Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Under half UK’s top retailers offer click and collect service, new research shows

Under half of the UK’s top retailers offer a click and collect service, according to new research.

IVIS Group’s first annual multi-channel maturity benchmark report found that only 44% of retailers currently allow shoppers to reserve or pay for products online and collect in-store. While 77% of these give customers access to the service on both their web and mobile sites, the remaining 23% do so only via their websites.

The top 50 retailers, by turnover across five categories - grocery, department stores, clothing, general merchandise and home improvement - were analysed.

Multi-channel expert IVIS Group’s research, which reviews the retail landscape from a customer perspective, shows that many retailers are providing an inconsistent customer experience across in-store, online and mobile channels.

When looking at how mobile is linking online and in-store shopping, consumers can access all 50 retailers on smartphones and tablets such as the iPad. More than a third (38%) of retailers still haven’t optimised their websites for these channels, however 54% of retailers do have a mobile app.

Of those with a mobile optimised site or app, 84% have a store locator on the home page. Over half (55%) don’t allow customers to check in-store stock availability before going shopping.

“We selected the top 50 retailers across five categories because they are investing the most in multi-channel as a whole,” said Paul Bolton, Director of Product and Corporate Strategy at IVIS Group. “We found that while some retailers are leading the way with flawless, joined up customer shopping experiences, these are rare. In-store and online crossover is a growing trend, but the number of retailers offering this service is low - even when taking into account that certain product types may not suit the click and collect model. Retailers need to start thinking like shoppers. Running a unified operation means the customer gets the best experience.”

IVIS Group analysed elements of customer service, and found that two thirds of retailers are happy to receive telephone calls about online and catalogue shopping queries and orders. 34% are not, preferring to be contacted by email or web forms.

42% of retailers send email and text notifications for items ready to collect in-store, indicating that over half (58%) are not taking advantage of technology to keep customers informed, instead relying on call centres or in-store staff.

Research shows that a fifth of the UK’s top retailers provide little or no product information to online shoppers. 16% of retailers do not provide exact product dimensions, clothing sizes and materials, while 4% give patchy information across their product ranges.

Looking at whether retailers show products in situ, such as clothes displayed on mannequins and furniture placed in rooms, only 12% show all products as they would appear. Half leave customers to guess how items will look and 38% of retailers show only certain types of products in situ. Only one retailer currently offers product videos.

Just over a quarter (26%) of retailers offer interactive screens in-store, allowing customers to browse products.

“Some retailers are leapfrogging the need for interactive screens as they look directly to the use of mobile in-store and invest in offering wi-fi connectivity,” added Bolton. “Our research found that 4% of retailers currently offer free wi-fi, with 2% planning to in the future.”

IVIS Group researched the top 50 retailers’ activity on social media sites. All but one have a presence on Facebook, enabling shoppers to ‘like’ the retailer or share links. Only two have Facebook stores.

Twitter is the next most popular social channel, with 92% of retailers tweeting. Of these, 87% respond to user queries; suggesting a small number use Twitter purely to push messages out rather than engage with customers.

The report also reveals that more UK retailers are dipping their toes into international waters - 34% now ship to overseas locations and 32% trade in one or more countries.

“While internationalisation is an area retailers are looking to for growth, many opportunities still exist in the domestic market if customer-centric best practices are implemented across the channels,” Bolton concluded.

IVIS Group’s clients include, The Carphone Warehouse and BestBuy. It has operations in the UK, China and Malaysia. The first annual multi-channel maturity benchmark report: ‘Customer first, channels second’ is available to download for free here:

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

BRP selects aPriori’s Product Cost Management platform

Power sports manufacturer will use software to reduce product costs and accelerate time to cost reduction -

aPriori, a provider of product cost management software solutions, today announced that BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.), a leader in motorised recreational vehicles, has selected aPriori’s software platform to help identify product cost savings and shorten the time it takes to realise cost reductions in production. The software platform will be used in product engineering, cost engineering and sourcing to lower the cost of new and existing products.

aPriori’s Product Cost Management software platform is a flexible and powerful costing engine that enables engineering, manufacturing and sourcing personnel to quickly and precisely determine the cost of a part or product by automatically pulling geometric and feature information from a computer-aided design (CAD) model. The software also leverages intelligent cost models to determine reasonable default inputs once the user has selected the manufacturing process, materials and the factory or region where a product or part will be produced. As a product evolves through the development lifecycle, users have the ability to refine the cost by providing detailed inputs and overriding defaults to create a should-cost for negotiation or a manufacturing estimate. Using this new level of cost knowledge, companies can make more informed design, production and sourcing decisions and significantly reduce product costs without impacting product quality.

“aPriori’s real-time cost assessments will provide our personnel with powerful data and tools to identify quantifiable savings in material, tooling, labour and overhead when evaluating alternative designs, manufacturing processes and sources,” said Christian Lecomte, vice president, Procurement for BRP. “This enables them to make well-informed decisions to drive significant costs out of products both pre- and post-production.”

aPriori provides true cost visibility to everyone in the organisation that impacts cost,” said Stephanie Feraday, president and CEO of aPriori. “This enables BRP to attack cost at every opportunity and translates into bigger savings opportunities, earlier in the product lifecycle.”

aPriori software and services generate hard-cash product cost savings for discrete manufacturing and product innovation companies. Using aPriori’s real-time product cost assessments, employees in engineering, sourcing and manufacturing make more-informed decisions that drive costs out of products pre- and post-production. With aPriori, manufacturers launch products at cost targets, maximise savings in re-work projects and never overpay for sourced parts.

To learn more about aPriori and its product cost management solutions and services, visit To see an overview demonstration of aPriori, click here.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sarah Smits Wins Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Award

Sarah "Entrepreneur of the Year 2012"
Sarah "Entrepreneur of the Year 2012"
Sarah Smits of independent high street broker Ashbourne Insurance has beaten off stiff competition to win a prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year 2012” award.

Sarah, who is the Finance Director of Hertfordshire-based Ashbourne Insurance, won the coveted title at the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2012 on Thursday May 17th/12. Organised by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry the awards are designed to “celebrate success and achievement and boost business confidence in Hertfordshire”.

Sarah Smits was presented her award by Julie Newlan, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire in front of more than 300 guests at a gala dinner held at the Porsche Centre in Hatfield. Speaking after the event she said: “I am so delighted to have won this award. It means so much to me and I couldn’t have done it without the great team I work with at Ashbourne.”

Explaining their decision the judges commented: “Sarah Smits won this award because in an outstanding field she has risen to the top. Having in 2008 taken over an already successful business, Sarah determined to set about securing its future in an increasingly challenging environment. She has achieved this by increasing profits and turnover whilst at the same time retaining the human touch. She has not only added to the success of Ashbourne Insurance but has also found time to support a number of charities.”

Ashbourne Insurance, which has served the residents and businesses of Hertfordshire and Essex for over 30 years, also reached the final at the same event in three further categories; Business of the Year, Excellence in Customer Service and Excellence in People Development. for more details visit HertsAwards.

The company is now eagerly awaiting the results of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Hertfordshire Awards 2012 in which it has been shortlisted for three awards; Business Person of the Year – Sarah Smits, Service Excellence and Training and Development. Winners will be announced on June 21st and more information is available at FSBHertsAwards.

The family-run firm has also been nominated for five Red Ribbon Family Awards – a national award scheme designed to champion family run firms ( Ashbourne has been shortlisted in five categories; Small Family Business of the Year, Innovation, Customer First and a nomination each for Managing Director Peter Smits and Finance Director Sarah Smits in the Best Family Business Ambassador category. Winners will be announced on Nov 23rd in London.

The 31-year-old family-run business, which also has offices in Cheshunt and Hoddesdon, provides both personal and commercial insurance. The commercial side has expanded over recent years with more and more local businesses – from sole traders to multi-million pound organisations - turning to Ashbourne for a variety of services including Professional Indemnity Insurance, Business Liability Insurance, shop insurance, office insurance, property owners insurance, motor fleet insurance and motor trade insurance.

Ashbourne offers a wide range of business and personal insurance along with a claims advisory service. It is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

For more information visit

(EDITOR: Our congratulations for earning this accolade!)

