ATC Weekend Update January 7

St. Edward's University: ATC Internship Program

ATC is in the early stages of planning our 2017 St. Edward's University Internship Program, and we are so excited to get started! Earlier this year, we sent out a member survey that was centered around our members' knowledge of and interest in the program, and through this learned that nearly 70% of the respondents were completely unfamiliar with it. With that, I'd like to provide a high level overview of the program, as well as opportunities for you to be involved.

In 2015, ATC, in partnership with Civic Analytics, released its Tech Talent Labor Market study. In short, this study proved what we already knew: tech companies are struggling to fulfill their talent needs. There is a significant gap between the supply and demand of qualified candidates, and as more companies move to Austin, the gap continues to grow. One of ATC's main initiatives is to discover ways and create programs that are focused on closing this gap. Hence the formation of St. Edward's University Internship Program!

The concept is simple - think of it as an intern / company matching program. ATC member companies let us know what summer internship positions they have available and what kind of candidates they're looking for. ATC then provides this list to St. Ed's, and they forward along the resumes of candidates who match what our companies are looking for. Prior to this, these students attend courses and events where they're prepared to effectively fulfill intern roles. They hear from hiring managers, professors, and employees about the positions, the companies, what to expect, and how to succeed. Long story short, we take the leg work out of hiring interns for our companies, and provide an opportunity for students to get their foot in the door at local, reputable companies. It's a win-win for everyone!

The first step in kicking off this program is to identify companies who want to participate. There are a few ways to do so. First, let us know what internships you're looking to fill in 2017. All types are welcome, and any details you have to share are appreciated (role, start/end date, pay, etc.). Next, if you want to speak at an event, we'd love to have you. As mentioned, there will be a handful of teaching/learning gatherings where the students hear from company representatives about the role, the company, etc. This also provides an opportunity for these budding minds to ask their questions and get honest, experienced feedback. 

If you'd like to know more or are interested in participating, please let us know by filling out this quick survey. We hope you'll take advantage of this unique opportunity to help grow both your company and Austin's future workforce. 


Consero: Transparency and Visibility in Accounting: What It Means and Why It's Important

by Bill Klein

Among the most significant and widespread changes at play in the modern financial landscape is the result of changing attitudes toward accounting and finance. The economic panics and highly publicized corporate fraud cases of the 21st century have enacted some sweeping changes in the business world in a relatively short amount of time. The primary effect has been greater scrutiny of corporations from many angles - government regulators, the media, the public and investors.

"Financial transparency has become a central value proposition."

In response, accounting firms the world over have begun adopting an ethos of visibility and transparency, not just as an ideal but as an essential part of their business model. The firms that excel at this transformation have reaped immeasurable rewards, while laggards have faced dire consequences. These changing tides make financial visibility and transparency an essential growth factor for any business, particularly seed- and growth-stage companies.

Increased regulation

Financial visibility is the degree to which a company's key financial information is easily and accurately accessible to its executives, whereas transparency extends much of this ability beyond the home office. Businesses are legally beholden to a minimum standard of transparency toward the government, investors and the public. But staying within the letter of the law isn't remarkable in this case. The many market panics and subsequent reforms of the last century are a testament to this fact.

Regulatory action isn't slowing down, either. The Financial Times reported on recent announcements from the International Accounting Standards Board that more stringent accounting requirements were on the way. In tandem with the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, this marks the third major accounting reform undertaken since the global financial crisis that began in 2008. While the standards are aimed primarily at large multinationals, they apply to firms of any size seeking outside investment. The last of these measures will take effect in January 2019.

Precise financial disclosure and reporting requirements vary by industry and jurisdiction, but as FT noted, they have a tendency to trickle down and impact most businesses. For example, since banks are now required to keep more cash on hand than before, they have tended to become much more cautious when dealing with small, unestablished firms. Without a thorough policy of transparency in place, startups can find it hard to acquire the capital they need to grow.

Businesses can't expect to succeed any longer by only providing the minimum amount of required disclosure.

