BizTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Business en 4 Tech Trends in Store for Small Businesses in 2019 <span>4 Tech Trends in Store for Small Businesses in 2019</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Fri, 12/14/2018 - 13:20</span> <div><p>Nearly everyone would agree that 2018 was a far-from-boring year, and that applies to small and medium-sized business IT as well.</p> <p>Raymond Boggs, vice president of small and medium business research at IDC, notes that it was a surprising year in terms of cloud adoption for SMBs, particularly on two points.</p> <p>First, while cloud adoption is taking off with SMBs — a recent survey of SMBs from CDW found that <strong>73 percent</strong> of respondents were using cloud in some capacity — there is still some hesitation among very small businesses.</p> <p>“The smallest of the small businesses, those with five to nine employees, are still slow when it comes to cloud adoption, which is curious because many of the issues around security and other concerns have been largely resolved. That was quite a surprise,” says Boggs.</p> <p>Second, and perhaps more surprising, is that once SMBs enter the cloud space, often through cloud-hosted email — <strong>64 percent</strong> of respondents to the recent CDW survey noted they were tapping cloud for email services — it seems they can’t get enough.</p> <p>“We assumed that once small and midsized businesses brought some of their operations into the cloud, maybe email, storage, web hosting or critical apps, that would be enough. Instead, once they take the cloud plunge, businesses get excited and they keep adding more,” says Boggs.</p> <p>So, what could be in store for 2019? Boggs lays out <strong>four predictions for the coming year</strong>.</p> <p><em><a href=""><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> </a></em><a href="" target="_blank"><em class="gr-progress">These small business</em></a><em><a href=""> IT blogs will keep you in the know.</a></em></p> <h2>1. Data and Analytics Will Drive Better Business Decisions</h2> <p><strong>Is this the year of data analytics?</strong> It very well could be, says Boggs.</p> <p>“Everything is going to become more data-intensive,” he says. “And we’re seeing some wonderful analytics resources.”</p> <p>As SMBs tap both vendor-specific data products and Analytics as a Service solutions, the use of analytics could spread to nearly every part of a business, including <strong>using data to better understand customers</strong>.</p> <p>“As a business owner, you might know who your biggest customer is, but what about the most profitable customer?” asks Boggs. “Who buys standard stuff, always pays on time, isn’t difficult or time-consuming to work with? That’s your most important customer, and you might not know it. Through effective data analysis and mining, you can identify that person, their trend, and seek to extend that trend to other customers.”</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE:</strong> Is analytics as a service right for your business?</a></em></p> <h2>2. Self-Serve Cloud Services Pick Up for SMBs</h2> <p>As cloud continues to embed itself as a must-have technology, Boggs notes that cloud adoption will continue to take off, particularly with smaller businesses that haven’t yet jumped on board. According to CDW’s recent survey, nearly <strong>30 percent</strong> of respondents have targeted a broader adoption of cloud services as part of their modernization plan in 2019. What will differ, however, is the way that SMBs choose to purchase or provision cloud services.</p> <p>“People are getting used to a <strong>self-service economy</strong> — think of <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Amazon</a> or the <a href="" target="_blank">Apple</a> store — and they’re starting to become comfortable with that same model in their business lives as well as their personal lives. This will translate to how businesses begin to buy cloud: through self-provisioning of services so that they can choose what they need at their own pace,” says Boggs.</p> <p><em><a href=""><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> How the cloud can future proof your small business.</a></em></p> <h2>3. Cognitive and Cloud Cybersecurity Takes Hold</h2> <p>Cybersecurity is a major issue for businesses everywhere, as <strong>losses to cybercrime will reach nearly $2 trillion in 2019</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the Better Business Bureau</a>. SMBs aren’t blind to this fact, as <strong>44 percent</strong> of those polled in CDW’s survey ranked security as the most important IT-related topic of 2019.</p> <p>“As agile and gifted as the defenders are, the attackers are able to leverage some of the same approaches and resources, including artificial intelligence, to figure out how to get around the solutions you have in place — attacking not just endpoints, but servers and operating systems, in ways that are increasingly challenging to detect,” says Boggs.</p> <p>To hammer down those numbers, Boggs predicts that cybersecurity tools laced with AI will become integral to security strategies everywhere.</p> <p>“Tools that <strong>use artificial intelligence to monitor device and user behavior</strong> and flag anything suspicious will be arriving to help improve security capabilities,” says Boggs.</p> <p>Moreover,<strong> cloud-hosted security </strong>will become even more important, especially for small businesses that find it harder to keep up with increasingly complex threats.</p> <p>“As the customer, there’s no way you could build this kind of capability of your own, so there will be an increasing reliance on security companies to take care of you, as well as reliance on cloud vendors who will be able to host resources in a more secure fashion,” says Boggs.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD: </strong>This is how you accelerate digital transformation.</a></em></p> <h2>4. Digital Transformation for All Businesses</h2> <p>While digital transformation may seem like a concept that primarily impacts larger enterprises, SMBs can — and should — <a href="">pursue modernization and transformation</a> where they can in order to ensure they are <a href="">well positioned for the future</a>.</p> <p>“When buying a solution and making an initial investment, small businesses need to weigh the immediate impact against the larger technology trajectory and how the business will compete in the <strong>future digital economy in 2020 and beyond</strong>,” says Boggs. “That’s where digital transformation and future proofing your infrastructure comes in: Is there an investment you can make now that will allow you to grow and remain flexible?”