Akamai to Acquire Prolexic
Cambridge, Mass. — Akamai Technologies and Prolexic Technologies have signed a definitive agreement for Akamai to acquire Prolexic, a provider of cloud-based security solutions for protecting data centers and enterprise IP applications from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Akamai provides solutions for defending Web sites and Web applications by leveraging the scale and intelligence of its global platform to protect against even the largest and most sophisticated DDoS and application-layer attacks. Prolexic combines DDoS mitigation solutions with security operations expertise for protecting data centers and enterprise IP applications.
By acquiring Prolexic, Akamai intends to provide customers with a comprehensive portfolio of security solutions designed to defend an enterprise’s web and IP infrastructure against application-layer, network-layer and data center attacks delivered via the Internet.
In 2023, the customer is king — really
Change is constant, as they say, and we’ve all seen a lot of that, especially in the past few years. But as I look 10 years into the future, I think we’re actually in the early days of not just more change, but wholesale revolution, too. “Revolution” is a strong — and possibly overused — term. Why are the next 10 years different? Fundamentally, our customer has changed more in the past three years than in the past 30 and the pace of change is poised to accelerate in the coming decade.
Change has always been a key part of conversations within the retail industry. Changing fashions and shopper preferences drive decision-making around product assortments, merchandising and store design. Personnel, strategies, marketing campaigns, supply chains and information systems are also in a constant state of change as retailers understand success in this industry is an endless journey rather than a destination.
In anticipating a truly seamless shopping experience regardless of platform, location, time of day or any other constraint, the expectations of our 21st-century customers are stretching and testing retailers’ capabilities and flexibility. The main issue is that most retailers still operate 20th-century organizations that are designed to pivot around the brand, the product or even technology itself — rarely the customer. All too often, I see retailers whose merchandising teams are still divided by channel, marketing teams that are similarly divided and in the process create different views of the same customer, and IT teams that think first in terms of risk management, rather than providing their expertise to impact the customer experience. As for the digital team, this group has to develop connections to every part of the retail organization, but all too often is still silo-ed itself.
The Shop.org Think Tank recently put significant thought into the retail organization of 2023. Some of our thoughts on what will set apart retailers who are successful 10 years from now include the following:
The successful retailer in 2023 will follow a “customer first” strategy. We’d all like to think of ourselves as “customer-led,” but let’s face it, examples such as customer-centric Nordstrom and LL Bean are far from the norm yet. These companies have always been known for customer service and have been at the task of transforming themselves for some years now, but even their work is not finished.
Retailers must focus on further developing four core competencies: customer experience, brand, operations and administration. Keep in mind that these are areas of expertise, not a model for an organizational structure. However, today’s setup of marketing, merchandising, store ops and other traditional teams likely won’t deliver on customer expectations for an integrated shopping experience and retailer relationship. Retailers need to examine each of these competencies in light of their own business. For example, take customer experience. In concrete terms, what does a terrific customer experience mean to your customers? And how does that ultimately contribute to your bottom line?
Retail organization revolution will happen via a set of bridge strategies and tactics. Revolution in retail won’t (and shouldn’t) happen overnight — after all, retailers still need to make money and grow their businesses to get to 2023 at all. Bridge strategies get retailers to start thinking about the future now and continue to weigh all short term future strategies against long term-2023 future strategies. Furthermore, bridge strategies pose retailers with the immediate question, "What would be the first and second executive changes you would make if you were starting this journey?" In this vein, several retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Belk have started their journeys by adding omnichannel management infrastructure to propel their organizations to better serve the omnichannel expectations of their customer. However, retailers must remember that bridge strategies are just that — bridges, not long-term solutions. For example, by 2023, “omnichannel” no longer will be a separate infrastructure or set of roles, but instead simply be the way that successful retailers operate. It will be a philosophy solidly baked into all roles throughout the organization as the norm, not the exception.
Clearly, in all of these conversations human resources will be a key partner to the rest of the business in identifying, cultivating, and developing talent for both the near and mid-term as well as the future state of the business. Their bridge strategy is to increase their knowledge of the technical and digital needs of the company, and be well versed in how to address and support them.
Take a look at the new Think Tank article on the Shop.org web site, “The Retail Organization of 2023: The Customer is King (For Real).” What does your path look like to become a successful retail organization in 2023?
Vicki Cantrell is executive director of Shop.org, the digital division of the National Retail Federation.
CommonKindness co-founder wins Stevie Award
CommonKindness president and co-founder Sarah Schloemer has been named the winner of a Silver Stevie Award in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations: public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, large and small. The 2013 awards received entries from 18 nations and territories.
Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the awards were presented to winners during a sold-out event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
More than 1,200 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year, Company of the Year, Mentor of the Year, Women Helping Women and Communications Campaign of the Year.
Schloemer was recognized for her management and direction of CommonKindness, the free printable grocery coupon website that donates 20% of its revenues to the coupon users’ favorite nonprofit organization. The 28-year-old leader from New Zealand launched the innovative social enterprise that empowers people to “save money and help others” under two years ago.
In a departure from the traditional pay-per-print model, Schloemer developed a performance-based, pay-per-sale model for brands that eliminates account setup and coupon loading fees and charges only 25 cents for each coupon that is redeemed. That means a brand only pays a fee when it gets a sale — a cost effective model for distributing coupons, generating sales, maintaining shelf space, reaching new consumers and the model eliminates any risk of click fraud.
“Having been founding chairman of several consumer brand companies I believe Sarah has found the most cost effective way to generate sales for brands and help nonprofits, a double win!" says Andrew Martin, founding chairman of CommonKindness.
Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 240 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process this year.
“For 10 years we have been recognizing the achievements of women in the workplace, and this year’s nominations were the most impressive class the judges have ever reviewed,” said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards. “We congratulate all of this year’s Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners for their achievements.”
“Sarah is a natural leader and she leads with a rare combination of kindness, competence and vision. We are extremely proud of Sarah for being recognized as a Finalist in the Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year Stevie Award. What an achievement!” added Martin.
Click here for details about the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the list of Stevie Award winners