Information Technology Outsourcing
December 2nd, 2013
10 scams to be on the lookout for during the holiday season.
By Mark Leary , Chief Information Security Officer, Xerox
The holidays are a fun-filled time for celebrating with family and friends, but cybercriminals see this as a time of opportunity. They look to take advantage of us while we’re in the spirit of giving, and when we’re scrambling to run all of our errands.
- Social Media Scams. Watch out for phony contests.
- Malicious Mobile Apps. Only download apps from official app stores; check users’ reviews and read the app permission policies.
- Travel Scams. Be wary of too-good-to-be-true offers, and when on the road be careful using free Wi-Fi connections.
- Holiday Spam/Phishing. Never respond to spam emails or click on included links. Remember, banks won’t ask you to verify personal information via text.
- iPhone 5c, iPad Deals. Be suspicious of deals on hot holiday gift items. Try to verify them with a retailer.
- Skype Message Scare. Never click on suspicious links, even if it comes from someone you know.
- Bogus Gift Cards. Buy gift cards from the official retailer and not a third party gift source.
- Phony E-Tailers. Only shop at trusted and well-known e-commerce sites.
- Fake Charities. When you want to give, visit the charity’s web-site and do a little research before donating.
- Phony Classifieds. Don’t wire money for “deals” and make sure you don’t pay for an item before receiving it.
Cybercriminals aren’t the only ones who can gain power from information. Educating yourself about the types of scams that exist on the Internet and how to avert them, and you will stay one step ahead.
Link to More Information
Microsoft Safety & Security Center: Practical security tips for you and your family, useful resources and links, and a forum for you to provide feedback and ask security-related questions.
StaySafeOnline.org: From the National Cyber Security Alliance, which seeks to educate a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work and school.
Stop. Think. Connect: A national public awareness campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The campaign seeks to help the American public understand cyber threats, and empower the public to be safer and more secure online.
September 20th, 2013
By Jarrod Johnson, vice president of IT services, Retail and Consumer Products, Xerox
Full aisles, effective signage and shoppers moving through check-out lanes at warp speed are retail nirvana. Then the point-of-sale go blank and freeze up. Bar-code scanners become pet rocks. And the store becomes an empty warehouse, with shoppers leaving in herds. No surprise, but technology downtime isn’t just a tech issue. It’s lost revenue. Lost shoppers. Lost opportunity.
When the worst does happen, it only gets worse when everyone is wondering who to call and how to fix it. It’s an in-store tsunami sweeping way beyond store associates, even the store itself. Such a disaster requires a quick-response commando team that’s ready to act and resolve problems immediately. In basic terms, it’s a support team—a store support team that is poised behind the scenes, with real answers to real problems.
We call it the Store Command Center. It’s a centralized service desk and support team that optimizes in-store technologies. It allows retailers and store employees to be “doing retail” and serving customers. Managing technology, waiting for tech support and being idled by systems failures are too expensive and harmful for any retailer.
To determine the move from in-house store support services to a managed services provider, start with these three steps:
- Make the Financial Argument. Are the costs for labor, training, “break/fix” equipment, knowledge transfer and training steadily rising? One survey reports that more than 80 percent of businesses surveyed stated that call center outsourcing was beneficial. Sixty-two percent reported substantial savings.
- Make the Satisfaction/Resolution Argument. Study customer satisfaction metrics, quantitative and qualitative. Find out average response times, call handle times and first-call resolution effectiveness, among others. These indicators will confirm or deny perceived problems.
- Make the Vendor Rounds. Know your options and identify vendors that specialize in your industry, and have proven support service infrastructure and personnel. As your in-store technologies increase, so do the number of vendors, IT and support complexity–and the time to manage all the moving pieces and personnel. Evaluate the time and costs associated with managing all of these partners vs. a centralized approach handled by one vendor.
Keep your stores optimized and operational – and questions answered quickly and completely. It can mean the difference between shopper transactions and walk-offs.
July 25th, 2013
By Laura Speek, learning and development specialist, The Breakaway Group, A Xerox Company.
Around the globe, hospitals, clinics and medical practices are scrambling to adopt increasingly complex health information technology systems. While medical chief information officers evaluate a lush offering of sophisticated technological advances, they still face the challenge of dealing with old-fashioned human resistance to change.
Unquestionably, fear is a driving force behind this resistance. This includes fear of the unknown, fear of wasting money, fear of losing productivity, and – in the case of healthcare providers – fear of making a life-threatening mistake. Given the stakes, caregiver resistance to health information technology adoption is both understandable and natural.
In a clinical setting, fear-based resistance can manifest itself in creating “work-arounds” to avoid using technology or creating a string of excuses to delay the inevitable. As a learning and development specialist with The Breakaway Group, I have the opportunity to help healthcare organizations neutralize fear-based resistance to technological change through simulation-based HIT adoption training. Here are a few key points that underlie our unique approach:
Identify the Depth and Breadth of the Resistance
In many medical organizations, certain providers appear to lead resistance campaigns. Smart CIOs realize that as a group, doctors have loud voices and command large audiences. But providers may only be a visible (and audible) tip of a fear-frozen iceberg that is much larger and deeper than originally thought.
