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State
Stanley McChrystal, former U.S. general
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Bill Clinton, former U.S. president
Ma Ying-Jeou, president of Taiwan
BONUS: Historic figures
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-barely-sleep-2012-9?op=1#ixzz2DySiCYK4
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
Microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus speaks at the University of Virginia, sharing a central message that in working together we can change the world. Mr. Yunus established Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, reaching out to people traditional banks don't deem creditworthy. Grameen Bank now serves more than 8 million people through 'microloans' totalling about $1 billion a year.
Mr. Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. In August 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama presented him with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Muhammad Yunus visited the University of Virginia at the invitation of Gowher Rizvi, a longtime friend. Mr. Rizvi is vice provost for international programs at the University of Virginia.
Muhammad Yunus: Microcredit and social business for a poverty-free world
Microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh more than 25 years ago. Since then, millions of rural poor — mostly women — have received small loans for self-employment projects that have helped lift their families out of poverty. The bank's model has been replicated in more than 100 countries, and microlending has become an important tool in the fight against global poverty. Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has worked with Yunus and the Grameen Bank on a number of initiatives linking the use of information and communication technologies to poverty reduction in rural Bangladesh.
Creating A World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism - Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus outlines his vision for a new business model.
(Jan 27, 2009 at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA))
The event was co-sponsored by Center for the Study of Human Rights, Center for the Humanities, SIPA's Economic & Political Development Concentration, and Committee on Global Thought.
- What is microfinance?
- What is the difference between microfinance and microcredit?
- How is microcredit different from other targeted development lending?
- Who are microfinance clients?
- How do borrowers use microcredit loans?
- What kinds of institutions deliver microfinance?
- Do MFIs do other things besides financial services for low-income people?
- How does microfinance help the poor?
- When is microfinance NOT an appropriate tool?
- Why do MFIs charge high interest rates to poor people?
- Why does the microfinance industry place so much emphasis on sustainability?
- Is the microfinance industry sustainable?
- Do governments do a good job of delivering microcredit?
- What is the government's role in supporting microfinance?
- How do savings services help poor people?
- What is the microfinance industry doing to ensure that the poor do not fall prey to predatory lenders?
- What is social performance measurement and why is it important for financial institutions?
- Where can I find financial performance data on MFIs worldwide?
Microfinance typically refers to a range of financial services including credit, savings, insurance, money transfers, and other financial products provided by different service providers, targeted at poor and low-income people.
In addition to the new techniques explained in FAQ #1, the microcredit approach has tried to avoid the pitfalls of an earlier generation of targeted development lending. The approach focuses on fostering better repayment discipline and charging interest rates that cover the costs of credit delivery, both of which support development of sustainable institutions that can continue to expand their services in the future.
Typical microfinance clients are poor and low-income people that do not have access to other formal financial institutions. Microfinance clients are often self-employed, household-based entrepreneurs. Their diverse "microenterprises" include small retail shops, street vending, artisanal manufacture, and service provision. In rural areas, microentrepreneurs often have small income-generating activities such as food processing and trade; some but far from all are farmers.
Many microcredit borrowers have microenterprises—unsalaried, informal income-generating activities. However, microloans may not predominantly be used to start or finance microenterprises. Scattered research suggests that only half or less of loan proceeds are used for business purposes. The remainder supports a wide range of household cash management needs, including stabilizing consumption and spreading out large, lumpy cash needs like education fees, medical expenses, or lifecycle events such as weddings and funerals.
Most MFIs started as not-for-profit organizations like NGOs (non-governmental organizations), credit unions and other financial cooperatives, and state-owned development and postal savings banks. An increasing number of MFIs are now organized as for-profit entities, often because it is a requirement to obtaining a license from banking authorities to offer savings services. For-profit MFIs may be organized as non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), commercial banks that specialize in microfinance, or microfinance departments of full-service banks.
Some MFIs provide non-financial products, such as business development or health services. Commercial and government-owned banks that offer microfinance services are frequently referred to as MFIs, even though only a portion of their assets may be committed to financial services to the poor.
