Brand Building Lessons from Recession Busting Entrepreneurs

Image

Proviz is an international sportswear brand specialising in enhanced visibility gear. Launched right in the middle of the worst economic crisis in a generation, the company now distributes its products to more than 40 countries. Founders and brothers Anthony and Rupert Langley-Smith share their experience and advice around building a brand during times of recession.


The best ideas are often born out of necessity, and that’s certainly true for international sportswear brand Proviz, created a decade ago by Jersey-born Anthony and Rupert Langly-Smith. Back in 2008, the brothers were both living in London and commuting to work by bike. Like so many others they did their best to make themselves visible but still had their fair share of near misses and knocks, particularly in the dark winter months.

“The products that were available at the time were high visibility, in the sense that they were fluorescent pink and yellow,” says Rupert. “Some jackets had a bit of reflectivity, but, frankly, as soon as darkness fell, you might as well have been wearing black.”

Both men had long harboured a dream of going into business together but had never quite hit upon the perfect idea. This, though, looked like a very real gap in the market. “We got to thinking ‘what if we could make the cyclist the source of light?’” says Anthony.

And so, with no design, manufacturing or retail experience to their name – both trained as marine geographers – the brothers decided to take a leap of faith and set up their own firm, creating and selling a small set of highly reflective products.

“We made quite a lot of mistakes in those early days,” says Rupert, who was tasked with figuring out the design and supply chain side of the business. “We didn’t know about simple things like labelling, tags. I remember trawling through all these sourcing sites to figure out how to get hold of good, reliable suppliers.”

The hard work soon paid off and their first piece of kit was the Triviz lighting device, which used electroluminescent lighting. Typically used in advertising billboards, a battery and some simple electronics are used to make phosphorus particles bang together and glow. The device went on to win a Red Dot Design award and just two years after deciding to go for it, Proviz had a small selection of products and was taking its first orders.

“We approached a few distributors with our tiny catalogue of four or five products,” remembers Anthony, “and, amazingly, one of the big ones said: ‘We don’t have a high-vis brand. We’d love you to get involved.’ Literally, that was the first order.”

But the real turning point was the development of its iconic REFLECT360 range. You’d know if you’ve seen someone wearing one of these jackets since they light the wearer up like a Christmas tree when car headlights hit them.

This is possible thanks to millions of tiny reflective beads that are embedded within the fabric. The beads can’t be seen by the naked eye but when a direct light, such as car headlight, hits them, they literally light up like a beacon.

“One Guy Fawkes night we took the family out and all we had was some of our early Nightrider jackets,” says Anthony. “They just had these really bright reflective strips and I remember being caught in headlights and cars clearly slowing down. I said to Rupert, ‘imagine what that would be like if the whole thing was reflective?’”

So, working with their suppliers, the pair designed and made a jacket just in time for a big trade fair and suddenly found themselves surrounded by press and retailers wanting to get a look. “We got our biggest ever order from a major retailer just off the back of one jacket on one mannequin,” says Anthony. “It was a real game-changing moment for us.”

Four years later, the REFLECT360 range continues to be one of the company’s most popular collections and has turned Proviz into champions of high visibility innovation. “Proviz is about visibility, and that’s what we focused on right from day one,” says Anthony.

That focus will get another welcome boost later in the year when Proviz launches its new-look branding, with the strapline ‘defy the darkness’. “We want people to see us as a specialist brand, to demonstrate that this is our territory,” says Anthony. “We think the new strapline is bold and distinctive and when people see it we want them to think ‘empowerment. We’ve tested it on a mix of external audiences and we’ve been thrilled by the response.”

The key, though, to any great brand is to keep moving forward and for Proviz that means innovation. And, 10 years on, it is still doing just that, with the launch of its new elite performance gear. “Traditional reflective materials are rigid, non-breathable and don’t typically lend themselves to comfortable high-performance clothing,” says Rupert. “So we’re particularly pleased with our growing elite ranges especially since we were told a decade ago this would never be possible.”


Anthony and Rupert’s 5 tips for budding entrepreneurs

Don’t give up your job too soon:

When anyone ever asks us about setting up on their own we always say make sure you have a steady income – even if it’s just a part-time job – from somewhere else in the early days. You’ll want to put all your energy into your new endeavour, but it takes longer than you think to get revenue coming in and the last thing you need is to get six months down the line and have to pack it all in because you can’t pay the rent.

Specialise in what you do:

Really focusing on the high visibility aspect of our industry has been key to our success. We think very carefully about the types of products we want to sell and why.

Be innovative:

Don’t rest on your laurels – we’ve seen some competitors who are still making the same stuff they were making 15 years ago. We want to be seen as the high visibility sportswear brand and every idea, concept and technical innovation is in service of that.

Be willing to take risks:

You’ve got to take punts. We discussed whether a fully reflective jacket would just be too much – wondered if it might be a bit ridiculous? But there was nothing else out there on the market and it’s ended up being the best thing we could have ever done. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s how you learn what works.

Research your market and suppliers:

This was something we found quite tricky to begin with. For instance, we had no concept of minimum order quantities, so suppliers would say ‘yes, but the minimum is 500 units’ and we had no real budget at the start, or anywhere to put everything. The more research you can do the better. That goes for any regulations that your market might have, too. 

1

How technology has changed health and safety in the workplace

Image

Businesses and organisations across Britain are at risk of substantial penalties if they aren’t compliant with the health and safety legislations laid out by the British Government. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that employees are not at risk when at work—so how are employers using technology to stay within the law and protect their team?

We’ve teamed up with Projected Image, retailers of personalised gobos for your projectors to take a look at how businesses can implement advanced technology in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and investigate whether these additions have reduced risk of employee injury and fatalities in the workplace.


History of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
It was Barbara Castle who first raised the issue of employee safety here in Britain. Serving as Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity under Harold Wilson’s Labour Government, Barbara introduced an Employed Persons (Health and Safety) Bill in 1970. The move received backlash as many feared that it did not discuss the fundamental issues of workplace safety and therefore was not passed.

But Castle was the one who got the conversation going. Within the same year, the United States passed a similar law called the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which changed the way health and safety in the workplace was viewed across the pond. This initiated an inquiry by Lord Robens in the form of The Robens Report, which was published in 1972. As the Conservatives gained power, the political party created their own bill which was also pushed back by the House of Lords.

When Labour returned to administrate Britain in 1974, they succeeded in passing a health and safety bill that year —  known as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA).


Technology in the workplace
With technology advancing at a rapid rate, technology is helping shape the future of workplace safety — from wearable tech to projected safety signs.

