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Skills that will Survive the Automation storm

Skills that will Survive the Automation storm

In the age of automation, various technological innovations are threatening to replace the need for humans in the workforce.  Across the industry, views on automation are divided, with some seeing many benefits, while others have many concerns about its impact.  By far the most pressing concern is the high potential for a significant loss of jobs in the workplace.

Quite simply, if machines perform tasks currently undertaken by people, with a consistently high level of precision and professional approach, why would it be necessary for employers to retain expensive staff? However, there are several reasons that your job may be more secure than you think.

About 50% of business leaders say that automation will have a high impact on the reduction of the workforce by 2022. But not all experts agree to this, as a study defines, that a mere 5% of jobs can be completely automated and replace people already doing the work. More likely, the majority of jobs will be restructured rather than completely replaced.

So, how can you make your job safe from robot invasion!?

Skills and human attributes which cannot be automated include – Creativity, leadership, charisma and other soft skills or human interaction.  Roles such as Customer Service, Planning, Creative Work, Quality, Management and training have unlikely to be automated in the near future.  Automation does enable engineered precision in tasks and the ability to streamline processes; however, Robots require still a human input to instruct, observe and manage the tasks.

Creativity provides unique solutions, innovation, new ideas or fine arts in some domains.

Soft Skills or Emotional Intelligence empathy provides a unique understanding of others, nurturing people and relationships.

Leadership involves guiding using your own experiences, motivating your team, analysing a problem and coming up with the best possible solution.

It is imperative to continue to improve and add to your skills to remain a vital asset for your company. The automated world will have many opportunities for talent which are indispensable. A routine, task-based job could be easily replaced by a robot.

Adapting to automation is an opportunity for industries as it increases Productivity and Profit. Industries which are likely to be impacted the most are Technology and Mechanical Production, while sectors such as Medical Care, Education, Customer Service, and Data Analysts will not see such large effect for now.

So, brush up your skills and stay ahead of the automation revolution.


Augmented Reality: Improving the online shopping experience

Augmented Reality: Improving the online shopping experience

How do you prefer to shop?  A few clicks here and there online, with the product delivered directly to your house, or leaving your home and enjoying the retail shopping experience on the high street?

Online shopping is not only dominated by the millennials but is used and accessible for people of all ages. E-commerce and online shopping have made shopping more subjective and focused on the customer.  Interestingly, experiential marketing is paving the way across all shopping channels to offer a more true-to-life shopping experience.  This domain was implemented using software which uses the individual’s image to show how a product will appear on them, however, this mode was only restricted to fashion accessories and apparels. With the expansion of online product categories, a customer buying a Watch, or Furniture would also like to preview its appearance in the home. The answer to this challenge is Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality integrates digital elements, such as screen layouts and 3D previews, with physical world surroundings to create a real-time shopping experience. Using this technology and being able to visualise the best fit for their requirement, demonstrates the benefits of AR to consumers.  AR allows you to preview how a product will look in your home, or clothing on yourself, even before buying it. How cool is that!

The benefits of AR are not only limited to shopping.  For example, Google Maps is testing the use of augmented reality to help with directions when walking.  In place of looking at a digital map, viewers may be able to look at the actual surroundings and pathways with arrows overlaid to help with navigation.

Retail websites are using this technology and experience, not just to impress customers, but to place the product virtually into a consumer’s life, leading to a potential purchase and increased revenue.  A huge issue for clothing retailers especially is the high volume of customer returns, AR has the potential to significantly reduce these returns and associated costs.  Augmented Reality comfortably bridges the gap between traditional and online shopping, and brings out the best of both worlds.


How to Retain Talented Employees – 5 Ways

How to Retain Talented Employees – 5 Ways

Finding and retaining the loyal and progressive talent in an organization is both a cost-effective and fundamental element for the growth of all businesses.  Being on the contestant recruitment treadmill of hiring and training up new staff is expensive and time-consuming while training up and broadening the abilities of your talented workforce is a worthwhile investment, that will reap rewards.

In order to retain staff and keep them feeling engaged, employers must design and plan a strategy to attract and retain talented employees. Here are 5 ways to help you achieve this:

Make the talent search your marketing tool: When it comes to Talent acquisition we post jobs on portals. It is very important to create job posts which feature your company. A well-informed candidate wants to know the work culture of the company, market your business to attract good talent.

