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Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

Wed, 18 Jul 2018 00:29:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://smallbusiness.chron.com/professional-service-agreement-74431.html
Killexams : IBM: Big Blue Sees Deep Red
Highlight Towers with IBM Sign in Munich, Germany

Anne Czichos/iStock Editorial via Getty Images

International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), the artist formerly known as "Big Blue," has seen better days. The once loved tech darling has struggled to beat 30 year Treasury bonds over the last decade and has lagged the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) by 385%.

IBM stock price
Data by YCharts

It has not been for a lack of trying. IBM has certainly tried the buyback method.

IBM shares outstanding
Data by YCharts

It also tried buying "growth." While nothing has worked in the past decade, IBM did turn around one worrisome metric recently.

IBM revenue trend
Data by YCharts

Yeah, we're referring to that revenue number which has finally decided it did not want to trek all the way to zero. With an important quarterly set of results being announced, we decided to dive in and see whether this was the turnaround bulls have been hoping for.

Q2-2022

At first glance this was a good report. Revenues came in at $15.5 billion, up 9 percent and that was 16% if you removed the currency impact. All segments grew strongly with infrastructure revenue actually delivering a scintillating 25% on a constant currency basis. IBM beat estimates on top (by 2%) and bottom line and delivered $2.31 in non-GAAP earnings. The stock was down more than 4% in the after hours. What went wrong? Sometimes reactions are just that, where participants sell because they have made up their mind to. In the case of IBM, there were a few issues that investors could use as reasons to push this lower.

The first is that IBM is a US company and revenues matter in US dollars. Constant currency metrics are great for revealing the strength of the underling business, but at the end of the day, the net number that counts is that in USD. The differential this quarter between actual numbers and constant currency numbers was quite wide. Investors might have predicted some of this, but there are timing issues with when cash comes and when revenue is booked. So there likely was some shock with the spread.

This also translated through to guidance.

Revenue growth: The company continues to expect constant currency revenue growth at the high end of its mid-single digit model. The company also expects an additional 3.5 point contribution from incremental sales to Kyndryl. At mid-July 2022 foreign exchange rates, currency is expected to be about a six-point headwind.

Free Cash Flow: The company now expects about $10 billion in consolidated free cash flow.

Source: Q2-2022 Earnings Press Release

Compare that with the guidance after Q1-2022.

Revenue growth: The company now expects constant currency revenue growth at the high end of the mid-single digit range. The company also expects an additional 3.5 point contribution from incremental sales to Kyndryl. At mid-April 2022 foreign exchange rates, currency is expected to be a three to four point headwind.

Free Cash Flow: The company continues to expect $10 billion to $10.5 billion in consolidated free cash flow.

Source: Q1-2022 Earnings Press Release

That expanding currency headwind and free cash flow drop is what we think investors are focusing on, first and foremost.

The other thing that we noticed was that gross margins dropped sharply in two of three major segments (financing is a minor segment).

IBM income statement

Q2-2022 Earnings Release

We have seen a big move in wages across the board and the Atlanta Fed Wage Tracker is kicking in at 6.2% year over year.

Wage Growth

Atlanta Fed Wage Tracker

This likely has not fully played out and we can expect more compression ahead.

Outlook

There are three cyclical headwinds here and the US dollar is the first and foremost. Not only does it hamper revenues directly, but it also makes it harder for US firms to compete with European and Asian counterparts. Based on US dollar strength, we would estimate that the earnings revisions have not even begun to price it all in.

S&P 500 earnings revisions breadth

FactSet, Morgan Stanley, Via Twitter

IBM via its global reach is going to be definitely impacted.

The second aspect here is the generalized slowdown in the world economies, brought about by rising interest rates and higher inflation. The fiscal cliff ahead in the US will make this worse. Without getting into the micro, we can tell you that it won't be pleasant.

Finally, we think technology is likely to get a larger share of the slowdown as it benefited the most from the 2021 euphoria. One data point showing just how bad it's going to get comes from the semiconductor chips building up at breakneck speed.

South Korea's semiconductor inventory

Statistics Korea

Valuation

Of course all of this could be priced in, in which case you could make a case to buy. On that front, we don't buy that it has been priced in. Sure, if you went by consensus earnings estimates and used the non-GAAP variety, it looks fine at 13X 2023 earnings.

IBM Earnings Estimates

Seeking Alpha

We think those are overly optimistic and both revenues and margins will disappoint. Our favorite metric for IBM, which strips out the junk of non-GAAP impacts, is the price to sales number.

IBM PS ratio
Data by YCharts

By this one, we don't remotely think IBM is cheap. Ideally you want to buy this below 1.5X sales to have a good chance of making dough.

Verdict

Big Blue saw Deep Red in the after hours.

IBM drops after Q2 earnings

Interactive Brokers July 18, After Hours

That could certainly change tomorrow, but we would be cautious in making a bullish case here. Yes, IBM is reversing its revenue declines and doing so in the face of an ultra-strong US dollar. That's good. At this stage of the business cycle though, we think valuation is quite expensive. Analysts are always optimistic and keep in mind that they expected almost $15.00 in earnings for 2022, at the beginning of 2020. We're now sub $10.00.

IBM consensus EPS revision trend

Seeking Alpha

We might get interested in IBM in the high double digits, but for now, we stay out.

Please note that this is not financial advice. It may seem like it, sound like it, but surprisingly, it is not. Investors are expected to do their own due diligence and consult with a professional who knows their objectives and constraints.

Mon, 18 Jul 2022 06:53:00 -0500 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4524064-ibm-earnings-positives-negatives
Killexams : Creating A PCB In Everything: Creating A Custom Part In Fritzing

This is the continuation of a series of posts where I create a schematic and PCB in various EDA tools. Already, we’ve looked at Eagle CAD, KiCad, and took a walk down memory lane with one of the first PCB design tools for the IBM PC with Protel Autotrax. One of the more controversial of these tutorials was my post on Fritzing. Fritzing is a terrible tool that you should not use, but before I get to that, I need to back up and explain what this series of posts is all about.

The introduction to this series of posts laid it out pretty bare. For each post in this series, I will take a reference schematic for a small, USB-enabled ATtiny85 development board. I recreate the schematic, recreate the board, and build a new symbol and footprint in each piece of software. That last part — making a new symbol and footprint — is a point of contention for Fritzing users. You cannot create a completely new part in Fritzing. That’s a quote straight from the devs. For a PCB design tool, it’s a baffling decision, and I don’t know if I can call Fritzing a PCB design tool now.

Contextualizing this Whole Mess

If you’re like the majority of desktop or laptop users, the easiest tool to make pixel art is Microsoft Paint. With MS Paint, you can edit individual pixels, select colors, and even do flood fills. It’s exactly what you need if you want to create pixel art quickly with a tool that’s easy to use. There are better tools to create pixel art, though. Photoshop lets you zoom in to see individual pixels and has transparency and layers, and Aseprite is a professional tool specifically designed for the creation and animation of pixel art.

It’s easy to draw parallels between KiCad, Fritzing, MS Paint, Photoshop, and Aseprite. Fritzing and MS Paint are easy-to-learn tools where you can produce acceptable results quickly. This is a false equivalency, though; you can do anything you want in MS Paint, but you can’t do anything you want in Fritzing because you can’t add custom parts. Fritzing is a tool just like MS Paint if MS Paint didn’t have the color blue.

Creating a custom part is necessary functionality of a PCB design tool. The first PCB design tool released for the PC had this functionality. Without the ability to create custom parts, Fritzing cannot legitimately call itself a PCB design tool and should not be used as such.

Of Course You Can Make Custom Parts (It’s Just Tedious)

The Fritzing FAQ is wrong. Of course you can make custom parts in Fritzing. This summer, Adafruit created a whole bunch of Fritzing parts that still haven’t been added to the core libraries. Instead of complaining about the relatively small core library, or the difficulty in adding custom parts, I’m going to do something better: for the next two thousand words, I’m going to demonstrate how to create a custom part in Fritzing.

It should be noted that since the introduction of the new Fritzing Parts Editor introduced in version 0.7.9 (the version that took away the ability to create custom parts), there have been no tutorials on how to create a custom part in Fritzing. This is the first such tutorial and by definition the best tutorial on creating custom parts in Fritzing. I encourage the Fritzing team to post a link to this tutorial on their blog and FAQ.

With the justification of why you should never use Fritzing and why this tutorial is necessary, let’s begin. This is how you create a custom part in Fritzing.