However, according to a poll conducted by YouGov, only 45% said that they would feel comfortable sharing personal information with wearable devices. 69% said that they wouldn’t feel comfortable due to fear of discrimination from their employer — we expect that this figure to lower as the world conforms to growing digital opportunities.

So what kind of technology do employers currently have available now to lighten the burden of health and safety at work?


Check-in Technology

Monitoring employees can sometimes take a lot of unnecessary time away from the business, for example — keeping track of who is and isn’t within the premises for potential fire drills. But, the StaySafe Business wristband can do it all for you. It includes many features such as a discreet panic button for workers who are faced with a difficult situation, a ‘man down’ alert when the button detects a fall or impact and more. However, this can also come in the form of an app depending on company budget — and is likely to become a workplace necessity in the near future.


Projected Safety Signs

More businesses are turning to projected safety signs in an attempt to keep costs down. Repainting caution lines and other safety essentials can be expensive — and result in business downtime in the process. By purchasing a projector and a gobo outlines, such as caution lines and stop signs, businesses are able to illuminate the required signs with minimal maintenance.


Drones

Drones have recently spiked in popularity, particularly when it comes to recreational photography or activities. Cleverly, they’re becoming more essential to the workplace — helping to prioritise health and safety. Using drones in the workplace has allowed businesses to access dangerous areas, such as those that are too hot, cold or small for employee access. Reducing the risk to employees, the drones are able to collect the required data and deliver it timely to the appropriate person.


3D Visualisations

Not only are 3D visualisations used in cinemas, businesses are also investing in such software to help provide greater insight to the employees whom are about to work in that area which has helped advance training methods across all industries ahead of the actual task. This allows workers to become more familiar with the area they are about to work in — allowing them to see what’s involved and make effective judgements on how to complete the job in the safest way possible. This helps reduce the likeness of injuries as workers are already aware of the scenario and know what to expect.


AI-SAFE

Renowned technology organisations Cisco and Cortexia Vision Systems are making the move to improve workplace safety through artificial intelligence, funded by the UK Government. With aims to reduce risk and human error whilst encouraging productivity within a company, AI-SAFE will ultimately use video cameras above the entrances and exits of different operational areas and detect whether those entering/exiting are wearing the right equipment. This includes headwear, eyewear and footwear, helping to reduce the risk of contamination — which was once impossible to instantly detect. AI-SAFE will then restrict access to those who aren’t compliant and alert the correct authorities within the business.  


Autonomous Vehicles

Whether you have vehicles within your premises which help employees get from one area to another or have an entire fleet on the roads, autonomous vehicles are the new go-to addition for any business looking to enhance safety. Essentially, this driverless vehicle will be able to detect its lane and make appropriate changes to the route if needed — whether this is being blocked by an item or crowd of people. As sometimes workspaces can be tight, this vehicle will stop collisions from occurring.


Injuries and fatalities in the workplace over time
One of the main questions asked is: has technology really influenced workplace safety? Over time, it has. With health and safety being a huge focus for the British government and companies alike, there has been a decrease of 85% of fatal injuries to employees in the workplace since 1974 — which evidently shows that technology has had some sort of influence on employee safety.

Self-reported, non-fatal injuries have halved since 2000, showing a consistent rate in recent years. When looking at the rate of employers who reported non-fatal injuries, the figure was down by 58% since 1986/87.

Predominantly occurring in more manual focused jobs, the rate of self-reported musculoskeletal disorder has dropped by 40% since 1990, which is essentially damage to the skeleton. Around this time was when advancements in technology were growing — offering more convenient modes of working to help safeguard employees.

With further technological advancement expected around the world, it’s seems we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of technology’s capabilities within the workplace.

8

Maintaining a Culture of Happiness

Image

Linda Weise founded the Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC) in 1994. Recently, we spoke to Linda who revealed more to us about the accomplishments of CSC and her new company, Vortici, LLC.

In 1994, Linda Weise founded the Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC). Always a non-auditioned, arts immersion and fully comprehensive program, the Conservatory was originally intended for young people interested in pursuing collegial level studies and a career in the arts. Over the course of time, programs grew to include younger students whose families wanted to find a ‘ safe and creative ’ space for their children to study the performing arts, though their goals may be outside of the arts. After school programs in music and theatre are now offered for students ages three years to eighteen years. Evolution of the CSC then included daytime partnerships with local school districts and community programs for their military partners, adult piano classes as well as music programs for young people with special needs. Students study individual lessons on any given instrument and focus and additionally engage in composition, theory, theatre, performance, recording arts, movement and piano studies.

The CSC has evolved to nearly 70+ mentors and arts immersion programming offered six days a week, fourteen hours a day.
The successes of CSC include:

• Numerous regional and national recognition

• 100% high school graduates gain entrance to 100% of the colleges, conservatories and universities of their choosing

• 99% of the at risk youth from the daytime Partner Programs graduate high school

• 100% of the enrolled students in all programs gain confidence, self-awareness, situational awareness, self and mutual respect and resilience. These are all factors that weigh heavily into young people growing up to be productive and contributing citizens

Vortici, LLC came about in 2016 as a producing vehicle to provide support for creative work from the alumni and mentors from the Conservatory, as well as other emerging and established artists. Additionally, communities from around the globe were interested in establishing a similar program to CSC in their regions and looking for guidance and support. Vortici, LLC is that producing mechanism. Additionally, Linda is proud to have launched Vortici, LLC with her eldest daughter, C.C. Wells as the creative partner. Vortici, LLC will always stay close to the CSC and have a ‘social enterprise’ element to the business model.

Going into detail about the CSC mission, Linda informs us of the outcomes the team hope to achieve. Additionally, Linda also details Vortici LLC’s overall mission and the steps they take to achieve them.

“The Mission of the Colorado Springs Conservatory is to inspire, motivate and challenge students to aspire to their highest potential as artists and human beings through arts immersion studies and community arts advocacy. The CSC has become ‘a go to’ institution for families and students in the Pikes Peak Region and the state who desire not only excellent arts training, but that safe and creative space that has become such a necessary part of a healthy and well-rounded upbringing and lifestyle.

“Vortici, LLC is ‘dedicated to recognising and forging opportunity in culture, the arts and arts education’. This company is fairly new, however I am thrilled at the exciting prospects that are already coming our way both in the US and abroad. Our reputation with the CSC has certainly contributed to the opportunities that are presenting themselves to Vortici, LLC.”

When undertaking a new project, Linda explains to us the steps both CSC & Vortici LLC take to ensure the clients receive the best possible outcome.