Attract candidates outside of the local area: When filling a top position or hiring a senior leader for your company, the perfect candidate may need to relocate for your position. Look for ways to assist with the process, such as offering local advice on the accommodation and housing as well as assisting with relocation charges. This way you will build a candidate’s trust and loyalty.

Be Flexible and Care for employees: In the modern workplace employee’s value flexible working to fit in with their individual circumstances. When an employer provides flexible work hours, employees feel encouraged towards keeping work/life balance. Great employees will not misuse this facility.

Do not Micromanage: Success comes from innovation and creative thinking. Give your employees space and trust to thrive, avoid micromanaging every aspect of their role.  This can lead to a culture of distrust which eventually affects productivity. Trusted and valued employees stay longer with companies and are much more effective.

Build a supportive Team: We can spend the majority of the working day in the office, therefore it is important for employees to feel part of the team and a good bond with their colleagues. The employers have a responsibility to make sure all members of the team feel engaged, motivated and valued.  Ideas for office events and social team building can create a team spirit and repay the company in many ways.

Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

Artificial Intelligence is becoming a major driver of rapid change in the technology world and, as it starts to affect more and more sectors, the HR and Recruitment industry is also preparing for an automation revolution.  The collaboration of human skills and technology has the potential to dominate the industry in the coming years, and research firm McKinsey Institute suggests in a report that AI will be accountable for the automation of 800 million jobs globally by 2030, including up to 20% of the UK workforce.

As new innovations and trends prevail in the recruitment industry, recruiters have the chance to leverage AI software and chatbots, which can improve the candidate experience and make profiling and filtration for large numbers of applicants more efficient.

Artificial Intelligence can help recruiters to streamline the hiring process by doing time-sensitive tasks including resume screening, interview scheduling and emailing.  This frees up time for recruiters to focus on building genuine relationships with candidates and clients and ultimately reduce costs and the time to hire.

More tools are becoming available to assist with creating job descriptions using keywords related to your job opening integrated with market research data.  These can help in finding quality candidates at the right time, with AI acting as a personal assistant to the recruiter.  AI tools have the potential to elevate the level and productivity of candidate interactions with the recruiter, by personalising the experience and keeping candidates engaged and valued.

In a nutshell, as the implementation of Artificial Intelligence grows, it will optimize the recruiting process so that it becomes more efficient, accurate and customer-centric.  The signs are that AI-based tools are set to become integral to the recruitment function and provide many possibilities for improvement in the future.

5 Barriers to Cloud Analytics for Enterprises

Cloud computing took seed when a quintillion bytes of data required secure storage. This is referred to as simply Big Data. Big Data and Cloud computing logically complement each other. However, enterprises are still sceptical in migrating their data analytics to the cloud, also known as Cloud Analytics.

What is Cloud Analytics?

This term refers to technological and analytical tools and methods specifically designed to analyze information from massive data. Data analysis and related services are performed on a public or a private cloud.

A recent survey of senior technology leaders suggests that there are some major barriers which conflict with the idea of deploying Cloud Analytics. It can be troublesome to manage and secure the essence of the data rather than just stacking it.

Here are 5 major barriers to Cloud Analytics

Security: As highlighted in the survey result, the security of data analytics in the public cloud is a major concern. Approx. 50% technology leaders consider security as the prime reason for not choosing public cloud for analytics. Interestingly, 46% leaders say that data analytics in the public cloud ensures higher levels of security. This remains a topic of debate among analysts and business owners.

Technological disconnect: Organizations are not ready to completely trust technological advancements. While people who are actually using Cloud Analytics suggest that public cloud makes it easier to use innovative analytics technology. 49% of technology leaders said that technological disconnect and low performance was preventing them from deploying cloud analytics.

Regulatory Compliance: With the advent of EU GDPR, there are strict laws for storing data in the public cloud. The strong data privacy laws are making cloud analytics tougher and this is a big reason for enterprises to not go this way. Interestingly, research firm IDC has predicted, “By the end of 2019, 15 percent of small and midsize banks will have implemented cloud-based compliance analytics platforms and data solutions to improve KYC [Know Your Customer], CDD [Customer Due Diligence] and AML [Anti-Money Laundering] compliance.”

Lack of Trust in Cloud: 32% survey respondents have a lack of trust in the Cloud for moving analytics to a public cloud environment. Traditional IT professionals did not have experience of migrating data to the cloud as they are used to work with physical infrastructure. Also, Cloud security breach cases have strengthened their reluctance to use Cloud analytics.

