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Saudi Vision 2030 on the Agenda for Inaugural HR Tech Saudi Summit 2017

Leading HR and IT decision-makers will gather to discuss next generation HR challenges and new frameworks proposed under Saudi Vision 2030.

HR Tech Saudi Summit

Dubai, August 31 2017 — As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to transform the workplace with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation becoming increasingly prevalent across industries, Dubai-based B2B event specialist QnA International, has unveiled plans for a first-of-its-kind summit to discuss the unique challenges this will place on HR and IT departments in Saudi Arabia.

Being the only event dedicated to HR Technology in the Kingdom, the HR Tech Saudi Summit, taking place 20-21 November 2017 in Riyadh, will unite HR executives with the IT industry in Saudi Arabia at a time when the Kingdom is making significant investments in leading technology solutions, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

QnA Director Mr. Sidh N C

Sidh N.C., Director, QnA International, said: “The debut of the HR Tech Saudi Summit comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is moving towards digitization and hence uniquely placed to welcome the collaboration between the HR and IT capabilities. The summit is the first of its kind in the Kingdom to address the technological revolution underway in the workplace and debate how best to harness its capacity for the success of business in the public, private and government sectors”

In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom has pledged to increase investments in technology in order to continue leading the digital transformation of the region. Under the King Salman Program for Human Capital Development, 500,000 government employees will receive training to upskill by 2020. All Ministries and Government institutions will be required to adopt best practice in Human Capital Development and other organisations will be tasked with enhancing engagement and the employee experience.

Enabled by mobile, remote and real time connectivity, digital HR processes now reach beyond payroll and data capture to incorporate functions such as interviewing, performance management and KPI review. The technology exists for employees in larger organisations to share concerns and feedback, or even complete training remotely, through mobile video.

Sidh N.C. added: “With discussion focusing on the latest HR technology trends, innovations and disruptive ideas, the HR Tech Saudi Summit will help leaders from the HR and IT departments to collaborate on effective solutions to modern human challenges.”

The launch of HR Tech Saudi Summit, follows the three successful editions of HR Tech MENA Summit in Dubai. The 3rd edition of HR Tech MENA took place in May 2017 under the theme of Revolutionizing the Future of Work with discussions ranging from the challenges of rapid technological developments to the need for enhancement of workplaces.

About HR Tech Saudi Summit

Reshaping the Kingdom's Workplace

The HR Tech Saudi Summit is the only initiative that brings together HR and IT professionals from the unique business landscape of Saudi Arabia, on a singular platform, to discuss the newest trends, ideas and disruptions over a period of two days exclusively dedicated to and focused on HR Technology.

Technology today has revolutionized every step of our lives and Human Resources is no different. The influence of technology on our evolution is paramount to making it imperative for HR to keep abreast with newest developments.

Today, HR is en route to becoming smart HR. Concepts such as bog data, cloud, social media, mobility, and gamification are today’s buzzwords and every organization is keen to embrace them in tackling the key issues of talent acquisition, talent management, change management and employee engagement.

Organiser: About QnA International

QnA International

QnA International creates and delivers business learning and development exchange platforms through B2B conferences, bespoke events and trainings. The company also has an expertise in outsourced sponsorship sales and key account management.

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Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Written by Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director, METNA at Riverbed

Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Today, the role of the CIO and IT department is more closely aligned than ever to business operations. This is because, in order to ensure a seamless digital transformation, both CIOs and their IT departments have to be able to ensure that business objectives are at the centre of their strategies. In fact, this is critical if they want to drive innovation, deliver better customer satisfaction levels, increase workforce productivity, and reduce bottom line costs during a new project.

Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director METNA at Riverbed
Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director METNA at Riverbed

There is one element of IT delivery that is however often overlooked within all these considerations. This is ensuring excellence in user experience. It is the most fundamental measure of success, as without measuring this before and after any digital transformation programme, there is no empirical metrics to help validate claims of any clear change in the experience with confidence. And user experience often determines increase of productivity, employee engagement, cost savings and can also result in better customer service being delivered.
There are four common barriers to digital transformation initiatives. Below we explore the steps an enterprise can take to overcome them.

1. Operational In-Efficiency

Business unit leaders and IT professionals, are often summoned to a war-room meetings to explain why an IT-related project or change aimed at improving business productivity or customer service resulted in so much negative feeling toward the initiative. Unfortunately, this is often because all parties are not aligned. More often than not, these situations can easily be avoided by first starting at the vantage point of the end-user experience to see how IT services are being consumed.