</p> <p>This requires that businesses think through both customer-facing technologies as well as internal ones, such as enabling secure remote work in order to accommodate a workforce of the future.</p> <p>“While it’s important not to take unnecessary risks, you do run the risk of being too conservative and running into trouble down the line as a result,” says Boggs, noting that internal operations are usually the ones that suffer. “Often, businesses innovate for the consumer where they can see immediate impact, but the back office can be totally behind the times, and that innovation isn’t spread uniformly across the organization. This is where true digital transformation can provide benefits.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Fri, 14 Dec 2018 18:20:44 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42941 at How the Cleveland Foundation Aims to Close the Digital Divide <span>How the Cleveland Foundation Aims to Close the Digital Divide</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 12/14/2018 - 11:54</span> <div><p>The digital divide has been <a href="" target="_blank">evident to policymakers and nonprofits</a> for many years now. In one corner of Ohio, the Cleveland Foundation is pushing hard to close it. </p> <p>In October, <a href="" target="_blank">the foundation announced</a> <strong>$488,000 </strong>in grants to fund digital inclusion and expand access to broadband and modern technology in Cuyahoga County. The initiative is aimed at giving low-income residents greater access to high-speed internet and other IT solutions — a needed effort, given that <a href="" target="_blank">Cleveland Foundation studies have found</a> that in some portions of the Cleveland metropolitan area <strong>less than 40 percent of households</strong> have internet connectivity of <strong>10 megabits per second or greater</strong>.</p> <p>The program has <strong>established free library mobile hotspot lending programs</strong> at all 28 Cleveland Public Library branches and four Cuyahoga County Public Library branches. The foundation also partnered with <a href="" target="_blank">PCs for People</a>, a nonprofit that recycles business IT and <strong>offers refurbished tech to low-income households and individuals</strong>, to <a href="" target="_blank">set up a location in Cleveland</a>. </p> <p>The foundation will also work with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and CHN Housing Partners to provide marketing, education, advocacy and awareness for the overall initiative</p> <p>The plan evolved from 2017 Cleveland Foundation studies on digital access and literacy, and broadband adoption and persistence. The studies identified “digital equity high-need areas” in need of digital inclusion services. According to the foundation, <strong>20 percent </strong>of Greater Cleveland households are in DEHNAs, including <strong>50 percent </strong>of residents of CMHA. </p> <p>“The studies clearly pointed to the fact that there hadn’t been a concerted, unified effort to address digital inclusion in Cleveland,” said Leon Wilson, the foundation’s chief of digital innovation and CIO, in a press release. “By utilizing trusted anchor institutions already embedded in our neighborhoods and layering on a nationally-recognized organization such as PCs for People, we hope to address affordability and accessibility in a manner that’s equitable and inclusive for those residents most in need.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Why nonprofits need to embrace data analytics. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Nonprofits Partner to Offer Hotspots and Computer Hardware</h2> <p>PCs for People currently operates in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Denver, and allows residents who have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (currently <strong>$24,280</strong> for an individual) or who are currently enrolled in an income-based government assistance program such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to purchase refurbished computers. The organization also provides <strong>flat-fee tech support and repair services</strong>. <a href="" target="_blank">According to News 5 Cleveland</a>, the organization sells desktop PCs and laptops for <strong>a maximum price of $150</strong>. A limited number of free computers are available each day.</p> <p>“What I’m particularly excited about is that PCs for People offers an opportunity for economic empowerment through digital inclusion,” Bryan Mauk, executive director of PCs for People in Cleveland, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The Plain Dealer</em></a>. </p> <p>PCs for People will also offer 4G LTE mobile hotspots with data plans priced at <strong>$10 per month</strong> with an annual contract, and <strong>$15 month by month</strong>. </p> <p>“When you think about the power that a computer and the internet bring to being plugged into not only the community, but into the economic and job market, everything nowadays is done online,” Mauk told the <em>Plain Dealer</em>. “From food stamps and being unemployed in need of a job, to connecting to your family and kids, and getting news, everything is online. You can imagine the loneliness of not having a computer.”</p> <p>Under the program, the foundation is also deploying <strong>600 4G LTE unlimited data hotspot devices</strong> throughout all 28 Cleveland Public Library locations and <strong>300 additional hotspots </strong>at four Cuyahoga County Public Library branches (Garfield Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights, Southeast/Bedford Heights).</p> <p>The devices are free to check out and available for 21-day lending periods with no charge for connectivity. </p> <p>“It’s a really simple idea to a complex problem and that’s where it is exciting,” Mauk told News 5 Cleveland. “It is so scalable that it can be replicated in every city across the country and that’s what we’re testing here in Cleveland.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Fri, 14 Dec 2018 16:54:21 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42961 at Nonprofits Have Room to Improve in Cybersecurity Readiness <span>Nonprofits Have Room to Improve in Cybersecurity Readiness</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26341" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">amy.burroughs_26341</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/13/2018 - 18:05</span> <div><p>New research from the <a href="" target="_blank">Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> may sound an alarm about the cybersecurity readiness (or lack thereof) of many nonprofit organizations. The November 2018 <a href="" target="_blank">“State of Nonprofit Cybersecurity”</a> report, based on a survey of more than <strong>250 organizations</strong> across the country, reveals ample room for improvement. One of the biggest takeaways is that nonprofits should do a better job of thinking about cybersecurity risks before they happen — thereby giving staff the best possible chance to <strong>minimize the damage that might occur</strong> in the wake of such an event.