The Easy, Dumb Way

proof

The picture above is of an ATtiny2313, a part not in the Fritzing core library. I created this part in just a few minutes using tools built right into Fritzing. Yes, you can make your own parts in Fritzing. Here’s how I did it.

edit-a-partFrom Fritzing’s ‘Core Parts’ selector, take the generic IC part and drop it onto the breadboard view. In the Inspector window, you will find options for what type of package this part is, how many pins, it’s label, and even the pin spacing. If you want to drop a 40-pin CERDIP 6502 into your Fritzing project, you can do that. If you want to drop a 64-pin Motorola 68000 into your Fritzing project you can do that. If, for some reason, you want to add an IC that isn’t in the core Fritzing library, you can do that too. All of this is done semi-automagically by Fritzing. All you need to do is tell Fritzing the number of pins, and what package it comes in.

newpartsed

What’s the bottom line? If you’re dealing with a DIP chip, a QFN, SOIC, or some other standard package, you can probably make a Fritzing part in about three minutes. Is this making a part from scratch? No, but for most use cases, this is all you need.


Actually Creating A Part From Scratch

The challenge for this tutorial was to create a part from scratch. To that end, I’m going to build a purple and gold 64-pin DIP Motorola 68000. Why not, right?

The relevant documentation from the 68000 datasheet.
The relevant documentation from the 68000 datasheet.

Step 1: Creating A Breadboard Footprint

Download Inkscape. It’s like Illustrator, only it doesn’t send your soul back to the Adobe mothership. Select File -> Document Properties, and set the size of the canvas to 3.2 x .98 inches. While you’re in that window, set the default measurement unit to ‘inches’.

The width of the canvas is the nominal width of the package, and the height will be the nominal height of the package plus space for the pins. The pins will be squares with a dimension of 0.04 x 0.04 inches, so add 0.08 inches to the top and bottom of the canvas.

With the dimensions of the canvas set, draw a rectangle. If you’re feeling exceptionally artistic, make the rectangle purple and add some gold accents. Now it’s time to add pins. This is a 64-pin device, so add sixty-four rectangles. Use Inkscape to arrange and distribute them logically. In Inkscape’s ‘Object Properties’ window (Shift+Ctrl+O), set the ID of each rectangle to ‘connector0pin’ to ‘connector63pin’. Yes, Fritzing uses zero-indexed numbers to label all the pins on the breadboard view.

connector3pin

Once all the pins are labeled, select all, group everything and name this group ‘breadboard’ in the Object Properties window. Save this file to your desktop as a plain SVG (not an Inkscape SVG). That’s it for the Inkscape portion of building the breadboard part. Now we take it over to Fritzing.

In Fritzing, create a new part just like you did in the ‘Easy, Dumb Way’ above. In the Parts Editor, select File -> Load Image For View, and select the SVG you just saved from Inkscape. You’ll get something that looks like this:

newpartseditor68k

Yes, the font changed, but whatever. This is the closest anyone has ever gotten to building a custom part in Fritzing. On the right side of the screen, there’s a list of connectors, with a button labeled ‘select graphic’ next to each pin. For each pin on our 64-pin monster, click the ‘select graphic’ button, and then click the gray rectangle of the corresponding pin. This shouldn’t be necessary if you labeled your parts correctly in Fritzing, but it’s another option for you.

Save the part, open up a new Fritzing window, and here’s what you get:

fritzing68k

To reiterate, this is a custom part, with a custom breadboard view. There are no other tutorials that tell you how to do this. You’re welcome.

Step 2: Creating The Schematic Footprint

The breadboard view is only one-third of what’s required to make a part in Fritzing. Now we’re going to move on to the schematic view. This is a simplified view of the part that shows the functions of all the pins.

schematicviewFirst, create a new Inkscape document with a width of 1.5 inches and a height of 3.3 inches. If you’re making a DIP schematic, the formula to calculate the height of a part is ([number of pins on one side] + 1) * 0.1. For a 64-pin chip with 32 pins on a side, it’s 33*0.1 = 3.3.

The body of the schematic footprint is a rectangle, no fill, black outline, with a 1px stroke width. The pins are a straight line, 0.25 inches long, arranged along the side of the black rectangle on 0.1″ centers.

Right now we have a simplified version of what the schematic footprint should look like. Yes, we’re missing labels for all the pins, but something even more important is missing: the IC terminals, or where the lines on the schematic connect to. Fritzing thinks these should be rectangles 0.2 pixels square (yes, point two pixels), so we need to add these to the end of every pin on this footprint.

Create a 0.2 by 0.2 pixel rectangle on the tip of every leg of the schematic, and label them in the Object Properties dialog as ‘connector0terminal’ through ‘connector63terminal’. Once that’s done, label the pins in the Object Properties dialog as ‘connector0pin’ through ‘connector63pin’. Yes, that’s one hundred and twenty-eight things you need to rename. It’ll take a while. When that’s done, save it as an SVG, go to the parts editor in fritzing, and select File -> Load Image For View and choose the file you just created in Inkscape. Here’s what you’ll get:

schematicviewfritz

I’ve added a few things to this schematic view, most obvious is the pin labels. Other than that, it’s pretty standard, and now we’re almost done creating a part from scratch in Fritzing.

Step 3: Creating The PCB Footprint

You know the drill by now. Create a new Inkscape document. The dimensions of the canvas are (width of the package + 0.02 inches) by (height of the package + 0.02 inches). For the 68000, that’s 3.22 inches by 0.92 inches. Your pads are just circles, with no fill, and some sort of yellow stroke. Arranging these pads is left as an exercise to the reader.

Fritzing requires you to name these pads, so name them ‘connector0pin’ through ‘connector63pin’. Group all of these pads and call that group ‘copper0’, then group them again and call that group ‘copper1’. This is, ostensibly, for the top and bottom copper layers.

inkscapepads

Save this as a regular SVG, open up Fritzing, go to the Part Editor, and replace the PCB footprint with the SVG you just saved.

fritzingpcbfinished

With that, we’re done. That’s how you create a part mostly from scratch in Fritzing. Hit save, close Fritzing, and throw your computer in the garbage. It’s tainted now.

What this all means

The Fritzing breadboard layout of the Lilipad Mini.
The Fritzing breadboard layout of the Lilypad Arduino. Yes, this is a Fritzing part, made from scratch.

Admittedly, I didn’t make this easy on myself by creating a 64-pin DIP from scratch in Fritzing. Making a part in Fritzing is a tedious process and should not be done by anyone. It’s possible, though, and if you have enough time on your hands, you can create beautiful vector graphics that are also real, working parts in Fritzing.

Supporters of Fritzing say its greatest strength is that it’s an easy tool to use, and useful if you want to whip up a quick PCB for prototyping. They are correct, so long as all the parts you want to use are already in Fritzing’s core libraries. It is possible to create parts from scratch, but this is a task that could be done faster in literally any other PCB design program. What we’re looking at here is a walled garden problem, and for the second most popular Open Source PCB design software, this isn’t doing Fritzing any favors.

It should be noted, however, that many of the tasks required to make a Fritzing part can be automated. PCB and schematic footprints can be auto-generated. In theory, a simple command line tool could tie these parts directly to breadboard footprints. If anyone wants to contribute to Open Source in a meaningful way, there’s a project for you: make a tool that takes an SVG of a chip or component and turns it into a Fritzing part.

Closing out this tutorial, I’d like to thank [Arsenijs] who created the first tutorial on making a Fritzing part over on Hackaday.io. [Arsenijs] did this because I put up a bounty for the first guide to making a part in Fritzing from scratch. Not only do I contribute to Open Source (which means I’m better than you), I contribute to Open Source documentation. I am a unicorn that lays golden eggs.

That’s it for Fritzing. I’m not touching it again. For the next post in this Creating a PCB in Everything series, I’m going to take a look at the cloud-based PCB design tool, Upverter. Will it be better than Fritzing? Who knows. Maybe. Probably.

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 11:59:00 -0500 Brian Benchoff en-US text/html https://hackaday.com/2017/01/06/creating-a-pcb-in-everything-creating-a-custom-part-in-fritzing/
Killexams : Here’s how to master the art of saying ‘no’ in the workplace

One of the most difficult skills, for some business leaders and their colleagues, is learning how to say “no.” This is especially true for those who are just starting out in the industry, trying to become well-established in their professions.

On the other hand, saying “yes” to every single project or event that requires your full engagement and bandwidth, can be just as detrimental to your career path if it doesn’t align with your business priorities and immediate goals. So don’t fall into the trap of being sidetracked. 

No matter where you are on the employment hierarchy at your present company and beyond, experts from Fast Company Executive Board agree that turning down a request—from anyone at any level—is appropriate at times in the workplace, especially if you are trying to move ahead on the projects that currently matter most and maintain a good work-life balance.

1. SET THE BOUNDARIES.

The only thing more difficult than asking for help is drawing a boundary by saying no. Boundaries are an exceptional tool that communicates to others the ways to respect, support, and effectively challenge us. While setting boundaries is inherently uncomfortable, the weight of saying yes is nearly always so much more to bear. – Katie O’Malley, (en)Courage Coaching

2. OBSERVE COLLEAGUES’ RESPONSES.

You learn to say “no” by seeing other leaders say no effectively, in a “culture” that enables that.

It’s appropriate and important to say no when: you’re not the right person for the job; you have to deprioritize other work that is truly the priority; or when you have to sacrifice your wellbeing and personal time and relationships. – Pardis Mirmalek, Desanoia AI

3. CONSIDER YOUR OWN TIME AND PRIORITIES.

Learning how to say “no” is one of the most important variables in being a strong leader. You have to value your own time and set priorities. If the request doesn’t fulfill or complement any of the missions at hand, it’s a pass. Being open to all possibilities is a skill. So is saying “no” when appropriate. – Richard RB Botto, Stage 32

4. FRAME A ‘NO’ AS A (QUALIFYING) ‘YES.’

I’ve found it really useful to frame every “no” as a “yes” instead. I outline what it would take to do what they want and put it back on them to decide. In order for us to do what they’ve suggested, XYZ would need to be in place, or we’d need XYZ resources, or we’d have to deprioritize an alternative project. When presented in that manner, the choice becomes clear and they make the choice themself. – Kevin Namaky, Gurulocity Brand Management Institute

5. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE REQUEST.

Start and end with “why.” Before you say no, first, make sure you understand “why” the request is being made. Don’t jump to saying “no” until you really understand the situation. Then if you do end up saying no, make sure you explain why you made that decision so others understand your thinking process. – Alex Husted, HELPSY

6. FIND A COMMON GOAL TO ALIGN WITH.

I have found that saying “no” is more about enrolling people in your priorities and focus. For example, in B2B software customers inundate us with feature requests.  But if we have an exciting vision for our product, we can gain their support to focus on that instead. So in some sense, it’s less about saying “no” and more about enrolling and aligning on what the true “yes” priorities are. – Scott Brighton, Aurea

7. EXPLAIN YOUR ‘NO.’

Saying “no” in a professional manner is an important skill learned over time. And, it’s always important to follow the “no” by the reason why. Examples may be “No, that’s not what we are focused on right now,” or “No, my schedule is totally booked.” Saying “no” is always appropriate if the request is something that may be illegal or stretches ethical boundaries. – Dean Calhoun, Affygility Solutions

8. DELEGATE THE CONVERSATION TO A HIGHER AUTHORITY.

It’s healthy and appropriate to say no. That said, it’s very hard to do, and I personally struggle with it. My best answer is to learn to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. My cheat code for this is to have great leaders around you and delegate most of these conversations to them. – Ryan Anderson, Filevine

9. STAY POSITIVE.

Never start with a “no.” You may need to get to it, but leading with no means everything after is ignored—either because you haven’t recognized the urgency, or because you’ve killed someone’s enthusiasm. Expectations are the root of all experiences. Try to understand what’s behind the request so you can better determine how to make the “no” into a more positive, “yes, but” response to their need.- Glo Gordon, MATRIXX Software

10. PUT THE BUSINESS FIRST.

I learned to say “no” because I felt the cost to myself and knew all the things I was saying yes to were not always moving the business forward. The hard truth is that you must be able to say “no” because it is your voice that carries that power. Colleagues will support you but they likely won’t say it for you. It is also far easier to do with clear priorities and knowing what is most important. – Karl Giuseffi, Talent Plus Inc

11. FIND OUT WHY YOU’RE SEEN AS THE RIGHT FIT.

I’d avoid the word “no” in a situation where I’m being requested. Instead, get curious and ask what is believed to be special about the assignment and why you are seen as the exact right fit. Success is often found in the cracks between roles. If the “ask” is truly egregious in the time it will require, not a stretch opportunity, and you are curious and still see it as a dead end, then ask for a conversation. – Michelle Hayward, Bluedog

12. HAVE AN OPEN AND HONEST DIALOGUE.

The ability to say no is a valuable leadership trait, especially when responding to requests that are unreasonable, misaligned with business strategy, or if a request reflects an inherent personal agenda or bias. The party making the request is more likely to accept your “no” and buy into your reasoning if you have an open and honest dialogue about it and it leads to more successful outcomes. – Sameer Penakalapati, CEIPAL corp.

13. STAND BY YOUR ORGANIZATION’S  VALUES.

Our values set our boundaries. We make it clear early and often that family comes before work, all people should be treated with respect, and our workplace must be equitable and inclusive. We live those values by saying “no” to clients who do not treat us fairly and “no” to practices that do not allow employees to thrive, individually, or collectively. – Misty Dykema, Simantel

14. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

Many people in leadership positions struggle with saying “no” when they are asked for something that is not within their job description. This can lead to burnout or even a mental breakdown. The key is being clear about your role and responsibilities before accepting a request. It’s important to understand what you are willing to do and what you’re not willing to do so that you can set boundaries. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

15. DON’T give A PUSHY RESPONSE.

The word “no” is something that should be heard in a growing and innovative industry. However, a “no” should always be accompanied by some form of explanation if it is given to an employee. When working with someone in a higher position I would advise against making a decision as a form of no. You are responsible for your employees to trust your judgment but you also need to trust the people above you while not being too pushy. – Tyler Angelos, Angelus Brand

16. BALANCE THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.

Unless a “no” involves a disagreement on principle, business strategy, ask overreach, or priority of objectives, it should not occur. If the ask is reasonable and the reasoning sound, professionals who are paid to get a job done should have a good explanation as to why a “no” might occur when a colleague has a request. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 05:09:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.fastcompany.com/90771584/heres-how-to-master-the-art-of-saying-no-in-the-workplace
Killexams : How to Buy Stocks with a Regulated Broker in 2022

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Killexams : The State of Commerce Report 2022

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Thu, 28 Jul 2022 12:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.govinfosecurity.com/whitepapers/state-commerce-report-2022-w-10596
Killexams : GovCloud: The Future of Government Work

WRITTEN BY: Charlie Tierney, Steve Cottle & Katie Jorgensen

Wind back the clock to 1971. Jane, a freshly minted college graduate, joins the government as a clerk. Jane’s work consists largely of entering information into databases and creating reports, which requires her to spend the better part of her work day seated at a terminal near a mainframe computer that fills an entire room. Jane and her colleagues are expected to be at their desks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week. Jane is grateful to have a steady 9-to-5 job, and plans to spend her entire career with her agency.

Flash forward 40 years and meet Jane’s grandson, Ian. He carries a slim tablet wherever he goes, which has more computing power than the mainframe with which Jane worked. Ian is constantly tethered to the Internet and works 24/7, from wherever he is. Ian expects to switch from project to project and office to office as his career develops and his interests evolve. If he feels he has reached the limit of his ability to learn or grow in one role, he will look elsewhere for a new opportunity. What if the government could give Ian the opportunities and experiences he seeks?

The GovCloud concept proposed in this paper would restructure government workforces in a way that takes advantage of the talents and preferences of workers like Ian, who are entering the workforce today. The model is based on a large body of research, from interviews with public and private sector experts to best practices from innovative organizations both public and private.

“This is the first generation of people that work, play, think, and learn differently than their parents… They are the first generation to not be afraid of technology. It’s like the air to them.”

— Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital

This report details trends in work and technology that offer significant opportunities for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the government workforce. It lays out the GovCloud model, explaining how governments could be organized to take advantage of its flexibility. It examines how work would be performed in the new model and discusses potential changes to government HR programs to support GovCloud. Other sections provide resources for executives, including a tool to help determine cloud eligibility, steps they can take to pilot the cloud concept, and future scenarios illustrating the cloud in action.

The GovCloud model represents a dramatic departure from the status quo. It is bound to be greeted with some skepticism. Without such innovation, however, governments will be left to confront the challenges of tomorrow with the workforce structure of yesterday. The details of the GovCloud model are open for debate. The purpose of this paper is to jumpstart that debate.

HOW WE WORK TODAY—AND TOMORROW

Forty years ago, more than half of employed American adults worked in either blue-collar or clerical jobs. Today, less than 40 percent work in these same categories, and the share continues to shrink.1 Jobs requiring routine or manual tasks are disappearing, while those requiring complex communication skills and expert thinking are becoming the norm.2 Increasingly, employers seek workers capable of creative and knowledge-based work.

“We should ask ourselves whether we’re truly satisfied with the status quo. Are our workday lives so fulfilling, and our organizations so boundlessly capable, that it’s now pointless to long for something better?”

