• 4 Easy Ways to Increase Organisational Performance

    March 19 2019

    Written by Mark Purbrick, Managing Director, Peoplogica

     

     

    There are many levers required to increase organisational performance, most of which are not instantaneous solutions and all take a high degree of management commitment and planning.

    However there is one very quick way to increase revenue, profitability and customer service levels and that is by improving one area within your most important asset, your people, your employees, your future.

    Improving your Employee Experience (EX) does not cost much and yet it delivers unbelievably high ROI. So why don’t more management teams focus on this area when the returns are so high? Simply because they are either not committed to improving their people capital and/or they are afraid of giving their employees a voice and receiving feedback that they may find uncomfortable.

    Here are a few quick and easy tips for increasing EX:

    1. During the recruitment process do not exaggerate the benefits, the career path, the salary expectations and the culture. This is called the Psychological Contract. There is nothing more demoralising for an employee than finding out that most of what they were told during the recruitment process was in fact either highly exaggerated or blatantly false.

    2. Have all managers conduct formalised Monthly One-On-One Meetings with the purpose of ensuring that everyone’s expectations are in alignment. Keep it simple. We recommend a maximum of 15 minutes with only four questions:

    a. Tell me about your wins this month, what have you done that are you really proud of?

    b. Tell me about any losses this month, what has happened that in hindsight you would now do differently?

    c. Do you believe you are fulfilling your primary role expectations?

    d. As your manager, am I providing you with the coaching, mentoring and leadership you need and expect?

    3. Allow employees to provide anonymous feedback. We suggest an annual more expansive online survey covering all areas and then bi-monthly pulse surveys consisting of less than six questions on a particular area that requires improvement

    4. Initiate a 360 Degree Leadership Development Program for all managers and supervisors, not just the executive level. Start developing leadership capability at all levels

    These four very easy to implement suggestions will start providing an immediate lift in employee engagement and productivity levels for any sized organisation. It does not cost much to do but the returns are substantial, all it takes is management commitment and courage.

     

  • Happy Birthday Notifiable Data Breaches!

    March 6 2019

    Written by Gemalto

     

     

    The Australian Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme celebrated its first birthday recently on the 22nd of February.

    The NDB requires “agencies and organisations regulated under the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) to notify affected individuals and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) when a data breach is likely to result in serious harm to individuals whose personal information is involved in the breach”.

    In essence compliance with the NDB scheme encourages agencies and organisations to implement necessary measures to protect the sensitive information of individuals. However in reality, it looks like many have not done so given that there were a total of 812 data breaches (approx. 68 data breaches per month) declared to the OAIC on the first anniversary of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme!

    Just in the first 2 months of 2019 alone, we’ve already seen high profile data breaches affecting a real estate recruitment agency, a state government, a car maker and just this week, a healthcare provider! Clearly cyber criminals are not easing up, knowing that some agencies and organisations have not taken the right steps to prevent data breaches.

    In the OAIC’s “Guide to securing personal information” encryption is suggested as “important in many circumstances to ensure that information is stored in a form that cannot be easily understood by unauthorised individuals or entities”.

    Think about it. This makes a lot of sense because when you suffer a data breach you want to ensure that your lost/stolen encrypted sensitive data is worthless to cyber criminals without the decryption key. In other words, you want the breach to be secure.

    So there are some things that organisations can do to prevent data breaches and comply with the NDB:

    1. Identify a complete and accurate picture of where sensitive personal data resides
    2. Minimise the number of locations housing sensitive data where possible
    3. Protect data by leveraging encryption and encryption key management to establish data confidentiality and integrity
    4. Control access to sensitive data eg use multi-factor authentication, policy controls to establishing strong dynamic credentials

    Like to find out more about complying with NDB?

    • Check out additional resources (eBook, webinar, video, etc)
    • Try the NDB Assessment Tool and find out how ready your organisation is
    • Contact us at Info.Au@gemalto.com

     

  • Open Banking – New Windows of Opportunity Open in 2019

    February 28 2019

    Written by Infosys Finacle

     

     

    2018 being the year that several countries adopted open banking formally, there is much anticipation around its progress in the coming year.

    Although open banking was originally intended to increase competition in a business that was concentrated in the hands of a few players in most countries, it is now clear that its impact will be much bigger than that. For one, open banking is transforming the banking business model where a bank manufactures, owns and distributes its products and services through its own channels to one where it chooses to only manufacture, distribute or aggregate own and third-party offerings in a financial marketplace. Although banks have only made an initial foray so far, we expect the open banking trend to mature quickly, and not just because the law mandates it.

    While the early adopters with the most mature technology and business strategies will thrive in the open era, the laggards – typically mid-tier and small institutions – will become increasingly vulnerable if they do not act quickly to take advantage of the free movement of data allowed by open banking and similar regulations. To start with, they may lose their customers to progressive rivals, and eventually, their very existence to merger or acquisition. In 2019, we see all banks, big and small, augmenting and enriching their offerings and value propositions to avoid relinquishing customer relationships and relevance.

    As the traditional banking model changes to an open one, banking KPIs will need to adapt based on whether the bank is a manufacturer, distributor, marketplace or a combination of the three. The metrics banks use to evaluate a branch, self-service and digital channel network, such as footfalls or customer traffic, cease to be relevant when there’s a third party distributing a bank’s products. In open banking, banks will acquire customers using tools and techniques that are very different from the traditional sales and marketing campaigns, and must, therefore, measure their performance differently. For example, for services such as Personal Financial Management, measuring the number of sign-ups would no longer be adequate, but quantifying how customers benefit from the service will prove to be a more crucial measure of success and adoption of the service. Also, metrics such as Net Promoter Score, quality of service and new revenue streams will become more critical.

