Weighing Cybersecurity Risk Factors in Life & Healthcare

We don’t have to go very far back in time for a good example of one of these attacks on a healthcare or pharma organization. On June 27, 2017, Merck, one of the largest pharma companies in the world, and 2,000 other companies were hit with ransomware called Petya that infected employees’ computers across 65 countries and left a ransomware note demanding a bitcoin payment to decrypt their infected files. Weeks later, the pharma giant is still trying to get their infrastructure back on track.

So, before a company like Merck – or any company for that matter – can determine a plan of action to prevent the next cyberattack, it must consider why the attack happened in the first place. With that in mind, let’s explore a few narratives that could come into play in the process of becoming a cyberattack target.

Four Narratives that Could Explain Why

  1. A decade ago, cybersecurity was all about securing the perimeter to ensure that corporate IT systems were closed to outsiders. In the past five years, however, working remotely has become more and more ubiquitous with a high percentage of employees working outside of the perimeter, accessing sensitive data through the cloud and unsecured systems, and often doing it all via a mobile device. As a result, the entire enterprise has become fundamentally more vulnerable, making it difficult to determine where the perimeter ends and the outside world begins.
  2. Healthcare and life sciences companies have long been slow to innovate when it comes to digital, and this hasn’t been helped by the fact that technology is not their core business proposition. In fact, as other industries have had to adopt new business models to grow their revenues, which typically resulted in disproportionate investment into technology, healthcare and life sciences have stayed a little behind the digitization curve.
  3. For many organizations, being slow to innovate is not by choice. Instead, it’s often for compliance reasons, like in a scenario where a business has to choose between meeting the latest regulatory standard and rolling out a new technology. In this case, the company may stay in business without the new software component, but not without meeting the regulatory standard. Indeed, compliance has long been a burden to the CIO agenda.
  4. Finally, considering the above narrative about the ever-expanding perimeter and how the June cyberattack on Merck affected so many employees, it’s worth noting that the companies making headlines for data breaches aren’t small or even medium-sized. Instead, hackers go after the biggest and, by extension, most profitable targets – companies with the highest numbers of employees, locations, and potential entry points.

How to Plan for What’s Next

Considering the size and scope of the data breach against Merck, it’s hard not to start posing what-if questions. What if they had implemented better or more security controls sooner? What if they had run a mixture of Windows and iOS to stave off Windows-attacking viruses like WannaCry and Petya? What if they had identified the virus before it made its way across the entire enterprise?

There will always be what-ifs, but with so many possible access points for a data breach, it’s nearly impossible to ever be 100% uncompromised, especially when you’re a huge company trying to balance growth and revenue with compliance and security.

It’s not easy, but it is absolutely worth your time to not only determine a plan to improve your cybersecurity, but also create a plan for how to respond if your company falls victim to a cyberattack. The best way to get started is to assume you’re already compromised, or that you’ll be compromised tomorrow at the latest, and then find a partner who can help you. The faster you make cybersecurity a priority, the better off you’ll be.

Read More

How to Leverage Customer Analytics in the Retail Industry

As the retail industry turns increasingly digital, customers are now more well-informed and connected than ever before. To take on this challenge, and drive significant customer engagement, retailers need to blur the lines between the offline and online retail experience. This calls for making data analytics—operational and customer—a key component of an organization’s growth strategy.

In our latest white paper, Retail Analytics: The 5 Keys to Success for Customer Analytics in the Retail Industry, we focus on how data analytics can help retailers to better serve their customers and in turn increase conversion rate, loyalty, and ROI. We go over the importance of having a personalized shopping experience for your customers and how to build an effective personalization strategy.

This latest piece is a follow-up to our white paper from last fall, Retail Analytics: Turning Operational Data into Actionable Insights, which highlights the importance of operational analytics and its potential in solving the various challenges that retailers face. More specifically, retailers are able to analyze various internal functions within their organization and subsequently streamline them for a greater ROI.

Both these papers show the importance of data analytics within the retail industry and how insights drawn from data analytics can help retailers discover business capabilities/challenges and increase overall ROI.