— Gary Hamel, author of The Future of Management

The next generation of creative knowledge workers has already entered the job market. These “Millennials” came of age in a rapidly and radically changing world. They are the first true digital “natives.” They have grown up with instant access to information through technology. As such, Millennials have considerably different expectations for the kind of work they do and the information they use. The pursuit for variety in work has led Millennials to cite simply “needing a change” as their top reason for switching jobs.3

Advances in technology have also  changed the actual ways in which people perform work. The ability to crowdsource tasks is one example of this change. Since its founding in 2001, volunteers have produced and contributed to over 19 million articles in 281 languages on Wikipedia.4 Built around this concept, a burgeoning industry is developing around “microtasking,” dividing work up into small tasks that can be farmed out to workers. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, rolled out in 2005, allows users to post tasks to a platform where registered workers can accept and complete them for a small fee. When this paper was written, more than 195,000 tasks were available on Mechanical Turk.5

Such technologies may offer suitable possibilities for the public sector. Microtask, a Finnish cloud labor company, maintains Digitalkoot, a program that helps the Finnish National Library convert its image archives into digital text and correct existing errors. It does so with volunteered labor; participants simply play a game in which they are shown the image of a word and then must type it out to help a cartoon character cross a bridge. In doing so, they are turning scanned images into searchable text, greatly improving the search accuracy of old manuscripts.6 At present, more than 100,000 people have completed over 6 million microtasks associated with this project.7

As the pace of computing power and machine learning increases, professors Frank Levy and Richard Murnane contend that more tasks will move from human to computer processing.8 Skeptics need look no further than IBM’s Watson, a computer that can answer questions posed in natural language. In February 2011, Watson defeated two all-time champions of the quiz show Jeopardy! This was not solely a publicity stunt; IBM hopes to sell Watson to hospitals and call centers to help them answer questions from the public.9

Around the globe, more and more governments are looking to increase telework among employees. In 2010, the U.S. government passed legislation calling for more telework opportunities for government employees. Likewise, the Australian government, in order to attract and retain information and communications technology workers, instituted a teleworking policy in 2009 requiring agencies to implement flexible work plans.10 Other countries, including Norway and Germany, are also focusing on flexible work arrangements to Improve public sector recruiting.11 In Canada, the government has an official telework policy that recognizes “changes are occurring in the public service workforce with a shift towards more knowledge workers,” and “encourages departments to implement telework arrangements.”12

Cloud definitions

Cloud computing: “Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like electricity.”

— Amazon

Crowdsourcing: “Neologistic compound of crowd and outsourcing for the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an “open call” to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions.”

— Wikipedia

GovCloud: “A new model for government based on team collaboration, whereby workforce resources can be surged to provide services to government agencies on-demand.”

— GovLab

Source: Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane, The New Division of Labor: How Computers are Creating the Next Job Market, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), p. 50.

Figure 1: Trends in routine and non-routine tasks in the U.S. 1960-200213


These are all powerful steps in the right direction for employees whose natural work rhythms are not locked into “9 to 5.” Some companies have taken telework one step further. British Telecom is pushing the concept of “agile working” through its Workstyle Project, where employees decide what work arrangements best suit them—rather than a rigid definition by location and hours. BT Workstyle is one of the largest flexible working projects in Europe, with over 11,000 home-based workers. BT has found that its “home-enabled” employees are, on average, 20 percent more productive than their office-based colleagues.14

Similarly, U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy experimented with a “Results Only Work Environment” (ROWE). In a ROWE, what matters is not whether employees are in their office, but rather that they complete their work and achieve measurable outcomes. In a ROWE, salaried employees must put in as much time as is actually needed to do their work—no more, no less.

The decline in routine and manual tasks and the rise of new ways of working is not isolated to the private sector. In 1950, the U.S. federal workforce largely comprised clerks performing repetitive tasks. About 62 percent performed these tasks, while only 11 percent performed more “white-collar” work. By 2000, those relationships were reversed. Fifteen percent performed repetitive tasks, compared to 56 percent in the white-collar categories.16 Similarly, in 1944, the number of workers in the UK civil service considered “industrial” totaled 505,000. By 2003, this number fell to 18,200, with “non-industrial” workers reaching 538,000 in 2004.17 And in Canada, in 2006, knowledge-based workers represented 58 percent of federal workers in the Core Public Administration, up from 41 percent 11 years earlier.18

The swelling ranks of “non-industrial” government workers indicate a shift in public sector jobs toward creative, collaborative, and complex work. The workforce structure, however, designed for clerks of the last century, remains largely the same. With limited flexibility to distribute resources, governments often address change by creating new agencies and programs. This can be seen following major events like the outbreaks of the Avian flu and SARs in the past decade, 9/11, and the financial crisis of 2008.

Source: United States Office of Personnel Management, A Fresh Start for Federal Pay: A Case for Modernization (April 2002), p. 5. http://www.opm.gov/strategiccomp/whtpaper.pdf

Figure 2: The changing U.S. federal workforce 1950–200015


Given increasing budgetary pressures and burgeoning national debts, the conventional model of creating new agencies or permanent structures in response to new challenges is unsustainable. This is exacerbated by our inability to accurately predict future needs and trends. Consider a 1968 Business Week article proclaiming that “the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself,” or the president of Digital Equipment Corporation, who in 1977 said, “[t]here is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”19

The world is full of experts who attempt to predict the future—and fail.20

Instead of endeavoring to predict the future, governments can choose to create a flexible workforce that can quickly adapt to future work requirements. To accomplish this, the  government can learn from a game-changing concept in the technology world: cloud computing.

Major organizations and small startups alike increase their flexibility by sharing storage space, information, and resources in a “cloud,” allowing them to quickly scale resources up and down as needed. Why not apply the cloud model to people? The creation of a government-wide human cloud could provide significant benefits, including:

  • The ability to apply resources when and where they are needed
  • Increased knowledge flow across agencies and a new focus on broad, government-wide missions
  • A reduction in the number of permanent programs
  • Fewer structures that stifle creativity and interfere with the adoption of new technologies and innovations

A cloud-based government workforce or “GovCloud” could include workers who perform a range of creative, problem-focused work. Rather than being slotted into any single government agency, cloud workers would be true government-wide employees.

BREAKING UP BUREAUCRACIES

This section outlines the organizational structure of the GovCloud model, which rests on three main pillars: a cloud of government workers, thin executive agencies, and shared services.

The cloud

Most government workforce models tend to constrain workers by isolating them in separate agencies.

Consider the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom and the subsequent slaughter of more than 6 million pigs, sheep, and cattle. The problem of an impacted food supply is complicated. In most countries, multiple agencies focus on agriculture, food production, and public health. In the United Kingdom, the army and even tourism ministries were impacted by the outbreak as agencies became overwhelmed by the number of animals in need of disposal and by the cordoning off of tourist areas to prevent the spread of the disease.Yet the structure of government agencies often confines employees to work in information silos, creating inherent operational inefficiencies. In a cloud workforce model, experts in each area could be pulled together to support remedies and propose coordinated corrective measures.

“I want someone saying: ‘Did you know that the Ministry of Justice is doing that, or could you piggy-back on what the communities department is doing, or had you thought about doing it in this way?’ You’ve got to get away from thinking about centralized command and control.”  

— Dame Helen Ghosh, Permanent Secretary, UK Home Office 21

The FedCloud model


The GovCloud model could become a new pillar of government, comprising permanent employees who undertake a wide variety of creative, problem-focused work. As needed, the GovCloud model could also take advantage of those outside government, including citizens looking for extra part-time work, full-time contractors, and individual consultants.

Cloud workers would vary in background and expertise but would exhibit traits of “free-agent” workers—self-sufficient, self-motivated employees who exhibit a strong loyalty to teams, colleagues, and clients. Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, argues that 33 million Americans—one-quarter of the workforce— already operate as free agents.22

According to the white paper, “Lessons of the Great Recession,” from Swiss staffing company Adecco, contingent workers—those who chose non-traditional employment arrangements23—are expected to eventually make up about 25 percent of the global workforce.24These more autonomous workers, according to Pink, are better suited to 21st-century work, and are more productive—even without traditional monetary incentives.25

Benefits of the cloud

The fluid nature of the cloud can provide significant benefits:

  • Knowledge exchange: Avoids “trapping” knowledge within any single agency. The fluidity of the cloud allows for the quick connection of knowledge with the people who need it.
  • Adaptability: Allows the government to concentrate resources where needed. The cloud would make federal work more adaptable and focused on cross-cutting outcomes.
  • Collaboration: Encourages collaboration, whether in person or virtually, through the expanded use of video conferencing, collaborative tools, and electronic communication.
  • Focus resources: Teams can be formed quickly and dissolved when their work is concluded, reducing the likelihood of government structures continuing to operate after they are no longer needed.26

The nature of the cloud—teams forming and dissolving as their tasks require—encourages workers to focus on specific project outcomes rather than ongoing operations.