    Even in regions where open banking is not a regulatory requirement yet, banks and financial services providers are proactively taking the plunge into the API economy. 1Banks that have already launched their API stores have somewhere between 5 to 60 APIs. In 2019, we expect a lot more banks to launch their API stores.

     

    As banks look to cultivate rich ecosystems and platforms, we predict this trend to grow stronger and more diverse.

    This year, APIs will increase in breadth as well as depth, that is, not only will we see more APIs allowing digital firms, FinTechs and other developers to build real-world applications but also more APIs with production data.

    Most banks currently have APIs running in sandbox environment with dummy data. Heading into 2019, this will change as banks will have made sufficient progress to develop the necessary governance controls to take their APIs live with production data.

    However, one of the biggest challenges is the existence of multiple API standards, even within a single country, which makes it very hard for an entity such as a FinTech firm to innovate quickly and repeatedly with the APIs of different banks. We believe, the API trend will mature once all the required legislation – including governing the API brokers, who are effectively TPPs (transaction processing parties) – is in place, and banks adopt emerging industry standards rather than developing their own.

    Heading into 2019, banks should resolve to let their business organisation and lines of business lead the charge towards adopting open banking. The ones that do this quickly will gain significant advantage over the laggards. Banks will also need to determine the extent of access to developers and third-party providers, to make sure they don’t play into the hands of agencies looking to snatch their customers. It’s best to strike a balance by allowing access to developers and innovators but at the same time monitoring their actions closely to avoid being caught off guard.

    Read Infosys Finacle’s 12 trends for banking in 2019. Download the report.

     

  • Do you really need different kinds of API gateways?

    February 25 2019

    Written by NGINX

     

     

    API gateways are the bedrock of API infrastructure. API gateways secure and mediate traffic between backend applications that expose their APIs and the consumers of the APIs. For example, API gateways can manage the API traffic generated by calls from a mobile application like Uber to a backend application like Google Maps. API gateway functionality includes authenticating API calls, routing requests to appropriate backends, applying rate limits to prevent overloading your systems, mitigating DDoS attacks, offloading SSL/TLS traffic to improve performance, and handling errors and exceptions.

    To generate new sources of revenue, enterprises are developing external APIs that third‑party developers can use to build applications. They are also exposing APIs to simplify business processes. And to support these new digital business models, enterprises need a comprehensive API management solution that helps them define, publish, secure, and analyze APIs, as well as quickly onboard third‑party developers who consume the APIs. In response, many vendors have emerged to offer a one‑stop solution for full API lifecycle management, with an API gateway integrated into the feature‑heavy solution. Such gateways, often referred to as “enterprise” or “edge” API gateways, manage and protect the “north‑south” traffic between the applications that expose APIs and the consumers of those APIs.

    But applications evolve. Apps that use a microservices architecture generate a significant amount of API traffic among the microservices, referred to as “east‑west” traffic. API management vendors have responded, but the resulting architectures are overly complex.

    This blog explores why.

    The Rise of Microservices

    Microservices are an approach to software architecture adopted by many distributed applications developed by companies such as Netflix and Uber, wherein an application is made up of distinct, smaller “services” that are autonomous and perform a single function or process. Compared to traditional monolithic apps, microservices apps are:

    • More resilient – Failure of one service does not bring down the app as a whole
    • Easier to scale – To alleviate bottlenecks, you spin up more instances of the relevant microservices
    • More agile – Smaller apps lend themselves better to continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) software development processes

    Since microservices by definition perform a single function, they don’t need the full infrastructure support provided by a server or virtual machine. Most microservices architectures use container‑based infrastructure, which is flexible, portable, and lightweight.

    Microgateways Have Emerged to Handle Traffic Among Microservices

    To work effectively together, the microservices that make up an application must of course communicate. The usual mechanism is for each microservice to call the APIs exposed by its peer microservices. The volume of this east‑west traffic among the component microservices is often substantially higher than the volume of north‑south traffic between the application and its external clients. Many API management vendors have introduced a new kind of gateway, the microgateway, dedicated to handling east‑west traffic.

    As defined in a recent report from Gartner:

    Microgateways are lightweight, distributed API proxies that enforce policies at, or near, service endpoints. For an API gateway to be considered a microgateway, it must be suitable for deployment as an inner gateway paired with a microservice instance. Thus, it must:

    • Be containerized or container‑ready
    • Have no limit on number of instances
    • Incur no (or very low) license fees for additional instances
    • Provide low latency
    • Have a small footprint
    • Be amenable to centralized and automatic administration

    Gartner, Selecting the Right API Gateway to Protect Your APIs and Microservices, 28 June 2018

    The primary reason that legacy API management vendors have introduced microgateways as a new type of gateway is that their first‑generation solutions were designed before the emergence of microservices and containers. As products of their time, these solutions share characteristics of the monolithic applications they were designed to work with: all processing functionality is included in a single binary, and configuration information is typically stored in a database (either bundled into the binary or from a separate database vendor).

    These solutions usually have a large footprint, because the vendors have included a large number of features to maximize the solution’s appeal to customers with a wide range of use cases. The API gateway (data plane) is tightly coupled with the API management software (control plane), with the result that a failure in the control plane also halts API traffic processing.

    Using a database to store configuration that controls how traffic is processed (for example, rate limits) adds latency because the API gateway must access the database every time it receives an API call. As with the control plane, if the database is unavailable, the API gateway can’t function.

    Optimized to handle north‑south traffic at the edge of the data center, the API gateway in a first‑generation solution is inefficient for the large volume of east‑west traffic in distributed microservices environments: it has a large footprint, can’t be containerized, and the constant communication with the database and control plane adds latency. Bolting on a microgateway is the only way to manage significant east‑west network traffic, where low latency is critical.

    The upside of using a first‑generation solution that includes a microgateway is that you can maintain your relationship with the API management vendor you previously chose for north‑south traffic, and use its solution to handle east‑west traffic as well. The downside is that the microgateway is actually a separate tool – yet another moving part that brings its own additional cost, complexity, scalability, and reliability issues.

