Amazon made the news on several counts this week – the long-awaited announcement on their new HQ 2 & 3 locations was finally released (New York City and Northern Virginia), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was reported to have predicted that “one day Amazon will fail”  and of course we’ve been subjected to lots of hype around Amazon’s Black Friday Deals.

While Amazon’s new HQ announcement wasn’t met with universal approval, it will mean around 50,000 new jobs and around $5bn of investment across the two sites in Long Island and Arlington. And of course, the bidding process will have given Amazon a nice dossier for future distribution and smaller office location as it continues its seemingly unstoppable growth!

Black Friday used to be the day after Thanksgiving, but for the retail world it has extended on both sides of the calendar and many ‘Black Friday’ sales started over a week ago. Amazon’s own Black Friday offering has already started and there are some good tech deals to be had. Of course, some of the best deals will be for Amazon’s own hardware – Kindles, Echos, Fire and Dots – all devices that help your purchase more products and services from Amazon! You have to admire the business model – Amazon makes the most of every revenue stream and that can be a lesson for every business, whatever their size.

Bezos’ quote about Amazon failing one day – when taken in context – is a great piece of leadership. All companies fail eventually and large companies often fall victim to complacency that comes with a dominant market position and too much cash to play with.

What he actually said, in the context of discussing the demise of large companies was:

“If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end … We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible”

While it might not make such a good headline as “Bezos Predicts Amazon will Fail”, it’s actually a great mantra for all large corporations. If more large enterprises adopted this kind of mindset, it might give them the drive to keep improving and stay ahead of the competition rather than falling into the navel-gazing trap that has seen many a megacorp reduced to bankruptcy.

Black Friday – not just for consumers

While Black Friday might be a big deal for Amazon and other retailers, every business should be taking advantage of the opportunities to pick up some tech deals to stretch the IT budget a little further. While many deals will be limited quantities and you may not want your purchasing team to be spending time waiting for the next hot offer to come up, many business suppliers have jumped on the ‘Black Friday’ bandwagon and are offering discounts on a range of tech products.

Currys/PC World Business site has a ‘Black Tag’ event running with some good deals on laptops, monitors and printers.

Ebuyer is generally always a competitive option among the broadline tech resellers, and their Black Friday business event also has some attractive deals.

Amazon itself is going after more of the business market with its Amazon Business account. This will give you buying groups, approval controls, spending limits, customised spending reports and integration with existing procurement systems like Coupa, JAGGAER and SAP Ariba.

It’s easy to see how some organisations could switch a substantial portion of their office supplies and non-specialist tech spend to Amazon simply for the convenience and management information they will provide.

As well as opportunities for tech purchases, smart businesses will be taking advantage of Black Friday get deals on other items like presents for clients, prizes for sales competitions throughout the year, replacing white goods in the office kitchen and maybe getting that fancy coffee machine to keep your developers happy!


Xiaomi – Already Making an Impact

Xiaomi – the Chinese smartphone and consumer electronics brand – officially launched in the UK last week, although you might have missed it. “So what?” you might say, or more likely, “Who are Xiaomi?” or “How do you pronounce Xiaomi?”.

Xiaomi – pronounced show-mee (show as in shower) – is the number one smartphone brand in the two biggest markets in the world – China and India.

Most consumers and few businesses in the west will even have heard of Xiaomi, and it has only recently begun to attract the attention of industry analysts as it climbs up the table of smartphone manufacturers. Latest figures from IDC show Xiaomi sitting in 4th place (just behind Apple) with almost 10% of the global smartphone market.

While analysts in the west obsess over the FAANGs, there are many companies in China, India and elsewhere that are honing their skills conquering home markets before even bothering to look beyond their own borders.

Xiaomi MI A2 LiteDecades of manufacturing outsourcing to China and the Far East has given the region capacity and expertise that no longer exists in much of the west. And with a highly competitive home market and growing consumer wealth, companies like Xiaomi can enter western markets with a mature product range that can be aggressively priced against leading brands.

It might take a little while, but don’t expect fat margins on leading brand smartphones to last much longer.

Although it’s new to the UK market Xiaomi already has three handsets in Amazon UK’s top seller list and we expect more to appear over the next couple of weeks.

The message for smartphone brands in the UK and US is clear; the Chinese are here – and they’ve come to eat your lunch!

Microsoft Diversity (and Power BI)

All the big corporates are falling over themselves to tell everyone how diverse and inclusive their organisations are, but few have gone as far as Microsoft in reporting the actual numbers and their progress towards creating a workforce that really is inclusive.

While of course gender equality and diversity in organisations is a good thing, but from a technology viewpoint, what interests us most is the use of Power BI for the interactive display of their diversity data!

Microsoft Diversity

While not many companies are the size of Microsoft and have the resources to invest in these kinds of global transformational programmes, every company has access to a free version of Power BI, which can be used to create dashboards like this and transform data in spreadsheets and databases into something much more accessible for management and customers.

This is yet another example of how even the smallest business has access to tech tools and technologies that are the equal of large corporates – but you do have to use them. If you have an Office 365 business subscription or a G Suite business subscription, you can run rings around slow-moving corporate behemoths with endless layers of management, slow approval processes and poorly motivated employees.

Use the tools you have to organise your data, streamline and automate your processes and you can set up your business to grow at scale.

If you want to know more about how to make the most of resources like Power BI, SharePoint Intranets, Workflows and Forms in your organation, use the form below to get in touch and see how we can help.


Buying new IT kit? Don't forget to check the weekly deal sheet!

Business Book of the Week

In these days of information overload and with so much written material to get through – whether books, blogs, training materials or Brexit documents – being able to read and comprehend volumes of material quickly is a great skill to develop.

Speed Reading with the Right Brain: Learn to Read Ideas Instead of Just Words by David Butler is a different take on the normal speed reading training books with a focus on understanding and retaining ideas and concepts so you not only get through reading material more quickly, but more importantly your comprehension and retention of the material is improved. Butler’s book gets great reviews and we’re sure many of our MPs must have this on their Kindles. How else would they have mastered the 585-page draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union so quickly?

Get a free giffgaff Sim

About Trade IT

Trade IT is all about using technology to improve your business processes. This might mean new kit, the latest app or software package – but more often than not it is about organising your business processes to optimal efficiency and empowering your staff with the right skills and tools be more productive.

If you have Office 365 or G-Suite or Zoho One, you probably aren’t taking full advantage of the capabilities you are already paying for.

The technology available to even the smallest organisations today is incredible – but few companies are taking advantage.

If you want to find out more about how you could improve your business processes and make everyone more productive without working any harder, fill in the email request form on the right and we’ll get right back to you.