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> See how Windows 10 can make your nonprofit more secure.</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_0">IT Department Size Relates to Staff Security Training</h2> <p>The good news is actually mixed news, with both bright spots and areas of concern. For example, the majority of organizations (more than <strong>71 percent</strong>) have policies and procedures that govern backups for data, hardware and software. But the remaining organizations either don’t have such a policy or staff members who were surveyed aren’t aware of it. That <strong>lack of awareness can be just as damaging</strong> as not having a backup policy at all. </p> <p>More than half of nonprofits (<strong>55 percent</strong>) have created a policy to guide the handling of cybersecurity risk, equipment use and data privacy. But nearly <strong>39 percent</strong> don’t have such a policy, and <strong>6 percent</strong> of respondents say they don’t know.</p> <p>Organizations fare even less well when it comes to training their staff in cybersecurity issues. Fully <strong>59 percent </strong>say they provide no such training. Understandably, as the report notes, organizations with a larger IT department are <strong>more likely to provide such training</strong>. That’s a challenge because many nonprofits simply lack the resources to engage a full-time IT pro. </p> <p>The NTEN/Microsoft survey shows that in approximately <strong>27 percent </strong>of organizations, IT duties are handled by a less-than-full-time person; another <strong>16 percent </strong>have no one handling IT. These are sobering findings given that every organization, regardless of mission, is becoming more and more reliant on technology to drive and improve operations. </p> <h2 id="toc_1">Security Drills and Simulations Help Nonprofit Staff Prepare for a Crisis</h2> <p>Based on the survey, it seems safe to say that many nonprofit staff would be caught flat-footed if their organization did experience a data breach. The majority (<strong>68 percent</strong>) lack documented policies and procedures to follow after an attack; another <strong>11 percent </strong>don’t know of such policies. That means that staff will be trying to put out the immediate fires of the crisis while also <strong>scrambling to figure out their next move</strong>. </p> <p>One readiness strategy is to conduct drills and exercises, which give staff a chance to think through a response to a data crisis, step by step. It’s a tactic that appears to be underutilized: Only <strong>15 percent</strong> of nonprofits say they held a threat assessment exercise in the past year, and <strong>7 percent</strong> say it’s been more than a year since their last such exercise. When it comes to conducting a simulation activity, only <strong>7 percent</strong> of organizations have done so.</p> <p>In the corporate world, cyberattack simulations can be quite sophisticated, designed to give executives as much hands-on practice as possible. <a href="" target="_blank">The consulting firm EY</a>, for example, gathers participants in a “crisis room” where they must go through a mock response that includes answering telephone calls, issuing a press release and responding to questions from stakeholders.</p> <p>Notably, EY consultants spend half a day leading participants through the simulation, and three times that long helping them process what they learned afterward. That speaks to the <strong>most valuable part of a cybersecurity exercise: the insights that staff gain, which they can then use to improve procedures, change pol</strong>icies and otherwise address any weaknesses identified during the exercise.</p> <p>“A well-planned and well-crafted simulation can <strong>reveal an organization’s blind spots</strong> and often leaves participants feeling more confident, better prepared and working more effectively as a team,” says <a href="" target="_blank">Jeremy Smith of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu</a> Limited’s Global Center for Crisis Management.</p> <p>It may be cost-prohibitive to engage a consultant to lead a nonprofit staff through a complex simulation, but leaders can find affordable ways to increase their team’s exposure to the types of issues that might arise if a data beach occurred. At the very least, facilitating <strong>ongoing conversations with staff </strong>about threats and preparedness can go a long way toward increasing the level of organizational readiness. The <a href="" target="_blank">International Association of Privacy Professionals</a> offers several considerations to help guide those discussions.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" data-widget="image" href="" id="" rel="" target="_blank" title=""><img alt="Cybersecurity_IR_howstrong_700x220.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/amy-burroughs" hreflang="en">Amy Burroughs</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 23:05:12 +0000 amy.burroughs_26341 42951 at IoT Improves Sports Data Tracking and Analytics <span>IoT Improves Sports Data Tracking and Analytics</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/9856" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">eli.zimmerman_9856</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/13/2018 - 15:59</span> <div><p>Athletes, coaches and sports companies are incorporating the Internet of Things into training and competition equipment to enhance player performance.</p> <p>Data analytics <strong>facilitated by connected devices</strong> has become a major tool for players across all sports, offering teams and individuals critical insights to improve their competitive edge. </p> <p>In an interview in January of this year, Mounir Zok, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s biomedical engineer, addressed the growing interest in IoT as a way to help Olympic athletes maximize their potential.</p> <p>“I call it the 1 percent question,” Zok told <a href="" target="_blank">Bloomberg News</a>. “Olympic events typically come down to a 1 percent advantage. So what’s the one question that, if we can provide an answer, will give our athletes that 1 percent edge?”</p> <p>While examples of successful technology integration are easy to spot in mainstream sports like baseball, football and basketball,<strong> the power of data</strong> is recognized as a powerful tool in a variety of sports.