    What if you could eliminate the need for two different types of API gateways? Now you can, visit NGINX for further details.

     

     

  • 7 Ways to Maximise a Remote Workforce

    February 11 2019

    Written by GreenOrbit

     

     

    A few years ago, GreenOrbit (formerly Intranet DASHBOARD) faced the all-to-common conundrum of implementing an extensive development roadmap within the confines of a fixed budget.

    To address this, we chose to expand overseas while at the same time retaining our Australian team (many of whom worked remotely).

    Instead of contracting the offshoring work to an external organization, we decided to handle recruitment and project management ourselves.

    This decision forced us to re-examine our work culture and day-to-day processes – and we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.

    Global

    1. Commit to your decision

    Taking ownership of offshoring gives you complete control (including the ability to mess things up).

    At the outset, it’s crucial to make sure leaders are on the same page and 100% committed.

    Do all you can to encourage onshore teams to support the decision. This involves articulating and reiterating what you’re trying to achieve and then supporting your people through the journey.

    2. Choose a winning location

    Choose an offshore location that you and your onshore team are eager to visit. Make sure it’s close to the airport and easy to get to – with good universities and similar companies nearby.

    Take time to explore the options for offices, infrastructure and internet access.

    Choose an area where staff are keen to live.

    go-team-8

    3. Take an agile approach to recruitment

    Conduct face-to-face interviews – you want prospective staff to get the best possible impression. Learn about the language, culture, job market and university intricacies.

    Figure out how to ask the right questions – this will become clearer as you review and adjust your interview approach.

    Technical know-how is a top priority, but it must be combined with communication skills and cultural fit. It can take time to find the right people.

    Don’t give up!

    go-team-7

    4. Build multi-locational teams

    As far as possible, include someone from each location in every team. Foster the habit of video meetings – this forces all team members to speak-up and communicate clearly.

    Run these meetings at a time that works for all locations.

    Encourage team members to get to know each other outside of meetings.

    Your company intranet is great platform for this – use channels like #MyWeekend and #MyFamily to break the ice and build relationships.

    go-team-6

    5. Aim for frequent face-to-face contact

    Visit the offshore team as often as possible.

    Immerse yourself in what they’re doing, thinking and feeling. Run team days, celebrate company milestones and observe cultural holidays.

    When you can’t be face-to-face, talk frequently and ask direct questions.

    Provide ample opportunity for staff to voice concerns.

    6. Focus on strong leadership

    For offshoring to work, leaders must share and commit to a united vision.

    They should visit offshore staff regularly and be present in all locations.

    Look to promote from within (including offshore employees) and clearly define what you expect from a leader.

    go-team-8-1

    7. Treat everyone equally

    From a company culture perspective, it’s important that onshore and offshore staff feel equally valued (even though you may pay them differently).

    Keep everyone in the loop and enjoy the ride!

    GreenOrbit is an intranet solution with everything you need built in. It empowers businesses to communicate, collaborate and get real work done.

    To see how GreenOrbit can get work going in your organization, download our eBook: Steps to Building a Great Intranet

     

  • The shift from Customer Experience (CX) to Human Experience (HX)

    January 23 2019

    Written by Matt Lathlean, Forefront Events

     

     

    Customer Experience (CX) is in no way a new term, organisations have been playing the ‘customer centric’ card for decades. CX is defined as the interaction between an organisation and a customer over the duration of their relationship.

    Human Experience (HX) is driven by concepts underpinning Human Centred Design (HCD). HCD is a framework that involves the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process by trying to focus on the end user, their needs and requirements.

    So why should HX be a new thing? Surely organisations who are implementing a CX strategy would apply a human element to its design – it’s fundamental to its success!

    In the past (not so distant) organisations had revolved their customer strategies purely around money, customers were seen simply as a number and a means to an end profit. However, most organisations have now diverged from this view with the impact of product quality drying up and buyer choice unrestrained.

    Board Director’s and C-Suite are trying to remain relevant and profitable at the same time, applying a CX-HX approach improves engagement with customers and ultimately appears to come across more ‘human’.

    Customers are no longer seen just as objects, stats or demographics on a balance sheet, they must now be viewed as ‘humans’ who we interact and engage with.

  • Accenture: Making Open Banking a Platform for Industry Transformation

    October 30 2018

    Written by Accenture

     

     

    An Accenture survey shows few Australians understand Open Banking or are comfortable sharing their financial data with third parties, despite the impeding implementation of the new data-sharing regime.

     

    • Australian banks still enjoy an inherited level of trust from
      customers well above that granted by other organisations,
      meaning Open Banking is likely to drive data sharing
      between banks, rather than between banks and third parties.

     

    • This trust deficit will limit the introduction of Open
      Banking-based services by third parties in the near term,
      giving banks a window of time in which to develop innovative
      new services of their own.

     

    • These services should be seen as part of the transition to
      Banking as a Living Business, which is essential to targeting
      the emerging customer groups who will drive future growth.

     

    • Banks that move quickly to develop Open Banking-based
      services will enjoy first mover advantage in the disruption
      of the local banking landscape, and distinguish themselves
      from competitors.

    Read the full report here: Accenture-Open-Banking-Platform-For-Transformation-Australia

  • Former Facebook CEO joins Forefront Events EX/CX Summit

    October 11 2018

    Written by Matt Lathlean, Forefront Events

     

     

    Stephen Scheeler is the former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, where he helped guide Facebook’s unprecedented rise from quirky Silicon Valley success story to media and technology titan.

    Working with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook’s Silicon Valley leaders, his time at Facebook saw the Australia and New Zealand business grow from mere start up into one of the most successful Facebook markets in the world.

