October 29, 2013
Not one of our usual cutesy attempt to find the links between the thoughts of Aldous Huxley, Baloo or the Arctic Monkeys and some workplace issue or other but a completely straight exploration by technophile Stephen Fry of the enduringly nascent and misunderstood technology still indistinguishable from magic that is Cloud computing. The national treasure and renowned smart-arse looks at the development of the principles behind the Cloud in an historical context and applies them to business thinking for those of us who struggle once the serious technical explanations begin. Most of us, in other words.
October 29, 2013
One of the most fascinating aspects of the debate about whether the UK should spend £50 billion (or whatever you think it might be) on the new HS2 rail network, is the way in which it has formed a touchstone for a discussion about how we work. But people on both sides of this debate can have things either spectacularly or misguidedly wrong. On one side, the people behind the scheme, including the Government, used the jaw-dropping assumption that nobody worked on trains as the foundation of a business case. That was the familiar sight of large organisations working their relentless way towards a number they wanted, regardless of inconvenient facts. This idea has now been so widely discredited and mocked that it has been dropped completely from the latest business case, tellingly the sixth in just three years. And yet on the other side, we have people arguing that we should travel less and use videoconferencing as an alternative to face to face meetings, which can be almost as problematic.
October 29, 2013
According to a new survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the UK’s facilities managers are simply not ‘getting’ what Building Information Modelling is all about and how it can be applied. The latest research into the acronym replete debate about the role of BIM found that more than a third of facilities management professionals are unfamiliar with building information modelling and its uses. RICS is calling on facilities managers to increase their general awareness of the potential of the technology. The survey was carried out on behalf of RICS by the crudely monikered and government funded BIM4FM initiative and found that of the nearly two thirds (65 percent) of respondents who were aware of BIM, nearly all (62 percent) believed it would help them in their roles.
October 28, 2013
There is a great deal of talk about the growing urbanisation of the world right now, and its effects on societies, economies and individuals. The numbers of people involved are daunting, especially in the developing world. As a result, many countries are currently experiencing the sort of upheaval we in Britain experienced nearly 300 years ago, and they are doing so in a very compressed time span compared to the 150 years it took in Britain. But the changing nature of cities is also apparent in the UK where it is having an effect not only in the country’s only megacity but in regional centres too. For places such as Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow the challenges presented by a new generation of initiatives focussed on urbanisation can be profound and mark an opportunity to shift at least some of the UK’s economic focus away from London.
October 18, 2013
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has become the first global professional body to introduce the first recognisable building information modelling (BIM) standard. Employers and clients are struggling to find industry accepted criteria on which to base knowledge of practitioners’ BIM skills, while BIM competent professionals lack a single indicator that will demonstrate their abilities to the sector. This has resulted in different assessment methods being used across the industry. RICS’ BIM Manager Certification aims to assure contractors, consultants and investors that the professionals and firms delivering construction and infrastructure projects have the relevant knowledge, experience and skills to implement BIM at an industry tested and approved level. more…
October 17, 2013
Employers who discourage staff from spending time at work updating their status on Facebook or following twitter feeds would be better served in harnessing their social media habits to promote the organization according to an academic study. Joonas Rokka, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Neoma Business School, has published new research in the Journal of Marketing Management that shows how social media can accentuate the role of employee and corporate reputation management. According to findings drawn from multiple business sectors and different types of companies, the research claims that companies need to focus more on managing employees as active reputation builders and brand ambassadors in social media instead of conceiving them only as possible reputation risks. more…
October 17, 2013
Most companies are engaged in an attempt to help employees become happier, more productive and – yes –fitter at work. Firms do this because they are nice people or in the commercial interest of the business, or both. The problem is they are not doing it with a fixed set of criteria. Not only do they have to cope with changing commercial and economic conditions and legislation, they have to do it while the very nature of work evolves rapidly and in very different ways for different organisations. This is not so much like somebody moving the goal posts as it is like one of those games on It’s A Knockout where a contestant tries to do something while other people are shaking the platform they are standing on, squirting them with water, running into them, hitting them with things and yanking them back with ropes.
October 15, 2013
London, Dublin, Barcelona, Boston and Bristol have something in common – they’re smart cities that use intelligent technology to monitor their urban infrastructure. The data is used in a variety of ways; to save money, minimise waste, measure water usage and manage transport routes. Solutions range from utilising IBM’s ‘Big Data’ to analyse traffic congestion on Dublin’s public transport network, to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from Boston’s buildings. The smart cities industry has been valued at more than $400 billion globally by 2020, with the UK expected to gain a 10 per cent share ($40 billion). Now the government has announced it is to set up a new Smart Cities Forum, chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark, with representatives from cities, business, and scientists. more…
October 7, 2013
Bring Your Own Device remains the Gordian Knot of workplace technology. While firms have tried to label and co-opt the unstoppable propensity of employees to use their own devices for work as a way of cutting the business’s technology costs, they are paying in other ways. As we reported last week many remain unaware of the extent of the practice and of its potential to clash with company policy. Now, the full extent of the inevitable security breach inherent in either sanctioned or unsanctioned use of personal technology is becoming evident. According to a new report from Samsung, around a third of Europe’s largest companies have lost company and confidential data through the practice.
October 3, 2013
Companies have an inconsistent approach to the implementation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in the workplace and often misjudge the ways in which people use their own technology for work regardless of official policies, claims a snapshot survey of IT managers at 224 UK businesses commissioned by Azzurri Communications. It found that while a greater number of firms are switching to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) as an alternative in which the business keeps control of the account and SIM card for equipment, staff continue to use their own devices anyway to a far greater extent than their employers assume.
October 2, 2013
The digital revolution has changed the definition of the “workplace”, from a physical building where employees go to perform the tasks for which they get paid – to a more flexible model that allows staff to perform and deliver work from a variety of locations. But the employers’ role, i.e. managing the talent wherever they are based, has remained the same. Not for much longer – suggest analysts from Deloitte in a new paper, The Open Talent Economy, which describes the evolving workforce as a mixture of full-time employees, contractors and freelancers and – increasingly – people with no formal ties to a business at all. What’s more, in the future this “open source talent” will ultimately rewrite what the term “workforce” actually means. more…
September 17, 2013
Social media, as politicians and celebrities are all too aware is a double edged sword. Just last week David Cameron read out a Twitter message during Prime Minister’s Questions sent to a Labour MP, who had asked people for suggestions about what to ask at PMQs. The first reply was “how happy are you that the Labour leader will still be in place at the next election?” And Cameron himself has not been exempt to the odd twitter gaffe. Social media is such a powerful tool however, that employers can’t afford to ignore it – so demand for enterprise social networks – business tools that use Facebook-style features to allow staff to interact with one another on work projects are on the increase. more…
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