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HR: THE NEW CENTRAL SOURCE OF TRUTH FOR BUSINESS IT

Dan Power, UK regional manager at OneLogin

 

 Businesses the world over are facing ever increasing pressure to adapt and evolve their IT strategies to keep pace with technology to attract and maintain a productive, talented and happy workforce. However, it’s not just as simple as starting a fresh IT strategy, particularly as many businesses at an enterprise level have decades of legacy IT to contend with.

 

The goal of a successful digital transformation and digital security strategy is to ensure employees have the right access to the right information and applications from the right location and devices, at the right time. It is imperative that employees have access to the right systems, so they can hit the ground running and are productive from day one. As the Human Resources (HR) department has access to employee information, regarding changes to their employment i.e. change in roles (promotions etc.) and also if an employee is leaving the company – placing HR in the key position of power when it comes to systems on-boarding and off-boarding.

 

In addition to visibility of employee movements and needs, HR is also one of the most strategic roles within a company, as they tend to be the right hand to the CEO and seen as an advisor to the organisation’s leadership team, informing decision-making processes and resulting decisions. A great HR advisor must be a change champion who has the agility and ability to disrupt, pivot and try new things, just like an entrepreneur.

 

A combination of HR’s visibility over a company and their advisory position to senior leadership has resulted in an IT power shift. The focus has moved from the traditional IT decision makers into the hands of the HR department, who are now expected to manage IT operations to ensure efficiencies and effective change management, as opposed to the traditional IT department. However, with great power comes great responsibilities.

 

IT vs. Employee Retention

While the entire workplace has become accustomed to living and working alongside technology, Millennials are the first generation to drive digital transformation in the workplace. This generation is now infiltrating management level, with Generation Z hot on their heels and born into a world they have never known without technology.

 

For many organisations, internal communications is fragmented and has begun to impact wider company innovation and digital transformation. Cloud migration is a perfect example; economic savings are seldom realised while the benefits of driving business momentum and IT agility are under appreciated due to lack of internal communications to decipher the business need.

 

 It is important that HR understands the influence of IT in the workplace and must consider the benefit of a potential solution to employees. To do so, HR must question how a solution will continue to facilitate employees in the future as their demands grow, how it will attract and retain valuable employees and whether the solution will demonstrate trust or alienate employees overall. At the end of the day, people are the driving power of any company, and if the company doesn’t demonstrate a people first approach when it comes to IT, the businesses bottom line with ultimately suffer.

 

A successful IT strategy should focus on harnessing IT that will upskill, retain and enable a positive working environment. This includes the emphasis that a business places on IT and the role of IT within its infrastructure. If a business is using inefficient outdated systems, this will in turn affect employee’s productivity and won’t promote a flexible working environment, talented millennial staff will simply go to the competitors who are. In fact, 42% of millennials are likely to quit a job if the technology they have available to them is substandard[1]. Across most consumer demographics, but especially millennials, most people complain that the technology they have at “home” is more modern and more valuable than the technology they have in the workplace.

 

If HR is perhaps slow to respond to internal IT requests or doesn’t see the value in the use of new IT, such as cloud-based applications, employees will circumnavigate the approval process and simply purchase the IT they need or alternatively move to a company that can. Welcome the nightmare that is Shadow IT. Cisco recently found between 17 and 20 times more cloud applications running in companies than their IT departments had estimated.

 

 The role of HR in the future of business IT and business growth

HR has now become a central corporate south of truth and has a responsibility to drive digital adoption to maintain staff.While HR departments are finding themselves frantically trying to keep IT and employees both happy, the volume of data businesses are producing is growing exponentially and the pace of technology is accelerating. As IoT (Internet of Things) reaches upwards of 163 zettabytes will be collected by 2025[2], new challenges will continue to arise around how businesses secure and analyse data to benefit the business.