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With two thirds of online shoppers spending as usual in 2012, great service is vital to secure premium sales

As the UK economy slides back into recession a significant 61% of consumers buying premium products and services say they will not reduce their online spending in 2012, as revealed by a survey conducted by Leapfrogg, the online retail marketing agency. This is great news for premium and high-end brands in light of gloomy economic reports for Q1 of 2012 , especially as 30% of respondents say they will purchase more online due to good service and increased confidence in using online channels. This is even more surprising considering that the average household salary of respondents is just £23K per annum. To take advantage, retailers need to prioritise customer service during the online shopping experience and should include consumer research as part of their digital marketing strategy.

The survey reveals the significance of understanding the online shopping journey, with over a third of consumers using the web to compare and check prices. For 20% of respondents, online search is used for product inspiration and research. Surprisingly, only 14% use online to search for offers or vouchers, emphasising the need for premium retailers to provide quality products, competitive pricing, useful information and great service over quick-win approaches such as voucher codes.

Naturally, 39% of respondents say that lower prices would encourage them to shop with a premium brand but refreshingly, for 21% of consumers quality of product and great service is enough of a pull to encourage a luxury spend. To remain competitive, premium brands will need to ensure that the communication of product information and an excellent shopping experience is provided.

Rosie Freshwater, managing director of Leapfrogg comments, “Premium and high-end brands shouldn't be tempted to undersell themselves by overusing voucher codes and heavy discounting. Consumers are willing to commit to higher prices as long as the shopping experience and customer service is as premium as their purchase.”

In relation to the importance of the shopping experience, Freshwater continues, “Considering customer needs and optimising the online shopping journey at every stage is paramount for increasing customer acquisition and sales. Premium brands need to know their customers inside out and consider every angle of the shopping experience from the perspective of the consumer; this should be a core aspect of retail marketing strategy for high end brands. Premium retailers need to make the whole consumer journey easy, from start to finish, not overlooking the importance of offline interactions such as delivery options and of course post-purchase customer care.”

Cold Calling Is Still Relevant, It Just Starts In A Different Place Nowadays - Content Marketing Is Changing The Game

Corporate investment in SEO has increased, investment in Pay Per Click has increased but, in almost every case, the results have begun to plateau and the quality of leads coming from online channels is in decline.

One of the core functions of any marketing team is to increase traffic and attract new and existing customers, typically via the corporate website. With the increase in SEO, PPC spend and now the next logical step, sustained content marketing programmes, more and more “leads” are being created by B2B marketing teams. However the explosion in the number of “leads” or contacts from prospective buyers has created another problem for sales and marketing operations, not enough “qualified leads”.

Marketing teams are now creating too many leads! What the Sales team actually require are qualified sales leads to make sure they invest their time wisely. Analysis shows that of the increased number “leads” that marketing are creating, in larger enterprises, 93% are never followed up effectively or touched and certainly not qualified. A further 5% don’t buy immediately and are not nurtured effectively to a successful conclusion. 2% of those “leads” move into the sales process and, with an average close rate of 1 in 10 it means that for every 500 prospective customers, who download a whitepaper, undertake a survey, or attend a webinar only 1 ends up buying!!

An interesting statistic from Harvard Business Review regarding how important it is to follow up leads in a timely manner when it comes to online leads. “Companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers as firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later. Yet only 37% of companies respond to queries within an hour.”

The above stat is amazing, when you think of the revenue companies are losing due to a delay in the lead follow up process. What enterprise doesn't seem to realise is that customers move rapidly, their attention span is short and they want answers quickly. So how do you make sure that you’re getting back to customers within that rapidly closing window?

The Investment to create the interest in any company and their solutions can run into $millions and is increasing all the time, particularly as the economy becomes more and more competitive. Despite the increase in spend, 98% of this investment remains wasted and sales teams are left with the feeling they are unsupported by the Marketing.

Operatix have identified this disconnect, which is largely due to Marketing teams being too successful at what they have traditionally been asked to do, create leads. With the increase in volumes it is critical to identify, quickly, the real sales opportunities, versus those prospects that need true nurturing, versus those that do not justify time and money being spent. When we say quickly we mean minutes and hours, days and weeks and you have lost your prospect and lost the opportunity to turn online investment into revenue.

Operatix is a Sales and Business Operations Company built for the way business is done today. Working with B2B companies to convert the considerable spend in digital demand generation into sales revenue and offering qualification services from £15 per lead. It is not good enough to simply produce "leads", you MUST turn them into revenue!

Joint MD at Crown Utilities on Short List for National Business Award

One of only five women from a national field selected for the finals of the First Women in Business awards in the built environment category, Crown Utilities joint managing director Keeley Downing is waiting for the final declaration at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London on June 28.

The prestigious competition is sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, the CBI and Real Business Magazine and the gold envelope will be opened and the winner revealed by BBC sports presenter Claire Balding.

A driving force in the development and evolution of two businesses, Keeley joined commercial gas supplier Crown Energy in 1994 when it was only a recently established business unit within the Crown Group.

Group managing director Matt Greensmith commented, “In each role, Keeley’s energy and enthusiasm were evident resulting in her first promotion to head-up the energy business. She was successful in adding electricity sales to the offering, substantially expanding industrial and commercial sales, negotiating a domestic licence from OFGEM and building and training a successful sales team.”

Keeley’s ambition didn’t stop there. Identifying an opportunity to add multi-utility connections, where gas water and electricity are installed in a single process, she argued persuasively to add this to the Crown portfolio, then launched herself into the new venture to grow yet another successful enterprise.

Leading by example, Keeley has recruited and trained the utilities project delivery team. All members in the internal sales and project delivery team were handpicked and trained by Keeley. Each person is multi-skilled and can follow a project through from initial enquiry through every phase of project management to completion.

“I am excited to have come so far and know that there will be strong competition. All the team here at Crown are on my side so we are all keeping our fingers crossed. I am ambitious for the business and can see that while we handle contracts nationwide we can expand still further from our NW base to make this a national multi-utilities connection business,” Keeley concluded.

Scott Dunn Accelerates Growth Plans With New Sales & Marketing Director

Top British luxury tour operator Scott Dunn is stepping up its growth plans with the appointment of Kim Pattie as sales and marketing director.

Andrew Dunn, Scott Dunn’s founder director, says: “Scott Dunn is achieving an exceptional performance in 2012, repeatedly smashing our sales and booking records. However, there is so much more our team wants to achieve and Kim is superbly qualified to help us reach our goals. With top-flight experience of managing globally admired brands, such as Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Candy & Candy and Harrods, she has a strong track record in guiding luxury businesses to even greater levels of success.”

Pattie will report to Scott Dunn’s managing director Simon Russell, who comments: “Our challenge is to introduce management processes suited to Scott Dunn’s growing scale while preserving the values and spirit that underlie our brand. In her career, Kim has repeatedly balanced these demands with great success and is a tremendous addition to our senior team.”

Pattie adds: “The Scott Dunn brand has been built upon an unswerving commitment to delivering the ultimate holiday experience. From the moment guests first contact us to when they return home after an unforgettable trip, Scott Dunn staff live by the mantra that ‘nothing is too much trouble’. I completely share that conviction and am hugely excited to be joining the business at this time.”

Scott Dunn celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011 with a record turnover of £25m and was named Favourite Specialist Tour Operator at the prestigious 2011 Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards.

Prior to joining Scott Dunn, Pattie served as global brand director for luxury destinations group Six Senses Resorts & Spas. Based in Bangkok, she led sales and marketing activities for Six Senses’ 11 resorts, oversaw new resort openings during a period of international expansion and managed all strategic marketing issues for the Soneva and Six Senses brands.

Previously, as head of marketing for luxury property developers Candy & Candy, Pattie devised international brand and marketing strategies for all company projects. In 2008, she managed the high-profile global launch of One Hyde Park, the residential development in London that set new standards for exclusivity in the international property market.

As sales and marketing director for Harrods from 2001 to 2005, Pattie developed and implemented a successful global marketing and brand strategy for the iconic retailer. Leading a team of 35 sales, marketing and creative professionals, Pattie was responsible for multi-million-pound above- and below-the-line marketing budgets, established strategic partnerships with affinity brands and achieved double-digit year-on-year revenue growth despite challenging economic conditions.

