Finding the Right Cloud Strategy for Your Company

by WGroup

Your employees love cloud computing. It lets them work anywhere, any time, on any device. For many people, that kind of flexibility in their work schedule is a big boost to their quality of life.

There are plenty of reasons for you to love cloud computing, too. Employee satisfaction leads to employee loyalty, which leads to employee productivity. You may even be able to move some employees to telecommuting positions, which will save your business money on office space and utilities.

If cloud computing is a smart decision, the tricky part is deciding which cloud. If you’re considering a move to the cloud, a third-party provider is a must.

Maybe you’re worried that a transition to cloud computing will disrupt your work environment. Maybe you’re worried that having important company information living in the online ether, instead of being stored in individual computers or in on-premise storage, will create security issues.

The good news is that both of these concerns can be completely alleviated by using a third-party cloud computing provider, rather than setting up an in-house cloud server.

A third-party provider will gradually move your company information over to its own servers without disrupting the flow of work at your business. Most of the work will be done after hours. When employees return to work, they will each get their own passwords, giving them access to the information they need to do their work. No downtime.

That’s just the beginning. With a third-party provider, security is greatly enhanced. The servers where your company information is stored are monitored around the clock. If there is any hint of an issue with security, such as someone trying to gain unauthorized access to your servers, the technicians will know right away and can respond before your information is compromised. It’s like having an army of security professionals watching your important company information all the time and keeping it protected.

Here’s one more way having your information stored away from your business headquarters makes sense. It’s protected from corporate sabotage and environmental disasters. If your business’s location is damaged or destroyed, you and your staff can continue to work from anywhere, because your information is safe.

For in-depth guidance on cloud computing, see our white paper, The Top 5 Imperatives to Address in Your Cloud Computing Strategy at http://www2.thinkwgroup.com/Top5Imperatives

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Communicating Effectively in Times of Change

by David Malicoat

Times of significant change can cause stress, loss of productivity, and discontent within any organization, particularly in IT. Outsourcing, insourcing, mergers, and acquisitions can all create obstacles that prevent leaders from concentrating on accomplishing their goals. In order to overcome these problems, IT leaders need to have robust plans in place to harness the full power of their organization. One of the most important components of any plan for change is good communication. Without consistent, pointed messaging and patient listening, any changes will suffer from much greater pushback and create far more problems. One can never go astray by embracing and executing effectively on the fundamentals of organizational change.

How to communicate more effectively

IT leaders’ efforts during periods of transition should be focused on keeping everyone on the same page in terms of goals, processes, and what the changes mean. Everyone within the organization should have a clear understanding of what their new role will be, and what the future will look like. This requires clear and consistent communication from IT leaders.

Increase communication frequency – In this day of hyper transformation, changes happen rapidly, with shifting outcomes and expectations. Most leaders don’t communicate with their team often enough during these times. By keeping more constant contact with employees and communicating effectively, you can help assuage any doubts or uncertainty that the team may be having and keep everyone positively contributing towards the collective goal.

Improve communication quality – It’s not enough to simply flood your team with messages. The communication has to be both more frequent, and more importantly, more meaningful. Make memos, meetings, and other outreaches succinct and take extra time to cover the topics that employees need and want to know about. Of particular importance is a focus on how the changes will affect each individual and what their role in making it happen will be. This can both help improve team morale and keep employees focused on the organization’s mission.

Don’t overcommunicate – Although regular, high quality communication is key during periods of transition, it is still possible to overdo it. Make sure all of your communications have real value to the recipients. Don’t communicate just for the sake of communication. Too much can bog down employees and water down the messaging.

Listen – Another component to good communication is listening. Leaders must pay careful attention to how the changes are affecting their team. The leader must also be sensitive to what problems are arising, and listen for any suggestions that might make the process go more smoothly. This means taking time to get feedback from a wide variety of sources, including colleagues, business unit leaders, and individual contributors.

Maintaining high quality, frequent communication during periods of transition can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that it can mean the difference between success and failure. With more robust and consistent messaging, IT leaders can help keep their team happy and focused on their mission. The result is an organization that owns your message and uses it as the foundation of their daily hard work.