“Both my experience, training and personal upbringing has taught me to pay close attention to people, building trust and working to understand as fully as possible how best to serve your clients as partners. Each project is different and you must take time to learn as much as possible about each one. When launching a project with a client, I have learned that assembling the right support team is essential to the project or client success. It then becomes a delicate balance of honouring culture of the parties involved, keeping communication open and maintaining a positive a vigorous plan of benchmarks, goals and celebrating the accomplishments along the way. Clients for us include the children, their families, communities as well as civic and arts partners. I find the most often, clients don’t understand what is possible when working with the CSC and our team. Once we have established a trusting relationship of sharing and listening, we can open their eyes to a world of inspired possibilities.”

As for what differentiates CSC from their competitors, Linda reveals the key elements that mark them out as the best possible option for clients, as well as touching on how Vortici, LLC come to be after so many years with CSC.

“In my travels, I have learned that CSC is a very unique institution, not only in our region, but across the US and around the globe. The pedagogy is strong and quite frankly, in so many ways, the same methodology that Bach and Beethoven and Shakespeare used in their days. So much of what we teach comes from my own inspired training at institutions such as Oberlin Conservatory, Aspen Music Festival, Chautauqua Institute and the Juilliard School. What sets us apart is how we deliver the curriculum, our space/ecosystem, our commitment to engaging the students in the community in extraordinary ways and our willingness to collaborate to create the best experience possible for each individual student. We call this model the ‘C 5th power’; Children, Community, Creativity, Collaboration, and Community. All must be present for us to ensure success for any given program or student. This formula also affords sustainability, as you are committed to remaining relevant to not only the wisdom of the past, but the ‘now’ of society-key to today’s ever changing world.”

Speaking of today’s ever changing world, Linda believes that it is an exciting time to be in any industry, since idea sharing and creativity that is occurring on a global scale is truly exhilarating, as Linda explains.

“There are so many ways to understand trends and witness activity and make new friends through the internet that it is enough to try to keep up, yet alone stay ahead. At the end of the day, we count on word of mouth and references, whether it’s a new way of communicating a curriculum or an upcoming brilliant performance project and artist. We have a broad network of artists and art lovers who are constantly sharing concepts and pieces of work with us, which enables us to always be fully engaged to best understand emerging trends and developments.”

Helping the firm keep up-to-date with the constantly evolving industry, are the talented individuals who form both CSC and in Vortici, LLC. Highlighting the diverse team, Linda praises the work they do for the firm, as well as explain how they attract the best talent in the industry.

“Personally, I strive to maintain a culture of ‘happiness’ at both CSC and Vortici. That sounds so cliché, but it is so important. It comes from that heightened awareness of truly engaging your team in their best ‘swim lane’; that is their profound areas of strength, and then additionally, affording them the opportunity to explore a proverbial ‘lane’ that will force them into a space where they may not be so comfortable. This constant act of stretching team through activities, new projects and training both situational and experiential allows us to maintain a happy rigor amongst team.

“Our team is so diverse in talents and experience. I am so proud of my team at Vortici and CSC. As for process, I have a team of folks that initially bring talent to the table, securing folks through the standard applications, recommendations and resume sharing. By the time I have the opportunity to sit with folks, I ask just a couple of personal questions one of them being, ‘What makes you happy? It’s interesting to see how folks react to that, as they remark that they are never asked that question. In a creative industry such as ours, it seems like such simple a question, with an equally simple answer. My instincts kick in as to how this person will be on a team when they answer this question.”

Bringing the interview to a close, Linda reflects on the current state of the industry, noting on some of the outside influences that are affecting it, as well as envisioning what developments she foresees.

“The state of Colorado maintains what it calls the ‘Creative Industries’. We all work hard at state, regional, city and neighbourhood levels to enhance and elevate all that that includes. The Conservatory is proud to be a partner with CCI (Colorado Creative Industries). As for arts and culture and arts education, there are many opportunities afforded young people and communities throughout our region. The CSC stands apart in its commitment to providing a relevant, individualised and well-rounded arts immersion curriculum for each student. Additionally, I feel that our collaborative and community efforts really set us apart. Our greatest challenge is overcoming the fact that there are now three generations of people having grown up without significant arts education in the schools, so we are constantly educating parents, families and communities as to the importance of the arts.

“It should not go unnoticed though that in many areas of our state and our nation, that arts education programs are in fact being eliminated or cut to a very minimal exposure. CSC has been flexible and eager to engage with those partner agencies to provide unique ongoing arts immersion experiences that directly impact student achievement and ultimate success.

“So much of the creative and artistic industry is affected by the world around us. Personally, I feel very strongly that the CSC and Vortici have an opportunity to not just react to the world around us in an immediate manner as so many artists do. I would like to believe that the opportunity we are afforded, through the young students we work with, is to teach ‘context’- to explore creativity in such a way as we understand the ‘why’, not just NOW, but in the past. The beauty of this thoughtful manner of teaching and performing is that you are then creating a generation that is not only talented, but immensely educated and tolerant. Isn’t that what the world needs more of?

“Also, I am excited about what Vortici will bring to the region, nation and international conversations around arts and culture, particularly in our part of the nation. As the Conservatory alumni come back after college studies and a bit of worldly experience, I really want nothing more than to continue to provide a platform for their continued creative contributions.”

Moving forward, the CSC is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary in Colorado Springs. Talking about this milestone, Linda is keen to highlight the accomplishments the firm have achieve throughout the years.

“The CSC is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary here in Colorado Springs, and it is an exciting and monumental moment for us. Historically, there have been many similar programs that have been launched and failed in our region and state. I am so proud that we have been able to evolve, develop and stay relevant with grace and strength. Our alumni are making impact all over the world, telling the story of their roots and the importance of the work at the CSC. The alumni are performing and visual artists, yes, but also doctors, engineers, architects, historians, lawyers. We hope that the message that we send is that of the importance of the arts and culture to the greater good of humanity and the future.

“I am certain that the combination of arriving at 25 years and the birth of Vortici, LLC afford both entities the ability to continue to provide creative opportunities for artists in unique and meaningful ways. Additionally, I am truly humbled to be able to be able to have this conversation with this audience. When we speak about social impact, we must include power that understanding culture, not just as it relates to a particular sort of art, but the culture of a people, is truly the way forward to a tolerant and inclusive world.

“The original musical, JACK, a moral musical tale is about to premier at the end of June 2018. The creative team, brilliant student and professional cast will no doubt elevate the work to unimagined heights. This particular story of a reformed bully is timely and undoubtedly will speak to audiences in a very significant way. That said, I believe strongly that the entire world will want to witness this piece-young and old alike. Most of all, we are ready for this story and this production.”


