may be a cliche, but my true inspiration behind xamun.. why do we have to choose between work and outdoors. During school days we did not have enough money to visit and stay where we desired, during work years we keep waiting for the next vacation… which feels never enough… its the ‘what if’… what if we can bring work with us and do it where you want to.. freedom to choose without compromise… to be able to have it all
It used to be that the companies were mostly into manufacturing, distribution or retailing. Most of this is asset-based business where people go to the ‘place of work’ where the assets were.
In this century the ratio of knowledge-based business has drastically increased compared to the hard asset based businesses. And knowledge business does not require people to be in the same room to be productive. In fact the trend has been sourcing the best team members globally and delivery project where it’s needed. Lot of alliances is temporary project based and specialized. A lot of the knowledge workers prefer more flexible lifestyle and work from place of their choice rather than formal office and once company for long.
However managing a business with dispersed team is not necessarily easy. Keeping everyone on the same page literally is tough and proper infrastructure and mindset is needed for success. We at BlastAsia since early 2000 has been working with clients across the globe and sometimes it’s a collaboration between not only our team and the client but other third party providers, their team members from another location and to say the least it has been challenging for all. Not only managing projects across the globe but maintaining a tight coordination between different functional units is critical to profitability in service business.
Xamun is our effort in providing a global platform and infrastructure for the knowledge industry to manage their business with ease and confidence. Our vision is to provide a flexible system to those in the industry to manage virtual teams, coordinate across the lifecycle of an engagement and also being connected to the resources and suppliers who are critical piece in a virtual organization. We envision a world of business where geography is not a limitation for companies to source and deliver critical projects and knowledge workers can work where their heart is, breaking the 9 to 5 work cycle, helping reduce traffic, providing better work life balance and hopefully helping in decongesting the city centers and being more ecofriendly.
Most people dread meetings, yet lots of time in organizations is wasted in meetings every week. The time spend in meetings are directly proportionate to the seniority of the person in the organization; so higher-up you are, more time you are wasting every day. Also those involved in knowledge service industry (creative and professional services) spend more time in meetings over those into manufacturing, distribution or construction etc.
Research says, meetings are actually one of the key ‘de-motivators’ for the ‘best of the workers’ in any organizations. In fact the slackers loves meetings, as it let them reach 5pm faster, without the pressure of ToDo and other responsibilities and having a good reason why they had to move that deadline.
So why do knowledgeable and intelligent people spend more and more time in meetings, my take are the following:
- Lack of automation/integrated apps in the creative and professional services, and meetings are the only way to keep tab on progress and relate to different dependent but separate operational functions.
- Knowledge management, due to lack of systems like social media for internal collaboration, only way to share ideas and experience from top down is to spend time in meeting rooms. Effective online project collaboration can help with this a lot in my opinion.
In fact, just by freeing up the need to meet often, the way of working in knowledge industry can transform substantially. In the near future organizations in creative and professional services will probably move towards the following arrangements more:
- Virtual Organisations, with less and less offices.
- Globally distributed team that comes together for specific projects and disperse after. Without the need for physical meetings and office space, this is becoming a reality.
- Less pressure on cities centres as more and more people would be comfortable working from where they like (a beach house or a relaxing mountain side cabin perhaps) rather than required to be staying where the work is.
- Perhaps drop in migration to developed countries just for work in their chosen sectors, since work can reach them anywhere and probably at much better billing rate with the ‘flatter world order’.
I am looking forward to such a world, aren’t you too?
how technology is transforming the way we work, specially for the professional & creative services industry; creating digital content by collaborating across the world and delivering globally
I am not one of those who confirms with ‘the way it is‘ paradigm too well, not a ‘rebel without cause’ either or even much of a rebel. I am comfortable like most people with established ways, but do end up questioning if there is a better way, when I feel something has not caught up with the pace of development.
So, lets focus on the topic for today, Virtual Business. Let me start by defining what do I consider as Virtual Business, ‘If a business uses online means to find, cater, deliver and support its clients, without overly depending on traditional brick & mortar setup of office, full time employees and other facilities, I define them as Virtual Business’. Please note, I am not saying they should not have physical office or employees, but those are not the primary means of delivering value and delight to their customer. Most successful Virtual Business probably would be Amazon, but in this post I would like to focus on Virtual Business that relates to the ‘creative industry’, as defined by wikipedia “The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information.” Which includes everyone from digital artist to architects to software developers and book writers.
