Tag Archives: Analytics

News You Can Use: 5/25/2016

sn_conference_Benjamin Child

  • The Future Of HR And Why Startups Shouldn’t Reject It

    A recent Motherboard piece took a look at the impact of no HR on company culture. It found that women are more often than not the most vulnerable employees due to startups’ lack of HR and general anti-harassment procedures. The article states, “Ultimately, these structural issues contribute to one of the greatest systemic problems facing working women today: barriers to advancement, known to many as the glass ceiling.” And over the years some of the biggest tech startups have had accusations of harassment levied at them.


  • Go Deep and Go Wide with Procurement Analytics

    Data unification is a two-step process that catalogs all data sources and uses that information about data to build a global reference that shows how all of the data relates to the questions at hand. This resource is typically built through a combination of machine learning and smart sourcing of human experts, and provides three clear benefits: making exponentially more data available for analysis, eliminating the biggest contributor to analysis time overhead – data preparation, and building in repeatability so any analysis that has been done can be rerun at anytime with no repeat of the data preparation.


  • A 40 Hour Work Week . . . Really?

    Of course, I’m being a fit facetious here but I don’t think it’s all that far from the truth. Here’s a shocking business statistic: if you or anybody on your team wastes just one hour per day — and please understand that I’m also guilty of this — it equates to six weeks of wasted time per year! Isn’t that incredible? That’s a lot of vacation time. My advice: just work hard when you are at work. Of course, we all need some down time to handle personal matters but do so sparingly because you can’t get those hours back.


  • Call me crazy (regarding conference calls)

    A conference call is over when someone uses one of the many conversational gaps, false starts, or “No, you go” truces to suggest that perhaps for clarity we should put our ideas in writing. As if to say, “Yeah, I guess flip-flops weren’t a good choice for this 5K run.” Acknowledging that we’ve engaged in the discourse equivalent of a toddler’s squiggle drawing. Hinting that next time we play Marco Polo we could try a swimming pool instead of the Indian Ocean.


  • Want to Improve Your Decision-Making? Shut up for 10 days.

    Insight meditation, also known as vipassana, is a method handed down by Gautama Buddha himself to his followers. Insight meditation focuses on maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without judgment. Students first take a vow of silence. They then enter into a daily routine of sitting for as many as 11 hours per day, renouncing all other religious or ritualistic practices, eating only vegetarian fare and not speaking except during a short Q&A session with the teacher.


  • How AI And Crowdsourcing Are Remaking The Legal Profession

    “If you were to download everything in the PACER system, it would cost you hundreds of millions, if not more,” says Lewis of Ravel Law, which has found an alternative by partnering with Harvard Law School to digitize its archive. “They’ve made an effort to collect every … court decision from every state and federal court over the last 200 years,” Lewis says. Ravel collects new information in real time. “The courts themselves are doing a much better job of pushing out today’s law,” he adds. Ravel has published the complete case law for California and New York. It aims to offer all U.S. federal and state law online by mid 2017, for free.


  • The Chinese Millennials

    We have heard the stories of changing and increasing wages. The migrant workforce in China’s eastern coastal cities is also changing. Today, young people coming to the factory towns from rural China are less open to the long working hours, constant overtime and poor working conditions. Today’s Chinese Millennials stand apart from their parents and grandparents. They have many new economic opportunities, they are focused on the present, they are interested in more work/life balance, and they have become conspicuous consumers.


Photo: Benjamin Child

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News You Can Use: 5/11/2016

sn_sadman_Tom Sodoge

  • Chris Sacca says there’s “a greed case for diversity”

    There’s a very strong business case for diversity that can affect a company’s bottom line. If you have a gender-diverse company, it can result in a 15 percent greater financial performance compared to a company that is not diverse, according to McKinsey. Meanwhile, ethnic and racial diversity at the leadership and board level leads to a 35 percent greater financial performance. In Silicon Valley specifically, the tech-dominant area could gain $25 billion (a 9% increase) in gross domestic product by 2025.