Name: Linda Weise, Founding CEO and President

Company: The Colorado Springs Conservatory and Vortici, LLC

Address: 415 S. Sahwatch St

Web Address: www.csconservatory.org / www.vortici.org

Telephone: 001 719 577 4556 / 001 719 200 4463

Any Word, Any Time, Any Place

Image

JONCKERS has been a leading force in professional translation services and localisation technologies for over 25 years. Supporting top international brands in developing their message and global presence with speed and efficiency. We profile the organisation, led by inspirational CEO Geo Janssens, as we search for more insight into the company’s services and achievements.

Founded in 1994 by current Chief Strategy Officer Marc Jonckers, JONCKERS offers a vast array of services which supply global content solutions its clients require, enabling them to reach their international audience. Whether it be a need for word for word professional translation, crowd-sourcing translation, multimedia localisation, language quality assurance or accredited translators and trans-creative consultants, JONCKERS promises a scalable team of technology and language experts, combined with tools, which can be customised to any specification. The team is always on hand to support any business in any sector across the globe in accelerating its presence on a worldwide stage.

Interestingly, the company’s major clients are industry leaders in software publishing, consumer electronics, global retail, communications, gaming, eLearning, financial services, manufacturing and travel. Boasting a worldwide presence, the team holds 11 offices around the world supporting customers such as Canon, Cisco, Tableau, RingCentral, AXA, Marriott, Spil Games in their international operations.

With long standing relationships with innovators and sector giants such as Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, Panasonic, Amazon and Alibaba, JONCKERS is a proven language service provider at the highest level.

Just over a year ago, Geo, JONCKERS CEO announced the launch of its unique Cloud based management platform WordsOnline. The concept evolved from working in partnership with eCommerce customers, processing over 30 million words each month. Geo knows that continuous delivery is key for sectors such as retail to get products and messages to their audience. They needed to keep up with this demand and build on their speedy solutions.

Operating with a long-term vision, Mr Janssens and the leading team at JONCKERS look to communicate fast and flexible translation solutions in any language, any time and across all media.

An aspect which has been crucial to the success of JONCKERS has been its worldwide reach, which has only enhanced the firm’s reputation. The company’s scope and coverage across the globe is a key differentiator, as the team operates a ‘follow the sun’ business model, meaning no matter where its clients are based, or what time it is, there are people on hand to assist. This message has only been strengthened by the launch of WordsOnline. The platform allows anytime access to an automated workflow, designed specifically to promote the continuous delivery model. With instant access to tools such as Marketplace which connects the client to thousands of accredited linguists worldwide and Dashboard which is a realtime project monitoring interface, customers using WordsOnline get a holistic overview and progress report on each of their projects for a more reassured peace of mind.

Internally, staff’s expertise and unique skillset is unrivalled across the sector. The dedicated HR department and training staff are all highly skilled in motivating and getting the best out of its teams. Geo sees education and training programmes, which develop JONCKERS employees and keep them at the top of their game, as integral not only to individual growth, but that of the business too. Knowledge is power and with power comes responsibility, each of the company’s employees know that once they have the relevant knowledge, they have a duty to its clients to deliver only the best results.

Ultimately, regarding what the future holds for JONCKERS, there is widespread optimism amongst the team that there are bright times ahead. The company’s future lies in technology and the people that it has in its business. The company is driven by progression and a strong work ethic to evolve and adapt. JONCKERS is hoping to maintain its growth pattern and increase the company’s standing even further in the industries that it is active in with further advances in its tech offerings and customer focused platforms. Moving forward, the times ahead look exciting for JONCKERS, particularly with its young, vibrant and dynamic Executive Management Team, headed by their ever enthusiastic and influential CEO Geo, the business is collectively intent on making JONCKERS the market leading Localisation Service Provider.


Contact: Richard Renda

Address: Jactin House, 24 Hood St, Manchester, M4 6WX

Phone: 03309 950 646

Website: www.jonckers.com

Leader in User Adoption Analytics & Prediction

Image

datango is a division of PARIS AG – Process Automation Robotics Intelligence Systems – and provides leading technologies for process navigation, automation, documentation and eLearning. Recently, we sat down with Christina Misch who revealed to us more about the company, as well as the steps they take to ensure they achieve excellence.

Among other things, datango solutions support organisations through targeted qualification of employees during rapid rollouts, and smooth operation of enterprise applications. The software solutions provide realtime support in the live system and facilitate the automatic generation and translation of process documentation, training manuals, software simulations and real-world e-learning environments. Functionalities as featured in the “datango performance suite” are an integral component of business applications in many companies all around the world. As a result, datango helps reduce user errors, and support costs and thus increases user acceptance of business applications in companies across various industries and sizes.

Education technology is datango’s passion, and for 20 years their software has been enabling companies to overcome change management faster and provide users with the knowledge they need to execute their processes perfectly, as Christina explains.“A professional, young team takes care of the datango performance suite (dps) and develops tailored training concepts for customers of all sizes and industries. After introducing the datango performance suite, a global team of experts is available around the clock five days a week to assist with all technical issues.”

“As an internationally successful software manufacturer, we are proud of our employees, who appreciate working for a modern, yet family-run company. Every single employee contributes to our company’s success with his qualifications and passion, his sense of responsibility and team spirit.”
When discussing what differentiates datango from competitors, Christina informs us of what marks the firm out as being one of the best possible options for clients.

“Here at datango, we have a highly experienced customer success team that coaches and supports all our customers via phone and email, without any high-level-knowledge call centre agents which typically cannot help. If a customer needs help regarding the dps, they just have to take one call and directly talk to a competent expert.”

As for a brief overview of the industry in which datango operates within, software rollouts, upgrades and digital transformation are helping companies to modernise and automate processes and increase their competitiveness. At the same time, however, such significant changes always guarantee the risk that unexpected sources of error arise that can be attributed to weak points in the new system, and that the individual process costs can very quickly be transferred into an immeasurable rise. The results are dissatisfied employees, a disgruntled Management – the weakening of the market position. Going into detail about working within this ever-changing industry, Christina reflects on some of the solutions the firm employs to meet their consumers’ challenges.
“To meet this challenge within the industry and to enable our customers to roll out their new software rapidly without unpleasant surprises regarding system errors or overly complicated process steps, we have developed the so-called datango collaborator.

It is a server-based collaboration platform with three main features:

1. to organise the collaboration of authors

2. to roll out learning content

3. and to perform an anonymised assessment of the qualitative and quantitative success of process executions.

Using the provided functionalities, our customers are able to gain the following insights and advantages:

• Identify the processes or application masks that are likely to cause the most user errors in the live system

• Find out which process steps or masks are the most confusing for your users and will lead to slower process execution and high process costs.

