The Strategic Thinking and Management for Competitive Advantage program at Wharton prepares business executives to build effective strategies in today’s intensely competitive environment. Participants learn to better assess their competition while uncovering opportunities for competitive advantage through growth, alliances, acquisitions, and internal ventures.
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Martijn Van Zoeren of Dutch Cloud is a cloud computing specialist. Dutch Cloud helps customers integrate cloud computing into there business processes seamlessly. He relies on IBM to deliver standardized components that he can use to help companies change the way they interpret data. IBM is helping companies integrate cloud computing into there business processes to keep up with the changing landscape
So my name is Martijn Van Zoeren, and I’m CEO at Dutch Cloud. Dutch Cloud is the specialist on cloud computing. What we actually add to this service is that we help customers integrate into the business processes. It’s quite important for them to be successful with the use of cloud computing. The world is changing and customers are demanding computing capacity on a different way. In the past, we had static infrastructure. And it was very easy to do service management on that static infrastructure. What is now changing that we make those environments dynamic. So dynamic going up, going down. So that will be a huge change in the service management. Companies like Dutch Cloud can help customers going into that easy access of capacity that will bring them in a competitive position, that they can bring their offerings faster to the markets. A lot of companies are under financial pressure. It’s difficult to get money for new investments. Cloud computing can help them to get that capacity today or tomorrow without paying long-term commitments. So we are convinced that cloud competing can help customers to make smarter decisions while that will give them a critical competitive advantage to their business. A lot of people tell me that the data in our world in changing. I’m convinced that the data is not changing, only the way we’re going to adopt the data is changing. … So actually, we’re going to flow the data into the queries instead of the other way around. That will have a big impact, a huge impact, on the way we are…accessing the data. One of the best examples I see right now of the change in accessing existing data is that Shazam(?) application on the iPhone. So it works very easy. You turn on, that Shazam application, you hold it in front of a speaker and n _____ whatever, and that iPhone will recognize immediately which song, which artist, will give you information, which is quite interesting. So actually the data isn’t changing, but the only thing that is changing is the way we adopt that data into our functionality and bring it to end-users. For us, to be able to deliver standardized components, we need to rely on a company that can deliver those components. IBM can guarantee us that they can deliver us those components. We are convinced that IBM’s going the right direction and we would like to be on the same trip with them.
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World trade is growing faster than world GDP – this is a key consequence of globalization. Trade barriers are being reduced and protectionist policies are no longer acceptable to the many countries that believe in the free-trade concept. This means that companies must compete not only with domestic rivals but with competitors from across the globe.
Isaac Malitz of RDI Consulting describes how Interprise Suite is benefiting companies in various industries and how it is impacting the competitive landscape.
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Six U.S. Organizations Receive National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, Ten Honored for Best Practices
Successful organizations know that taking care of their employees is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense. Some U.S. employers are already demonstrating that investing in employee health and well being leads to business success. The American Psychological Association APA recognized six organizations El Nuevo Dia Puerto Rico, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Vermont, Healthwise Idaho, Koinonia Homes Ohio, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (Nevada) and YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network New York for their workplace practices that promote employee health and well being and enhance organizational performance. These companies were presented with the 2007 National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award PHWA at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 3.
Combined, these six organizations report an average turnover rate of just 14 percent that trounces the national average of 40 percent as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 19 percent of employees report high levels of work stress compared to 33 percent nationally.
The cost of stress to employers is huge, says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA executive director for professional practice. Employers spend an estimated 300 billion dollars a year on stress-related absenteeism, turnover, lowered productivity, and direct medical, legal and insurance costs.
Winners also report cost savings from their workplace practices, such as a 6.7 percent reduction in health care costs for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and a 61 percent reduction in workers compensation claims since 2004 for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. YAI/NIPDs workplace practices have allowed the agency to negotiate low premiums with health plans, and costs associated with on the job injuries have dropped by $500,000 over the past five years.
National PHWA winners are often the employer of choice in their communities. Healthwise receives 125 to 150 applications for every job opening, giving the company an advantage in selecting the very best employees from a large pool of talent. Eighty four percent or more of Koinonia employees say the company provides opportunities to learn new skills, gives constructive performance feedback, and encourages teamwork and employee participation in goal setting. And when it comes to job satisfaction, El Nuevo Dia boasts an overall employee satisfaction rate of almost 90 percent.
The link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance is clear, says Newman. Employers who embrace that connection are better able to develop a high performing workforce that serves as a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Psychologically healthy workplace practices fall into five categories: employee involvement; health and safety; employee growth and development; work life balance; and employee recognition. Employee participation in decision making, skills training and leadership development, flexible work arrangements, and programs promoting healthy lifestyle and behavior choices are just a few of the qualities that define a psychologically healthy workplace.
In addition to the National PHWA winners, ten organizations received Best Practices Honors for an innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment. The honorees are Community School Virginia, DuBois Regional Medical Center Pennsylvania, El Nuevo Dia Puerto Rico, the Good Samaritan Hospital of Maryland Maryland, the Houston Texans NFL Franchise Texas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Nevada, Next Level Cafe Minnesota, OMNI Youth Services Illinois, Stratix Corporation Georgia, and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Hawaii.