Archive for the ‘Placement’ category

4 Project Management Trends On The Horizon…Are You Ready?

July 26th, 2019

Project management has been a critical business discipline for decades and with the fast paced societal, environmental, economic and technological changes on the horizon, it’s important to consider how these changes will impact how organizations manage and execute projects. More importantly, enterprising professionals should consider what they can do proactively to be prepared to ride the wave! Let’s explore four project management trends on the horizon and specific steps you can take to be prepared.

Trend #1 – Increasingly, Projects Will Be Impacted By Artificial and Data Intelligence Technology

The U.K. based Association for Project Management (APM) references this Fourth Industrial Revolution in their Projecting the Future report. While no one knows precisely how Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will impact project management, virtually everyone is certain that it will. Jon Broome, Chair of APM’s Contracts & Procurement Special Interest Group suggests that AI technology will likely automate many administrative project management functions. For example, he expects “First draft programme schedules and risk registers will be created by AI using hard data.” Furthermore, Michael DePrisco, Vice President Global Solutions, Project Management Institute (PMI) points out that, “While traditional project management roots focused on tasks like scheduling and tactical planning, AI will likely automate much of that functionality thereby shifting the Project Manager’s core focus to understanding how to leverage this technology to deliver more value for customers.”

How You Can Prepare: Don’t try to become an AI expert, but talk to thought leaders in your industry to identify the most likely areas of automation and AI impact. Then incorporate professional development opportunities around those specific areas into your training plan.

Trend #2 – Project Managers Will Need Broader Skills…Ranging from AI to EI

Seemingly, both technical and soft skills may be in higher demand for project managers (and those in project management related positions) in years to come. On the technical side, project managers will more likely become engaged on projects that incorporate or in some way touch AI related technologies (e.g. robotics, blockchain, data science, machine learning, etc.); therefore, this will require them to acquire some basic rudimentary knowledge base in these areas.
On the other end of the spectrum, as projects become more complex and interconnected, project managers will need to collaborate with (and ultimately seek to satisfy) broader groups of stakeholders. As a result, soft skills will become more important ingredients for project success. Broome insists, “Project managers will have to be masters of influence and soft skills because projects will have more stakeholders outside the core team who are affected by and receive the completed project.” Director, Strategy and Project Management with Medtronic Corporate Science & Technology, Dr. Michael O’Connor adds, “Mastering the triple constraint will no longer be enough. Project Managers of the future will need to be multi-faceted and multi-skilled.”
“The new professional reality demands a combination of technical and project management skills, leadership skills and strategic and business management skills – along with the ability to learn and keep pace with technology,” says DePrisco. “Digital skills such as data science, security, privacy knowledge and the ability to make data-driven decisions are needed for the PM of the future.”
Furthermore, PMI predicts a significant skills gap in their recent report “Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017– 2027”.
“Across the globe, there’s a widening gap between employers’ need for skilled project management workers and the availability of professionals to fill those roles. The shortage of qualified talent poses a notable risk for organizations that rely on that talent to implement strategic initiatives, drive change and deliver innovation. The talent gap could result in a potential loss of some $207.9 billion in GDP through 2027 for the 11 countries analyzed.”

How You Can Prepare: Be sure you’re focusing on both technical and relationship skills in your individual training plan. As most professionals have natural strength in one area and weakness in the other, consider soliciting 360 degree feedback to get a sense of others’ perceptions of your primary developmental areas.

Trend #3 – Project Managers Will Increasingly Embrace Customized or Hybrid Project Management Approaches and Methodologies

Increasingly, project managers and organizations seem to be looking for methodology flexibility in an attempt to accommodate rapidly changing project environments. In 2017, PMI bundled the Agile Practice Guide with the PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition. PMI’s DePrisco shares that “the Guide was developed in response to stakeholder requests asking us for more content on agile and to provide tools, situational guidelines and an understanding of the various agile approaches available to enable better results.”
This release may be just another sign of the increasingly popular agile project delivery approach that prioritizes speed to market and change readiness over processes, plans and documentation. These increasingly commonplace agile practices should create exciting options for project focused organizations whether they adopt the approach fully or develop their own hybrid agile methodology.
While there are long standing debates about different project management approaches (e.g. Waterfall vs Agile), there are clear advantages to each. While some will argue that these approaches are diametrically opposed and therefore mutually exclusive, my own personal experience begs to differ. Over the course of my project management career, my organizations typically leaned towards hybrid, blended project management approaches in fact. Decades ago (prior to knowledge of the waterfall/agile lexicon), our teams incorporated many “agile” style practices into our traditionally managed projects. For example, we took time to flesh out a project charter early on, but we also emphasized that it would be a dynamic document that would need to be updated as the project progressed. We maintained a “waterfall style” project schedule, but we embraced the concept of rapid prototyping and built shorter phases into our overall schedule. While we never used the term “agile” to describe our project, we conducted daily standing hallway huddles in lieu of more formal status meetings. We incorporated these agile style practices not to comply with a particular methodology (indeed, the term “agile” hadn’t become prominent in the project management zeitgeist at that point), but because we felt they best complemented our traditional project management approach. As Agile and other project management approaches gain additional traction and become more commonplace, project managers (and those working in project management environments) should certainly become familiar with the full spectrum of project management philosophies and methods.

How You Can Prepare: Pick one day a week to watch 30 minutes of online videos on different project management methodologies during your lunch hour.

Trend #4 – Project Management Teams Will Become Increasingly Diverse

SHRM’s 2016 Future Insights report confirms the generally accepted belief that workplaces will continue to become more and more diverse in the coming years. Arguably, factors like changing parental roles, shifting policies and attitudes regarding sexual orientation/gender identity, increasing globalization, and an aging workforce will result in increasingly diverse project teams. While these types of diversity are more readily expected, there are other more subtle types of diversity to consider as well. Teams of tomorrow will have increasingly varied types of workers (including full time, part time, contractor/freelance, remote, etc.) potentially complicating administrative operations, day to day communications and team dynamics. Finally, as younger employees in particular tend to have increased social corporate responsibility expectations, this diversity of thought/values can present yet another opportunity to consider differences. Overall, the trend towards increasingly diverse teams will create a broad range of issues for project teams to contend with as they strive to collaborate effectively and efficiently. While some issues might be minor, practical considerations and others broader overarching ones – both can significantly impact team culture and cohesiveness.

How You Can Prepare: Develop a list of discussion questions to solicit feedback on key issues about how the team will work together. This discussion is a healthy way to move past polite agreement and identify areas of potential conflict. This conflict management can be a healthy tool in the development of a high performing team.

11 Ways to Start Making a Horizontal Career Move

May 9th, 2019

We often think of growth as linear and vertical, but that isn’t always the case. While many employees work upward toward a leadership role, climbing the ladder isn’t the only way to progress in your career. For instance, a professional might develop a passion for a role in an entirely different department and make a lateral move to a job at the same level.

Just because a new position isn’t necessarily at a “higher” level than a current one doesn’t mean someone’s not advancing their professional skills. Here’s how 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council recommend beginning your path to horizontal career growth.

  1. Ask For Professional Recommendations

Know the perceived skill gaps in your experience that are needed for the new role. Fill the gaps through great recommendations. For example, if you want to manage people but haven’t formally done it, have someone give you a reference (preferably on LinkedIn) highlighting your leadership skills and how much they enjoyed working on a project that you led. – Jennifer Thompson, Deviant Thinking

  1. Seek Experiences That Will Prepare You For The C-Suite

We have advised clients to take a horizontal move in the spirit of gaining international experience and/or experience in another division in preparation for a C-level role in the future. The more cross-pollinated one’s background is in terms of geographic, economic, profession and business function exposure, the more likely a candidate is to be included in succession planning. – Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes LLC

  1. Know Your Personal and Professional Motivations

Lateral moves can provide new opportunities for development and future vertical movement by exposing you to new skills and interests, as well as allowing you to show your strengths in a different arena. Take time to make sure your new lateral role aligns to your personal motivations and professional goals and provides you the challenge to keep you energized for the learning curve. – Tonya Echols, Vigere

  1. Understand And Identify Your Transferable Skills

First, identify your top strengths. We’ve used Clifton Strengths often to help clients identify where they shine and what gives them energy. Then, map your strengths and experience to the horizontal role you are seeking. You may be surprised to see how your strengths and current role can support your success in many other roles. Share this mapping with the hiring manager. – Sandy Schwan, Evolving Strategies LLC

  1. Seek a Job-Shadowing Opportunity

Climbing the career ladder sometimes means taking a sidestep. Start having conversations with someone who is doing the job for which you aspire. Ask if they would be willing to have you “shadow” them, either on a formal or an informal basis. This type of cross-training presents opportunities to acquire new skills. If they agree, be prepared to reciprocate, because giving is a two-way street. – Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution

  1. Volunteer for a Newly Launched Project

One of the best ways to make a horizontal move is to zigzag into a newly formed group responsible for launching something new or innovative. Not only will life become very exciting, but you’ll also develop a broader range of knowledge and skills. This kind of offshoot team usually has high visibility, so it will keep you in a strong position for a vertical move in the future if you wish. – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy

  1. Network with Other Departmental Leaders

Network with leaders in different functional areas. Ask what a move like this could mean to your career. How could they utilize you? How do you start the process? What other skills or experiences must you have to be considered? Go prepared with the strengths and skills you bring to the table. Have examples to show your initiative, ability to learn and create success, and positive teamwork. – Bobbie Goheen, Synthesis Management Group

  1. Design Your Growth with Self-Awareness

Horizontal moves are great when upward mobility in a company is limited. Start with self-awareness: who you are (passions, talents, values) and who you want to be (vision). Seek trusted advisors to uncover your options. Be bold in building relationships and learning from others. Know that most paths to “success” are self-defined, and growth requires both intention and commitment. – Erin Rocchio, Erin Rocchio Consulting, Inc.

  1. Seek Out Learning Opportunities

Be open about your desire to change. Be curious. Be ready to learn. Smart companies would much rather see you in the right position than at a competitor. Let your managers know you’re looking for a change and why. Then, be curious. Look for responsibilities outside your day-to-day role. This will give you exposure to the new skills, knowledge and processes that a horizontal move may require. – Mark Savinson, Strategy to Revenue

  1. Engage In Projects You’re Passionate About

The practical reality is that the fastest way to success is doing something you are passionate about. If you engage in projects and organizations you are interested in, you will naturally be curious and work on developing your knowledge and skills. This, in turn, will increase your reputation and credibility. As a result, you will become someone in high demand and will be offered opportunities. – Jean Ali Muhlbauer, People at Work

  1. Create Your Own Career Lattice

Lateral career moves make you more versatile, broaden your exposure to stakeholders and increase your strategic flexibility. The first step is to create a future roadmap. Figure out the role you’ll want to hold in two to five years and what skills and experience will help get you there. Then, ask your manager, mentors and peers what lateral roles will give you the experience you need. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council.


Nine Out-Of-The-Box Project Management Tips for Tech Teams

May 2nd, 2019

Project management is an essential part of getting things done and achieving business goals. Through careful planning and executing, team members can collaborate to complete specific tasks or projects. However, with tech development, there are many unique challenges that “standard” task management strategies may not be able to help with.

If you want to find solutions better-suited for your tech staff, you might have to dig a little deeper. The experts of Forbes Technology Council share their go-to project management tips for tech teams.

  1. Align Expectations Early

Active dialogue inside the team—with developer teams as well as with business stakeholders—helps to establish a common vocabulary as well as shared expectations for the resulting collaboration. For example, a client thinks a task is simple to implement when in reality it is far more involved. Aligning those expectations early sets your project up for maximum client satisfaction. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

  1. Measure All Tasks against the Big Picture

Too often, tech teams are only knowledgeable about their specific tasks instead of the bigger picture. Knowing the business drivers, timelines, other deliverables, dependencies and the like contributes not only to a better understanding of the project holistically, but can also adjust and improve how individuals work towards the ultimate goal. – Brian Contos, Verodin Inc.

  1. Keep an Eye on Scope Creep

Scope creep is without question the most common reason tech development projects fail. Interestingly, even if a change in scope is properly documented, vetted, approved and even announced, the stakeholders will often only remember that the project was not delivered on time and/or on budget. Deviations from scope must be resisted at all costs and saved for later iterations of the product(s). – Todd Rebner, Cyleron

  1. Keep Your Teams Working Closely Together

Almost everyone’s begun the transition to agile or scrum approaches for project management. But if you are incorporating machine learning or data-driven analytics into your product, project management is very different. Some organizations have data-science teams that are completely walled off from software development, but things are much more effective if the teams work closely together. – Alex Bates, The Sandbox San Diego

  1. Align Tasks with A Specific Business Objective

Rather than just “completing” the task, the team should also check if that task fulfills the business objective. Usually, teams focus only on completing the task but never analyze if the task achieves the desired business requirement for which it has been defined. Strict time management is another crucial aspect that each team member needs to adhere to, as that sets the discipline of the project. – Sachin Deshpande, Qualitas IT Private Limited

  1. Consider the Complete Product Experience

Tech teams should take a holistic view of the value they are creating for customers. It is not just about completing the work right in front of you, which a project-oriented mindset typically demands. After all, your product or service is not just a collection of to-dos and bits of technology. It is the complete experience (marketing, sales, support) and relationship that you and customers share. – Brian de Haaff, Aha!

  1. Run Project Postmortem Sessions

Run project post-mortem sessions, as this helps you close the feedback loop and improve. If it’s possible, run such sessions after each major stage of a project. It will help you change the focus or tweak the acceptance criteria if it is needed. Requirements of big projects can change fast, and tech people don’t like it when at the end of a project the thing they’re working on is already outdated. – Ivailo Nikolov, SiteGround

  1. Kill Distractions

It’s becoming increasingly clear that our modern workflows are constantly interrupted by email, Slack, texts and other messaging systems that kill productivity. Often, what author Cal Newport would call “deep work”—long, undistracted stretches where one’s expertise and mental capacity are stretched to their limits—is necessary to break through on a highly complex and difficult task. – Timothy Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

  1. Be Flexible, But Keep The End Goal In Mind

Responding to changing conditions and necessities is as important as adhering to a project roadmap. Being flexible while keeping your eye on the prize is key in order to succeed where standard guidelines break apart. Being empirical as opposed to theoretical in challenging moments takes one far and unleashes creativity, which is key for creative problem-solving during complex projects. – Gabriel Fairman, Bureau Works

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council


12 Ways for Tech Developers to Build Security into Their Projects from the Start

April 25th, 2019

Security is a consideration that should be top-of-mind in any new tech product. As technology advances, so too do the ways in which hackers can utilize applications and data storage to get past security systems. The latest best practices in security should never be an afterthought when it comes to launching new tech.

Below, 12 experts from Forbes Technology Council explain their best pieces of security advice for technology leaders working to build security into their products from the beginning.

  1. Consider the Three ‘As’ Of Security

Sticking to the basics will be my advice for fellow security leaders. Three “As” that define the basics of security are awareness, agility and advanced technology, in the same order as written. Often, organizations focus on advanced technology controls, but the best security return on investment is realized when we prioritize security awareness programs and embrace execution agility by eliminating the red tape. – Parthasarathi Chakraborty, Guardian Life

  1. Test Often, Early And Fast

Don’t wait until your product is well into the development process to test for security flaws. Run security scans in the daily build and treat issues as critical bugs. Also, make sure you subscribe to new releases of any part of your technology stack—security patches are released often and should be incorporated as soon as possible to reduce technical debt. – Bruno Guicardi, CI&T

  1. Allow For Security Updates

Bake in mechanisms that allow for updates to security capabilities as threats evolve. IoT (Internet of Things) is the perfect example of what not to do. The vast majority of IoT products aren’t secure and don’t allow for consumer-friendly firmware updates or downloads. In product builds, a little foresight goes a long way. – Adam Stern, Infinitely Virtual

  1. Include Security in the Build Process

You have to incorporate security standards into the design and build process. Think about building a home. If you decide to install smoke detectors once the house is fully built, painted and furnished, it will be expensive, and you may miss areas that need them. Think about where the data is going, who accesses it, and how the permission and authentication work during the build. – John J. Higginson, Enova

  1. Start with Data

The most important thing to note with security is around data management: How is data collected, how is it stored, how is it transferred and who has access to it? Understanding where your private user information lives will enable your team to better manage risk and prevent a breach from happening. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

  1. Use IoT Security Services

With IoT, you need to analyze where each individual component comes from. Even if everything on your end is scrutinized and secure, components come from different manufacturers who may not share your safety ideals. The same goes for your encryption protocol. Hackers can access your data as you’re sending it, so utilizing IoT security services like AWS Device Defender might be a good idea. – Artem Petrov, Reinvently

  1. Hack Yourself Before the Bad Guys Do

The bad guys are out there, but there are “ethical hackers” you can employ to find vulnerabilities. Use a security firm to run annual penetration tests on your infrastructure. Pay bug bounties (usually $500) to “white hat hackers” who find security exploits. And run phishing emails on your employees to see who takes the bait. Humans can be your weakest link, and “live fire” exercises do work! – Vinay Pai,

  1. Build a Fortress

When building security into a product—especially one that connects to the internet—assume everyone is out to “pwn” (hack) that product. Beyond designing defensively, it may also be necessary to lock down and verify all remote access, keep detailed access logs during testing and even proactively block access to bad actors. Achieving this in a friendly, easy-to-use consumer product is the challenge. – Chris Kirby Retired

  1. Be Cognizant Of History

So many technologists have such wonderful skills and creativity that they sometimes become “intechicated,” neglecting the greatest risk—physical security. Phishing, illegal access, copying, data manipulation, malware, and on and on all stem from poor physical security. If you can limit access and make it step one of your everyday cyber DNA, you will have a sound foundation for your technology. – Wayne Lonstein, VFT Solutions, Inc.

  1. Guard against Scale

Consider how security may be impacted by product growth: number of users, amount of data stored, geographic distribution, operations per second, etc. Security risks are always present; design your product to ensure that those risks do not become unacceptable when elements of the product or its use grow by orders of magnitude beyond expectations. – Seth Noble,Data Expedition, Inc.

  1. Minimize Your Attack Surface

Think like the adversary. There will inevitably be security bugs in any piece of moderately complex software, so think about how you can minimize the amount of your software that will be accessible directly or indirectly by an unauthenticated user. And implement a strong identity with multifactor dynamic authentication from day one. – Gaurav Banga, Balbix

  1. Build Trust between Security and Development Teams

IT leaders must start by establishing trust between security and development teams. Evangelize early and often and create win-win situations by finding someone on the team who’s doing it right. Celebrate what’s working, and use them as an example of where the team should be going. Help teams understand that the product will impact a customer’s life, rather than the organization. – Robert Reeves, Datical

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council.



12 Creative Ways to Repurpose a Successful Marketing Campaign

April 18th, 2019

Marketing campaigns require extensive preparation and guided execution. Not only does the process involve brainstorming and innovative content creation, but it also entails tailoring the idea to the specific audience and finding the best channels to reach them. After all that work, it would be a shame not to make the fullest use of the carefully crafted resources for the company’s best advantage—especially if the campaign was strong and well-received.

In fact, after a successful effort, agencies may be tempted to reuse the concept and/or content in other marketing outreaches—and why shouldn’t they? We asked 12 experts from Forbes Communications Council to share tips for breathing fresh life into a proven marketing campaign.

Members of Forbes Communications Council share methods for repurposing a marketing campaign that’s been successful in one venue for another.

  1. Take A Multi-Channel Approach

When you have a compelling piece of content that is showing signs of success, look to see if there are ways that you can repurpose that content across channels. What is successful via email could show additional value on social, display or even direct advertising channels. Understanding how to maximize your content across the channels can multiply success. – Alyssa Kleinman, CipherHealth

  1. Never Let The Sun Set On A Good Message

In today’s oversaturated world, effective marketing messages are hard to come by. We recommend taking a “create it once, use it many” approach for messages that speak to your core audience. With digital tools, elements can be mixed and matched into all types of multi-touch campaigns. The first thing to do when starting a new campaign is to pick a few elements from the previous top performers. – Ryan George, 1st Global

  1. Use Display as a Testing Ground

Display advertising is a great testing ground for different campaigns. Trying different messaging and offers is typically easy to do. Once you find a successful campaign in display, repurpose it to pay-per-click, Facebook or LinkedIn to target your ideal buyer. Since those are generally higher costs, you are limiting your exposure by going with an already vetted idea. – Jessica Hennessey, Resonate Online, LLC

  1. Increase ROI through ABM

In the business-to-business world, we take successful campaigns and package them into accounts-based marketing (ABM) opportunities. This allows us to tailor successful campaigns to a specific account and run engagement, such as a workshop or other mini-event, leveraging the campaign materials. We’ve seen great success with this strategy, and we’re not alone—85% of B2B marketers say they see increased return on investment from ABM. – Jennifer Kyriakakis, MATRIXX Software

  1. Apply Audience Insights Cross-Channel

Leverage insights from a successful campaign to inform efforts beyond that channel. We see clients leveraging offline insights from their digital campaigns to increase performance in search and social—from which times consumers were most receptive to the ads to how many exposures it took to convert, what days/times customers are visiting and what other brands they have an affinity for. – Valentina Marastoni-Bieser, Cuebiq

  1. Maximize Your Efforts, Expand Your Reach

Take a high-performing display ad to new channels within a similar context. If you have a message and creative that worked well on a big media website, look for similar websites that can provide opportunities to tap into new audiences. Maximize your efforts and expand your target audience’s awareness of your company and its offerings. – Dana Córdova

  1. Reuse Channel Combinations That Work

We’ve had success replicating campaigns with similar elements from year to year. For example, the past few years we’ve run a nurturing campaign on accounts that have a direct mail element along with automated emails with content assets and personal follow-up from sales reps. From year to year, we change the direct mail piece and offer new content, but the elements/channels are the same. – Amanda Sullivan, TEAM Software

  1. Design with Multiple Uses in Mind

The most effective way to use a marketing campaign in multiple venues—and via multiple channels—is to design it that way to begin with. The messages and themes you use at an event can appear in email, banner ads and social media. You can have more content on Web pages, with videos and written pieces to add to it. Even if you can’t implement everything at once, consider it all as you plan. – Erica Vener, RedSeal

