Connect with us

Business

Be Travel Savvy

Published

on

Shanghai

By Debbie Suenson-Taylor

ShanghaiWe’ve all heard the travel horror stories. The business executive who finds the hotel they booked online is miles away from the office and bears no resemblance to the glossy pictures on the web site. Or the hotel hasn’t received their booking and there aren’t any rooms left because of a major sporting event. Or the executive with the excruciating toothache who can’t afford to see a dentist. The worst case scenario is that the airline which your Personal Assistant (PA) booked has gone into liquidation; you’re stranded so you have to pay for another air ticket at a greatly inflated price.

Businesses must be travel savvy to avoid these situations. The assumption is that the Internet will magically find the best deals, but this isn’t always the case. Cheap prices are flagged up on web site to draw visitors, but the reality is often very different. Your PA may be drawn to a travel web site because of bargain prices, fabulous pictures and promises but on closer inspection, you may find that although the price may be right, other elements aren’t.

The best course of action is to outsource all your travel arrangements to a travel professional who can supervise all the details. They will have access to the best rates, can ensure that the travel operators are legitimate, standards are upheld (for example IATA, CAA, FAA) and monies are protected through bonded and trust accounts, such as ABTA, TTA, or ATOL (UK only) to protect clients’ money should the travel supplier default on service. Travel professionals also have the operational back up so alternative travel arrangements can be put into place if there is a problem.

The Role of the PA
Hong-kongMany companies offload travel bookings to the Personal Assistant (PA). The PA will not only spend an enormous amount of time trying to find the best deals, but without personal knowledge or experience will be unable to detect the closest hotel to the office, for example. They also lack a network of global contacts to find out invaluable local information such as bank holidays.

The best solution is for the PA to work alongside a travel management company because this will save time and money and give peace of mind. They will have the reassurance that if something goes wrong on the business trip, a travel professional is dealing with it. Many business trips are a last minute situation which means a PA would need to drop everything to make the bookings whereas a travel management company can easily pick up the request and using their experience and contacts, make all the necessary bookings.

A travel management company will supply a 24 hour emergency number which a business executive can call from all over the world if there is a problem, if they want to change travel plans or requirements such as a hire car.

Using a travel company is advantageous to PAs as most offer a free booking service and an incentive scheme. Travel management companies will have insider knowledge about destinations as they are part of a reliable support network of industry professionals who share information.

Visa Applications
It is vitally important that the correct visas are obtained prior to travel and for any business, this is very time consuming. For example, a European travelling to the USA must have a visa, but if the PA tries to do it online they may fall victim to several scam web sites which charge £100 for a visa for UK citizens compared to $14 by using the official site.

A good travel management company will arrange all visas either directly or through a specialist agency. You need to allow plenty of time for the visa process so the rule of thumb is to apply for visas as early as you can. Again your travel management company will advise you.

Business Etiquette
If you’re travelling to a country on business for the first time, it’s a good idea to do some research into the business customs so you don’t make any mistakes. Travel management companies can advise on this.

Did you know that pointing in the UAE is considered rude, so don’t use a pointed finger to accentuate words. In Saudi Arabia always give a warm and firm handshake starting from the person on your right hand side and move towards your left anti-clockwise. Do not forget to greet each person with a “Salaam Alaikum” with a slight bow of your head and a genuine smile. It goes down well with your hosts.

In Japan, business cards are essential so make sure you have plenty with you. European Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy often combine business with lunch, which can start at 1pm and go on for most of the afternoon.

Check what the typical working week is. Many of the Chinese companies require staff to work on a Saturday morning including Hong Kong; whilst recently the weekend in Oman has been changed to fit in with Dubai, UAE so it’s now Friday and Saturday rather than Thursday and Friday.

Insurance matters
One of the conditions of booking travel arrangements is that you must have your own insurance. A recent consumer study found that insurers had not updated the small print of their policies for years, failing to account for rise in expensive items such as smart phones and tablets that business employees now travel with. Many have very low limits on what people can claim, especially once the excess had been deducted. Many have a limit of £300, some only £200 yet an iPhone cost £500 to replace. So you need to check your insurance cover to ensure that all gadgets are covered. Travel consultants will refer you to specialist insurance companies but you must check carefully what is covered.