The creative industry as I see it is pre-disposed to be virtual. Writers and painters were always working alone in some remote location ever since, however those into software development, architecture, marketing research, advertising, etc., till date have not totally given up the office, employee and other old world ties. This is changing rapidly and I am betting on this industry moving more and more virtual, capitalising on globalisation, internet and technology in general. Below are my list of 10 reasons (not in any particular order) why creative industry will go virtual, and why we are building the first and only integrated tool to conduct your business virtually, check out more at Xamun:
- Freedom to work from where you like, when you like. Geography, timezone, and office hours are things of the past. Nowadays, you can work where your heart is – by the beach, with your children at home, on a mountain cabin. When you are working on ‘digital output, why should you be constrained by one physical location to work from?
- Economic realities demand lightweight, flexible cost structure to be competitive in the global market today. Full-time employees tied to real-estate and other constraints limits the options of how fast you can scale up or down to handle market opportunities across the world.
- Global Talent Pool: there is no monopoly on skill and knowledge, with internet as the great equaliser, its a loss if teams do not leverage on the best talents where ever they are.
- Global Market: not only traditional Multinational Companies, but even small to mid-size companies are operating in multiple geographies, when they buy service they don’t limit themselves to the head-office but look across the world for the best deal they can get. With the digital nature of the output, geographic borders do not matter anymore.
- Intertwining of various output towards the final product: the expected final outputs from different companies in creative industry are increasingly intertwining. These days, web apps have graphics, 3D, video, gamification all mixed together, and clear division of expertise are not easy to maintain among service providers. Therefore, collaborative efforts among virtual teams coming from various creative firms are necessary to address specific needs of clients.
- International Payment online (Paypal): money is the lifeline of any business, and one factor that made it difficult to do cross-border trade a couple of decades ago was the control on the money by different governments. Globalisation has made money exchange much easier in the real world, and new online payment options like Paypal, Google Checkout etc, have even made paying in smaller amounts a reality. This has to be one of the pivotal developments for Virtual Business.
- Desegregation of Work-Life: work life balance is perhaps thing of the past. If you choose to work in a profession that you would probably do for free, your intrinsic motivation does not require you to separate your work and life, unlike in the past. With the freedom to choose your workplace and how many hours you want to put in, work and life can be interwoven into a single fabric. Working parents, single parents and the growing number of women in the workforce require the creative industry to think beyond full-time office and work hours, focusing on productivity and output instead.
- Mobility of Skill set, international travel & open borders: the fact of the matter is people are travelling more, not just looking for work, but because they want to, and with the lifestyle of freelancing and remote working, you dont have to be on vacation, to travel.
- Maturing buyer readiness for freelancers and virtual businesses: few years ago it was much harder to win a project for a freelancer or a virtual company competing against branded firms, but it’s changing rapidly. Personal brands of experts are getting easier to be sold, and more companies across the world are opening up to the idea of buying services from people they have never seen before (or might not see ever). The volume of transaction and rapid growth on sites like oDesk, eLance etc are proof of this.
- Technology tools and ecosystems: there are tools like oDesk, Basecamp, online accounting, etc, which Virtual Businesses have been patching up to cater to business growth. Next wave would be of systems that allow a seamless, integrated experience in conducting business online (shameless plug for Xamun), perhaps connecting with some of the tools of your choice. Legal systems globally also are getting better at recognising Intellectual Property rights and ownership, and countries and states have already started structuring themselves to attract Virtual Companies to register with them, removing certain constraints that restricted ‘true virtual companies’.
I can try and add some more, but I think those 10 points would be compelling proof about the growth of virtual business and how creative industry is gearing up to capitalise on it. I believe leveraging on the concepts of Virtual Business, global marketplace and lean startup, more and more knowledge workers from all parts of the world would grow and prosper as entrepreneurs adding value to their customers and their own economy; at xamun we believe we can help them and ourselves by providing tools and support in making virtual business a reality.