Benefits of thin agencies

Thin agency structures could lead to:

  • Simplified mission accountability and responsibility
  • A greater focus on mission outcomes rather than on back-office management

Benefits of shared services

Greater use of shared services could allow the federal government to:

  • Reduce redundant back-office structures
  • Consolidate real estate obligations and data centers
  • Create a government-wide support structure capable of supporting the GovCloud

The need to support some ongoing missions will remain, of course. These missions will be carried out by thin agencies.

Under the cloud concept, federal agencies would remain focused on specific missions and ongoing oversight. These agencies, however, would become “thinner” as many of their knowledge workers transfer into the cloud. Thin agencies could also create opportunities to streamline organizations with overlapping missions.

Employees working in thin agencies could fall into two main categories:

  • Mission specialists: These are subject matter experts who possess knowledge central to the mission of the agency or tied to one geographic location. Examples include agency executives, policy experts, and others with knowledge that is closely aligned with the mission of a specific agency (e.g., foresters, tax code specialists). Mission specialists also could enter the cloud, based on the specific needs of other agencies.
  • Frontline workers: These are employees who represent the “face” of government to citizens—law enforcement officers, investigators, regulators, entitlement providers, etc.—and who interact with citizens on a regular basis. As the nature of frontline work typically does not lend itself to the cloud, these employees would still align with individual agencies.

GovCloud could change the highest levels of public sector workers as we know them today. The Senior Executive Service in the United States, Permanent Secretaries and Directors General in the United Kingdom and Australia—all such senior officials could rotate between agencies, shared services, and the cloud, which would reflect the original intent behind many of these high-level offices: giving executives a breadth of experience in roles across government to help develop shared values and a broad perspective. An important benefit of rotation would be the ability to tap into cloud networks to assemble high-performing teams.

To further focus agencies on specific missions, many of their back-office support functions could be pulled into government-wide shared service arrangements.

The use of shared services in government has come and gone in waves—usually dictated by fiscal necessity. Most countries in Europe, as part of their e-government strategies, have placed increased focus of late on developing shared services, whether through an executive agency or a CIO, as well as working with EU coordination activities. And while the decentralized governments of some EU countries—such as Germany—make shared services more difficult, these countries are using states and agencies to pilot innovative approaches.27

Other efforts around the world include the U.S e-Government Act of 2002, which examined how technology could be used to cut costs and Improve services. More recently, the New Zealand government appointed an advisory group in May 2011 to explore public sector reform to Improve services and provide better value. In their report, “Better Public Services,” the advisory group recommended the use of shared services to Improve effectiveness in a variety of government settings, including policy advice and real estate.29 Following up on this, three New Zealand agencies—the Department of the Prime Minister, the State Services Commission, and the Treasury—announced in December 2011 that they would share such corporate functions as human resources and information technology.30 And though shared services in Western Australia were shut down, other projects in South Australia are moving ahead and already showing savings.31

Shared Services Canada

In August 2011, the government of Canada announced the launch of Shared Services Canada, a program that seeks to streamline and identify savings in information technology. Among its first targets is something as mundane as email. But with more than 100 different email systems being used by government employees, the potential savings and boost to efficiency could be significant. Not only do these incompatible systems cost money by requiring individual departments to negotiate and maintain separate licenses and technical support, it also makes it difficult for government employees to communicate with one another and with the public. And with no single standard, ensuring the security of information transmitted over email becomes more challenging. Shared Services Canada will move the government to one email system as well as consolidate data centers and networks—ultimately looking for anticipated savings of between CA$100 million and CA$200 million annually.28

While the idea of using shared services is not a novel one, it is central to the GovCloud model. The GovCloud model envisions building upon effective practices and those shared services already in operation to deliver services like human resources, information technology, finance, and acquisitions government-wide. Workers in these shared services would include subject matter experts in areas like human resources and information technology, as well as generalists, who support routine business functions.

The potential for shared services continues to grow. As seen with IBM’s Watson and Microtask’s Digitalkoot, new technologies provide an opportunity to accelerate the automated delivery of basic services. Some agencies already have begun capitalizing on these trends. For example, NASA has moved its shared service center website to a secure government cloud, facilitating greater employee self-service and helping to reduce demand on finite call center resources.32

WHO BELONGS IN THE CLOUD?

This decision tool is designed to help leaders determine which employees are appropriate for each of the three structures in the GovCloud model—the cloud, thin agencies, and shared services.

To the cloud…


GovCloud Project Lifecycle


REINVENTING HR

Managing employees in the cloud will require governments to reinvent human resource management. Individual and team performance evaluations, career development, pay structures, and benefits and pensions would need to change to support GovCloud. This section examines possibilities for HR reinvention, including performance management, career development, workplace flexibility, and benefits.

Performance and career management

Employees working in the cloud would require an alternative to determine pay and career advancement. The government could take its cues from the gaming world and evaluate cloud workers with a point system.

“The manager as we know it will disappear— to be replaced by a new sort of business operative whose expertise is assembling the right people for particular projects.”

—Daniel Pink, author of Free-Agent Nation 33

An HR management system that incorporates the accumulation of experience points (XP) through effective work on cloud projects, training, education, and professional certifications could replace the tenure-centric models for cloud employees.

Why experience points (XP)?

  • Rewards team players: Creates incentives not only to perform well as an individual but also to be a valuable collaborative team member and to continue one’s personal development
  • Manages performance: Allows governments to shift focus from time in grade to a more holistic performance management scheme
  • Fits work style: Capitalizes on the work style of Millennials, who value performance over tenure
  • Creates right incentives: Takes advantage of “gamification” concepts to incentivize desired behaviors
  • Lets workers own their careers: Allows workers to take personal ownership over the management of their careers, including their professional development and work-life integration

As employees accumulate XP, they could “level up” and take on additional responsibilities in future projects. Workers in the cloud could earn XP in four ways:

  • Education and training: Employees earn XP based on advanced degrees, continuing education courses, and professional certification.
  • Social capital: Employees could earn XP with high social capital scores based on their participation in GovCloud collaboration and networking.
  • Leadership: taking on additional leadership responsibilities in cloud teams could raise individual XP scores.
  • Projects: Projects in the cloud could be worth a certain number of XP, based on their scope and complexity and team performance. Project managers could award additional XP based on employee level, individual performance, and peer evaluation.

Breaking down silos: DEFRA

After some high-profile incidents—slow responses to outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, flooding that may have been preventable, and a farming subsidy system that seemed to result in more chaos than aid—the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was looking to reinvent itself. In 2006, the department launched DEFRA Renew. One of its key goals was to bring the department’s policymaking closer to actual delivery to create more responsive processes.

Organized, mainly by policy, with fixed teams, DEFRA had been unable to redeploy resources as needed in response to a crisis. As part of DEFRA Renew, a new operating model was implemented that used flexible resourcing where staff were assigned to specific projects for fixed periods. This allowed management to measure and build the required capabilities and competencies needed and to allocate resources efficiently to Improve overall service quality. New roles were also created to support sustainable staff development and resource management in the new model.

To create buy-in for such a fundamental culture shift within the department, a facilitative approach to decision-making was employed. Change management programs and mentoring were extended to all levels of the department, including leadership. New mechanisms—such as approval panels for resources and the use of business cases—also worked to push changes among staff and promote collaborative behavior.

DEFRA Renew was widely recognized as a key enabler in the department meeting required efficiency improvement targets set by the UK government. DEFRA moved to a more project-based approach, with fewer staff in core teams. According to Dame Helen Ghosh, former Permanent Secretary of DEFRA, they could be more responsive now that “the management board won’t be made up of director generals with individual policy silos.”34

Just as XP could be gained through learning new skills, it could be lost in the following three ways:

  • Failure to apply skills: Workers could earn XP for training, but lose these points if they do not use the resulting skills on projects.
  • Down time: One would expect some cloud employees to be between projects at any given time, and indeed this provides the capacity to surge when demands require. That said, employees who spend too much time away from project work could lose XP.
  • Poor project performance: Employees who receive less-than-satisfactory ratings on individual performance reviews, peer evaluations, or team performance could lose XP.

Salary and benefits

Any serious discussion about creating a new class of government employees requires a fresh look at employee benefits and compensation. For example, XP could be used to help determine workers’ salaries, but additional research into alternative pension and benefit programs is needed. While any discussion on compensation could be contentious, a healthy debate among stakeholders from across the government should be welcomed.

Career paths

As new roles emerge in the cloud, so too could new career paths. Career emphasis could move away from time served in a particular pay grade and toward milestones that are meaningful for employee development.

Each worker may have different career aspirations. For instance, not all workers aspire to management; some may seek to master a particular subject area instead. Career advancement in the cloud would not equate to moving up a ladder, but rather moving along a lattice.

Lattice GovCloud Model


Here’s how the lattice could work for Ian, who we met in the introduction.

