One of our best 2016 theses was on Career capital by Rikesh Amarlal

Career capital as an enabler to an ambidextrous approach for inter-industry career transitioning

By: Rikesh Amarlal

Source: http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/59816

Abstract:

The turbulent global economy brought about by commodity price meltdowns, technological advances and a combination of collapsing, amalgamating and restructuring of industries has given rise to a complex and uncertain business environment in which the knowledge worker strives to remain employed within. This compels the knowledge worker to guard against potential unemployment by having the ability to translate their career capital across an industry and in the process developing career resilience that enhances sustainable employment. By understanding how individuals have transitioned their career capital across industries provides the back drop into how this feat could potentially be achieved. A qualitative research study with an exploratory design was conducted to provide the granularity necessary to understand how individuals transitioned their careers across industries. To gain unique insights into how individuals? were able to make such career transition, fifteen face to face, semi-structured in-depth interviews were held with purposely selected individuals that have transitioned more than one industry and currently hold executive roles within their organisations. The insights from these interviews formed the basis of the data that was analysed through a combination of content and thematic analysis to elucidate the research findings of this study. The research study recognised, with greater understanding, the components of career capital that enabled knowledge workers to transition their career across an industry and how these specific components of career capital were acquired. A frame work, underpinned by ambidexterity, was developed for knowledge workers to consider when deciding to undertake an inter-industry career transition. The importance of possessing vast amounts of self-awareness, contextual intelligence and business acumen facilitate adaptability of career capital to a new industry. The research findings may assist the knowledge worker to better manage their careers by building career resilience against uncertain business environments by considering the frame work as an approach to using career capital that enables an ambidextrous approach to inter industry career transitioning.

One of our best 2016 theses on handling Big data by Ainslie Mandi

Big data and privacy : A modernised framework

Source: http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/59805

Abstract:

Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. Responding to global challenges, generating efficiencies, prediction improvement, democratisation access to information and empowering individuals are a few examples of the economic and social value created by personal information. However, this technological innovation, efficiency and productivity comes at a price -?privacy. As a result, individuals are growingly concerned that companies and governments are not protecting data about them and that they are instead using it in ways not necessarily in their best interests. The objective of this research is to investigate the validity and feasibility of a Personal Data Store (PDS) against the developed a prior framework. Ten qualitative, semi-?structured interviews using the long interview method were conducted with individuals identified as a subject matter expert (SMEs) in the Big Data analytics and the data privacy field. The findings show that the guiding principles of transparency, control, trust and value, ensures the validity and feasibility of the PDS. Furthermore, user-?centricity provides greater control within the Big Data continuum. However, as personal data should not be trusted in the hands of third-?parties, identity management and security must be entrenched at a foundational level of the model. The remaining elements -? selective disclosure, purpose and duration, signalling and data portability – is in fact value adding qualities that allows for the commodification of personal data. In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), organisations churn out increasing volumes of transactional data, capturing trillions of bytes of information about their customers, suppliers and operations. However, amplifying the rate of technological disruption with the failure to provide safe spaces where individuals can think free, divergent and creative thoughts will significantly diminish the progress organisations (and society) can enjoy.

 

 

3 things business owners need to know about BI (entrepreneur.com)

By: Sheila Eugenio May 29, 2017

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/289500

Business intelligence, or BI, is changing the way small to mid-size companies are making decisions, and it is creating significant advantages for those that do it well. If you are an entrepreneur, you know how important information is when it pertains to decisions that involve the future of your business. Data-driven decision-making helps improve potential outcomes by reducing speculation in favor of analysis. Industry experts are all talking about the ways in which data and BI are becoming essential tools for all business owners. Peter Sondergaard of Gartner Research summarized the importance of BI when he said, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” Research firms like Gartner are not only predicting the importance of BI for decision-making purposes; they also think it can be monetized. A recent report projects that as many as 10 percent of companies will have profitable departments focused on “productizing and commercializing” the data they collect by 2020.

Forrester, another research firm, found that enterprise data is an untapped resource for most organizations. It reported that a mere 40 percent of enterprise data is ever used to enhance operations. Organizations that can use that information to improve existing processes will likely see significant improvements in their strategies, and those that learn how to market and sell that data will achieve higher revenues. The following are three major trends business owners need to know to better leverage BI for their organizations.