 

Speed, intelligence and agility will ultimately define the new digital dawn. Great tech is not just about business enablement, but business empowerment and this is what defines digital transformation. With HR well positioned between the people and the management of businesses, they are well placed to inform IT decision making processes but also IT management. For example, Identity and Access Management is used by companies to make sure the right people have the right access to the right applications at the right time and from the right location and the right devices. HR is imperative to the smooth running of IAM tools, as they know when people’s’ roles change or even when they decided to leave the company. HR then updates internal employee records, which they already do, which triggers automatic updates to user provisioning rules. This includes revoking an employee’s access rights to the corporate network to ensure they are appropriately off-boarded from every application as soon as they leave the company. A simple act of HR updating IAM user provisioning saves IT departments hours of having to individually update a user’s access rights manually for each and every corporate application, the same goes for when a user leaves the company.

 

Central to empowering HR and IT to work together seamlessly is digital cohesion; seamlessly integrating the power of computing and analytics to harness the full capabilities of the modern IT enabled workplace. The objective is to foster more convenience and applied decision making that maximises business value and minimises the mundane. At the end of the day, the critical issue is about time, and not necessarily money in the same respect. The era of digital business is about accelerating business momentum and business agility by orchestrating around the cloud and mobile. Equally, at its core, a digital business is heavily dependent upon analytics, new security models and automation.

 

Without harnessing the value of cloud and mobile, businesses will lose out on talent. Never has the use of technology to attract and retain great talent been so important. To ensure digital transformation remains an ongoing business priority, HR must become the central source of truth when it comes to IT.

 

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Business

STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19

By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe

 

The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and more forced to close their doors following the Government’s orders that they should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

While this is expected to flatten the curve and reduce the number of coronavirus cases, it will of course have an impact on businesses and employees alike.  For small businesses especially, there are many concerns about how they can claim on their insurance to weigh the fall of this impact.

 

Mixed Messaging

In response to calls to help struggling businesses, the Government has informed the public that companies who are facing turmoil will be able to claim on their business interruption insurance during this difficult time. For most, this is wrong.

Alex Balcombe

The insurance industry has also been extremely vocal that there is no cover for any coronavirus-hit businesses during this tough financial period. This isn’t strictly true either.

How can businesses see through the mixed messaging and best secure their future and their livelihoods and reduce money worries? It’s an extremely stressful time for many companies, and confusion over whether or not they can be covered can only cause more unnecessary stress.

Since it’s a new disease, most businesses will not be covered for business interruption due to COVID-19. In fact, the vast majority of policies do not cover anything related to COVID-19.

That said –  don’t rule out the idea that you may be covered. There is a chance that you will be covered against COVID-19, but not know it. This is a very small chance, but your current cover may already protect your business against the consequences of coronavirus, and the nationwide response to it –  though those with this cover are unlikely to realise it.

 

How Could I Be Covered?

Not everyone has business interruption insurance, as it’s not a legal requirement. It is entirely up to the policy holder to weigh up the benefits of having it, and their ability to trade should a disaster happen.

To be considered for cover for COVID-19, there are two types of policy extensions to your business interruption cover that can potentially cover you for this situation:

Infectious Disease Extension 

Many policies expressly state which diseases fall within the realm of being an infectious or notifiable disease. If this is the case, your policy will not provide cover. As it is a new disease, these policies will not have included COVID-19.

Other infectious disease extension policies will define the disease with reference to the actions of the government. Since the UK Government has named COVID-19 as a notifiable disease throughout the UK, it is possible that your business may fall into this definition, thus meaning you may be able to make a claim.

However, again, it’s not always that simple. Many policies require the disease to have been on your premises, while others specify a radius from your premises in order to qualify.

 

Denial of Access Extension (non-damage)

Denial of Access Extension (non-damage) policies may cover you if you’re prevented from accessing your property. This could be due to an event, or by the actions of a competent authority, which could cause your business interruption cover to engage.

If covered by this clause, there are often very subtle differences in wording in your policy. This could depend on the insurer or policy. You may well be covered, but it will depend on your particular circumstances, and the specific policy wording.

 

What now?

