Best Wishes for a Properous New Year

December 22, 2009

Well, that’s going to do it for this year. I checked and I managed to post 50 times on this blog since I started it back in June of this year. For those of you (all 4 of you) that have tuned in on a regular basis, I hope that you’ve found a couple ideas on how to improve your business practices.

Thanks for the comments and feedback. Please also feel free to provide suggestions on topics as well as any other ideas on how I can make this blog more useful.

It’s been an extremely challenging year, so it seems more appropriate than ever to thank our Alliance Partners for their business and wish you a prosperous new year.


Strategic Planning – Plans for 2010

December 15, 2009

As we look forward to an economic recovery in 2010, we must make plans to grow our system-level business in conjunction with our Alliance Partners. We continue to add sales resources to identify and pursue these system-level opportunities.

Our Mission Remains the Same

National Instruments mission remains the same – create innovative products and delivering quality support. We are working hard to empower you with:

  1. Delivering new products with the latest technologies along with quality technical support.
  2. Well-integrated platforms like PXI and CompactRIO where you can pick the modules that meet the customer’s application.
  3. We also continue to give you more ability to customize our products. Not only in software, we now let you program the hardware with FPGAs. We even let you designs your own hardware – like CompactRIO modules and the new FlexRIO front-end for PXI.
  4. We also provide you with reference designs and architectures to help your engineers build good solutions for our customers.

We encourage you can learn more about how these products can create more opportunities for your businesses.

Working On Your Business, Not Just In IT

But, for you, it’s not just about having good technology, it’s about managing your business. It is not simply about solving the technical challenges of a particular project, but building a system integration company that can reliably deliver those solutions.

As I travel around the world, it has been a privilege to learn about your businesses. And, I try to share what I have learned in Alliance Day presentations, one-on-one business consultations …. I have even started this blog to foster best business practices.

Strategic Planning – Outlook for 2010

December 8, 2009

So, when will we see an economic recovery? We believe that we have seen the worst of it. And while we must rebuild from 2006 levels, we are expect a modest recovery in the coming years. The good news is that NI is in an even stronger position as we continue to take market share.

Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)

National Instruments often refers to the PMI which has been a good indicator of how our business will perform. The PMI began to decline in 2007, the deteriorated rapidly in 2008-09 with the severity of the economic downturn. But, over the last few months, the global PMI has begin to recover – becoming positive in Q3.

National Instruments Outlook

We have seen our business stabilize over the last several months. We believe that we have ‘hit the bottom’ and are beginning to rebuild from that new level. We saw a return to growth in Q3 and are anticipating sequential growth in Q4 as well.

And, as the economy recovers, we believe that we will be in an even stronger market position. We’ve continued to make strategic investments through this downturn and belive that we are actually gaining market share. So, we will reap the benefits of this position as the market returns.

Our Partner Business

As our system-level business returns, we expect our Alliance Partner business rebound and continue to grow as a percentage of our overall business. Those Alliance Partners that can successfully manage their business will be in a better position for growth.

Strategic Planning – Review of 2009

December 1, 2009

Well, here we are in December. As always it is an opportunity to review our performance over the past year as well as make adjustments and plans for next year. 

The Great Recession

It has been a challenging year for most of us, so I thought I’d offer a little humor. During my 20 year career at National Instruments, our business mostly looked like this. That was until year year – and the Great Recession.

After several years of steady growth in our revenue, we began to see the effects of the Great Recession in the 4th quarter of 2008. This trend continued into 2009. And, although the decline has stopped, our business is significantly down from where it was a year ago.

Impact on our Partner Business

Unfortunately, this trend has also adversely affected our Alliance/VAR business. For the past several years, we not only growing revenue, but actually increased it as a percentage of our business.  But, as the recession took it’s toll, particularly on our larger system-level business which is commonly channeled by our partners, we’ve seen an adverse affect on our partner business.

OK, enough bad news. Next week we’ll talk about the chances of an economic recovery and what that will mean for NI and our partner business.