It is a good idea to survey all employees to identify the scope and shape of HIT resistance in your organization. This is the foundation for developing a systemic training plan to overcome silent but deep opposition.
Although every medical group has multiple job descriptions and responsibilities, adult learners are the primary target audience. Adults share some learning characteristics that can be leveraged to launch a strategic anti-resistance training program:
- Adult learners are motivated by practicality. They eagerly engage in learning opportunities that directly relate to their particular challenges and responsibilities. Training that is based on real-life, role-based scenarios immediately captures their attention and interest.
- Adult learners have limited time. They respond well to training that can be accessed 24/7, and is presented in small, manageable chunks. They also prefer the convenience of individual, self-paced learning.
- Adult learners are naturally skeptical regarding change, particularly technological change. If the goal is to reduce fear and resistance, training should be non-threatening and repeatable. Ideally, it should gently guide users through workflows and procedures, to systematically develop proficiency and confidence. While learners may need to pass exams to prove they have mastered the material, making the exams logical and repeatable reduces test anxiety. This encourages learners to focus on absorbing the material as opposed to fixating on potential test questions.
- Adult learners can be overwhelmed with information overload. While it is tempting show off every technological bell and whistle in a new HIT system, we urge clients to initially focus only on tasks required to develop proficiency (not mastery) for regular job performance. It takes discipline (and sometimes surgical skill) to limit training in this way, but we find it has the benefit of getting people up to speed quickly while building confidence, and most importantly, developing a desire to learn more.
Get Creative with Metrics
Adult learners can be highly competitive. A smart training program uses metrics in a way that encourages healthy competition, gives participants a sense of accomplishment, and provides feedback to make continual improvements.
Short, interactive simulation courses tick all the boxes discussed here. They are relevant, manageable, convenient, repeatable and non-threatening. They take advantage of adult learner characteristics in a way that naturally reduces fear and resistance, builds knowledge required for HIT proficiency, and even puts a little fun into the equation. One physician described his simulator experience as “addicting.”
Organizations using simulation-based training report smoother, less stressful go-live events – and over time – deeper, more permanent integration of new technology into workflows. In the long run, smart training programs that truly address the needs, concerns and learning styles within an organization can result in a lot more bang for the HIT investment buck.
This post originally appeared on HealthBiz Decoded.
June 13th, 2013
By Paul Wolf, director, Retail Services, IT Outsourcing, Xerox
When F. W. Woolworth opened the doors of his new-fangled retail store in 1878 in Utica, N.Y., he is said to have created an American business phenomenon. He simplified the retail experience for shoppers that continued as a mainstay for almost a century. In 1962, something called a big-box retailer opened its doors for the first time. It was a big Woolworth’s named Woolco. Shortly afterward, a newcomer named Walmart arrived on the scene.
These days, retail continues to change, adapt and cater to what shoppers want, but the pace is faster and the issues are complicated. There are numerous stores, store types and formats, distribution centers, suppliers, store employees and, yes, technologies upon technologies. Creating the “right” experience—garnering maximum impact–is the goal. Store-level performance is the key. When Cathy Hotka, a retail industry veteran, talked to executives of store-level operations, they lamented these issues. Within months, she came up with an idea and formed the Store Operations Council.
“Too often, we forget what is right in front of our faces. We take the store for granted,” said Hotka. “The council builds on the value and vitality of store-level operations—and what it means for long-term success” Since forming in 2012, approximately 76 senior-level store executives have gathered in small groups to listen, learn and build rapport.
Ultimately, says Hotka, the council is about the end-game: Making sure retailers succeed, long term, beginning at the store. She offers these four tips for retailers pursuing excellence.
The 4 D’s that Drive Retail Excellence
- Differentiation. For retailers, this means knowing how you—the retailer—are different from everyone else. Culture? Store design? Pricing strategy? Communications? Branding?
- Distinction. Show the differentiation. Drive the distinction to all your stakeholders, from executives to employees, to customers and community efforts.
- Deference. WIFFM rules. The “What’s In It For Me?” requires us to step back from our GroupThink and inquire—to defer our assumptions—among our constituents. What do employees perceive? What do the most loyal customers want and think vs. “walk throughs” store traffic? More research.
- Delivery. Act on what you now know, and avoid half measures. Be confident that your data proves your direction. Engage, commit, then evaluate.
Beginning on June 18, store operations experts will again meet and collaborate at the latest council meeting. Why? Simply put: “I can fish with a pole, or I can fish with a net, but a net takes more than one person. By working together, the catch is always bigger and better.”
February 12th, 2013
By Wayne Scalf, president, Retail IT Solutions, Xerox
Weeks later, I’m still inspired. There I sat, one of hundreds at the keynote speech of The National Retail Federation’s 102nd Annual Convention and Expo in New York. At the lectern was Wal-Mart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon.
In part, he said:
“At the heart of our national conversation today is one issue: creating jobs to grow the economy…fixing this problem will take all of us our part – business, government, labor, nonprofits and private citizens. And the retail industry has to lead.”