Morgan Sindall Group plc implements Accounts Payable Audit Software

FISCAL Technologies forensics software protects leading construction group

FISCAL Technologies providers of world-class accounts payable forensic software, has added the leading UK construction and regeneration group, Morgan Sindall plc to their expanding list of FTSE listed customers. Their financial shared service centre processes over £2 billion worth of spend per annum through their COINS accounting system.

After a detailed proof of concept trial, the Head of Finance at Morgan Sindall quickly recognised the benefits of using FISCAL’s AP Forensics® suite daily to protect their payables, and reduce the risk of fraud which has been increasing in the construction industry. FISCAL’s easy to use, intuitive software delivered an immediate return on investment by pinpointing cost reductions and helping drive process improvement.

Chris Windsor, Head of Customer Development, comments “We are extremely proud to support their finance team at Morgan Sindall in their quest to have the best-in-class accounts payable team in the construction industry."

Sunday, 27 May 2012

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Touchline Video Ltd Brings First HD Video Conferencing Products to the UK

Major Videoconferencing Provider, ZTE to enter UK Market

Touchline Video UK Ltd, has today launched the first of its Partner, ZTE’s new high-definition video conferencing solutions into the UK market. The ZTE T700 4MX and T700 8MX video conferencing systems provide superior call quality and outstanding visual communication for small to medium business environments.

Creating a more natural meeting experience that can be deployed in any working environment; the ZTE T700 series delivers pin-sharp 1080p HD video resolution, crystal-clear high fidelity audio and an integrated, wide-angle PTZ camera which provides exceptional quality video and audio and high performance at a very competitive price.

The ZTE T700 is ideal for small and medium business users, remote office locations and home tele-workers requiring cost-effective videoconferencing solutions with true-to-life video quality and easy set up.

“ZTE is well known as one of the world’s leading telecommunication equipment companies but they are also applying their expertise to creating superior technology for multimedia services,” said Barry Cross, Managing Director, Touchline. “Countless enterprises are now opting to economise on business processes and travel, and video conferencing presents a logical and efficient means of B2B communication while reducing expenditure”.

According to the Enterprise Business Video Forecast: 2011-2016 report from industry analyst Datamonitor, video conferencing is becoming one of the fastest growing IT markets in the world and by 2016 the industry will be worth £2.3bn.

“In recent years we have seen the demand for videoconferencing grow as a substitute for travel but also as a way of increasing efficiency in the workplace,” said Paul Cobos, Sales Director at ZTE UK. “Touchline Video are major players in the UK video conferencing sector so they are the ideal partner to bring our products to market in the UK.”

The partnership with Touchline Video will also see ZTE bring its full series of video-related products, including telepresence, HD videoconferencing, video surveillance, digital home equipment and IPTV solutions, to the UK market for the first time.

 Touchline Video UK Ltd, headquartered near Reading, Berkshire is a UK-wide value-added distributor in the audio, video and web collaboration industries. Touchline Video has contracts with industry leading vendors to offer a comprehensive range of video conferencing and complementary products, from stock, to its reseller base. Touchline Video uses its industry-leading Touchline Support service to provide its customers with product and technical support including both reseller and end-user training. For more information, please contact Touchline by phone at +44(0)118 970 1313 or visit

ZTE is a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions with the most comprehensive product range covering virtually every telecommunications sector, including wireless, access & bearer, VAS, terminals and professional services. The company delivers innovative, custom-made products and services to over 500 operators in more than 140 countries, helping them to meet the changing needs of their customers while growing revenue.

In 2011, ZTE’s revenue increased by 29 per cent increase to USD13.7 billion. Its overseas operating revenue grew 30 per cent to USD 7.4 billion during the period, accounting for 54.2 per cent of overall operating revenue. ZTE commits 10 per cent of its annual revenue to research and development and has leadership roles in several international bodies devoted to developing telecommunications industry standards. ZTE is committed to corporate social responsibility and is a member of the UN Global Compact. The company is China’s only listed telecom manufacturer that is publicly traded on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ). For more information, please visit

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Tesco Uses Nolio to Reduce Application Release Time to Hours

End-to end application deployment automation by leading retailer is latest example of Nolio's success in cloud and virtualised environments

Nolio, a leading provider of application release automation software today announced that Tesco, a leading $40b global retailer, has adopted Nolio ASAP as its standard solution for application release automation across Nolio ASAP will be used to support Tesco’s deployment automation vision across their highly virtualized datacenters and ensure smooth and efficient application deployments for

Tesco sells through 5,380 stores globally, employing over 500,000 employees and it's also one of the world’s largest and fastest growing online retailers, with offerings in markets as diverse as motor insurance, home electrical and clothing. IT plays a major role in Tesco’s overall success and record for innovation by converting manual application service procedures into automated processes, meeting the demand for fast, accurate and repeatable application releases in complex environments.

Vipul Shah, Head of Release, Deployment and Software Configuration Management at, said: “Nolio allows us to greatly speed-up our roll-out processes and ensure higher quality of releases. The product’s ease of use is hugely beneficial to us in terms of maintainability and reducing overhead. Our core strategy for this decade is to ‘Go Faster’ and we always strive to become better, simpler, and cheaper. Nolio ASAP fits in well with this ethos and ensures we have the right mechanism in place to deliver exciting new offerings to our customers.”

The IT team at Tesco opted for Nolio as the core of its manifest deployment strategy, which centralizes application release processes by using an XML manifest as its live ‘system of record’ throughout the deployment. This technique, supported by Nolio’s Application Release Automation Platform, clearly separates deployment payload data from process, so that application changes are deployed with nominal manual changes, reducing the risk of human error, preserving the new application architecture as the roll-out progresses and ensuring a faster time to market.

Eran Sher, VP Products at Nolio said: “The ability to drive rapid IT change and maintain the integrity of a SaaS application, while minimizing human errors is finally here. Although a relatively new concept, Manifest Deployment builds on the well-tried principle of keeping data and process separate. The benefits for large IT users, when faced with wholesale IT changes, are huge and we are delighted that Tesco chose Nolio as the correct technology for this major IT shift.”

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Actix’s LTE Solution Wins at LTE Awards 2012

Actix, a world class leader in mobile network analytics and optimization, has won a LTE Award 2012 for its LTE Network Acceptance solution. Beating 38 entrants, the Actix solution was recognised as a unique and exceptional network product with a proven ability to measure true LTE performance in real-world conditions.

Actix LTE Acceptance supports the majority of Europe, Asia and North America’s early LTE deployments. The solution is also being readily adopted for newer deployments, with Actix signing up its 60th customer for LTE Network Acceptance earlier this month.

Bill McHale, CEO, Actix, commented: “Actix’s LTE solutions continue to help operators across the globe test, optimise and analyse their networks. The judges at the LTE awards have recognised just how important it is to have the right solution in place to deliver the data and insight required to guarantee network performance and take the risk out of LTE rollouts.”

Actix’s LTE Network Acceptance solution helps mobile operators minimize the substantial risks involved in LTE rollout and ensure day one network quality by independently verifying the performance of LTE networks prior to launch. Actix does this by enforcing transparent and unambiguous KPIs; automating the network acceptance process to manage cost and complexity; and delivering centralized governance, ensuring full control of network equipment providers. Full optimization capabilities also allow any issues identified during the process to be addressed at the same time.

The LTE World Awards are a symbol of recognition to the LTE industry as a mark of leadership, quality and innovation. The judging panel consists of senior executives from some of the world’s leading telecommunications companies, including Orange, AT&T, Three and Telecom Italia. This year’s event took place on May 23rd in the El Xalet, Montjuic, Barcelona.

Highly-regulated industries benefit from easy-to-access, real-time management dashboards

Les Paul, Ideagen PLC
Award-winning business intelligence dashboard software author, Intuitive Business Intelligence, ( today announces a strategic partnership with Ideagen PLC, (, a market-leading UK and USA based software company specialising in information and compliance management solutions for highly-regulated industries.

