Ergonomics is often one of the most overlooked health concerns within the office. While there are OH&S regulations for lifting, moving heavy objects, and safety when working with chemicals and electricity, and there are guidelines for how long a person should be “sedentary” (i.e sitting), there are no formal governance requirements for the chairs that people use, or their computer equipment.

Sitting for long periods of time day in, day out, has been associated with repetitive strain injury, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, chronic pain and metabolic syndromes (heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure). Musculoskeletal conditions costs $4.8 billion, and back pain costs $2.8 billion in Australia per year. This can be a serious cost to both businesses and the economy, and can also cause deep levels of dissatisfaction in working conditions and lifestyle.

Poor ergonomics is, by stealth, one of the greatest productivity costs in Australia, and IT has a big role to play in helping to address it.

Consider the eyes too

Staring at the wrong screen all day long can cause issues for two reasons:

It can force the head into a position that causes strain, tiredness, and potentially causes damage to the neck muscles. It can also lead to poor posture habits in the long term.A poor quality monitor can also cause eye strain.

The expectation for professionals to sit in front of screens for long periods of time – whether working from the office or remotely – does not appear to be wanning, despite the health issues being well-known. So, with the needs of professionals in mind, Samsung has worked hard to develop a business monitor range to help promote healthier working habits.

Firstly, Samsung’s entire range of business monitors feature VESA mount compatibility, and a variety of tilt, swivel, and pivot control points designed to give the user fine levels of control for just about any environment. This is important because modern wisdom suggests that people should vary how they work through the day. In recent years, standing desks have become popular, because they are proven to improve blood pressure and reduce lower back pain. At the same time, standing at a desk all day can cause new problems, such as foot pain.

So, most office workers are encouraged to alternate between sitting and standing positions throughout the day now. However, shifting between sitting and standing reorients the body and requires fine control of the monitor to help maintain a comfortable head and neck position each time. This is what the VESA mount compatibility facilitates.

Meanwhile, the business monitors have also all been given TÜV certification for intelligent eye care. TÜV Rheinland is one of the world’s leading testing service providers, and it tests displays against the ISO 9241-307 standard to ensure that they reduce annoying reflections, are designed to safeguard image quality from different perspectives, facilitate adjustable blue light content and helps to ensure displays are flicker-free.

With as many as 90 per cent of digital device users experiencing the symptoms of digital eye strain, investing in monitors that are proven to minimise the strain on the eyes is a quick pathway in ensuring that the majority of the workforce are comfortable while at work.

The best practices while using a monitor

Of course, technology can only be part of the solution, and with ergonomics, best practices really need to be built into workplace policy and education to help protect the employees. With regards to monitors and computers, employers should complement the investment in ergonomic equipment by encouraging their employees to:

Keep the monitor at a good distance. Larger monitors are actually good for this as they encourage the employee to position themselves further away to have a good view of the whole screen.Take quick and regular breaks to move away from the screen for a short time. This could be a quick coffee run or even a moment to step away from the desk and stretch out. It’s a good idea to leave the mobile behind when doing that, so that they avoid the temptation to look at a screen at all.Adopt a neutral posture. If sitting make sure to use the backrest, rather than hunch over forwards. If standing, be mindful to split the weight between both feet to distribute the weight evenly.

By looking after the ergonomics at a workplace, the organisation will enjoy better productivity and a more positive workforce. At a time where skill shortages are severe, it’s more important than ever to make sure that employees are healthy, well looked after, and happy in their jobs.

To learn more about the Samsung business monitor line, and its ergonomic benefits, click here: https://www.samsung.com/au/business/monitors/

Ergonomics, Monitors

For many of today’s IT teams, there’s a common, recurring question that keeps being posed: Why are we doing this?