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>See how companies are using IoT to save money and drive quality.</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_0">USA Cycling Uses AI-Enabled IoT to Push the Limit</h2> <p>According to Zok, <strong>using technology to push past athletic plateaus </strong>is enticing to professional athletes, as the marriage of training and high-tech analysis can have incredible results.</p> <p>“Just like a butterfly can never be a caterpillar again,” Zok said, “once an athlete starts using technology to peak when she wants to peak, limit injuries, and maximize performance, she can never go back to just intuitive training.”</p> <p>In 2016, USA Cycling’s women’s team joined with <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a> to integrate <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Watson IoT</a> into their racing, which resulted in shaving two seconds off of their time, <a href="" target="_blank">according to an IBM blog post</a>. Women on the team used the artificial intelligence software in conjunction with connected glasses developed by Zok, which displayed performance data in real time.</p> <p>Since then, more teams have <strong>introduced IoT devices into their training regimen</strong>, embracing new technology as part of the natural evolution of athletics. As one member of USA Cycling said:</p> <blockquote><p>“[S]port always evolves, sport always changes. That is why records are always being broken. It is not necessarily that you have better athletes. It is that people are learning different methods. And if you are not up on that technology, then you know you are going to fall behind.”</p> </blockquote> <h2 id="toc_1">IoT-Enabled Devices Widens the Scope of Data Analytics</h2> <p>A partnership between <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> and tech company Spektacom has created <a href="" target="_blank">IoT-enabled cricket gear</a>, used to <strong>collect certain performance data</strong> during a game. </p> <p>The device, built using Microsoft’s <a href="" target="_blank">Azure software</a>, is embedded in a lightweight sticker that attaches to a player’s bat to measure things like swing speed, angle and impact. </p> <p>The information is sent to an <strong>IoT edge device running Azure Sphere</strong>, which serves as an intermediary to the cloud and analyzes the information using artificial intelligence. </p> <p>The stickers have wide potential for application in other sports, from measuring swings in baseball to impact speeds in football. </p> <p>Regardless, IoT’s foray into sports has only begun. As horizon technologies such as <strong>empowered edge computing and 5G</strong> come into view, the competitive nature of athletics is sure to spur creative new uses for IoT devices.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/eli-zimmerman" hreflang="en">Eli Zimmerman</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:59:27 +0000 eli.zimmerman_9856 42946 at How Data Analytics Is Revolutionizing Sports <span>How Data Analytics Is Revolutionizing Sports</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/81" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">matt.mclaughlin</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/13/2018 - 13:30</span> <div><p>The devil, as they say, is in the details. But there are <strong>angels in the data</strong>.</p> <p>Sports organizations are looking for advantages in business and on-the-field competition by gleaning hidden insights from the data they own. They’re using <strong>data analytics tools</strong> to improve their decision-making, which enables them to plan better and innovate faster.</p> <p>Use cases for data analytics tools in the sports world vary widely. On the practice court and in training sessions, data can tell an athlete how fatigue is affecting a workout. In the coach’s film room, analysis of game information can help determine the best play to call in a specific situation, or the optimal lineup to win a game. In the arena, studying data can help teams deliver a better experience for fans. </p> <h2 id="toc_0">NBA Establishes Leadership in Analytics</h2> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">NBA has embraced data analytics</a> in a way that surpasses most other major U.S. sports leagues. To highlight this point, the Golden State Warriors, which has dominated the leagues in recent years, has one of the NBA’s most effective analytics departments. Data analysis is largely credited with the significant increase around the league in 3-point shooting, which has risen in each of the last eight seasons. </p> <p>Nearly every team in the NBA has hired <strong>data analysts as full-time staff members</strong> to work with coaches and front office staff. These analysts help teams <strong>identify trends</strong> that may improve on-court tactics or practice habits. They also help general managers spot undervalued players, so a team can make a trade that works in its favor. Players themselves have utilized analytics tools and devices such as wearables to monitor their sleep and fatigue levels, which can help them to avoid injury and train more effectively. </p> <p>The league also supports efforts to find new ways to use analytics, holding an annual Hackathon, which also helps it find talented new data analysts. </p> <p> </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Data Serves Up an Ace for USTA</h2> <p>Other sports can gain an advantage by breaking down data. Professional tennis players in the U.S. Tennis Association are <a href=";utm_campaign=74e56c59e1-SportTechie_Daily_News_8_30_2018&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_5d2e0c085b-74e56c59e1-294434021" target="_blank">using analytics</a> through Watson, an <strong>analytics engine</strong> developed by <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a>, to improve their tactics on the court as well as their training regimens. </p> <p>The analytics engine digests video footage captured during matches and training sessions to reveal insights such as opponents’ tendencies that can be exploited or when and how fatigue affects a player’s workouts. For example, if a specific opponent favors cross-court shots early in a point but hits forehand shots down the line more often as a point progresses, a player can use the observation to position himself more effectively. </p> <p>USTA employs <a href="" target="_blank">IBM Watson</a> for various use cases. At the 2017 U.S. Open, for example, the association began using the artificial intelligence technology to generate highlights. The tool also can be used to guide development of younger players who are years away from playing professionally. </p> <h2 