Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Janakiram MSV, Pat Romanski, Steven Mandel, John Basso, Liz McMillan

News Feed Item

Out with the new in with the old: Canadian SBOs say innovation for existing products is top priority

With willingness to take a risk at the lowest level in almost two years, SBOs are focused on improving their current product line instead of developing net new products.

MARKHAM, ON, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - In an economy where business is a rapidly changing environment, gaining a sustainable edge has become top of mind and more important than ever for small business owners (SBOs).However, as small business owners look to a variety of sources for innovative ideas, they are reserving their efforts to further expand their current product offerings.

The quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor revealed small business owners continue to experience a negative outlook on their business' potential. However, they recognize the longevity of their company's success hinges on their current products or services.  While innovation remains a priority, improving their current product line (43%) is emphasized as the most important factor to the future success of their company. SBOs understand that while bringing new products to the market is important; but delivering fresh thinking to their current offerings is key. This takes greater precedence over creating new products (31%).

Small business owners show a willingness to invest in research and development, yet a knowledge gap exists for available resources

It is evident SBOs value research and development as they spent an average of 11% of their total revenue on this in the last year. SBOs also reported they plan to increase this budget to 12.7% in the next year. However, SBOs are neglecting to explore the full extent of government resources specifically designed to alleviate their investment.

The survey revealed while Canadian SBOs are eligible for the Scientific Research and Experimental Development  (SR&ED) tax credit, more than half (58%) of businesses have never heard of it. Furthermore, over one fourth (28%) have heard about the SR&ED tax credit, but don't apply. Canadian SBOs are missing the opportunity to gain valuable resources and funds as the average grant for the SR&ED tax credit is $67,832.

"While it is positive to see SBOs investing largely in research and development, it is surprising to see the data reveal the complacence when it comes to taking advantage of financial breaks," says Athena Varmazis, Vice President and General Manager, Small Business Services, American Express Canada. "As a result, they are missing out on robust government resources that can help their businesses thrive."

SBOs rely on their instincts yet welcome feedback from their employees and clients

The Monitor revealed over half (61%) of SBOs identify sales, marketing and branding as an area where innovation is most required, yet they continue to recognize the need for further investment in customer service (56%).

For that reason, 66% of SBOs report they have implemented ideas in the past two years focused on improving their existing products and services. Over half (63%) of Canada's SBOs rely on their instincts when testing the effectiveness of a new product or service.

While SBOs most often place serious consideration on their own ideas (42%) for new products/services, they acknowledge the insight their employees and current clients offer their business.  Nearly half (47%) of SBOs report customer suggestions as the source that provides the best ideas for improving products and services.

Entrepreneurs are also acknowledging their employees in relation to internal business processes. Over one fourth (34%) of SBOs report employees provide the best suggestions for improving how the company operates day to day from accounting to administration practices.

"It is refreshing to see SBOs embracing the feedback from both their clients and employees alike," says Varmazis.  "This allows them to not only inherit valuable insight into their business strategy, customer service model and their internal operations, but presents the opportunity for them to successfully evolve."

Optimism about the financial state of their business continues to decline amongst SBOs leading into the last quarter of the year

In terms of the quarterly index portion of the survey, the Monitor reveals there is a continued decline in SBOs optimism levels. While over half (52%) of SBOs remain hopeful about their future financial position, this is down 5 points from last quarter (57%).

Although over four in five (81%) SBOs remain confident their business will grow over the next six months, there continues to be a decline from last quarter in the overall perception of their business' financial state. Thirty-eight per cent of SBOs report their business' current financial position is improving, down 8 points since last quarter (46%) and down 11 points since November 2011 (49%).

About the American Express Small Business Monitor
From October 26th and November 6th, 2012, Rogers Connect Market Research conducted an online survey on behalf of American Express Small Business Services with a sample of 535 Canadian small business owners each employing between 2 and 100 people. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 4.2%, 19 times out of 20. In order to ensure the results are representative of the entire population of small business owners in Canada, the data have been statistically weighted for small business by region according to Statistics Canada. Respondents were located across Canada and came from a variety of industries, including health, social services, education, tech, sales and skilled trades. Due to rounding, some results may add to over 100 per cent.

About American Express Small Business Services
American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. SBS supports business owners with exceptional service. We offer tailored products and services that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owners can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded line-up of partners. To obtain more information about SBS, visit www.amexforbusiness.ca or www.facebook.com/AmexforBusiness


SOURCE American Express

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.