Intuitive Business Intelligence’s advanced dashboard solution, Intuitive Dashboards, integrates seamlessly with Ideagen’s suite of software products, providing a single, consolidated, graphical view of key management and compliance metrics such as audits, issues and actions, non-conformances, training and competencies and test and calibration of equipment and assets.

The dashboard solution also delivers proactive warnings to immediately alert users to performance shortfalls, and enables them to quickly drill-down to the root cause of possible issues with just a few mouse clicks.

Darren Spillane, Group Sales Director of Ideagen PLC, comments, “We are seeing demand for easy to access real-time management dashboards across our Capture, Content and Compliance business units. We evaluated a number of potential systems and found that the Intuitive Dashboards product provides the functionality, easy integration and deployment, and scalability our customers are asking for. We are excited about the potential of this partnership and look forward to taking it to market in support of both our on-premise and our unique software-as-a-service compliance and information management solutions.”

Les Paul, Ideagen’s Chief Technology Officer continues, “We evaluated several dashboard systems and quickly concluded that Intuitive Dashboards could deliver the rich functionality, ease-of-use and rapid-fire implementation that our clients demand. As it is completely web-based, Intuitive Dashboards will work seamlessly with our on-premise, cloud or hybrid environments. Scalability is important to us and we were impressed with the in-memory architecture and thin-client presentation layer, allowing Intuitive Dashboards to scale to thousands of users while maintaining excellent response times – a key requirement for our larger clients. We are delighted to have formed a close partnership with Intuitive Business Intelligence which will enable us to deliver rapid benefits to the Ideagen client base.”

“Effectively managing compliance data is a critical issue for many organisations,” adds Tony Bray, Managing Director of Intuitive Business Intelligence. “As the regulatory landscape becomes steadily more complex, the risks associated with non-compliance grow more costly. Our partnership ensures that Ideagen’s clients can easily rise to the challenge of achieving and sustaining compliance. As we accelerate the expansion of our global partner network, we are very excited to work with Ideagen to help its clients quickly and easily visualise, monitor and share mission-critical information."

Invoice Finance and Factoring Buoyed by Recent Research

Representatives at Target Business Assist are currently revelling at the news that the invoice factoring industry has been given a massive lift. As is being reported in much of the mainstream media, invoice finance is becoming an increasingly dominant source of working capital funding. Demica published their findings last week and it has provided some rare joy for those connected with finance in the United Kingdom.

As availability and lending criteria for relationship credit remain increasingly stringent in Europe, this has been outlined as the first time that the aggregated invoice finance market has been analysed as a single entity. This survey analysed all suitable criteria including trade receivables securitisation, factoring and invoice discounting, supply chain finance, and a range of other invoice-based finance strategies.

Indeed, Demica’s new research reveals that the aggregated European invoice finance market was estimated to be worth £892 billion in 2011 compared to £811 billion in 2010. The figure was just £690 billion in 2009. The latest figures constitute a compound annual growth rate of over 10% meaning that the industry as a whole is actually sitting rather pretty considering the dire state of the British economy and indeed, the Eurozone as a whole.

Individuals looking for updates on this story and all the other relevant news articles in the finance and accountancy sector are advised to visit The site contains a whole host of helpful categories, not least regarding the invoice factoring concept.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Commercial Printers Backing England in Euro 2012

There’s even more reason now to cheer on England in Euro 2012 after Graphics and Print, the award winning Telford based commercial printers, announced a special offer to its customers. If England win the championships which begin on Friday, 8 June 2012, the commercial printers are offering refunds on orders placed during June, subject to certain terms and conditions.

Managing Director, Martin Kells, explains: “We’re all beginning to get excited about Euro 2012 and being big England fans at Graphics and Print, we came up with the idea of not only backing our country to win the cup but also backing our loyal customer base at the same time. So we’re making the following offer – if England can lift the cup, any customers who have placed an order with us between 1st June 2012 until the tournament ends on Sunday 1st July, will have the opportunity to claim a refund.

"The offer will be open to the first 20 customers who contact us to claim their refund, subject to a maximum value of £500. Yes it could cost the company £10,000 but we’d love to see England win their first trophy since 1966 and this is our little way of showing our support to both the team and our customers.”

The offer being made by the commercial printers from Telford, is subject to a maximum refund of up to £500 per customer and includes orders for both print and/or design work. Individual customers can only claim once regardless of how many orders they have placed during the month and is open to the first twenty customers to contact via email to

Graphics and Print started in Telford in 1980 as a small family-run business, and understand the importance of supporting their local community and customers. They regularly support customers with charitable events but they also like to provide special offers on a regular basis to their growing number of loyal customers. Most recently, Graphics and Print provided their customers with support for events such as Children in Need and Sports Relief as part of their commitment to the community. They have a strong commitment to the communities in which they operate, and are one of the few print companies to make a commitment that every one of their employees will spend a minimum of two days per year, during work time, supporting the local community. This involves helping disadvantaged people in having a better life.

Graphics and Print provide an end-to-end service when it comes to commercial printing services, having a design studio, print operators and finishing team all under one roof, making the customer print journey a seamless one!

First-Ever World Risk Day June 26 Attracts Industry-Leading Supporters

The June 26th awareness day will include a global Virtual Summit with risk experts to address best practices and real world examples for CFOs, risk professionals and project professionals

World Risk Day, the first-ever awareness day focused on how taking smarter risks drives corporate strategy, improves business confidence, and grows profits, has received the support of several leading risk and project focused organizations including Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM), the Major Projects Association (MPA) and Active Risk.

Steve Fowler, Chief Executive at the Institute of Risk Management commented, “As a world leader for enterprise risk management, the Institute of Risk Management applauds the launch of the World Risk Day initiative. By drawing attention to the value-add of well-structured risk management, World Risk Day benefits both business and the risk profession.”

Taking place on June 26, 2012, World Risk Day will provide a global forum for business leaders to share insights and best practices. The day will include a Virtual Summit featuring a series of webinars focused on a range of key job functions involved in the enterprise risk management process.

“Enterprise risk management is becoming a strategic imperative to companies and has direct impact on an organization’s profitability,” said Loren Padelford, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Active Risk. “We are excited to be part of a growing team of World Risk Day supporters who are elevating the conversation around risk management and setting benchmarks for the industry.”

Key highlights of World Risk Day include:
• World Risk Day Virtual Summit - The World Risk Day Virtual Summit is a free event consisting of a series of webinars and webcasts for CFOs, risk professionals and project professionals. Led by industry experts, the Summit will hit upon critical risk management issues and opportunities.

• resource center - The online resource center features a consolidation of the most relevant and informative risk information from around the world.

• World Risk Day blog - The World Risk Day blog will cover the hottest topics related to enterprise risk management and feature expert commentary from guest bloggers.

• World Risk Day benchmark survey - How well is your organization managing risk? Participants who fill out the World Risk Day benchmark survey at will gain access to the results for a better understanding of how their organization’s risk maturity compares to others around the globe.

To learn more about World Risk Day or to join as a supporter, please visit or email

Held on June 26th, World Risk Day is the first-ever awareness day focused on how taking smarter risks drives corporate strategy, improves business confidence, and grows profits. World Risk Day brings together risk management thought leaders, providing a global forum for the discussion of the latest risk management best practices, research and reports. World Risk Day is supported by leading industry organizations worldwide, including Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), the Major Projects Association, the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM), and Active Risk.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

That's Green: Kellys earns Green Partner Award

That's Green: Kellys earns Green Partner Award: Kellys Printing Solutions (Kellys) has been awarded a prestigious Green Partner Plus Accreditation from KYOCERA Document Solutions (KYOCER...

Dealing with the leadership ‘reality gap’ using Myers-Briggs

Colin Graves
Colin Graves
According to the latest Employee Outlook survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) while many managers believe they are outstanding leaders their employer often thinks something quite different.

72% of employers report a lack of leadership and management skills within their business. How do you best deal with this ‘reality gap’? It’s a tricky one, because while they could be jeopardising the effectiveness of the entire organisation, it’s important to handle difficult employees with care.

What if you could empower these individuals to better understand the type of person they are? Then in turn encourage them to question how their own assumptions impact on those they work with?

