Vendor Newsletters | July 2013
The Business Cost of Natural Disasters
Last year was the second-worst year on record for extreme weather events, both in number and in costs, according to a recent NCDC study by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. In 2012, there were 11 disaster events with total losses exceeding $110 billion in damages throughout the year.
With Hurricane Sandy, in particular, many people learned how prepared, or in some cases, how ill-prepared they were to deal with a natural disaster. More recently, the tornadoes in Oklahoma serve as another reminder. But in a business context, Mother Nature was particularly instructive in 2012 regarding the importance of business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) precautions.
About 75 percent of companies have a BC plan, according to a survey conducted last year by Disaster Recovery Journal and consulting firm Forrester Research. But that percentage is weighted toward larger companies as government regulations all but require such plans in critical industries. Many small and medium sized businesses lack BC and DR plans, and could do a better job of ensuring their data is properly backed up and maintained, according to a GFI Software study.
Our holistic approach to business communications includes guidance on architecting BC and DR solutions that give customers of all sizes peace of mind. Indeed, our engineers frequently provide customers with a free review of their infrastructure and potential vulnerabilities.
Will the Future of Business Look More Like the Past?
With the rise of the social web — and the web itself permeating everything else — the Internet is catching up with how life is offline. And this means that the future of business will look more like the past than the present, according to Paul Adams, a recognized thought leader in social design and technology.
He says that, by using the web to gather data about customers through interaction after interaction, businesses will learn their behaviors, habits and preferences, and use this insight to personalize products and communications — similar to how local shopkeepers used to know their customers 100 years ago before big box retail.
Today many businesses try to minimize customer interaction to reduce costs. The successful business in the future will see interactions as a profit center because they will compete not on technology, not even on great product design, but on really great customer service.
Until recently, the primary function and purpose of retail stores was to distribute products. Stores were the primary and in many cases the only means of product distribution to a given market.
As a result, the entire retail industry has been based on product sales from the store to the consumer, and the revenue it generates. Indeed, almost all in-store metrics of performance are based on sales (per square foot, per hour, per sales associate and so on). It's all about the sale of product.
And that's the problem, according to Doug Stephens, author of The Retail Revival.
"In a post-Internet, post-mobile world of one click access, the distribution of products has all but ceased to be the issue," he writes. "When one of something can be efficiently shipped to anyone, anywhere, the question of where the sale takes place is rapidly becoming moot. In other words, in the long-term, sales of product can't be the primary strategic purpose or metric for the store."
Some of the world's largest retailers are struggling with this reality. "Stack it high and watch it fly" has abruptly turned into "stack it low and hope it goes" as big box stores scramble to lower inventories in the face of flat or declining sales.
Unfortunately, the common reflex among retailers is to simply downsize and marginalize the role of the store when they should "fully actualize" their brands by animating a physical presence and visceral experience for their consumers, not to move products but more critically, to move hearts and minds — to sell the idea, essence and values of the brand — all of which has more traditionally been viewed as the role of media.
Stephens goes so far as to claim that the physical store is becoming media. "What used to be a distribution channel is becoming a media channel and likewise, media channels (television, magazines, radio, print advertising, social media, etc.) are increasingly becoming the 'store.'" Today, it's possible to buy products from a tweet, a Facebook post, a video or a TV show. And this will accelerate because each day new integrations and applications are allowing us to buy, in a friction-free way, directly from media formats.
Not that stores won't sell products. But increasingly, retail will morph from a product-first, experience-second business to the reverse of that. Product sales will simply ride on the back of remarkable experiences. All retail — online and offline — is becoming phy-gital. In other words, the physical store is becoming a powerful media channel and increasingly all forms of media are becoming the store.
This is a new and far more complex role for the store, and online brands like Google, Bonobos and Warby Parker are affirming the evolution as they each embark on creating their own branded physical stores, leading Stephens to conclude that the store as we've known it is largely being reinvented.
Full Portfolio of Solutions Now Available
Since acquiring the former Tel West Network Services Corp. in 2011, TelePacific has been expanding its presence across Texas by adding network infrastructure and offices to serve the communications needs of businesses in all of the state's major metro areas, culminating with the recent announcement that TelePacific can now deliver its entire product portfolio to Texas businesses. View 3C's product portfolio
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