Living in the clouds- new technology trends 2013

Following Mr. B’s Advice to have a look at the latest technology trends for 2013, I ended up on Daniel Burrus page.  He is CEO and founder of Burrus Research Associates and sees himself as Keynote Speaker, Business Strategist and Global Futurist.Talking about technology trends he mentions amongst others “Cloud Computing and Advanced Cloud Services”.

“(Cloud Computing and Advanced Cloud Services) will be increasingly embraced by business of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity.”- Daniel Burru

Daniel Burru is not the only one, who sees Cloud Computing as the coming technology business trend. It-magazines like “Computerwoche”describe Cloud Computing as

“one of the current and most important trends in the Business IT”

What does Cloud Computing actually mean?

According to NIST (national institute of standards and technology), Cloud Computing is defined as the following:

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.“

Cloud Computing

We all know clouds and their general advantages from private use. With help of iCloud or Google Drive we can easily store, manage and exchange our personal data like photos and music, either between our different mac products or from other computers.

What is the advantage of enterprise cloud computing?

Cloud Computing providers like IBM or amazon describe more flexibility, nearly unlimited scalability and lower costs as the main advantages of cloud computing.

Does cloud computing only have positive sides?

After various blogs and magazines: definitely not!

Spiegel online just warned in an article by Ole Reißmann of an observation of European businesses and private users through the U.S.

Susan Bard, a business writer and CEO of Cypress Technologies describes in her blog 5 disadvantages of Cloud Computing. Besides the security issues of data volume, she mentioned amongst other the reliability of your internet connection and the dependence of your cloud computing vendor as disadvantages.

If you want to know more about Cloud Computing and how it works in detail just click here for a German version and here for the English.

What do you think of Cloud Computing? Is it the future app to run your business?

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Perspectives in the Chocolate Industry

BelgianChocolateStore

Current chocolate trends

Foodchannel recently posted new chocolate trends for 2012 which will be focused on more in 2013. To sum it up tastes move from traditional ones like milk chocolate with nuts to very individual tastes like “strawberry cheesecake” or “brownies”. Chocolate more and more tastes like a daily meal or a desert, or has the shape of the high heel that I wore yesterday. Also chocolate companies nowadays try to satisfy people who take care of health and would only eat something that fits into their diet. Chocolate with around 500 calories per bar seen as part of a healthy lifestyle? But the common excuse is that dark chocolate has less calories. It is known to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, and has nearly 8 times the number of antioxidants as found in strawberries. Uff, in this way I propably don’t gain too much weight. Or is this maybe only a strategy to sell more of dark chocolate?

Companies more and more feel the pressure of meeting all modern needs also depending on seasons. During Christmas e.g. firms like Lindt offered special Christmas chocolate. But the rest which could not be sold can be find for half the price now in many supermarkets. Maybe there are just too many companies who offer nearly the same type of chocolate?

However, it’s not too late:

Chocolate industry analysis for 2013

Matt Sena, an expert of the industry, analyzed the chocolate industry for 2013.

The chocolate industry offers a wide variety of opportunities for the small business owner, weathers economic recession well and is growing despite increased health-consciousness and calorie counting. (Sena)

Fortunately people still buy chocolate, probably because even the deepest crisis does not stop people from loving chocolate. A recent study in Great Britain showed that 91% of females and 87% of males consume chocolate products. According to Sena the industry will even expand more. Being creative and innovative seems to be the challenge especially during the economic crisis.

Growth will be driven by population growth as well as expansion into new markets, product innovation and rising disposable income levels leading to greater purchasing of premium offerings. (Sena)

The focus goes more towards smaller businesses since they often offer better quality and a more unique chocolate than big companies which produce in huge factories. A small shop also offers special services like gift-wrapping for an individual requirement like a birthday or a business party.  Since in a time of globalization we now try to emphasize more on individuality. “I am the first person who tries this new fabulous taste” seems to be better than “I bought a chocolate bar that is sold 1000 times a day.” People spend less on very expensive issues like a costly journey but don’t want to give up the little ” affordable luxury” of the daily life. As already mentioned in my last post, the fair trade sector in chocolate business also increases since more people demand good labor conditions combined with premium chocolate and are willing to pay more but in this way supporting local farmers.