  1. Go the Extra Mile via Video

One of your digital campaigns got a lot of engagement—that’s great! What is that telling you? Your audience wants more. Try taking the topic to the already existing audience and new audiences by creating a YouTube show, where you dive deeper into the topic that got great attention. Give the experts at your company some face time and consistently put out video content that can gain a following. – Ashton Belk, Agile For All, LLC

  1. Test Ideas on Social Media

Social media can be the engagement testing ground before you invest more money in a full marketing campaign. Social media can help you determine your clients’ interests, attract them to engage more and teach you what doesn’t work with your audience. Once a solid social campaign has been established, carry over the messaging and design into your print or digital campaign for even greater success. – Kara Cowie, SkillPath

  1. Turn an Article into an Infographic

An effective way to repurpose a blog post that received a lot of engagement is to turn it into info graphic. This works best with listicle-style blogs (e.g., “Top 5 Ways to Increase Email Open Rates”). Condense the information into digestible points, and then design it into an info graphic that can be shared on your social channels. – Antoine Bonicalzi, Cyber impact

  1. Repurpose Your Video Content

Video is hot for marketing these days. Repurposing video is easy and often effective. Create a video that you love, and then post it on multiple social sites. Each site will get different results as they each have a different audience. You can also live stream, then upload it to YouTube. When repurposing it, add subtitles, because many people watch videos on silent mode while in public. – Ellicia Romo, Peoples Mortgage Company

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Communications Council.


4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Help You Be More Strategic, Dynamic and Productive

April 11th, 2019

Widespread job loss, autonomous robots, humanity being rendered virtually useless as people are thrown into the depths of poverty.

This isn’t the description of some post-apocalyptic film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or Will Smith. These are the very real fears of many workers across the world as automation and artificial intelligence (A.I.) grow in prominence across all industries and companies — including burger flipping — in what is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

According to a study done by the University of Oxford, researchers estimate that in the next 20 years, nearly 47% of U.S. jobs will be impacted by automation. Additionally, a 2014 Breugel analysis reported that nearly 54% of E.U. jobs were at risk of computerization.

When looking at these numbers, people are understandably concerned about the future of work.

But the future of work isn’t as bleak as these statistics claim. In fact, it’s pretty bright.

Yes, automation and A.I. have disrupted the job market. And yes, they have both changed the ways we define and do work. However, in doing so, both technologies have allowed humans to tap into cognitive skills that many haven’t explored before. And let’s face it, there are certain cognitive abilities and capacities that we possess that are, and will probably remain to be for some time, better than that of our robot counterparts.

Beyond that, automation and A.I. can help us work more effectively and efficiently. Just like the ways we collaborate on a team and have team members bring different valuable skills to the table, so can A.I. and automation. Both technologies are already enabling machines to assist humans with complex tasks like forecasting and have taken over dangerous tasks like stocking the shelves of a warehouse.

But the perks of A.I. and automation aren’t limited to industrial warehouses. They can also be used to make the life of the everyday professional easier. In the same vein of using A.I. to take on tedious tasks like inventory replenishing, these technologies can help the modern worker simplify their workload and help them focus on the bigger picture instead of the little things.

And it doesn’t stop there.

By taking on these functions, they’ve given human workers a chance to explore new growth opportunities and to update their skillset — basically upgrading ourselves like an iPhone to the latest iOS. And even though our personal upgrade won’t give us new emojis (as fun as they are), it’ll ultimately make us more decisive, collaborative, and efficient.

Here are four ways A.I. can help you upgrade your workflow to be more strategic, dynamic, and productive.


A lot of people complain about the amount of time they spend in meetings (virtual and in-person) but scheduling them can be just as much of a pain. A.I. can help break the scheduling shackles by not only finding free time on your and your team’s calendars but also managing attendee responses and feedback. Thus, freeing up your time and inbox so you can give your attention to things and to-do’s that matter.

Being on top of your schedule is essential for team leaders. Regular one-on-one meetings between managers and employees can boost team morale as well as provide full transparency between all team members, which will build trust between all people involved.

Routine one-on-ones don’t just lead to more engagement, but more productivity.

Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, a human touch is sometimes needed. In other cases, not so much. This is where the chatbot comes in. Teams and companies can use a chatbot to handle basic customer service issues and inquiries like simple how-to’s or troubleshooting an issue.

Many chatbots are programmed with natural language capabilities to either directly respond customer requests or to route the client to a human representative if needed. Incorporating chatbots into your team eliminates the mundane issues that usually make up most customer requests for representatives, while simultaneously streamlining the process for clients. That way, customer service representatives can spend their time and energy on high-priority tickets and concerns.


Drafting and sending e-mails can be a drag — especially when the content in each message remains more or less the same with a few tweaks here and there. This is especially true for marketing and sales teams, where following up on leads and speaking with customers sometimes follows more of a template than a natural conversation. With A.I., the banality of e-mail is nearly banished from everyday tasks.

A.I. features like predictive personalization for e-mail recipients; smart segmentation, optimized e-mail subject lines, e-mail automation workflow, and more can help increase open rates and click-through rates. With these techniques you can spend less time in front of a blank e-mail message trying to figure out what to write and how to write it.

Your Own Personal Assistant

If you consider Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa one of your BFF’s, then you’re quite familiar with the concept behind A.I.-powered personal assistants. From recipe directions to telling you what the weather is in Berlin, A.I. personal assistants have been built to make your life easier. This same notion can be applied to aspects of your workday as well, with A.I. assistants taking over your calendar, setting reminders for your to-do list, and sending meeting requests on your behalf.