This question is fundamental, some may say basic, but it is often one that teams don’t get good, solid answers to. Further, this speaks to a broader lack of visibility and insight. Among the many potential initiatives considered, why was the current one selected? At a higher level, what’s the reasoning behind the relative staffing and budgeting priorities across products, support, and operations? Why do some teams have ample resources, while others are running lean? Even worse, what if teams find out that they’ve been wasting significant time on a “zombie” project, that is, one that’s lost executive sponsorship? For example, weeks after an executive departed, teams may find out there’s no longer support for an initiative they’ve dedicated significant effort to, and that it is going to be shelved before it ever sees the light of day.

When teams are wasting time focusing on zombie projects or they’re operating in the dark in terms of how their efforts map to business priorities, their productivity, morale, and results can all suffer.

This underscores why instituting Value Stream Management (VSM) is such a vital endeavor.

Simply put, VSM is about maximizing the delivery of value to customers. Through VSM, teams seek to ensure they’re properly funding, defining, aligning, measuring, and optimizing value streams.

VSM can provide leaders with transparency into the work that’s being done and how that aligns with their investments. Further, VSM is about bridging the gap between business and IT.

Through VSM, development teams and their management can gain better insight into the purpose of their work, and how it translates into value for customers and the organization.

VSM platforms can be integral in realizing this potential. VSM platforms can help teams manage work and investments across the enterprise. Not only can work be seen from a top-down view but also from a bottom-up perspective. This is beneficial for many different reasons. At the most basic level, teams that understand why they are being asked to work on a particular initiative will have a higher level of engagement and commitment to making that initiative a success.

More practically, the understanding of how work aligns with the organization’s strategic goals allows project teams to make more informed decisions on the approach to use, the way to overcome problems, and so on. In an agile environment, where success is dependent on empowered teams, that level of transparency is critical.

Transparency isn’t just important to the teams doing the work either. PMOs and related support functions have to ensure the effective use of resources, and that means delivering the best possible combination of business outcomes. Only when they can view the end-to-end integration of work — from goal, to investment decision, to work plan — can they intelligently make those prioritization and scheduling choices. The same holds true for product owners. Their focus is different than the PMO, but they must translate business vision into technical priorities, and that can only happen with end-to-end transparency.

Advanced VSM platforms can represent a solution for teams across the enterprise. From IT to business executives, these platforms can support planning, decision making, investment, and resources management. Through VSM platforms, teams can stop operating in the dark, and they can avoid having to waste time on zombie projects.

To learn more about ValueOps, the VSM platform from Broadcom, be sure to visit our ValueOps VSM page. Find out how you can deliver more value to your customers and gain increased visibility and alignment in your organization.

Explore ValueOps Value Stream Management, built to manage what you value most.

Collaboration Software

Many view today’s supply chains as true marvels of modern existence — push a button and a desired object is delivered to one’s doorstep. Others see modern supply chains disrupting local economies and damaging the environment.

Massively complex, interdependent, and subject to disruptions, supply chains were, for the most part just a few years ago, the purview of midlevel executives operating out of sight of newsrooms and boardrooms. The pandemic, escalating geopolitical tensions, cyberattacks, and severe weather events have made the supply chain a universal issue subject to boardroom and even White House scrutiny.

Supply chain disruptions and irregularities leading to shortages, delays, and escalating price increases have become defining realities of modern business today. So too is the fallout of an ever-expanding knowledge set that sees modern enterprises filled with black boxes of “we-know-it’s-important-but-we-don’t-really-understand-it” specialty areas. Supply chain used to be one of those black boxes. But CEOs and boards of directors are now demanding that the supply chain black box be opened and fully explained. This is not a trivial exercise — and it is one that CIOs need to undertake strategically.

The CIO as transparency and data delivery champion

Prior to the pandemic, most people — even businesses — took supply chains for granted. You wanted something, or needed a part to produce a product, and you simply ordered it and it would be delivered — quickly, affordably, and with forecastable precision. This is no longer the case. Supply chain realities are changing how organizations operate, and how they design and deliver new products and services.

But the first step to making supply chains more resilient is transparency. For IT, this means mapping the total end-to-end flow of material, tasks, and costs from product/service design to ultimate customer delivery. This exercise will surface high-risk areas of the supply chain such as the auto industry’s overdependence on a few semiconductor factories in Taiwan, or the global pharmaceutical sectors’ reliance on Chinese supplies for foundational life science ingredients.