Both business unit leaders and IT professionals need to sit down together and map out objectives and KPIs for technology changes. The plan could be tested with a small group of end-users. But ultimately if both parties know what the outcome must be, there is no room for confusion in delivery — and it can help both parties to get back to their respective roles in supporting the business.

2. Sub-Optimal Application Performance

Organisations are using hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications. New applications are constantly being deployed, whether the new version are upgrades or replacements for old legacy applications. This all brings risk. Poor application performance can significantly impact competitiveness, and, in sectors such as healthcare, can directly affect patient care or put sensitive data at risk.

Application upgrades can be a key catalyst for issues that impact productivity. With so much variation in hardware, location, network, and user expectation across the business it becomes an ever bigger and more complex task to thoroughly test every combination of how an application could be consumed by different users. Data centre monitoring solutions are partially helpful in reporting on the availability of centrally hosted applications, backed by reports and dashboards with lots of positive results. However, this information alone is rarely indicative of a positive experience for end-users on the receiving end.

By contrast, effective end-user experience monitoring allows benchmarks to be created over time which clearly show precise historic application performance metrics. Then, upon application upgrade or migration, any positive or negative deviation in performance can be viewed immediately with the analytics to show exactly where the change in response time and experience is occurring.

3. Ineffective  Change Management and User Adoption

Adoption is key to the success of products and services. Within Riverbed’s collective frame of reference, users tend to only embrace change when they feel confident and experience an incremental improvement in their interaction with an application or desktop.

Users need to be brought on the journey of change. Reasoning behind the changes need to be explained, and effective training put in place to make any change in strategy or a transformation as positive as possible. In addition, for future change initiatives, empirical evidence in the form of data from monitoring can prove invaluable. Businesses must be able to measure system performance against end-user productivity over time to ensure there’s no real negative impact, but rather only improvement.

4. Pure Visibility of the End-User Experience

The three previous topics can easily be combined within the one single category of poor visibility of the end-user experience: in other words — the visibility gap. In short, this relates to the lack of insight into how IT services or change initiatives and digital transformations actually impact the experience of users, which ultimately impacts business performance.

The key thing to keep in mind is that any effect on end-user experience can only be measured from the end-user’s perspective of how they are consuming IT services — and with proactive alerting so when there is a deviation in performance, IT is notified directly, and doesn’t rely on the workforce calling their IT team or the CIO to complain.

So what has enables organisations to embrace IT change for the greater good of the business?

Close the Visibility Gap and Overcome Barriers to Change

The bottom line is that no enterprise business can manage or improve until it can measure. Therefore, the recommendation is equally simple. Measure and benchmark your business’ existing user experience and instantly compare any variations when a change is made.

To conclude, whether the business is looking to change a specific IT component or to enable full-scale digital business transformation (in a positive manner) CIOs, IT professionals and their business unit partners need to ensure the experience for their end-users is optimised as part of the project — in effect, treating them like IT consumers.

What’s more, no business can rely on IT end-users as the primary source to the business to problems. To achieve this, the business needs easy access to real empirical user experience data that enables it to easily compare the before and after of changes. So, the first step in this approach, and for your next IT transformation task, is to start with end-user experience to help ensure a successful outcome.


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4 BYOD Risks HR Managers Should Know About

4 BYOD Risks HR Managers Should Know About

4 BYOD Risks HR Managers Should Know About

In today’s employment atmosphere, a growing number of companies are shifting toward a more flexible workplace. By implementing bring your own device (BYOD) policies employees are now increasingly using their own devices for business purposes.

Even though such policies can bring numerous benefits to companies, they come with some inherent risks. The following four issues are worth examining before deciding on a BYOD policy.

Irregular Updates

Every mobile device is vulnerable to hacks from outside sources. Your smartphone, tablet and laptop all have similar software that can be hacked if firewalls and other security features aren’t in place or aren’t updated regularly.

Busy employees often put off their security updates. Unfortunately, their phones are then automatically open to potential attacks. In a regular IT environment, it’s up to the business’s IT department to secure every device used for company purposes. Since the devices are the employees’ private property, they are responsible of keeping them updated with the latest versions of security software.

Viruses and Malware

Viruses and malware have numerous pathways that they can take to infect an employee’s device. The worst thing is that an employee’s device could be hacked without them even being aware of the situation.