id="toc_2">NFL Excels with Hard-Hitting Analysis</h2> <p>A few <a href="" target="_blank">NFL teams have used analytics</a> for more than a decade, and more teams are <strong>expanding their analytics departments</strong> to help them find an edge. Gleaning an advantage from data analysis can be particularly valuable in a league where teams ascend and drop in the standings quickly from year to year. </p> <p>To capitalize on this opportunity, teams are looking for analysts to find the insights they need. For example, the Baltimore Ravens have hired two analysts: Sandy Weil, who studies game trends and helps with scouting decisions; and Eugene Shen, who works with the coaching staff to evaluate player performance. </p> <p>Teams use analytics in scouting operations for draft and free agency decisions, as well as to improve player health (every team in the league uses an electronic health record that can be accessed by on-field personnel via tablets), a crucial consideration for a sport with a concussion epidemic. Some organizations have even advanced to using predictive and prescriptive analytics to enhance their game strategies.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>How sports and IT intersect in the realm of cybersecurity. </a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_3">Advances in Soccer, but Skepticism Remains</h2> <p>Soccer has proved to be a <a href="" target="_blank">particularly difficult game to analyze</a>. It combines the free-flowing nature of a sport like basketball with the same number of players as football (11) and a field of roughly the same size. </p> <p>Early soccer analytics focused on statistics such as passing percentage and shooting efficiency, but teams in leagues such as the MLS now analyze player movement and action away from the ball. These data are used to <strong>create algorithms to improve individual and team behavior</strong>, as well as substitution patterns. The success of those efforts is helping the practice catch on: A few years ago, the MLS launched a data and sports science subcommittee, with representatives from every team. </p> <p>Still, data analytics efforts face skepticism from influential corners in soccer. Former U.S. National Team Coach Bruce Arena, who has won five NCAA titles and five MLS Cups, said, “Analytics in soccer doesn’t mean a whole lot. Analytics and statistics are used for people who don’t know how to analyze the game. This isn’t baseball or football or basketball. We have a very important analytic, and that’s the score. That distorts all the other statistics.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/matt-mclaughlin" hreflang="en">Matt McLaughlin</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 18:30:25 +0000 matt.mclaughlin 42936 at How Small Banks Can Market to Generation Z <span>How Small Banks Can Market to Generation Z</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/87276" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bob.Keaveney_u64t</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/13/2018 - 12:44</span> <div><p>As small banks and credit unions strive to market more effectively to the millennial generation, the next cohort has started coming into its own as consumers.</p> <p>And while Generation Z — generally defined as those born between 1996 and 2010, making the oldest among them 24 — is <strong>the first truly digital-native generation in history</strong>, connecting with them takes much more than building a great mobile app.</p> <p>For one thing, Gen Zers tends to be more fiscally conservative than millennials, says Gregg Witt, author of “<a href="">The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In and Build Credibility</a>.”</p> <p>“Because many of them grew up during the Great Recession, they are more apt to care about their financial futures,” Witt says. “We find them to be much more pragmatic than the older millennials.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>Generation Z Is Surprisingly Conservative</h2> <p>Marc DeCastro, an analyst for IDC Financial Insights, agrees. For example, he points to IDC’s <a href="">2018 U.S. Consumer Banking Channel Preference Survey</a>, which found that <strong>55 percent</strong> of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 prefer opening up a new bank account using a <strong>mobile device, laptop or a call center</strong>. This compares with <strong>49 percent</strong> of those age 25 to 35; <strong>55 percent </strong>of Gen Xers (those born between 1964 and 1985); and <strong>70 percent</strong> of those over age 65.</p> <p>“I think bankers have to take a step back on the mobility aspect, because it may be a mistake to assume that these young people will do all their business through a mobile device,” DeCastro says.</p> <p>Witt and DeCastro agreed on several other important points. Here’s some advice they offer to small bankers marketing to Gen Z:</p> <ol><li><strong>Become mentors:</strong> In one important respect, Gen Z and millennials are similar: <strong>Both groups </strong><a href=""><strong>demand authentic relationships with businesses</strong></a> <strong>based on shared values</strong>. Witt says small banks need to take advantage of their many years in the community by seeking to build genuine relationships with young consumers. But that means doing more than sponsoring a Little League team or the high school marching band. He suggests partnering with the local schools to teach financial literacy, for example. DeCastro agrees, adding that financial literacy is not often taught at the K–12 level. He believes students would very much enjoy learning about the difference between a credit card and a debit card, for example, or to better understand what a credit union does.</li> <li><strong>Tell good stories with video:</strong> Witt says anything small banks can do to use video in their marketing would appeal to Gen Z. Consider highlighting the success story of a high school or college student who started a business with a loan from a community bank, he says, or profiling those pursuing their education with money saved in a college fund they had at the bank. DeCastro says it’s important for banks to communicate that many small business owners, such as plumbers and other tradespeople, would never have gotten off the ground if not for a community bank. It underscores the role of small banks in the economic lives of communities, which is important to young consumers.</li> <li><strong>Leverage the potential of chatbots: </strong>Witt’s research shows that <strong>Gen Z members are more open to chatbots than their older counterparts.</strong> They use them in gaming and on social media sites, so if the bank offers a fast response and valuable promotional offers, chatbots can leverage the bank’s brand.