Browsing articles from "July, 2014"

Grape Escape Showcases Apparancy and SYSPRO

Jul 22, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

RFG Perspective: Cost efficiencies, elimination of redundancy, and delivery of timely accurate information to users anywhere, anytime and on any device remains a top priority across the business landscape. In the manufacturing and distribution sectors U.S. business executives in small- and medium-sized (SMBs) companies have struggled like Sisyphus and the boulder to maintain their organizations; many have been snuffed out entirely. A new survey showing that manufacturing in the US is on the rise should spur cautious optimism among business executives. However, now more than ever these businesses need business process management (BPM) and/or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to remove cost and redundancy and deliver just in time and timely information to executives and their staff wherever, whenever and on whatever device. In the healthcare sector the passage of the Affordable Care Act has been met with both criticism and praise. Its future is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that the Veterans Administration scandal has focused the lens on a persistent, growing problem: Veterans have to file a morass of forms to claim benefits they both need and deserve. The implementation of innovative technologies aimed at untangling and simplifying Veterans’ benefits claims and scheduling processes as well as a cultural change that supports the technology would be a giant leap forward for these praiseworthy and selfless individuals.

 

The JRocket Marketing Grape Escape ® 2014 provided industry analysts with a rare insider’s peek at two of today’s innovative, nimble, and multi-faceted technology vendors. The three-day event was a tour de force that showcased Apparancy and SYSPRO, two disruptive leading-edge companies that are reshaping their industry sectors.

 

Apparancy

Apparancy is delivering on its Know. Do. Prove. value proposition with an automated business process platform that initially aims at helping healthcare organizations connect multiple existing systems and data sources to achieve specific goals. At this year’s event, Karen Watts, CEO of Apparancy, expounded on how Apparancy can help these organizations identify disjointed workflows, and eliminate redundancies and data overlap, by combining data and processes into single-purpose role-based views that eliminate the need to rip and replace.

The big news was Ms. Watts’ announcement – appropriately – on Memorial Day that Apparancy had acquired usage rights to an earlier software product “TurboVet,” which had already catalogued some five thousand plus Veteran’s Administration forms.  Apparancy has begun work on updating and integrating these forms into its platform with the end game of launching VetApprove in Q4 2014. If necessity is the mother of invention then, Apparancy, powered by Corefino, is filling a market vacuum with its VetApprove Veterans benefit product. VetApprove will revolutionize the way Veterans will be able to access their entitled benefits.

VetApprove will enable 22 million Veterans to apply for entitled healthcare, employment, education, state compensation, and disability benefits, as well as for other entitlement programs such as funeral benefits extended to spouses of veterans. This service will be offered to veterans free of charge. Additionally, it can become the underlying workflow management platform that would enable the VA to efficiently process applications, schedule services, and monitor and manage its operations, which are still antediluvian and lack accurate measurement metrics.

 

SYSPRO

 Joey Benadretti, President of SYSPRO USA, announced a turnabout in US manufacturing trends. Citing MAPI survey findings, Mr. Benadretti pointed to a potential upswing in the future of US manufacturing. The study, which covered the period from 2006-2012, showed 19 states experiencing double-digit growth above the national average with the majority of those in the western states. He also pointed out that US manufacturing is moving from Mexican Border States (except Texas) to those states that are closer to the Canadian border. Output in two sectors is also accelerating and to address these trends SYSPRO is expanding into the automotive and energy manufacturing sub-industries.

On the product side the company’s new SYSPRO Espresso provides an enterprise mobile ecosystem that can be tailored to satisfy front-end and back-end requirements. Features of the highly anticipated SYSPRO Espresso will include new drag and drop technology and mass customization for any device with an emphasis on being device agnostic. This ground-breaking technology supports single sign-on, is device-agnostic, and allows users to access multiple applications on multiple devices using a roaming profile so they can switch from one device to another and instantly connect. This creates an advantage for both the customer as well as SYSPRO, as the millennial generation will want to access ERP on their mobile devices.  These tech-savvy users will also want to customize which apps they will want to see on their mobile phones, tablets, etc. due to the device real estate.

Not surprisingly, SYSPRO currently has one of the highest customer retention rates in the industry. Mr. Benadretti confidently remarked that his company will remain on the cutting edge of technology providing customers with product flexibility and low-cost solutions.

 

RFG POV: Apparancy and SYSPRO unveiled substantive, cutting edge, and innovatively disruptive technology solutions. Apparancy’s targeted focus will enable the beleaguered VA to begin to meet the urgent needs of its Veterans, while SYSPRO is enabling manufacturing executives to meet customer demands as the industry undergoes an uptick in growth and a geographic shift. Business, government and IT executives should proactively harness spot-on technology solutions to solve exigent business problems, respond expeditiously to clients, and manage change well into the future so that their organizations continue to satisfy customers and remain relevant as markets evolve.

Additional relevant research and consulting services are available. Interested readers should contact Client Services to arrange further discussion or interview with Ms. Maria DeGiglio, MA, and Principal Analyst.

