Turkeys voting for Christmas?

I read that Tom Tom have surveyed a number of firms that are “under using” their investments in technology. I find this unsurprising, as users and managers often see tech as disruptive, awkward and “not as good as the old way”

Why not embrace technology ? Spend time training yourself (YouTube anyone?) rather than waiting for a course. Invest your own time in becoming more tech savvy and then help your colleagues. I have more apps on my phone than anyone in our business, just because I like to look for new tech – and find better ways of doing things. Hotels,com, OpenTable, Outlook and Spotify are just a part of my day now.

So, why the reference to Turkeys? Well, if you see tech as replacing your role, why not find another role, or make an investment in you AND tech – or, of course, form an escape committee…

The Smiling Eskimo

In this article published last week, it was reported that Alaska Airlines is making significant cost savings and productivity gains through its mobile transformation programme.

By ‘mobile transformation programme’, Derek Chan (Manager of Alaska Airlines Mobile and User Experience) refers to the 12,000+ smart devices and 50+ business applications it has rolled out to employees across various departments within the organisation.

Chan mentions how, “with the swipe of a finger or tap of an app, each step is being signed off in real-time, as soon as it’s complete. The customer service agent no longer needs to walk down the jet way to the flight attendant with paperwork, after waiting for the information to be printed from a machine in a different location.”

When quizzed about the return on investment from the mobile transformation, Chan said that it all comes down to time. “Time savings lead to money; if we save one minute, it leads to ‘x’ amount of dollars – that’s where we see our return on investment.”

This statement really resonated with me.

Particularly since we heard on Wednesday that productivity growth in the UK has been revised down by an average of 0.7% a year up to 2023.

We can debate all we like about the possible reasons behind the UK’s low productivity rate, but essentially it comes down to a whole host of factors – with low adoption of technology and innovation being a major contributory factor.

As highlighted in CBI’s recent report, “it’s the low take-up of readily available technologies and management best practices that is driving the UK’s productivity problem. In 2015, the proportion of UK firms adopting cloud computing was nearly 30 percentage points below Europe’s best performers.”

In the past, businesses shied away from the adoption of new technology as it often involved large-scale projects, costing vast sums and taking years to complete. Often with no guarantee of the desired outcome.

However with the huge rise of hosted, software as a service models (SaaS) – businesses have the advantage of being able to ‘dip their toe in the water’ and try out new technologies at a fraction of the time and cost of their predecessors. Also without needing any of the required infrastructure or hosting.

Furthermore, SaaS models have the additional advantage that they can be simply turned off if they don’t function correctly or be easily tweaked and modified to fit the requirements of the organisation.

Alaska Air is one business where one can see the increase in productivity and revenue through a progressive attitude to tech. In this case mobility in completing paperwork. The Eskimo on their tail fins must be smiling….




Magpies & Ostriches – which are you ?

The CBI have printed a report here which highlights a problem that we see all the time. failure to adopt, failure to move, paralysis in fear of the unknown.  Some organisations seem to think that a bad “known” is better than a complete “unknown” . What about the “unknown unknowns” (per Donald Rumsfeld) ?

Of course with technology now available as a service the old adages of “2 years and $2 million” on software projects do not apply (if organisations have any sense) – so organisations can now simply turn off the tap marked “Cost” if apps or tech do not function correctly .

I have always found huge parts of industry to be like an Ostrich – and a pretty frightened Ostrich at that . Tech solutions and apps can revolutionize the way we do things, we see that from Tesco deliveries to mobile banking to flight tickets. Of course the Ostrich is a flightless bird…..

Ready made apps ?

I read with interest this article on why ready made apps are a potential solution for the “lag” between the time it takes enterprise “apps” to be commissioned and rolled out . One premise is that such apps take, perhaps, four months or more to get to the users. I would really emphasis the “or more” and also include “the 12th of never”.

I don’t believe however that non IT types will be knocking out apps on the fly, at least not without consequences to end users. It is relatively easy to create an app these days. My music school has recently created one, but the very nice chap (Hi Dan) has run into some difficulties in the process, that a development house would be able to sort out very quickly.

