Course TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary For Business Use

In my opinion, there are three things that have become the norm of modern day societal interaction:

  1. Mobile Devices
  2. The Cloud
  3. Social Networking

I’ve affectionately labelled them the Technology Trio. Most of us could not go an hour without interacting with one, if not all of these items. This Technology Trio is fast becoming the driver of business strategy development; encompassing sales, marketing, product offerings and the employee value proposition.

Technology_Trio

That’s right I said employee value proposition.

Employees are increasingly demanding the use of mobile, cloud and social collaboration at work. Things like importing their talent profile from LinkedIn, requesting and approving vacation on their smart phone or using SharePoint to crowd source ideas from multiple internal and external stakeholders to complete a project.

Discussions about the Technology Trio have also become common place in executive strategic planning discussions. functions including . Departments such as Sales, Finance, HR, Marketing, Legal, Procurement, Operations, Compliance, etc., are now expected to have some general knowledge of the Trio to develop solutions to support businesses strategies.

Cloud-Ops-Model-lg

These could include providing answers/recommendations on whether to use a new SaaS solution to manage sales. What’s the contract/ cost implications if we move to an integrated best in suite solution or continue with a series of best in breed solutions? If  we enable API plugin’s how do we mitigate privacy concerns? If we use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers as part of our sales strategy are they any compliance risks? What guidelines need to be added to our code of conduct around acceptable usage of social media at work? How should we address anonymous employment reviews  on social media sites about our company? How do we leverage big data to gain insights into projected sales revenue or succession planning for baby boomer retirements? What’s our social recruitment strategy? And on and on….

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For many, this is new and overwhelming territory. Symptoms may include eyes being glazed over, increased heart rate, bouts of perspiration or having to leave the meeting early due to a sudden appointment!

Relax. Take a deep breath.

For all of you who would like a crash course on the essential technology terms* you need to know for your next meeting; this blog post is for you!

 -Technology Terminology Cheat Sheet-

Term*

Definition

Example

Android Is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google. Android is designed primarily for touch screen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It uses touch inputs like swiping, tapping, pinching, etc. to manipulate on-screen objects. It also offers a virtual keyboard.
  • JellyBean
  • NexusGalaxy
  • HTC Mobile
API PlugIn An application programming interface (API) specifies software component inputs and outputs.  Its main purpose is to define a set of functionalities which allow integration (plug in) of new features into existing applications or to share data between otherwise distinct applications.
  • Apply for a job on a recruitment system using your LinkedIn profile
  • Login to TripAdvisor using your Facebook profile
Best of Breed (BoB) Applications that offer specialized functions in specific areas that ERP’s suites usually do not feature. (E.g. Time and attendance, compensation, talent management, financial planning, etc.) Most BoB  solutions are now SaaS and Cloud based.
  • Kronos
  • Salesforce.com
  • HireVue
  • Jobvite
  • JobsDB
Best in Suite (BiS) Applications that provide a broad set of functional capabilities as part of an integrated suite. These components can be sold as standalone modules or bundled. They sit on a unified platform which makes integration easy.
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • Blue Link
Big Data Is an all-encompassing term for the collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications. Big data solutions:

  • Zaponet
  • SAP Big Data
  • Oracle Big Data
Cloud Computing Is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. Shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices remotely as a utility (like an electricity grid) over a network such as the Internet. Cloud computing allows users to access their information anywhere, anytime and on any device type.
  • Google Drive
  • Yahoo email
  • Facebook
  • WordPress

 

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Term* Definition Example
Integrated Platform A unified technology solution that offers software that delivers services across multiple subject areas such as learning, recruitment, compensation, talent management, etc. Unlike BiS, there are no modules to sell individually.
  • Workday
Middleware Computer software that connects software applications to other software applications. Think of it as “software glue”. Middleware is used behind the scenes to execute transactions, facilitate data flow or build integration.
  • Custom API’s
  • Web Servers
  • Automated backup system
Mobile Refers to a variety of smart, portable devices that can access the internet and facilitate the usage of apps.
  • Blackberry
  • iPad
  • Smart Phones
Mobile App A computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Apps (applications) are available through application distributors such as the Apple App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry App World.
  • Good
  • Mobile Bank Payments
  • Instagram
SaaS Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud model that delivers on-demand applications that are hosted and managed by the service provider and paid for on a subscription basis (fee/ license).
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Workday
  • Salesforce.com
  • SuccessFactors
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”)search results. The goal is to have content indexed so it ranks closer to the top (higher) on the page when search results are returned. The higher results are ranked, the higher the probability  visitors will see content and click on it. Content can be in the form of text or digital media such as videos, audio files or images.
  • Your content shows up in the top 10 search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Baidu, Naver, Khoj, Achei, etc.

 

social_recruiting

Term* Definition Example
Smart Phone A mobile phone with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than basic feature phones. Smartphones include a touchscreen computer, web browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, 3rd-party apps, etc.
  • Blackberry
  • iPhone
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • HTC
Social Collaboration A processes that helps multiple people interact and share information over the internet to achieve a common goal.
  • LinkedIn
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google Hangout
  • SharePoint
Social Recruiting The use of social media and mobile tools to facilitate sourcing, marketing and recruitment. Many SaaS solutions offer social recruitment tools as part of their suite of products.
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Adwords
  • Jobs2Web
Technology Ecosystem The suite of systems in an organization that make up their comprehensive systems portfolio.
  • Your organizations systems

This list is by no means exhaustive. It should however, give you a good starting point to become a knowledgeable contributor in conversations.

