Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Working Remotely is Trending Upward

I was reading an interesting article the other day on Fast Company’s site regarding work trends. It was estimated that more than 50% of the work force will be working remotely by 2020. Additionally, 25%, of the business leaders surveyed, indicated that more than three-quarters of their employees would not be working in a traditional office by 2020. Of course the definition for the word “remote” has been debated often. Does this mean working somewhere outside the office for 1 or 2 days/week? If you work off-site or in coffee shops does this ‘count’ as working remotely? If you work any at home during the weekend are you considered to be a ‘remote employee’? Therefore, if we widen the scope of the definition says, Sara Sutton Fell (CEO of FlexJobs) then:

In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99% of people are already working remotely in that they take work home. It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee… If remote work means that you check email on Sunday night then congratulations! You already have a work-from-home job.

There is little question that workers often rank ‘flexibility’ as one of their top reasons they are attracted to more desired jobs. Given the impact of the digitization of work millennials (and other age groups as well) really value the option of, “…taking an afternoon off and catching up on Saturday morning.” Further, a more flexible schedule allows for more spontaneous interactions with co-workers, but also time for focused, head-down productivity as well. For recruiters and other small business owners the power of working remotely is truly endless.

How to Remain Productive when Not in the Office

If the trend is toward more of us working remotely and/or from home what are some tips and tricks we can take advantage of to ensure success?

This article will provide a short list of tactics that have worked for me as well as a few suggested by others who are experienced at being productive while working remotely (PWWR). I’ve worked remotely (in some capacity) as a college professor and content marketer for the past 15 years and learned a few tips and tricks along the way. One thing I know for sure is you need a strategy and plan, for remote work, or it can lead to problems. There are real pluses to working at home/remotely and also pitfalls if not approached with a solid plan.

Strategies for Working Remotely

  • Work off of a Daily List of Tasks to be Done: One of the challenges with working at home (or in any other remote location) is how easy it can be to become distracted and taken off course. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put 2-4 things you want to get done on a list daily. During the day go back the list a couple of times to ensure you are staying focused. As things get accomplished you can cross them out. At the end of the day update the list by checking off what has been finished and what is pushed to the next work day. Psychologically it can be very satisfying to see items get ‘checked off’ the list. The goal is to make steady progress every work day (usually on several small tasks).
  • Don’t become a Silo & Consistently Communicate: It takes personal discipline to work remotely and remain productive. One thing to remember is avoid being a ‘silo‘ and working independently for long stretches. In other words, check in often with co-workers and bosses to let them know what you are working on and to be available to help others if needed. It can be easy to ‘fall off the radar’ when working from home, but if you are intentional about consistently communicating it will serve you well. Also, consistent communication lets everyone on the team know that you are engaged and working toward pre-planned goals.
  • Be sure to take Breaks/Change of Scenery: It may seem obvious but be sure to take breaks when working remotely. Given that you do not have other co-workers around (who can be distracting) often we can really get in a groove and get a lot accomplished while working remotely. This is great, however it’s also easy to work even more hours and ‘forget’ to take breaks. I find taking a 20-minute walk, grabbing a lunch off-campus, getting a quick coffee, or doing a chore or two around the house can serve as an effective change of scenery/break in the monotony.
  • Put Together Reports to Update Colleagues on Progress: Given the way our work places are organized, in this digital era, often we are working on individual/independent tasks that are connected to bigger goals of the company/agency. What’s more, our colleagues may or may not know what we are working on and, more importantly, the progress that is indeed being made. Therefore, if you can provide monthly and/or weekly summaries of tasks that are getting done and how they are edifying the long-term goals of your company this can be super helpful. Also, this helps for summarizing how all of the small tasks are helping move the business in the right direction. It can be easy to get bogged down in the details and not “see the forest for the trees”.
  • Have a Dedicated Work Space: Whether you are working at home or at a coffee shop it’s critical to have a work space that is ‘only for work’ and not used for other things (you may do in your spare time/down time). It helps if your home or remote location is similar to your office at work.

Optimizing Working Remotely Important

As more and more people work remotely (and the time they do so also increases) it is going to become even more important to continue finding ways to optimize this type of work environment. For even more information check out a recent article from The Muse: 10 Reasons Working Remotely is Even Better than You Thought it Was.


Source: Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely – Crelate

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HR Outsourcing May Steady the Path to Success

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For years, HR outsourcing (HRO) has begrudgingly worn a label of dedication to small businesses. Yes, there are incredible merits for small businesses within this stereotype, however the advantages of an outsourced Human Resources department show benefits for organizations of all sizes.

Recent statistics have pulled back the curtains to reveal increased reliance on HROs for business-related tasks. A global Deloitte study found that more than 35 percent of respondents already measure the value of their HRO, with another 32% planning increases in Human Resources over the next year.

And while some attribute Human Resource outsourcing to small business ventures, the industry is exploding. Outsourcing firms are expected to generate $53.9 billion in business by 2020.

The figures are clear, but for business owners thinking of making the shift, the advantages must offer total compliance satisfaction in order for the investment to pay dividends. If leaders can trust an outsourcing firm to manage daily tasks, long-term strategic goals can take center stage to focus on the business’s long term growth and needs.

So why are more organizations outsourcing the functions of HR, and is it truly achieving the goals it sets to satisfy?