Health insurance is vitally important. If you have to see a dentist in the USA with severe toothache, you want to have peace of mind that you’re covered.

If your spouse or a family member is joining you on a business trip, make sure you check what the policy says about children travelling with you. Another survey showed that about 42% of insurers will not insure a child that does not live permanently with the family, nor include stepchildren with a different surname, unless they are specifically named.

If your country is part of the European Union (EU) you will be entitled to a European health card which gives you free access to healthcare in Europe. Apply for yours online.

Vaccinations and health concerns
You need to check what vaccinations and health precautions you need to have before travelling to various countries. An essential took for worldwide advice can be found at www.nathnac.org which is full of facts and requirements for all countries

Health advice – http://www.nathnac.org/ds/map_world.aspx
If you’re travelling to China, Asia, Africa or South America, you must make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. Plan well ahead – in some cases, you may need to have a six week course of tablets prior to your trip. Major cities and airports throughout the world have health centres which will carry out the vaccinations and give you healthcare advice. Check online for the one nearest you.

Additional Extras
Debbie-Suenson-TaylorBy their very nature, business travel arrangements tend to change. The boss realising you are in San Francisco then wants you to visit a client in San Diego “so just hire a car,” she says. One of the advantages in having a travel management company oversee the travel itinerary is that the PA, who is always overloaded, can call them and know that these little details will be taken care of.

Outsourcing your travel arrangements to a travel professional will not only attain the best deals, but also peace of mind.

Debbie Suenson-Taylor worked in large corporations before setting up her own company Travel Producer www.travelproducer.co.uk offering bespoke travel solutions to TV production teams, PAs, business executives and consumers.

 

 

 

Business

How to use data to protect and power your business

Published

on

How to use data to protect and power your business 1

By Dave Parker, Group Head of Data Governance, Arrow Global

Employees need to access data to do their jobs. But as data governance professionals, it’s our job to protect it. Therefore, we must perform a fine balancing act to weigh robust data protection against the productivity of workers who need the data to maintain business-as-usual working processes.

Data grows exponentially, and most organisations will admit that they simply don’t know what data they have, where it is, and the controls that exist around it. This creates 2 challenges:

  1. Burgeoning amounts of unstructured data makes the business increasingly vulnerable from external attackers or internal data breaches.
  2. Because data is the key to understanding a customer’s wants and needs, if the business can’t identify its data and unlock its value, it’s at a competitive disadvantage.

As a European investor and alternative asset manager, here at Arrow Global we take care of £50bn of assets and own a data estate exceeding 160TB. How we manage our data is key to our success. We understand the difficulties involved in opening up environments to allow people to work productively, while at the same time locking them down to protect our organisation.

When it comes to analytics, I believe that Arrow is highly proficient because we employ a talented team of data scientists. But even for us, the sheer volume of raw and processed data, that resides in both our structured systems and unstructured data repositories, has the potential to put our business at risk.

We know there’s always more that can be done to strengthen our security posture and ensure regulatory and contractual compliance, while at the same time using our data to drive the business forward.

Data protection isn’t just about compliance

For many organisations, data protection has centred on demonstrating compliance with the GDPR. At Arrow, our efforts have gone one step further to include our contractual exposure.

Being a more mature data organisation, we had previously tried to develop an application in-house to manage our data estate. However, with 160TB across the company in production data alone, we simply couldn’t achieve the scale we needed to handle the sheer volume of data. Of course, the volume is just the start – once you know what data you have, you then need to be able to categorise the data and put it into a structure, so the business can analyse it for a specific use case.

We knew we needed to go to market to find an industrial-strength data discovery product to replace our in-house application. By aligning our choice of product to our overall IT and change strategy, meant that ultimately, we ended up with a far better outcome than we’d anticipated.

Position data as both a risk and an asset

Data touches every part of an organisation, so when it came to building a business case for buying-in a data discovery software platform, we approached it in a way that would speak to different people at the same time. We did this by posing the question:

“What do we want to do with data in a way that is GDPR-compliant, contractually-compliant and enables us to better service our clients?”