I hope you find this blog post useful. Stay tuned for my next blog post which will delve into social recruiting vocabulary.

I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line via  pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116h LinkedIn or twitter@annzaliebarrett

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett- Director, Integrated Solutions

*Source of terms have been taken from wikipedia.com and modified for relevance.

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Gen X: What are you doing to retain them?

There are lots of articles, blog posts and studies centred on the millennial generation. Born between 1980-2000; Millennials comprise about 29% of the current workforce, just shy of Gen X at 33% (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers representing 38% (1946- 1964)1 . This has resulted in a more even distribution of multiple generations in the workforce. 

behold-a-millennial-in-its-elementEven though Millennials have been labelled as needy and narcissistic their entry into the workforce has had a significant impact in helping change the way organizations communicate and approach work. First, their reliance on technology, in particular mobile, has pushed the envelope to adopt more mobile friendly solutions at work. Things like approving transactions (e.g. registering for an on-line course) on mobile devices, IM’ing (texting) and adding apps on phones are all current technology interactions Millennials are accustomed to.

Second, the daily use of social networking channels to facilitate engagement and collaboration. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, etc., are all various social platforms Millennials use to interact, convey information and build networks. Their ease of use and navigation on these channels has challenged their older counter parts to get with the times and use these as relevant ways to communicate and interact. Millennials assume employers use these tools as forums to engage with employees and customers, solicit feedback, build networks and work across functional teams.

Third, the erosion of traditional hierarchies. Unlike Baby Boomers who work within a disciplined hierarchical structure, Gen_xMillennials approach collaboration in a broad, encompassing manner.  They have no problem booking a meeting with a VP (bypassing the chain of command) to help them better understand issues or network. This approach is challenging traditional authoritative hierarchical structures in the workplace. For Gen Xers who have been molded to abide by current hierarchical protocol, they may feel liberated by this new approach and at the same time overshadowed by the Millennials ability to effect change so quickly. 

As much as Millennials have helped push the broad adoption of social media in the workplace, in my opinion I think Gen Xers were really the first generation to embrace technology and gamification on a mass scale. The consumption of technologies for personal use such as PC’s (personal computer), Sony Walkman’s, cell phones, Nintendo game consoles, CD players, etc. were all widely adopted and embraced by Gen X.  The development and availability of different forms of content such as videos’ and the internet laid the foundation for eCommerce and digital marketing. 

In the current landscape Gen Xers are now sandwiched between soon to be retiring Baby Boomers and the masses of Millennials continuing to enSandwich-Generationter the workforce.2  Gen Xers have been in the workplace for almost 20 years, accumulating a variety of experiences and building their skill set. For them retention is centered on flexibility, career and skill development and of course career progression.  They are focused on carving out a career and will work through a variety of different jobs to build skills to keep their career moving forward. The acquisition of new skills and experiences can be viewed as a form of “career security” where skills and experiences are portable from one job to another3. Gen Xers are described as a highly motivated and tenacious generation. Their general attitude is if we don’t like it, we’re out of here.

It is estimated by the year 2020 approximately 33 million jobs will open up in the US as Baby Boomers start to retire4 . In Canada that number is career-progressionapproximately 9.8 million5.  Organizations need to develop a holistic human capital plan to mitigate the risk of losing Gen Xers who may not feel like they have opportunities to progress or move in their careers.  Baby Boomers in positions of management will also need to adjust their approach to managing across generations to retain talent. Both Millennials and Gen Xers who find themselves working in a rigid hierarchical structure may seek out other environments that are more collaborative and empowering.  Here are few things organizations need to consider in human capital planning to retain Gen Xers:

      1. Don’t favour Millennials at the expense of Gen Xers– Your Gen Xers have 20+ years of experience under their belt. They have worked through different jobs to amass skills and gain experience. Consider what Gen Xers bring to the table. Forward thinking, technically savvy people who embrace new ideas coupled with solid experience will yield your company good leaders who can think strategically.
      2. Have serious conversations about career progression – I’ve had a number of friends leave organizations due to lack of career advancement opportunities.  Discussions about progression are important to Gen Xers at this stage of their career. They’ve put in the time and want to see there is some pay off for their hard work. Gen Xers expect to start having serious conversations about their next position and how management will help them get there. If they don’t feel there is a genuine commitment they’ll look for an employer who values them.
      3. Be inclusionary– Does your organization create an environment where your Gen Xers and Millennials are sitting at the table to provide input and strategic insight? Gen Xers want to feel they are valued in the organization and want be included in discussions where they can contribute their insights and expertise. Millennials want an opportunity to learn from their counterparts in a collaborative way. If your organization deems Baby Boomers as the only qualified group to be involved in strategic planning and decision making you will not only find yourself at a competitive disadvantage, but quickly find some of your talent (Gen Xers and Millennials) going to other companies who value their insight and observations.

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      Gen X’ers are valuable assets to your organization. Don’t take them for granted!

      By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

      1. [http://brighterlife.ca/2012/07/19/bridging-the-gap-in-multi-generational-teams/]
      2. [http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/Gen-X–Stuck-in-the-Middle-79865.aspx]
      3. [http://www.examiner.com/article/keys-to-the-retention-of-generation-x]
      4. [http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/hispanic-jobs-baby-boomers-health-2721781-1.html]
      5. [http://beyondrewards.ca/Articles/Art10-05.html]