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Andy Lark: Innovate or be eaten

Posted 3 years ago in Advisors by
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The accelerating pace of technology means small businesses must learn to adapt faster or risk falling behind. To do that, entrepreneurs need to look at how new platforms fit into their operations. That’s the key takeaway from Xero Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer, Andy Lark’s Xerocon keynote.

Speaking to more than 2,200 delegates, Lark explained that the most successful businesses are those that are most adept at change.

“Successful entrepreneurs figure out how to change, not slowly, but really quickly,” he said.

“Those businesses that are moving to the cloud ahead of those that aren’t, are doing exponentially better.

“Our accounting partners are integral to the success of Xero. Without our accounting and bookkeeping partners going all-­in on cloud accounting technology, we wouldn’t be able to help as many small businesses as we do today,” Lark said.

“Xero’s partner firms and their clients, who are collaborating seamlessly in the cloud, demonstrate just how impactful cloud technology has become.”

Recent Xero research shows that firms with a higher concentration of clients using cloud accounting software are adding more business and seeing higher year­-over-­year revenue growth.

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A lot of the innovation we’re doing is in the service offering that wraps around the Xero product.

“It’s so important for you to understand the role of the platform in the future of this world,” Lark said. “Platforms change everything.”

“We are creating a platform on which small businesses can go to work and interact with a whole ecosystem of people around them.

“If we can grow your businesses on our platform, we all win.

“You can take best-of-breed components and plug them into the best platforms ever created. We provide the vital links for information and data to flow. When you embrace the platform opportunity, big things can happen.”

Investing heavily in maintaining an open platform and establishing an ecosystem has become one of our key competitive advantages. It’s also become a competitive advantage for many of our partners that have integrated to connect with over 700,000 Xero subscribers, to grow.

For customers, they benefit from the ecosystem because it drives innovation en masse. Since 2011, we’ve grown from 25 add-ons to more than 500 partner integrations today. All the companies connecting to Xero APIs can benefit from the Xero marketplace, where small businesses access and search for tailored solutions integrated to Xero. And, with over a quarter of our customers connecting other business tools to Xero, the small business ecosystem is thriving.

For companies in the ecosystem, leveraging the platform can make a small vendor more nimble than a large incumbent, and a shared customer doesn’t have to compromise on functionality as the various tools integrate.

“We invest in building the world’s best platform, that’s how we win,” Lark said. “The great businesses out there are putting platforms, like Xero, at the core of their business. That’s how they win.”

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