    Stephen is a seasoned business leader, with a career spanning over 25 years across consumer products, retail, ecommerce, automotive, financial services, media and technology.

    Stephen will be presenting on ‘How to master the eight elements of disruptive leadership’ at our Employee Experience/Customer Experience Summit this November at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    Details available here

  • How hospital experience impacts your health outcomes?

    October 5 2018

    Written by Matt Lathlean, Forefront Events

     

     

    The word patient and customer has now become more interchangeable, patients are choosing to take a more active role in their healthcare, expecting an enhanced experience while at the same time demanding better service.

    Although this might seem like a reasonable and expected request, how do health professionals and government better embrace consumerism and balance it with the increasing costs of quality of care?

    Overall consumer expectations have shifted dramatically over recent years, mainly due to increased service competition amongst industries such as banking, airlines and online shopping. Patients much like customers are now more informed than ever, they understand the service landscape and what should be expected.

    The NSW Ministry of Health has recently announced a $2 million 6-month trial that will focus on improving patient experience at Blacktown, Liverpool, Nepean and Lismore Hospital emergency departments before a state wide roll out.

    Some of the project’s features include free refreshments, wifi and mobile docking stations, but more importantly a focus on providing timely information to patients throughout their health journey. Specialised hospital staff will be trained in promoting great patient experience with the acknowledgement that an improved experience brings improved health outcomes.

    This is only one example of how hospitals are beginning to feel the influence of the consumer, it will only be a mater of time before we see the entire healthcare sector completely transformed and owned by the customer.

    The Patient Experience Summit will take on February 28 in Sydney, details available here: https://bit.ly/2zq6Ojo

  • How an ethical workforce can save your company millions

    September 25 2018

    Written by Greg Adamson, University of Melbourne

    Originally published at Brinknews.com 

     

    Can organizations address issues of ethics to avoid internal discord and financial penalties and ultimately become magnets for those who want to join a workforce attuned to such matters? Questions around ethics and technological development have grown more important—and the ramifications of not answering them more obviously present—with the accelerating pace of innovation.

    Ethical thought experiments such as “Should I drive myself off the side of the road or collide with another vehicle when no other option is available?” have become concrete in the world of autonomous and intelligent systems such as self-driving automobiles. When whole professional practices, passed-down skills, ways of life and even communities can be rendered obsolete by the rise of robotics and related systems, who is responsible for the disruption? This is not a speculative discussion. Such questions are no longer in the realm of what should we do; they are about what must we do, because the scenarios, technologies and choices they involve have already arrived.

    The companies bringing our most breathtaking technology innovations to the marketplace today simply cannot escape such ethical crucibles. The ways they elect to manage issues, when and how to shoulder or shrug responsibility, and whether to act in transparency or in secrecy are under scrutiny by watchers both external and internal. And the stakes are very, very high.

     

    The Costs of Misbehavior

    Externally, the financial impact can be tremendous. In recent years, some companies have incurred $70 billion in fines and mitigation costs as a consequence of their choices regarding ethics and technology failures.

    Internally, the risks of missteps can prove to be just as severe. Organizations traditionally value those they see as their key staff: the people they can count on to lead the organization in the future. The allegiance of these key employees is often what protects a company from losing its differentiating edge. However, if a company is obviously successful and highly regarded, it is those employees who are most highly prized by the company’s competitors. These staffers have a choice—to stay or leave—and a key consideration for them, especially those who skew younger, is whether they believe the company’s values are aligned with their own.

     

    The Ethical Professional

    Company leaders may be beguiled by enormous riches to pursue business opportunities that destroy their reputation—that is why companies have controls in place to assess possible reputation damage related to new opportunities. Mid-level managers chasing sales or product delivery targets may be tempted to break laws; internal whistle-blowing policies are there to catch these shortcuts before the directors and officers face jail.

    Should these safeguards fail, the ethical professional is the final line of defense. However, there’s little reason to expect that such employees—outstanding individuals willing to lose a job for their morals—exist en masse. For one thing, the role does not scale. For another, very few appear willing to make such sacrifices. The ethical professional today is both needed and appreciated—but is in short supply.

     

    Bolstering Internal Ethics

    Technology companies would be wise to spend time managing issues of ethics. For a start, large corporations employ thousands of professionals, including engineers, accountants and lawyers, who are bound by professional codes of ethics. These professionals can form the backbone of an organization’s ethical culture, especially if their values align with the right “tone at the top” (a rejection of bullying, corruption or sexual harassment, for example).

    Moreover, there is a mounting body of evidence showing that companies will benefit from investing in multidisciplinary teams. The context of technology development is so hard to map, and it is so easy to fail to anticipate the range of impacts of an innovation. The more diverse a team involved in putting a product into market, the greater the opportunity there is for any adverse or unintended consequences to be foreseen and successfully managed.

    In addition, we need to beef up in-service ethics training, which can help employees anticipate the ethical challenges they will likely face over the course of their careers.

    The organization that sees its goal as grabbing any business and thinking of legal and reputation consequences later is operating in great peril. With technology growing more central to the moment-to-moment living of people around the globe, issues of its ethical development and deployment have been propelled to the fore for all of us—not least of which for the companies producing those innovations that benefit humanity.

  • Queensland is betting on a future in Artificial Intelligence

    September 5 2018

    Written by Dr. Natalie Rens, Artificial Intelligence Specialist, Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur

     

     

    When I came back from a trip to Silicon Valley just under two years ago, there was little visible in the way of artificial intelligence (AI) in Queensland. The topic was hitting media headlines (mostly for the wrong reasons) but it seemed that few people here were talking about it, let alone doing it. In an attempt to find fellow AI enthusiasts, I started a meetup Brisbane.AI, initially alongside Dr Juxi Leitner. Never could I have predicted what that decision would lead to.

