How Enterprise Social Networking is Changing the Role of Middle Management

Following is a guest blog post from Okappy. A leading market network technology for job management. They share their insight on current trends in social and market network technologies for industry.

When Facebook (or “Thefacebook” as it was then known) originally launched in 2004, it was intended as a small private network for use exclusively by students of Harvard College. Fast forward 13 years, Facebook has two billion users worldwide and has changed the ways in which many of us organise and even carry out our social lives.

Now, building on the fundamentals of social networking sites such as Facebook, enterprise social networks (ESNs) are set to change our working lives in much the same way.

What is Enterprise Social Networking?

Enterprise social networking can be understood as to serve the same purposes as other more recognised forms of social networking, but specifically in application to the working world rather than in a primarily social context.

Joining existing ESNs such as Connections by IBM and Yammer owned by Microsoft, Facebook launched its very own ESN known as Facebook Workplace in October 2016. As reported by Techcrunch, Facebook Workplace has already been adopted by 30,000 organisations in just one year.

Regardless of whether one ESN will eventually reign supreme or whether competing ESNs will continue their coexistence, what is clear is that ESNs are here to stay.

How is Middle Management Affected?

The working department that is arguably set to undergo the greatest transformation by result of enterprise social networking is that of middle management.

As ESNs open up direct channels of communication between senior managers and junior workers, the necessity for middle managers as mediators in hierarchical organisations will be put to question.

However, far more than merely relaying any messages coming from the top of an organisation, middle managers are the people expected to take charge of their working environments—whether online or offline. In directing and moderating an organisation’s use of an ESN, the role of middle management gains new significance as it is brought up to date within the modern working world.

The Changing Role of Middle Management

Middle managers are expected to lead, so the first new task imposed upon them by enterprise social networking is simply to involve themselves in this new form of networking before anyone else.

This may seem a daunting prospect to some of the less technologically minded middle managers out there, but ESNs are designed to be as user friendly as possible. With a little time and energy, anybody can get to grips with how they work. Most of the skills required for an ESN’s operation are also transferrable from more traditional forms of social networking, so middle managers who already use social networks have no excuses.

Once middle managers have set an example for the correct use of an organisation’s ESN, they will ultimately be the people responsible for the ESN’s upkeep. While it’s true that senior managers will have access to an organisation’s ESN, the chances are that they will not have much time to really engage workers on the platform and encourage progress. Naturally, this responsibility will fall to middle management.

Middle managers must actively participate on ESNs, clearly posting targets and inciting discussion. If any workers are unfamiliar with social networking or are struggling to learn the nuances of ESNs on their own accord, then it is down to middle managers to give appropriate support and guidance.

Middle managers can also use the internal analytics provided by ESNs in conjunction with their own professional judgement in assessing adoption rates and the effectiveness of any features that ESNs offer. Where there are failings, middle managers must ask why.

When an ESN has been successfully implemented within an organisation, middle managers will then be able to communicate at any time and in any location with however many workers they wish. Not only does this mean they will be able to give workers real-time updates round the clock, it also means that they will be able to lead remote workforces and not just workers with whom they share office space.

By expanding working environments beyond the physical walls of an office, middle managers will be able to manage larger workforces than ever before.

What to Remember

Despite all the new opportunities made possible by enterprise social networking, perhaps the most important thing for middle managers to do is to not underestimate the value of the face-to-face interaction that they themselves provide.

It can be difficult for workers to trust and put their faith in an organisation that operates entirely online, and workers lose motivation when they can no longer perceive the human element within the organisation they work for. In an increasingly technological era, middle managers are still required to influence and inspire workers in the real world.

Enterprise social networking does not diminish the role of middle management, it simply changes it.

 

—Freddie Kentish, Okappy

 

About the Author: Okappy is a B2B innovative communications and collaborations platform for job management. Okappy combines social and market network technology to communicate and collaborate with employees, subcontractors, across different sites and with different clients. For more insights from them, check out their blog.

 

Bureau Van Dijk Data Innovation Interview

Akoni partnered with Bureau Van Dijk as their products serve us well at various steps of our business. Our main purpose is to help SMEs maximise returns on their cash deposits, quickly, easily and securely. In order to deliver on this business premise, especially the quickly, easily and securely part, Felicia explains that we turn to several of Bureau Van Dijk’s products.

Watch the video to get the full picture.

 

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Here’s Akoni’s Interview with the Banker

In September, we wrote about our video interview with The Banker.  The Banker, it is part of the Financial Times Group and the interview was held in the Financial Times building.