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WGroup Announces New Principal Consultant: Bob Mack

by WGroup

WGroup is pleased to announce that Bob Mack has joined the firm as Principal Consultant. In this role, Bob will be responsible for supporting and leading client engagements focused on IT, Transformation, Strategies and Sourcing.

Bob is a diverse, “hands on” business executive focused on delivering transformational outcomes in fast-paced environments. With over 30 years of experience working for global Fortune 500 organizations, he has amassed a broad and deep tenure of IT executive and general management experience within the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry. He is an expert in tackling big, complex opportunities that challenge the status quo and create innovative approaches to driving new business value. He is most inspired by organizations that have a passion for excellence, a demonstrated sense of urgency, and a “start-up” execution mindset.

As an IT and business leader, Bob has an excellent track record of success with IT transformation and transition, sourcing, vendor management, mergers and acquisitions, global operations, cloud strategy/ execution, and technology strategy/implementations. He has been responsible for multi-million dollar budgets, and led technology operations for growing enterprises across multiple locations and countries.

Prior to WGroup, as SVP Business Services and Head of IT at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Bob was the Corporate Officer accountable for Information Technology, Facilities, Corporate Library, and other U.S. shared services. He consolidated multiple IT organizations into a unified highly valued structure complimented by strategic outsourced managed services. He achieved significant measurable improvements in business alignment, project delivery capacity, technology modernization, and customer service levels. He implemented IT portfolio management that governed IT investments across the organization resulting in delivering sustainable business enabling capabilities and supporting Otsuka’s diverse, unconventional thinking driven culture.

As CIO and SVP of Information Technology and Innovation at Reliance Life Sciences, Bob led the global IT function for a new venture life sciences startup funded by Reliance Industries, the largest company in India. As a member of the U.S. executive team, he provided IT alignment and technology leadership in support of Reliance’s business development efforts to support growth in their life sciences business.

As VP of Information Technology at Pfizer, Bob was responsible for establishing the newly formed Enterprise Solutions group. He spearheaded the establishment of Pfizer’s global IT shared services supporting 60+ market countries. He provided global leadership for a team of 180 colleagues across U.S., Europe, and Asia. Bob’s team implemented global ERP, HR and Supply Chain platforms across Pfizer leveraging an offshore IT strategic outsourcing model to drive quality, cost effectiveness, and scalability, including support for a Financial BPO in India.

Prior to Pfizer, Bob was with Pharmacia, which was then acquired by Pfizer. During the acquisition, Bob was appointed to a newly established senior executive IT position responsible for Business Technology support for Pfizer’s US Pharmaceutical Sales Organization. There, he directed integration efforts in support of Pharmacia acquisition, which rationalized IT assets and services resulting in significant operational efficiencies and OPEX savings.

Prior to Pharmacia, Bob entered the pharmaceutical industry joining French-based Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (RPR) as the IT executive accountable for all supply chain and manufacturing systems for RPR’s Americas region. Bob’s strategic role was to enable alignment and ERP standardization across the region. Bob’s tenure with RPR included recognition of an award-winning e-commerce capability enabling multi-channel collaboration with supply-chain partners and customers.

Bob has also held IT leadership roles at Crayola LLC (division of Hallmark Cards) and Air Products focused on application software service delivery supporting customer service, sales/marketing, distribution and manufacturing disciplines.

Bob has a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bloomsburg University.

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IT Outsourcing Alternatives: Emerging IT Markets Around the Globe – Part 3

by Doug Smith

IT Outsourcing Alternatives: Exploring the Emerging IT Markets Around the Globe

Part 3 of a Three-Part Series: Part 1 of this three-part series explored the advantages of South American and Latin American IT outsourcing solutions. Part 2 revealed that rural outsourcing is quickly becoming a viable IT solution for many United States-based organizations. In Part 3, the powerful Eastern European hub of Romania will be explored to better understand its IT outsourcing advantages.

Located on the Eastern border of the European Union, Romania is a short three-hour flight from London, the financial capital of Europe. For the past decade Romania has slowly been making a name for itself as an IT hub. Not only does it offer some of the lowest prices in the outsourcing business (thanks in part to the country’s low cost of living and low annual wages), but it provides companies with access to expert level IT technicians who are both proficient and driven to succeed.