</li> </ol><p>Witt says that bankers should expect that Gen Z will break the mold and in their own way disrupt the market. He points to social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram, which have created new segmented markets for all kinds of products. Gen Z also values diversity, he says, adding that while the younger generation are more fiscally conservative, they don’t follow the staid, old establishment either.</p> <p>“Generation Z expects diversity,” Witt says. “They won’t be on board with a brand unless there’s some diversity.” </p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/bob-keaveney" hreflang="en">Bob Keaveney</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 17:44:11 +0000 Bob.Keaveney_u64t 42931 at Businesses Seek Out a New Calculus for Public Cloud <span>Businesses Seek Out a New Calculus for Public Cloud</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:09</span> <div><p>Not long ago, cloud computing was a trendy new concept, with some observers predicting that on-premises data centers would disappear completely as the cost of public cloud resources continued to spiral downward.</p> <p>Those days are largely over. <strong>Public cloud prices have stabilized</strong>, and many organizations have found that on-premises infrastructure costs can be lower for a number of use cases. Some IT leaders have found that certain workloads — especially legacy applications — are more difficult to migrate or manage in the public cloud than they originally anticipated. And there’s a general consensus that hybrid cloud and multicloud (as opposed to exclusively public cloud) strategies will be central for most enterprises going forward.</p> <p>All of this means that the decision-making process about moving resources to the public cloud – a process that was once dominated by the single metric of price – has grown far more complex. Organizations can find significant value by migrating workloads to the cloud, but they must have a strategy for identifying which workloads fit best, and how they can complete a migration seamlessly. Once migration is complete, many organizations face a challenge in managing multiple workloads in various cloud environments.</p> <p>“A lot of the conversation in the past has been, ‘I need to go to the public cloud, and I don’t care how,’” says Milin Desai, general manager for cloud services at <a href="" target="_blank">VMware</a>. “Up until recently, it was very simple. Today, it becomes <strong>more application-specific</strong>, rather than ‘Everything goes to A,’ or, ‘Everything goes to B.’ You need to think through your business model. It comes down to where is the data, and what types of services do you need?”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>LEARN MORE:</strong> About finding the right cloud solution for your organization.</em></a></p> <h2>What Isn't Appropriate for the Cloud?</h2> <p>Historically, the public cloud has been seen as a <strong>good fit for workloads such as disaster recovery</strong> (DR), handling spikes in demand and the development and testing of new applications (dev/test). But many organizations are taking a more expansive view of the public cloud’s potential.</p> <p>“DR, dev/test and spike were appropriate <strong>three years ago</strong>,” says Robert Christiansen, vice president of global cloud delivery for Cloud Technology Partners (CTP), a <a href="" target="_blank">Hewlett Packard Enterprise</a> company. He notes that two years ago CTP moved a Fortune 10 company’s top revenue-generating website to the public cloud, followed by hundreds of production applications. “The calculations have changed. The question is not ‘What is appropriate for cloud?’ The question is ‘What’s not appropriate for cloud?’”</p> <p>The answer to that question, Christiansen suggests, is large enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and other central business systems, which can require significant restructuring to operate efficiently in the public cloud.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/calvin-hennick" hreflang="en">Calvin Hennick</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:09:43 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42926 at Why and How Nonprofits Should Upgrade to Windows 10 <span>Why and How Nonprofits Should Upgrade to Windows 10</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/13/2018 - 09:56</span> <div><p>On Jan. 14, 2020, <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> will <a href="" target="_blank">stop providing mainstream technical support</a> and security patches for Windows 7. That should provide a significant incentive for nonprofit organizations to upgrade their software to <a href="" target="_blank">Windows 10</a>.</p> <p>Beyond the desire to continue receiving security updates, there are numerous reasons nonprofits, like many other organizations, should consider migrating to Windows 10: The platform provides <strong>enhanced productivity features, more cloud services </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> improved cybersecurity</strong>. </p> <p>All of that means 2019 will likely be a key year for nonprofit upgrades to Windows 10. Thankfully, nonprofits have numerous options to upgrade, from working with Microsoft as well as <a href="" target="_blank">trusted IT services partners</a>. To make such an upgrade successful, nonprofits will need to <strong>make a plan, take an inventory of their devices, decide which ones to upgrade and choose a licensing strate</strong>gy. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Find out how nonprofits can successfully launch a data strategy. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">The Benefits of Windows 10 for Nonprofits</h2> <p>As <a href="" target="_blank">a blog post</a> from nonprofit technology provider Tech Impact notes, Windows 10 comes in <strong>three distinct versions</strong>: Home, for consumer users; Professional, for small and medium-sized business users; and Enterprise, for large business users. </p> <p>“All versions include the latest features for using tablets, touchscreens, timelines, and launching applications with the Start Menu,” the blog notes. “Tech Impact recommends that all non-profits use either Professional or Enterprise versions in order to take advantage of authentication and security features plus allow for centralized workstation management.”</p> <p>As <a href="" target="_blank">a CDW blog post</a> notes, Windows 10 enhances productivity, giving users “<strong>easy access to essential applications through the cloud or virtual desktops</strong>, plus better collaboration and remote working tools. As a result, demands upon IT management are reduced, which opens up greater productivity for them too.