Going above and beyond

There's much more to be done in the way of financial transparency than what's mandated by law. Still, the status quo has long implied that committing to and implementing a culture of financial clarity is easier said than done. Not only that, many executives fail to see the value in such practices. In the modern world of accounting, both of these assumptions are being proven false.

In fact, a number of academic studies have found strong evidence that accounting transparency confers a number of internal and external benefits when done well. One paper published in The Accounting Review studied investor relations programs at several small firms. Investor relations may be thought of as obligatory, but the ones that went above and beyond the norm realized a number of benefits.

Primarily, the study's authors found that the best predictor of successful investor relations was not just transparency toward investors, but transparency between the IR department and company executives. The firms that successfully bridged the gap between executives and investors saw significant, measurably better outcomes against control groups, including:

 Higher interest and financial commitment from investors.

 Greater diversity of investors, from backgrounds that would not normally be interested.

 Higher market value and book-to- price ratio.

 More coverage from media and analysts.

Internally, these exemplary companies were able to increase visibility of key performance indicators, proving that accounting transparency is a two-way street. Going above and beyond the bare minimum made these firms more tightly integrated, less fragmented and ultimately unified in their ability to succeed.

Achieving full accounting transparency throughout a seed- or growth-stage business is easier, and cheaper, than many realize with Consero&s new approach to outsourced finance solutions. Get in touch to learn more.


Gemalto: The Build vs. Buy Dilemma

The D.I.Y. Mentality

"If you want something done right, do it yourself." We've all used that phrase when frustrated by the inability to get things done just the way we want. 

It's similar to the dilemma faced by software vendors and intelligent device vendors when trying to figure out whether to build a licensing solution or buy it. Many debate the merits of building a licensing solution in-house versus purchasing a commercial licensing and entitlement management system. 


ATC CMO Dinner

Barbary Brunner, CEO

Barbary Brunner, CEO

Happy New Year to all of you.  I hope that you and yours had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season and are refreshed and ready to go for 2017.

At ATC we are in the midst of finalizing the planning for our dinners, policy roundtables and other events for the year, and are excited to roll out our 2017 schedule and start to introduce the rebranding we’ve been working on for the last few months, as well as the new slate of member services we will be introducing.

We ended 2016 with a very successful and interactive CEO summit, thanks to a great group of speakers and an amazing location at Dell Medical School, and we are excited to kick off 2017 with the first of our C level dinners.  These dinners are an opportunity to spend time, have a drink and good food with your peers, while hearing from experts about areas of professional interest.

This year, we are introducing CMO dinners, which are geared toward Chief Marketing Officers, SVPs and VPs of Marketing, Chief Digital Officers, and of course, interested CEOs are always welcome at any of our C-level events.

Please join us for an evening discussion with some of the smartest Brand and Brand Strategy folks around.  This dinner is sponsored by ATC’s Board Partner Quantcast, a global leader in audience understanding and measurement; and the evening’s discussion will be led by Workhorse Marketing, the brand strategy, marketing and web agency that has been working with ATC to revitalize our brand and website.  Also with us will be expert brand marketing leaders from some very cool Austin companies. The dinner will be held at Searsucker in downtown Austin on January 25th from 5-8 pm, and we have limited availability for this event, so register soon.

We look forward to seeing all you marketing gurus for a great discussion about how brand is a critical foundation for all your other marketing activities.

To learn more about the event or to register, please reach out to Eddie Gamez, Head of Sales & Marketing, at eddie@austintechnologycouncil.org.


New Member Spotlight: Software2Life & Teacher Retirement System of Texas

Software2Life

Software2Life is a new Austin business that brings top software development, design and testing talent to serve businesses in our fantastic city. It's founded by to two seasoned IT professionals - Paul Belevich, former VP of Wargaming, and Clem Matyuhov, former Senior Account Axecutive at Itransition.

 

 

Teacher Retirement System of Texas

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is the largest public retirement system in Texas,  serving more than 1.4 million people. Innovation, technology, and collaboration make the difference as we strive to continue earning your trust every day.

TRS improves the retirement security of Texas public education employees through our “best in class” investment management and delivery of pension and health care benefits. TRS has earned much recognition, including:

“Top Workplace” by the Austin American-Statesman (2012-2015)
Honored for “Best Opportunistic Strategy” by Investments and Pensions, Europe (2014)
Chief Investment Officer Britt Harris named “Large Plan Manager of the Year” by Institutional Investor (2013)

Q. Please provide a short (200 word max) description of your company that will be featured in our "New Member Spotlight".
R. he Teacher Retirement System of Texas is the largest public retirement system in Texas,  serving more than 1.4 million people. Innovation, technology, and collaboration make the difference as we strive to continue earning your trust every day.

TRS improves the retirement security of Texas public education employees through our “best in class” investment management and delivery of pension and health care benefits. TRS has earned much recognition, including:

“Top Workplace” by the Austin American-Statesman (2012-2015)
Honored for “Best Opportunistic Strategy” by Investments and Pensions, Europe (2014)
Chief Investment Officer Britt Harris named “Large Plan Manager of the Year” by Institutional Investor (2013)

TRS is the largest public retirement system in Texas in both membership and assets. The agency serves 1,459,243 participants – 1,081,505 are public and higher education members, and 377,738 are retirement recipients. As of August 31, 2015, System net assets totaled $128.5 billion. 


Tech Gives Back: Survey of Corporate Giving

Our local tech community is a charitable force for good, providing financial contributions, employee volunteering and in-kind services and products to important causes that benefit our communities and citizens. These critical donations help non-profit organizations fulfill a variety of missions, from education and human services to environmental and animal welfare causes.

We need your help measuring the impact that your company, along with others in our business community, made in 2016 through your philanthropy. The Survey of Corporate Giving in Central Texas provides a statistical look at giving by asking questions such as: Does your company have a giving budget? Does your company encourage employee giving and volunteering, and does it track employee volunteer hours?

The Survey of Corporate Giving takes only 10 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. The results will be compiled and published in the 2017 Rodman Report. With your participation, the Report will provide a useful tool for businesses, nonprofits, community leaders-- and all of us as charitable givers. By taking the survey today, you will be signed up to receive a free digital copy of the 2017 Rodman Report when it is published in March.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to tell us how your business makes an impact through philanthropy.

St. Edward's University: ATC Internship Program

ATC is in the early stages of planning our 2017 St. Edward's University Internship Program, and we are so excited to get started! Earlier this year, we sent out a member survey that was centered around our members' knowledge of and interest in the program, and through this learned that nearly 70% of the respondents were completely unfamiliar with it. With that, I'd like to provide a high level overview of the program, as well as opportunities for you to be involved.

In 2015, ATC, in partnership with Civic Analytics, released its Tech Talent Labor Market study. In short, this study proved what we already knew: tech companies are struggling to fulfill their talent needs. There is a significant gap between the supply and demand of qualified candidates, and as more companies move to Austin, the gap continues to grow. One of ATC's main initiatives is to discover ways and create programs that are focused on closing this gap. Hence the formation of St. Edward's University Internship Program!

The concept is simple - think of it as an intern / company matching program. ATC member companies let us know what summer internship positions they have available and what kind of candidates they're looking for. ATC then provides this list to St. Ed's, and they forward along the resumes of candidates who match what our companies are looking for. Prior to this, these students attend courses and events where they're prepared to effectively fulfill intern roles. They hear from hiring managers, professors, and employees about the positions, the companies, what to expect, and how to succeed. Long story short, we take the leg work out of hiring interns for our companies, and provide an opportunity for students to get their foot in the door at local, reputable companies. It's a win-win for everyone!

The first step in kicking off this program is to identify companies who want to participate. There are a few ways to do so. First, let us know what internships you're looking to fill in 2017. All types are welcome, and any details you have to share are appreciated (role, start/end date, pay, etc.). Next, if you want to speak at an event, we'd love to have you. As mentioned, there will be a handful of teaching/learning gatherings where the students hear from company representatives about the role, the company, etc. This also provides an opportunity for these budding minds to ask their questions and get honest, experienced feedback. 

If you'd like to know more or are interested in participating, please let us know by filling out this quick survey. We hope you'll take advantage of this unique opportunity to help grow both your company and Austin's future workforce. 