HROs Reduce Company Risk

Over the past decade, workplace case complexity has increased almost across the board. Especially for startups and small businesses, the resources exhausted throughout workplace investigations quickly become overwhelming. HR professionals, likewise, are not experts in all fields of law and sometimes untrained to handle complex caseloads.

A HRO mitigates these risks by remaining up-to-date on all local, state, and federal regulations the organization must comply with. Likewise, they have the benefit of conducting unbiased, thorough, and timely investigations that reach clear conclusions and move the organization beyond the situation.

Although HR is not directly a profit center for businesses, it does minimize risk, create better efficiencies, and save money from being lost or spent unnecessarily. So even though HR might not be bringing in revenue, it can directly help with keeping more profit for the company.

Because minor oversights can cause costly delay, or worse, litigation, it is important for organizations to trust their workplace investigations with HR professionals who are experts in the field of risk mitigation and fair procedures.

HROs Meet Compliance Standards

A must for organizations of all sizes, compliance standards have the nasty habit of constant updates and overhauls, delays and reversals. It is imperative that businesses keep up-to-date with all standards expected within their industry and state–which can become overwhelming for an HR team already overloaded with important tasks.

But compliance means more than regulatory satisfaction. HR compliance is an umbrella term that may include things like cultural obligations, the ACA, licenses, collective bargaining, separation, and a slew of other considerations.

And organizations aren’t just worried about keeping up, they’re also tasked with recognizing any variances between their own policies and applicable laws.

Typically, the HRO chosen immediately focuses on compliance standards and potential issues, reducing risk and assuring satisfaction. Their goal is to provide a strategy that replaces any potentially damaging policies and reviews your policy regularly in line with updates to law.

Without this burden, organizations are freed from surrendering in-house time and resources to keeping up with regularly changing laws and reviewing their policies.

HROs Prove Financially Beneficial

Especially for smaller businesses (it’s a hard-to-shake label), a HRO is simply more cost-effective than hiring a full-time, in-house HR professional.

For companies of all sizes, there are smaller benefits that HR outsourcing brings with it. More office space without an HR team allows the organization to grow in workforce without concern for office overpopulation. In fact, a recent Deloitte study found that of those surveyed, a healthy 47 percent chose to outsource based on its solution to capacity issues.

Efficiency and productivity are influenced by office design, and outsourcing HR satisfies the conditions for a more efficient, productive workspace.

HROs Provide More Affordable Group Rates

Healthcare affordability is a top concern for employees. Not only that, but those who receive affordable health care coverage through their employer are more likely to find satisfaction in the job. Prudential Financial Inc found that 46% of employers were either outsourcing or looking to outsource the requirements of the ACA.

Because HROs work with many companies, they can take advantage of reduced bulk pricing. For small and large businesses, this provides quality coverage for employees at lower costs.

The advantages of an HRO for group rates extends beyond the coverage employees receive. Because of the ever-changing ACA requirements, with sweeping changes on the way, administrative costs are cut sifting through constant updates.

For organizations with an HR team, outsourcing health care oversight to an HRO minimizes the burden on HR while preventing easily-made mistakes.

HROs Strengthen Recruiting Methods

As companies turn to more strategic, aggressive recruiting methods, outsourcing this HR function has become more widely popular. Organizations are “becoming increasingly inventive to attract and retain valuable candidates”, Byrne Mulrooney told SHRM earlier in 2016.

Because many HR teams are unequipped to attract top talent in a way larger organizations can, the task is being outsourced to companies specializing in the field, like Mulrooney’s. When combined with bolstered benefits, appeal to organizations outsourcing these functions is elevated on a budget.

Choosing one or more HR function to outsource is smart organizational planning. Freeing up resources and time to focus on the growth of the company allows leaders to plan for long-term growth and goals. As the industry continues to grow, it will undoubtedly change the roles of internal HR teams, aligning them with more strategic functions over day-to-day tasks.


If you want to share this article the reference to Todd Giannattasio and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

How to Build a Data Science Team

Businesses today need to do more than merely acknowledge big data. They need to embrace data and analytics and make them an integral part of their company. Of course, this will require building a quality team of data scientists to handle the data and analytics for the company. Choosing the right members for the team can be difficult, mainly because the field is so new and many companies are still trying to learn exactly what a good data scientist should offer. Putting together an entire team has the potential to be more difficult. The following information should help to make the process easier.

The Right People

What roles need to be filled for a data science team? You will need to have data scientists who can work on large datasets and who understand the theory behind the science. They should also be capable of developing predictive models. Data engineers and data software developers are important, too. They need to understand architecture, infrastructure, and distributed programming.

Some of the other roles to fill in a data science team include the data solutions architect, data platform administrator, full-stack developer, and designer. Those companies that have teams focusing on building data products will also likely want to have a product manager on the team. If you have a team that has a lot of skill but that is low on real world experience, you may also want to have a project manager on the team. They can help to keep the team on the right track.

The Right Processes

When it comes to the processes, the key thing to remember with data science is agility. The team needs the ability to access and watch data in real time. It is important to do more than just measure the data. The team needs to take the data and understand how it can affect different areas of the company and help those areas implement positive changes. They should not be handcuffed to a slow and tedious process, as this will limit effectiveness. Ideally, the team will have a good working relationship with heads of other departments, so they work together in agile multi-disciplinary teams to make the best use of the data gathered.

The Platform

When building a data science team, it is also important to consider the platform your company is using for the process. A range of options are available including Hadoop and Spark. Hadoop is the market leader when it comes to big data technology, and it is an essential skill for all professionals who get into the field. When it comes to real-time processing, Spark is becoming increasingly important. It is a good idea to have all the big data team members skilled with Spark, too.