As promised we give you the video with our CEO Felicia Meyerowitz Singh speaking with Joy Macknight about Akoni. Enjoy, and feel free to contact us if it sparked your interest and you’d like to know more.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Latest bank rate changes

Following our update about the Bank of England last week, banks are now increasing their savings and deposit rates to benefit companies with available cash. The leading product alerts include:

Term Deposit Accounts

  • Cambridge & Counties Bank: term: 60 months at 2.20%
  • United Trust Bank: term: 24 months at 1.%
  • United Trust Bank: term: 12 months at 1.45%
  • Yorkshire Bank: term: 6 months at 1.00%

Instant Access Accounts

  • Kent Reliance: 0.90%
  • State Bank of India: 0.75%
  • ICICI Bank United Kingdom: 0.75%
  • The Loughborough Building Society: 0.55%

Notice Accounts

  • Redwood Bank: 95 days notice at 1.35%
  • Money Corp: 90 days notice at 1.31%
  • The Mansfield Building Society: 30 days notice at 1.25%
  • Hodge Bank: 100 days notice at 1.25%

We at Akoni are here to help with any questions you might have and to get your business cash working at maximum capacity. Please get in touch with our team of experts to provide you with access to recommended products.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

Bank of England Rates Rise

All eyes are on the Bank of England this week as we expect them to increase interest rates this Thursday, from 0.25% to 0.5% due to a large rise in consumer credit but also rising inflation and lower growth, mostly due to Brexit.

It remains a difficult decision for the Bank of England. Any rate increase will have a direct impact on private households but also for businesses. When it comes to mortgages, most providers have already started to raise their rates. On the upside, the increase will benefit the cash market by increasing returns on cash deposits. This will make it even more important to generate additional revenues by identifying the best returns offered by the banks. Akoni can assist businesses with that by providing a platform that scans the market for the best rates and cash can then be continuously allocated in a way that will maximise returns. If you are a business saver looking at term deposits we suggest you open accounts just after the Bank of England announcement. This will ensure returns are maximised, with in some cases doubling the income to your company.

A no rate increase would shock the financial market following the build-up and level of expectations. Akoni is following the developments closely.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Throwback Thursday

Today we fondly remember the great time we had at the Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab.  It was an incredible privilege to be part of the program. We had the opportunity to attend various banking events and present to some of the big banks. The value of this goes beyond having access to events and big banks. Being able to share the work space with some other amazing start-ups was so rewarding when it comes to inspiration and the energy this environment provided us with.

Mostly we are grateful to have had the chance to meet such talented people, that have inspired our creativity and given us insight into their incredible expertise.

We have come a long way since then and have exciting things happening over the next few weeks. Updates will follow so stay tuned!

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Key dates for your business in November

1st November – National Novel Writing Month

If you are running a coffee shop, this one is for you. Perhaps not as well-known as most events, independent coffee shops should delight in National Novel Writing Month and hosting their own Write-Ins. A month when aspiring authors set themselves the challenge of churning out a novel in 4 weeks, twice-weekly meet ups in coffee shops are the norm for these wannabe-writers, and offering them the perfect place to let their words and imagination run free might win you some very loyal customers.

5th November – Guy Fawkes Night

Let the glitter flow, a bit of sparkle on this day is entirely forgivable. Themed offers and tasty treats are sure to be appreciated – sticking a sparkler in your cupcakes might not be too subtle, but neither is a Catherine wheel.

24th November – Black Friday

Black Friday has immigrated to the UK from the US and it’s one you don’t want to miss. Use it to drive people to your business with limited-time offers on your goods. Email your customers in advance to present your offers and prepare them to shop with you.

27th November – Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the same thing as Black Friday, just on a different day. This is where your business’ online presence can come into its own, with marketing emails, social media posts and dedicated landing pages to your limited-time deals.

30th November – St. Andrew’s Day

He may not be as well-known as St. Patrick, but that’s all the more reasons your customers might appreciate you acknowledging this day. Add a bit of tartan, shortbread or deep-fried Mars bars to your offerings, novelty is a powerful tool for customer engagement.

Where’s the money? Some advice to improve your business’ Cash Flow

Cash flow is one of the issues SMEs struggle with the most. It is a topic much discussed and many owners of Small Businesses will confirm that it is a major concern of theirs.

In order to keep your business’ cash flowing you will have to make sure you are managing your cash properly. Careful cash management is generating revenues that bring in more cash than you are spending on your stock, your team and other business expenses and to manage this on an ongoing basis. It boils down to collecting data, reviewing and analysing it and then distributing cash where it is most needed. This may sound quite straight forward but most small and medium sized businesses fail to take the necessary steps in this regard.

