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Achieving Gender Equity In The Mobile Industry

Dr. Patti Fletcher

As I prepare to talk about transforming equity in the workplace at next month’s Women4Tech Summit at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I am struck by the importance of words. Words result in action. The wrong words could very well result in the wrong actions.

The first step in any transformation process is awareness. Awareness comes from the realization that change is on the horizon – change that is needed and that will shift the status quo, or generally accepted norms of “how we do things around here.” In order to solve the challenge of increasing representation of women and other under-represented populations, we must first understand the importance of, and the difference between, equity and equality.

Equity and equality are often used interchangeably, yet the two terms have very different meanings. For leaders who are responsible for harnessing all the best available talent, it’s important to understand that distinction. Equality is based on the belief that everyone is created equal and therefore should be treated the same. Equity considers various differences in barriers and strengths in demographic groups and aims to give members of those groups what they need to be successful.

Inequality and inequity in experience, opportunity, power, and influence plagues many under-represented groups across most, if not all, industries. Awareness provides a catalyst for change, leading a person to move to the next step, driven by a personal desire to take part in the transformation. Yet when it comes to transforming the dearth of qualified women in industry and leadership, leaders tend to see that personal desire manifest into activities that fall short of moving the needle. The impact isn’t there.

Rather than repeating inefficient and ineffective programs aimed at achieving equality for women, a shift in focus—one that requires equity for every member of the workforce—is required. Only then can we all get on the right track.

Gender inequity in the mobile industry

Women comprise half the world’s population, and in many geographies, half of the workforce. Considering that women are responsible for 80% to 90% of all consumer buying decisions, it is hard to argue against the fact that women hold significant economic buying power. Yet the dearth of women in technology-intensive industries remains a black eye on industry, although many act as if this lack of movement is somehow the fault of women themselves.

There is a lot at stake if women continue to experience inequity and inequality in the workplace. By now, many have seen McKinsey’s report, which states $12 billion dollars would be added to the economy today if the women in today’s workforce were paid on par with their male counterparts. That is more than the combined GDPs of Japan, France, and the UK.

Despite the number of women in the world and the potential for economic growth if women were fully engaged, the numbers that really matter remain low: With women comprising roughly 25% of the technology workforce and holding less than 11% of corporate board positions in the industry, the progress made is simply not enough.

In a study of low- and middle-income countries, GSMA found that women in emerging economies are 38% less likely to own a mobile phone than men. Without access to information and to a broader outside community, women are handicapped. Without women in key development, marketing, strategy, and sales positions, these numbers may never fully represent the potential of the mobile industry.

Looking at the problem through the wrong lens

Companies spend billions of dollars on programs designed to address gender inequity within their own workforce. The catalyst for many of these programs is legal, although some are more driven by philanthropy and desire to do the right thing. Some initiatives offer courses that help women learn to negotiate, lead, and network like men. Many events include only women, and men, along with women who are not invited, feel left out. The needle doesn’t move, and women continue to leave their jobs at twice the rate of men, costing companies 200% of each lost talent.

Shifting the focus improves outcomes

Where’s the discrepancy? Why are these thoughtfully designed, well-meaning, beautifully executed events not working?

Let’s go back to where we started in this article: Transformation starts with an awareness that catalyzes a shift in how a status quo is viewed—one that questions ineffective, inefficient, and irrelevant norms.

Research from Dr. Elisabeth Kelan of Cranfield University found that the glass ceiling is most prevalent and damning at the middle-manager level. Instead of “fixing” women, as many programs attempt to do, we must change how we address gender inequity and inequality in the workplace by shifting our focus from “this is a women’s problem” to “this is about harnessing all the best and available talent.” After all, who is responsible for the vast majority of attracting, recruiting, engaging, developing, and advancing that talent? You guessed it: middle managers.

I look forward to sharing ideas on how every leader and manager in the mobile technology industry can engage all the best talent by eradicating unconscious bias across the nine key decisions points that can either create or hinder equity and equality in the workplace.

Hope to see you in Barcelona!

For more on the importance of workplace diversity, see Diversity For The Greater Good And As A Smart Business Strategy.

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Dr. Patti Fletcher

About Dr. Patti Fletcher

Dr. Patti Fletcher (@pkfletcher) is a seasoned business executive, award-winning marketing influencer, board member, angel investor, author, and presenter. She writes for drpattifletcher.com, Inc., The Guardian, and has contributed to and been featured in Time Magazine, Al-Jazeera, Forbes, Newsweek, Xconomy, The Muse, and many more. Patti advises corporate executives and board members from lean start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, and from small community organizations to large global nonprofits. She is an advocate and a sought-after speaker on the topics of leading large-scale cultural change, transformational leadership, brand building, cultivating high performance teams, women on boards, women in the c-suite, and women in high growth entrepreneurship. As a futurist, Patti is currently working with SAP SuccessFactors to help change how the world thinks about diversity, inclusion, and the role of HR in business.