     

    What I discovered was that we have a strong swell of enthusiasm and talent here in Brisbane. Just eighteen months after our first event, Brisbane.AI has grown to over 2,000 members and our events are extending to cater to increasing thirst for technical skill.

     

    Based on this community effort, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to develop further AI strategy for Queensland with the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur. Ten months of engaging with our local AI scene and looking into successful stories elsewhere gave me the confidence that what we have in Queensland could be nurtured into something truly world-class.

     

    I am thrilled to see that our state government believes this too, announcing a strong $50 million commitment to AI in the recent budget release. Even more exciting, our very own Queensland AI centre is poised to launch in 2019. Housed in the state-funded Precinct, this will serve as a central hub for AI innovation that supports startups, industry, and academia in developing AI capability.

     

    The message sent is clear: Queensland is betting on a future in AI.

     

    So, why are we committed to AI and, importantly, what is next for Queensland?

     

    The answer to the first is that AI is an incredibly powerful tool that is already driving major advancements worldwide. It is not magic but, built on top of a data-driven approach, it can be used to essentially augment the capability of humans within the workforce. Our local startups are working on problems such as medical diagnosis to help clinicians treat patients and crop imaging to help farmers increase yield. This is only the start of what is to come as new algorithms are developed and technologies like autonomous vehicles and IoT systems reach maturity.

     

    In order to grow our capability, Queensland’s organisations will need to embrace AI more confidently. It is an emerging technology, which comes with inherent risk, but it is clear that those who commit to a data-driven AI strategy will profit in the years to come. This may mean investing in upskilling staff but, ultimately, it will be worth it. In this matter, our local startups are exemplary in their audacity to tackle some of the biggest problems out there, with founders learning to build AI in order to develop solutions they see making a global impact.

     

    For me, I am convinced we have what it takes here not only to go global but to go interplanetary. My own, Brisbane-based, startup Spaceport AI is focused on developing AI technologies to enable life in space, starting with Mars. Our first projects will all be in collaboration with local partners that can help deliver the elements we need to work our way towards space-ready technologies.  

     

    I am genuinely excited to see what we all achieve next as Queensland steps up the game in AI. To hear more from me and others working to build AI capability in Queensland, join me at the AI Summit QLD on November 15, 2018.

    You can also get in touch with me on natalie.rens@oqce.qld.gov.au.

     

  • 50 Best Places to Work in Australia 2018 – Did you make the list?

    August 29 2018

    Written by Matt Lathlean, Editor, Forefront Events

     

     

    ‘Great Places to Work’ has released its annual report identifying the top 50 places to work within Australia. It has become no secret that a great workplace reflects positively on business vitality and commercial success.

    Four core elements were identified necessary for employee engagement to occur, they were a clear sense of purpose, a people and culture leadership strategy, a listen and act communication framework and an investment in people approach.

    The benchmarking study surveyed 63,740 Australian employees from 160 companies.

     

    The results are in:

     

    Best Place to Work over 1000 Employees:

    1. Salesforce
    2. Atlassian
    3. Cisco Systems

    Best Place to Work with 100-999 Employees:

    1. Canva
    2. Stryker
    3. Intuit

    Best Place to Work under 100 Employees:

    1. Avenue Dental
    2. Insentra
    3. Altis Consulting

     

    Full report can be downloaded here: https://bit.ly/2Pgiv19

     

  • Key Takeaways: Blockchain for Business Summit NSW

    August 22 2018

    Written by Matt Lathlean, Editor, Forefront Events

     

     

    On the 21st August over 130 senior technology leaders met at the University of Technology Sydney to discuss ways in which blockchain technology can transform Australian enterprise.

    It was quickly affirmed by Chairperson and blockchain evangelist, Dr. Philippa Ryan that the summit would not be a ‘blockchain 101’ crash course but rather an opportunity to move beyond the hype to identify how organisations can harness the technology to drive operational efficiencies and successfully get their blockchain projects off the ground.

    The day commenced with an interactive panel titled: The Future of Blockchain for Australian Business, with Dan Chesterman, Chief Information Officer at ASX, Chris Connor, Executive Manager Emerging Technology, CBA and Mark Staples, Principal Researcher at Data61 sharing their thoughts and extensive experience across the topic.

    The panel defined the importance of ‘trustlessness’ vs ‘trustworthiness’ before hearing the success of CBA’s recent blockchain enabled trade of almonds from Victoria to Hamburg. Security was a major focus, with one delegate writing in via the app: “It’s hard enough to prevent data theft from one system, will it not be a nightmare having to protect it in all systems in the chain?” 

    Philippa reasoned by saying it all comes down to risk appetite, “In 1969 we flew men to the moon with crappy tech knowing the risks involved, but that was because the pay off was worth it.”

    Later in the morning Jamie Skella took the stage, Co-Founder of one of the country’s most transformative blockchain company’s ‘Horizon State’. Jamie outlined how blockchain could be used to support democracy through a digitised, secure and trustworthy ballot. One delegate pointed out that this could be very useful in a ‘Trump era of fake news and constant uncertainty.’

    Katrina Donaghy was up next, the Co-CEO of the much publicised blockchain start-up ‘Civic Ledger’ who are currently utilising blockchain technology to modernise government services. Katrina stressed the importance of not just implementing a blockchain project for the sake of it, “(blockchain) must solve real problems, at a cost significantly lower than the benefits the adoption brings.”

    Regulation and compliance was identified as a core challenge for the majority of attendees. To assist with these challenges Simon Burns, a Partner at Gilbert+Tobin moderated an interactive panel joined by Bernadette Jew, Founder of InnovArt and Dr. Philippa Ryan. Panellists addressed the obvious concerns in relation to data privacy and security, while Philippa used the analogy of navigating the current regulatory environment as not too dissimilar to swimming at the beach, “Swim between the flags, have somebody watching you and know when it is too risky to go in at all.”