It’s clear that the Government needs to do more in ensuring there is clear messaging for businesses, and to help the insurance market look after policy holders. This is an unprecedented situation, and with many people looking to claim on their insurance, we’re already seeing major delays which could have a domino impact.

People throughout the world are understandably facing all kinds of worries because of the current pandemic. Our ways of living have changed, and many business owners will not have experienced a situation like this in their life times. If you own a business and are unsure about whether you can claim for business interruption, or are confused about ambiguous wording, get in touch with a loss assessor.

These claims are not simple, but loss assessors will be experts in business interruption insurance, and will specialise in large and complex claims. They will be able to help and guide you along the way, check your wording and work on your behalf to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.

 

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Business

HARNESSING ANALYTICS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD

ANALYTICS

By Anna Lykourina, EMEA Fraud Analytics Expert at SAS

 

In the past, the fight against fraud has been a bit hit-and-miss. It has relied on auditors to identify patterns of behaviour that just didn’t quite fit. They often only detected problems months after the event. And then organisations had to claw back stolen funds through legal processes.

In a world where transactions happen in under a second, however, this is no longer acceptable. We need to be able to detect fraud immediately, if not before it happens. Customers want safe and protected data that is not vulnerable to identity theft through company systems. But they still want to be able to pay online and in seconds. The stakes are high, but fortunately new tools and techniques in fraud analytics are enabling companies to stay ahead of fraud.

 

Trusting machines to do the work

Machines are much better than humans at processing large data sets. They are able to examine large numbers of transactions and recognise thousands of fraud patterns instead of the few captured by creating rules. On the other hand, fraudsters have become adept at finding loopholes. Whatever rules you set, it is likely that they will be able to get ahead of them. But what if your system was able to think for itself, at least to a certain extent?

New approaches to fraud prevention combine rules-based systems with machine learning and artificial intelligence-based fraud detection systems. These hybrid systems are able to detect and recognise thousands of fraud patterns and learn from the data. Automated analytical-based fraud detection systems can reveal novel fraud patterns and identify organised crime more consistently, efficiently and quickly. This makes them a good investment for businesses across a wide range of sectors, including public sector, insurance, banking, and even healthcare or telecommunications.

How, though, can you harness analytics as a tool in your fight against fraud?

 

Identifying needs and solutions

The first step is to identify which options you need. Probably the best way to do this is through a series of company-wide workshops with the fraud analytics experts to determine what analytics you need, which data to include and techniques to use, and what results to report. They can also identify the ideal combination of rules-based and AI/ML approaches to detect fraud as early as possible.

Companies looking towards advanced analytics for fraud detection will need to make a number of decisions. They will need to optimise existing scenario threshold tuning, explore big data, develop and interpret machine learning models for fraud, discover relevant information in text data, and prioritise and auto-route alerts. There may be industry-specific decisions to make, too, such as automating damage analysis through image recognition in the insurance sector. By automating these areas, companies can both significantly reduce human effort – reducing costs – and improve their fraud detection and prevention.

 

Benefits of an analytical approach to fraud detection and prevention

Companies that are already using an analytical approach for fraud prevention have reported several important benefits. First, the quality of referrals for further investigation is better. Investigators also have a much clearer idea of why the referral has been made, which improves the efficiency of investigation. Analytics also improves investigation efficiency by reducing the number of both false positives (that is, alerts that turn out not to be fraud) and false negatives (failure to spot actual frauds). This improves customer experience and reduces risk to the company.

Analytics makes it possible to uncover complex or organised fraud that rules-based systems would miss. Companies can group together customers and accounts with similar behaviors, and then set risk-based thresholds appropriate for each scenario.

There are several sector-specific benefits too. For example, insurance firms can identify fraudulent claims faster to prevent improper payments from going out. Claims investigation is likely to be more consistent because claims are scored through technology, algorithms and analytics, rather than by people. Finally, it becomes possible to shorten the claims process through automated damage analysis. It is no wonder that organizations across a wide range of sectors are placing analytics at the heart of their anti-fraud strategy.

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