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HOW VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS CAN IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND REDUCE COSTS

By Daniel Creigh, Head of UK & Ireland, Zoom Video Communications

Extreme weather events – ranging from the chill that gripped that nation earlier this year, to the chaos often caused on the road and rail network by extreme heat – isn’t the only reason for businesses to find ways of boosting productivity all year round. The promised economic recovery has been slow, so businesses should continue to seek smart investments that will further drive growth in order to make the future a little bit brighter for everyone.

To address the economic challenge, many organisations are moving towards an agile workplace to cut operational costs and increase employee wellbeing, by moving their staff to smaller, more cost-effective premises and encouraging hot-desking as well as remote or home working. To that end, we’re seeing a widening of the definition of a workspace; from huddle and co-working spaces to coffee shops, more places are being deemed acceptable places to work, as long as the job gets done effectively.

One way to support this new workplace dynamic, is to invest in technology. The latest video communications options, such as those offered by Zoom, boast the latest technological advances that can provide a significant return on investment in many areas. The two most important are cutting business travel expenses, which tend to eat up a sizeable portion of any company’s budget, and improving productivity by allowing for greater collaboration and productivity between employees, customers and suppliers, no matter where they are based.

While travel savings have been a recognisable benefit of video communications, here are four ways video conferencing increases collaborative productivity:

  • Being Able to See Everyone Has a Positive Impact: Phone conferences that are not supplemented with video might cause some team members to become distracted. Video forces them to concentrate more since everyone is looking at each other.
  • Less Travel Means Higher Productivity: Travel has become so stressful that significantly more time is lost now than ever before when employees have to fly or take long car or train trips to remote locations. Video communications allows everyone to stay put, and encourages a greater work-life balance.
  • Higher Level of Training: Video communications allows a higher level of on-the-job training, which means employees can do their jobs better, more quickly, and will be inspired by new opportunities.
  • Distinct Advantage Over Competitors: The more technology a company is able to leverage, the more of an advantage it will have over its competitors. Video conferences allow for effective communication, which will inspire employees to consistently want to do more to maintain that advantage.  Products are developed and introduced to the market more quickly, problems are resolved faster and everyone needing to be involved in a decision can be without the need to travel or wait for an in-person meeting to take place.

When it comes to reducing costs, video communications often pays for itself in a matter of months due to the money companies save on travel and related expenses. Recent Frost & Sullivan research shows that when long distance travel is involved, business trips can be incredibly costly even when employees fly or drive to meetings. It doesn’t take many participants for the cost of a single in-person meeting to reach five figures; for every person who doesn’t have to drive or fly to attend, companies can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

But when forward-thinking companies make their ROI calculations around video communications, they also factor in the ‘softer’ benefits of the technology. If they don’t have to spend hours or days travelling to and from meetings, employees are more productive—they can use that travel time on doing actual work. And since video communications itself makes audio and Web meetings more effective, the technology improves the value of those other tools. Finally, video communications can strengthen virtual teams by helping remote employees integrate more easily into the group. That makes more meetings more productive, shortening cycle times and decision making for a host of business processes and interactions.

In an increasingly virtual workplace, with employees located around the world, advanced communications and collaboration technologies are changing the way people do business. The new tools can make employees more productive, cut costs, decrease cycle times and boost the bottom line. Multi-platform video communications has proven to be a huge advantage to virtual organisations, which can use the technology to leverage face-to-face communications between any and all employees without incurring the high travel costs and downtime that accompany in-person meetings. The result: higher productivity and a very attractive ROI, all year around, whatever the weather.

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Business

6 STEPS FOR BUSINESSES TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE DATA COMPLIANT

By Alex Hazell, Acxiom UK head of legal

Data compliance can be a complex – and ever changing – consideration for marketers in all sectors.

And today, where a data-driven, personalised approach is the answer to create outstanding customer experiences that beat those of competitors – as well as a crucial governance consideration – it has never been more critical to understand data compliance, and get it right. This is particularly true in financial services, where neobanks and fintechs are using data-driven approaches to gain more and more ground in the sector.

GDPR, CCPA – understanding the acronyms and regulations that apply

With the volume of consumer data of all kinds growing exponentially, understanding how to use it effectively is critical to business performance; and a growing number of governance rules is in force to ensure legal, ethical and responsible use of personal data.

Ultimately these regulations are in place to compel organisations to review and improve how they collect, store and utilise personal data, and to place greater emphasis on ethical practice and individual rights.

For example, in the UK and the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in 2018 to accompany the e-Privacy Directive that sits alongside it, and is focused on protecting individuals from the unlawful and unfair use of their personal data. Note that the EU is in the process of replacing the current e-privacy Directive with the e-Privacy Regulation.

Equally, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into force as of January 2020 and is a state statute designed to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California, USA.

Of course there are many other regulations to consider. For example, when in heavily regulated industries such as finance, firms may have a requirement to comply with other sector-specific regulations and codes such as FCRA, HIPAA, PCI – as well as CCPA or GDPR. Or, they may need to know how to manage sensitive or special category personal data which often requires a higher level of compliance.

And because of the breadth and complexity of these ever-evolving considerations – including, but not limited to eye-watering maximum level fines for non-compliance – data compliance can seem overwhelming. So, how can marketers truly understand what’s required, and stay on top of the rich tapestry of governance and regulations that applies to their organisation?

Six steps to ensure compliant customer data use

At a top level, data compliance requires marketers to take a transparent, considered approach to consumer data, based for the most part on providing varying degrees of notice and choice; for example, in the case of the GDPR, that may be via the consent or legitimate interest grounds.