Also overseas countries increasingly take part of the chocolate hype which leads to greater export of special chocolates from Europe e.g. to China or India. This creates new E-Business possibilities to efficiently export abroad.

Future problems

Nevertheless, with 2013 also more problems will come along causing problems for the expanding chocolate industry:

Cocoa prices can be exceedingly variable as it is largely grown in developing nations with often unstable political situations. (Sena)

Cocoa farmers will not be able to meet coming chocolate demands. Scarcity of cocoa will rise chocolate prices for consumption in the next years. The question is: How much is still ok for my “affordably luxury”? How much is too much which lets my dream of buying premium chocolate recede into the distance? A recent post on investors.com states that there are already researchers developing genetically engineered cocoa trees to produce higher yields. Will this satisfy people who especially take care of good quality and fair production of chocolate?

A bitter sweet chance – chocolate industry uses ethical business models (Introduction)

“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.” Jo Brand

Chocolate

After focusing and taking a critical view on social problems in Latin America I want to come back to the “other America” and talk about its economic potential and business possibilities that come along with this. Passing by the store “Rausch-Plantagenschokolade” I decided to write about the great world of chocolate. I also worked in a cafe which sells expensive chocolate from all over the world. First I did not understand why I should pay five euros for a chocolate bar when I can also have it for 50ct. But after my boss explained me that cheap chocolate has so much chemicals in it – e.g. Milka would use chemicals which make the chocolate melt in your mouth – and that it is produced without caring about quality standards and actually exploiting farmers I finally realized that it is worth it paying a bit more.

Talking about Rausch

Rausch-Plantagen-Schokolade-Puerto-Cabello-43---Kakao_z1Rausch imports chocolate with 43% cocoa from the plantation Puerto Cabello in Venezuela. On their webpage it is said that they cooperate with the ministry of agriculture and local farmers in order to support them and help them to sell their products for a fair price. Other chocolate products from Latin America are Amacado, dark chocolate from Peru with 60% cocoa content and El Cuador, dark chocolate from Ecuador with 70% cocoa content.

“Rausch has not only propelled his company on one of the fastest growth tracks in Europe, he’s re-introduced the concept of truly premium chocolate bars to consumers in Europe and abroad.” Bernie Pacyniak from Nationaldriller

Pacyniak continues that Rausch could more than double its revenues over the last years from 45 million Euros to 100 million Euros and currently has around 550 employees and producing chocolate in other developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Why does that happen? Why are people willing to buy chocolate from Rausch?

Since international competition and the effort to lower prices has led to a low-quality production of chocolate, Rausch actually noticed that this was a great opportunity to produce premium chocolate bar with good quality and a “distinct experience to consumers”.

“We would use only fine-flavored cacaos, but opt for regular sugar and lecithin as opposed to cane sugar and no lecithin for our Plantagenschokolade line,” Jürgen Rausch, founder and CEO of Rausch

How does the business model of Rausch support local farmers?

Rausch works together with local governments, brokers, cooperatives and individual farmers in order to find ways how to develop growing regions further and how to support local farmers as well. The philosophy of Rausch is that farmers should be rewarded with a good salary if they work hard. Therefore they try to eliminate the “middleman” which means that there aren’t too many people involved to trade chocolate. In this way the income of local farmers can be higher than it would be in other chocolate companies.

“We also want to help the farmer have a better life by earning enough money so that he can enjoy and provide a future for himself and his family.” Rausch

Rising problems

“High quality raw materials, such as fine-flavored cocoa, are becoming very scarce,” Rausch said. “That’s why we have to do something for the future.” Rausch

Rausch is currently developing more processes of how to produce high quality chocolate more efficiently in the world and they are building new logistic centres to answer to rising demand of good chocolate. The future will be interesting …

Is it okay to stick at nothing for success?

The last two weeks I focused on Red Bull and it’s marketing. While I described Red Bulls marketing in general two weeks ago I pointed out three things to learn for Red Bulls Stratus Project last week.