My view is that apps will become truly cross platform, truly web friendly and even more prevalent that they are today – I really do believe, however that organisations need to think through security, data protection, scalability etc before rushing to the conclusion that a ready made app will solve their problems …

Supply chain security in Pharma

I have heard some awful stories regarding the impact of counterfeiting in the pharma industry . To focus on two areas, the issue of sugar pills as “contraceptives” and a solution of molasses being consumed as “antimalarials” are both horrendous situations with (somewhat) obvious consequences.

The pharma industry is struggling to implement track and trace solutions which deal with end to end data management of medicines. I think that the struggle will continue indefinitely unless governments, the industry, regulators et al commit to some real world solutions, not theoretical and unrealistic goals.

We have worked with APEC and a worldwide regulatory organisation and have successfully traced fake medicines in a number of locations in Africa and Asia. Our solution is tactical and is producing real benefits, identifying counterfeits on a smartphone by medical professionals on location.

I am a passionate believer that tactical solutions can be rolled out quickly , effectively and show real return on investment as well as , in the extreme, saving lives.

RX360 , (http://rx-360.org/) where Crimson Tide is a member, is a great advocate for patient safety, and their work really allows “big pharma” to make “big changes” to protect and enhance the supply chain .



Lack of Innovation hampers growth.

I read with interest what I thought was titled “The Great British Break” but is actually “The Great British Breakthrough” from the Centre for Social Justice here. The British summer break seems to be over at last and I hope that government and the NHS might look at why so little “tech” is implemented tactically, rather than as big strategic projects. Mobile applications, IOT and automated communications can save so much time but are often hampered by data security and implementation concerns. Most people have a welter of information on themselves on social media – are they really concerned if the same data is used to save the time of healthcare professionals, who could be much more productive without paperwork and red tape?

Tesla updates software for Irma

I’m a big fan of Tesla. Haven’t quite been able to push the button on a Model X, but have come close on a few occasions . I read today that the company rolled out an over the air update to its cars in Florida to allow extra range on its cars. I understand from Alphr that an extra 30 – 40 miles was “unlocked”

Here at Crimson Tide, we are close to rolling out our own IOT sensors (probably Q1, 2018) and have an IOT strategist and a new IOT developer on board. We usually envisage saving time and money, but in Tesla’s case they may be saving lives. That will be a new ambition for us, but something we are quite used to , with our mpro5 haemophilia service.

Imagine noticing that a room had gotten colder than usual, a sensor asking mpro5 to make a simple automated phone call. If there were no reply twice, maybe ask a family member (automatically) to confirm (using mpro5) that an elderly relative was OK ? Tesla levels? Maybe..

You can see more of what we are doing at mpro5.com

(Lack of) Productivity in UK Business

I sometimes wonder if it is a good thing to state the obvious.

The number of UK holidays for employees seems to start at 20 days, plus of course bank holidays) Is that 28?. In any event, anyone who has worked for a business for a while, or a manager or director seems to expect more . Some would be at a total of 38 days holiday. Paid, of course, plus the cost of pension contribution on that, plus NI.

Stark differences: A chart compiled by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that workers in the U.S. get zero paid vacation days, while countries in Europe fare much better

credit : Daily Mail, thrillist.com

It seems to me that the UK cannot afford that amount of time off work. There’s a new initiative launched today at https://www.bethebusiness.com/ and I think dealing with excess holiday is one first step to improving productivity. I also think that the “summer shutdown” (for school holidays) and “Christmas shutdown” have to be curtailed. School holidays are archaic in their position in the calendar. Eliminating DST in England could also help.

Finally, of course, on my own specialist subject, organisations could start by eliminating manual, paper based processes. From simple auditing to complex workflows, mpro5 can improve productivity across almost all businesses, from SME to Enterprise. The savings in time might even pay for holidays….

For more info, see www,mpro5.com