Read More

How Big Box Retailers Can Create a World-Class Experience in Retail

Not many businesses understand the adage that “good news travels fast and bad news travels faster.” In today’s digital and mobile era, any experience – good or bad – can travel globally in seconds.  For retail brands, the market is a high-stakes game of exceeding customers’ expectations.

Brands that impress their customers boost retention rates and drive their revenue higher. In fact, raising customer retention two percent can produce revenue equal to a ten percent cut in costs.

Stop making customers jump through hoops

High-touch customer service programs look beyond single touch points. They focus on the end-to-end experience. That means taking a holistic view of the customer journey. Why? Because just one negative contact can taint an otherwise positive experience.

So, how do you create a world class customer experience in retail? You need to embrace these key elements:

  • Deploy a flexible and scalable workforce. This ensures that customers have a good experience no matter when they interact with your brand. This is critical in the retail industry with its huge increase in traffic during the holidays. Top retailers raise their staffing by two to three times during this period.
  • Create a first-call resolution rate of 90%  or higher. Imagine a customer has a technical issue with their TV. They call the retailer they bought it from. The retailer suggests calling the manufacturer directly. The manufacturer points them back to the retailer and even the cable provider.

At this point, the customer returns the product out of frustration. Your bottom line suffers and your brand takes a hit to its reputation. You can avoid all of this just during the customer’s first call.

  • Implement behavior-based training: An expert workforce can get you close to a 90 percent first-call resolution rate. However, managing to a metric won’t get you beyond the goal. Breaking through requires teaching each agent the skills that “wow” customers. More important is instilling an outspoken boldness in your representatives. They need to feel rewarded for reporting broken tools, processes and policies. Fix what’s broken and you’ll drive beyond 90 percent.

Ensure customers only have good things to say

Your customers talk about your brand whether you see it or not. In fact, 87 percent of them will share positive interactions—and 95 percent will share their bad ones. In short, high-touch customer service retains and attracts new customers through word of mouth.

Making the investment in high-touch customer experience is a must. It’s vital than ever in today connected, digital world where one bad contact can go global.

Read More

Overcoming Healthcare’s Challenges in Design Thinking

In a recent posting we discussed “journey mapping” as a tool for improving customer experiences in the healthcare sector. This week, we share thoughts on “design thinking,” an approach that is described as “a human-centered way of innovation that draws from the designer toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success,” according to design thinking guru Tim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, IDEO.

Put simply, design thinking tackles problems with the objective of keeping peoples’ needs always in mind while working towards solutions that succeed from a business perspective as well. It does so by a process of divergent thinking – ideating, prototyping, testing – that ultimately converges on the most viable solution.

When it comes to the United States’ healthcare sector, however, applying design thinking to working with health plans and health providers is particularly challenging. Here’s why:

Firstly, the healthcare sector’s complex regulatory framework means stakeholders are sanctioned more for under-regulating than for over-regulating, so they tend to be cautious when design and regulation come face-to-face. One approach, however, is to brainstorm design challenges as if the rules simply don’t exist, and then to overlay them to see where they create pain points, adjusting the design as needed.

A second challenge when applying design thinking in healthcare is designing a service that works for an entire population. Most products and services are aimed at specific demographics. With healthcare, however, a true design solution must cater to people of varying ages, accessibility needs, income levels, language abilities, as well as housing and employment status.

One more major challenge for healthcare-related design is its multi-agency structure. A care plan for someone can involve several different providers, from a hospital to a physical therapist, all of whom need to be brought onboard during the design thinking process. Add in the growing importance of home care, the accompanying family & friends support network, and the ability to apply this concept at scale is apparent.

To combat the variables of design thinking in healthcare in the real world, it is critical that hospitals and healthcare companies prioritize prototyping and testing before implementing change. Focus groups enable concepts to be tested with a variety of patient demographics and, importantly, with service providers, sometimes overlooked in an increasingly patient-centric industry.