• Anticipate the processes/ steps or on which mask users need most help and reduce your help desk efforts

Especially the anonymised assessments of the learners’ results are key to success of change management. Therefore, let’s look at the functionalities in detail:

1) Evaluation The learning reporter enables you to record and evaluate the learning progress and behaviour of your learners, roles and organisational units anonymously. If one of your users accesses the learning manager for knowledge needs, anonymised data about these interactions are collected, evaluated and made available for various improvement purposes, such as business process optimisation or adjustment of your internal trainings.
The evaluation shows

• Number of users accessing the training content/process

• Average time required per user and learning step

• Average number of attempts to complete each step successfully
• Anonymised grading / success rate

• Use of solution aids

2) Weak Spot Analysis Identify the need for optimisation by means of targeted weakspot analysis with anonymous evaluation.

On the basis of the anonymised evaluation, it is possible to obtain detailed information about the respective progress and to derive where there is a need for optimisation. The learning reporter’s data quickly shows the need for action and serious errors during the rollout which can be sorted out beforehand, so that a smooth implementation can take place.

The evaluation shows
• Learning steps with the most mistakes

• Confusing learning steps

• Learning steps with high demand for help

Moving forward, Christina envisions what the future holds for datango, highlighting just a few of the possibilities that lie ahead for the firm.

“We will expand the analysis and prediction feature set within the datango performance suite. In particular, the process weak spot analysis will be advanced further. We work on functions, such as a suggestion for actions in critical process steps and targeted guidance for employees during process execution. Furthermore, it will be possible to run meaningful reports and analysis with the help of bots.”

Contact: Christina Misch

Company: PARIS AG, Daimlerstr. 8a Kaarst,, 41564, Germany

Telephone: 00 49 2131-762 010

Web Address: www.datango.com

Barristers-at-Law Debunk Five Legal Myths Around GDPR

Image



·         85% of companies remain underprepared for full GDPR compliance

·         Five common legal misconceptions present a serious threat to business competency

·         GDPR is not a black and white affair, say Barristers-at-Law

·         Online quiz available to test your company’s resilience

The official launch of GDPR regulations on the 25th May has put organisations involved in handling data under unprecedented pressure to comply with this new regulatory landscape. But, according to Barristers at Law, Quentin Hunt and Dean Armstrong QC (co-author of Cyber Security Law and Practice), even those organisations who consider themselves to be up to speed remain at serious risk of falling foul.

Recent research by Capgemini has identified that, in the UK alone, 45% of companies are not yet fully compliant with the changes, and 15% have made thee bold statement that GDPR does not constitute a priority for them. Overall, the research suggests that 85% of organisations across the US and Europe are not sufficiently geared up to achieve full compliance.

Hunt and Armstrong’s combined experience across the cyber security and GDPR landscape corroborates this view and have highlighted the fact that even organisations who think they have their strategy in the bag are typically labouring under several key misunderstandings of what GDPR really means. So, the two barristers have come together to lay out the five most common misconceptions and offer practical tools to allow organisations to test their readiness.


The Top Five Myths

Myth 1: GDPR compliance is a black and white business

According to Hunt and Armstrong, one of the biggest legal complications with understanding GDPR is that this is not a rule-based piece of regulation. “When you’re dealing with something like the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), or driving at 35 miles per hour (mph) in a 30mph zone, the parameters of the law are clear cut and there is little need for interpretation,” says Hunt. “GDPR, on the other hand, is a principle-based regulation. Compliance is assessed in accordance with designated principles, such as whether ‘effective’ consent has been obtained by the data owner and whether that data is considered to be ‘current’. Should an investigation arise, such judgements would be at the discretion of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and would involve a legally-based assessment. So, it’s easy to see how organisations who might consider they’re on top of GDPR may in reality be at risk of being found to be non-compliant.”

Myth 2: GDPR fines are just the cost of doing business

Whilst fines and losses are often accepted as a necessary business adjustment, GDPR fines are at a level never seen before in data protection. The extent of these financial penalties have the potential to destroy a business, Hunt and Armstrong warn. Certain infringements have the potential to incur fines of up to €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover – whichever is higher. The nature, gravity and length of the infringement, number of people affected, and any mitigating action, will all affect the level of fine. Plus, there’s the reputational damage to consider. If severe, a breach could impact massively on share price, leading to the possibility of class actions and loss of consumer confidence.

Myth 3: GDPR is an EU matter

If your business depends on trading with EU citizens, then organisations will still need to adopt data protection regulation that is as rigorous as GDPR, or more so. Hunt and Armstrong point out that anyone wanting to access the EU market has three paths open to them:

a.       One option follows the Norwegian route and involves joining the European Economic Area, which requires that non-EU countries implement rules and procedures that are equivalent to those in the EU.

b.       In the case of bilateral trade deals with the EU, these typically result in the non-EU country having to agree to apply laws that are at least as demanding at EU legislation. This is the route Switzerland has taken. In both these instances, non-EU countries would have to adopt data protection regulations that are as strict as GDPR.

c.       It is possible for a non-EU country to maintain independent trade deals without taking on the burden of equivalent obligations, but in this instance GDPR will still require ‘adequate’ protection to be put in place in order to allow EU members to pass information to the non-EU country.

The core message is vital: if your organisation is offering goods or services to EU citizens, or monitoring their behaviour, then GDPR will still apply to you, regardless of your own organisation’s location.

Myth Four: The compliance team bears full responsibility for GDPR

Hunt and Armstrong are keen to emphasize that GDPR is something that every business leader must fully understand and be on top of. “At the regulation’s core is the sanctity of personal data,” says Hunt. “This is centred on the notion that personal data belongs to the individual and that businesses are mere custodians. It represents a fundamental change in the way that every organisation uses, manages and protects data – and ignorance or buck-passing will be no defence at all. Make no mistake, it is absolutely an executive responsibility to ensure that your team understands what GDPR means for their job.”

Myth Five: Technology is a panacea

In Hunt and Armstrong’s experience, many organisations are still wrongly assuming that GDPR is all about the data hack, and that beefing up cyber security measures provides all the answers. But compliance by design and default is the GDPR mantra – therefore by definition technology can only solve part of the problem.

In the case of, for example, a breach caused by someone leaving confidential papers in a taxi, there’s nothing technology can do to prevent that. What’s more, the two Barristers note, GDPR also forbids reliance on automated decision making. This means, for example, that mortgage companies can no longer approve or reject an application based on an automated credit score. Technology has a role to play in GDPR, but there is also a crucial role for human judgement and the ability to reverse a decision. Technology should only ever act as the supporting role of bespoke expert advice in this area.

Five Steps to Take Right Now

Even though GDPR has been in full force for three weeks now, there’s still time to address any shortcomings in this area. Hunt and Armstrong’s initial advice is to consider the following questions to establish your organisations’ ability to meet the regulations.

1.       Regularly review your data, including the type you are collecting. Ask yourself:

          a.       Can any of this data be anonymised?

          b.       Where is the data going?