With this in mind, and a focus on driving relevancy, value and impressive experiences, aimed to surprise and delight, both marketers and consumers can benefit from data compliance – it’s the ticket to better data driven experiences on all sides!

 

So how should data-driven marketers act to be certain of best practice data use, post GDPR and CCPA?

  1. Always put the consumer first. Consumer interests and customer value must always shape how marketers collect, use and protect data, to ensure trust, transparency and compliance.
  2. Work to communicate value. Keep data use balanced across the business, not just in marketing. Always orient toward driving consumer value – to demonstrate and explain the value return that consumers will achieve from a data exchange.
  3. Build trust through transparency. Clear, simple explanations are important to ensure understanding and build trust. So be open and transparent – data used for marketing is a far cry from personal data being used for other more intrusive purposes – and those doing the right thing have nothing to hide.
  4. Ensure responsible, balanced use of data. Organisations need to make sure it has clear internal policies around data ethics, privacy and work to ensure balanced data use everywhere, for true trust. Note that in the case of GDPR, firms need to be able to demonstrate accountability, and data protection impact assessments are often required to ensure the correct safeguards and balances are in place.
  5. Remove data silos. A fragmented tech stack with disparate data makes it hard to truly see what data a company has, where it is, and how compliant it is. Creating a unified data layer and removing silos is the best way to connect the data, ensure data accuracy and hygiene – and unlock seamless customer experiences through greater personalisation. This data combination also needs to be done in a compliant and ethical way.
  6. Prioritise data protection and compliance. Adhering to data privacy legislation is a ‘must-have’ consideration, not a ‘nice-to-have’. As such, it’s critical that marketers put in place a set of accountability measures to ensure responsible and compliant handling, whether they choose to do this alone, or with the guidance of a trusted data partner.

A compliant approach to consumer data and privacy is a critical part of any business strategy – not an optional one – so it’s important to have a roadmap to compliance for the business.

Of course, knowing how to assess, consider, and (where needed) adjust how an organisation hosts, manages and uses data to remain compliant can be a challenge. For this reason, many organisations choose to seek external expertise and advice, and understand the assistance and competitive advantage that a data partnership can provide.

Ultimately, from providing clarity over governance and legislation, to ensuring data processes and technologies are compliant, secure and futureproofed – working with a data partner can help organisations understand and navigate regulations to execute ethical, legal and responsible compliance for seamless, trusted marketing.

 

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Business

FIVE REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS’ PROCUREMENT TEAM SHOULD BE USING A CONTRACT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

By Daniel Ball, business development director at Wax Digital

 

Even in today’s digital-first environment some businesses are still storing documents, such as contracts, in filing cabinets making it labour intensive to retrieve, manage and even identify important paperwork. In fact, it is calculated that poor contract management practices are costing companies an average of nine percent of their annual revenues.

Moving to a contract management system online can speed up the retrieval process and help decrease the amount of time and resources required to manage contracts. Using a CMS companies can create an online database to centralise information and store documents. Not only does this help ensure contracts are well managed and kept up-to-date, but it can also help businesses save up to 20 percent of overall costs per year.

From legal departments overseeing regulation compliance to finance teams ensuring payment deadlines are met, contract management technology benefits many areas of an organisation. So, how can a good CMS help your procurement team?

 

Daniel Ball

How will a good CMS help your procurement team?

The number of suppliers your procurement team must oversee varies depending on the size of your business. It’s not uncommon for large enterprises to be working with thousands of suppliers at one time. A CMS will use automation to record, manage and streamline data, providing procurement teams with important contract details including time and location information, as well as real time alerts such as contract breaches.

Here are five reasons why your business should be using an online contract management platform:

  1. Increased spend visibility

Using a CMS can give procurement professionals full visibility of suppliers, including the company name and location of where a product is coming from and in what quantity. This transparency will also help contribute to the risk management strategy of your business as it enables you to spot vendors who may be prone to environmental, economic and political uncertainty. In the current environment, for example, suppliers’ may have decreased or ceased production due to COVID-19 or could have been heavily impacted by the negative price of oil, making visibility increasingly important for businesses.

 

  1. Eliminates maverick spend

Centralising and streamlining contract documents will ensure that buyers can instantly access up-to-date information to see if a contract already exists. This helps buyers avoid simple and common mistakes that often occur when using manual filing systems, such as onboarding new vendors when existing agreements are in place with another supplier.

 

  1. Keeps track of contract renewals

It’s easy to forget about contract renewals or sign up for another term without ending an existing agreement, especially when using a traditional filing system. Businesses using an online CMS can set up renewal alerts in advance, allowing buyers sufficient time to source new vendors or negotiate better prices.

 

  1. Improves spend management

A centralised database means that all negotiated prices, contract conditions and other important transactions can be accessed in one place, making it easier to analyse spend. A CMS can help identify discrepancies, find where contract violations have occurred and deal with any associated problems.

 

  1. Adhering to regulatory and legislative compliance

It’s important to ensure that all suppliers are meeting the terms of their contracts. A CMS will automatically audit supplier information, meaning that any failures are immediately raised to procurement teams. The platform will also provide notifications if any new data is required or updates need to be made, avoiding potential legal issues.

It’s clear that using an online CMS will benefit your business and procurement teams by increasing spend visibility, enabling access to up to date information, ensuring contracts are closely monitored while contributing to the reduction of unnecessary spend. So, now’s the time to stop relying on those dusty old filing cabinets and start using a CMS.

 

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