“The beauty of the private sector is that we don’t have to win an election, convince Congress, or pass a bill to do what we think is right. We can simply move forward…doing what we know how to do…growing our business.”
He added that now is the time for retailers and suppliers to make the economy grow and go. He mentioned that Wal-Mart U.S. is committing to buying $50 billion in U.S. products during the next 10 years. Bottom line, retail matters.
What I gleaned from this year’s show was vast. Topics and technologies whizzed at galactic speed, yet two themes emerged: mobility and partnership.
The biggest buzz at the show centered on the mobile revolution and its impact on how consumers seek and shop, in real-time, right now, in your store, comparing prices and quality with the other retailer just around the corner. The rush is on for retailers to effectively leverage mobility for loyalty and sales—being able to greet a specific customer with a specific offer the minute he or she hits your store’s front door. And of course, there was a focus on store-level and chain-wide mobile device management. It was good to hear since mobility is a Xerox specialty as well, where we’re helping companies conduct and manage their business from anywhere – using their mobile devices. We’re ensuring they have the right devices for the job, they have the right ‘apps’ and that they have access to their information.
Ultimately, we left the show with sore feet and heavy eyes. But we also had smiles on our faces. We were proud to share the IT side of Xerox, and to show the agnostic nature of what we do.
This year, NRF was more than a show. And while it is always an annual pilgrimage of the world’s finest retailers and its ecosystem of technology providers, I was proud to see Xerox cloud services standing in the middle of the hall demonstrating real solutions to real retail problems. Our position as problem solvers really resonated. We listened and responded, be it conversation about field services, mobility management, how to leverage the cloud or why telecom outsourcing is smart.
The show is past. But like Simon said, the best is yet to come.
January 31st, 2013
By Kevin Kyser, chief operating officer, Information Technology Outsourcing , Xerox Services
Food and restaurant analysts have pin-pointed a number of growing industry trends in 2013 – many of which I can really sink my teeth into. Among them: a wider array or portable food, vending machines that churn out everything from hot pizza to fresh cupcakes, and dining counters where customers can watch chefs cook and chat with them while they eat.
But there’s another trend shaping the industry – and “trend” might be putting it lightly, it’s more of a technological revolution. Remember when a restaurant or other retail outlet could get by with a few cash registers and a phone line? Those days are long behind us. Today the technology revolution is being fueled by mobility, automation and the need to deliver fast, convenient service options that keep customers coming back for more. But while mobile devices and applications, new payment devices and numerous displays and customer facing systems can fuel loyalty and sales, they add to the complexity of running a business.
We’re helping McDonald’s simplify that complexity. We recently assumed the operation and management of RTS from McDonald’s Corporation. RTS provides service desk support through more than 600 employees who assist more than 17,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S., UK, Ireland and China. With our behind-the-scenes support, McDonald’s and its independent owner-operators in those countries can focus on their customers while we resolve technical issues related to point-of-sale equipment, kitchen video devices, and “cashless” credit card processing devices.
It’s an exciting addition to our retail services portfolio, and a great way for McDonald’s to concentrate on its core business of serving its customers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to finish my McRib.
While Kevin may be the COO of Xerox’s ITO group, he also has three sons and knows firsthand the importance of keeping the target audience happy.
November 14th, 2012
By Ken Stephens, senior vice president, Xerox Cloud Services
The Society for Information Management (SIM) recently released findings from its annual CIO survey that indicate CIOs around the world plan to commit more of their budgets on IT outsourcing in 2013 to boost productivity and reduce costs. Not surprisingly, cloud computing was cited as a top application in 2012 and I expect that to be the case next year as well.
When I speak with CIOs and IT managers many are still surprised that Xerox has been a player in the business cloud for years. But as the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management, we’ve always contended that the cloud is an integral piece of simplifying the way work gets done – offering on-demand technology that’s scalable, affordable and can be accessed anywhere, anytime.
So as the calendar turns let’s look at key cloud trends and opportunities in 2013:
- Cloud jobs are booming, but how do companies attract the right talent to capitalize on the opportunities? Because the cloud is still an emerging force, it’s not always necessary that a candidate have cloud experience. But it is critical that employees are able to deliver client solutions in weeks, not months, and are adept at turning a service into a sellable product. At Xerox our focus is on growing our bench of cloud service experts organically rather than through recruitment.
- The next frontier for cloud services is deeper penetration into specific industries, specifically hyper-competitive markets such as retail and hospitality. We’ve seen the benefits of cloud solutions in large enterprises and increasingly in SMB environments. But there’s also great opportunity for industry-specific solutions such as help desk or telecom expense management services for retail, where profit margins can be razor thin.
- Data analytics driven by cloud services. As businesses increasingly operate in more locations nationally and globally, cloud services allow them to make sense of all the customer and operational information at their disposal. Xerox is adept at leveraging big data, and bringing that data analytics power to clients in a cloud services-based package is a major growth opportunity for the industry.
What other cloud developments do you see in 2013?
Ken knows “the cloud” is everywhere these days, but is focused on making cloud services simple to understand and implement for IT professionals.