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <p>Windows 10 also offers nonprofits access to additional cloud services. The Pro and Enterprise versions give nonprofits tools such as the identity and access management cloud solution, <a href="" target="_blank">Azure Active Directory</a>; and <a href="" target="_blank">Intune</a>, which allows Windows 10 devices to get access to the organization’s secure data, including email, files and other resources. “Adopting these features makes getting rid of the server possible, which saves the organization money,” Tech Impact notes.</p> <p>Windows 10 also offers nonprofits <strong>numerous </strong><strong>cybersecurity</strong><strong> enhancements</strong>. “Windows Hello, for example, enables Windows 10 users to access devices, apps, services and networks with a fingerprint, iris scan or facial recognition technology,” the CDW blog notes. </p> <p>The platform also protects user information against accidental leaks and unauthorized access with features such as BitLocker full-disk encryption. This can aid in the protection and recovery of critical data if an employee device is lost or stolen, CDW notes. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Discover how nonprofits can take advantage of the Internet of Things. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">How Nonprofits Should Upgrade to Window 10</h2> <p>In September 2017, <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft pledged</a> to donate technology, including Windows 10, to <strong>300,000</strong> nonprofits over the following three years. Nonprofits that are registered as 501(c)(3) organizations can work directly with Microsoft to get discounts on technology if they <a href="" target="_blank">meet all of the company’s criteria</a>.</p> <p>Nonprofits can also worked with IT service providers to upgrade their software and with organizations like <a href="" target="_blank">TechSoup</a> that specialize in nonprofit tech. </p> <p>Nonprofits need to plan their upgrade, Tech Impact notes. That means first taking a full inventory of all of their devices running Windows, which they can do on their own or with a partner. </p> <p>Then, Tech Impact advises, nonprofits need to<strong> decide whether their computer hardware needs to be upgraded or replaced </strong>and make the necessary budget arrangements for those purchases.</p> <p>Nonprofit IT leaders then must choose their licensing approach and decide which versions of the software to upgrade, for which users. One option to consider is Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits, which Microsoft notes “is a complete, intelligent solution which offers Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, allowing nonprofits to be more creative and collaborate more easily — all while being protected by Microsoft’s secure systems.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:56:42 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42916 at How Banks Can Drive Productivity, Culture with Collaboration Technology <span>How Banks Can Drive Productivity, Culture with Collaboration Technology</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/12/2018 - 13:33</span> <div><p>The use of collaboration technology such as videoconferencing is becoming increasingly widespread across a variety of industries, and for good reason. <strong>Bandwidth speeds easily accommodate video</strong> without the latency issues, employers have greater incentive to provide a flexible work environment to attract and retain top workers, and more companies deploy geographically distributed workforces, creating an additional barrier to management and culture-building.</p> <p>Collaboration technology, when positioned correctly and embraced by employees, increases productivity. One company, for example, adopted collaboration tools and <strong>reduced wasted time </strong>by as much as <a href="" target="_blank">30 percent</a>, according to a study by management consulting firm McKinsey.</p> <p>Banks and credit unions, though, face additional challenges that make collaboration technology adoption an urgent priority. Because their networks of about <strong>80,000 branches nationwide </strong>serve as the day-to-day employment locations for hundreds of thousands of workers, banks and credit unions must work hard to drive productivity and retain a cohesive culture.</p> <p>In a <a href="$FILE/ey-bank-director-do-banks-have-a-culture-problem.pdf" target="_blank">2015 report, “Do Banks Have a Culture Problem?”</a> accounting and consulting firm Ernst &amp; Young argues corporate culture in the banking industry drew increased scrutiny by both the media and regulators in recent years.</p> <p>“Even banks below <strong>$10 billion</strong> are starting to hear phrases like ‘tone at the top’ showing up on exams, even though few of them think of themselves as being responsible for the financial crisis,” the report notes. “In fact, many community and regional banks pride themselves on their conservative cultures and the way they treat their clients. But they are more vulnerable than large banks because just one bad actor can bring the bank to its knees.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Modern-Workforce_the-office.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2>The Nexus of Collaboration Tech and Corporate Culture</h2> <p>The distribution of modern collaboration technology, while certainly no cure-all for banking’s cultural challenges, is a vital step in an industry with such a widely a distributed workforce.</p> <p>Certainly, there is no lack of collaboration technology in the marketplace. Firms are offering businesses a growing range of these tools, including <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco</a> Webex and video, <a href="" target="_blank" title="BlueJeans Network Video Conferencing">BlueJeans</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="Learn more about collaboration with Skype for Business">Microsoft Teams</a>, all working on in-office hardware from <a href="" target="_blank">Logitech</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Lifesize Showcase">Lifesize</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="Polycom Showcase">Polycom</a>, and the full complement of mobile devices employees already own.</p> <p>Of course, merely installing collaboration tools in a bank’s corporate environment is no cure-all for cultural challenges. But it’s a vital step in an industry with a distributed workforce. So how can banks use collaboration tools to truly transform workplace performance? Here are two strategies to help companies achieve the large gains in productivity, decision-making and innovation they seek from these technologies.