NSBW Panel: Technology As A Competitive Edge

For any "dumb" question you might have about technology, the SBA's newly appointed general counsel, Sarah Lipscomb, says she has one that's even dumber.

Jim Manico, OWASP Global Board Member

May 19, 2009

3 Min Read

For any "dumb" question you might have about technology, the SBA's newly appointed general counsel, Sarah Lipscomb, says she has one that's even dumber.Nothing like lightening the mood about a subject that makes some small-business owners' eyes glaze over. The razor-sharp Lipscomb moderated a session at National Small Business Week about how small businesses can use technology for a competitive edge. Lipscomb joked that she has probably brought down at least 20 IT people during her career, which includes serving as a legal consultant to midmarket corporations and private equity firms fostering best practices in the legal, regulatory, and risk management arenas.

Poor IT guys aside, Lipscomb asked the panel about up-and-coming technologies that will impact small businesses most (i.e., listen up). The No. 1 answer was what we here at bMighty have been talking about for well more than a year: cloud computing. "Cloud services and software-as-a-service is more than just a trend at the point," said Stacey Wueste, vice president, worldwide SMB segment and environmental strategy, of HP's Imaging and Printing Group (which on Monday unveiled two new Officejet printers aimed at SMBs).

Wueste pointed to two examples of HP's cloud activity. The first is a new cloud printing initiative with RIM, which lets smartphone users print straight from their BlackBerrys. The second, MagCloud, is a semi-recent service The New York Times referred to as "vanity publishing's equivalent of YouTube." MagCloud lets you print brochures, books, newsletters, etc., as needed, on demand. In other words, books will no longer be sitting on the shelf collecting dust while waiting to be bought," Wueste told me in an earlier one-on-conversation, during which she spoke about HP's push for "printing responsibly." (That means enabling more double-sided printing, increased energy efficiency, and "SmartWeb" printing, which lets you consolidate all the bits and pieces you need to print from multiple sources onto one page.)

"The days of buying and assembling are over," agreed Steve Quane, executive general manager of Trend Micro's SMB Business Unit, who's a firm believer in "going where the knowledge is" -- even if that means outsourcing jobs overseas. "I know that's not a U.S.-friendly answer," said Quane, who in the past five years has lived in Germany and Asia. "The entrepreneurial spirit in the U.S. is multitudes above other countries I've lived in, but the U.S. doing development might not be the right approach. We should be the smartest at finding knowledge and driving business strategy."

Naturally, what's a discussion about technology and small business without mentioning social networking as a means for marketing? Wueste plugged HP's Small Business Marketing Guide, while earlier that day Matt Friedman, VP of strategy and marketing for IBM Smart Business, talked up his company's online SMB community -- read my Q&A with him here -- and Verio announced its launch of Websites.com, also aimed at helping small businesses grow their online presence.

"We're facing an explosion of nontraditional marketing options," said Nancy Gioia, Ford Motor's director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs, citing the massive Twitter-fest that ensued during this month's Ford Fusion 1,000 Mile Challenge. "But it's also a double-edged sword because in the past we had control over what's said about our products. This has brought terror to the heart of our marketing organization, but now we're engaging our community in ways we have never done before."

See more bMighty coverage of National Small Business Week

About the Author(s)

Jim Manico

OWASP Global Board Member

Jim Manico is a Global Board Member for the OWASP foundation where he helps drive the strategic vision for the organization. OWASP's mission is to make software security visible, so that individuals and organizations worldwide can make informed decisions about true software security risks. OWASP's AppSecUSA<https://2015.appsecusa.org/c/> conferences represent the nonprofit's largest outreach efforts to advance its mission of spreading security knowledge, for more information and to register, see here<https://2015.appsecusa.org/c/?page_id=534>. Jim is also the founder of Manicode Security where he trains software developers on secure coding and security engineering. He has a 18 year history building software as a developer and architect. Jim is a frequent speaker on secure software practices and is a member of the JavaOne rockstar speaker community. He is the author of Iron-Clad Java: Building Secure Web Applications<http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Clad-Java-Building-Secure-Applications/dp/0071835881> from McGraw-Hill and founder of Brakeman Pro. Investor/Advisor for Signal Sciences.

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