If you have people on the team that do not have these skills and that do not know how to use the various platforms, it is important they learn. Certification courses can be a great option for teaching the additional skills needed, and to get everyone on the team on the same page.

Some of the other platforms to consider include the Google Cloud Platform, and business analytics using Excel. Understanding the fundamentals of these systems can provide a good overall foundation for the team members.

Take Your Time

When you are creating a data science team for the company, you do not want to rush and choose the wrong people and platforms or not have quality processes in place. Take your time to create a team that will provide your company with the quality and professionalism it needs.

About the Author:

Ronald van Loon has joined as an Advisory Board Member for its Big Data training category. Named by Onalytica as one of the top three most influential personalities of Big Data in 2016, Ronald will contribute his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.


Source: How to Build a Data Science Team | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Customer Success | The HR Tech Weekly®

Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level

Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level

Journey Science, being derived from connected data from different customer activities, has become pivotal for the telecommunications industry, providing the means to drastically improve the customer experience and retention. It has the ability to link together scattered pieces of data, and enhance a telco business’s objectives. Siloed approaches are becoming obsolete – take call centers as an example – there is only so much that you can do with data from only one system.

By using insights from customer journey analytics, telco businesses can better measure the user experience, and make informed decision for refining it. The data not only allow them to take proactive approach towards customer satisfaction, but enable the prediction of future failures as well. With customer journey analytics, you can evaluate the touchpoints to journeys, and revamp your strategies to better cater to customers’ needs.

In the telecom industry, it is difficult for a business to effectively manage the massive volume of data with the existing systems and technology. There are several aspects where telecom companies need to make improvements, such as reduce costs, improve customer experience, increase conversion rates, and many more. To do so, they need to derive meaning from the collected data by finding connections among them. This linked data is also known as journeys. Journeys provide you with relevant data that enable you to make well-grounded business decisions by looking at customer transactions as a whole, and determining where direct improvements are needed.

Customer Journey Analytics is Transforming Telecommunications

Many leading telco businesses are embracing the Journey Science concept, and deem it to be the best way to make greater impact on the target audience. One good way to better understand digital journeys is through a multi-channel, end-2-end, view. Journey Sciences, at its best, provides enhanced data accessibility and increased analytics agility, and helps in weaving together disparate pieces of data. This makes it possible for telco businesses to link together structured and unstructured data back to their strategic objectives, and quickly modify them to ensure they cope with the evolving customer demands. However, in order to get insight into customer experience through journey analytics, it is critical to focus not only on the individual moments but the customers’ end-to-end experiences as well.

Customer Experience Boost

The main benefit of customer journey analytics for telco companies is that it enables them to better recognize customer needs, and assess their satisfaction level. While most people think Journey Science is all about marketing, it mainly focuses on the services domain. For example, a customer seeking technical support for their device has multiple paths to resolution. Journey Science enables businesses to evaluate each step of the journey experience, and figure out the critical points that could negatively impact customer experience. With this kind of information, businesses can develop strategies to overcome hurdles customers face on all such touchpoints, resulting in improved customer experience.

Improving Customer Journeys through Transparency

Connecting the Dots

For improving customer experience, it is essential to connect all the data down to the individual customer level to fully understand the required changes. For telco businesses to completely understand customer journeys, they must gather data from many different channels, and track the individual journey the customer experiences. Typically, more than 50 percent of customers make multi-channel journeys; meaning, in order to understand their behavior, establishing connection among all the data is extremely important. Because of the deep roots of technology in today’s common lifestyle, many journeys start from digital channels, but eventually go into a human channel for completion.

Utilizing Aggregate and Raw Data

Apart from giving a complete picture of customer journeys, the analytics let you tap into different levels of aggregation, allowing you to view raw data as well. With journey mapping, telco businesses can benefit from both in-depth data points and aggregated data sets. Since a single customer journey can compile hundreds of thousands of data points, having aggregated views makes it much easier to pinpoint and prioritize the problematic areas. On the other hand, some journeys may yield unclear results, for example, unusual behavior of a customer on a webpage. In such a case, having access into the raw data renders the ability to focus on one key area and get invaluable insights.

Making Changes through Data Availability 

Effective utilization of data from customer journey analytics allows telco to revamp their strategy as well as make smaller improvements on a continuous basis. Getting immediate feedback regarding a certain change is critical for understanding its impact. You can determine whether the intended results will be realized, or should you scale-up or sustain the change. However, a manual, project-based approach that only provides an overview of the required data will not be enough to transform journeys successfully. Instead, you should opt for an agile, iterative, analytic approach that uses continuous data availability.

It won’t be wrong to say that all those ad-hoc, manual, project-based approaches using snapshots of data have severe limitations.

Better data accessibility to more than 18 telco raw data sources as a prerequisite 

How the Customer Journey differs in both Fixed and Mobile Telco

Mobile (mobile data usage, subscriptions, charges, and mobile data access)

Several small customer journeys can be linked together to make improvements to a mobile telco operation. One great way is through customer engagement, i.e. moving down to individualized journeys of each customer instead of mass-segmentation. Journey Science opens doors for mobile telco companies to take personalization up a notch, and provide customized recommendations based on the journeys of each customer. You should also utilize real-time context to enhance customer engagement for better results.