    After lunch delegates were eager to hear from HSBC’s Global Blockchain & DLT Lead Joshua Kroeker who flew in from Hong Kong to speak exclusively at the event. Josh outlined HSBC’s vision to transform trade finance through a secure and scalable, blockchain enabled network, which they achieved in May of 2018 with a shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia.

    The room was soon broken up into two intimate round table discussions to address: “Blockchain skeptics vs evangelists,’ hosted by Unico and “Public, Private & Hybrid Blockchain,” hosted by Blockchain IT Solutions.

    To close the event delegates were shown an innovative case study from Greg Adamson, the Chief Risk Officer of ArtChain, a Melbourne blockchain start up seeking to aid the art industry by assisting with provenance.

    In summary, the day offered a strategic platform to discuss how blockchain technology can be used for a number of different strategic advantages. Key messages included: don’t just invest in the technology for the sake of it, be certain it will offer a benefit, understand the regulatory environment and utilise partnerships with people who know the technology.

    *The Blockchain for Business Summit will move to Victoria in February 2019, offering new case studies and developments.

     

  • The future of work in the age of Artificial Intelligence

    August 10 2018

    Written by Kristeen McCarthy, Head of Digital Acceleration, Suncorp Group

     

    When I was 15, I was given a quiz to suggest types of career that might suit.

    Mine came back telling me to consider being a lumberjack.

    I’m pretty sure there were no complicated algorithms underlying this particular analysis. To be fair, I’d probably also applied some sarcasm to my responses.

    I was a sport mad, party mad, outdoor loving teenager. My closest connection to curated forests was that my favourite subject was Geography.

    Fast forward a few decades and I find myself a “Head of Digital Acceleration”.

    Of course, the career forecasting tools of the mid 1980s had no way of knowing this type of role would ever exist. But via a Geography degree, a chartered accounting course, some years in financial services and technology, here I am.

    So with that in mind – what on earth should I tell the five teenage children in my blended family to expect of their careers in the next few decades??

    Are machines taking over our current jobs ? Do we all need to learn electrical engineering, robotics and coding to earn a living in the future?

    Much has been written recently on this topic – of course the skills required in 2018 have changed enormously since 1985, whilst the educational curriculum has struggled to keep pace. The companies that will leap ahead in the next few years will be those who can combine the best of both humans and machines – by leveraging what both are good at and ensuring the best possible mix in the middle ground.

    I recently read Human + Machine – Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, whichprovides a framework for success summarised as MELDS: Mindset, Experimentation, Leadership, Data and Skills.

    Importantly, we have to start with Mindset– it’s not enough just to digitise what we have – we actually need tore-imagine our work around this “middle ground” where human and machine skills meet. In this space, people adjust, improve, maintain and manage artificial intelligence (AI), while the machines add “superpowers” to human ability by amplifying and repeating tasks.

    This middle ground is the space in which new careers will flourish – and the exciting part is that it’s not all about coding. For example, linguists and poets are vital in training machines carrying out natural language processing and sentiment analysis.

    So what am I telling my kids? Sure, you need a basic understanding of technology – even if only as a user. But above all, cultivate a curious, learning mindset – and follow your passion.

    Business, even digital business, is still about people at its heart – but we’d all like superpowers if they’re available!

    Kristeen will be presenting at the Digital Transformation Summit in Sydney on October 11.

     

  • How ANZ are building a culture that is adaptable and resilient in the face of high paced change

    August 10 2018

    Written by Brent McHutchison, Agile Enablement Stream Lead, ANZ

     

    For our 21st Century world, the process of digitalisation is producing both a hunger for better customer experiences and  also driving the appetite for speed.  A customer’s last best digital experience is now the standard by which all future digital experiences are measured. And this includes speed. Today’s customer  view of “fast” is significantly faster than five years ago. So now we are dealing with accelerating change. Alongside this is the new ability of customers to significantly leverage this digitalisation of their world so that a customer complaint can rapidly explode via social media into a full-blown PR disaster for an organisation.   This is the very definition of a complex system where minor inputs can result in large, unpredictable outcomes.  Traditional financial services, such as banks, now find themselves in this context. At the same time, the technology  barriers for delivering services are rapidly lowering.  The only thing halting the tsunami of change is regulation and the  capital requirements for banking.   But change here has already started and will also accelerate. “Open Banking” is just  the start. For many of these traditional enterprises, they have been around long enough that their  technology stacks  and people systems are both complicated and complex. This legacy mix makes timely responsiveness almost impossible.

    In this environment, responsiveness has become more important than predictability.  The concepts of adaptability and resilience are fundamental to responsiveness. So what is ANZ doing to become the sort of adaptive and resilient organisation that can survive and thrive in an environment of increased competition, and rapid and unpredictable change?  ANZ has chosen to deal with these challenges by undertaking a significant transformation program to become a leading digital bank.  Let’s first note that it is not about an “agile” transformation. Though agile constructs such as those used at Spotify, ING, and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), inform the hybrid NWOW model adopted by ANZ.  This multi-year change also should not be considered as technology-focussed. Rather it is about transforming the culture so that adaptability and resilience is built into our people, processes, structures, and technologies, with a genuine customer focus as the core. Five executive-led components inform this transformation which is called New Ways of Working, colloquially known as “N-WOW”:

     A new vision for ANZ, a refresh and reiteration of ANZ’s core values, and
    3 key objectives to guide the transformation:

    • Increased employee engagement so that we can retain and attract  talent
    • Increased productivity
    • Increased speed to our customers of things that are valued and innovative

     

    How has this transformation expressed itself so far:

    • The transformation is executive lead, from the CEO down, and includes Board endorsement. This expresses itself in the CEO being part of the NWOW Design Group.
    • Talent & Culture have created and are implementing  change programs for leadership, and for every other  level.
    • Organisational roles have been simplified.
    • Organisational transformation is well underway with people organised into collaborating teams called Squads. These Squads are then part of a collective called a Tribe.
    • Tribes and Squads each have clearly articulated “missions” and execute these missions via agile ceremonies.
    • Extensive investment has been made in the development and roll out of NWOW training assets.
    • Simplification programs are underway at all levels, including investment processes, and technology

     

    The transformation is in its infancy and there remains a great deal to do. As with all transformations, culture shift is the biggest challenge.