Gemalto: The Build vs. Buy Dilemma

The D.I.Y. Mentality

"If you want something done right, do it yourself." We've all used that phrase when frustrated by the inability to get things done just the way we want. 

It's similar to the dilemma faced by software vendors and intelligent device vendors when trying to figure out whether to build a licensing solution or buy it. Many debate the merits of building a licensing solution in-house versus purchasing a commercial licensing and entitlement management system. 

 

Consero: Transparency and Visibility in Accounting: What It Means and Why It's Important

Among the most significant and widespread changes at play in the modern financial landscape is the result of changing attitudes toward accounting and finance. The economic panics and highly publicized corporate fraud cases of the 21st century have enacted some sweeping changes in the business world in a relatively short amount of time. The primary effect has been greater scrutiny of corporations from many angles - government regulators, the media, the public and investors.

"Financial transparency has become a central value proposition."

In response, accounting firms the world over have begun adopting an ethos of visibility and transparency, not just as an ideal but as an essential part of their business model. The firms that excel at this transformation have reaped immeasurable rewards, while laggards have faced dire consequences. These changing tides make financial visibility and transparency an essential growth factor for any business, particularly seed- and growth-stage companies.

Increased regulation

Financial visibility is the degree to which a company's key financial information is easily and accurately accessible to its executives, whereas transparency extends much of this ability beyond the home office. Businesses are legally beholden to a minimum standard of transparency toward the government, investors and the public. But staying within the letter of the law isn't remarkable in this case. The many market panics and subsequent reforms of the last century are a testament to this fact.

Regulatory action isn't slowing down, either. The Financial Times reported on recent announcements from the International Accounting Standards Board that more stringent accounting requirements were on the way. In tandem with the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, this marks the third major accounting reform undertaken since the global financial crisis that began in 2008. While the standards are aimed primarily at large multinationals, they apply to firms of any size seeking outside investment. The last of these measures will take effect in January 2019.

Precise financial disclosure and reporting requirements vary by industry and jurisdiction, but as FT noted, they have a tendency to trickle down and impact most businesses. For example, since banks are now required to keep more cash on hand than before, they have tended to become much more cautious when dealing with small, unestablished firms. Without a thorough policy of transparency in place, startups can find it hard to acquire the capital they need to grow.

Businesses can't expect to succeed any longer by only providing the minimum amount of required disclosure.

Going above and beyond

There's much more to be done in the way of financial transparency than what's mandated by law. Still, the status quo has long implied that committing to and implementing a culture of financial clarity is easier said than done. Not only that, many executives fail to see the value in such practices. In the modern world of accounting, both of these assumptions are being proven false.

In fact, a number of academic studies have found strong evidence that accounting transparency confers a number of internal and external benefits when done well. One paper published in The Accounting Review studied investor relations programs at several small firms. Investor relations may be thought of as obligatory, but the ones that went above and beyond the norm realized a number of benefits.

Primarily, the study's authors found that the best predictor of successful investor relations was not just transparency toward investors, but transparency between the IR department and company executives. The firms that successfully bridged the gap between executives and investors saw significant, measurably better outcomes against control groups, including:

 Higher interest and financial commitment from investors.

 Greater diversity of investors, from backgrounds that would not normally be interested.

 Higher market value and book-to- price ratio.

 More coverage from media and analysts.

Internally, these exemplary companies were able to increase visibility of key performance indicators, proving that accounting transparency is a two-way street. Going above and beyond the bare minimum made these firms more tightly integrated, less fragmented and ultimately unified in their ability to succeed.

Achieving full accounting transparency throughout a seed- or growth-stage business is easier, and cheaper, than many realize with Consero&s new approach to outsourced finance solutions. Get in touch to learn more.

ATC Weekend Update December 24

Thank you for 2016, here's to 2017

Eddie Gamez Head of Sales and Marketing Austin Technology Council

Eddie Gamez
Head of Sales and Marketing
Austin Technology Council

I hope you're having a great holiday season! We would like to thank you for your support of the Austin Technology Council this year. The tech and innovation community is advancing in Central Texas because of the contributions you make. Your time and dedication to our association is making an impact in the areas of policy, tech talent development, and overall industry awareness. 