Real change requires stakeholders to work together, often necessitating a shift in culture and the willingness to reject “custom and practice.” For those willing to embrace change, design thinking offers a way to reconcile the needs of both patients and service providers.

Read More

Construction Completes on Birmingham’s Tallest New Build Residential Building

This week marked the topping out of one of the tallest residential buildings in Birmingham city centre.

The 22 storey building has been funded by real estate investment firm Aprirose, and is the company’s first large scale residential scheme. Developed by Regal Property Group, and built by Global.CO, The Bank stands at nearly 70 metres high. The development is located off Sheepcote Street, between Brindleyplace and Broad Street, and is set to become a key landmark in Birmingham.

With the concrete structure complete, the internal fit out is now underway with the apartments on the first floor just days away from completion. The first occupations of the building’s 189 studio, one and two bedroom apartments are set to be in July 2018.

With the roof now in place, we are one step closer to welcoming new homeowners to The Bank. Later this month, we’ll be opening the doors to our first show apartments at the development, allowing people to have a look around these quality new homes.

There are currently very few new build developments in the city centre, with the majority of apartment schemes now tending to be office conversions. As such, we’re expecting demand to be high, especially with global businesses such as HSBC opening new offices just a short walk away.

Standing at nearly 70 metres high, The Bank is set to be an iconic place for people to call home.”

Mark Holbeche, from Regal, the developer behind The Bank

The topping out of the building was marked with a special ceremony attended by representatives from Aprirose, Global.CO, Glancy Nicholls Associates.

The topping out of The Bank, our first venture into large scale residential development, represents an important moment in the growth of our diverse portfolio and extension into this sector.

With a shortage of quality housing and with HS2 on the horizon, developments such as The Bank not only represent a strong investment case, but are very important to the city centre, as it experiences a period of regeneration. We look forward to seeing the development progress both with the completion of this development and its subsequent sister building.”

Manish Gudka, CEO, Aprirose

A topping out ceremony is always a significant milestone, but especially when it concerns a flagship project such as The Bank. When complete, this development will serve as a standard bearer for apartment schemes across the city and act as a symbol of the bright future that HS2 and international businesses relocating here will offer Birmingham.”

John Carlin, Business Unit Director of Global.CO

In addition to the apartments, The Bank will feature a high-quality public realm and ground floor retail units, likely to become a restaurant and café for residents to enjoy. Whilst boasting a contemporary appearance, with a brass clad exterior, The Bank also encompasses a revitalised Grade II listed bank; uniting the area’s heritage with its future.

Moving forward, construction is also underway on the second building at the development which will overtake the first as the tallest residential building in Birmingham city centre, with 31 storeys. This building will be home to a further 205 apartments, as well as additional ground floor retail space. Following much interest, the first apartments have now been released for sale, with prices for a one bedroom studio apartment starting from £145,000, £181,000 for a one bedroom property and £243,250 for a two bedroom home. To find out more about the new homes and choose your favourite apartment, call the sales team at Knight Frank on 0121 233 6495 to make an appointment.

Read More

3 Ways Financial Institutions Can Optimize Their Customer Experience

Design thinking is making positive waves across industries and is enabling companies to rethink and rebuild the way they do business. The same is true for banking and financial services companies, as today’s rapidly changing consumers are driving an evolution of business process and design. While design thinking alone can be a large task, there are three simple ways to make the most of design thinking in banking and financial services to positively impact your customer experience.

Walk in your customers’ shoes.

It is important for all companies to take a step back and walk in their customers’ shoes. Instead of designing products and services based on past results with current offerings, following trends to guess which way consumers will jump next, or implementing new technology in pieces, financial institutions can have a solution ready for the future needs of the consumer by applying design thinking, a human-centric approach to digital transformation. Whether solving frustrations along the customer journey, improving digital channels, or identifying new service opportunities, design thinking puts customers first.

Have flexible tools and options to be able to operate nimbly when testing initiatives and gathering critical data.