Cybersecurity and the Cloud Multiplier Effect

Jul 11, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

RFG Perspective: While corporate boards grapple with cybersecurity issues and attempt to shore up their defenses, the inclusion of cloud computing models into the equation are increasing the risk exposure levels. Business and IT executives should work together to aggressively establish processes, procedures, and technology that will minimize the risk exposures to levels deemed acceptable. Additionally, senior executives and Boards of Directors need to play a more active roll in the accountability and governance of cybersecurity by discussing and addressing challenges, issues and status at least quarterly.

An article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on June 30, 2014 discussed corporate boards racing to shore up cybersecurity. It alluded to a number of corporate boards waking up to cyber threats and worrying that hackers would steal company know-how and intellectual property (IP). In the first half of 2014 1,517 NYSE- or NASDAQ-traded companies listed in their securities filings references to some form of cyber attack or data breach – almost a 20 percent increase from the previous year. In all of 2013 1,288 such filing comments were made whereas in 2012 only 879 companies reported cyber statements. This is good and bad news – good that cybersecurity is getting CEO and Board attention and bad news in that executives are belatedly waking up to an endemic problem.

Fiduciary Responsibility

The Board and CEO have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders to protect the company’s assets from undue risks. It is not something that can be assigned and then ignored. Yet that is what has happened at many companies over the years. They must be involved in cybersecurity governance and decision-making on an ongoing basis and not shunt it off to Chief Risk Officers (CROs), Chief Security Officers (CSOs or CISOs) and/or IT executives. CEOs and other senior executives should also ensure privacy and security programs are aligned with each business unit’s requirements and that the risk probability and exposures are reasonably known and reduced to an acceptable level. It is important that all parties understand that zero security risks are not possible anymore (nor would the expense be worth it if attainable); what is important is to agree upon what level of risk exposure is acceptable, budget for it, and implement initiatives to make it happen.

At the Board level there should be a risk committee that is responsible for all risk management, including cyber risk. Moreover, best practices suggest Boards should, as a minimum, address the following five areas:

  • regularly reviews and approves top-level policies on privacy and IT security risks
  • regularly reviews and approves roles and responsibilities of lead personnel responsible for privacy and IT security
  • regularly reviews and approves annual budgets for privacy and IT security programs separate from IT budgets
  • regularly reviews and approves cyber insurance coverage
  • regularly receives and acts upon reports from senior management regarding privacy and IT security risk exposures.

These efforts can be done by the full Board or by a risk committee that reports to the Board. Some Boards may have assigned this role to the audit committee but, while it is good that it is addressed, it is not a perfect fit.

Cloud Multiplier Effect

In June the Ponemon Institute LLC published a report on the cloud multiplier effect. The firm surveyed 613 IT and IT security practitioners in the U.S. that are familiar with their companies’ usage of cloud services. The news is not good. Because most respondents believe cloud security is an oxymoron and certain cloud services can result in greater exposures and more costly breaches, the use of cloud services multiplies the breach costs by a factor between 1.38 and 2.25. The top two impacts are from cloud breaches involving high value IP and the backup and storage of sensitive or confidential information, respectively. Most respondents believe corporate IT organizations are not properly vetting cloud platforms for security, are not proactively assessing information to ensure sensitive or confidential information is not in the cloud, and are not vigilant on cloud audits or assessments.

Moreover, disturbingly, almost 75 percent of respondents believe their cloud services providers would not notify them immediately if they had a data breach involving the loss or theft of IP or business confidential information. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed expressed concern that their cloud service providers are not in full compliance with privacy and data protection laws – and this is in the U.S. where the rules are less strict than the EU. Furthermore, respondents feel there is a lack of visibility into the cloud as it relates to applications, data, devices, and usage.

 

Summary

 

Boards, CEOs and senior non-IT management need to become more aware of their cybersecurity exposures and actively participate in minimizing the risks. IT executives, on the other hand, need to present the challenges, status and trends in a more business, less technical manner, including recommendations, so that the other executives can appreciate the issues and authorize the appropriate actions. As the Ponemon study shows, the challenges go beyond the corporate four walls into clouds they have no control over. IT executives need to become involved in the selection and vetting of cloud services providers. Furthermore, business and IT executives must work together and build strong governance practices to minimize cybersecurity risks.

RFG POV: Cybersecurity risk exposures are increasing and collectively executives are falling short in their fiduciary responsibilities to protect company assets. Boards, CEOs and other senior executives must take their accountability seriously and play a more aggressive role in ensuring the risk exposures to corporate assets are known and within acceptable levels. For most organizations this will be a major cultural change and challenge and will require IT executives to proactively step forward to make it happen. IT executives should collaborate with board members, senior executives, and outside compliance services providers to establish a program that will enable executives to establish a governance methodology that monitors and reports on the risks and provides cost/benefit analyses of alternative corrective actions. Moreover, at a minimum, corporate executives must review the governance materials quarterly, and after critical risk events occur, and take appropriate actions.