Mobile customer experience comprises of several touchpoints where a subscriber interacts with a service provide agent – it can be during retail, billing, customer support, visible marketing campaigns, and others. Consider three customers below that have 3 different journeys to perform the same action.

Fixed line providers (phone, internet, entertainment)

Fixed line providers have an additional interaction channel with field technicians being deployed to customers’ homes for service. These field service appointments are a major part of customer experience and often have significant variability for different customers. Consider the following journey which involves multiple appointments, agent phone calls, and delays:

Improve key journeys for fixed Telco’s

Journey Science is Moving towards Predictive Analytics

The Journey Science concept is increasingly becoming popular across the telco industry, as it greatly benefits by assessing journeys of individual customers and allow them to develop customized strategies. Moreover, it allows telco businesses to anticipate the potential pitfalls leading to negative customer experience and prevent it altogether. By tapping into the data from customer journey, telco can streamline their operations and provide a better, more satisfying experience to their customers.

Derived value from Customer Journey data by Journey Science & Journey Analytics

In today’s world, customer satisfaction is the keystone for success in every industry, including telco. Businesses should turn to the Journey Science movement, and optimize their processes by carefully analyzing customer journeys and making improvements accordingly. Effective utilization of customer journey analytics leads to better redesigning efforts, ultimately reducing costs, enhancing customer experience, and stretching bottom-line.

About the Authors:

Want to talk more about Journey Sciences? Connect with Rogier van Nieuwenhuizen, Executive Vice President, EMEA region at ClickFox, on LinkedIn and join Journey Science movement on Twitter by following @journey_science and the Journey Science’s LinkedIn Group today.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and Journey Science please click ‘Follow’ and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Source: Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

How HR Tech Companies Should Build Their Sales Funnels To Create More Customers

How HR Tech Companies Should Build Their Sales Funnels To Create More Customers

How HR Tech Companies Should Build Their Sales Funnels To Create More Customers

When it comes to growing your HR Tech company, there are a million things that will come up as ideas and plans and “must-dos” in order to get more customers.

But it really comes down to this…

Building a systematic process that you can rely on that will turn strangers into happy, loyal, paying customers.

This is not easy, but as long as you know your customers and your product, it doesn’t have to be complicated. And the more “noise” that gets added to the conversation, the further you are going to get from creating your path to success.

Your company might be able to gain some initial traction from your existing networks and connections, and leveraging some sporadic word-of-mouth, or maybe the novelty of being new to the market, but that will only get you so far.

That’s where your system comes into play.

3 Stages Of Focus To Get You Customers

The 3 main questions to focus on for the highest impact are simple:

  1. How are we getting the attention of our target audience?
  2. How are we turning that audience into permission-based leads? (meaning they have signed up and self-qualified as an ideal customer and given you permission to build a relationship with them)
  3. How are we educating and motivating people to be excited to buy from us?

After those 3 things are accomplished, then you can build on top of them to grow at scale. But until you have these steps down and working profitably, you’ll be suffering from the dreadful sickness of Random Acts of Marketing. This leads to wasted time and money.

Not to fear! There is a simple cure…

A cure that will send out your dollars and efforts to bring back more of their friends. This cure is a systematic approach to launch, test, and improve your customer acquisition.

1. Getting Attention & Awareness

In this “top of the funnel” stage, you want to put yourself where your customers are hanging out and consuming information so that they start to find you and pay attention to what you have to say.

Online, this commonly takes place by publishing articles on your blog and then sharing them on social media using hashtags that are common for your industry. Then going out and connecting with your ideal customers on their preferred social media channels and striking up conversations with them with the main focus being to open a relationship and provide them value upfront.

As a byproduct, when you integrate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into those blog posts, they’ll also help you start ranking on Google when people are searching common terms related to your products and services.

And with social media being the plumbing of today’s word of mouth, your blog content will help to fuel the sharing of people talking about you.

Get active in the online communities where your target customers are hanging out. Join in on the conversations and start adding value by listening and helping address the problems that they are having.

This activity will lead to visibility which will lead to opportunity.

2. Generating Permission-Based Leads

Now that you have their attention and your ideal customers are on your website (reading your blog posts), it’s time to move them along their customer journey and convert them from a visitor into a Lead.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to buy your brilliant product today, but it means they are a qualified candidate for becoming a great customer and successfully using your product.

Did you know that only 3% of a market is active buyers at any given time?

That means you need to focus on building those relationships with the other 97% so that when they become part of the 3% active buyers, you are there and ready and have already earned their trust and demonstrate your credibility.

This is how marketing is meant to be and how to make the sales process seamless.

3. Converting Leads Into Sales

You have driven awareness of your brand in your target market.

You’ve earned their attention.

You’ve gotten their permission to continuously provide them value before they become an active buyer.

Here is where you butter your bread.

With your follow up.

Once you have someone on your email list, it’s time to educate and motivate them, patiently and systematically, to meet with you when they are ready.

Send them messages regularly (at least once a week) that will add value to their life. Maybe that’s a quick email with a link to an article they’d find interesting, maybe it’s a new utility that will make their lives more convenient practically.

By sending out these emails, you are building a relationship with them so they Know, Like, and Trust you. The keys to making sales easy.

You’re also being persistent in a friendly way, so that when the time comes for them to move to their active buying stage, you are there with an easy way for them to get started.

Do You Have A System For Creating Customers?

By now, you should see the value in implementing a system for creating customers. Another byproduct that we didn’t touch on, but is very valuable, is that when you have a system, you can TEST what’s working and what’s not.