  • Why outsourcing customers are terminating their call center deals

    What’s going on, say Everest’s analysts, is that buyers have greater expectations from their call center providers today. No longer content with simply lower costs, they are looking for vendors that can partner will them to deliver improved business outcomes. They are seeking engagements that incorporate emerging technologies, automation, and big data analytics. And they’re showing the vendors who can’t meet these increased demands the door.


  • How Men’s Changing Friendships Might Reshape The Workplace

    There are lots of reasons why we think friendship and work don’t mix, aside from hyper-competitiveness. First, there’s longevity: gone are the days when, like my grandfather, you spent your entire working life at one company with the same colleagues, until death or retirement, whichever came first. Now our colleagues are unlikely to be around in five or six years.

    There’s also hierarchy to consider. What if you get promoted—or your friends do—and you suddenly aren’t “peers” but supervisors and supervised? And besides, social media can keep us connected to older friends, no matter how far-flung.

    It’s hard to say whether the evolving workplace is changing male friendships or vice versa; probably it’s a mix of the two. But what’s clear is that at the same time that corporate hierarchies are flattening and employee tenures shortening, men are steadily growing closer.


  • Supply Chain Managers Put on High Alert Against “Ransomware”

    Ransomware uses special encryption software to lock up the targeted data, so that it is irrecoverable until the hackers release the key. The malware is typically spread via phishing emails, infected websites and other means (portable media, vendor networks, ‘botnets,’ etc.) – and all it takes is one infected computer to put a company’s entire network at risk.

    Any supply chain is potentially vulnerable, unless it’s completely air-gapped and undiscoverable from a public-facing web server. However, this is unlikely – it is exceedingly difficult to silo networks and data in such a way that malware can’t get through and still be able to manage them easily.


  • Technological Sustentation 90: Open Source

    Open Source brings unique advantages, but it also brings unique risk. Who is going to support the platform day to day? Maintain it and fix the bugs? Add new functionality and integration capability as the organizational platforms change? And how can you be sure someone didn’t sneak something proprietary in there, either on purpose or by accident, and you won’t be accused of IP theft or a license infringement and have to tack legal costs onto the bill (as there is no provider to indemnify you)? All of this is addressable, and controllable, but you need to be aware of all the risks, and have a game plan to mitigate them up front, or getting any open source project approved in an organization that still wants a one vendor platform and “one neck to choke” (that is outside the organization) will be an uphill battle.


  • Why analytics is eating the supply chain

    “It’s about agreeing on forecasts and collaborating on inventory throughout the supply chain,” Myerson said. “It really improves efficiency, cost and quality, and not just for manufacturers.”


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News You Can Use: 3/23/2016

sn_bridge_Simon Stratford

  • Why 2016 Is The Year Of The Hybrid Job

    The 21st-century workplace demands versatility. Big data, for example, is becoming increasingly important to the success of businesses, and every industry is making considerable investments. “Not surprisingly, occupations pertaining to data analysis are the fastest growing today across multiple industries,” says Brennan. “The ability to compile, analyze, and apply big data to everyday business decisions is driving major change. In the IT space, big data roles have seen a nearly 4,000% jump in demand. But with the availability of data comes the requirement to analyze and visualize data.”


  • An interesting post on the history of Amazon Web Services (AWS)

    At the same time, Bezos became enamored with a book called Creation, by Steve Grand, the developer of a 1990s video game called Creatures that allowed players to guide and nurture a seemingly intelligent organism on their computer screens. Grand wrote that his approach to creating intelligent life was to focus on designing simple computational building blocks, called primitives, and then sit back and watch surprising behaviors emerge.

    The book…helped to crystallize the debate over the problems with the company’s own infrastructure. If Amazon wanted to stimulate creativity among its developers, it shouldn’t try to guess what kind of services they might want; such guesses would be based on patterns of the past. Instead, it should be creating primitives — the building blocks of computing — and then getting out of the way. In other words, it needed to break its infrastructure down into the smallest, simplest atomic components and allow developers to freely access them with as much flexibility as possible.


