Category Archives: Zimana Clients
This interview with Garrison Atkisson, founder of broadAngle, was conducted via online in 2012. Portions were used as part of a post for Business Agility. I met Garrison during my grad school days at Georgia Tech. Later we crossed paths, and the result was Zimana providing SEO analysis for a broadAngle client, OverTime Magazine.
Garrison is a terrific person, and his insights – even better! So it’s great when he shares thoughts from which other entrepreneurs can learn. Read a bit of what he shared with me few of his thoughts below. I am always grateful for Garrison and his wife Aysem for their friendship, and happy for their teams’ growth.
1. You started broadAngle in 2007, originally with a video product. What brought about change to services?
We started broadAngle in late 2007 with the intent to develop and market a product that helped corporate clients manage and deliver video content using a custom branded player. The economic crisis of 2008 made this very difficult for us. We found ourselves in a position where we needed to re-evaluate our strengths and the needs of the market to find a more viable business model. We had assembled a great development team for our own product development, and pivoting the business to provide their development services to our clients was a natural fit. It was much easier to demonstrate value with a services-based strategy that it was trying to create a new market for our product.
2. Four years is a long enough time for technology changes to introduce new trends and behaviors. What changes have you seen from customers recently that surprised you?
When we started offering software development services in late 2008, small and medium sized businesses seemed more reluctant to outsource to a company that was delivering its services using offshore resources. I do not know if the market itself has changed, or if our responses to this reluctance have helped to combat their fears. Generally, clients seemed to be concerned with their ability to manage and direct a team on the other side of the world, which is obviously a valid concern. We put several things in place that made it easier to do business with us, and gave our offshore services a local feel. First, we use VoIP technology to ensure that clients have a local US based phone number at which to reach us, second, our development team works shifted hours so there is more overlap with clients in the US and in Western Europe. Third, we only hire employees that are fluent in English. Finally, senior staff members make regular trips to the US to visit clients, and occasionally will work on-site to put a face to our service. Is short, we provide the benefits of offshore development services while retaining a local feel.
3. Your business is unique in having served customers in Europe and the US. Have you discovered unique differences in how businesses in each region approach business intelligence services? How have those differences affected business process management or decision management from your experiences or observations?
I am more surprised by how similar our client interactions are regardless of their location. I do not know if it is a symptom of the globalization of business in general, if the world is “getting smaller” due to technological changes, or if the function of our business and the service we provide is dictating the form of our interactions with customers. The differences that we do see are more related to corporate culture than to any regional differences.
4. How has broadAngle adopted the cloud for its clients and what lessons has the team learned along the way to implementation?
The popularity of different forms of “cloud” technologies, SaaS (Software as a service), PaaS(Platform as a service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) has affected our clients in a lot of ways. The most common seems to be that IaaS makes it easier to deploy software by simply rolling out a new virtual machine instance for development, test, or production use. We’ve built solutions that integrate SaaS services to add customer relationship or salesforce management functionality to custom applications that otherwise would have been out of scope due to time or budget constraints. We haven’t done much with PaaS outside of some internal research projects, but solutions like Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk show lots of promise as the services mature.
Zimana Client Spotlight: Scientifically Speaking @business317 merges presentation skills with social media
Eric Anderson has been a driving force with his company Scientifically Speaking (nicknamed SciSpeak). Based in Indianapolis, Scientifically Speaking provides social media and presentations coaching to technology professionals and small businesses. The end result for the client is an improved communication skill set to “tell their story.”
Zimana spotlights Scientifically Speaking as it expands its presentation training services with a special emphasis on social media usage among technical professionals. Scispeak is also presenting at several professional seminars throughout across the country, including: the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemist and Chemical Engineer, Indiana Black Expo and the National Society of Black Engineers. Scispeak has also facilitated iPad education training seminars in the Washington Township and Carmel School Districts.
Eric believes Scientifically Speaking stands out to entrepreneurs and technical professionals through two aspects:
- Capability to explain ideas – “The biggest benefit to start ups and entrepreneurs is experience and knowledge in communicating technical information to non-technical audiences.”
- Charisma – “The passion that I bring to my training sessions and presentations sets the experience apart from any other. You can’t teach passion. This will make workshops and consultations memorable and enjoyable.
I have had the pleasure of working alongside Eric Anderson for one of his training courses at the Indiana University-Purdue University campus in Indianapolis. I am sure that many professions can rest easy with Eric on the job. To learn more on how Eric can build a presentation tailored to your organization, visit the Scientifically Speaking site (www.scispeak.com) or reach out at @business317.