Personality profiling questionnaires like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), when carried out correctly, support individuals in becoming far more self-aware of the impact their leadership style has.

With the MBTI® managers get the opportunity to understand how their own styles impact or clash with the behaviours of those they work closely with. In effect, it empowers individuals to see things from other perspectives – it’s this detail and information that can lead to positive change.

A great example is the manager that took the Myers Briggs test and found out that he had a thinking preference (which means he tends to make decisions ‘with his head rather than his heart’ and is logical in approach) He never said hello to anybody in the morning because he didn’t expect that it mattered to those around him. However, the MBTI® made him realise that some people need a dose of appreciation from their manager on a regular basis. (EDITOR: Well -Duh!!)

He successfully adapted his style – albeit in a small way - to say hello each morning to his colleagues. The result? People noticed a difference and the atmosphere in the office improved.

Then there’s the manager with a judging preference (controlled, organised and structured), who had no idea that asking his team to stick to the rigid plan that he viewed as best practice, was stifling for those who worked far better within a less controlled working environment.

Without challenging the assumptions that managers make how can they develop and improve? If the ‘reality gap’ does exist, as the CIPD survey suggests, the question is this: what are employers doing about it?

Equipping individuals with the reality of how they impact upon those they work with is the most effective and results-driven way to drive change throughout the people within any organisation.

For more information visit

(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Myers-Briggs, MBTI, and the MBTI logo are registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc., in the United States and other countries)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Atlanta Technology achieves three Microsoft Silver competencies

Atlanta Technology, the IT solutions specialist, has announced that it has attained a Silver Hosting competency, a Silver Midmarket Solution Provider competency and a Silver Server Platform competency, illustrating its commitment and expertise in meeting the evolving needs of its customers with relevant Microsoft software solutions.

It has been reported by Microsoft that firms achieving a Silver competency place themselves among the top five per cent of Microsoft partners worldwide, having proven their expertise in specific technology segments, demonstrating the dedication and expertise of Atlanta Technology’s team.

Simon Kelson, Managing Director, Atlanta Technology said: “By achieving the three Silver competencies, it emphasises the expertise we have in delivering the most appropriate Microsoft solutions for our customers, and demonstrates the breadth of knowledge we have with Microsoft products. Ultimately, this enables us to recommend the most innovative technology solutions that help solve our client’s business problems and meet their ongoing IT objectives."

For further information, visit or call 0207 692 7000.

(EDITOR: Congratulations, folks! Well done!)

That's Parenting: KISS Public Relations appointed to handle the laun...

That's Parenting: KISS Public Relations appointed to handle the laun...: Finnish-based Dramaforum Oy has appointed East of England PR agency, KISS Public Relations to...

Centaur adopts ADvance audience development platform from Abacus e-Media

Centaur Media has chosen Abacus e-Media’s innovative ADvance platform to run its circulation and fulfilment activities as well as to provide a complete customer view across the group’s portfolio of digital, print and face to face products.

ADvance is a new cloud-based platform that allows B2B and consumer publishers to sell and manage their print and digital subscriptions, registrations and events in a single system. A key benefit of this approach is that it allows integrated print fulfilment and online access control to work hand in hand.

Perhaps even more important in terms of supporting business growth, powerful business intelligence (BI) and ETL tools give the marketers the opportunity to generate highly targeted campaigns, and to mine and segment audience data from whatever source, that will in turn inform and drive new product development.

Centaur will operate ADvance using an in-house team with additional capacity and support provided by Abacus’ services division based in Bushey. This experienced team (formerly Alliance Media) already provide fulfilment and subscription marketing services to clients such as Conde Nast, BFI, Granta & National Geographic Traveller.

Tim Potter, managing director of Business Publishing at Centaur Media, explained how the move to ADvance is the cornerstone of a strategic initiative to support a high margin, digital first publishing strategy:

“The relationship with Abacus is a fundamental component of Centaur’s digital strategy. Their Webvision CMS already sits at the heart of our online operations, allowing us to utilise best of breed technology across our portfolio. We’ve also successfully implemented their gatekeeping and directory systems. The move to ADvance takes this partnership to a new level. Using the platform we’ll be able to get a complete view of customer activity across our brands and delivery platforms and use this data to rapidly develop new offers, products and services.”

Ian Eckert, director and Head of Audience Development for Abacus e-Media, added: “We’re delighted that one of Abacus’ longest standing clients has chosen ADvance to help move its digital publishing strategy to the next level. With cutting-edge cloud-based technology and an experienced fulfilment services team to provide back-up and support, Abacus is in a unique position to help its clients maximise commercial opportunities in a multiplatform environment.”

Visit Audience development platform

Through the Door Promotions announce the launch of OPEN Magazine

In order to go THROUGH THE DOOR, you must OPEN the door...

Through the Door Promotions, a luxury lifestyle PR Company based in Shoreditch, London have announced that their company magazine OPEN Magazine will launch on 1st June 2012.

Conceived by Through the Door Promotions CEO Georgia Knight, Account Director Hayley Smith and Web Designer Andy Starzacher, OPEN Magazine has been designed as an extension of the PR Company to provide a platform space for a variety of companies, products and services.

OPEN Magazine will not only focus on the current trends in music, fashion, beauty, travel, food and drink and performing arts but will also provide unique insights into other sectors. It will also offer interviews from established artists and musicians; as well as being a launch pad for unsigned acts.

Hayley Smith, Account Director of Through the Door Promotions and Editor of OPEN Magazine says of the publication:  “Magazines are a great entity to promote products and services and we wanted to provide a platform site for companies and artists who wouldn’t necessary gain copious amounts of press coverage.

"OPEN Magazine will be a place where readers and potential customers can find out everything that is happening within the lifestyle industries including events, celebrity interviews, product reviews and new services. Ultimately, we want OPEN Magazine to be a fun and easy source of information.”

Predominately based online, with a published ‘bible’ becoming available at the end of each year, OPEN Magazine is sent to a large database of clients, valued customers and avid readers. And through already established partnerships with businesses and organisations, our readership will cover artists, designers, and creative industry practitioners, CEO’s, CTO’s, Managing Directors and celebrities.

Georgia Knight, CEO of Through the Door Promotions and OPEN Magazine says of this option; “We decided to create an online publication so we could reach a larger audience both Nationally and Globally. OPEN Magazine is a free magazine and we feel that during this economical climate we have created a platform which will offer many editorial opportunities for a variety of established, small, medium and start up companies.”

For editorial content, Through the Door Promotions have enlisted established writers as well as journalism students from local universities in London where OPEN Magazine promises to offer the students opportunities and experience to compile stories and coverage about music, fashion, beauty, food and drink, travel and a range of other topics as well.

OPEN Magazine will also be available as a Smart Phone Application which will be a free download and the website will have an integrated blog, forum as well as video content.
“We wanted the website and the magazine to reflect the Smart Phone generation, and we felt that developing an application would also extend our readership.” Says Andy Starzacher, Web Developer. “OPEN Magazine is a particularly valuable asset for UK businesses wishing to talk intimately and directly to a new customer database. The United Kingdom is a fast growing society where everyone is attached to their Smart Phones so through offering an application service and Smart Phone friendly website, we are more likely to target a wider audience.”

Readers will be able to discover OPEN Magazine at

(EDITOR: The publishers of That's Business wishes OPEN Magazine all the best for their future.)

That's Travel: European Parliament Set Proposals To Cut The Cost ...

That's Travel: European Parliament Set Proposals To Cut The Cost ...: Cheap international calls provider Firstnumber are encouraging everyone to educate them...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Insight UK Named NetApp’s MidSize Enterprise Partner of the Year

Insight UK, which is a part of the of the world’s leading technology companies, has won the NetApp MidSize Enterprise Partner of the Year Award at an event attended by over 200 guests from NetApp’s UK & Ireland partner community. Insight was promoted from Gold to Platinum partner status, which is judged over a number of points, including revenue, professional services accreditations, opportunities created and new customers won.