  • The early years: A few years after being hired into the human resources shared service straight out of school, Ian has been exposed to a wide variety of agencies. Through these interactions, he realizes he has become passionate about the field of social work.
  • Seeking a change: Ian decides to leave federal service and pursue a master’s degree in social work, and then take a job at his state’s social services agency. After a few years, Ian accepts a position as director of a mid-sized non-profit.
  • Returning to GovCloud: After years of running the non-profit, Ian begins thinking about government service again. He decides to join GovCloud by working just a few hours a week. After working part-time on projects that require social work experience, Ian decides to return full-time. To more effectively manage social programs, Ian seeks out all the performance measurement training he can find.
  • Finding a niche: Ian becomes well versed in performance measurement, first for social programs, but he quickly learns how to apply those concepts elsewhere. When his social work experience isn’t needed, he can also lend performance measurement knowledge from the cloud.
  • Winding down: As he nears retirement, Ian wants to help train the next generation of social workers by teaching one course per semester at a local university. However, he is able to remain connected to GovCloud and spend one or two days a week working with social programs and measuring the performance of other projects.

“Think of the lattice as a jungle gym. The best opportunities to broaden your experience may be lateral or even down. Look every which way and swing to opportunities.”

— Pattie Sellers, Fortune editor at large

Cathleen Benko and Molly Anderson, the authors of The Corporate Lattice, argue that the corporate ladder is giving way to a lattice that accommodates flatter, more networked organizations; improves the integration of career and life; focuses on competencies rather than tenure; and helps increase workforce loyalty.35 The lattice metaphor allows employees to choose many ways to “get ahead.”

Learning

It is unlikely that all workers will thrive in the new GovCloud environment right out of the gate. As such, it would be important to assess a worker’s readiness before placing her in GovCloud and providing training on core competencies critical to cloud success. There could also be opportunities to start workers, especially those at earlier stages of a career, within an agency or shared service to build up expertise in some area before “graduating to the cloud.” Once in the cloud, new workers could be paired with mentors, who are more experienced, to help navigate the cloud experience itself.

There should be an emphasis on continuous learning in the cloud. It would be important for cloud workers to continue to refine their skills, develop additional expertise, and adapt to new ways of working. Not only could continuous learning affect workers’ career mobility by increasing the depth and breadth of their skills, but it could also impact their salary and level by increasing their XP.

Learning and development in the cloud could take on many themes of “next learning.” Next learning focuses on creating personalized learning experiences that leverage the latest technologies and collaborative communities to deliver education and learning programs that build knowledge bases and promote learning as a focus and passion, not just a checkbox in a career.36

To broaden cloud worker skills and the ability to handle multiple tasks and work on a variety of projects, cloud learning could include the following principles:37

  • Video: The use of video learning could bring an in-person feel to trainings for cloud workers. Further, it could allow for more meaningful mentor relationships, even over long distances. This is an important component of a highly virtual workplace.
  • Social and collaborative learning: Use the wisdom of the cloud (and beyond) to create a collaborative learning environment.
  • Learning projects: In an environment where cloud workers are completing microtasks or participating in projects, design training to reflect this, helping to hone collaboration and other skills that will be important in the cloud.
  • Learning and leading in a distributed workplace: Workers who ascend to positions of leadership will need more than the traditional essentials of leadership to get them there. They will need to learn how to motivate and manage employees in a distributed environment, which requires an emphasis on communication, accountability, trust, and performance.
  • Building knowledge bases and connectivity for learning:Elective knowledge management will be critical in the Gov Cloud environment. This is just as important for training as for project information. Make knowledge gained in one area available elsewhere by tagging and promoting content for others to see. This can complement social learning by allowing users to bookmark or promote effective learning channels.

Workplace flexibility

In the cloud, careers and expertise will be built in new ways and work will be something we do, rather than a place we go to. As such, the cloud will give workers more control over their schedules and workloads. By creating a flexible workplace, governments could shed a significant amount of physical infrastructure and create shared workspaces. Many buildings could be converted into co-located spaces; teams could use collaboration spaces or videoconferencing centers.

Some workers might rarely set foot in a government building, instead conducting cloud tasks at home and interacting with project teams virtually. With advancing communications and mobile technology, distance no longer hinders collaboration. It no longer matters whether all workers are at an office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.; what matters is whether project teams produce results and whether everyone contributes.

A more flexible workplace could also take advantage of resources governments might not otherwise have access to. Some retiring workers may not want to quit working altogether, and a flexible model could be an enticing way to keep their expertise on retainer. Alternatively, the model could take advantage of would-be government employees unwilling to relocate or unable to work a regular schedule. By increasing flexibility, governments could increase their available resource pool, allowing agencies to access the skills and knowledge they need, when they need it. For an example of how a retiree could interact with the cloud, see Appendix C: National Security Case Study.

U.S. State Department pilots the cloud

Don’t think governments will ever take to the cloud? At the U.S. Department of State, the idea could soon be a reality. The Office of eDiplomacy is preparing to pilot a cloud component to its e-internship model for American students as part of the Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS), beginning this year. The VSFS currently offers e-internships to U.S. university students of multiple month duration. By using a new micro-volunteering platform, State Department offices and embassies around the world will be able to create non-classified tasks that take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of days to complete. Each task will be tagged by region and/or issue and will automatically populate the profiles of students who have indicated those interests. Students can then select the tasks that interest them the most or that fit into their schedule.

To see that the most pressing work is performed first, offices and embassies will be able to prioritize their tasks, so critical items appear at the top of the queue. Imagine a small embassy preparing for a high-profile, multilateral meeting. The preparations for such an event could be daunting for a small staff. The power of the cloud could augment an individual embassy’s capacity to prepare for a major event and ensure that related items are performed ahead of those that are less critical.

While there are plenty of incentives for participating in the VSFS micro-volunteering platform—from an impressive line on a student’s resume to the chance to make a difference by working on subjects of interest—thought is being put into how to creatively incent high performance. One idea is to simply invoke students’ competitive spirit. Competition could be encouraged by a monthly leader board, which results in bragging rights and, potentially, even a low-cost, but high-impact reward. Transparency is also key to competition: with ratings available to State Department staff and other cloud interns and the ability to make short thank you notes from embassies publicly available, interns would be keen to make a good impression.

The potential applications of this type of program are significant. Imagine if offices throughout the State Department could tap into the language and cultural expertise of the thousands of foreign national staff members around the globe. Providing a platform for those employees to contribute even a small amount of time to discreet tasks that require their expertise could unlock a world of knowledge.38

TAKING THE FIRST STEPS

Creating the GovCloud model will require bold leadership and the ideas and initiatives of entrepreneurial executives. While a GovCloud model may be years in the making, agencies can begin adopting cloud concepts today.

  • Build collaboration spaces: Make interoffice collaboration easier. Create physical spaces in your office where employees can casually spend time sharing information across departments. Provide employees with several hours per week to devote to collaborative efforts with other areas of the agency that interest them.
  • Rotate your people: Embrace the Millennials’ aptitude for change. Create a rotational program that allows staff members to work across departments and specialties. As your organization realizes the value of a broader perspective, you can pursue rotation among agencies or even secondments (rotations between the nonprofit, private, and public sectors).
  • Start a volunteer cloud: Plant the seeds for the cloud by allowing workers to seek tasks beyond their current responsibilities. Start by providing a platform for managers to post issues or problems they need help in solving. Allow employees to help with projects or tasks that interest them. This will allow them to expand their networks, build new skills,   and chase their passions.
  • Pilot a GovCloud: Only experience will bring people to understand the power of the cloud. A few agencies could bring the cloud to life by moving resources to a pilot cloud workforce. This would allow them to document lessons learned and determine the viability of the cloud on a wider scale. Use the GovCloud decision tree to help determine who could thrive in the cloud.

One step toward the cloud: Secondments and temporary project teams

The Ontario Public Service (OPS) has significant experience with building as-needed project teams to support specific, high-priority projects using staff brought in from other departments for short-term secondments. What allows this to work is a flexible HR framework that supports and facilitates staff secondments as developmental opportunities. The HR framework contributes to a culture that recognizes and rewards the experience secondees gain in these high-profile work assignments. OPS employees are generally eager to participate in these projects and are typically rewarded throughout their careers for the skills they acquire.39

Implementing GovCloud

The GovCloud concept is designed to be versatile as well as applicable to a wide range of entities. Depending on your organization, government executives wishing to employ GovCloud may choose to apply the concept first to a unit, before expanding to other branches or divisions, entire agencies, or the whole of government.