Integration of Legacy systems and Cloud Applications: According to 30% technology, it can be very complicated to connect cloud analytics to legacy data centre systems, such as in-house SAN and NAS storage. While it is extremely easy to connect analytics to cloud storage. Hence, integration can be seen as a significant challenge.

These technical and cultural hindrances are challenges that organizations are working to overcome in order to make cloud analytics viable.

10 Steps to be ready for EU GDPR

Europe is going to witness a major overhaul in Data Protection law with effect from the May 2018, which is likely to affect every business in the UK.

The General Data Protection Regulation requires businesses to properly protect and maintain the privacy of customer data. Businesses are required to comply with the new regulations, or run the risk of heavy fines. Here are some steps issued by the Information Commission’s Office (ICO) to ensure companies are ready for the GDPR compliance deadline.

The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Educating about GDPR

The law states, senior officials and decision-makers must know about the rights and obligations of the law. Why is awareness important? If the decision makers are aware of the law and the company is creating an awareness of GDPR rules, there may be leniency from the ICO on potential penalties.

Step 2: Information Auditing

Companies will need to keep a track of all data movement to and from the company. The GDPR rules require a company to maintain records of their data processing activities. Why is it important? The business will be required to show how they comply with the GDPR’s accountability principle. So, redundant policies and procedures will help them to state accountability.

Step 3: Privacy Statement Broadcast

All businesses collecting user information, need to communicate this to the user through a privacy policy statement. If you have not planned to make the required changes for communicating these privacy notices, this is the time to review it. Why is it important? According to ICO, companies will need to showcase their process for collecting user data, why the law allows them to collect user information, the timeline of retention of data and how they are going to use their data. Here is the guideline for ICO’s Privacy Notices Code of Practice.

Step 4: User’s Rights

Updating, Addition and even Deletion of user data – everything is covered under GDPR. The GDPR includes the following rights for individuals:

  1. the right to be informed;
  2. right of access;
  3. the right to rectification;
  4. right to erasure;
  5. the right to restrict processing;
  6. right to data portability;
  7. the right to object; and
  8. right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

These rights were implicated in DPA also, while Data Portability law is completely new. It only applies,

  • to personal data an individual has provided to a controller
  • where the processing is based on the individual’s consent or for the performance of a contract;
  • when processing is carried out by automated means.

Step 5: The Lawful basis of processing data

Businesses need to disclose their suitability by law for collecting user information. This information should be documented and updated on the privacy policy statement of the website. With GDPR, people will have a stronger right to have their data deleted where businesses use consent as their lawful basis for processing.

Step 6: Consent

Companies which collect data may be required to review how they seek, record and manage the content given by the user on the collection of data. The user should not be bounded to give consent by pre-ticked boxes or inactivity.

Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Consent cannot be bundled in with other terms and conditions. Additionally, it should be equally easy to withdraw the consent.

Step 7: Children

GDPR is introducing special protection for children’s personal data, particularly on social networking sites. Any company offering online services to children must get consent from their parent or guardian. The GDPR sets the age when a child can give their own consent to this processing at 16 (although this may be lowered to a minimum of 13 in the UK).

The consent statement for children should appear in a language they can easily understand.

Step 8: Data Breaches

Every business collecting data should have a robust procedure to ensure there is no loss of data. In case of the data breach, the business should have the provision to detect, report and investigate the loss of personal data.

If the lost data can lead to a risk to the rights and freedom of an individual, the businesses should immediately inform this to Information Commission’s Office (ICO). Failure to report a breach when required to do so could result in a fine, as well as a fine for the breach itself.

Step 9: Data Protection Officers

Companies will need to designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance. A Data Protection Officer (DPO) is required if the company falls under the following:

  • A public authority (except for courts acting in their judicial capacity);
  • An organisation that carries out the regular and systematic monitoring of individuals on a large scale; or
  • An organisation that carries out the large-scale processing of special categories of data, such as health records, or information about criminal convictions.

The DPO (Internal or External) must have the knowledge, support and authority to carry out their role effectively.

Step 10: International Business

If an organization operates in multiple EU member states, they should recognize their lead data protection supervisory authority. This information is also required to be documented. Generally, the lead authority is the supervisory authority in the state of organizations’ headquarters.

If it is relevant to an organization, they must find out where the organisation makes its most significant decisions about its data processing activities.

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