We're excited to share the ATC 2017 schedule! This year our members will have access to monthly executive dinners, policy events, tech funding luncheons, quarterly member happy hours, tech talent panel discussions, and our signature events - Gateway, CEO Summit, and Battle of the Tech Bands.

For additional event information, membership, or sponsorship opportunities, please feel free to reach out to me. Thanks so much for your support, have a great new year!  


Wave of ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Grows, Community Bankers Threatened

britton.jpg

Is ADA Website accessibility litigation the new fertile ground for plaintiff bar…..read on if you have a strong constitution!

According to a recent post on ADA Title III News and Insights blog, the number of federal lawsuits alleging inaccessible websites continued to increase. These website accessibility lawsuits “have become big business” for a number of plaintiffs’ law firms.

At the time of the post referenced above, there were 244 lawsuits filed alleging that individuals with disabilities are being denied access to a business’s goods and services due to its allegedly inaccessible website. More than half of these lawsuits were filed against companies in the retail sector followed by those in the restaurant industry. The other lawsuits have been filed against companies in a wide range of other businesses.

The blog post further notes that several law firms supposedly representing unnamed clients with disabilities have sent out hundreds of demand letters to various businesses alleging that the company’s websites were inaccessible in violation of the ADA. The post noted further “the most recent batch of demand letters is focused on websites of community banks around the country.”

The particular threat to community banks is further detailed in a September 23, 2016 post on the Community Bankers of Iowa website. According to the Iowa Bankers’ blog post, a Pittsburgh-based plaintiffs firm that has previously targeted community banks on accessibility issues has sent letters to community banks threatening litigation and alleging that the banks’ websites “do not comply with the ADA because they allegedly are not accessible by disabled patrons.”

These kinds of cases could represent a substantial litigation exposure for companies involved, as well as for their EPL insurers. The possibility of this type of lawsuit includes not only the risk of damages awards but also includes the costs of defense, as well as the possibility of an award of the claimants’ attorneys’ fees.

As the ADA Title III blog post notes, there still are no proposed regulations for public accommodations from the Department of Justice, and with the change in administration ahead it is possible that the rulemaking process could be delayed even further. According, as the blog post notes, “the need is no less urgent for businesses to come up with a plan to mitigate their litigation exposure in this tumultuous environment.” The need for businesses to address website accessibility concerns and the possible steps that companies can take are further detailed in a post on the Hunton Employment & Labor Law Perspectives blog.


Software Monetization Best Practices: Lifecycle Methodology and Implementation Plan

gemalto.jpg

Outlined are the most important principles and critical components of an effective software licensing and monetization program to successfully respond to today's rapidly changing marketplace.

The white paper below will describe the proven Software Monetization Best Practices Lifecycle Methodology which Gemalto has developed that helps product managers and their corporate executives operationalize and integrate their software licensing operations into their ongoing business to generate greater customer intimacy, improve product quality, and drive greater operating efficiency. 

The advent of the Cloud, rapid adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) are fundamentally reshaping how software is developed, acquired and utilized. In response to these trends, software product managers and their corporate executives must rethink how they package, price and protect their software licenses. They must adopt new Cloud-based software monetization portals that can be utilized by their customers, channel partners and employees alike to keep pace with the constantly changing market demands. The portals and platforms which support them must also integrate effectively with established back-office systems and a new generation of Cloud-based alternatives.

This white paper will also describe a useful Software Monetization Best Practices Scorecard that can help software product managers and corporate executives to determine if they are ready to respond to these new challenges and capitalize on today’s market opportunities. 

The Scorecard Gemalto has created, with the help of THINKstrategies, is based on the consulting framework Gemalto uses when it works with clients. The Scorecard also captures the best practices which Gemalto has witnessed during thousands of client engagements. 

The purpose of the Software Monetization Best Practices Scorecard is to help product managers determine the right software licensing and monetization policies, procedures and technologies they should put in place to achieve their business objectives.


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