August 2020: How to understand market demand? A well known economic rule is the balance relationship between demand and supply, since this relationship is influenced by market price. The general rule is that prices increase as demand increases, and decrease as supply increases. The equilibrium point, which defines the market price, is the intersection point between demand and supply. Shift in supply or demand patterns will result in change of the equilibrium point and consequently market price. However, there are exceptions to this general rule in case of special kinds of products and services, which involve a factor of demand and supply elasticity to changes in price. Demand on essential products which have few substitutes usually exhibits low elasticity to changes in price, since the purchase decision of the target segment of customers isn't impacted much by the price, while demand on luxury products exhibits high elasticity to price changes. Supply elasticity on the other hand could be constrained by available resources and capabilities to increase production in order to exploit benefit of higher prices when the market moves.
July 2020: How to design a new service? Before starting to design a new service, you should have identified the requirements pertaining to this service, functional an non-functional, be it as specified by direct customer request, or as deduced by market demand analysis. Designing a new service doesn't only involve defining the functionality of the core service itself, but also includes architecting the whole environment within which the service is intended to be operated. Depending on the nature of the service, this could include architecting the underlying infrastructure layers, data and systems architecture. Designing a service will also cover determining the processes and procedures through which the service is planned to be used, as well as roles and responsibilities of actors playing role in use and operation of the service. Essential part of design is to define performance metrics for the service, and how it will be maintained and improved.
June 2020: What is Blockchain Technology? Blockchain is a new and promising technology that's getting quickly adopted in various applications and many business sectors. While the main area of application is in fintech (financial technology), like in recording and tracking banks transactions, it's still having applications in medicine, law and contracts, marketing and customer service, and many business purposes. This technology is based on decentralized, distributed ledger, where transactions are batched in records or blocks, and these blocks are verified by an encrypted hash code and linked to previous block in a linked chain. This linking makes the technology highly secured, because change or tampering with transaction data will make the pattern flawed and will be easily spotted and rejected. Moreover, transactions are recorded and maintained by many nodes on a network of independent record keepers, which provides for redundancy and recovery.
May 2020: How to manage remote teams? Companies use remote teams for many reasons, starting from accommodating for distributed workforce, to cost saving, to responding to emergency situations. In some cases, remote working can be a policy for the company. Despite the bright side of remote working, like achieving work-life balance and more autonomous control for employees tasks, there are downside impacts for this setup. Lack of direct communication and face to face interactions between team members will limit opportunities for collaboration and innovation, which are a key pillar for most successful teams. To overcome this drawback, managers need to provide suitable environments for remote interaction, with clear ground rules that guarantee everybody's discipline for a meaningful interaction. Many technology tools allow for establishing such an environment in secure and flexible way, with monitoring and tracking features to keep work in progress. Still, physical meetings from time to time as possible are a considerable enabler for team success in virtual remote settings.
April 2020: Are you paying attention to Business Continuity Management? Business continuity management refers to sustaining operation of core vital business activities during disaster times. Business continuity management doesn't happen reactively on the spot when the disaster occurs, it requires advance preparation of backup plans and business continuity plans. Alternative business models, and temporary business conduct arrangements, need to be put in place, ready to be invoked and executed once the need strikes. Standby locations, and disaster recovery measures should be defined in these plans, with roles and tactics laid out. Usually all business continuity plans will employ risk management and business impact analysis techniques. Underlying business continuity plans are IT continuity plans, where IT services and tools are enabling many of business operations, in normal conditions and for disaster recovery purposes.
March 2020: What is Cloud Manufacturing? Cloud Manufacturing (CMfg) is a recently booming paradigm that tries to adopt cloud computing philosophy in the manufacturing arena. Resource pools are created, where different types of resources are made available for sharing among manufacturers. The cloud platform can be operated by the manufacturer who is offering resources for sharing, or by an independent intermediary. Resources can range from IT resources including hardware and software. e.g. design; planning; and manufacturing systems, to manufacturing machinery and plants. The ultimate goal of applying cloud manufacturing is similar to cloud computing objectives of cost savings and maximization of resource utilization, while minimizing energy consumption and waste. New technologies like IoT and big data are considered enablers for this manufacturing system.
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