These are the black and white tests of data governance – to recognise the importance of securing and protecting data. They’re applied in a way that enables us to commoditise data and use it to drive the business forward, by forcing us to consider how we would use the data – for example, creating value-based pricing for our clients.

In aligning the business case to initiatives that were already priorities within the boardroom, we knew that we’d gain the attention of the senior leadership team and it would be easier to get the buy-in and budget we needed. And in the end, everyone wins – we get what we need to protect the data, and the business gets to distil the data’s value to better meet our customers’ expectations.

Dave Parker

Dave Parker

Get visibility of data at scale

For us, things got really exciting once we were able to see all of our data at scale. We chose Exonar because it allowed us to discover our data in ways that other products couldn’t. And the interface between the user and Exonar meant that everyone – both technical and non-technical users – could understand the technology and the findings it revealed.

When we saw exactly what data was in the estate, where it was and who had access to it, data security became much easier and the risk of data being compromised was dramatically reduced. We can see exactly where the vulnerabilities are and restructure how our data is stored to strengthen security. Then over time, we can use search, workflow and analysis to optimise the infrastructure and continually identify new areas to improve.

Commercialise the data

From a wider-business perspective, once people can see the data, they can start asking “What if…” to query it and distil its value. But it’s more than just the data itself. It’s not uncommon for data relating to the same thing to exist in unconnected systems across the business. For example, customer interactions and incidents or events.

Exonar is capable of joining the dots in disparate data sets. By stitching these data sets together, we can get a better overall view of our customers and use the outcomes to think of new, different or better ways of serving them through enhancing or adapting our offerings.

Why other financial services businesses should also take a smarter approach to data

  1. By changing the way you approach data, you can use it to protect and power your business and the people you serve.
  2. By positioning data as both a risk and an asset, you elevate its position to give it priority in the boardroom. Ultimately, it’s data that helps the business make informed strategic decisions about how to strengthen its competitive advantage.
  3. By gaining visibility of data at scale, you can see exactly what data you have and where it is. This gives the business confidence about the actions needed to ensure it is secured in both a regulatory and contractually compliant way, and that people are doing the right thing with data at all times.
  4. And joining different data sets provides you with a single view of ‘X’ within your data, no matter where it is. Helping to support your wider-business strategy and priorities, it gives you the information you need to secure a business advantage and generate value.
Continue Reading

Business

How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI

Published

on

How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI 2

By Andrew White is the ANZ Country Manager of business transformation solutions provider, Signavio

The digital world moves quickly. From keeping up with consumer behaviour patterns, to regulation and compliance, the most successful organisations are always on the cutting-edge of technological developments.

However, when it comes to investing in artificial intelligence (AI), a hard and fast strategy does not guarantee a top spot amongst the league of tech greats. Instead, it pays to take a considered approach to balancing reliance on automated processes with a human touch. Why? Because creative and strategic thinkers are the true propellers of innovation; automation is simply the enabler.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) developed the ‘Routine Task Intensity’ (RTI) index as a measure of which processes are likely to benefit most from automation. According to this metric, jobs requiring analytical, strategic, communicational and technical skills score low on the RTI index, while simple, repetitive tasks scored highly.

The lesson for business leaders here is simple; your digital investments are just as important as your stake in talent. When deciding which processes to automate, start simple, and remember to value the skills and potential of your people.

Keep customer-centricity at your core

Customer-centricity means that every business decision, dollar spent and new hire is centred on one question: how does this benefit my customer? Investments in AI are no different. To be truly successful, they must have a customer-focused outcome.

Where companies get this wrong is by implementing cost-saving measures or ‘copy and paste’ software that fails to improve the customer experience – often having the adverse effect.

Take the virtual chat-bot, for example; if implemented poorly, it can send your customers into a frustrating and seemingly infinite cycle of dead-ends. The modern consumer is far too digitally savvy for this shortcut, and will quickly move onto the next merchant offering a more seamless customer service experience.

To guarantee your investments are delighting rather than infuriating your customers, it helps to take an outside-in perspective of your business processes, aided by Customer Journey Mapping (CJM).