  1. Self-service BI for small business.

Until recently, big data was inaccessible for smaller organizations. But the rise of platforms that provide self-service BI solutions is allowing access to anyone who wants to evaluate the data that drives their business. Many organizations that leverage internal data collect it from multiple processes or departments, which makes it difficult to aggregate in a way that makes sense for everyone. This is especially challenging for large organizations that have much more data to process. The result is often data-centric blind spots that open the company up to significant risks. Uday Hegde, CEO of USEReady, a company that works to help business leaders leverage data and analytics, explains how companies are consolidating these functions. “Businesses are shifting toward using application program interfaces (APO) to transfer their data to user-friendly applications. As a result, they can trade clunky dashboards for more useful apps. Converting to an app-centric approach empowers companies to make their data more interactive across multiple connected devices. Self-reliant solutions help businesses make data more actionable.”

  1. Data for visualization.

The good news is data is becoming more and more useful, as there are more companies working to provide quality data visualization that is geared toward being accessible to even the less technical members of the team. Organizations like Tableau, Domo and IBM are all innovating at a rapid pace, aiming to gain market share by helping their customers improve the usefulness of their data. Tableau released its own predictions about where data analytics are headed in the coming year, highlighting visualization as the second most important development in big data. Why is visualization such a compelling method for presenting data? Hans Rosling, a scientist known for his videos depicting interesting data, explains in a TED Talk, “The idea is to go from numbers to information to understanding.” Data presented in compelling visuals helps guide the viewer toward comprehension.

  1. Security for data.

As self-service applications begin to democratize data for organizations, and visualization helps more members of the organization access and comprehend crucial information, the need for securing that information increases. More people accessing and sharing data means more opportunities for proprietary data to leak, and more potential points for external attacks. Gartner estimates that by 2018 20 percent of organizations will be looking to develop sound data security governance plans to protect themselves from data breaches on the cloud. Those that fail to do so will likely encounter damaging security breaches and subsequent fallout. Firms like USEReady take an integrated approach, helping companies use business intelligence tools while creating plans for securing their data. Hegde explains, “BI systems in large organizations often create security challenges when not managed correctly. It is important for these businesses to evaluate their data infrastructure and create governance strategies to keep it secure.” Businesses that successfully integrate security into all data applications will help prevent the hardships that come from breaches.

7 productivity tips to help you accomplish your biggest goals (entrepreneur.com)

By: Nina Zipkin

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288254

As a young entrepreneur who says her mission is to help others reach their potential, Caroline Ghosn understands the link between happiness and doing work that is of value. Ghosn is the founder and CEO of Levo, an online hub dedicated to helping millennials build and grow their careers by providing tips, tools, mentorship and networking opportunities. We caught up with Ghosn to talk about how to achieve peak productivity and meet your goals head on. Here are her seven tips to reach your goals.

  1. Write everything down.

Don’t hold on to every plan, thought or feeling in your brain. You will get stressed out just trying to remember everything.

“What makes people feel anxious and unproductive is that loop,” she says. “You can have hundreds of those going on at once and it can be completely distracting.” Simply writing down what you want to accomplish will free up space to focus on what is most important, Ghosn says.

  1. Make a plan.

“It is never wasted time. You’re actually making the rest of your day productive by spending 30 minutes reviewing your to-do’s, prioritizing them and ruthlessly removing things that shouldn’t be there,” Ghosn says. She recommends structuring your to-do list with actionable items — only those things that start with a verb. If it takes only a few minutes to do, just do the task right away. Create lists around a single theme or intention.

  1. Put social media away.

“Actually remove those tabs from your computer and phone,” Ghosn says. Turn off notifications so you don’t feel the urge to check your social media accounts and lose your concentration and momentum. Uninterrupted work time is key. In a survey conducted by Levo and Microsoft, Ghosn noted that respondents identified social media as the number one distraction.

  1. Block off your calendar.
    Ghosn recommends dividing your day into several sections — for example, one dedicated to catching up on correspondence and meetings, another to plan out your to-do list and a third to execute on those tasks. “They all require very different mindsets and they should be separated as such,” she says.
  2. Find out when you are most productive.