It’s time to work smarter, not harder.

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Florian Frey, Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer of Ruum by SAP.


Why It’s Critical To Sales To Periodically Re-Evaluate and Update Your Website

April 4th, 2019

It’s very easy to overlook the “clutter” created on your website because it’s in the digital space. Like the old saying goes: out of site, out of mind.

Think of it this way, if you had a brick-and-mortar business and the backroom or sales floor was overflowing with old catalogs, sale product, empty boxes, and other clutter, you would address it immediately. Your website has to be treated the same way.

Customers give you about 90 seconds before they make up their mind about your product. For your website, assume you have less than a tenth of that time to get a user to click through. Most of the product’s initial impact is based on color and design, but there are other factors. If your page takes longer than three seconds to load, for example, you’ve already lost 53% of your mobile users.

Having a website that’s up to date is vital for continuous sales. But day-to-day operations are demanding, and often leave little room for tinkering with the website. Let’s look at five crucial aspects of your website that should be addressed periodically to keep your website in good operating order.

Give That Old Design Work a Makeover

If you’re using an old logo that needs some new life, or you want a more impactful brand look to improve your bounce rate, you can crowd source your design work with crowd spring. You’ll get work submitted from 50 to 150 designers, and you buy the work you like. Using generic templates like Canva may be a good solution if you have no budget, but canned design work says nothing about your identity and will hurt you in the long run.

DIY visual design is usually not recommended. Professionals exist for a reason. But if you just want to add some fresh photos to your site and you’re not familiar with the nuances of Photoshop, you can try online photo editors like piZap or PicMonkey. And for video, there are options such as PowToon to make snappy custom animations.

Review WebPages with Low Traffic

One look over your Google analytics and you can identify which pages of your site are highly trafficked and which ones aren’t.

For the pages that don’t have enough traffic, you should invest some time in doing keyword research and once you have long tail keywords that you want to optimize for, rewrite the copy for low performing pages incorporating the new keywords. This will bring more traffic to those pages over time.

Hire Hackers to Test Your Website for Weaknesses

A stale, outdated website may deter customers, but it’s very attractive to hackers. You don’t have to do much to avoid being a target, just make sure all your security patches, firewalls, and other security features are up to date. Find a good, inexpensive SSL/TLS provider if you don’t already have one. And brush up on best practices (or mistakes to avoid) for managing your public key infrastructure.

When your security is intact, enlist a penetration testing client such as Metasploit to assess your website for any vulnerabilities. The company evaluates your site from a hacker’s point of view, and equips you to stay a step ahead of current hacking technology. They offer an open source version as well as a commercial one, with online support for the learning curve.

Design a Website that’s Easy to Update In Real-Time

Running a website is difficult, and if you can’t be bothered with another task or an expensive web developer, considers a different way of managing your site and driving traffic. Having an updated website is crucial because majority of consumers are searching for local information online before making a buying decision. Millennials are more likely than any other generations to start with research, and whether they begin on social media or go directly to the local business website, up-to-date information is crucial.

Consider alternatives to a traditional small business website with apps like Go Nation. A free local business page on the platform does pretty much everything a small business website does. One key benefit, aside from ease of use, is a feature that can transform an outdated static website into a fully mobile website, while maintaining full control over your digital footprint. With two taps on your phone, you can add events, make product or menu updates, add photos, and update your business hours and more. Updated information shows up instantly on your website and is pushed out to other major platforms where your data lives, such as social media and community websites, saving business owners time.

“The goal of Go Nation is to make local business information relevant across the internet and not to complicate its purpose anymore, which is to quickly and accurately educate the consumer,” says Chaz Tanase, Go Nation’s CEO “Go Nation is designed to be the solution for both sides.”

Keep Your Web Copy Clean

If you’re writing or editing your own web copy, make sure you’re using a plugin like Grammarly. Small grammar or spelling mistakes are easy to make and look unprofessional. Grammarly is a free extension for Chrome, but requires a signup to unlock all the features. As with visual design, it’s always a good idea to work with professionals.

Now that your visuals are touched up, your security is tight, you’re connecting to locals and your copy is clean, you can start to measure the positive sales impact on your e-commerce business.

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Jia Wertz.


Creating a Diverse Workplace: 12 Strategies to Ensure Broader Hiring Practices

March 28th, 2019

Diversity is a key part of the modern workplace. Without diversity, teams’ perspectives and creativity can be very limited, which impacts the environment, production, and even product quality. Diverse thoughts and backgrounds can create more well-rounded workspaces, as well as help products and services reach a wider customer base.

So, how can tech teams ensure diversity in order to create a better working atmosphere and end product? We asked members from Forbes Technology Council to share their best fix for encouraging broader hiring, along with how it can be most effectively implemented. Here is what they advise:

  1. Remove Gender, Race and Ethnicity From Resumes

We make a conscious effort to remove candidates’ gender, race and ethnicity from resumes in the early screening process. We also have a policy that we will transfer sponsorship of a candidate’s H1-B visa if needed. In meetings, we explicitly request that all participants speak and are heard. We allow working parent’s time to take care of family obligations and support working from home. – Richard Petersen, JetStream Software

  1. Be Open to Different Life Paths

Be open to taking the less-traveled path. There are many talented developers in rural communities who graduated from coding bootcamps. Similarly, vets or women rejoining the workforce often find a boot camp is a better fit in terms of time and cost and they are willing to work very hard to achieve career success. They will measurably increase the nimbleness, creativity and dedication of your team. – Michael Choi, Coding Dojo

  1. Make It a Priority

Diversity is a core value at our company. We are a women- and minority-owned business with 45 employees that represent 12 countries. The easiest way to bring diversity is to make it a priority from the start. Reflect the priority by reviewing the language of the job postings, eliminate college degree requirements and encourage inclusion with minority empowerment in decision making. – Veronica Buitron, TangoCode