Pete Rawden, Partner Sales Director, UK & Ireland, NetApp, said: “The NetApp Partner Awards are our way of rewarding our partners for their contribution to the growth of our business. Insight is clearly on the map within our partner community – like NetApp it is committed to providing customers with innovation and quality – and the potential for both companies over the next 12 months is huge. Competition was fierce at our awards, but the winners were the partners that best demonstrated excellent performance, first rate results and exceptional customer interaction.”

Dave Allen, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, commented: “The success of NetApp’s channel operations is testament to its first-class partner performance; producing excellent results and developing key customer relationships.”

Stuart Lemon, Sales Director, Insight Technical Solutions, said, “This is testament to the execution of the plan we have put in place with our strategic technology partners. We have already seen some great wins and awards of this nature help to support the vision of the Insight executive team. We have a great team, and will continue to look for new talent to accelerate our strategies over the coming months. I look forward to yet more success with our strategic partners as these are exciting times at Insight. In the UK we are actively creating a solutions blueprint and a partner network that we can take into EMEA.”

Industry Leaders Recognise Marketo’s Excellence in Innovation and Leadership

Marketo, the fast growing provider of Revenue Performance Management (RPM) solutions, is proud to announce several key honours in the business technology industry:

•Spark by Marketo, its marketing automation solution for small businesses, has won a 2012 SIIA CODiE Award

•Spark also won silver in the Best In Biz Awards 2012 for EMEA

•Marketo president and CEO Phil Fernandez, author of the new groundbreaking book Revenue Disruption, has been named a Stevie Award Finalist for Executive of the Year in the Computer Software, as part of the American Business Awards

“Marketo is changing the way companies can grow their revenue more predictably,” said Fernandez. “We are honored to receive recognition and distinction in for our marketing technology and thought leadership. We believe we are providing the essential business platform and know-how for any size company to grow and thrive.”

The American Business Awards
The Stevie Awards were created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and business people worldwide. Their mission is to raise the profile of exemplary organizations and individuals among the press, the business community, and the general public. In short order, the Stevie has become one of the world's most coveted awards.

The CODiE Awards
The CODiE Awards hold the distinction of being the industry's only peer-reviewed awards program, which provide winners with a unique opportunity to be recognized and honored by companies they respect and with whom they often compete. Now in its 27th year, the CODiE Awards program has raised the standard for excellence and serves as prestigious representation of outstanding achievement and vision in the software and information industries.

The Best in Biz Awards
Best in Biz Awards honor companies, teams, executives and products for their business success and is conferred in two programs covering the U.S. and Canada, as well as EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), respectively. The Best in Biz Awards program is unique as it is the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts. Having researched and covered numerous successful companies, the judges have the expertise to objectively evaluate the entry pool to choose the top companies, teams, executives and products from among the submissions.

For a complete list of Marketo’s awards, visit

Marketo was recently named one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” by Forbes Magazine, the fastest-growing private company of 2011 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, and the “2011 CRM Market Leaders Awards Winner for Marketing Solutions” by CRM Magazine. For more information, visit, or subscribe to Marketo’s award-winning blogs at

Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership to Host SME’s at Business Growth Event

TVB LEP holding event at O2 Slough for SME’s throughout the region

The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) announced today that it is to host a SME event on the 1st June at O2’s Headquarters in Slough. The Grow your Money and then Grow your Business event takes place from 8am to 10am, and will feature presentations from several business representatives and leaders. Louise Fellows, Head of Regional Development South East, for O2 said: “O2 is pleased to welcome Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and the local Thames Valley business community to our offices on the 1st June 2012 for the “Access to Finance” event. It’s hugely exciting to be working in partnership with the LEP and the local business community on this event to raise business confidence and be part of the community hub for economic regeneration in the Thames Valley.”

Tony O’Connor, MD of successful Berkshire business, British Eco, will chat to Sally Goodsell CEO of Finance South East, also Barney Quinn Business Angel will talk about investing in SMEs and Oxford Innovation will launch its new coaching programme for high growth businesses. TVB LEP is interested in helping SMEs find ways to access finance, reduce risk, and build business confidence. SME’s who are interested in attending the event are invited to register via the TVB LEP website. Register on the website at Grow your Money event page

The TVB LEP is also pleased to announce that it is looking for a SME champion to join the TVB LEP Board and become the Chair of the SME Forum.

Steve Lamb, Chair of the TVB LEP commented, “We are collaborating with SME’s across the Thames Valley region to build business confidence, and understand what opportunities and challenges SME’s face. We talk to businesses as much as possible, and some of them are telling us that access to finance and economic confidence can pose a problem, and we want to show SME’s the ways in which they can tackle these issues – there is a lot of help at hand. We may technically be back in recession, but Thames Valley Berkshire is

the engine of the UK economy, with many successful and growing companies, and we firmly believe it is the best place to live, work and do business.”

The TVB LEP has an SME Forum which meets and networks regularly, and individuals interested in applying for the Executive Chair of the SME Forum should be a real champion of business, SMEs and understand the specific needs and challenges those businesses may face. Expressions of interest should be directed to Deborah Wharton or alternatively come and talk to TVB LEP at the O2 event.

The TVB LEP is committed to ensuring that Thames Valley Berkshire remains the most enterprising area in the country, and maintains its competitive edge on the global stage by building on its already strong local economy. Through collaboration with business leaders, the skills and employment sector, the voluntary and community sector and local businesses, TVB LEP will further support economic growth by focusing on its three key goals of improving transport and communications infrastructure in the region, developing skills and education, and motivating and maintaining inward investment.

For more information on the TVB LEP, its key initiatives and how to get involved, please visit

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Specialist paper manufacturer boosts cash flow, makes better buying decisions with finance system from m-hance

Slater Harrison & Co, market-leading manufacturers of speciality card, papers and board products, is to transform its material requirements planning (MRP) processes by implementing a financial management system from m-hance. This new system will provide swifter access to more accurate financial information to enable Slater Harrison to improve cash flow and make better informed buying decisions in support of its future growth plans. The m-hance system will go-live in October 2012.

With price sensitive customers and increased competition, maintaining tight financial control over costs and margins is critical to Slater Harrison’s success. The organisation decided to replace the outdated system that it had been using for 14 years for a scalable solution with flexible long-term support options. After reviewing several systems including Access Accounts and Infor Syteline, Slater Harrison selected a financial management solution from m-hance to streamline its MRP processes and improve the accessibility and reporting of financial information.

Tim Hughes, Financial Director of Slater Harrison & Co Ltd, explains, “Our current system requires a significant amount of manual intervention to provide us with the standard financial information we need. We are often left to churn through large volumes of data as a basis to make key business decisions which no longer fulfils our requirements.”

Hughes continues, “We considered several suppliers but were impressed by the professionalism of the m-hance team combined with the company’s status as a major player in the UK software market. m-hance’s solution was the most user friendly of the systems we evaluated and is ideally suited to our needs as a manufacturer, without being very complex to run or administer which was a crucial requirement.”

m-hance’s system will automate and significantly streamline Slater Harrison’s back-office accounting processes by eliminating time-consuming manual procedures. The new solution’s advanced reporting capabilities will also provide more accurate and quicker access to financial information to improve Slater Harrison’s purchasing decisions in addition to giving it complete visibility and control over its stock to more efficiently meet demand.

Hughes comments, “m-hance’s solution will enable us to better plan our MRP routines so we provide the right products to our customers in line with their precise timescales. With business critical information at our fingertips, we’ll be able to make better informed buying decisions which will result in us having to hold less stock, thus improving our cash flow without jeopardising our service to customers.”

Hughes adds, “m-hance’s solution will provide a rapid return-on-investment and play a key part in helping to shape our future. With more accurate and comprehensive information to hand, we’ll be able to determine which of our products and markets are most profitable and where we should be placing our efforts to support our growth plans, and, most importantly remain ahead of our competition.”

3i Group appoints new CEO

3i Group plc has just announced that, in concluding a process that considered a strong field of both external and internal candidates, it has appointed Simon Borrows to succeed Michael Queen as Chief Executive Officer with effect from today, 17 May 2012.