The elements in your system may not always be home runs. Most likely, very few will be. And it’s important to know this is not a one and done attempt. The system is reliable. The elements are what you need to test and improve.

Most social media ads fail on their first run, but that collects data for you to make the next campaign work. Maybe the original kind of blog posts you’re writing aren’t getting the attention of your audience. The offer you are making on your website might not convert a visitor into a Lead because it’s not intriguing or valuable enough from their perspective. Your email offers might not be irrefutable enough to motivate active buyers.

But when you have a system in place, you can see where there is a drop off and make improvements.

The system is the track to get your car on the road. Once you start driving, it’s easy to course correct.

But you can’t steer a parked car.

So take the time to focus on your 3 simple questions and put a system in place so that you can start testing and improving your customer acquisition and growing your HR Tech company more reliably and more profitably.


If you want to share this article the reference to Todd Giannattasio and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

From New Technology to ‘Purposeful Innovation’ – Three Trends That Can Help Businesses Innovate & Grow in 2017

Written by Himanshu Palsule, CTO at Epicor Software.

From New Technology to ‘Purposeful Innovation’ – Three Trends That Can Help Businesses Innovate & Grow in 2017

In the current climate, operational efficiency and business agility are more important than ever to support modern business innovation. As global markets combine with competitive pricing pressures to place greater stress on maintaining margins, organisations must seek the efficiencies needed to protect market share.

Himanshu Palsule, CTO at Epicor Software
Himanshu Palsule, CTO at Epicor Software

At the same time, global economic forces are opening up opportunities in new markets and organisations of all sizes are looking to take advantage of the changing economic tide to grow their business. The pressure is now on the CIO and his/her team to drive change and enable this high-growth mode. The challenge for many companies is matching technology investments with the rapidly changing needs of the business.

A solid technology strategy should place the onus on innovation with a purpose and going in to 2017, I see three technology trends that have the power to transform businesses by providing the tools to innovate. These technologies have the potential to be central to business success over the coming years.

  1. Enabling cloud-driven change

For some organisations, adopting cloud computing services can be a simple, tactical exercise to meet some immediate infrastructure needs. But for those looking to drive real technology transformation, it can be the catalyst to embracing an entirely new strategy for IT.

Up until recently cloud computing has, for the most part, been used to speed up existing individual processes while reducing costs. It is only now, as the cloud journey grows more mature, that we can begin to see its full potential to transform business models and working practices.

The cloud opens up exciting new possibilities for CIOs, COOs and CFOs to think differently about their IT infrastructure. Adoption of cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, for example, is on the rise because sharing data quickly and efficiently can dramatically reduce costs and increase the speed of production.

There’s also a growing acceptance that cloud adoption is not just for start-up companies. Large enterprises are transitioning their entire infrastructure and data ecosystems into the cloud because these systems have the advantage of taking the burden of upgrades and management, freeing up valuable resources to focus on innovation and business growth.

  1. Extracting value from big data and IoT

According to a recent report by Machina Research, the total number of IoT connections are estimated to grow 16% annually over the next 10-year period from 6 billion in 2015 to 27 billion in 2025. Total IoT revenue opportunity is projected to grow to $3 trillion in 2025, up from $750 billion in 2015.

If you talk to customers in the manufacturing and retail sectors for example, they’ll say they’ve been collecting and tracking data on machines, production, and inventory for years. In retail, for example, smart supply chains enable applications for tracking goods and real time information exchange about inventory among suppliers and retailers.

The next step for us, and our customers, is to take the data that is available and analyse it in context, to make better and more efficient business decisions. However, the challenge for ERP systems has been around how to transform the onslaught of unstructured data into practical information.

As technology develops we can expect to see more integration between ERP, big data and predictive analytics because data is the business resource of the future—both in terms of optimising processes and services, and as a basis for innovative business models.

  1. Mobility drives greater visibility

Mobile and social technologies are enabling new business models and processes but it’s important to remember that mobility can mean many different things to different organisations. For one company, it might be the ability to set up a remote warehouse. For another, it might be the ability to interact and collaborate on social platforms across borders and time zones.

Mobility should be an essential part of the platforms we build as mobile applications provide greater employee visibility and accuracy of information, enabling companies to respond quickly to changing demands with real-time capabilities.

New utilisations of mobile devices and apps are happening every day and drastically changing the way business gets done.

Summary — keeping up the pace of innovation

As companies become more complex and globally dispersed, the need for increased collaboration, visibility and efficiency will continue to accelerate. The world is getting smaller and supply chains are expected to get faster. Having the right technology in place to underpin operations is key to keeping up, regardless of geographic location or industry.

Technology on its own is not a sufficient strategy. But understanding how cloud, big data, social, mobility, analytics and IoT technologies can underpin business models, what we call ‘purposeful innovation’ is central to achieving business growth.


If you want to share this article the reference to Himanshu Palsule and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

How Tech Is Reshaping ‘Business As Usual’

Kyle Martin, Florida Polytechnic University

Written by Kyle Martin, Content Coordinator at Florida Polytechnic University. Specially for The HR Tech Weekly®.

Change is the only constant, and it’s only accelerating. Technology is taking us closer and closer to the futuristic worlds we once only imagined in science fiction, but questions remain. How is innovative technology changing the way we do business? How will it continue to change in years to come? Keep an eye on the following trends that will continue to reshape business as we know it and introduce brand new STEM careers:

The Machines: They’re Learning!