One life sciences organization had secured the raw materials needed to manufacture its end product but failed to account for supply issues with the packaging of that medicine. Shortages in the ink used to print expiration dates on the packaging made shipping the product impossible. The adequate supply of ink for labeling, not raw materials for production, had become the bottleneck in the supply chain. Companies must pay attention to all aspects of their supply chain.

Of course, history tells us that management teams have a tendency to overcorrect in response to many crises. Yes, we have learned that existing supply chains are not as resilient as we thought. But before rearchitecting the entire supply chain, CIOs and their C-suite colleagues need to collect estimates regarding how much will more money resilient supply chains will actually cost.

Scholars at the DHL Initiative on Globalization at the NYU Stern Center for the Future of Management remind us that attitudes regarding supply chain strategies are not etched in stone: “In an April 2020 survey, 83% of executives said their companies planned on nearshoring to regionalize their supply chains. When the same survey was repeated in March-April 2021, only 23% still said they were planning on nearshoring.”

Historically the CIO and the IT organization have delivered and managed the transactional and information systems that drive the supply chain. In most organizations, IT and the CIO have not taken the responsibility of aggregating and making sense of the end-to-end data supply chain systems generate. They should assist the data analytics team in implementing digital dashboards for end-to-end supply chain visibility.

Supply chain analytics are the key way CIOs can help address this central business issue — and help ensure the strategic response on the part of the business to supply issues is measured, realistic, and impactful.

As for customers’ concerns about the impact of supply chains on the environment, analytics can too play a part — as well as messaging.

Research at MIT’s Sustainable Supply Chain Lab shows that with the proper messaging, “70% of the consumers surveyed were willing to delay home deliveries by approximately five days if given an environmental incentive to do so at the time of purchase.” Furthermore, the words used to describe the eco-benefit mattered as well: “Around 90% of respondents accepted slower deliveries when they were told about the number of trees saved, compared with 40% of those who were told about reduced emissions.”

So, in addition to helping establish ESG-related metrics around the impact of their companies supply chains, CIOs can also help establish channels for open and honest communication with customers regarding supply chain realities through customer engagement initiatives aimed at putting data to work to assuage their concerns.

Supply Chain

In 2020, research found that nearly 90% of CISOs considered themselves under moderate or high levels of stress. Similarly, a 2021 survey by ClubCISO revealed that stress levels significantly increased among 21% of respondents over the last 12 months, adding to mental health issues.

Kerissa Varma

Two years on since the start of the pandemic, stress levels of tech and security executives are still elevated as global skills shortages, budget limitations and an ever faster and expanding security threat landscape test resilience. “In every cyber security team I’ve worked in, stress management is a common concern, says Vodacom group managing executive for cyber security, Kerissa Varma. “Some manage this better than others, but one of the most common questions I get asked about my job is how I’ve done it for so long, considering everything that it involves.”

Helen Constantinides, CIO at AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society, also understands these cyber stress and burnout trends all too well. “We need to remember that it’s not just about technology,” she says. “It involves people too.”

According to CIISec’s 2020/21 State of the Profession report, which surveyed 557 security professionals, stress and burnout have become major issues, with almost half (47%) working more than 41 hours a week, and some up to 90.

So what can CIOs do to mitigate against the long hours, heavy workloads and uncertainty in understaffed and underfunded environments? The experts share their four top tips below. 

1. Encourage your teams to slow things down

Seeing that hackers don’t work 9 to 5, IT and information security professionals generally don’t get enough rest, says Itumeleng Makgati, group information security executive at Standard Bank. “Our roles require us to be alert, productive and energized,” she says. “You can’t do all this if you don’t get enough rest,” adding that CIOs must be deliberate about helping people to pause, take breaks and recharge, which may sound counter-intuitive but greater demands require greater efforts to look after mental health. This can take the form of hosting team events, meet-ups or just enabling staff to take personal time off during down cycles. “I try to have in person meetings as ‘walking meetings’ in a nearby park, which ensure that I get my daily nature fix and also stimulate creative thoughts,” says Anna Collard, SVP content strategy and evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa, the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform. 