</p> <ul><li><strong>Wed collaboration technologies to business processes</strong>: Simply deploying a new collaboration solution doesn’t do much good if a bank or credit union fails to ensure its employees bake it into their work processes. It’s vital that technology be paired with policy to ensure an institution is getting maximum value from the new solution.</li> </ul><p>For example, once a bank or credit union has deployed a videoconferencing solution, employees should be strongly advised to use the functionality, rather than simply dialing into a meeting on their phones. Some businesses, in fact, require employees to use video during meetings because the visual component increases each person’s engagement in the meeting. On camera, it’s harder for a person to focus on other work (or distract themselves) during the meeting.</p> <ul><li><strong>Shape the collaborative behaviors that drive results</strong>: Just as important as ensuring employees use collaboration technology, companies must also shape, encourage and incentivize collaborative behaviors.</li> </ul><p>One large company decided to turn collaborative participation into a game with winners and awards. Its corporate social network grew to <strong>240,000 users</strong>, including customers and partners as well as employees. Still, actual activity was relatively light. Employees were awarded points and became eligible for awards for completing tasks, answering questions or doing other work on the network. The result: a <strong>21 percent increase</strong> <strong>in collaborative activity</strong>, helping to shape behaviors supporting timely business outcomes.</p> <p>Community banks and credit unions can engage in similar gamification approaches to encourage employees to use videoconferencing technology, for example, or to shift away from email toward instant-messaging solutions.</p> <p>It’s clear that collaboration is a key to success across many industries, and financial services is no exception. Banks and credit unions have no reason to ignore the power of collaboration tools.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>BizTech<em>'s <a href="">EquITy blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the <a href=";src=typd">#FinanceTech</a> hashtag.</em></p> <p> </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Equity_logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11986" hreflang="en">Justin Hester</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:33:49 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42911 at Why an RFID Strategy Is Important for Retailers <span>Why an RFID Strategy Is Important for Retailers</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26806" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">daniel.bowman_26806</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:54</span> <div><p>While a report published by IDC earlier this year notes that <a href="">nearly 8 in 10 retailers have set aside funds to spend on visibility platforms</a>, including radio-frequency identification, <a href="" target="_blank">research</a> out of Auburn University’s RFID lab indicates that such technology could <strong>potentially remove claims costs in the supply chain</strong>.</p> <p>The study, which reviewed the flow of product information of eight retail brand owners and five retailers from June 2017 through July 2018, found that order accuracy for brands using RFID tags to capture information and reconcile shipments <strong>exceeded 99.9 percent</strong>.</p> <p>“In an era of omni-channel retail — which demands high inventory accuracy — the errors created in the supply chain propagate downstream and <strong>ultimately impact a retailer’s ability to meet customer demand in a timely manner</strong>,” the study’s authors write. “As our results suggest, several of these errors found at the store or in direct shipments to the consumer via a retailer’s fulfillment center are caused by the upstream disparity between the information flow and the physical product flow amongst brands and retailers. … <strong>RFID technology eliminates the errors commonly found in the process</strong>, ensuring the accurate flow of information and products.”</p> <p><strong><a href=""><em>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </em></a></strong><a href=""><em>Learn how AI, analytics and other technologies are helping retailers reduce return rates.</em></a></p> <h2>A Tool to Boost Customer Experience Management</h2> <p>Despite the already widespread use of RFID in the industry, analysts from Frost &amp; Sullivan say that retailers need to adopt the technology, along with videos, cameras and data analytics, <strong>to keep track of inventory and improve customer experience management</strong>.</p> <p>Ram Ravi, the firm’s industry analyst for industrials, <a href="" target="_blank">states that</a> such tools will strengthen investments in handheld readers and smart point-of-sale solutions. “<strong>RFID sales will get a further boost from the intensifying focus on loss prevention</strong>, inventory management and customer behavior analysis,” he says.</p> <p>Macy’s is one retailer that has notably benefited from deployment of RFID. In 2016, it <a href="" target="_blank">announced a plan</a> to expand use of the technology to track 100 percent of items in all stores by the end of 2017, according to RFID Journal. According to an <a href="" target="_blank">article</a> in Supply Chain Dive, Macy’s is tagging individual apparel items for <strong>900 locations with an accuracy rate of 97 percent</strong>.</p> <h2>RFID Helps Get More Products into Customers’ Hands</h2> <p>A key factor in the rise of RFID use is cost. According to an <a href="" target="_blank">article</a> in <em>Stores</em>, the price of an RFID tag <strong>fell from $1 in 2003 to 10 cents in 2017</strong>.</p> <p>While the Auburn researchers say failure analysis requires more investigation (which will take place in a second phase of their study), they also point out that the major retailers they examined <strong>attribute cost savings and increased sales to the use of RFID technology</strong>.</p> <p>“Item level RFID is <strong>driving visibility and efficiency</strong> as well as playing a critical role in helping retailers create a seamless omni-channel customer experience,” they write. “Retailers around the globe are using it to increase inventory accuracy, decrease out-of-stocks and improve loss detection as well as to get more product into their customers’ hands than ever before.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/dan-bowman" hreflang="en">Dan Bowman</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:54:51 +0000 daniel.bowman_26806 42906 at