Artificial Intelligence is more than a buzzword; it’s real and it’s happening now. Systems that can learn and adapt are becoming part of numerous industries, from Salesforce’s analytics service to products like crystal for marketing. Intelligent systems apply learning from one user to improve all users’ experience. (This is rumored to also be coming in digital assistant Siri’s future). Natural language processing allows us to consult AI programs like we would another person, asking questions like “When should I post on Instagram for maximum engagement?” and receive a more accurate answer faster than ever before.

IoT Integration

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolution in connectivity; items and devices equipped with sensors and controllers can now communicate with one another. These smart machines assist with everything from household chores to improving supply chain management, and they relay pertinent information about user behavior and machine processes.

Improving supply chain efficiencies is a growing application of the IoT. The IoT allows supply chain managers to meticulously track products and make smarter decisions based on pre-programmed parameters. The IoT also produces real-time data, allowing consumers to know exactly when their packages will arrive, and supply chain managers an understanding of how well each facet of their supply chain is performing.

The IoT offers numerous benefits for managers and consumers alike. Managers can better understand system bottlenecks and prevent machine breakdown. Consumers have the satisfaction of knowing they can monitor their shipment in real-time. While the upfront cost of integrating intelligent machines might initially turn companies off, their ability to improve operations make them more economical in the long term.

New Levels of Co-Creation

One of the many benefits of the Internet is its capacity for widespread collaboration. Today, that collaboration is going one step further. Many companies are now leveraging co-creation, allowing consumers to contribute to the development of new products and services. This new level of cooperation between brands and their buyers empowers consumers to create the exact product or service they need. In return, businesses reduce the costs associated with assessing the current product market and determining what to produce next.

This theme of co-creation also includes companies hiring freelance specialists. Companies are no longer compromising the quality of their employees, and ultimately their business, because of geographic distance. With virtually no more borders or geographic limitations, this new trend is altering the way businesses hire and retain employees.

In the face of a rapidly evolving market, more job seekers are choosing technology-focused degree programs to keep their skills sharp and their knowledge up-to-date. Why? Because business owners and professionals must stay ahead of the changing technology tides in order to ensure continued success.

About the Author:

Kyle Martin brings 11 years of storytelling experience to the content coordinator position at Florida Polytechnic University. In this role, Martin develops original content showcasing the University experience as a way to attract new students and faculty. He also lends editorial direction to University departments launching new projects and campaigns.


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What Is the Future of Data Warehousing?

Data Warehousing

There is no denying it – we live in The Age of the Customer. Consumers all over the world are now digitally empowered, and they have the means to decide which businesses will succeed and grow, and which ones will fail. As a result, most savvy businesses now understand that they must be customer-obsessed to succeed. They must have up-to-the-second data and analytical information so that they can give their customers what they want and provide the very best customer satisfaction possible.

This understanding has given rise to the concept of business intelligence (BI), the use of data mining, big data, and data analytics to analyze raw data and create faster, more effective business solutions. However, while the concept of BI is not necessarily new, traditional BI tactics are no longer enough to keep up and ensure success in the future. Today, traditional BI must be combined with agile BI (the use of agile software development to accelerate traditional BI for faster results and more adaptability) and big data to deliver the fastest and most useful insights so that businesses may convert, serve, and retain more customers.

Essentially, for a business to survive, BI must continuously evolve and adapt to improve agility and keep up with data trends in this new customer-driven age of enterprise. This new model for BI is also driving the future of data warehousing, as we will see moving forward.

Older BI Deployments Cannot Keep Pace for Success

As valuable as older BI applications and deployments have been over the years, they simply cannot keep pace with customer demands today. In fact, decision-makers in IT and business have reported a number of challenges when they have only deployed traditional BI. These include:

  • Inability to accurately quantify their BI investments’ ROI. Newer BI deployments implement methodologies for measuring ROI and determining the value of BI efforts.
  • A breakdown in communication and alignment between IT and business teams.
  • Inability to properly manage operational risk, resolve latency challenges, and/or handle scalability. While BI is intended to improve all of these, traditional BI is falling behind.
  • Difficulty with platform migration and/or integration.

Poor data quality. Even if data mining is fast and expansive, if the quality of the data is not up to par, it will not be useful in creating actionable intelligence for important business decisions.

Keeping Up with Customer Demand Through New BI Deployments

So how can combining traditional BI, agile BI, and big data help businesses grow and succeed in today’s market? Consider that big data gives businesses a more complete view of the customer by tapping into multiple data sources. At the same time, agile BI addresses the need for faster and more adaptable intelligence. Combine the two, along with already existing traditional BI, and efforts that were once separate can work together to create a stronger system of insight and analytics.

Through this new BI strategy, businesses can consistently harness insights and create actionable data in less time. Using the same technology, processes, and people, it allows businesses to manage growth and complexity, react faster to customer needs, and improve collaboration and top-line benefits – all at the same time.