When most people think of Romania, they think of Count Dracula; however, the country’s young IT professionals are quickly changing that reputation. These individuals have helped Romania, and particularly its capital, Bucharest, step into the IT limelight. The following IT outsourcing advantages can be found in Romania:

  • In 2014 Romania’s second largest export was IT solutions to European and American companies. The National Bank of Romania reported that computer and information services exports had reached €1.4bn in 2013, which represents a 27 percent rise compared to 2012.One of the reasons that Romania is able to export viable IT solutions is due to the language proficiencies of its IT technical experts. The majority of IT workers are fluent in English, as well as German, French, Italian, and Spanish.
  • Clients turn to Romania for outsourcing services due to the previous experience, technology expertise, financial reporting, and high-quality proposal responses that Romanian IT firms offer. In short, Romania provides direct access to IT workers who have a highly specialized skill set and knowledge that is required for the most complex IT solutions
  • Quality services are provided at a significantly lower rate than companies would usually pay for in-house development. The higher quality services help companies improve their image and expand their business capacity through powerful IT solutions.

The Bottom Line

As with countries in South America and Latin America, as well as United States-based rural outsourcing, the Romanian IT outsourcing industry is growing at a rapid rate. It is primed for success in a global marketplace that is based on customer and business needs. In this vein, Romania attracts United States and Europe-based organizations due to the high level of technical and language skills of its IT workers, its proven IT industry, and the availability of a vast IT labor pool. If the Romanian IT outsourcing industry could find a way to bypass the potential time zone conflicts that dissuade some companies from hiring Romanian firms, then it may just become an unstoppable force.

Make sure to visit the WGroup Insights blog at http://thinkwgroup.com/insights/ to stay up-to-date with the latest in outsourcing news, strategy, and point of view.

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IT Outsourcing Alternatives: Emerging IT Markets Around the Globe — Part 2

by Doug Smith

IT Outsourcing Alternatives: Exploring the Emerging IT Markets Around the Globe

Part 2 of a Three-Part Series: Part 1 of this three-part series explored the advantages of South American and Latin American IT outsourcing solutions. In Part 2, the recently developed market of United States-based rural outsourcing will be explored.

The term “rural outsourcing,” or “ruralsourcing,” was first dubbed in a 2010 CNN Money article. The premise for the term was simple — smaller towns needed jobs, offered a cheaper cost of living, and had the talent needed to provide viable IT solutions at a 25 to 50 percent lower cost. To date, rural outsourcing has grown to become a sought-after IT sourcing solution for companies that want to experience the benefits of outsourcing without the disadvantages of turning to an offshore option.

At its core, rural outsourcing offers urban-based companies the same basic benefits of other traditional outsourcing arrangements.

  • Immediate access to technological expertise
  • Resources that the IT client would otherwise lack internally
  • IT help and solutions when they are needed and wanted. Additionally, these solutions are provided on a purely contractual basis without the extensive overhead that a full-time employee incurs

While the aforementioned advantages have given rural outsourcing a strong footing in the IT sector, its true strength lies in additional attributes.

  • Cost advantages have helped rural outsourcing become a viable solution in the past few years. As a general rule of thumb, the cost of living in rural areas is lower than urban settings, which directly equates to reduced labor rates for the same technical expertise
  • Rural outsourcing solutions typically operate within the same time zone. If, however, the chosen IT provider is in a different time zone than the continental United States-based client, then the maximum time difference would be three hours (as is the case between Eastern Standard Time and Pacific Standard Time)
  • English is the de facto national language of the United States, which means that rural outsourcing solutions eliminate the “language barrier” issue of traditional offshore outsourcing options. Rural outsourcing also eliminates potential cultural clashes or issues.
  • Hiring a United States-based firm is generally a more politically acceptable outsourcing alternative for many U.S companies. In fact, hiring domestically might improve a company’s ability to uphold their mission statement or corporate values.

The Bottom Line

Rural outsourcing is a viable option that will continue to grow as political entities encourage companies to create, hire, and grow their organizations within the United States’ borders. This being said, whenever an organization is considering hiring within the global marketplace, they must first determine their customer and business needs. Only by determining and weighing the needs of these factors, can an organization more effectively evaluate IT outsourcing alternatives. Just as the South American and Latin American markets are ripe for exploration, the rural outsourcing market will become a choice for many American organizations, particularly government entities, who will want to capitalize on its low cost and high-value IT offerings.

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