Helen Constantinides

2. Encourage collaboration

Look to extend and complement your team by bringing in trusted partners like managed security services, recommends Constantinides. “It’s about collaborating locally and globally to create new thinking, expanding the talent pool and coming at things a little bit differently,” she says. As part of this, CIOs must ensure the right technologies are in place to protect their most critical vulnerabilities, and assess, rank and respond to risks in real time to alleviate stress across IT teams. Automation can help too considering the skills shortage burden for under-resourced teams, says Varma. “Automation is a great enabler to use limited resources in areas that add the biggest benefit,” she says. “It also greatly improves staff morale, as they are able to focus on more interesting work.”

3. Discourage multitasking

According to Makgati, CIOs and IT leaders need to encourage their teams to embrace “monotasking.” Clear, one-at-a-time task prioritization and defining milestones that don’t overlap can help teams minimize stress. Avoiding the trap of mistaking the urgent for the important is also a great way to mitigate unnecessary stress, she says.

Anna Collard

And according to Collard, multitasking and not being fully present actually makes a business more susceptible to social engineering. “I realised this when I failed one of our internal phishing simulation tests,” she says. “I fell for the phishing email, not because I didn’t know the dangers of social engineering or because I didn’t know how to spot red flags, but because I was distracted. I was multi-tasking and slightly anxious in that moment.” It’s critical for leaders to communicate what the most important items that need to be delivered are, says Varma.

Itumeleng Makgati

Failing to do so can cause confusion and lead to teams skimming the surface in a number of areas but never truly resolving things effectively. “Be clear to your teams and business on what you’re prioritizing within a time frame,” she says. “This is critical to allow your team to focus and execute in the fastest manner possible and for your business to understand any potential risks.”

4. Exercise empathy and compassion

“Having the right cyber thinking and decision making in a board room can have immense impact on preventing stressful situations down the road,” says Varma. Collard adds that building a security culture is more about human psychology and behavioral science than technology. So CIOs and IT leaders must understand people’s motivations, expectations and struggles, and create a support mechanism to maximize individual and team potential. “It’s clear that we’re all going through a lot and a little understanding will go a long way in helping our teams feel supported,” says Makgati.

Change Management, Identity Management Solutions

Like any other retailer, grocery stores want to build trust with their customers and keep them coming back. But the average bill and already slender margins in grocery can make it challenging to create a loyalty program that provides sufficiently compelling rewards.

Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort, given that loyalty programs are a powerful incentive for grocery shoppers. In the US, for example, more than 60% of grocery store loyalty program members say that the financial incentives (such as discounts and promotions) influence where they shop and how much they spend.1

The first challenge is persuading customers to sign up for a loyalty account. Stores with a digital presence tend to roll loyalty programs into their online accounts. However, stores entering the digital space report that almost 57% of their online customers prefer to check out as a guest, rather than register for an account and the associated loyalty rewards.2 How can stores persuade customers to sign up and keep them coming back for more? Follow these tips:

1. Know your customers and what matters to them

Know who your customers are and make sure the rewards you offer reflect their wants and needs. This involves making a genuine effort to understand your most loyal customers and what will entice them to keep shopping with you. Initially, you’ll probably need to gather insights from surveys, customer service data and customer interviews. Once you have a body of customers signed up as account and program members, you’ll be able to gather data about their shopping behaviors directly, enabling you to further refine and personalize your loyalty program and offers.

2. Make it easy (and rewarding) to sign up

Make the enrollment process as straightforward as you can, while ensuring you capture all the relevant customer information. Consider offering an incentive to new joiners, such as a ‘welcome’ promo code or discount off their first shop.