Human-centered design has the potential to make interactions with your product or services more accessible, productive, beneficial, and thus more desirable. Once the desired customer experience is identified, imagination and exploration produce various possible designs, adjusting as necessary per the company’s strengths, resources, and technical capabilities until the right solution presents itself. Banks and financial institutions must stay on their toes to keep up with the changes in consumer preferences, competition from non-traditional players, and ever-changing regulatory scrutiny. Getting help upfront with research, design, and bridging any gaps can have a huge impact on retaining and growing your business.

Leverage support from inside and outside your industry.

In addition to design thinking, now is the time for banks and other financial institutions to leverage a more consultative approach. A recent Forrester study focused on the digital readiness of financial services firms. During the study, Forrester divided respondents into two groups: doers and aspirers. The authors of the study describe doers as those more likely than average to follow best practices most or all the time, compared to the aspirers. The doers, the study found, were more likely to seek outside help. There are several barriers to embracing digital, which can include lack of resources (or competing internal priorities), insufficient buy-in from all stakeholders, and even cultural barriers. One such barrier of note is the lack of creative and innovative thinkers within the organization. An ingrained culture of “this is how we’ve always done it,” or “it is not in the budget” can squash the very innovative thinking that can take their organization to the next level. Going it alone, without the proper resources, vision, documentation and ROI comes with a lot of risk and can cost more in the long run, while falling considerably short of expectations. Seeking inspiration from outside one’s own organization can also improve the solution and provide an edge against competitors who simply follow the leader. It is important to adopt a comprehensive digital solution that addresses entire processes to have the most positive impact on your customer experience and resulting profitability.

In sum, design thinking and customer journey mapping are processes that require investment in time. Yet a simple investment of time into exploring the user journey can lead to ideas and innovations that will take your business and customer experience to the next level with reduced risk, and a structured plan for measurable success. Stay tuned for more tips and ideas on how to maximize digital in your organization. Until then, be sure to check out our recent white paper, “Embracing Digital to Transform the Banking and Financial Services Industry.”

Read More

Orkin Establishes Seventeen New International Franchises

Global Inc., a global services company (NYSE: GLO), announced today that the company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Orkin, expanded its presence in Mexico, South America, China and Southeast Asia with the addition of seventeen new franchises. The new franchises are located in Mexico, and will cover the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur and Hidalgo, as well as in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Malaysia and the Kingdom of Cambodia.  The balance of the seventeen include twelve new franchises in China, located in the provinces of Shandong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Shan Xi, Shaan Xi, Jiangsu, Zhejian, Fujian and for the Tianjin Municipality and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

We are excited to expand our presence in these markets and for the opportunity they provide.  We are committed to grow our Orkin brand internationally.
Said Tom Luczynski

The new franchises will offer commercial and residential pest control, and termite services where applicable.

About Orkin, LLC

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates more than 400 locations with almost 8,000 employees. Using a proprietary, three-step approach, Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Central America, South America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods.  The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Learn more about Orkin at http://orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Inc. (NYSE: GLO).

Read More

Family Helping Family in The Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

“I know what it’s like to be in that situation. I was once homeless,” said Genevieve Davis, having seen news reports of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.  A hurricane evacuee herself ten years ago, Davis felt compelled to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

So, she rallied with her Global teammates in their Tucson, Arizona office and was one of many who donated 100% of their recently earned overtime pay to the MLBA Disaster Relief Fund. Through a variety of local fundraisers, Global employees around the country have raised more than $136,000 for the fund. You can find Genevieve’s story, and see images of other relief efforts at Global, here.

The folks managing the relief fund are the good people at Making Lives Better with Global (MLBG), an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit. It’s mission is to make lives better by providing assistance to Global employees, their families and the people, organizations, and communities who support them.

A self-funded, crowd-sourced organization, MLBG lives and breathes at the grassroots level. There’s a chapter at each Global office in the US.  Every chapter’s board of directors are the local office employees and they call the shots. They decide how to raise funds, who to help with grants and when and where to volunteer. You’ll find MLBG’s disaster relief updates here.

Read More
We take processes apart, rethink, rebuild, and deliver them back working smarter than ever before.