2.       Review your processes for data breach notification, security and risk assessment.

3.       Check your contracts – do you need to conduct a data protection impact assessment?

4.       If you are a data controller, review your relationships with data processors.

5.       Train your workforce. As mentioned, it is not enough to rely on your compliance or technical teams. Consider the following    questions:

a.       Do you need to hire a data protection officer?

b.       Do you have adequate processes in place should employees have to handle a serious data breach?

c.       Are your contracts – with staff and subcontractors – GDPR compliant?

d.       Have you given your employees the correct information?

“There is still time to make an initial and informed assessment of your readiness for GDPR,” says Hunt. “But, with so many misconceptions remaining rife, and with so much at stake if you fail to comply, it’ vital that you honestly assess these areas immediately and seek advice in any areas that are unclear.


You can also head over online to take the GDPR quiz, to quickly establish what level of risk you are at and how to proceed.

How to create a culture of knowledge sharing with interactive technology

Image

Employee experience and job knowledge are important if you’re looking to retain your best employees. Interactive technologies, like augmented reality (AR) and interactive screens, are fast becoming ways to increase peer learning and engagement in the workplace. Here’s how you can use them to keep your best people on board, sharing their knowledge with others. 

Install interactive screens

Staring at a flat PowerPoint stuffed with data won’t keep employees engaged. Interactive touch-screen digital technologies give the presenter and audience the chance to interact with the content of the presentation to bring their specialism to life.

They also help to foster a culture of creativity and collaboration. Employees can share ideas at a touch of a button between teams and can edit documents with a digital pen by using a finger or stylus. This way of working means that you can draw on your organisation’s wide expertise to deliver an inspiring presentation or programme.

Consider the power of AR and VR

If you have the budget for it, investing in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies can elevate your peer learning to the next level. In particular, visual industries such as product design or architecture could benefit greatly. When discussing a design, VR can enable your employees to walk through the design or use AR to see how a product will fit in a particular space.

A major benefit of this type of technology is that it can used to deliver training in industries where it can either be dangerous or expensive. We’re already seeing VR and AR used in fields such as manufacturing, aerospace, defense and more. In science, students can carry out experiments in virtual laboratories before attempting the real thing. Likewise, medical students can practise surgeries in virtual operating theatres before moving on to patients.

Whatever your industry, participants can ask questions in real time or halt the virtual session to talk through the content. It also makes autonomous learning easier, so employees can brush up on modules or scenarios outside of the workplace.


Make the most of hand-held devices

Using tablets in the workplace has been shown to improve productivity, streamline business processes and positively impact on employee satisfaction. They’re also a great tool for learning. Employees can create their own teaching materials, such as videos, webinars or even interactive courses to share with their colleagues. Portability means that you can get together, bringing what you’ve learned, and share it with your peers. You can easily ‘airdrop’ presentations or videos to a projector for group learning sessions.

Tablets are more cost-efficient than supplying every employee with a laptop, and BYOD (bring your own device) schemes are becoming more common. Just ensure that you think carefully about how you will keep your company information secure.

Used in the right way, interactive, smart technology can bring your employees and their expertise together. Looking to the future, we could see virtual reality training sessions for large, international businesses. Colleague-led learning is no longer an arduous PowerPoint shared over dry sandwiches at lunch. It’s a cross-office, interdepartmental, interactive experience that will give your workforce a competitive edge.

How is technology revolutionising the catering and hospitality industry?

Image

How is technology revolutionising the catering and hospitality industry?

As of July 2017, Airbnb had over 150 million users worldwide, and JustEat had 17.6 million active users. Foodie and hotel apps, as well as the likes of Deliveroo, are becoming the new big thing in the catering and hospitality industry. The sector recognises the demand to offer a platform that users are familiar with — and the demand for an easier, quicker process that digital technology can deliver. For instance, it is now possible for consumers to have Michelin Star food delivered to their home — and you can now book, reserve and check in at a hotel without needing to speak with the hotel directly.

But do these apps pose a threat to establishments that remain faithful to their traditional methods? Whilst apps have made it easier for consumers to book hotels and tables, have they taken it a step further and simplified other processes in the industry for employers and their staff, such as taking a food order and checking into a hotel? Here, catering equipment retailers, Nisbets, looks at how these advances in technology are helping the industry move forward and become more efficient. Could this be the end for traditional processes, both for consumers and industry employees?


Digital establishments
Following in the footsteps of other industries, such as retail, there are now several catering and hospitality businesses that have bounced to popularity as a digital establishment. JustEat revolutionised the restaurant and takeaway market. The digital app and website allows users — in 13 different countries — to browse a range of local take-out restaurants and place online orders for delivery or collection.

In 2017, Paul Harrison, interim chief executive and chief financial officer, commented: “JustEat has enjoyed another period of strong growth. In addition to structural market growth, we are also seeing the benefits of on-going investment in technology and marketing.” 

It is thanks to the sector’s awareness and investment in innovative technology that it has been able to experience so much success — it saw a gap in the market for a platform that combined the takeaway needs of online users. JustEat proved that there was room in the market, which encouraged the start-up of similar businesses, such as Hungry House, Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Additionally, business is booming for hotel booking platforms, such as Booking.com and Trivago. However, with the rise of Airbnb, could traditional hotels be in danger? Research conducted by BDRC Continental has suggested that apps like Airbnb had outperformed hotel brands within a similar awareness scope to Airbnb. Airbnb offers the opportunity for the DIY hotelier to be seen.

It’s estimated that 9% of tourists in the UK have rented a private space within someone’s home — like the ones advertised on the Airbnb platform. Within the European leisure market, there is an emerging trend and it is only expected to rise as millennials choose a cheaper alternative featured on a digital platform, as opposed to more traditional hotels. But how can traditional hotels get a slice of the action?

With low-cost hotel accommodation set to increase by 29%, perhaps this is a way the hotel industry is fighting back against app-based forms of sourcing accommodation. If hotel brands are to compete then, understanding and utilising app technology is important.


App technology
Some well-established catering and hospitality companies have launched their own apps to keep their head in the game. Wetherspoons recently launched its ‘Order and Pay’ app across its branches. The app essentially does what it says on the tin by eliminating the task of queuing at the bar to order your food or grab a drink — instead, you can order from the comfort of your table via your phone, then pay and wait for a member of staff to bring your order.

Wetherspoons isn’t the first to introduce this type of app. Whilst apps aren’t ‘new’ anymore, they have become one of the latest trends in the market, with many businesses realising the importance of providing their consumers with a well-designed mobile app to enhance their experience, before, during and after their visit. Mobile marketing is no longer enough, mobile communication and application is required to survive the incredibly competitive market.

