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DIGITAL GOVERNANCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY

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Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw, General Manager Acquia (UK)

Global financial institutions are operating in an increasingly complex, digital landscape. With the explosive demand for digital experiences, organisations are often simultaneously running hundreds of campaign and promotional websites to attract new customers, cross-sell to existing customers and spanning different products for educating and informing intermediaries and staff.  As a result, financial brands are increasingly launching and overseeing multiple sites and digital communication channels, outpacing the IT department’s capacity to deliver them.

Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw

We are seeing too many organisations approach this with a piecemeal response – building individual web sites and microsites to specific requirements without a cohesive approach, leading to an overly complex digital environment. As brands expand into new regions and markets, this complexity becomes more pronounced.

Without a clear digital governance strategy and proper planning, more pressure is being placed on the marketing and IT departments. The ownership and budget allocation to deliver and manage multiple sites and channels is becoming hazy. Marketing sites are often a headache for the IT department, who are focused on core business applications. Creating sites can be time-consuming to build and the ‘owners’ are not able to update and change the sites themselves, placing an added burden onthe IT function.

As a result the marketing team are faced with IT bottlenecks, slowing down their response time to market demand. This lack of responsiveness and inability to seize opportunities is often a frustration that is hard to bear. Self-sufficiency is the key – the marketer wants to respond better to market dynamics, to be able to create sites within days, manage them themselves and measure the impact of these digital campaigns.

This challenge can be met with a strong digital governance strategy. Creating systems and processes to respond to meet customer demand that can be executed at the appropriate pace helps the marketing department. Developing a centrally controlled, template approach using open source software will reduce time and cost for the IT team.  It will also ensure that they keep control of the security aspects and hosting due diligence – something that is lacking when marketing go around the IT department to commission microsites from third party agencies.

The concept of governance is not a new one, particularly for the financial sector, but approaching digital marketing governance from a technology perspective may well be. In many cases, digital hasn’t been seen as a professional discipline until now. Ultimately, digital governance has to categorically support the business strategy but also enhance the digital capabilities of the organisation. Putting in place a decision-making and process framework for digital marketing will reduce costs and improve the brand experience. Crucially, any governance strategy has to have senior and departmental buy-in, agreeing its importance for the organisation to compete in a digital world.

Creating that framework is the first step in digital governance, before setting in place processes to ensure that each site and channel is developed and maintained efficiently, but ultimately delivers a rich experience for the end user. Each stage should comprise a team, for example the platform implementation team should create a repeatable mechanism that can be used across the sites. The site implementation teams would then work on specific requirements that will function on top of that core platform, adding additional functionality unique to each site. This allows agility and flexibility across a product line or region. All the while, an overall governance team should ensure that a common framework is adhered to and that the full lifecycle of deliverables are met.

To move away from the disjointed processes of the past, organisations need to use technology that is easy to manage. A centrally controlled, template approach using open source software in the cloud can help achieve:

  • self-service site creation,
  • integration with existing marketing tools,
  • rich-media experiences that drive interaction,
  • enhanced user experiences,
  • mobile-friendly sites with no extra coding, and
  • secure and robust solutions that will not damage hard-won brand reputation

Many financial brands require digital experiences to be standardisedacross multiple sites. Those sites should be responsive and ‘out of the box’, ensuring that both the marketing and IT departments are free to focus its core skills appropriately, rather than get bogged down with the complexity of multiple site management. By using the right software that will help to create digital governance, these brands can quickly and effectively deliver large numbers of unique web experiences in a short time frame.

The reality is that digital governance is all about digital performance. Using open source, cloud-based platform to develop the digital a governance methodology that aligns the IT strategy with your marketing requirements will enable a more agile, resource-efficient and effective digital experience.

Digital Governance

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 10

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 11

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 12

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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