3. Make rewards about more than just shopping

Think about offering bonus points or other incentives to program members who refer friends and family members to the program. And give people a reason to keep coming back, such as a reward for opening your mobile app every day for seven days, or for visiting the physical store twice in a week.

4. Deliver seamless transactions at the point of sale

Give loyalty program members a smoother checkout experience instore with reserved tills, or the ability to pay using a barcode, QR code or the app itself (with additional rewards for doing so).

5. Provide genuine value to your customers

If your loyalty program is mostly focused on benefiting your business, customers will likely see through that. Instead, make sure that customers feel like they’re getting something in return for all that loyalty they’re showing you. One approach could be to offer different tiers of rewards or exclusive offers based on spending thresholds.

What technology can help optimize the loyal customer experience?

Optimizing the experience for loyal customers means recognizing them regardless of how they interact with your brand, so you can offer them the privileges, promotions and personal touch that will help them feel valued.  

With Cybersource’s sophisticated Token Management Service, you can recognize your customers regardless of the global payment types, brands, methods, channels, or devices they use. Token Management Service creates one, unified, proprietary token identifier, which centralizes and orchestrates management of all tokens to provide a 360-degree view of the customer. That enables you to support the development of omnichannel experiences and incentives that help to further increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.

The ongoing shift to digital grocery shopping means that the competition is often only a tap away. A well designed and well executed loyalty program can play an important role in strengthening customers’ loyalty to your brand.

For more about building customer loyalty in grocery and additional insights, download Cybersource’s “Food Experiences” guide.

IT Leadership

Despite all the buzz about digital disruption, according to McKinsey, 70% of company transformations fail. A primary reason is that although technology gets a lot of priority, the aspects that make technology work – such as awareness, trust, and culture – get overlooked. Enterprises can tap into the true potential of cloud by harnessing change management in a digital transformation.

The digital transformation-led business shifts are likely to play out over three horizons: digital core, innovative business models, and new ecosystems. Across these three horizons, the value created by cloud will be differential and based on hyper automation and hyper engineering, which require different human skill sets. For digital transformation to be successful, organizations must adjust to new norms and collaborative ways of working.

Organizational change management in the dynamic digital era

Organizational change management (OCM) is about how an organization manages the transformation of its processes and technologies. This includes the strategies for enabling the transformation to take place on the people’s side, as well as plans for adjusting processes and making the organization ready for transformation from a technical standpoint.

Organizational change management is the methodology of tools and processes used to minimize the impacts of the change and increase business adoption. When the change management process is planned well in advance, it can help mitigate employee concerns about digital transformation. This might include:

Clear communication about the need for transformation and the vision and goals behind itUpdates regarding changes in plans and processesInformation about retooling and upskilling employees for the new technology

Driving cloud adoption through innovation, culture, people, and leadership

If you are looking to drive innovation on an enterprise-wide level, you cannot ignore the people, culture, and leadership aspects. Establishing your cloud readiness and implementing migration will impact your entire organization and its culture. To build an effective cloud adoption approach, be sure to consider the following factors:

An organization’s readiness to welcome changeThe prior impact of change on successes and failuresCommunication patterns across your organizationYour organizational structureYour organization’s leadership alignment and executive commitment

To be successful on an enterprise-wide migration to AWS cloud, you will need to have a dedicated pool of staff with production experience in AWS cloud, as well as established operational processes and a leadership team dedicated to mobilizing the correct resources and preparing your organization to overcome the transformational challenges.

TCS has a dedicated and varied set of change management services aligned to the specific culture and leadership of an organization to drive change management spanning enterprise-wide transformation efforts. At TCS, we educate, engage, and upskill the workforce, drive employee adoption, and instill the readiness for change. This encourages actions that foster behavioral change in performance management, stakeholder engagement, and business management. The solution does not just speed up the adoption process by educating the decision-makers, but it also makes your organization prepared to adopt the shift positively and holistically.