Premier Inn is another firm that has introduced app technology to enhance its guests’ experience. The Premier Inn mobile app allows users to book a stay, add extras and amend their booking before they stay. With access to exclusive saver rates, you are guaranteed to see the best rates available booking direct. Additionally, Premier Inn now has digital check-in points, too — for guests who want a quick check-in process, without interacting with staff.

In a recent Nisbets pulse survey, results revealed that social media was the second most effective form of marketing to benefit businesses within the industry, only behind word of mouth. But it is time to think about the bigger picture. The survey also revealed that consumer demand was an important factor, with 20% of respondents claiming they consider consumer demand when changing menus — but what about the overall restaurant experience?

Apps have become a driving force in the market. In a 2016 survey, 25% of respondents revealed that they had at least one restaurant app on their phone, and further research revealed that 70% of smartphone users admitted to looking at restaurant menus on their device. However, 95% of independent restaurants do not have their own mobile website, according to Food Tech Connect, and just 16% have a mobile app, despite a perceived positive impact on consumer loyalty.


The rise in digital processes
At Google’s first UK digital marketing event, it was revealed that 31% of all restaurant sales are driven by online research. Google’s tool showed that 28% of consumers use their mobile to carry out the research with the same percentage making decisions less than an hour before dining. But it is not just outside the restaurant that establishments should be considering app technology. Using it inhouse can make your staffs’ lives easier. From apps that help waiters and waitress take orders, to apps that track bar tabs, take payments and manage reservations — there are now innovative app technologies to replace nearly all traditional processes (apart from the actual cooking).

In a survey by Opentable, 85% of diners wish they knew how long the wait for a table would be and 85% said they would like to add their names to a waitlist before arriving. A guest manage system, reservation system, or table management software is key to achieving these consumer goals. By implementing a front-of-house management system, you can control and track reservations and wait lists.

Furthermore, a POS system and a back-of-house kitchen display system makes the ordering process smoother and more efficient. The POS system allows the server to input a customer’s order and record transactions via a tablet. The order can then be directly sent to the kitchen display system, replacing paper slips with customer orders that can easily be lost and mixed up.

Whilst traditional service methods work, innovative technology solutions are allowing the catering and hospitality industry to deliver a higher standard of service that appeals to consumer demand, before, during and after their visit. Inhouse digital solutions create a more efficient operation whilst enhancing consumer experience. What do you think? Is app technology key to the future of your success?

Recruitment Top 50

Image

The 2018 Recruitment Top 50 has been launched in order to identify some of the most diverse, client-focused and forward-thinking recruitment, executive search, staffing & HR firms and commend them for their efforts throughout the past 12 months. From agencies and consultancies to sole professionals and in-house recruiters, our team have identified true excellence across the industry and we would like to congratulate all of those recognised.

GO

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z
  • #
  • All

Internal Communications

Image

Internal Communications: How good tech can improve company culture and encourage employee engagement & productivity

by Matt Oxley, co-Founder & Director of UX & digital agency DotLabel www.dotlabel.co.uk

How many times have we heard people emphasising the importance of building and maintaining a good company culture? We intuitively know that it impacts employee engagement and retention rates, but establishing the right culture isn’t easy. Constructing successful communication channels seems to be key and technology can point the way to creating and sustaining a culture which works for everyone within the business.

As technology has improved over the decades, it has allowed fingertip access to a wealth of knowledge. The ability to obtain information quickly and efficiently is crucial in the workplace and technology has become indispensable there too, not least because it can be used to generate and maintain a shared, unified vision across all levels of staff irrespective of location or team focus. New technologies and apps mean that information can be easily shared among teams and across departments with ease. Collaborative apps such as Slack, Evernote, Trello and Workplace by Facebook help teams to work efficiently on projects and to break down hierarchical barriers, with senior managers conversing with and providing direct feedback to junior colleagues.

Technology can also support businesses to combat the issue of low staff engagement levels; with 85% of global employees claiming that they are not actively engaged at work* this is one of the major concerns in any workplace. A technological tool in the form of an internal communication platform is the ideal place to start improving employee engagement.  

Aptly referred to as “Social Intranet”, it’s a digital product that can be designed to the specifications of a business and place its employees at the centre of the solution to enable the business to benefit from effective communication,  information sharing and collaboration within a single platform. At DotLabel, we have compiled a guide to arm businesses with actionable advice on kick-starting a social intranet project with a focus on creating great user experience, optimising engagement and driving productivity.

Facilitating engagement, information sharing and collaboration

The workplace is no longer just a physical space that houses employees during office hours. The term nowadays is used for any location which allows employees to successfully carry out work-related tasks and feedback their ongoing projects and output to their team and wider company. Technology has made instant connectivity and easy access possible and has led to the creation of a digital workplace environment. A social intranet reinforces such working practices and serves as a pool of information for workers to use and contribute to.  

A common platform ensures engagement, the impact of which is all-encompassing. Engagement at work is about conversing, exchanging ideas and being involved in projects as these evolve; it has to do with building and sustaining a community feel so that employees do not feel isolated; and it means that businesses can share rules, processes, regulations and goals they can expect to be understood and followed by all employees.

As with client-facing online technology, the internal user journey and experiential factors of a social intranet must be correctly designed from the outset, offering numerous different paths to facilitate a collaborative work ethic. If everyone is to buy into and fully exploit the technologies at their disposal, then interfaces, access levels and system integration must deliver a consistent and relevant experience at all levels of the organisation.

Highlighting opportunity, realising potential and boosting productivity

Ultimately, all of us need to feel valued at work and to know that we are being provided with the opportunity and the tools we need to realise our potential. Technology can be an effective way to open and maintain the dialogue at all levels, demonstrating that our wellbeing and career goals actually matter to the senior team. Collaborative technology means that making an appointment to discuss an issue, viewing potential future career paths throughout the organisation and firing a quick question over to a colleague is now only a tap away. A truly effective workplace culture will deliver a clear understanding as to what management and teams hope to achieve over the course of the next few years. Adopting an employee-focused, transparent and consistent check-in style approach is a far better avenue for management than continuing to rely on annual reviews when things can change so quickly.

A well designed social intranet developed with its users in mind, aims to improve productivity in the workplace by congregating information in one central point of reference and guiding them to specified areas with search engines and categorisation of information. This means workers cannot only carry out their tasks but they can do so efficiently. It also allows people to work remotely, provided this option was considered during its planning and design stages.

Offering individualised space and supporting progress

With the right research and planning, the social intranet can be designed to be personalised. This means it will follow an employee’s online journeys to create a customised hub, a digital workplace that will host information pertinent to the individual’s area of work. It can provide immediate access to updates and highlights in one’s industry and be programmed to present them with their preferred news and websites, offering a tailored experience.  Taking this a step further, regular flow of information on the intranet can inform managers about training and career opportunities they can offer to support employee development in the workplace.

