Viewing archives for Roadmap for growth

Bitcoin – What Is It and What Does It Mean to Business?

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital-only currency, or “cryptocurrency,” created in 2009. It has many (or perhaps all) of the characteristics of any currency, except it’s 100% digital and that it isn’t controlled by any bank or government—Bitcoin exists without any institutional support and parties transact without requiring a trusted third party, such as a bank. This is because the mechanism for recording Bitcoin transactions, which is called Blockchain, is secure and reliable.

These fundamental differences haven’t stopped people from using it: the total value of Bitcoins in circulation is now over $190Bn!

To find out more about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and what they’ll mean to your business moving forward, read our CEO’s Briefing:

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Get Real: How Does Tech Fuel Business Growth?

We recently launched Freeman Clarke in the US and hosted an event at the Norwood Club in Chelsea. We invited 3 panelists to discuss how technology fuels business growth. The panellists; Matt Pritchard, Ramin Behesti and Jonathan Giaramita who all work within different industries, job roles and business sizes, came to conclusion that despite these variables, the driver to successful growth through technology was down to people, process and organisational challenges.

We filmed a quick interview with each of the panellists before the event to get their opinion on the subject matter – and their take on how technology has affected their business.

Matt Pritchard, VP Digital and Innovation, Campbell’s Soup Company

Ramin Beheshti, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Dow Jones

Jonathan Giaramita, CFO, The BP Group

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Who are Freeman Clarke?

We are the largest and most experienced team of CIOs and CTOs and work exclusively in the mid-market. Our team of Principals are highly experienced and deliver real value to our clients everyday.  Graeme Freeman, one of the Co-founders and Directors) explains exactly who we are and what we do in this short video.

(Image left to right: Graeme Freeman, Steve Clarke)

For more information or to find out how one of our Principals can help you use technology to grow your business please get in touch today. contact@freemanclarke.com 

Using Systems & Digital to Grow Your Business

Companies planning growth need to have a plan for how their technology can support and drive this growth allowing them to scale-up confidently, whilst maintaining or improving their margins and customer service.

Quite often, it’s hard to know where to start. Watch this video where I explain what a Technology Roadmap looks like, the benefits and how to start planning yours.

We also have a more fulsome CEO’s Briefing which you might find helpful which provides some pointers on getting started. Or, visit our Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

What is Digital Transformation and Where Do You Start?

Everyone is talking about Digital Transformation…what does it mean?

If you’re interested in learning how Digital Transformation can transform your business have a listen to this short video by Graeme Freeman (Co-Founder and Directer at Freeman Clarke). He talks about 4 types of Digital Transformation and 3 good places to start.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Introduction to Office Automation Using Software Robots

Look around an office and you will see plenty of people whose main work is dealing with systems and information. Data, requests and instructions come in from emails and other sources, and go out similar ways. People handle information, organize it, fix it, share it, and ensure that different systems are up to date so that the right things happen. In this short video we discuss how this data handling can be replaced by office automation using software robots. A number of our clients are using this technology – and although there can be challenges the benefits and efficiencies far outweigh these.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

What Does It Take to Stay at the Top of Our Game?

People are the most important part of any business.

We run conferences where we hear from expert speakers and run workshops to share knowledge, skills and experience. So, when you take on one of our Principals you get the benefit of all this training and the whole team!

Here is a snap shot from our most recent conference in the UK…

If you would like to know more about one of our Principals becoming part of your senior team, please get in touch for an informal discussion contact@freemanclarke.com

Can Software Robots Really Eliminate Admin?

According to McKinsey & Company, 60% of jobs could automate 30% of their tasks. Forrester, a respected technology research company, estimates that by 2021, over 4,000,000 robots will be doing office, administrative, and sales- related tasks. That’s just two years away!

It’s often called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or Intelligent Automation (IA). The techies are going nuts over this shiny new thing, with tech companies promising revolutionary reductions in administration costs.

But what’s really going on? I spoke to Freeman Clarke Regional Director Andrew Hart to hear more about the reality of automation, and what we’re actually doing with mid-market businesses.

You can read a summary below or listen to the conversation here.

Graeme Freeman: What are software robots, and what do they really do?

Andrew Hart: We’re doing a lot of work with our clients using software robots to take over repetitive system tasks previously done by admin staff. It’s potentially a game-changer. The idea is to use tools to eliminate the kinds of jobs that people in offices do all the time: pull data from documents, emails and systems, get things from the web, update other systems and documents, read and send emails. That kind of thing.

Graeme Freeman: This sounds very impressive. Is this all about cost-saving?

Andrew Hart: Well, actually, this normally starts with the idea of saving costs, but generally the objectives change. Many of the people bogged down with repetitive tasks are experts in the business, systems and data – if they have more time available then they can make a real difference to enabling growth.

Graeme Freeman: So if it’s not really about cost-saving, what are the hard benefits?

Andrew Hart: Well, it is about cost-saving. But it’s not only about cost saving. Fundamentally, using software robots allows clients to simplify and standardize their business and to free up their experts.

Lots of companies are really complicated, especially if they’ve grown through acquisition, or if their customers or suppliers impose annoying processes and systems on them. Software robots can allow companies to automate a lot of this.