Author Bio

TCS

Ph: +91 9818069874

E-mail: renu.parihar@tcs.com

Renu Parihar is the global head of cloud consulting and value advisory at TCS’ AWS business unit. She has worked with global customers to assess, define, and implement their cloud adoption strategy. She is responsible for curating strategic offerings for cloud enablement, ways of working and cloud value measurement. She holds several accreditations in AWS and Azure, DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering and is Design Thinking certified.

To learn more, visit us here.

Digital Transformation

Skills shortages have always been a fact of life for CIOs. Today, however, the labour market is tighter than ever, and CIOs face multiple challenges.

Yet a recent survey by Pluralsight suggests that IT employers could do more to retain staff by upskilling them so that they can take on bigger and better roles.

Here’s how the situation looks from the perspective of the IT professionals surveyed. Four out of 10 (37%) IT professionals are not very confident that their tech skills are being used to their fullest potential. Three out of 10 (29%) don’t feel confident that their current job provides opportunities for growth. IT professionals also say they encounter barriers to upskilling:

47% say they are too busy and that other demands on their time prevent learning.33% identify employer cost constraints27% blame a “distracting work environment”

If this all sounds somewhat negative, let’s look at the potential upside of upskilling existing employees:

Employees now typically regard opportunities to learn and grow on the job as the top driver of a positive work culture. This, in turn, makes employees happier in their work and drives them to recommend working for their employerImproving the skills of existing employees is cheaper than trying to hire new talent (new external hires tend to cost up to 20% more than upskilled workers, they receive lower performance evaluations in the first two years, and they have higher exit rates)McKinsey estimates that effective reskilling results in productivity gains of between 6% and 12%In general, employers believe that offering short courses to learn new skills has a bigger positive impact on their business than other options including longer courses or hiring apprentices.

Upskilling existing employees is a powerful response to tight labour market conditions. Among the large enterprises focusing on home-grown talent is BT, which has invested heavily in helping its IT staff develop skills fit for the cloud and agile development.

Notably, BT’s upskilling modules are concise, which helps to get around objections based on employees being “too busy”. As Deepak Channa, BT’s erstwhile director for QA and Test at BT, puts it: “The moment people see that a development session is an hour, they switch off. We wanted a learning solution that could be used in a 10-minute break.”

One of the more intriguing conclusions in Pluralsight’s research is that 52% of IT professionals consider leaving their job at least once a month.

You might say that thinking about something isn’t the same as doing it. But the evidence suggests that employees do act on their thoughts. On the basis of a survey of 2,000 employees, for example, LinkedIn reports that those who feel their skills are not being used well are ten times more likely to be looking for a new job.

Faced with odds like this, it’s clear that CIOs need to think seriously about whether they are making the most of the talent they already employ.

Staff Management

Skills shortages continue to plague the IT sector, causing UK technology job vacancies to shoot up by almost 200% since 2020, according to BCS.

Not having the right skills or team is the third biggest worry among senior IT decision-makers in the UK, with two-thirds of technology executives (66%) highlighting that their organisation’s digital transformation projects are being stalled due to struggles in recruiting IT professionals with the skills they need.

Cybersecurity is the UK tech sector’s most sought-after skill set according to the Nash Squared Digital Leadership Report, with 43% of respondents reporting a shortage, followed by big data specialists and analysts (36%), technical architects (33%) and developers (32%). Other in-demand skill sets include network engineering and devops.

Sadly, there’s no quick fix to the problem of tech skills shortages. With the biggest cause of IT skill shortfalls in the UK being a lack of STEM graduates coming through the education system, changes to public policy are key. However, there are steps that CIOs can take to begin easing recruitment challenges.

1. Change the perception of a career in IT

One of these is to work towards changing the general perception of IT careers and giving people a better understanding of how varied work in the technology sector can be.

“IT often has the perception that it’s solely focused on the lone ranger sitting in a darkened room responding to the bad guys. In terms of attracting talent, this may not appeal to those who’re searching for a career that’s people-focused and revolves around being part of a team,” says Heather Hinton, CISO of cloud-based comms company RingCentral.

Hiring, IT Leadership, IT Skills, IT Training