“I used to think I was a night owl,” Ghosn says. “I realized I’m not because I have energy at night but I’m not as focused and productive when I try to get things done.” She recommends figuring out where and when you are most engaged and excited to work and use those times to tackle the most important items on your list. In the survey, 38 percent of those polled reported that the mid-morning was their most productive time period, followed by the early morning. Only 1 percent said that their mind was the sharpest during the lunch hour.

  1. Remember that it is OK to fumble.

“When you experience difficulty at work or in your life, instead of looking back on it as something that was really challenging, look at it and ask yourself, ‘what wisdom did I learn from that?'” Ghosn says. “It’s approaching it with gratitude vs. bitterness or negativity, and it allows you to be better.” You can learn from every mistake and use it to motivate you rather than blame yourself or give up something that is important to you.

  1. Check in with yourself.

Ghosn recommends doing a weekly review and checking off what you achieved and giving yourself credit for even the most incremental wins. “Take the time to close the loop with your brain,” she says, “and affirm that you did a great job.”

7 key steps to a growth strategy that works immediately (entrepreneur.com)

By: Rob Biederman January 29, 2015

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240853

If only half of startups survive more than five years and only one-third make it to 10, what’s the one thing you could do to ensure your company is sustainable? The answer is to create a growth strategy for your business, of course. A growth strategy involves more than simply envisioning long-term success. If you don’t have a tangible plan, you’re actually losing business — or you’re increasing the chance of losing business to competitors. The key with any growth strategy is to be deliberate. Figure out the rate-limiting step in your growth, and pour as much fuel on the fire as possible. But for this to be beneficial, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Establish a value proposition.

For your business to sustain long-term growth, you must understand what sets it apart from the competition. Identify why customers come to you for a product or service. What makes you relevant, differentiated and credible? Use your answer to explain to other consumers why they should do business with you. For example, some companies compete on “authority” — Whole Foods Market is the definitive place to buy healthy, organic foods. Others, such as Walmart, compete on price. Figure out what special benefit only you can provide, and forget everything else. If you stray from this proposition, you’ll only run the risk of devaluing your business.

  1. Identify your ideal customer.

You got into business to solve a problem for a certain audience. Who is that audience? Is that audience your ideal customer? If not, who are you serving? Nail down your ideal customer, and revert back to this audience as you adjust business to stimulate growth.

  1. Define your key indicators.

Changes must be measurable. If you’re unable to measure a change, you have no way of knowing whether it’s effective. Identify which key indicators affect the growth of your business, then dedicate time and money to those areas. Also, A/B test properly — making changes over time and comparing historical and current results isn’t valid.

  1. Verify your revenue streams.

What are your current revenue streams? What revenue streams could you add to make your business more profitable? Once you identify the potential for new revenue streams, ask yourself if they’re sustainable in the long run. Some great ideas or cool products don’t necessarily have revenue streams attached. Be careful to isolate and understand the difference.

  1. Look to your competition.

No matter your industry, your competition is likely excelling at something that your company is struggling with. Look toward similar businesses that are growing in new, unique ways to inform your growth strategy. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Ask yourself why your competitors have made alternate choices. Are they wrong? Or are your businesses positioned differently? The assumption that you’re smarter is rarely correct.

  1. Focus on your strengths.

Sometimes, focusing on your strengths — rather than trying to improve your weaknesses — can help you establish growth strategies. Reorient the playing field to suit your strengths, and build upon them to grow your business.

  1. 7. Invest in talent.

Your employees have direct contact with your customers, so you need to hire people who are motivated and inspired by your company’s value proposition. Be cheap with office furniture, marketing budgets and holiday parties. Hire few employees, but pay them a ton. The best ones will usually stick around if you need to cut back their compensation during a slow period.

Developing a growth strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. In fact, due to changing market conditions, making strategic decisions based on someone else’s successes would be foolish. That’s not to say that you can’t learn from another company, but blindly implementing a cookie-cutter plan won’t create sustainable growth. You need to adapt your plan to smooth out your business’s inefficiencies, refine its strengths and better suit your customers — who could be completely different than those from a vague, one-size-fits-all strategy. Your company’s data should lend itself to all your strategic decisions. Specifically, you can use the data from your key indicators and revenue streams to create a personalized growth plan. That way, you’ll better understand your business and your customers’ nuances, which will naturally lead to growth.