Simon Borrows is currently Chief Investment Officer and has been a member of the Board of 3i Group plc since he joined the Company in October 2011. Prior to joining, he was Chairman of Greenhill & Co. International LLP, having previously been Co-Chief Executive Officer of Greenhill & Co., Inc, a leading independent investment bank listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Before founding the European operations of Greenhill & Co. in 1998, he was the Managing Director of Baring Brothers International Limited. He is also a non-executive director of The British Land Company plc and of Inchcape plc.

Mr Borrows’s immediate focus will be to shape 3i’s future investment strategy and to ensure that the operating costs of the Group are consistent with this. A key component will be to improve the focus and discipline around the Group’s investment management capabilities, to the benefit of the Group’s shareholders, LPs and co-investors. He will continue to chair 3i’s Investment Committee.

Commenting on the appointment, Sir Adrian Montague, 3i Chairman, said:  “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Simon as Chief Executive. He has already made a significant positive impact as Chief Investment Officer, bringing a fresh focus and discipline to 3i’s investment processes. The Board and I look forward to working with him to ensure the success of the next stage of the development of 3i.”

Simon Borrows responded by saying:  “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to lead the Company into the next phase of its development. 3i has a great brand and a strong long-term track record of investing. Whilst there are clear challenges ahead, particularly in light of the current uncertain macro-economic environment, I am committed to improving the performance of 3i and maximising long-term shareholder value. I look forward to working with the Board and the 3i team to achieve this.”

3i is an international investor focused on Private Equity, Infrastructure and Debt Management, investing in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio, shareholders and fund investors.

Rich Dad Poor Dad Co-Author to Speak in London on 26th May

“Failings of our education system and financial services industry the root cause of financial illiteracy”, so says Rich Dad Poor Dad best-selling co-author and speaker Sharon Lechter.

Commenting on the lack of financial literacy, Sharon Lechter said: “We all have to deal with money issues throughout our lives. Unfortunately, the traditional education system fails to equip us with the right mindset, knowledge and skills we need to succeed at managing our own money. It takes a company like Horizon Speakers & Seminars to source and promote speakers like myself to provide the necessary education that the established education and financial services industry largely fails at.”

Commenting further, Lechter says: “No matter who you are, where you live or what your circumstances; whether you are an employee, a housewife, an entrepreneur or business person, you and your family can enrich your lives and secure your financial well-being by developing adequate financial literacy.”

A best-selling author, seasoned entrepreneur/business woman and Certified Public Accountant, Sharon will be sharing her insights and teachings on personal success and financial literacy at a unique 1-day event titled Think, Act & Grow Rich in London 26th May and Dublin 27th May 2012.

A rare female voice in the world of finance and public speaking her numerous accolades include being an international best-selling co-author of 15 books in the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series.

In 2008, Lechter was appointed to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. She is also an Emissary of the Napoleon Hill foundation and CEO of Pay Your Family First.

Commenting further, Lechter said:”Whether it’s simply paying the bills or raising capital for some other personal or business investment, everyone is faced with financial decisions to make. Unfortunately, most people haven’t had the education to allow them to develop their financial IQ to such a level as to ensure their financial well-being”

Sharon’s training provides unique insights and specific steps to boost people’s levels of personal success, their financial IQ and their bank balance! “The 1-Day talk I will be giving with Horizon Speakers & Seminars will focus on providing people with the knowledge, skills and tools people need to ultimately think, act and grow rich,” says Sharon.

Keelan Cunningham, CEO of Horizon Speakers and Seminars (the organisers), commented on the upcoming event with Sharon saying: “We are delighted to host such a world-class authority in the field of personal success and personal finance in both Dublin and London at the end of May. At a time where money issues and finances are centre stage in every household we feel this is a great opportunity for people in both Ireland and the UK to learn from a genuine world-authority on personal success and financial well-being”

“This seminar will be particularly of use to professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, investors and anyone in general who’d like to improve their financial situation. Everyone can benefit from becoming better at managing their mind, their money and their finances,” said Keelan Cunningham.

Barker Ross invests in e-training for vulnerable temporary workers

Recruitment company Barker Ross has invested in excess of a five figure sum in an e-training programme for temporary workers to ensure their safety in the food, agriculture, logistics, waste and industrial sectors..

With the summer approaching and economic confidence slowly returning in some sectors, many companies are looking to temporary workers to solve their short term labour needs, However, these companies need to be aware that workers are often at greater risk of injury during the first few months of a job.

According to the European Union (2009) people employed on temporary contracts have less access to training than workers on permanent contracts.

To help employers ensure the safety of their workers and overcome problems with language and communication, recruitment agency, Barker Ross has invested in its own e-training programme.

Clients of Barker Ross can be confident that all temporary Barker Ross workers they provide will complete courses in health and safety, manual handling or food hygiene as required.

Some clients are also having bespoke e-training programmes designed for them by Barker Ross, which will take into account any specific requirements posed by a site or a process.

Tim Sutcliffe, Barker Ross Industrial commented: “These training courses are not designed to see if workers pass or fail, but rather to equip them with the information they need to operate safely and effectively on site. We want our clients to be confident that we are sending them the best people for the job and we think e-training is a logical extension or our thorough vetting procedures.”

Workers get a certificate once they have satisfied trainers that they have understood all the information on the course and clients can also access these documents as well as training details for any worker, so ensuring they are acting as responsible employers.

Tim continued “We are not aware of any other recruitment company that offers a comparable e-training programme. To date, we’ve invested over £20,000 in it, including software development by a Chartered Institute of Safety and Health practitioner and in re-vamping our offices to accommodate the appropriate equipment. It has however been worth every penny as our clients rely on us to do everything we can to prepare workers thoroughly to go on new sites.”

The training is accompanied by a thorough investigation and assessment of the workers employment history and references. All of which have to be completed before a worker goes on site.

Rags to Riches Internet Entrepreneur Launches First Online Business Training Event

Nick James, internet entrepreneur, has announced his first training event to help ordinary people learn how to make money online. Money Making Mastery will be held 23-24 June 2012 in Reading, Berkshire to an audience of 450 business owners.

Nick, who is based in Berkshire, has assembled an international line up of presenters who will share how they created their own online businesses in simple language using real life examples. These are all experts who have personally inspired Nick and helped him to create his own business success.

Money Making Mastery speakers include Matt Bacak and Diane Conklin, who run successful marketing businesses over in the US. From the UK, Andy Harrington, Jerry Clark, Lee Sandford, the ex-UK Premiership footballer who is now an expert trader, plus Tom Breeze and Andy Frain, professional video creators and many more.

Andy Harrington is Nick’s personal mentor who started his own business with a £10,000 bank loan and turned it into a 52 Million Pound business. A well known personal development coach and public speaker, he’s shared a stage with luminaries such as Sir Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Paul McKenna and T Harv Eker.

Jerry Clark is another self-made business success, a US direct sales and networking expert, Jerry became a millionaire in his Twenties. To date he has produced over 100 audio training programmes which are used by dozens of businesses in 35 countries. Jerry’s area of expertise is teaching how to increase productivity and profitability in home based businesses.

Nick has a very personal reason for organising this event, as just ten years ago, his life changed after a chance meeting with a stranger:

“I’d just split up with my fiancee, the mother of my son, and had to move out of our home. To make ends meet, I was working as a car park attendant. One day, I helped out a customer who had boxed his car in and we got talking.

“He explained to me what he did for a living and I was amazed to learn that he ran a successful online business. In those days, an internet based business wasn’t an option I would have ever considered possible for myself.”

Encouraged to do something different, Nick set up his first business and began developing software and products to help small businesses improve their online marketing. Now he has a seven figure business, his own online training centre and continues to develop his own products while helping others do the same. He’s worked with business people as diverse as driving instructors, magicians, chicken keepers and bouncy castle organisers.

Said Nick “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share with others how the internet can give anyone the freedom to set up a low cost, flexible business and reach millions of people around the world.”

Money Making Mastery takes place on 23-24 June 2012 at the Hilton Hotel, Drake’s Way, Reading. Further details here: Money Making Mastery

As long-term unemployment remains high, all-time high, says Income Protection can help

According to the ONS, long-term unemployment in the UK is at its highest level for 16 years. Income protection can offer valuable peace of mind during a recession, yet only a small percentage of the population take advantage of this type of insurance.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that the number of people unemployed for more than a year rose by 27,000 to 887,000, the highest level since 1996. But according to the fourth Scottish Widows Protection Report, three in four UK families have no financial protection in place if they lose their job through accident, sickness or involuntary unemployment.

Dr. Richard Theo, of comparison website, believes that people are disregarding the most important type of insurance on the market. He said: “Many people insure their lives, cars and homes, but neglect to insure the one thing that maintains their lifestyle: their income. The latest ONS figures show that long-term unemployment is a growing problem in the UK, but people are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves.”

Income protection is designed to replace part of your monthly income should you lose your job through accident or sickness. Short term policies will only pay out for a limited time period- usually 12 months- but long term policies can pay out until retirement. Dr. Theo explains that for people who are worried about falling ill, long term income protection may be a wiser investment. He said: “Someone who has been off sick for 6 months or longer has an 80% chance of being off work for 5 years. Long term policies give a much greater level of protection, and may not cost much more.”

The Office for National Statistics figures also show that there has been a massive rise in the number of part-time workers in the UK. Nearly eight million people are now in a part-time job, the highest since records began in 1992. Unfortunately, 1.4 million of these are in a part-time position because they cannot find full-time employment- the highest number on record.

Dr. Theo said: “For people who lose their primary income through redundancy, a part-time job may not be sufficient to meet their mortgage payments, bills and general lifestyle costs. Luckily, short term income protection policies often include cover for redundancy as well as accident and sickness. Whilst unemployment cover will only pay out for a maximum of 12 months, it will give you the financial support to find a new job and get back on your feet.” Long term income protection policies do not usually include cover for redundancy, but it can be added as a bolt-on for a higher premium.

So if income protection is such a useful product, why is it being disregarded? According to a recent survey by insurer Bright Grey, 46% of people think that protection products are too expensive. But income protection is not a one-size-fits-all product, and each plan can be tailored to meet each individual requirement. Richard Theo said: “At ActiveQuote, we take the pain out of selecting a suitable policy.

“Our comparison engine will search all the leading UK insurers to find suitable quotes matching your needs with sophisticated features allowing you to quickly whittle the quotes down to identify the most cost effective policy with the appropriate cover. ActiveQuote is also an FSA regulated broker for income protection and health insurance, so expert advisors are always on hand to help customers with their choice.”

Whilst the UK has a long way to go before it pulls itself back out of the recession, income protection will keep you and your lifestyle afloat.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Webgains partners with MymCart opens mobile sales channel to affiliates and retailers

Webgains has appointed MymCart as its new mobile commerce technology partner to open up the mobile sales channel to affiliates and retailers.

The London-based affiliate network is working with MymCart to help its 600 merchants and 70,000 publisher sites construct mobile websites to improve the customer journey and benefit from the burgeoning m-commerce market in the UK.

“Affiliate marketing is about shopping on the internet, meaning allowing people to buy across all channels,” said Robert Glasgow, Managing Director of Webgains. “Providing our clients with an easy-to-configure mobile website will accommodate those shopping via smartphones and tablets. Partnering with MymCart works really well as it’s an established technology that’s fast and affordable.”

Recent research from IBM shows that mobile shopping is increasing at a dramatic rate, with UK mobile transactions up 186.5% in December 2011 compared to December 2010 (up from 4.5% to 12.9% of all online sales).

“Despite these figures, a surprisingly large number of online businesses still haven’t optimised their websites for mobile,” Glasgow continued. “An affordable solution such as MymCart, driven from existing product datafeeds, is just what the market wants at this point in time.”

MymCart allows small companies to build their own branded transactional mobile store within minutes.

“Webgains has a large SME client base,” said Mark Kuhillow, Managing Director of MymCart. “Our technology is aimed at the same kinds of businesses. We both recognise the value that smaller businesses bring to retail.”

Webgains was founded in 2004. Owned by global digital marketing services company ad pepper media, the affiliate network intends to roll out MymCart’s technology internationally over the coming months.

MymCart ( gives any small company wishing to create a mobile-optimised website or allow their customers to pay for goods or services via a mobile phone the ability to build their own affordable, branded mobile site or transactional store within minutes. It removes costly entry barriers to mobile website optimisation and mobile commerce for any kind of business in the UK. Users log in to the MymCart website to create their mobile web app which is compatible with all types of smartphones. MymCart sells its technology via a reseller network.

The company is backed by high-profile digital and retail investors including Chairman Philip Hunt, former CEO of the UK’s largest digital agency Wheel which sold to LBi, and Peter Robinson who headed from launch in 1999 to 2007 and was Multi-channel Director at Selfridges where he launched Ross Sleight, co-founder of Virgin Games and Richard Gregory, chief operating officer of search marketing agency Latitude sit on the advisory board. Carl Uminski, currently COO of the UK’s largest independent mobile agency Somo and former CTO at Overture which sold to Yahoo! Inc for $1.6bn in 2003, is also a shareholder in MymCart.

Managed Print Services Boom as M2 Hits Record Revenues

John Taylor M2
John Taylor M2
50 new contracts, 20% staff expansion and record quarter growth demonstrates M2’s market position as Europe’s leading independent managed print IT services company

M2, Europe’s leading managed print IT services provider today announced record business growth. The Company, which is backed by private equity group ECI Partners, saw turnover grow six per cent to £31.7m in the year to March 31; its best ever turnover driven by a record number of devices managed by M2.

Following the highest ever level of annual investment the business also saw profits grow strongly above their previous all time high of £2.4m achieved last year.

John Taylor, CEO of M2 said, “We continue to grow the business organically through customer loyalty, innovation and great team work. We have invested heavily in both new people and technology to ensure we are well placed to continue expansion in the high growth sector of MPS. It is a market with expected growth of at least 20 per cent over the next three years.”

M2’s profit mix is evolving with a greater percentage coming from its managed service business. The Company saw a record 2011 with growth in both mid and large corporate sectors exceeding 30 per cent, and its Southern region now delivering growth of in excess of 40 per cent.

The results include only part year revenue from two major eight and 10-year contract wins from FTSE100 organisations worth in excess of £40m, including a contract extension valued at over £8.5 million with a FTSE 250 financial services company. These will continue to bring financial growth benefit over the coming fiscal years.

M2, now in its 20th year of trading, started in the North West of England and is now is a truly national business with over 80 per cent of the business now being derived outside of the North West.

Taylor went on to say: “We have experienced tremendous progress over the last year and we anticipate the trajectory will continue. We have just launched two new services; printer asset management (PAM) and M2 intelligence, a proactive helpdesk software for IT departments. These are examples of the innovations coming through that will support the future growth. They compliment our existing MPS service but are standalone services for customers who are maybe not at the MPS engagement stage. “

M2 expects further growth throughout 2012 and will build its business along the M1 corridor between Leeds and Milton Keynes as well as deepening its presence in the Midlands.

The Company attributes its huge traction in the market to its independent approach. Able to offer customers an independent print consultancy that not only reduces costs, but provides great value to the business. M2 was recognsied recently by Quocrica in its global report as the leading independent MPS provider in Europe.

Taylor concluded, “Analyst groups report that our target market of managed print and IT services looks set to continue to grow over the medium term, and we expect to exploit the opportunity. We are saving customers money at a time when all businesses are looking to save and we are increasing service experience for those coming to us at the same. Our proposition and delivery is being well received despite the economic climate.”

To download the global report from Quocirca “Vendor Landscape: Managed Print Services” visit or call 0845 263 7262.

M2 is the Europe’s leading Independent managed print IT services company. Offering a proactively managed ranged of office print strategies, infrastructures and document processes, M2 helps organisations reduce office print costs, waste and risk. Through a consultative audit and assessment process, M2 provides organisations with a customised best practice solution that benefits from the company’s vendor agnostic approach. The company’s professional account management teams helps secure sustained benefits and provides a continuous improvement programme.

M2 provides all its own expert resources including engineering break-fix services to IT consultancy and support services. M2 provides a national UK service and specialises in the mid to large corporate market. Customers include Atkins, LSBU, Kings, Manchester Airport, Moorcrofts, Westwood College and Shoosmiths. For more information visit