Often, GovCloud principles are most effectively implemented as part of a larger reform program within a particular agency—as with the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Renew program, as described earlier in this report. On a smaller scale, the UK Cabinet Office used flexible resourcing (FR) in its Economic Reform Group (ERG), with a staff of about 400, as part of its cost-reduction plans. Using a simple database that it had developed and a strong program of communications, FR is now used and embraced by all core ERG employees, with strong, clear ownership from the top—another key implementation factor. Says Ian Watmore, the UK Cabinet Office’s former permanent secretary, FR means “we are able to deploy people much more quickly to priority projects.”40

Figure 3 outlines how GovCloud can apply to a variety of organizations.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Most government workforces haven’t undergone a broad restructuring in decades. In that time, the world has been transformed by computers, the Internet, and mobile communications.

To respond to a variety of challenges, governments have created scores of new organizations. However, in today’s world of budget cuts and increased fiscal scrutiny, the constant creation of new, permanent structures is not sustainable.

The GovCloud model could offer a new way to use government resources. A cloud of government-wide workers could coalesce into project-based teams to solve problems and separate when their work is done. This could allow governments to concentrate resources when and where they are needed. By using this model in conjunction with thinner agencies and shared services, governments can reduce back-office redundancies and let agencies focus on their core missions.

This model capitalizes on the work preferences of Millennials—the future government workforce—who value career growth over job security or compensation.41 The GovCloud model allows employees to gain a variety of experiences in a shorter amount of time and to self-select their career direction.

To support GovCloud, governments could establish the processes by which cloud teams would form, work, and dissolve. New ways to evaluate performance and help workers gain skills and build careers should be considered. Today’s employee classification system stresses job descriptions and time in service; this could be transformed with an XP model that emphasizes the individual’s ownership of his or her career.

The GovCloud model will undoubtedly be controversial. Many stakeholders, from governing bodies to public employee unions, must weigh in to shape the future government workforce. The transition to a cloud model will not happen overnight or maybe even in the next five years, but the conversation starts today.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Charlie Tierney

Charlie Tierney is a Manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Human Capital Practice and a former GovLab Fellow. He has served clients in the intelligence community. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in Chinese History and minor in Mandarin, and is currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business.

Steve Cottle

Steve Cottle was a GovLab Fellow and a Senior Consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Strategy & Operations practice. There, he served multiple clients within the Department of Homeland Security. Steve graduated from Boston College with a BA in International Studies and German and received a Fulbright Grant to study international security in Germany. Steve is currently pursuing his Masters in Public Policy at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

Katie Jorgensen

Katie Jorgensen was a GovLab Fellow and Consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Strategy & Operations practice. There, she served multiple clients in the Federal Railroad Administration and Transportation Security Administration. Katie received her BA in American Studies from Georgetown University. Katie is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Originally published by Deloitte University Press on dupress.com. Copyright 2015 Deloitte Development LLC.

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Killexams : FYIC Classes

BUS 101 : Foundations of Business

Foundations of Business introduces students to the foundational concepts of business and allows students to develop essential skills, including critical and creative thinking, communication and collaboration and ethical decision-making. Students will learn to identify their own unique thinking preferences and their personal and professional goals. They will create a personal development plan, which outlines goals for their time at the Farmer School of Business. Students will also develop the skills to work collaboratively, working on several team assignments throughout the course.

After completing this class, students will be able to:

  • Understand the key concepts and basic functions of business.
  • Apply ethical thinking to the business environment.
  • Collaborate as part of a team and manage team dynamics.
  • Identify how globalization and diversity impact the current business climate.
  • Develop the habits necessary to achieve professional and personal goals at the Farmer School of Business.

BUS 102: Foundations of Business Communications

The ability to write and speak well are critical skill sets for business professionals. This course provides students with the opportunity to develop the communication and collaboration skills necessary for business success. Students will learn foundational rhetorical strategies for crafting effective written and oral communications through a series of business-oriented projects, including: Developing Business Relationships, Presenting Professional Credentials, Delivering Research Findings, and Making Recommendations. For these projects, students will write professional emails, resumes, cover letters, and a short research-based report. They will each deliver a personal introduction presentation and participate in a mock panel interview. In teams, they will present key findings from an industry research report to their peers, and present a recommendation on a business problem to an actual business client.

After completing this class, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate business communications for rhetorical effectiveness.
  • Compare and contrast business communication with other forms of communication.
  • Produce professional communications that are effective for audience, purpose, and context.
  • Use appropriate technologies for the design, development, and delivery of communications.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to plan, prepare, and deliver successful business communications that are consistent with professional standards.

ESP 103: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Thinking

According to an IBM study of international CEOs, creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business. This class prepares students to succeed by learning the foundations of creativity and creative problem-solving in business. It operates like an entrepreneurial venture where students learn to leverage ambiguity and generate creative solutions to complex business problems. Students work both collaboratively and competitively to produce high quality work with unique value. The critical creative tools students focus on include failure, ambiguity, curiosity, idea generation, research, habits, diversity and collaboration, and project management.

After completing this class, students will be able to:

  • Assess the situation.
  • Identify key problems.
  • Explore options using divergent thinking.
  • Narrow choices using convergent thinking.
  • Develop and strengthen top ideas.
  • Select solutions as a team.

BUS 104: Introduction to Computational Thinking for Business

In this class, students learn basic coding principles using both Python and SQL. They create programs to address common business scenarios from multiple disciplines, such as finance and operations management. They also probe real-world client data for consumer insights to support a substantial group project. Students learn not only the mechanics of coding, but also the principles behind the process of coding. These principles—collectively known as computational thinking—strengthen analytic problem-solving skills and can be applied broadly to many aspects of work and life.

After completing this class, students will be able to:

  • Render data into useful information for problem-solving.
  • Apply computational thinking to business problems.
  • Gain insights from real-world data.
  • Draw relevant conclusions.
  • Communicate intelligently with modern technology.

A latest Forbes magazine article applauded the Farmer School’s First Year Integrated Core, and specifically this class, for answering a growing need in the business world. The article quoted Information Systems & Analytics department chair, Skip Benamati, who said: "Companies are laser-focused on using data to inform their decision-making. Data and information are at the core of how companies compete today, and it's becoming more and more critical that graduates possess at least a basic understanding of how they work."

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 02:05:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://miamioh.edu/fsb/academics/fyic/classes/index.html
Killexams : Financial Ombudsman Service mining for gold in cloud HR and finance

After successfully rolling out and bedding in its cloud-based human resource (HR) and finance system, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is now digging into its functionality.

In November 2021, alongside service partner IBM, the FOS completed the roll-out of the system from Workday and moved into a new phase of using the software, which set out to replace about 14 separate systems as a bedrock of its digital transformation.

Nicola Wadham, CIO at the Financial Ombudsman Service, told Computer Weekly that the service was already seeing the benefits of replacing multiple systems with a single cloud service, which she described as “the power of one”.

“We are up and running – we are stable, paying people and we have got through the key moments,” she said.

The organisation has also set a timeframe for pulling out of its datacentre, with all systems in the cloud. “The legacy systems are awaiting the executioner now. We have archived what we have to do and have a datacentre exit project,” said Wadham.

Set up in 2001 by MPs, the Financial Ombudsman Service settles disputes between consumers and financial services providers. It is contacted by more than one million people each year.

It is planning to digitally transform its entire back office, with Workday’s cloud-based software a foundation stone. The roll-out of Workday at the FOS was far from standard, coming as it did during the Covid-19 lockdown when people were forced to work remotely.

“In usual circumstances you would have in-person drop-in centres, floor walkers and the swivel chair to allow you to ask people how to do things,” said Wadham. “Instead, we had virtual drop-in clinics and good support information.” The FOS now has a hybrid working pattern where staff are in four days every fortnight.

Finding the gold

But implementation is only ever half the task, according to Wadham. “It can go horribly wrong, as we all know, but it is the usage of the system and its exploitation where the gold is,” she said.

Three groups of users at the FOS will benefit from the new HR and finance system. Professional users who work in the finance and HR departments will be required to do less double-checking, less manual work, and processes that would normally require two people will now require one. This will reduce processing times significantly.

Meanwhile, managers can use the system for onboarding workers, ending employment contracts or doing appraisals. They will be able to see more information about their workforce than they used to, and do more self-service, according to Wadham.

“We are now transitioning to the continuous improvement phase. There is a lot of good [functionality] out of the box, but you have to discover it, which is something we have to work on”

Nicola Wadham, Financial Ombudsman Service

The organisation is educating managers about the functionality available to them so they can get more out of the system. “It’s about helping them understand how to do the action and making sure they have got the right guide. Now we are back in the office, we are able to promote and advertise clinics that help people get on their way,” said Wadham.

It is also focusing on getting staff across the board to use the new systems, which is a challenge when they have used the same systems for decades. In the past, all these users were interacting with different systems, accessing different pockets of data.

“This is an important part of the wider digitisation strategy because you have to get your staff interacting with the new technology,” said Wadham.

Once staff begin to use the system, they can discover the less obvious, but valuable, functionality, or “the gold”, according to Wadham.