The Drive for a New Kind of Data Warehousing

A new kind of data warehousing is essential to this new BI deployment, as much of the inefficiency in older BI deployments lies in the time and energy wasted in data movement and duplication. A few factors are driving the development and future of data warehousing, including:

  • Agility – To succeed today, businesses must use collaboration more than ever. Instead of having separate departments, teams, and implementations for things like data mining and analysis, IT, BI, business, etc., the new model involves cross-functional teams that engage in adaptive planning for continuous evolution and improvement. This kind of model cannot function with old forms of data warehousing, with just a single server (or set of servers) where data is stored and retrieved.
  • The Cloud – More and more, people and businesses are storing data on the cloud. Cloud-based computing offers the ability to access more data from different sources without the need for massive amounts of data movement and duplication. Thus, the cloud is a major factor in the future of data warehousing.
  • The Next Generation of Data – We are already seeing significant changes in data storage, data mining, and all things relate to big data, thanks to the Internet of Things. The next generation of data will (and already does) include even more evolution, including real-time data and streaming data.

How New Data Warehousing Solves Problems for Businesses

So how do new data warehouses change the face of BI and big data? These new data warehousing solutions offer businesses a more powerful and simpler means to achieve streaming, real-time data by connecting live data with previously stored historical data.

Before, business intelligence was an entirely different section of a company than the business section, and data analytics took place in an isolated bubble. Analysis was also restricted to only looking at and analyzing historical data – data from the past. Today, if businesses only look at historical data, they will be behind the curve before they even begin. Some of the solutions to this, which new data warehousing techniques and software provide, include:

  • Data lakes – Instead of storing data in hierarchical files and folders, as traditional data warehouses do, data lakes have a flat architecture that allows raw data to be stored in its natural form until it is needed.
  • Data fragmented across organizations – New data warehousing allows for faster data collection and analysis across organizations and departments. This is in keeping with the agility model and promotes more collaboration and faster results.
  • IoT streaming data – Again, the Internet of Things, is a major game changer, as customers, businesses, departments, etc. share and store data across multiple devices.

To Thrive in the Age of the Customers – Businesses Must Merge Previously Separate Efforts

Now that we are seeing real-time and streaming data, it is more important than ever before to create cohesive strategies for business insights. This means merging formerly separate efforts like traditional BI, agile BI, and big data.

Business agility is more important than ever before to convert and retain customers. To do this, BI must always be evolving, improving, and adapting, and this requires more collaboration and new data warehousing solutions. Through this evolution of strategies and technology, businesses can hope to grow and improve in The Age of the Customer.

Examples of the Future of Data Warehousing

And what exactly will the future of data warehousing look like? Companies like SAP are working on that right now. With the launch of the BW/4HANA data warehousing solution running on premise and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others like it, we can see how businesses can combine historical and streaming data for better implementation and deployment of new BI strategies. This system and others like it work with Spark and Hadoop, as well as other programming frameworks to bring data and systems of insight into the 21st century and beyond.

Want to learn more about BI, agile BI, the future of data warehousing, and all things big data? 

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And, if you have any thoughts on the subject, you may share them in the comment to the original post.


Source: What Is the Future of Data Warehousing? | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

The Inconvenient Truth of Hidden Conflict in the C-suite – And What to Do About It

Written by Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software. Specially for The HR Tech Weekly®.

The Inconvenient Truth of Hidden Conflict in the C-suite

A little bit of conflict between members of the C-suite is inevitable. When each member has different priorities and business objectives to the rest of the C-suite, it’s possible for this conflict to cause problems. Part of the tension is caused by a lack of consensus on business growth. According to recent research by Epicor, this misalignment of goals could lead to business problems if left unchecked. But if differing viewpoints are channelled positively, using technology and data to inform decision-making, suddenly ideas can foster growth and innovation rather than continue to be a source of conflict.

Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software
Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software

So what else could be contributing to conflict within the C-suite? One theory is that the CEO occupies a lonely position compared to the rest of the C-suite and has very little insight into the inner-workings of the internal departments within the business. CEOs tend to be more concerned with their “outward selves” – answering to stakeholders and explaining numbers to the board of directors.

Rob Morris, managing director and general manager of intellectual property at leadership consultancy firm YSC believes CEOs may feel the burden of growth more than other members of the C-suite. He refers to the CEO operating “like an island, despite the stereotypical image of a CEO projecting confidence and stability”. A recent study in Harvard Business Review examined how the burden of being responsible for tough business decisions can make a difference. It found that “93% of CEOs require more preparation for the role than they typically get” and are typically unready for the “loneliness and accountability that lies ahead”.

A variety of new technology roles could also be aggravating the tension within the C-suite. As a Wall Street Journal article reports, CIOs and CTOs are struggling to “differentiate their responsibilities”. The article goes on to say, “With so many roles, even other C-levels may not know where to turn to address a particular IT-related issue or problem. And the overlaps and conflicts may well lead to infighting”.

But while it is normal to have differing opinions and views – it is when these conflicts turn unhealthy and start becoming a strain on maintaining strong and healthy business operations that it becomes a problem. As Morris says, “conflict in a healthy team climate can lead to more effectiveness, but when the conflict remains hidden, confined to disagreements between only one or two key stakeholders, it can quickly become dysfunctional”.

So how can disagreements be turned into opportunities for innovation? Ideas and opinions can be shut down if they lack enough clear data to back them up. Having access to real-time information and insight can solve this. This means that key business discussions can be based on detailed metrics rather than simple “hunches” or gut-feelings. Senior business executives can then propose new ideas based on facts in front of them changing the conversation from perceived issues and problems to actionable steps designed to promote business growth.

As the Epicor research reveals, it is natural to have different ideas from other members in the senior team. But it is equally important to be aware that the battles should not be based on biased agendas that can only hinder business growth.