     

     

  • Why access and equity are vital to a University’s DNA

    August 6 2018

    Written by Jodie Davis,  Associate Director, The University of Newcastle

     

     

    I have told this story more than a few times at Orientation- I am often so surprised that I have the privilege of standing before the commencing cohort at the University of Newcastle (UON) to welcome them to campus. I couldn’t even find the venue for my own orientation at UON! After multiple laps of the campus, my father finally conceded that we were lost and pulled over, so we could ask someone for directions. Lesson #1- you will get lost- more than once! Don’t be too shy or embarrassed to ask for help.

    In fact, as the first person in my family to go to university I had to ask for help just to complete the application form! I had no idea how the preference-based admissions system worked, or how to give myself the best chance of being accepted to my dream degree. I wasn’t alone. More than 50% of the UON’s commencing cohort each year are the first in their family to attend university, a figure that is consistent nationally.

    Globally, reports indicate that the first in family, or first generation, cohort are more likely to struggle academically and/or drop out of university altogether. So, what can universities do to support these students? In many cases it can be simple things, such as using plain language and avoiding jargon and assumptions when communicating just in time, practical information, particularly during transition and onboarding of new students. In some cases, more complex challenges will require a more specialised service such as support for academic skills development. In reality, the student experience that universities need to provide for first in family students is not that different to the student experience we should strive to for all of our students- an experience that is designed to meet their specific needs.

    As an 18-year-old I had no idea that going to university would be such a life-changing experience. I was exposed to a world of opportunities and ideas, growing in confidence and finding my voice. Every opportunity I have had since finishing university I put down to the fact that I completed a degree. Opportunities that my parents, who both left school at an early age, could only dream of. I am a passionate believer in the benefits of a university education and so it’s no surprise that I found a satisfying and successful career in higher education at a university that has access and equity in its DNA.

    Jodie will be presenting at the Student Experience Summit in Melbourne this November

     

  • Identifying the top industries for data breaches within Australia

    August 6 2018

    The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has recently released its second Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) quarterly report, which highlighted an increase in data breaches from 65 notifications in February (when NDB was first introduced) to 242 in the June quarter.

    The report identified the top industries for data breaches as follows:

    • health
    • finance
    • legal, accounting and management services
    • education

     The results come at a difficult time for the Federal Government who have been trying to reassure the public over the safety of its My Health Record system. Health data is regarded as highly valuable for cyber criminals because of its ability to sell on the dark web.

    The report showed that ‘malicious or criminal attacks’ were the main causes for data breaches (59%), with theft of storage devices or paperwork being a significant target of the attacks. The majority of breaches involved contact information such as email addresses, home addresses and phone numbers.

     

    “The report provides important information on the causes of data breaches so all entities can learn lessons and put in place prevention strategies,” said Angelene Falk, acting Australian Information Commissioner and acting Privacy Commissioner.

    Written by Matt Lathlean 

  • How Artificial Intelligence is transforming business…

    July 31 2018

    Artificial Intelligence has the capability of fixing the world’s biggest problems, from reducing energy consumption to fighting disease, the potential is ground breaking. AI can be used to do human things but much more efficiently and cost effectively.

    Here are some industry’s you may have not have thought about where AI is assisting:

    Legal

    Gilbert & Tobin’s Chief Innovation Officer, Caryn Sandler has seen new types of AI emerge in recent years in an attempt to solve pain points for lawyers within legal processes – “Pattern analysis AI tools search large document sets for clauses in the due diligence process, and highlight potential areas of legal risk, which would take an inordinate amount of time for a human lawyer to complete manually.”

    Caryn believes that the prerequisite for further AI development in the legal sector is more data, “AI on its own can take us so far, but the combination of data, logic, knowledge and other tools and approaches will result in the next stage of transformation.”

    At the University of Technology Sydney, the Faculty of Law has already reworked their curriculum’s for law students based on the impact of emerging technologies such as AI. Dr. Philippa Ryan is a senior lecturer within the faculty and believes it is a necessary step for students who wish to remain competitive once they graduate.

    Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly transform legal service delivery, giving lawyers more time to focus on high-value legal work.

    Healthcare

    Artificial intelligence is gaining significant momentum in healthcare through the use of big data, automation, robotics and wellness wearables.  It has been used to accurately detect diseases from an early stage, specifically with mammograms, which the American Cancer Society indicated often yield false results without the assistance of AI – “The use of AI is enabling review and translation of mammograms 30 times faster with 99% accuracy, reducing the need for unnecessary biopsies.”

    AI powered pattern recognition tools are helping practitioners identify patients who might be at risk to certain conditions or diseases at an early stage by identifying deteriorating lifestyle patterns, environmental or genomic factors.

    It is clear that the healthcare industry has already begun benefiting greatly from the assistance of AI.

    Manufacturing

    Traditionally, manufacturing has always been powered by human interaction, but with the dawn of what many are calling Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution) comes the availability of new technology such as AI to assist the manufacturing process.

    AI can assist manufacturers predict supply and demand by providing better sensory capabilities than what has traditionally been used, ultimately creating more precise, efficient and safer processes.

    Machine vision is one of these applications, providing cameras far more sensitive than the human eye to process and analyse images more effectively.

     

    Written by Matt Lathlean 

  • Blockchain for Australian Red Meat Exports

    July 30 2018

    Australia has proud reputation as a provider of safe, high quality food. Given a growing interest by consumers around the world into the foods they eat and drink, protecting this standing and maintaining continued trust is of great importance.