  1. Encourage Referrals

While HR teams can be given specific direction regarding diversity goals, often a shift toward diversity within the office can be self-perpetuating once the foundations are set. A large percentage of new employees are referred by current employees, and encouraging this behavior with the right incentives can help a proper diverse workplace blossom. – Ryan Collins, Senior Flexonics

  1. Talk about Biases

We believe that to innovate and win in ever more competitive markets, you need both great ideas and the ability to execute, and the best ideas and most creative and effective teams have proven to be diverse. To encourage diversity, it’s important to be aware of and talk about our own biases to ensure that the team looks for ways to expand their thinking and their hiring. – Mike Fong, Privoro

  1. Partner with Local Universities

Diversity can be achieved from multiple aspects including cultural, gender, socio-economic, experience and technical skills. One of the best ways to achieve diversity with technology teams is to ensure outreach is happening in more than one venue and method. Partnerships with local universities and STEM schools can help bring in new and different ideas. – Michael Britton, Alliance Data

  1. Hire From Across Different Backgrounds

Hire people with different cultural backgrounds and give them the same chances to grow with the team. Make sure to follow an agile team structure and encourage inter-team cooperation. – Carsten Giese, Nexthink

  1. Cast a Wide Net

We seek out employees with a diverse set of academic, work and life experiences. We cast a wide net leveraging inbound, outbound and recruiting activity to source candidates. We evaluate these candidates through the lens of diverse stakeholders and implement a common process to limit bias. And, as we’ve built a diverse team, those efforts have become self-sustaining and reinforcing. – Jeff Wilkins, Motili

  1. Include Technical and Non-Technical In The Leadership

We try to keep a balanced management team in the company and have both technologists and non-technical personnel leading the company and respective strategic decisions. A good example would be the company founders: One is highly technical and the other isn’t. – Adam Efrima, Blox

  1. Hire Diversely Then Invest In Training

Greater diversity brings a broader set of perspectives and when people interact in a positive and constructive way within an environment like that, it typically results in a better experience for customers. That’s why the best tech firms don’t just seek to hire diverse teams but invest in the training programs that will allow those teams to grow and prosper. – Sid Yenamandra, Entreda

  1. Boost Exposure

The implementation of diversity starts with exposure. If our educational system isn’t exposing people of diversity to technology, they will never come forth. The solution to this is to allow more diverse demographics the exposure to technology and the education of it. This starts with reforming our educational system. Without that there is no scalable solution. – Daniel Nyaggah, RASTACLAT

  1. Search at STEM Commuter Campuses

Look at STEM commuter campuses with kids whose parents are not college grads. Sign them up as interns and give them a chance to try real tech work, not busy work. Look for the ones with tenacity and work ethic; they are anxious to prove themselves. – Steve Roemerman, Lone Star Analysis

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council.

Stuck In Start-up: 11 Ways to Overcome Budgetary ‘Analysis Paralysis’

March 21st, 2019

For a company just starting out, the balance sheet can be both a motivator and a fear factor. Since the budget is almost always the dominant consideration for a new business, it can be easy for an entrepreneur to get locked in “analysis paralysis” while reviewing financial statements.

How can a new business owner balance budgetary caution with realistic action and expenditure to get out of “analysis paralysis”? To help, we asked 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council to offer their best advice for avoiding excessive anxiety about money, even when it seems to be constantly in short supply.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share advice for new business owners to help them worry less about money when it always seems to be in short supply.

  1. Make Giving a Part of Your Budget

What we’re going to suggest is probably one of the last things you’re considering. Give. Make giving a “budgetary” priority. Choose a cause or charity you believe in, and know that the financial support it receives from your business helps to make its mission possible. This commitment will encourage you to create ways to increase revenue instead of seeing your money in short supply. – Dr. Shanequa Fleming, Perfect Solutions Consulting Group, Inc.

  1. Create an End State Statement

When money is tight, setting financial stretch goals isn’t enough; you need to create an End State Statement—a vivid, verbal snapshot of what your business looks like when it’s successful at a definite future date. Identify qualitative and quantitative metrics and add in descriptions of successful interactions with customers, employees and vendors. Paint that picture and focus on it constantly. – Gregg Ward, The Gregg Ward Group

  1. Stop Thinking about Worst-Case Scenarios

Money is a mindset, and we become what we think about! So we simply need to think more about what we do want than we think about what we don’t want. Imagining the worst-case scenario is only “worry” if that is the only scenario we imagine. If we invest equal time in imagining the best-case and the most likely scenarios, we have gone from “worry thinking” to “strategic thinking.” – Jeff Klubeck, Get A Klu, Inc.

  1. Think Investment, Not Expense

You can view money in a new business one of two ways: as an expense or as an investment. The best way to look at money is not transactionally, as a daily expense, but rather as a long-term investment. By keeping the long-term picture in mind, the money that you outlay in the beginning can, and usually will, be made up in the long run. Begin with the end in mind, not only focused on the now. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

  1. Follow Your Budget Process

Avoid over analysis by setting up a well-defined budget process—and then follow the process. Coordinate budget input from your management team early in the year. Next, have your CFO provide you with a quarterly review of the budget to actuals. Use quarterly reviews to validate assumptions and mitigate risks going forward. Focus on the process, and spend the rest of your time delighting your customers. – Cheryl Amyx, 4CEO, Inc.

  1. Work onYour Business, Not InYour Business

People spend time working on their business instead of running it. When you run your business, you need to generate sales and positive cash flow to cover expenses. Quit working on your spreadsheets and pull yourself out of employee mode to see the big picture. The more you focus on the right activities to generate revenue, the more your business will grow. Your focus and mindset equal results. – Drew Aversa, MBA & RYT, Aversa Strategies

  1. Plan Early and Exercise Discipline

Much like everything else in business, planning helps eliminate a lot of uncertainty, including the angst in financials and budgeting. Combine early preparation with appropriate expert advice and virtually all doubts will be removed. From there on it is a simple matter of discipline to stick with the prepared budget and overcome the temptation to make decisions that would interfere with the budget. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

  1. Leverage Expertise

For many business owners, the financial side of the business is daunting. That’s when leveraging a finance expert can help you to understand where the business stands financially, the break-even threshold and the profit margin you’re dealing with. Having a finance-oriented partner to help navigate these complex waters can take the fear out of finance and help focus your efforts in the right direction. – Tracey Grove, Pure Symmetry Coaching and Consulting

  1. Give Your Business Oxygen

Cash flow is king, and managing money is essential for any new business. Focus on revenue—the oxygen for your business—and your business will survive. Sales is water, and operations is food. Too many focus on operations and expenses when they should focus on sales and revenue management. Create the time and space necessary to thrive by concentrating on what’s essential—oxygen. – Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, LLC

  1. Do Your Research and Trust Yourself

As a new business owner, spending any kind of money can be scary, but it is vital to growing your business. When it comes to making investments, do a little research on the expenditure and learn to trust yourself. Not every decision you make in the beginning will be the right decision, but it will always lead to the right ones. Either way, you and your business are growing in the process. – Jennifer Armstrong, So Simple – Life & Business Coaching

  1. Focus on Your Vision

The sole purpose of financials is to inform decisions regarding the path to your vision. If you keep looking down to decide where to put your next foot, you will lose sight of where you are going. Yes, look at your financials. Use the information they provide. Then look up and reconnect with your vision. That is where you need to focus. – Brian Gorman, TransformingLives.Coach

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council.


3 Trends That Define the Next Phase Of Cloud Computing

March 5th, 2019

In its second decade, cloud computing has become a mature and reliable technology, but we still have only scratched the surface of the cloud’s full potential as an enabler of digital business transformation.

With access to core business applications, analytics and collaboration tools, cloud computing is a reliable path for business innovation. It provides organizations the agility to scale and adapt their business model to market conditions and opportunities. Cloud computing has created the foundation for a flexible innovation infrastructure for companies’ growth strategies.

According to Gartner’s 2018 Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing the technology has reached the ‘slope of enlightenment’.

Now cloud computing is going through a growth spurt of its own. The next wave of intelligent technologies that build onto the cloud is emerging, including the Internet of things (IoT), machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Combined with intelligent technologies and digital business services, cloud computing can catapult companies into a new dimension of competitiveness.

Here are three trends that will define the next phase of cloud computing as a business innovation force.

From Emerging to Mainstream Adoption across Industries
While cloud computing is certainly innovative, it has outgrown its classification as an emerging technology. According to Gartner’s 2018 Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing the technology has reached the ‘slope of enlightenment’. Gartner uses its Hype Cycle to track the promise and potential of emerging technologies within the context of their industry and individual appetite for risk.
In 2019, as a technology in the ‘slope of enlightenment’ phase, cloud computing is broadly understood across industries and geographies and is heading towards mainstream adoption next.
In fact, Gartner predicts that the fastest growing IT spending category will be cloud computing infrastructure and applications, out of an overall $3.77 trillion global information technology spend this year. While cloud computing growth varies by region, the key growth driver remains the same across geographies and industries: the need for digital transformation. 72 percent of companies globally across industries will adopt cloud computing by 2022 based on latest Future of Jobs Survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Achieving a New Customer Experience Dimension
The next frontier for cloud computing will be the creation of a new level of customer experience. Companies will apply intelligent technologies in conjunction with the cloud to upgrade their experience management for customers. With B2B and B2C companies built on the quality of the experience that customers have with their brand, experience management not only provides immediate feedback about how people perceive a company’s brand and products, it also impacts employee and customer satisfaction.
Combined with IoT, analytics, machine learning and AI, cloud computing cannot only change the way organizations operate, it can also innovate the way customers interact with companies, and vice versa. For example, with cloud computing companies have the ability to collect and process large quantities of data in real-time. They can train and execute algorithms at the large scale necessary for AI.
Overall, they have the ability to analyze different types and dimensions of data, including operational data and customer experience data. The deeper understanding of the company’s operations and customers can be used to build new products and services, or create a better experience for customers and partners.
The cloud plays a critical role in achieving the transformative potential of combining experience data with operational data to help organizations create breakthrough customer experiences and results.

Continuous Innovation as a Service
One of the most difficult challenges for companies is that innovation is perpetual. Innovation does not have a clear-cut end, it is a continuous endeavour. But that does not mean innovation and transformation cannot be measured. On the contrary, digital business transformation can be measured at every step of the way. One of the most important key performance indicators for digital business transformation is speed.
In this next phase of cloud computing we are already seeing the rise of digital business services that go beyond support and maintenance and help companies to accelerate their business transformation. Companies are moving towards a circular innovation process, an innovation environment that provides the tools and services for continuous business innovation facilitated by the cloud. Innovation is becoming part of a company’s corporate culture.
In a world that can change in the speed of a Tweet, it is not enough to tackle current market changes with innovation. Companies need to prepare for the future and transform themselves into an intelligent enterprise that can thrive on change. Remaining one step ahead of the competition is a key characteristic of an intelligent enterprise. Early adopters of the next generation of cloud technology and services will be today’s and tomorrow’s winners.

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor SAP.