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May 15, 2018updated 22 Jun 2022 10:26am

Businesses Can’t Just Keep on Trucking: Rather “Start with the Zeros”

"Companies need a reminder: what are you selling? To whom? Why are we doing it?"

By CBR Staff Writer

‘’Are you thinking how things are done?’’

This was Jonas Kjellberg’s question to a room full of IT specialists and business owners at the Empower MSP (managed service provider) conference in Amsterdam this morning.

The Skype co-founder in his key note speech said his team “started innovation in zeros.” When setting up Skype they looked at what the customers already had: “Let’s use the internet which the customer has already purchased; we found our first zero’’.

Zeros are a profitable core or extra service which cost you nothing to do, but can potentially bring in cash flow, he explained.

Kjellberg used a recent trip to a Volvo truck factory to explain how companies can start rethinking about what they offer customers. When employees were asked in the factory what they sell, trucks was the answer. When pushed a little further, one employee responded: “I think the customer is buying a solution to their logistics problem.’’

Kjllberg believes companies need to start “rethinking things” by seeing that their customer needs a logistics solution and not just a truck; Volvo is in position as a company to rethink what a customer’s future needs are.

This can also apply to any department within your company.

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Ryanair, pointed out Kjllberg, have started to make money in their HR department since they started charging 50 Euro for people to apply to the company for positions. This caused applications to go down, but quality within them to go up he claimed. “Ryanair turned its HR department into a profit unit.’’

He stressed the emphasis for business owners to ask themselves three questions, what are you selling? To who? Why are we doing it?

Rethinking the Status Quo

Rethinking and education are key themes at this year’s Empower MSP event.

General Manager of Solarwinds MSP John Pagliuca commented that the events aim was to help owners and IT specialist to “bring something back to your business to make you a little bit more profitable.”

Pagliuca highlighted that the cost of running IT systems and services has been going down year on year, but that the “cost also has gone down for the bad guys’’ – the number one reason for SMEs losing their customer base is because of security breaches and the loss of data, he claimed.

Greg Lissy VP of Products at Solarwinds MSP meanwhile walked the audience through the roadmap for the company going forward.

Lissy points to new innovation around the viewer on Solarwinds internet service managing platform: “We are very focused on getting the basics right’’ he emphasised, acknowledging that when it comes to the dashboard “we haven’t done a good job in the past.’’

Company feedback from customers has indicated that they wish for the dashboard to be more customisable and fixes to this issue are said to be on the way.

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