  • Rebranding The American Man

    According to research from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, single, unmarried women under 30 are now out-earning single, unmarried men across the country. In New York City, Los Angeles, and San Diego, women make 17%, 12%, and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. A big part of this shift has to do with the fact that women now earn 60% of higher education degrees, so this trend is likely to continue. And women are the primary jobholders in 13 out of the 15 job categories projected to grow in the United States over the next 10 years.


  • The Air You Breathe at Work May Be Slowing You Down

    The culprit is carbon dioxide, according to a series of studies since 2012. The most recent research, led by Joseph Allen, who teaches at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzed the performance of knowledge workers, including engineers, programmers, creative marketing professionals and managers. For several hours each day, unbeknownst to those employees, the researchers raised and lowered the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, and then tested everyone on nine different kinds of cognitive ability, like responding to a crisis, strategic thinking and applying their knowledge to a practical task.

    The higher the concentration of CO2, the lower the test scores. Even allowing for uncontrolled factors such as diet, previous night sleep quality and mood, employees’ overall sharpness fell by an average of 15 percent when CO2 levels reached “moderate” levels of about 945 parts per million (ppm). In modern office buildings, designed to maximize energy efficiency by letting in as little outside air as possible, CO2 levels around 1,000 ppm are common.


  • IT workers dispute Disney rehiring claims

    “This is nothing more than corporate speak intended to muddy the waters,” Perrero said. “New more exciting jobs were promised by Disney that acted as a carrot to keep us around just long enough to have us Americans be the trainers and the foreign workers as the trainees.”


  • John Oliver on Encryption (NSFW language… don’t watch this in the office!)

    WhatsApp’s Other Encryption Dilemma

    The messaging app has made clear it hopes to sell businesses on using WhatsApp as a way to communicate with consumers. Tests of WhatsApp business accounts are expected to start by the end of this year, Facebook has said. But WhatsApp has told potential clients that one of its biggest challenges is how to roll out a customer service application for businesses without giving up end-to-end encryption protecting messages on the app, according to a person briefed by WhatsApp.


  •  D.C., San Francisco tech leaders aim for ‘future-proof’ procurement

    The idea of future-proofing procurement, Vemulapalli said, is to make it easier for city governments to procure technology from a diverse group of vendors — from massive international companies to local startups in the civic innovation space.


Photo: Simon Stratford

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News You Can Use: 3/16/2016


  • Two-Thirds Of Americans Think Robots Will Take Our Jobs By 2065
  • Procurement Managers See Pressure to Reduce Costs Ramping Up

    “One clear differentiator we saw in the research this year was the recognition of the value of improved market intelligence,” says Sawchuk. “Procurement leaders are realizing that higher-quality information can help them drive greater business value. Big data has been a game changer when it comes to customer analytics, offering an unprecedented ability to quickly model massive volumes of structured and unstructured data from multiple sources. But procurement’s lack of maturity in market intelligence is a significant obstacle that must be overcome.”


  • Why Do Half of Millennials Still Live With Mommy and Daddy?
  • Why Millennial Women Are Burning Out

    A study from the University of Kansas found that women are burning out faster than men after looking at attrition rates of journalists. According to the research, women reported higher levels of overload and intention to leave the field.

    The author of the study “examined the numbers through gender socialization theory, which claims that society puts certain expectations on people based on their gender from a very young age. Where women are more often expected to provide the majority of family care and raise children, men are expected to be the breadwinners and put work obligations before family. That was supported by the findings showing that women experience significantly higher rates of role overload, or feel that they are unable to complete their assigned duties in the work time allowed,” notes the University of Kansas study.


  • In pursuit of HIPAA, a new compliance gap arises

    The operations team was leaning toward encrypting the hard drives, because options that are fairly easy to deploy are available. I agreed that it would be easy to do, but I objected that the method wouldn’t really be effective from a security perspective (and encryption is one thing that should be all about security). When you encrypt a hard drive, you are ensuring that anyone who comes into possession of that drive can’t access the data. In other words, the only way such encryption would protect the company would be if the hard drive were stolen. Now, the likelihood is infinitesimally small that a bad guy is going to determine where our highly secure data center is located; get past the security guards, man traps and biometrics; and then figure out which of the hundreds of drives to pull out.