Red Bull Gives You Wings

When most of the people think of Red Bull they see an energy drink, bulls, football clubs or sport events in front of their eyes. The image of the company is absolutely related to extreme sports. Therefore the well-known slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” fits perfectly. Experts categorize Red Bulls marketing as extreme marketing. But doesn’t extreme mean that there have to be victims?
Hermann Strittmatter, founder of the agency GGK Zurich, Red Bulls extreme marketing has obviously taken victims. The first one was Eli Thompson, who died when he crashed into a mountain with a wing suit. The purpose of his was of course, to produce a Red Bull movie. The second victim was Ueli Gegenschatz who died when his Red Bull sponsored BASE jump in Switzerland was not successful.
He argues that: “The accidents are results of the perversions of event marketing. This time Red Bull went too far”. The Swiss magazine accuses Red Bull to have a marketing strategy of “Break a leg”. Overall, Strittmeier beliefs that “Red Bull acts irresponsible.”

“The risk is obvious”

On the other hand, globali who left a comment on kleinezeitung.at insits, that “every one who does extreme sports knows the risk”. According to him, “an accident like the one of Gegenschatz would not have gotten that much attention if Red Bull did not sponsor it.” He thinks that everyone who does extreme sports and finds a sponsor like Red Bull is lucky because “he does not have to pay for mobility and material.”

“Everyone is responsible for his own life”

My own view is that, while it is true that Red Bulls marketing strategy should be observed very critically, everyone is responsible for his own life. Red Bull does not force anyone to jump out of a plane if he or she does not want that. In sum, I would argue that we cannot blame Red Bull for the death of these two guys even it is very sad. They made the decision to jump and they knew which consequences could result.

Strategic Decision Making

In May 1998 Vanessa Kullmann, the owner of Balzac Coffee, decided, after living 2 years in the USA, that the German coffee consumer is ready for an American coffee module and established the very first branch of Balzac Coffee in Hamburg. 14 years later, Kullmann is employing more than 800 workers with yearly revenues of €23 million.

Logo_Balzac_Coffee

A Cup of Coffee in Berlin

Last week I was invited for a friendly cup of coffee, which included a short espresso tasting course, in the bourgeois neighborhood of Prenzlauerberg in Berlin by Marlone, a manager in one of the 53 branches of the Balzac Coffee spread around Germany. Marlone explains that Balzac Coffee recently purchased one of the leading competitors in Germany World Coffee, becoming the leading coffee chain in the country. When asking the manager what is the secret of success, the business strategy of Balzac Coffee, Marlone sits comfortably on one of the many sofas around the café and explains the German consumer has a different taste than the American.

“This old looking sofa that we’re sitting on, the graffiti picture behind me, that is how it looks like in each and every branch of Balzac – it’s comfortable!” Marlon says with a smile. He continues and explains that the quality of the Balzac products is the number one reason for its success: unlike the leading American competitor Starbucks, foamed milk is produced by hand and not by machine, espresso is served within several seconds since it left the machine and coffee related products are made from fresh ingredients only, and not from different kinds of syrups. He adds, that the location is one of the most important aspects that higher management considers when opening a new branch, trying to pick neighborhoods with an age average above 30 and with a high density of tourists.

Business Strategy

Around the World

Evan Carlmichael, the owner of the world-known entrepreneur blog, reports that when Starbucks began to expand, it used a different and rather controversial location-based strategy than its competitors. Starbucks decided ‘blanketing’ an area, open many branches in a specific neighborhood rather than opening them in different locations around the city. This created a short delivery and management times and shortened the waiting lines for customers in every individual store. Moreover, Carlmichael reports that providing the costumer with an intimate and welcoming environment, accompanied with a great cup of coffee as well as new innovations as pre-orders via the internet, new fresh can drinks, these will all create a good reputation on its own. As a result, Starbucks spends less money on normal advertising.

200px-Caribou1.svg

 Another example can be seen looking at Caribou Coffee, the second largest company-owned coffeehouse in the world, which has quite a different business strategy than Starbucks. AdAge.com, an international world-known business blog, , quotes Alfredo Martel, VP marketing and project marketing:

“we don’t have interest in being the biggest… we’d rather be great at what we do”.

This symbolizes the business world-view of Caribou – a smaller but a higher-quality chain with little pretense. Caribou began offering exclusive oatmeal breakfasts, ‘grown-up’ sandwiches combined with permanent and limited-time new avant-garde drinks, that haven’t been seen in the market so far.

Moreover, in order to keep improving, logisticsit.com reportsCaribou is using the services of SuccessFactors, a global leader in on-demand performance and talent management solutions. With their assistance, Caribou is identifying successful young employees more professionally and eventually promoting them to higher positions in the firm, creating a long term successful management.