In summary

The right culture builds a resilient and united workforce, with the skills required to overcome challenges and achieve tangible results. Technology is no longer merely an enabler in achieving this; it’s a prerequisite. A social intranet serves as a central point of communication and is pivotal to the culture an organisation stands for. Its design, therefore, should take a user-centred approach to ensure it serves the goals of the business and addresses staff needs and expectations. Investment in user experience (UX) is one the most important elements to consider as it directly affects whether users continue to communicate via the platform and take interest in the company’s projects. It’s about understanding what management and employees are trying to achieve and making their experience as effortless as possible.

As the dust settles, GDPR should be a springboard for progress

Image

As the dust settles, GDPR should be a springboard for progress

Richard Acreman is a Partner at WM Reply, a company dedicated to building world-class intranets and business solutions with Microsoft Technology. Their mission is to build the world’s best Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 solutions to help organisations overcome business challenges.

For some companies, the words “post-GDPR” have come to be read as “post-apocalypse”. Threats of fines proportional to global revenues and the decimation of marketing databases have dominated the headlines. But whether you view it as a disaster or a necessary update to privacy regulation, this month will have brought with it a lot of change to companies’ internal IT, change that will as inevitable as it was sweeping.

With that in mind, it would seem like a good opportunity to say “in for a penny, in for a pound” and push through some of the more proactive change that’s been overdue for a long time. There’s a formidable internal comms opportunity here to break bad habits, introduce much needed operational improvements and develop the building blocks of strong digital culture. How? By going beyond GDPR and taking the shake-up as an opportunity to smuggle through other, better changes that will have a long-term benefit for employees and catalyse digital transformation. Using this reasoning, companies can turn their infrastructure into something game-changing, rather than just compliant.

By doing so, the hassle that is regulatory compliance can be overshadowed by something much more progressive. But even progress itself isn’t uniformly viewed as a good thing; to be truly positive, the change needs to bring clear advantages to employees. Positive change can strengthen the delivery of – and engagement with – more mundane but necessary change, too. It’s widely accepted that changing behaviour is easiest when people are away from their familiar surroundings, so put all that together and you see IT process improvements and data protection can and should go hand in hand.

Digital Everything

But when push comes to shove, what is to be gained by going beyond compliance? Moving from a legacy internal infrastructure to a purpose built modern one can be like going from an old mobile to a smartphone. It changes the very nature of business operations, rather than just facilitating those that already exist. The narrative of GDPR doesn’t have to be one of painful compliance, it can be a story of positive employee-backed change, with legal future-proofing baked in. 

Updating your “infrastructure” sounds intimidating, but in reality, it’s as big a job as you make it. For the sake of simplicity (not to mention best practice) here are two examples of what that can look like. They are both rooted in the Microsoft 365 product suite, and that’s for two reasons: firstly, it contains some of the best examples of modern digital communications tools; secondly, most companies already have some kind of Office 365 license in place through the presence of Word, Excel and Outlook, among others.

Machine Learning

As technology, and in particular light touch forms of artificial intelligence (AI) start to make real inroads into the workplace, one place they can add a lot of value is as a way to augment and enhance employee performance. As workers become more familiar with the tools that are out there and the everyday efficiencies those advances bring, employees quickly begin to get a flavour for how much more effective their work hours can be. This is something that can start small but at the other end of the spectrum be revolutionary, as in the below example.

Yammer, Microsoft’s enterprise social network tool that allows employees to communicate, make connections and solve problems collaboratively across a diverse organisation could be even more of a boon to those who use it when it’s backed-up by an AI chat-bot. “Say, if I send this file by email am I in breach of GDPR?” one might ask, generating an instant response from the gigabytes of information already digested and processed by the bot. Or maybe, “am I allowed to record this data, and if so where?” Outside of GDPR, the bot could help with everyday things too, from “who in HR should I speak to about our bonus structure?” though to “where might I find that report on driverless cars we published in 2014?”

Flow is the new fast

One of the biggest – and most legitimate – concerns around GDPR is human error. Humans not having been trained properly, humans being lazy, humans making mistakes because they’re in a rush. All likely, and all more or less guaranteed to cause data breaches in the near future. In fact the Information Commissioners Office report that the vast majority of all data breaches are indeed down to human error.

One of the solutions is Microsoft’s Flow. When you know that employees are dealing with sensitive, personal information on a regular basis, it’s safer, not to mention more efficient, for that data to be handled, and safely stored automatically. Why not set up a process for that data to be moved, processed and protected from anywhere in the business when someone tags it with #GDPR? Simple, efficient, and almost fool-proof. And why stop there? Build processes for marketing queries, sales follow-ups and, well, almost anything.

Start Small

Those are just two examples, one very tangible, the other more pie in the sky, to hint at the the range and variety of what real software change can bring.

It’s not always easy pushing change through an organisation, even a small one. Because of that, when change is inevitable, it’s imperative to seize the opportunity. However, that’s not to say it all needs to be done at once. If the right things are improved, at the right pace, and employees have a chance to see the benefits, then the foundations can be laid for further changes down the line. Once the journey has begun, and change starts to be seen more and more in a positive light, then the door can be left open, and the full gamut of employee and business centric efficiencies can start to find their way in. So if GDPR remains the storm cloud hovering over 2018, give it a silver lining.

Issue 6 2018

Issue 6 2018

In issue 6 of the magazine, we look at how on the 30th May 2018, Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that it has appointed Dean Schorno, CPA as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Formerly the CFO and Head of Operations at 23andMe, Inc., Mr. Schorno brings to Rigel over fifteen years of experience leading finance functions at innovative commercial-stage biotechnology companies.

Gracin the cover of this month’s issue is Linda Weise who founded the Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC) in 1994. Recently, we spoke to Linda who revealed more to us about the accomplishments of CSC and her other company, Vortici, LLC.

Elsewhere in this edition, we discovered more about Finishing Touch Health & Beauty Clinic which is a multi-award-winning beauty salon and anti-ageing clinic that offers some of the most effective health and beauty treatments and products available. We profiled the clinic as we explored the exciting treatments that the team provide to their clients.

Also in the month’s issue, Tasting Scotland Gourmet Journeys & Events is an award-winning Destination Management Company that focuses on culinary and whisky tours and specialist tastings for the luxury market. Recently, we profiled the firm and spoke to Tasting Scotland’s Director, Brenda Anderson as we looked to discover more about the successful company.

Here at Corporate Vision Magazine, we hope that you enjoy reading this packed edition, and look forward to hearing from you soon.