    At the same time, significant issues exist with counterfeit, substituted or tainted products in international markets, with notable scandals involving, for example, baby formula in China, horsemeat in the UK and beef in Brazil.

    Blockchain technology represents an opportunity for improved supply chain efficiency, transparency, authenticity, compliance and traceability, and has the potential to transform the way in which organisations transact and collaborate. Importantly, it has the potential to play a major role in providing immutable provenance of products.

    Unico is designing and running a Proof of Concept (PoC), in collaboration with recognised meat industry and supply chain stakeholders, and will establish a Blockchain-enabled future model for export into markets such as Asia.

    This has direct implications and relevance to primary industry, food & wine, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

    By Simon Taylor, Unico

  • HSBC are using blockchain to boost efficiency in trade finance

    July 27 2018

    HSBC recently completed the world’s first commercially viable trade finance transaction using blockchain.

    The transaction was completed in partnership with Dutch bank ING and Cargill for a shipment of soybeans that was transported from Argentina to Malaysia.

    Up until that point, banks, buyers and suppliers had been experimenting with blockchain, testing proofs of concepts and conducting internal pilots. However, HSBC’s transaction was an end-to-end trade between a buyer and a seller and their respective banking partners, completed on a single and shared digital application rather than multiple systems. What’s more, the blockchain platform used is already being supported by 12 banks, who are working with their partners to continue the development to bring the platform to market more broadly.

    The use of blockchain technology in banking is expected to reduce fraud and drive efficiencies especially in Letters of Credit (LC) as it will shorten the lengthy process. LC’s are the most commonly used method for financing between importers and exporters, helping ensure more than $2 trillion worth of transactions but can take anywhere between 5-10 days to exchange documentation. HSBC’s transaction for Cargill, meanwhile, took two days to complete.

    “The reason why letters of credit have persisted is because of two real challenges — the absence of digital infrastructure and the challenge of coordinating multiple parties,” said Vivek Ramachandran, global head of innovation & growth at HSBC.

    “This platform helps us overcome the first and I think the technology and everyone focussed on it give us the impetus to go after the second now with hopefully much better results than we have seen in the past.”

    Vivek Ramachandran will be speaking exclusively at the Blockchain for Business Summit next month in Sydney, Australia.

     

  • Digital Disruption as an Enabler

    July 19 2018

    Digital disruption is everywhere, transforming the way consumers and businesses interact and operate. However, not all organisations are receptive to change and often resist disruption in all forms, which in many cases leads to their downfall and ultimately their irrelevance.

    Traditionally a fast food company, Dominos Pizza now views itself as a tech company that just happens to sell pizzas after undergoing major transformations in recent years. It chose to embrace disruption and has used it as a competitive differentiator, implementing over 40 new digital products.

    Australia Post once depended on the sale of stamps as one of its main revenue streams. Rather than succumbing to the pressures from tech savvy competitors, it has evolved and leveraged disruption to introduce a number of new products and services.

    Clive Dickens is the Chief Digital Officer at Seven West Media, some of his work focuses on creating digital success within the changing media landscape. Disruption impacts every industry, but perhaps media is the space where change takes on shape faster than anywhere else.

    “The only real way to beat out potential disruption is to become the disruptor yourself” said Dickens, who feels complacency is not an option in a world that is changing so rapidly.

    Although creating a digital future relies heavily on the technology implemented it is also ‘vital to make it human’ he said, highlighting the importance of the human infrastructure that provides the ongoing support for transformations.

    Clive Dickens will be presenting at the Digital Transformation Summit in Sydney on October 11.

    Written by Matt Lathlean

  • Four uses for blockchain beyond banking…

    July 16 2018

    Beyond disrupting the world of finance, the most mind-bending, earth-rocking uses of blockchain technology has nothing to do with money specifically.

    The following four areas are examples of potential areas that blockchain could transform business in the coming years.

    The future of democracy? Over at Horizon State, we’re using this same shared record book technology for voting. The same benefits we see with digital coins apply to these votes: their authenticity and legitimacy is validated by many people’s computers, and the record book of votes can never be tampered with. It exists to be recounted with the same result, forever.

    The future of music? What if when you opened up an app kind of like Spotify, that instead of Spotify charging you a subscription, and paying royalties to artists, you paid the artist directly? As an example, once you’re 35 seconds into the length of a song, a cent or two was paid directly from your wallet to the artist’s. The record of what you’ve listened to and what you’ve paid is verified by many other computers, and the record is set in stone. Ujo Music and VOISE are working on ideas like this right now.

    The future of file storage? Rather than store your files on Dropbox or OneDrive cloud servers, what if your files could be split up into tiny chunks and stored on thousands or millions of people’s computers around the world? The record of what parts of files you own and where they are cannot be changed – only you have the key to view the pieces as a whole, and no organisation owns your data. This is the sort of thing that Storj and Sia.Tech are working on as I write this.

    The future of energy? Imagine a country filled with Tesla Powerwall equipped houses. Instead of being “off grid”, they’re very much on it – but they’re not paying an energy provider for their kWh. In fact, in this future there’s no need for traditional energy providers at all anymore. Instead, houses automatically generate, store, and trade electricity between themselves based on which neighbours need extra, and which have lots of excess in their batteries. Thanks to blockchain, this is no longer science fiction – it’s being worked on everywhere from Australia to New York City.

    A large majority of blockchain projects announced are not yet released, while the ones that have been kind of feel as a premature and experimental as many of the world’s first websites did. I do foresee that blockchain based technologies will underpin a good chunk of the Internet that you use in the next 10-15 years, but like today’s Internet, you shouldn’t and wouldn’t have to understand how a blockchain enabled internet works – it just will.

    By Jamie Skella, Horizon State

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