For example, your employees can receive phishing email with a malicious link that could install viruses or malware when clicked on. The infection could then spread onto the company’s server and compromise corporate information in a matter of seconds.

The phishing email could also look as if it’s from a familiar contact or even a legitimate website. It could ask your employees to click on a link and in order to log in into their account. The employees would then enter their user names and passwords on fake websites giving hackers access to their sensitive information. Identity theft is always a possibility in these hacking situations.

Unsecured Connections

Your employees might use their devices to connect to public Wi-Fi to access necessary data on your company’s server or to go online for personal needs. Unfortunately, using public networks is dangerous since they allow multiple people to connect to the same network, and that includes hackers.

Hackers could intercept the data your employees download or upload, they could install malware on your staff’s devices and even gain access to their email. This is another way malware could spread from the infected devices onto the company’s server and compromise the safety of corporate data.

Your employees need to be aware of these threats and take the appropriate preventive measures. Instruct your employees to turn off Wi-Fi when they don’t need it and disable it from automatically connecting to open networks.

You can also set up a virtual private network (VPN) which will allow your employees to connect to a hotspot without worrying about data breaches. Connecting to a VPN encrypts and secures any data being sent or received. This disables hackers from intercepting sensitive information and compromising the security of your employees’ devices.

Missing Devices

The best opportunity for stealing corporate data is when a device gets into the wrong hands. Lost or stolen devices are always a big security issue, which can lead to leaked proprietary data and vulnerable business positions.

IT professionals need a plan in cases this happens. A remote wipe policy is a very good solution which allows the IT team to completely remove all data on a device after it’s been reported missing.

Since BYOD devices include an employee’s personal data, you need to make sure that the employee agrees to a remote wipe of every piece of data even before they are hired.

Employees should see this step as both a protective corporate and identity-theft policy. To avoid any further information hacks, employees can also make it more difficult to access the data in the first place. A fingerprint or PIN passcode frustrates thieves, and they might toss the device before trying to access the information.

Final Thoughts

These security issues aren’t a reason to forgo a BYOD policy. However, appropriate security measures are necessary in order for it to be successful. Begin your BYOD strategy by educating your employees about the importance of regular updates and how to recognize security threats.

They need to understand that every piece of data is priceless to the business and their personal life. In reality, many people don’t realize how valuable their data is to hackers outside of the corporate atmosphere.

Employees also need to agree to corporate statements, liabilities and compliance measures in order to make this BYOD program a success. At the very least, add professional indemnity insurance coverage to the company so that any data leaks are quickly resolved.

Finally, by protecting the data with software and passwords, businesses can keep their proprietary information private. In the end, the employee’s device can be as safe as any company-issued electronic.

About the Author:

Josh McAllister

Josh McAllister is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector, and independent business consultant. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. 

Josh is a contributor of a number of digital outlets, and well published including DZoneIoT World News, and Rabid Office Monkey.


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Are CEO’s Missing out on Big Data’s Big Picture?

Big data allows marketing and production strategists to see where their efforts are succeeding and where they need some work. With big data analytics, every move you make for your company can be backed by data and analytics. While every business venture involves some level of risk, with big data, that risk gets infinitesimally small, thanks to information and insights on market trends, customer behaviour, and more.

Unfortunately, however, many CEOs seem to think that big data is available to all of their employees as soon as it’s available to them. In one survey, nearly half of all CEOs polled thought that this information was disseminated quickly and that all of their employees had the information they needed to do their jobs. In the same survey, just a little over a quarter of employees responded in agreement.

Great Leadership Drives Big Data

In entirely too many cases, CEOs look at big data as something that spreads in real-time and that will just magically get to everyone who needs it in their companies. That’s not the case, though. Not all employees have access to the same data collection and analytics tools, and without the right data analysis and data science, all of that data does little to help anyone anyway.

In the same study that we mentioned above, of businesses with high-performing data-driven marketing strategies, 63% had initiatives launched by their own corporate leaders. Plus, over 40% of those companies also had centralized departments for data and analytics. The corporate leadership in these businesses understood that simply introducing a new tool to their companies’ marketing teams wouldn’t do much for them. They also needed to implement the leadership and structure necessary to make those tools effective.

Great leaders see big data for what it is – a tool. If they do not already have a digital strategy – including digital marketing and production teams, as well as a full team for data collection, analytics, data science, and information distribution – then they make the moves to put the right people in the right places with the best tools for the job.