Before you commit to digital investments, CJM can trace and map each customer touchpoint, signalling pain points or conversion rates throughout their journey. These data-driven insights lead you to the areas that would benefit the most from automation, instead of implementing a broad band-aid solution.

Avoid the ‘set and forget’ method 

When investing in enterprise-wide AI, the ‘set and forget’ method rarely works. Real transformation requires an ongoing dedication to refining and improving AI-driven processes, as well as adapting them to the evolving needs of your customers. This is the best way to achieve customer loyalty, by proving that your organisation listens to, and understands its users.

A human perspective is invaluable here, paired with process mining – a method that thrives on finding process inefficiencies – to create a consistent feedback loop of improvement.

During periods of uncertainty, customer loyalty is everything, so aim to protect it at all costs.

The power of your people

The rise of automation can be linked to the corporate world’s obsession with speed and efficiency. However, the psychology behind this goes deeper than being the biggest and fastest producer; it’s also about reallocating resources into attracting and retaining the brilliant minds that drive companies into the future.

When communicating digital change, it’s critical to highlight the valuable impact AI has on augmenting jobs; removing the burden of mundane, repetitive tasks and allowing for more strategic skill-sets to shine through. For lower-skilled workers, invest in upskilling or re-education where possible.

Successfully rolling-out digital transformation plans means that every employee across all tiers of your company understands the value of AI. The starting point here is education to achieve buy-in. Change communications must be accessible, constructive and value-focused, supported by key culture influencers who champion automation within teams.

Enterprise-wide buy-in is an important element of refining and improving digital processes, as cross-functional collaboration can offer valuable insights into common pain points or inefficiencies ripe for automation. Supported by process mining, collaboration provides a holistic view of how each investment will impact other processes. There is no point investing in automation that streamlines one process and makes another more people-centric, so be sure to take a balanced approach to your investments.

Remember, AI is not about creating an army of robot workers; it’s about increasing efficiency and productivity so that an organisation, and its people, can work smarter.

Continue Reading

Business

Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger

Published

on

Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger 3

By Dr.Roger Firestien, Author of Create In a Flash.

The fight, flight, freeze survival response – or FFF for short – is designed to mobilize our brain and body to fight an enemy, run from a tidal wave or freeze to hide from a predator.

FFF is how humans react when they encounter a dangerous situation. It is a primal response that happens instinctively even before we are able to think about the situation we are confronting.

The FFF alarm causes our brain to focus on negative memories, probably to scan them to avoid repeating dangerous situations and negative outcomes.  We get tunnel vision as our pupils dilate to increase our focus and long-range vision, but as a result we lose our peripheral vision.   

Humans use the FFF response and so do organizations.

When organizations encounter dangerous situations, like, say, trying to survive a global pandemic, they can respond by either fighting the situation, fleeing from the situation, or freezing and waiting for the situation to pass.

I would like to propose a fourth strategy for organizations to deal with a danger like the pandemic. It is the fourth “F.”  The farm response. More on that later.

What kind of organization is yours?

The fighter organizations were the ones that fought the idea of a global pandemic or pushed back against the research that reported how serious the virus was.  Think of the meat processing plants that didn’t provide proper protective gear or the religious organizations that refused to take a break from large services.

The results were catastrophic for the organizations and deadly to the employees and worshippers.

It is pretty easy to identify the fleeing organizations.  You don’t see them anymore.  Unfortunately, this is the organization that just doesn’t have the resources or the energy to fight.  You will recognize them by the “For Rent” signs in the windows of the buildings they used to occupy.

The organizations that freeze  are a little more difficult to identify.  They are still around but are frozen by fear. They are the organizations that, although they are in a position to move forward, are too frightened to take a risk or even look at the periphery of their business. Their tunnel vision blinds them to opportunity.  The freezers hide and wait for the danger to pass.  They are the ones who miss out on possibilities.

For example, if you are in the business of supplying concessions to sporting events, airports and national parks, your business is in deep trouble now. So, what are some ways to keep people buying food and drinks with so many venues closed?