IoT Can Keep You Healthy — Even When You Sleep [VIDEO]

Christine Donato

Today the Internet of Things is revamping technology. IoT image from American Geniuses.jpg

Smart devices speak to each other and work together to provide the end user with a better product experience.

Coinciding with this change in technology is a change in people. We’ve transitioned from a world of people who love processed foods and french fries to people who eat kale chips and Greek yogurt…and actually like it.

People are taking ownership of their well-being, and preventative care is at the forefront of focus for both physicians and patients. Fitness trackers alert wearers of the exact number of calories burned from walking a certain number of steps. Mobile apps calculate our perfect nutritional balance. And even while we sleep, people are realizing that it’s important to monitor vitals.

According to research conducted at Harvard University, proper sleep patterns bolster healthy side effects such as improved immune function, a faster metabolism, preserved memory, and reduced stress and depression.

Conversely, the Harvard study determined that lack of sleep can negatively affect judgement, mood, and the ability retain information, as well as increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even premature death.

Through the Internet of Things, researchers can now explore sleep patterns without the usual sleep labs and movement-restricting electrode wires. And with connected devices, individuals can now easily monitor and positively influence their own health.

EarlySense, a startup credited with the creation of continuous patient monitoring solutions focused on early detection of patient deterioration, mid-sleep falls, and pressure ulcers, began with a mission to prevent premature and preventable deaths.

Without constant monitoring, patients with unexpected clinical deterioration may be accidentally neglected, and their conditions can easily escalate into emergency situations.

Motivated by many instances of patients who died from preventable post-elective surgery complications, EarlySense founders created a product that constantly monitors patients when hospital nurses can’t, alerting the main nurse station when a patient leaves his or her bed and could potentially fall, or when a patient’s vital signs drop or rise unexpectedly.

Now EarlySense technology has expanded outside of the hospital realm. The EarlySense wellness sensor, a device connected via the Internet of Things, mobile solutions, and supported by SAP HANA Cloud Platform, monitors all vital signs while a person sleeps. The device is completely wireless and lies subtly underneath one’s mattress. The sensor collects all mechanical vibrations that the patient’s body emits while sleeping, continuously monitoring heart and respiratory rates.

Watch this short video to learn more about how the EarlySense wellness sensor works:

The result is faster diagnoses with better treatments and outcomes. Sleep issues can be identified and addressed; individuals can use the data collected to make adjustments in diet or exercise habits; and those on heavy pain medications can monitor the way their bodies react to the medication. In addition, physicians can use the data collected from the sensor to identify patient health problems before they escalate into an emergency situation.

Connected care is opening the door for a new way to practice health. Through connected care apps that link people with their doctors, fitness trackers that measure daily activity, and sensors like the EarlySense wellness sensor, today’s technology enables people and physicians to work together to prevent sickness and accidents before they occur. Technology is forever changing the way we live, and in turn we are living longer, healthier lives.

To learn how SAP HANA Cloud Platform can affect your business, visit It&Me.

For more stories, join me on Twitter.

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Christine Donato

About Christine Donato

Christine Donato is a Senior Integrated Marketing Specialist at SAP. She is an accomplished project manager and leader of multiple marketing and sales enablement campaigns and events, that supported a multi million euro business.

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Brews Sustainable Growth On Cloud ERP

David Trites

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting a podcast with Paula Muesse, COO and CFO of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, a small, organic, fair-trade tea company based in California, and Ursula Ringham from SAP. We talked about some of the business challenges Zhena’s faces and how the company’s ERP solution helped spur growth and digital transformation.

Small but complex business

~ERP helped Zhena’s sustain growthZhena’s has grown from one person (Zhena Muzyka) selling hand-packed tea from a cart, into a thriving small business that puts quality, sustainability, and fair trade first. And although the company is small its business is complex.

For starters, tea isn’t grown in the United States, so Zhena’s has to maintain and import inventory from multiple warehouses around the world. Some of their tea blends have up to 14 ingredients, and each one has a different lead time. That makes demand-planning difficult. In addition, the FDA and US Customs require designated ingredients be traced and treated a certain way to comply with regulations.

Being organic and fair trade also makes things more complicated. Zhena’s has to pass an annual organic compliance audit for all products and processing facilities. And all products need to be traceable back to the farms where the tea was grown and picked to ensure the workers (mostly women) are paid fair wages.