Some CEOs have already noted the positive impact the use of data can bring to ease the burden of managing business growth. The research, which questioned over 1,800 business leaders, revealed that 40% of CEOs agreed that access to information is of very significant importance to them, compared to 34% of CFOs, COOs and CIOs on average. Furthermore, 35% of CEOs agreed that having the right technology has made growth possible. Interestingly, one-in-ten blamed a lack of technology in hindering business growth.

“It’s essential to be able to interpret the data you have, and make good strategic judgements based on that data. But alignment of goals and information is key if the use of data is to be effective. Like rowers in a boat, C-suite members need to work together, if they are to make conflict a force for healthy business growth,” says Morris.

Still, whilst there are many benefits to using data to inform decision-making, challenges remain. A report has found that it’s possible for C-suite members to suffer from an “information overload” when the data cannot be used effectively, because there’s just too much of it and they lack the technology to make sense of it all. C-suite members must foster a culture of “collaboration and transparency”; using relevant information to build trust and tackle business challenges together.

The emergence of technology and the differing opinions within the C-suite are bound to crank up the tension amongst executives. But a failure to see the wider repercussions on the business can be disastrous. That does not mean differing opinions must be stunted. A healthy conflict based on data and facts can turn a tense situation into a positive experience for the business.

The journey from conflict to healthy debates must start with the provision of accurate and relevant data. So how do businesses achieve this?

If it’s important that C-level executives are exposed to the same information, in real time, the provision of up-to-date data via intelligent software becomes invaluable. The latest enterprise resource management systems (ERP), for example, can be accessed anywhere. So, whether it’s the CEO at a stakeholder meeting, or a COO discussing plans with teams, it is possible for them to base their business decisions on the same information. Once they are aligned in this way, they can discuss business priorities and concerns more effectively, changing the conversations in the boardroom and positively impacting the whole business.


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Building CSR into the Culture of Your Company Pays Dividends

Written by Burt Cummings, President and CEO at Versaic. Originally published at Versaic Blog

Quicken Loans Community Relations

Seventy nine percent of today’s graduates consider a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments when deciding where to work, according to a recent Cone Communications study.

Burt Cummings, CEO at Versaic for HRTW
Burt Cummings, President and CEO at Versaic

Once they arrive on the job, they want to be involved in doing good from the start. The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) 2016 Giving in Numbers study states, “Employee volunteer participation rate with their company’s community efforts continued to rise to 33% in 2015 from 28% in 2013.”

Businesses know that investing in good is crucial to attract and retain top talent, and most business leaders expect this trend to increase. Brands of all shapes and sizes are embedding CSR into their operations, aligning business with purpose.

Mark Shamley, CEO of the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals (ACCP), highlighted the growing role of CSR as an integral part of business: “I expect that CSR will become even more entrenched throughout companies. Rather than having CSR sit off to the side, more and more companies are weaving CSR into their operations.”

There’s a difference between paying lip service to corporate citizenship and really walking the walk — and employees catch on quickly when efforts aren’t authentic or geared to their needs. How can you embed CSR in ways that are empowering and personalized to your employees? Here are some examples we found working with Corporate Philanthropy programs of all shapes and sizes:

Volunteer on the Clock

If you give employees the opportunity to volunteer during work hours, you show that you respect their time and are willing to invest in doing good in the communities your company serves.

Quicken Loans gives all of their team members eight hours of paid volunteer time each year which they can use to explore non-profits in their cities and find ways to make a difference in the community. This commitment to CSR pays dividends for Quicken, where over half of the lender’s employees are millennials. Fortune named Quicken on its list of 100 best places to work for Millennials and 98 percent of young employees say “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.”

Pick Your Cause

People want the ability to make a difference in the causes closest to their hearts. Having a single company wide cause does not meet the needs and preferences of all employees. Giving employees the opportunity to choose makes all the difference.

JetBlue decided to honor their crew members’ commitment to giving back by launching Community Connection – a crew member volunteer program designed to align corporate giving with individual crew member passions. To date, JetBlue crew members have volunteered over 400,000 hours of service, resulting in more than $1.5 million of in-kind donations impacting their local communities.

Consider Your Skill-Set

Nielsen’s Wendy Salomon, VP, Reputation & Public Affairs sees an increase in companies moving from old-school philanthropy to “skillanthropy” or skills-based contributions. Examples include a consumer packaged goods company addressing access to healthy food, a bank educating vulnerable populations on financial literacy, or a shipping company getting supplies to storm-battled regions.

“There is a particular “stickiness” when skill-based programs are part of a CSR portfolio, as they allow the company to shine a light on the good it does in the world and the expertise it brings to the marketplace day in and day out,” said Salomon.

PositiveNRG, NRG Energy’s Philanthropy Program, shows the benefits of skills based philanthropy. In their work with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a robotics and STEM education program. NRG employees use their real-world expertise to mentor FIRST teams. This multi-faceted approach to giving-back brings everyone together as valuable contributors and allows NRG to make more significant advances for those they serve.

Get Feedback

If you’re not sure how your program stacks up, ask! Survey employees to get feedback on what they like and don’t like about the way your programs are run now. Find out what you can do to get them more engaged. Be prepared to adapt as you go because even with the best plan in place your programs will continually evolve, just as the needs of your business and community change. When you really meet the needs of your employees and the community at large, you’ll reap significant benefits.

Versaic’s program management system is behind many of the best-known corporate philanthropy programs from some of the biggest brands around. You can schedule a free demo here.

Source: Building CSR into the Culture of Your Company Pays Dividends