“We are now transitioning to the continuous improvement phase. There is a lot of good [functionality] out of the box, but you have to discover it, which is something we have to work on.”

An array of tools

The FOS is also using Workday Innovation Services, of which there are 24 available. The FOS has already adopted eight of them.

For example, it has implemented Workday Everywhere, which offers integration with Microsoft Teams so users don’t have to leave Workday to use Teams.

It is also using Workday Assistant, a chatbot that uses natural language to help staff complete tasks through voice requests, such as booking holidays or finding their pay slips. “I am hoping users will adopt that because it is going to make things quicker,” said Wadham.

Wadham and her team are currently looking at an interview scheduling function, which would allow candidates to schedule interview slots without telephoning. “This is niche, but powerful,” she said.

In the longer term, the FOS plans to use the system for workforce planning. “This is big for us, because we are demand-led and it helps us understand the make-up of our workforce, give case work to the right people and ensure that our people have the right skills,” said Wadham.

The Workday-based transformation of the back office follows the FOS’s project to put its core front-end systems, such as its case management system, in the cloud.

It has used Microsoft Dynamics 365 for its case work since 2019. It is currently transitioning its case work system support arrangements to IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services and is building a consumer-focused portal with the supplier.

Thu, 04 Aug 2022 01:53:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252523491/Financial-Services-Ombudsman-mining-for-the-gold-in-cloud-HR-and-finance
Killexams : UK tech job vacancies soar, wages outstrip rest of economy - but it’s not yet an opportunity for all

The UK is seeing its digital and tech economy boom, with a huge growth in job vacancies and wages for roles outstripping the rest of the economy. However, it’s not all good news, as opportunities appear to be mostly going to those coming out of elite education institutions - which make up a small percentage of the population - and there appears to be a shrinking number of vacancies lower down the ranks, making it harder for people to get trained up. 

The new data has been published in a comprehensive report by Tech Nation, a government-backed think tank, which outlines that nearly 5 million people now work in the digital tech economy, up from 2.18 million in 2011. That number is also up from just under 3 million in 2019, which highlights the structural shifts the UK economy has been through during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tech Nation states that the report aims to fill a gap in data around skills in the digital economy, which could be leading to less informed decisions on the part of both employers, employees and the government. The report uses data from Adrian, Dealroom and the Office for National Statistics. It states: 

During the uncertain times faced by most people over the last two years, technology has been an enabler for individuals, companies and communities. It has facilitated new ways of working, and kept the economy buoyant. Tech has also been an important source of job creation as we return to a sense of normality. Nevertheless, we are not returning to the economy, or the labour market that we left in 2019. 

This significant ramping up of tech economy workers has been due, in part to the permeation and transformation of tech across the economy as a whole. Over 36% of people working in the digital tech economy are in non technical roles, and a further 30% of roles are in tech roles outside of the tech sector.

On the other side of the coin, the tech sector itself has continued to grow at an astounding rate. Between 2020 and 2021 venture capital investment into UK based tech startups and scaleups increased by 130%. This surge of investment creates employment opportunities, to spearhead growth in scaling firms.

The good news

What’s clear from the data is that the UK - both the private sector and government institutions - should be fostering the tech and digital economy, as it continues to grow. Jobs in this sector now account for approximately 14% of the UK workforce and more than 2 million tech vacancies were advertised over the last year - more than any other area of the UK labour market. 

Tech Nation said that the boom in hiring is reflective of the growth seen in venture capital investment into UK tech companies in 2021, which had a 130% increase to just under $41 billion. This is also being bolstered by an increasing permeation of tech roles across the economy. See the chart below: 

(Image sourced via Tech Nation report)

Over 36% of jobs in the digital tech economy are in non tech occupations, like product management, user experience, people and sales. Some 36.8% of roles are in non-tech positions, and a further 33% of roles are technical, but outside of the tech sector. 

Furthermore, tech vacancies have increased on a month by month basis over the last year, from 145,000 roles advertised in May 2021, to 181,000 roles as of May 2022. 

Large tech and professional services companies, many of which are based in the US, such as IBM, Oracle and Amazon, are leading the way in terms of tech job ads. However, ‘UK decacorn’ Ocados is third in the UK hiring rankings, with over 33,500 roles advertised last year. 

According to the report, data and architecture are the most in demand tech skills, jumping up the ranking after seeing growth in demand of over 1000% respectively from 2019 to 2021. 

And it’s not only vacancies and job roles that are on the up, wages too are higher than the rest of the economy. Tech jobs command an 80% premium on non tech jobs in the UK, with the average salary being £62,000 compared to £35,000 elsewhere. 

However, Tech Nation does warn that this could lead to problems, as it states: 

With growth in employment as we have witnessed over the last five years, on the one hand, is a good thing from an economic, and labour market perspective. Well paid jobs across the UK are being created. However, if left unchecked, this could pose a potentially problematic situation whereby tech becomes fragmented, or polarises the economy. In its own right, this is a fairly natural phenomenon, but consider that levels of gender, geographical, age and in some cases ethnic diversity remain entrenched in tech, with little movement over the last five years, and we start to see that a polarisation problem may be emerging. 

This is not a phenomenon that will inevitably occur if appropriate intervention measures are taken. We know that the tech economy is home to a variety of technical and non technical roles, offering a wide range of opportunities, and creating many new forms of work, and jobs. The message of opportunity for all must be something we collectively emphasise so that no one is left behind.

Words of warning

Despite all the positive indicators in the tech and digital economy, Tech Nation’s report does come with some fair warnings that the UK needs to ensure that the opportunities being seen are equitable. 

For instance, awareness of the opportunity to earn more is slim across the UK, as only 26% of people believe that developing a tech skill will allow them to attract higher wages. 

In addition to this, demand for senior tech positions have been increasing over the past three years. For every one ‘no experience needed’ role advertised, there are approximately eight senior roles advertised. This is a problem, as the report states: 

The sticking point in this dynamic is that demand for senior roles is burgeoning, whilst demand for junior and intermediate level roles has decreased. This may create a supply issue in future, with fewer prospective employees able to gain vital experience in tech, and companies struggling to hire for experienced people. A resolution to this situation will require a reconsideration of roles being hired for by firms, and an acknowledgement that responsibility must be taken to contribute to the skills and experience development of staff.

In addition to this, a huge proportion of senior leaders are highly qualified individuals. The majority of people including this information in their profile have a bachelors degree (74.6%) and just under half have a Masters degree (46.3%).

But what’s particularly interesting, is that world leading educational institutions top the charts for tech C-suite education - highlighting a potentially problematic position. The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford top the leaderboard for educational institutions making up a combined total of 4.6% of educational experiences. However, just 1% of UK students get a place at Oxbridge. Other red brick institutions make up a big chunk of the education found in the tech C-suite. 

Dr George Windsor, data and research director at Tech Nation, writes that the UK needs to be careful of these trends to really take advantage of the opportunity. They said: 

This report highlights that senior leaders in tech, those in C-suite and director roles, are overwhelmingly Oxbridge and red brick university educated. This leads to a potentially problematic disjunction in the messaging around opportunity for all, versus the impression leaders often from elite higher education institutions provides.

The financial rationale exists more patently than ever, to pursue a career in the tech economy. On average, tech jobs now command an 80% premium on non tech jobs in the UK, up from around 60% only a year ago.

Yet, only 26% of people surveyed believed that acquiring or developing a new tech skill would position them well to earn more in the future - highlighting an information gap. 44% of UK respondents believe having tech skills are essential for job security and 64% of those working in tech agree. With the fast pace of change in tech, it will be essential to encourage upskilling throughout all people's careers.

Demand for tech roles has never been higher, as the report points out, over 2mn vacancies last year, and ever growing employment in the tech economy has only accelerated over the last year. In parallel, demand for senior tech positions have been increasing over the past 3 years. For every one “no experience” role advertised, there are approximately eight senior roles advertised.

This is again a potentially challenging position. If demand for senior roles is burgeoning, whilst demand for junior and intermediate level roles has decreased this may create a supply issue in future. It will lead to fewer prospective employees able to gain vital experience in tech, and companies struggling to hire for experienced people. A resolution to this situation will require a reconsideration of roles being hired for by firms, and an acknowledgement that responsibility must be taken to contribute to the skills and experience development of staff.

In conclusion, growth inevitably brings challenges - without the right mix of people, capital and innovation, we will not see realised the positive growth trajectory for UK tech we all hope . As such, it is a responsibility of employers, hiring organisations, individuals and support organisations to raise awareness, promote upskilling and in work training, and open doors to those with less experience in tech to pave the way to a brighter tech future for all

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 12:01:00 -0500 BRAINSUM en text/html https://diginomica.com/uk-tech-job-vacancies-soar-wages-outstrip-rest-economy-its-not-yet-opportunity-all
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