Sustainable growth

Prior to implementing its new ERP system, Zhena’s was using a mix of tools like QuickBooks, Excel, and paper to manage the business. But to sustain growth and ensure future success, the company had to make some changes. Zhena’s needed an integrated software solution that could handle all facets of the business. It needed a tool that could help with cost control and profitability analysis and facilitate complex reporting and regulatory requirements.

The SAP Business ByDesign solution was the perfect choice. The cloud-based ERP solution reduced both business and IT costs, simplified processes from demand planning to accounting, and enabled mobile access and real-time reporting.

Check out the podcast to hear more about how Zhena’s successfully transformed its business by moving to SAP Business ByDesign.

 This article originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Building a successful company is hard work. SAP’s affordable solutions for small and midsize companies are designed to make it easier. Simple to install and use, SAP SME Solutions help you automate and integrate your business processes to give real-time, actionable insights. So you can make decisions on the spot. Find out how Run Simple can work for you. Visit sap.com/sme.

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David Trites

About David Trites

David Trites is a Director of SAP Global Marketing. He is responsible for producing interesting and compelling customer stories that will humanize the SAP brand, support sales and marketing teams across SAP, and increase the awareness of SAP in key markets.

The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers

 

The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.


Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.


A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.


Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.


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To Get Past Blockchain Hype, We Must Think Differently

Susan Galer

Blockchain hype is reaching fever pitch, making it the perfect time to separate market noise from valid signals. As part of my ongoing conversations about blockchain, I reached out to several experts to find out where companies should consider going from here. Raimund Gross, Solution Architect and Futurist at SAP, acknowledged the challenges of understanding and applying such a complex leading-edge technology as blockchain.

“The people who really get it today are those able to put the hype in perspective with what’s realistically doable in the near future, and what’s unlikely to become a reality any time soon, if ever,” Gross said. “You need to commit the resources and find the right partners to lay the groundwork for success.”

Gross told me one of the biggest problems with blockchain – besides the unproven technology itself – was the mindset shift it demands. “Many people aren’t thinking about decentralized architectures with peer-to-peer networks and mash-ups, which is what blockchain is all about. People struggle because often discussions end up with a centralized approach based on past constructs. It will take training and experience to think decentrally.”

Here are several more perspectives on blockchain beyond the screaming headlines.

How blockchain disrupts insurance, banking

Blockchain has the potential to dramatically disrupt industries because the distributed ledger embeds automatic trust across processes. This changes the role of longstanding intermediaries like insurance companies and banks, essentially restructuring business models for entire industries.

“With the distributed ledger, all of the trusted intelligence related to insuring the risk resides in the cloud, providing everyone with access to the same information,” said Nadine Hoffmann, global solution manager for Innovation at SAP Financial Services. “Payment is automatically triggered when the agreed-upon risk scenario occurs. There are limitations given regulations, but blockchain can open up new services opportunities for established insurers, fintech startups, and even consumer-to-consumer offerings.”

Banks face a similar digitalized transformation. Long built on layers of steps to mitigate risk, blockchain offers the banking industry a network of built-in trust to improve efficiencies along with the customer experience in areas such as cross-border payments, trade settlements for assets, and other contractual and payment processes. What used to take days or even months could be completed in hours.

Finance departments evolve

Another group keenly watching blockchain developments are CFOs. Just as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted transportation and hospitality, blockchain has the potential to change not only the finance department — everything from audits and customs documentation to letters of credit and trade finance – but also the entire company.

“The distributed ledger’s capabilities can automate processes in shared service centers, allowing accountants and other employees in finance to speed up record keeping including proof of payment supporting investigations,” said Georg Koester, senior developer, LoB Finance at the Innovation Center Potsdam. “This lowers costs for the company and improves the customer experience.”

Koester said that embedding blockchain capabilities in software company-wide will also have a tremendous impact on product development, lean supply chain management, and other critical areas of the company.

While financial services dominate blockchain conversations right now, Gross named utilities, healthcare, public sector, real estate, and pretty much any industry as prime candidates for blockchain disruption. “Blockchain is specific to certain business scenarios in any industry,” said Gross. “Every organization can benefit from trust and transparency that mitigates risk and optimizes processes.”

Get started today! Run Live with SAP for Banking. Blast past the hype by attending the SAP Next-Gen Boot Camp on Blockchain in Financial Services and Public Sector event being held April 26-27 in Regensdorf, Switzerland.

Follow me on Twitter, SCN Business Trends, or Facebook. Read all of my Forbes articles here.

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