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Numb3rs

May 18, 2012

A few years ago, I attended a presentation class with Corporate Visions. One technique they taught us was the “numbers play.” Basically, you put some numbers on a slide, whiteboard or flipchart and then ask the audience to guess their meaning:

The presenter then reveals the meaning as a way to kick off or make an important point in a presentation. My reveal would be something like this:

Facebook is going public today and will raise $104 billion dollars.
Business models change and nothing could illustrate that fact better than the juxtaposition of Facebook and HP, who’s also got some numbers in the news. $104 billion dollars… I vividly recall the “dot-com” bubble of 1999. We’ll see if Facebook’s IPO will be the face of another. Personally, my days on the site may be numbered. My mom just “friended” me…

HP is reportedly set to lay off 25,000 employees.
HP isn’t profitable enough for its shareholders, so their cuts are intended to improve their profit per employee numbers. The commodity businesses they’re in (PC’s, printers) just don’t deliver the margins they used to. Some analysts see HP’s salvation in cloud services and enterprise software, which brings us to the number 12.

Kronos is in enterprise software and we’re growing our cloud services business rapidly. Yeah, they’re great margin and growth areas, but we still have to deliver a great customer experience to stay successful. Facebook’s success seems to be all about customer experience. HP also delivers; their markets have just shifted to being less profitable.

Oh, the 12? Kronos just won the Omega NorthFace ScoreBoard Award for the 12th consecutive year. The annual award is earned by organizations that consistently exceeded customer expectations. It’s not $104B sexy, but it’s a great business. It’s consistent, like a baseball cliché. “We just work ‘em one customer at a time, and the good Lord willing, we’ll deliver the experience they expect.”

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