Zimana Client Spotlight: @SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson – Shining a big bright light on small business
You have to admire Melinda Emerson. Her motto is to eliminate small business failure, and 2012 is shaping to be a great year for her to do so. With her media site Succeed As Your Own Boss being seen by a quarter of a million unique visitors (and rising) annually, Melinda has been steadily attracting new entrepreneurs seeking ideas to operate a successful business and manage growth. Melinda has seen growth in her own business, thanks to steadily increasing participation of #SmallBizChat. SmallBizChat is a weekly Twitter town hall for small business owners. Every Wednesday at 8pm Eastern, tweeting entrepreneurs gather to tweet questions and view answers from guest experts in finance, marketing, operations, social media, employee concerns, and more. SmallBizChat followers also have the opportunity to give a shout out of their business at the end of the chat. The mini-promotion is worth it – Melinda currently has over 160,000 followers on Twitter, and has seen increasing numbers of returning followers to SmallBizChat week after week.
Melinda authored a book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months (read a review from Zimana client Small Business Trends). The book’s success encouraged Melinda to launch Succeed As Your Own Boss , which features business tips and summaries of the weekly SmallBizChats. The site continues to attract other contributors such as Tai Goodwin of Launch While Working and a plethora of guests well known in small business circles, such as Deborah Shane, Michael Hyatt, Anita Campbell, Allan Weiss, and Barry Moltz.
Melinda has also branched out to commentary for several major media outlets and corporate online community sites, such as MSNBC, FedEx, American Express OPEN, and Pitney Bowes Smart Essentials. In addition, she has been a guest speaker at numerous business trade shows such as the New York Expo and Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference. The New York Times has added Melinda as a regular contributor to their small business online segment.
Zimana has provided analytic support to Melinda for the past year, and continues to salute Melinda in her quest to protect small businesses from failure. Join her by following the hashtag #SmallBizChat every Wednesday at 8 PM EST - learn more about SmallBizChat at Succeed As Your Own Boss. While on the Succeed As Your Own Boss site, check out the Zimana twitterchat on analytics here. And if you would like to see Melinda in action, check out her appearance on NBC Philadelphia.
Zimana Client Spotlight: @smallbiztrends Small Business Trends unveils new design and Twitterchats – offers more news by and for small business owners
Small Business Trends, a media site for small business tips and information, has launched a redesigned look that showcases its recent navigation bar redesign. The design adds a new look to the logo, modified colored, highlighted quotes (typically appearing in the business book reviews ), new font, and an article carousel that highlights the newest articles. The site continues to offer its popular services, such as a free press release submission, and popular small business campaigns such as Small Business Influencers, a voting award program for small business owners, app developers, and large businesses that have made significant strides in the entrepreneurial community.
Small Business Trends started in 2003 and has grown into one of the internet’s most significant resources for small business. Over 4 million visitors rely on the site for the latest in economic trends, technology tips, finance and marketing insights to gain an edge on success. Founded by Anita Campbell, the site has developed a who’s-who of leading small business experts, including Lisa Barone, TJ McCue, Susan Payton, John Follis, Brent Leary, Barry Moltz, and Ivana Taylor.
This year Small Business Trends has promoted a series of Twitterchats, under the hashtag #SMBchat, to its roster of events and services. Two chats in July featured sponsorship by Blackberry and Symantec, focusing on a singular topic. The topics were How has starting a business changed in the last few years for Blackberry and business security for Symantec. These chats permit followers to interact with small business leaders beyond their online words. Learn the comments shared from the Small Business Trends – Blackberry twitterchat in this recap.
The chat and redesigned site compliments another successful release, Visual Marketing. A business marketing book by Campbell and David Langton, a visual communication designer and co-founder with Norman Cherubino of Langton Cherubino Group, Visual Marketing has received terrific acclaim for the way it displays innovative business ideas. The book features branding tips discovered by small businesses seeking unique ways of presenting their services and products. Campbell and Langton picked marketing submissions from many small business owners across the country.
For over two years, Zimana has been proud to conduct regular analytics reviews for the Small Business Trends. Pierre has worked alongside Vedran Maric from SEO Rabbit to thoroughly review and highlight data insights for the team.
In addition, Pierre volunteers his time to contribute business book reviews. 71 reviews have been published since December 2009, but this part of a larger count. 250 reviews gives readers a number of reading sources from finance to project management, all from the best business leaders.