Vision, Data-Driven Strategy, and Leadership Must Fit Together

CEOs should see vision, data-driven strategy, and leadership as a three-legged chair. Without any one of the legs, the chair falls down. Thus, to succeed a company needs a strong corporate vision. The corporate leadership must have this vision in mind at all times when making changes to strategy, implementing new tools and technology, and approaching big data analytics.

At the same time, marketing and production strategies must be data-driven, and that means that the employees who create and apply these strategies must have full access to all of the findings of the data collection and analysis team. They must be able to make their strategic decisions based directly on collected data on the market, customer behaviour, and other factors.

To do all this, leadership has to be in place to organize all of strategic initiatives and to ensure that all employees have everything they need to do their jobs and move new strategies forward.

Have you implemented a digital strategy for your business? What’s changed since you’ve embraced your strategy, and what are your recommendations for strategy and data-driven technology for business owners and executives like yourself?

Let us know what you think and how you’ve used your digital strategy to set your business apart from the the competition.

To learn more about the world of Entrepreneurship & Data Science follow Bob Nieme on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

CEO at O2MC I/O Prescriptive Computing

 

Connect with author Ronald van Loon to learn more about the possibilities of Big Data

Co-author, Director at Adversitement

 

 


Source: Are CEO’s Missing out on Big Data’s Big Picture?

How to Survive a Management Audit

How would you fare if auditors walked in the door tomorrow morning and started scrutinizing all your processes, policies and procedures? Here are descriptions of several types of audits and four tips for making your management audit less stressful.

This is a test. Which of the following are common occurrences during IT Management Audits?

1. Staff members quit.

2. Staff members break down in tears in front of the consultants.

3. Staff members fly into a screaming rage at the consultants.

4. Staff members lie to the consultants.

5. Staff members refuse to cooperate.

6. All of the above.

If you selected item 6, you get a gold star! There is no reason for any of these behaviors but they occur all too often, especially in organizations in which audits are not routine events. The consultants are there to identify problems and help improve operations. They wouldn’t have been hired if everything was peachy keen, but Information Technology management and staff members rarely see it from this perspective. Identifying the problem is the first step to recovery. All Information Technology organizations should be managed as if an audit is imminent. How would you fare if auditors walked in the door tomorrow morning?

Why are you being audited?

There are many reasons for conducting audits, but following are the four I encounter most often.

Regulatory compliance audits

In market sectors such as Financial, Behavioral Health, Medical, and Pharmaceutical, periodic audits are the norm and the guidelines are clear. In any given year, a Behavioral Health clinic in NY State, for instance may be required to undergo 4 separate audits including Medicaid, HIPAA, OMH (Office of Mental Health), and OASAS (Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services). In many of these cases, the auditors show up unannounced or on very short notice.

Compliance audits aren’t technically management audits, but the scores on such audits are certainly a direct reflection of management’s performance. Would your policies, practices, procedures, and documentation measure up to the scrutiny to which a Behavioral Health clinic is subjected?

Performance audits or ‘What’s wrong with our IT operation?’

Often, members of the IT management and staff think they are doing a spectacular job but the customers and executive management disagree vehemently. In the worst cases, end users are preparing their pitchforks and torches in case the audit doesn’t bring about some positive performance outcomes. These audits are tough; the IT staff is defensive and they all assume that the consultants are there to fire them. Sometimes, the hostility reaches levels that make me feel like Patrick Swayze’s character, Dalton in the 1989 movie Road House. I have been accused of cherry-picking information, interrogation, and cross examination and I have been screamed at in front of a large audience. The truth is, I am simply researching a complex problem and I will work diligently to provide answers to the people who are paying me to do so.

During these audits, employees sometimes resign even before the final report is released. This is unfortunate because poor performance is a reflection of management rather than staff. At other times, excellent employees leave because they have had their fill of ineffective management. Frustrations become bitter tears dripping on the conference room table, even from managers.

New management

Sometimes, incoming executives want an X-Ray of organizational performance and requesting an audit is an intelligent professional move. They want a clear distinction between the previous management’s practices and their own and they use the final report to establish a program of organizational change.

IT is too expensive

Occasionally, IT audits are conducted because executive management considers the IT operation too expensive. They want an independent audit and a strategic plan that shows all the viable options.