  • eWorld: technology and talent trends that will shake-up procurement

    Technology and talent are increasingly part of the same sphere and this hit home over the course of the day. Artificial intelligence (AI) may reduce procurement specialists’ need for cognitive capabilities in analysing what the procurement outsourcing & consulting company, Optimum Procurement Group, call ‘hard trends’ – for example demographic data suggest the aging ‘baby boomers’ will increase the public spending in public health facilities. This would modify the capability requirements of procurement professionals.

    Certain roles and skills could be redundant in the future, yet, AI are not sophisticated enough in dealing with soft trends – i.e. something that may happen depending on several interdependencies – which requires more complex and agile analysis. Qualitative and soft skills are increasingly important capabilities in the procurement professionals.


  • HR Analytics: How Should Big Data Be Used in the Workplace?

    When employers use predictive models to decide not to train people who, for instance, are on the verge of being either fired or awarded promotions, they’re basing their decisions on what an algorithm says may or may not happen, rather than what employees are actually doing. People are unpredictable, and unknown factors can influence outcomes. Decisions that affect people should be informed by data, but made by people.


  • Metrics that count

    In 2015, Gartner conducted a survey in conjunction with Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR) to address that question and to gain a better understanding of how manufacturing metrics are characterized, developed, and used to link manufacturing and supply chain performance.


Photo: Space X

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News You Can Use: 9/2/2015


  • The real reason why women are cold in the workplace

    Heating and cooling systems are based on a complex metric encompassing subjective feelings of comfort and an averaged metabolic rate—that of a 40 year-old man weighing 154 lbs. “When you turn it over to operations, that’s when it all goes downhill,” Brookshire explains.


  • China’s factory activity hit a 77-month low

    The “flash” measure of sentiment among manufacturing purchasing managers fell to 47.1 in August, the worst figure in 77 months and a decline from the index’s final reading of 47.8 in July, according to Caixin Insight and Markit Economics. Any number below 50 indicates a deceleration in the manufacturing sector.


  • Common knowledge about procurement protests more myth than fact


  • Why Tech Companies Share Costs

    Choosing internal shared services over outsourcing can improve risk management, performance management and collaboration―which can often be lost in a sourcing arrangement. Technology companies may be hesitant to migrate fragmented processes―which rely heavily on the skill and experience of the current staff to operate smoothly―to an SSC, but it may be worthwhile in the long run to cut that dependency. Outside of the substantial upfront costs involved with establishing an outsourced or offshore service center, recent concerns show that labor costs are rising in emerging economies such as India, China and the Philippines―which may result in the erosion of offshore benefits. Despite the appeal of a quick-fix, outsourcing should be considered a shift of service, not a solution. Consider resolving the issue internally before involving a third party. You may even find that automation improvements play a large role in partially or fully eliminating the drivers for outsourcing.


  • 84 Percent of Procurement Executives Unsatisfied with Insight from Company Data

    A majority of procurement officers (53 percent) named spend visibility as the data metric proven most effective in supporting their operations. However, 69 percent of procurement executives reported that they believe metrics used to evaluate their function drive the wrong behavior within their organizations.


  • Think you’re agile? You’re probably wrong

    But while the study shows that businesses have a healthy respect for agility, their capacity for it is another story. Fifty-two percent of global respondents (and an equal percentage of U.S. respondents) say their business does not have an IT infrastructure capable of meeting competitive threats. In addition, 49 percent of respondents say they either cannot or do not know if they can shift workloads between public, private and hybrid clouds, or migrate on-premises applications to the cloud. Only 50 percent of respondents say they can develop, test and deploy new business applications for use on mobile devices within six months, with the percentage falling to just 30 percent that can do the same in a one-month timeframe.


  • 3 Ways to Combat Stale Ideas

    This time, I knew I needed someone different. I hired the best coach I know who specializes in “Intuitive Action.” Of course I’m partial to the field of coaching, but in this case I knew I needed it more. While sometimes it makes sense to consult with friends, colleagues, mentors and others, working with a coach is different. Coaches are impartial and are there to challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone. There’s not a better place to find new ideas than in the unknown.


Photo: Daniela Cuevas

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