The impact of microcredit has been studied more than the impact of other forms of microfinance. Microcredit can provide a range of benefits that poor households highly value including long-term increases in income and consumption. A harsh aspect of poverty is that income is often irregular and undependable. Access to credit helps the poor to smooth cash flows and avoid periods where access to food, clothing, shelter, or education is lost. Credit can make it easier to manage shocks like sickness of a wage earner, theft, or natural disasters. The poor use credit to build assets such as buying land, which gives them future security. Women participants in microcredit programs often experience important self-empowerment.
From a development perspective, financial sustainability is not an end in itself. Rather, it is a tool for reaching the maximum number of clients. MFIs may only operate for a limited time, reach a limited number of clients, or be driven more by political goals than by client needs if services are not priced at sustainable levels.
Is the microfinance industry financially sustainable—is it profitable after making adjustments for subsidies not likely to continue in the future? Most MFIs are still unprofitable, especially if one includes the many small MFIs that do not report to the international databases described in FAQ #17. A more meaningful way to look at profitability is to consider the overall number of overall clients served by profitable MFIs, rather than the number of profitable MFIs themselves. In 2006, 44% of all microborrowers captured by the MIX database (see FAQ #17) are being served by profitable institutions. If one narrows the focus to private MFIs such as NGOs and licensed institutions, then more than 3/5 of the borrowers are already being served profitably, and the long- term trend is upward.
There are several highly successful government MFIs, such as Bank Rakyat Indonesia's microfinance department. However, the vast majority government microfinance programs do a poor job of delivering retail credit. Such programs are usually subject to political influence, high default, continuing drain on national treasuries, and sometimes lending based more on the borrowers' influence than their actual qualifications. Among government programs reporting to international databases, only 1/8 of clients are being served sustainably. There are structural dynamics that make it hard for governments to deliver good retail credit. Sound credit administration requires screening out borrowers who are not likely to repay, charging interest rates high enough to cover costs, and responding vigorously to late payments. These requirements usually run counter to the practical incentives and imperatives of even the sincerest working politician. The government-run MFIs that deliver good microcredit tend to be insulated from politics, managed by technocrats, and strongly and explicitly focus on sustainability.
Government's most important role is not provision of retail credit services, for reasons mentioned in FAQ #12. Government can contribute most effectively by:
- Setting sound macroeconomic policy that provides stability and low inflation
- Avoiding interest rate ceilings - when governments set interest rate limits, political factors usually result in limits that are too low to permit sustainable delivery of credit that involves high administrative costs—such as tiny loans for poor people. Such ceilings often have the announced intention of protecting the poor, but are more likely to choke off the supply of credit
- Adjusting bank regulation to facilitate deposit taking by solid MFIs, once the country has experience with sustainable microfinance delivery,
- Creating government wholesale funds to support retail MFIs if funds can be insulated from politics, and they can hire and protect strong technical management and avoid disbursement pressure that force fund to support unpromising MFIs.
Savings has been called the "forgotten half of microfinance." Most poor people now use informal mechanisms to save because they lack access to good formal deposit services,. They may tuck cash under the mattress, buy animals or jewelry that can be sold off later, or stockpile inventory or building materials. These savings methods tend to be risky—cash can be stolen, animals can get sick, and neighbors can run off. Often they are illiquid as well – one cannot sell just the cow's leg when one needs a small amount of cash. Poor people want secure, convenient deposit services that allow for small balances and easy access to funds. MFIs that offer good savings services usually attract far more savers than borrowers.
Many countries are concerned about the impact of excessive interest rates, abusive lending practices, and over-indebtedness on poor borrowers. Quite a few players in the industry are now focusing on consumer protection issues. Typical consumer protection measures include disclosure requirements, rules and prohibitions related to lending practices, mechanisms for handling complaints or disputes, and consumer education.
The Social Performance Task Force defines social performance as: "The effective translation of an institution's social mission into practice in line with accepted social values that relate to serving larger numbers of poor and excluded people; improving the quality and appropriateness of financial services; creating benefits for clients; and improving social responsibility of an MFI."
Increasing numbers of MFIs report their performance to international databases each year. The MIX Market is the primary source for this information, containing financial and other performance data from almost 2,000 MFIs collected and processed by the Microfinance Information eXchange (MIX). Data for participating MFIs, including client outreach measures, simplified financial statements, and a number of standard financial performance indicators, is publicly available on their website.