Dr.Roger Firestien

Dr.Roger Firestien

Many national parks are now open and visitors need to eat.  How can you sell food while supporting social distancing? Answer: Sell picnic meals to your patrons.  And, sell a blanket that commemorates the park that diners can spread out and have lunch while social distancing with their families. Then, they’ll keep the blanket that reminds them of their visit to the park.

Sound like a good idea? It sure does. You can keep your park concession business, allow people to social distance and add to your product line with that commemorative blanket. Did the company implement the idea? Unfortunately, they did not. They froze and missed the opportunity.

However, businesses are finding ways to optimize their organization and capture opportunities. They are the farmers. The farmer organizations study the situation, just like farmers study the weather and the land. They look at the resources available to them and get to work.

Farmer organizations pivot and get creative.

Distillers, who before the pandemic, were making vodka, whiskey, gin and other spirits quickly changed their operation from distilling booze to distilling sanitizer.

Telemedicine, which had limited acceptance before the pandemic, almost immediately became the accepted way to deliver care.  Now, the doctor comes to you.

Fitness trainers are conducting their sessions via Zoom or in person outside on sidewalks in front of their gyms so they can social distance.

My favorite ranch, SK Herefords, sells their beef at local farmer’s markets in the Western New York area. This spring when the large packing houses shut down and grocery stores were limiting the amount of beef customers were able to buy, my farmer friends were there at the markets with locally produced farm-raised beef.  Sales soared and demand skyrocketed.

Why? The farmers were ready.  They used their resources and were not afraid to optimize them in a rapidly changing and volatile environment. Farmers live with constantly changing weather conditions and market prices and are accustomed to rapid change.

To operate with constant change, all of us, like farmers, need to be constantly creative.  Phil Keppler, my philosopher farmer friend from SK Herefords says, “Creativity helps you to not look at things as a problem. It’s trying to find the solution – and that’s the exciting thing about it. Things aren’t problems anymore. It’s just difficult situations and you’re trying to find a solution to that situation.”

A good mindset for what our world is experiencing now… it’s a difficult situation and we are creating solutions daily.

Fight, flight, freeze or farm. What kind of organization is yours? And, what can you learn from “the farmers?”

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal 4 The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal 5
Technology12 hours ago

The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal

By Jeremy Nicholds CEO, Judopay As society adapts to the rapidly changing “new normal” of working and socialising, many businesses...

The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 6 The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 7
Finance12 hours ago

The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector

By Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4 Banks and financial industries are quite literally where the money is, positioning...

How open banking can drive innovation and growth in a post-COVID world 8 How open banking can drive innovation and growth in a post-COVID world 9
Banking12 hours ago

How open banking can drive innovation and growth in a post-COVID world

By Billel Ridelle, CEO at Sweep Times are pretty tough for businesses right now. For SMEs in particular, a global financial...

How to use data to protect and power your business 10 How to use data to protect and power your business 11
Business13 hours ago

How to use data to protect and power your business

By Dave Parker, Group Head of Data Governance, Arrow Global Employees need to access data to do their jobs. But...

How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI 12 How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI 13
Business13 hours ago

How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI

By Andrew White is the ANZ Country Manager of business transformation solutions provider, Signavio The digital world moves quickly. From...

Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it? 14 Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it? 15
Finance13 hours ago

Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it?

By James Booth, VP of Payment Partnerships EMEA, PPRO Since the start of the pandemic, businesses around the world have...

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 16 Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 17
Top Stories13 hours ago

Lockdown 2.0 – Here’s how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room

By Jeff Carlson, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Luminar 4 and Take Control of Your Digital Photos suggests “the product you’re creating is...

Banks take note: Customers want to pay with points 21 Banks take note: Customers want to pay with points 22
Banking13 hours ago

Banks take note: Customers want to pay with points

By Len Covello, Chief Technology Officer of Engage People ‘Pay with Points’ – that is, integrating the ability to pay...

Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger 23 Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger 24
Business14 hours ago

Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger

By Dr.Roger Firestien, Author of Create In a Flash. The fight, flight, freeze survival response – or FFF for short...

Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for 25 Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for 26
Technology15 hours ago

Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for

By Kristy Chong, CEO & Founder Modibodi ® Taking single use plastics out of circulation is no easy feat, but...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now