1. Cash Forecasting

You should review your expenses such as rent, inventory, salaries and wages and taxes on a regular basis. It’s important to always know what costs you have and make a plan for the future as to what those costs will be and when they will hit your bank balance. Plan exactly when and how much you will be spending and always ask yourself why you are spending the money on each expense. This way you will be able to see what your necessary expenses are and which ones you could save on. There are various cash forecasting tools that can help you map out your spendings.

2. Monitor incoming payments

Check your accounts regularly for payments coming in. Late payments are a problem that many SMEs face and they can often be the reason for running low on cash. To avoid this make sure you invoice your customers promptly and to send invoices to the right person. Keep track of outstanding payments and take measures to chase late payments. There is nothing wrong with giving customers a nudge. A great, non-invasive, way of doing this is sending out reminder emails to encourage customers to pay outstanding bills. Visually appealing emails, with a simple call to action, such as “Pay Now”, linking to a payment site, will go a long way.

3. Dream big, stay humble

Having a grand vision of your business’ future is important and ambition is desired. However, it is important to stay realistic. The only certainty you have is that the future of any business is uncertain. Even if you can follow a particular patterns in earnings, it doesn’t mean that these will continue as such. You cannot predict the behaviour of potential customers and rates change all the time, in an unpredictable way. Therefore it is smart to expect the worst while working for the best, when managing your business’ cash.

4. Maximise the returns on your cash holdings

An aspect almost always neglected by SMEs is making sure that the business’ cash holdings are generating the maximum amount of returns, based on the best rates of the market. This is partially due to a lack of awareness of market activity, but mostly it is a lack of time and resources to scan the market for the best rates and then moving the business’ money around accordingly. Akoni stepped up and created a tool to automate this process. We provide a platform that scans the market for the best rates and cash can then be continuously allocated in a way that will maximise returns, in just a few clicks. In this way you can make extra money for your business while not adding another task to the to-do list.

If you follow these basic guidelines your business will be in a secure position to continue running and you can properly facilitate growth with healthy cash flow.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

 

Akoni at the Fintech Growth Forum Event by Innovative Finance

On the 19th of September Akoni took part in the inaugural Fintech Growth Forum, an event hosted by Innovative Finance. It was the first of many such events, gathering members of Innovative Finance and the wider Fintech community to create a space for dialogue on a variety of topics and the sharing of experiences in the field.

The event brought together over 400 delegates, more than 20 exhibitors and over 50 speakers. Akoni had a stand at the even as well, exhibiting our Cash Management product to attendees and CEO Felicia Meyerowitz Singh was one of the speakers. She spoke about Akoni’s innovative platform that finally enables SMEs to gain easy access to market information on the best rates for their cash holdings, levelling the playing field with large corporations. This lack of service by traditional banks can finally be fulfilled by technological innovation and the new possibilities that Open Banking offers.

We very much enjoyed catching up with old friends in the business and making new connections that offer new insights. Such events are valuable in terms of networking, finding out about new trends and opportunities for exposure. But they are also a lot of fun and we left feeling inspired and full of energy to keep moving forward.

 

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

SA Chamber of Commerce and Akoni CPD Event 

Financial Management for SMEs

 

Date: 12 October 2017

Time: 8:30-11:00am

Registration and breakfast will be available from 8:30 onwards

Talks will begin at 9:00am ending at 13:00am with an opportunity for networking thereafter

Venue8 Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1PL. Please ask for Akoni on arrival.

To register please email munal@akonihub.com with your details.

Speakers:

1. Sharon Constancon; Genius Minds/SA Chamber of Commerce – FX risk management – how to own, manage and monitor FX risk.

Many SME’s import products or services and those exporting is growing in the goods and services industry.  The UK forex market is busy with brokers but relatively immature at the SME and corporate level in the UK. This is a complex and high risk area of a business and we help explain to you how to manage that risk and what alternatives there are to current actions.

2. Felicia Meyerowitz-Singh; Akoni– Cash Management

Akoni is an online cash management platform system for SMEs, allowing business to maximise their returns on cash deposits. Akoni will talk about cash management in general and then discuss the Akoni platform and how utilising our tools can maximise returns / improve overall business financial management.

3. Paul Surtess & Oliver Cummings; Capitalise – Current lending market and other related trends

Most businesses do not know that there are independent and alternatives to financing options with the high street banks. Capitalise uses in-house technology and data analytics to identify the best financing options available for UK businesses. Capitalise will discuss the current lending market and other related trends.·

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter