Month: July 2017

How Focusing on Digital Can Help Create a Learning Organization

Posted by on July 31, 2017

redesigning-the-workplace

For many years, the idea of creating a learning organization was little more than a corporate buzzword that business majors used to encourage leaders to invest in consulting time. Creating a true learning organization requires much more than jargon and a few external classes — you need the rigor of an ongoing commitment to excellence and education at all levels of the organization. Leaders today are finding that a focus on digital may help drive culture and encourage ongoing learning and growth.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is one of the cornerstones of a successful organization, but failed programs can pull time and attention away from strategic initiatives. Why do improvement rates remain low for most organizations? Continuous improvement requires a lifelong commitment to learning, and that basic truth can be difficult for an organization’s leadership to grasp. In today’s world, change comes at the speed of light so many companies must either make adjustments or risk becoming defunct. Visionary leaders are constantly on the lookout for ways to solve problems, re-engineer processes and see the world in a new light — which requires a laser focus on creating an organization where people are continually learning together. Yet, the danger comes when leaders believe they’re creating a Utopia instead of nurturing an environment where business process improvement can occur.

Failing Fast

Perhaps the most inelegant way to describe learning is to “fail fast”, and to ensure that your organization is a safe space that allows leaders and workers alike to feel confidence in taking this step. No one wants to take chances on new ideas when there’s a long-term stigma attached to what some may consider failure. However, a healthy mindset has leaders reinforcing that failure is only a step along the journey to success — and that failing fast and learning from your mistakes is one of the first steps in creating a culture of continuous growth and improvement. Embracing innovation requires a strong and confident leadership team, and constant encouragement to reinforce support to leaders at all levels of the organization.

Fostering Innovation

Innovation is a hallmark of our digital generation, where years are defined by new iPhone and Android offerings that incorporate biometrics, advances in artificial intelligence and new methods of performing everyday tasks and interacting with each other. Keeping pace with the rapid changes in technology means you may be retraining employees on a monthly schedule instead of every few years when you have a major software or other tech upgrade. On-demand learning provides employees with an opportunity to have more control over their learning so it can be incorporated into their daily life. Technology advances can be as simple as a new way of routing telephones directly through laptops to make voice and video calls instead of requiring employees to be in the office to conduct business.

Organizational Tools

Fostering innovation starts with encouraging staff to fully utilize the tools available through the organization, such as content management systems and digital experience platforms. Whether mobile is a part of their personal life or not, the majority of consumers now access the internet through a device other than a desktop computer. Cross-team collaboration provides a great way to inspire others to work together to create a customer-centric organization that is constantly listening — and constantly learning.

Intranets: The Magic Portal

Corporate intranets offer a fantastic opportunity to share best practices with peers across business units while providing transparency to the broader organization. When you take the time to craft a business intranet, you’re connecting points across your business that might not otherwise relate to each other. You can offer learning opportunities such as video courses, shared resources, and Lunch n’ Learn schedules. Plus, the information and document management properties of a properly executed intranet gives employees easy access to the latest and greatest procedural documents and forms, which can greatly reduce the load on HR and IT departments. Want to track staff learning needs and requirements? There are few more effective options than a secure employee intranet that allows individuals to see the available opportunities at a glance.

Perhaps one of the best ways to strengthen learning within your organization is to motivate leaders at all levels to see the value of this cultural trait, so they’re constantly reinforcing the message of learning. Self-directed employees become natural leaders, which in turn often encourages them to empower others. Whether it’s utilizing new methods for asset management, defining new customer experiences through a mobile platform or taking the time to complete online training, a focus on digital supports your goal of becoming a learning organization.

Moving Your Enterprise to the Cloud. What’s the Best Approach for Your Business?

Posted by on July 20, 2017

cloud questions

According to TechTarget’s IT Priorities 2017 survey, cloud remains a key priority for tech leaders this year.

The benefits of cloud computing today are too compelling to overlook. Increased collaboration, cost efficiency, flexibility, scalability, heightened security, and decreased capital expense, are just a few reasons why migrating to the cloud has become more of a necessity than a consideration. It used to be that companies were hesitant to move data to the cloud because of concerns about security. Today, they are more likely to move it to be more secure. Cloud security is a major priority for cloud providers, and now a convincing argument for moving to the cloud.

The question for those organizations considering migration becomes which type of cloud is the best match for your technology, business objectives, and environment?

Reports from a recent study by McAfee, show that 93% of businesses use some type of cloud service. To determine which is the ideal approach for your business, it’s best to understand the options.

Public Cloud

There are many benefits to using infrastructure and services that are publicly available. Use of the public cloud can be optimal for small to mid-size businesses as it is relatively simple to deploy. Resources can also be offered on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, making it very scalable. Because the infrastructure is shared among different users and businesses and there are very few upfront costs, organizations can significantly reduce their IT budget. Due to the broad network of servers, the public cloud also delivers significant reliability.

Top concerns of use with the public cloud are performance and security. Though most IT professionals believe that the cloud is safer than traditional IT systems, there remains some hesitancy with the public cloud. There are fewer geographical regulations on public cloud servers, meaning your server could be in a different country and under different restrictions. Additionally, surges in internet use can impact data transmissions. For this reason, some experts recommend private cloud use if performance is absolutely critical.

Private Cloud

A private cloud delivers all the advantages of the public cloud, but is dedicated to a specific organization. Because of the proprietary infrastructure, private clouds are easily customized.

Private clouds can deliver an increased level of security for businesses that are highly regulated or require complete control over applications and data. Depending on a company’s existing technology, infrastructure, and budget, the private cloud can either be implemented in-house or it can be outsourced. Though the cost to transition to a private cloud is higher than the public cloud option, in the long term there are still significant cost savings over purchasing dedicated servers or hosting your own servers.

Some of the key downsides to the use of a private cloud are the costs involved (as compared to public cloud) and due to heightened security, it can be more difficult for employees to gain access to information remotely.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud deployment has become attractive to many businesses due to the complexity of their existing architecture. This approach is a blend of private and public cloud use and can be an excellent choice for larger businesses that are required to keep critical data behind their firewall, but also want to leverage the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud for applications that may be less sensitive.

In reference to upcoming initiatives, 55% of the 2017 IT priorities study respondents stated hybrid cloud deployment when asked which deployment model they would use.

Many IT experts argue that advances in private cloud technology haven’t been able to keep up with public cloud platforms, and if private cloud innovation isn’t evolving at the same rate, it may not make sense for businesses to take the private cloud approach exclusively.

For example, the world’s largest public cloud provider is Amazon Web Services (AWS), and based on reports from Synergy Research Group, AWS is “vastly overpowering its competition. AWS has launched more than 1,000 new features in the last nine years and dropped prices more than 50 times since it launched. Many experts agree that it’s difficult for private cloud technology to keep up with growth like this and it doesn’t make sense for businesses to miss out on this level of advancement.

For most organizations, the benefits of cloud computing are no longer in question and the move is inevitable. Migrating your business to the cloud should be approached in a practical way that allows you to take advantage of the full array of benefits while minimizing disruption to your operations. A trusted Managed Services Provider (MSP) in the cloud space can be a tremendous advantage to ensuring a successful migration. Cloud MSPs also have the deep expertise necessary for the ongoing management and optimization of your cloud environment, allowing your team to focus on core business objectives.