4 tips for a lower stress audit

If the auditors are coming next week, there probably isn’t much you can do to improve the outcome, but there is plenty you can do to make the process more comfortable for everyone involved.

Answer binary questions with binary answers

When questions requiring a Yes or No answer are met with lengthy explanations, it is a clear indication of a problem. When I ask if you have documentation of your daily security log validation, just say yes or no! If you don’t have the required documentation, no amount of explanation is going the help. Also, I am not really interested that you are going to begin implementing your security program next month. Good for you, but I only care about what your actual practices are at the time I ask.

Don’t lie, embellish, or bury information

I always walk into audits and assessments taking a neutral, objective stance and I appreciate clients who don’t try to pre-program me. I will selectively ask for evidence or documentation for every statement you make and false statements will certainly damage your credibility. When subjects provide evasive or ambiguous answers, my inner Columbo puts on his trench coat. Equivocation and rationalization drive me to keep searching until I get the answer. Just tell the truth.

Instruct your staff to cooperate politely

I recall one compliance audit where a staff member served up every document request with a plate full of anger and hostility. The odd thing about it was that all her ducks were in a row, which is pretty unusual. So, why the anger? Don’t unleash it on the consultants.

I remember several engagements where the IT staff tried to tell me that their IP addressing schemes and Visio diagrams were secret. Huh? As soon as I retrieved my jaw from the floor, I went over their heads and arranged for delivery of the requested information. These events created suspicion and hostility that weren’t required.

In two organizations I contracted with, staff members claimed their Security Policies were secret! How does that work? These sorts of behaviors are indicators of significant departmental and organizational problems.

Prepare documentation in advance

All documentation including policies, procedures, infrastructure documentation, logs, hardware and software inventories, PSA system reports, etc. should be readily available for the consultants. They will ask to see it. I generally ask for all this information before I go on site for the first time and I am always appalled by the number of organizations that have none of the documents that are generally accepted to be components of a solid Information Technology Governance program. Sometimes these data dumps include reams of irrelevant information in the hope that I won’t find the smoking gun.

Auditing for organizational culture

I include a frank assessment of departmental and organizational culture in my reports and it is sometimes less than flattering. Delivering this information to executives and managers generally creates a tense silence while they try to chew and swallow that particularly tough piece of meat. They rarely argue because they know it’s true, but few have dared to state the obvious out loud. A realistic and objective assessment of company culture is required to address the root causes of problems. Bad management, inefficiency, malfeasance and incompetence have often been enabled for years before an audit is finally initiated. Interdepartmental politics, turf wars, jealousy, meddling and backstabbing all contribute to the problems at hand and managers throughout the organization are responsible.

In many cases, executives and managers have worked in large, bureaucratic organizations for their entire careers and they can’t see the signs of broken company culture. They think bad behavior and dysfunction are the norm.

The final report

If the final report is not a testimonial of glowing praise for your IT operation, I urge you to sit back and reflect carefully before lashing out. The report is a mixture of data, facts, and input from your coworkers and end users. I always base part of my conclusions on both formal and informal interviews with end users and managers from every department in an organization. What ends up in the report is a reflection of what your colleagues really think about your operation. My career started with a four-year stint in army intelligence and I actually do cross examine and interrogate. The natural inclination of some IT Directors is to argue and pick apart every statement and conclusion in the report, but this is definitely the wrong approach.

A nearby local government entity with which I am familiar recently received a failing audit from a state regulatory agency. It wasn’t a first-time fail and the endemic problems have been simmering for decades. Several executives from this entity made statements to the press that the audit “was a gotcha audit. It’s all about paperwork and there is nothing real here. We’re providing excellent services.” Talk about denial! I believe they will come to regret those statements since the infractions were extremely serious and they will likely have to return millions of dollars to Medicaid. They may call a missing signature “a gotcha,” but Medicaid calls it fraud. Their culture is so broken that they really need a turnaround expert and complete replacement of the management, but they haven’t reached rock bottom yet, apparently.

In recovery

The correct response to a failing audit is to contemplate the report carefully and develop a proactive remediation plan immediately. Humility may save your job, but you can’t step off onto the recovery road until you admit you have a problem.

Ask for help. Operations that have been dysfunctional for years can’t be turned around overnight. Organizational culture may inhibit a turnaround and objective, external assistance may be required.

Listen to what your colleagues and objective auditors had to say and take it seriously. Don’t go swimmin’ in denial.

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Source: How to survive a management audit | CIO