Also, for our clients who are in highly regulated sectors, these tools are very useful from a compliance point of view — reduction in errors, imposing controls and processes.

And a company with more software robots is well placed for growth. Directors know they can scale up far more simply and easily.

Graeme Freeman: Well that sounds great. What are the pitfalls?

Andrew Hart: There are plenty of pitfalls! Most importantly, our experience is that these projects are complicated and difficult to plan. IT experts and business experts need to be heavily involved and committed, rather than fighting to protect their jobs. So the entire project needs to be well-supported, well-communicated and part of a strategy.

The project should be driven on an incremental 80/20 approach all the time. Some ideas will work well, some not so well. It’s a gradual process of improvement rather than a quick win.

And once you have a large number of tasks automated then there will be frequent issues and you need people on hand to address them at affordable cost.

Graeme Freeman: So this is sounding like a mixed picture? What’s our conclusion?

Andrew Hart: Yes, the picture is mixed and of course the upsides are not as simple and clear as product vendors would claim!

Software robots are a way to transform businesses, but that’s never going to be easy. We would advocate this kind of project in particular circumstances and not in others. It’s not suitable for everyone.

It is vital to have in-house expertise in the tools or to have a good relationship with a provider who can help at a reasonable day-rate. So, yes, the mundane tasks can be shrunk, but they are replaced by a new technical maintenance task. This task is smaller, smarter and more value-adding — but, make no mistake, this is a complicated technology that needs maintaining, by well-paid humans.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional CIOs and CTOs. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. If you’d like to discuss how Freeman Clarke could support your business contact us now for a no-strings conversation.

Software Robots: Buzzword or Revolutionary New Tech?

Look around any office, and you’ll see people whose main work is dealing with systems and information. People organize information, fix it, and share it. They ensure that systems are up-to-date so that the right things happen. Whether it’s product information, contracts, claims, pricing, or tracking employee vacation days, a modern office is full of this kind of activity.

Software Robots (RPA) is technology that can replace these tasks. So it promises to automate much of the ordinary work that many do for a living. Forrester, a respected technology research company, estimates that by 2021, 4,000,000 robots will be doing office, administrative and sales-related tasks!

We’ve created a CEO briefing to help you navigate RPAs and see if they are best for your business. We discuss:

What is RPA?

Is RPA really new?

Is RPA part of the AI revolution?

Where is RPA really working? What are the benefits?

How effective is RPA really?

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional CIOs and CTOs. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. If you’d like to discuss how Freeman Clarke could support your business contact us now for a no-strings conversation.

The 6 Must-Haves for Hiring the Best CTO

Freeman Clarke has decades of experience in hiring the best CIOs and CTOs. In several years of refining our screening process, we’ve discovered that good CTOs always have six essential qualities.

  1. Technical Expertise. CTOs must have an extensive understanding of technology, security and engineering, and preferably years of experience in the industry. They need to understand infrastructure, business systems and online technology. And since no field changes more rapidly than IT, they need up-to-date and detailed experience of practices, products and vendors. The best CTOs don’t just follow the field, they’re leaders — active at events and in online discussions.
  2. People Skills. Of course, all of business is about people. And all software is built by people, for people. Teamwork is at the heart of any successful venture. So the CTO needs to be a coach and mentor to his team, and to ensure that communication needs flows easily upwards, downwards and sideways. Plus a CTO needs to engage with all the stakeholders, be a source of energy and good-humor, and needs to fit in.
  3. Entrepreneurship. The CTO needs to be passionate about driving growth and fully committed to the ambitions of the business. This means understanding funding and valuation mechanisms, business plans, and disciplines like marketing and legal. Of course, any complex project has issues, and the CTO needs to be creative, agile and proactive to rapidly recognize when changes are necessary to stay on track.
  4. Business Management Skills. Running an IT team requires good planning, communication skills, and a careful attention to detail. As CTOs are often responsible for compliance issues, they need to be aware of the implications of contractual and regulatory frameworks too. They must know how to monitor their budgets, manage contracts, and negotiate prices. Since so much of IT involves external suppliers, CTOs need to maintain good relationships and long-term commitments while keeping costs under control.
  5. Strategic Thinking Skills. Technical discussions are often painfully detailed. Custom digital technology is complex and intricate. A good CTO both understands the details and the bigger picture — meaning, how the technology will be part of the business strategy. A CTO should also understand that board-level discussions can be vague; key questions are often about the art of the possible. CTOs need to be comfortable with this and strive for strategies that are creative, sensible, useful and flexible.
  6. Compelling Leadership. The CTO forms part of the senior team. Thus he or she needs to lead from the front — contribute to decision-making, be bold and visionary, and hold others to account. As the business grows, the stakes become higher; the CTO must be able to handle the pressure. Where there are external investors, partners or other stakeholders the CTO needs to represent the business to them. External investors, in particular, need to draw confidence from the CTO, as his or her role is so critical to success.

We devote a huge part of our management effort to the recruitment, screening and selection of CTOs and CIOs. And, because we work in the mid-market, we only select CTOs who can fit in with dynamic businesses, rather than needing the comfort of the corporate environment.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Subscribe to our Business Insights

Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.

* Please enter an email address
newnewsletterrecipient

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.

Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

Subscribe to our Business Insights

Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.

* Please enter an email address
newnewsletterrecipient

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.