This is a review of last week’s Annual Conference by Mark Rodgers of Cipherion Translations. Mark is also chair of the IIA Internation Working Group. This review was originally published on his own blog and he very nicely (cos he’s a very nice chap) allowed us to republish it here. Thanks Mark!
IIA Annual Conference: Open Data, Cloud Computing and the Future for Irish Entrepreneurs
Cloud Computing and Open Data
A tech-conference in Dublin these days is not a conference without an appearance by Josh Holmes – Microsoft’s evangelist. And Josh didn’t disappoint either, with some wonderful insights into deep fried mars bars and other Arkansas delicacies. Tech-details aside, the convergence of cloud computing and open data is starting to show signs of becoming a reality, well done to IIA for showcasing the strategic nature of this convergence. Check out our thoughts on m-cloud.
Future for Irish Entrepreneurs – a European Content Hub?
The final panel discussion really started to spark the imagination. Neil Leyden, joint-winner of “Your Country, Your Call”, outlined his fantastic ideas and visions for an Irish Content Services Centre (ICSC) here in Dublin. In short, it’s the IFSC Part II.
However, instead of funds, Neil suggests that we focus on our unique position and ability to play a central role in Content distribution to the European market – and beyond. Disney (www.disney.com) , EA (www.ea.com) , Sony (www.sony.com) etc could all be invited to set up European “content” centres here in Ireland.
Constantin Gurdgiev loved the opportunity to speak publicly and not mention the words “bailout” or “crisis”! Instead he focused on the opportunities for organisations to develop new technologies, not based on a defined and known market, but more along the lines of: build it, go to market and try and sell it, take on customer feedback, modify the product or service and go to market again. The future is un-known, as soon as you do market research, it’s out of date!
This is real entrepreneurship – heading into the future, not certain of where or how you’ll get there but knowing that you have the people, tools, resources and abilities to get there. With a sprinkling of deep fried “self-belief”, as Josh might say.
So instead of spending your €1million of investment in technology, spend €250k on the sales channel and sales person… and spend the next €500k on upgrading and improving. “K”s can also be dropped above ; – ). A bit like the Japanese Kaizen approach.
This approach ties in very nicely to a current LinkedIN debate in the Irish Software Association group on how tech start-ups can find the right sales people. What’s emerging is that IRELAND INC, as a collaborative community, could be doing a better job at supplying already existing information and / or contacts and networks to our entrepreneurs – so that they are better equipped to face into what is ahead. Perhaps Michael Gerber’s “E-myth” be made mandatory reading before anyone sets up a business. In reading the book it becomes clear:
- Most businesses are set up by folks who know the “technology”, myself included.
- The more successful they get, the busier they become in delivering product / service
- This leaves a gap in the business: Who’s going to sell my services
- Sometimes this realisation comes too late: the business goes under
- Successful entrepreneurs either delegate the technical aspects or hire a great sales person
- All businesses are the same; all entrepreneurs are the same – only with different challenges.
- So let’s just recognise the problem, consult others to see if it’s valid, and change our approach.
In Ireland, there are ever more green shoots appearing. The harvest is still some time away.
However those that are just starting along the road to global success can learn from those who are one step ahead, those that are one step ahead can give back to those that are just starting. Just check the newspapers last weekend, the Turley brothers netted €80m for the sale of their business CarTrawler. One of the brothers was in sales, one was in operations – it works!
Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGAP) to help Internet Related Companies Win New Business Opportunities
Ireland’s growing number of internet related companies are set to receive a major boost to their growth development prospects with the launch today (Tuesday 29 September 2009) of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGAP). Developed by Enterprise Ireland in association with the Internet Growth Alliance (a business led initiative supporting the international growth of Irish e-businesses) this new Programme for high potential Internet companies will provide them with the tools and skills to develop and execute aggressive international growth plans and scale their business. Recruitment for the Programme, which starts in November, is now underway.
The focus of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is on Internet related companies with global growth potential and the ability to meet critical growth milestones. The Programme design is specifically geared to add significant strategic and business value to companies in both B2B and B2C markets with practical learning modules, support from implementation coaches, access to business advisors and industry networking. Industry experts and experienced Internet entrepreneurs will cover topics including monetizing the business, revenue models, marketing, customer acquisition and retention and preparation for funding – all key elements of a business strategy for growing Internet companies.
Speaking at the launch, Jennifer Condon, Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s Software Division, said:
“Enterprise Ireland’s new Software Strategy, as part of the Government’s Smart Economy blueprint, sets out to develop and grow a thriving set of high-value, innovative, research-intensive Irish Software companies. The aim of the software strategy is to position Ireland’s software industry to maximise its opportunities in the “New Software Economy”. This New Software Economy is driven by the growth of the Internet and changes in the software value chain. It is characterised by user demand for greater flexibility, global delivery and cost effective solutions.
“The Internet is providing opportunities for new business models as seen in Internet based start-ups and new delivery channels such as Software as a Service. These new business models favour flexible, innovative SMEs by giving them access to international markets via the Internet. The Internet Growth Acceleration Programme aims to position Irish Internet related companies to maximise their potential in this new market environment and is specifically designed to address the needs of innovative companies specifically those developing Web 2.0 type applications.”
Speaking on behalf of the Internet Growth Alliance* Colm Lyon, CEO of Realex Payments and founder of the Internet Growth Alliance said:
“The development of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is a great example of industry wide collaboration at work. All the stakeholders in the Irish Internet Industry believe in the opportunity and the global potential the internet has to offer Irish businesses. With all the relevant industry associations and some key business advisors working together we see the emergence of a very important building block – the iGAP. This programme will give Irish internet entrepreneurs access to worldwide and local expertise. It is comprehensive, focused and intensive in its construction. In addition it will offer Irish Internet Entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet and get to know many other people in the same industry – both experienced and emerging.
“The business advisors of the Internet Growth Alliance are delighted with the development and look forward to working with both Enterprise Ireland and the participating businesses as we identify and support Irish Internet businesses that will scale globally.”
This programme is a core part of Enterprise Ireland’s recently launched four-year strategy for the Irish software industry, which aims to drive the sector’s revenues to over €2.5bn by 2013 by capitalising on changes in the global software market. Outlining the importance of the Internet sector in this strategy, Jennifer Condon went on to say: “Internet based businesses will form an increasingly significant part of Ireland’s Software sector. Enterprise Ireland is working closely with our industry partners, in particular the Internet Growth Alliance, the Irish Software Association and the Irish Internet Association, to bring about sustainable change and growth in the sector. This programme is one of a number of initiatives to support these Internet companies in their drive to develop their businesses and grow globally.”
More about the Internet Growth Alliance
*The Internet Growth Alliance (www.alliance.ie) was established by a consortium of Irish entrepreneurs in conjunction with the Irish Internet Association, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Software Association, the Institute of International and European Affairs, Web2 Ireland and the Digital Hub. The mission of the Alliance is to accelerate the development of Irish Internet businesses and the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is at the core of its strategy.
The IIA International Strategy Working Group will be holding a seminar in the Autumn to help organisations better tap into international revenues using the Internet. In advance of this seminar, called “Growing international revenues using the Internet”, we are looking to identify how we can best meet your areas of interest. It would be great if you could complete our short survey.
Your responses are private and anonymised and will only be used by the IIA and the working group for this purpose.
Check back later in the summer for more details of this event.