Connect with us

Business

Tech on the move – how to achieve the Always-on Office…

Published

on

Peter-Chadha

The outlook for growth within the Eurozone in 2013 is expected to be slow, and will lead more and more businesses to continue to develop work overseas. The rate of growth in emerging markets is predicted to be double that of already developed countries, and in the Technology sector, spending is projected to grow by more than 8.8 per cent. The main hotspots are likely to be South America, the Middle East and India, which means increasing or maintaining the levels of business travel in the coming year.Peter-Chadha

Ever more technology-dependent, business travellers are constantly on the search for WiFi hotspots whilst on the move, and on long journeys – technology is the traveller’s best friend. Smart gadgets can make life a little easier, and a lot more productive, and the range of business travel apps is now growing. Despite this, many travellers are unaware of the technologies and devices that can truly enable them to realise the promise of the Always-on Office.

Reducing the cost of roaming data
Many business travellers continue to suffer from the cost of data downloads. One solution is to take two mobile phones when travelling; one which uses a UK SIM and one that uses a local (country specific) pay-as-you-go SIM. You can now get a local SIM in advance of your trip for between £15-30, which means you know the number and have it all set up before you leave. By ensuring the PAYG package comes with a sensible data bundle, the business traveller can save hundreds of pounds on their domestic mobile bill when travelling. It’s also important to ensure the UK phone has automated data download settings turned off and that both phones are synchronised to a service such as Exchange, Google or Apple’s iCloud, so both phones work as equal peers with up-to-date contacts, etc. Also, by using an iPhone and Android device, the business traveller can benefit from different Apps. For example, Android allows you to use the traditional Google maps that was lost on Apple’s latest IOS release, and you will also benefit from more overall battery by sharing your usage between devices. You can buy a SIM free Android handset for around £100, or if two phones are not your thing, an iPad mini 3G can be used for data with a local SIM card – and you can use the Skype app to make reduced cost calls.

Exploiting the apps
The wide range of apps and technologies that can be exploited by the business traveller falls roughly into three categories: collaboration; convenience and relaxation.

Collaboration – mainly based around cloud technologies and applications. Google is making life particularly easy for the business traveller to collaborate with apps such as GoogleTalk and Messenger over 3G connections, and Google Hangouts for multi-video conferencing. By using Google Hangout, it’s possible to conduct up to a 15-way video conference with team members across the globe, even those that are on-the move. And, in combination with Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), it’s possible to share documents, work on amendments and discuss issues all with high quality, streamed video, chat and document exchange. Skype also provides video conferencing options, although the costs are higher and companies tend to restrict the use of VOIP services, so care is needed here.

Apps such as Group Text by Esendex are also increasingly useful in allowing team members to send group SMS for alerts, diary scheduling, contact sharing or quick message collaboration.

Facebook, Yammer and Twitter are also becoming increasingly collaborative corporate tools, particularly amongst Generation Z – or digital native execs – who are particularly comfortable using these tools for chat or collaboration.

Convenience – The obvious convenience technologies are mobile hardware – tablets, smartphones and notebooks. In particular, tablets and ‘hybrid’ smartphones – like the Samsung Galaxy Note II – are gaining a significant foothold in the business traveller community because of their obvious ‘always-on’ capability, combined with portability. The battle between Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android platforms for domination continues, although Windows on phones like Nokia’s new Lumia 920 is still pushing to gain market share.

Whichever platform, there is no question that business travellers use these technologies as much more than ‘gadgets’ because of the scale of functionality and the ability to use them at something close to desktop/laptop performance.

Amongst apps, the development of ‘hands free’ software is starting to push new boundaries. Particularly while driving or where using a keypad is just impractical, the likes of Apple’s Siri or the voice dictation capability of the latest Android keyboards is transformative. Although accuracy is still not 100%, voice applications have developed exponentially since their introduction in 1995.

Travel management apps are also invaluable. Xero accounting, for example, offers a range of automated, cloud-based management tools that allow travellers to instantly update and track expenses while they are away. Not only is this effective for the traveller, it removes the drudgery of ‘filling in expenses’ on a monthly basis and ensures accuracy and real-time updates of flight or hotel bookings which can also be monitored and amended by administrators back at the office.

When it comes to networking, Card Munch and Business Card Reader are apps that help with efficiency by allowing devices to photograph business cards, and add contacts with one touch. As well as the immediacy of updating contacts, it also means travellers are less likely to forget why they have that individual’s business card in their wallet once they return from the trip or conference, where they may have gathered pockets full of cards, by allowing them remain separate from their main contacts list to avoid the clutter of ‘passing acquaintances’.

Relaxation – even business travellers need to relax and the two main areas for this are reading and music. Although its monochrome, a Kindle 3G allows you to download documents as well as books, newspapers and journals in many countries without a data cost! Many business travellers use flight or hotel time to catch up on news or CPD and a Kindle provides excellent screen clarity whilst preventing the distractions that come with emails or text messages when using a phone.

Every mobile device now has some form of MP3 player, but apps such as 00Tunes (i-Phone/i-Pad only) or Spotify are great for downloading tracks, listening to mood-based radio or compiling playlists to take with you. The latest version of the BBC iPlayer app is now a godsend as you can download your favourite programmes in the UK, and watch them offline on a plane or hotel without data charges – and the screen on an iPad is often even better than some business class screens!

If you’re also keen to know what your friends and business contacts have been up to, the Flipboard App is a free and fun way to keep up to date with your social network.

And, finally, if you don’t have time to pick up some postcards, write them and get them in the post, then you may want to consider using the Touchnote App. This allows you to send laminated personalised postcards home (or to clients). It uses your personal contact list of addresses and even allows you to handwrite the text, and choose a holiday photo from your mobile photo album.

The life of an IT consultant involves challenging work which is both interesting and varied, but you can also find yourself travelling 25-75% of the time, dependent on your role and the firm that you work for. As I gear up for another business trip to the Far East or Africa, I am more confident than ever that the variety of apps, technologies and services will support both my ‘always-on’ uptime and downtime.

————

Peter Chadha, Phd (Lond) Founder of DrPete Inc Ltd and CEO of Steegle.com has been identified by IBM as one of the top 50 IT commentators in the UK, and is a regular commentator on TV and in the press. Peter can be found tweeting @drpete7

Dr Pete Inc are independent IT advisers.

 

 

 

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
Business13 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
Technology14 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