Looking back to 2013, I had predicted the 5 top technology trends (specifically for consumers) in that year, to be:

(i) Accelerated lived experience;

(ii) Bring Your Own Device (BYOD);

(iii) Crowdsourcing;

(iv) Distance education; and

(v) End-User legal authority/license autonomy/leveraged ability (EULA3). [1]

These pretty much held true, and even lasted both into and through 2014. The pace of instantaneous news, social tweets and alerts, and all manner of reality TV from financing pitches, through entire shows that are literally “celebrity selfie-cams”, to instantaneous gratification through crowd sourcing of funding, business and consumer information, and general gossip, have created this ever accelerating lived experience. Ever greater sales of handheld devices have forced employers to draft BYOD policies for employees too attached to their own devices to let them go, and all manner of distance education is now available for a fee, or for free in the ever-expanding offerings of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).[2] As well, immersive gaming, as it develops with optional story lines, the move to taking software bits as building blocks for people to create their own widgets and full applications, and the myriad of customizable self-help, professional, and practical document templates available online, taken together, will only further speed EULA3.[3]

Fully justified then (and thankfully so) in my predictions, let us now move on to 2015-16, then. Here, in the midst of technology and its relentless forward motion, all I see – is “Paper”! This stands for:

Personalization;

A3 (aggregation, analytics, and advising);

Protection;

eMoney; and

Remoting. We will consider them in turn, and in that order.

Personalization:

Whether it is widgets, backgrounds, wallpapers, icons, ringtones, and home screen layouts of the ipod, android, iphone, desktop, laptop, or tablet,[4] personalization and customization are all the rage for maximizing the user-centric experience.

“The constantly connected consumers of today are extremely savvy, using all available channels and devices to research, review, compare prices and ultimately purchase products. Basic personalization (such as name and account personalization and dynamic interest or product content) no longer serves consumers’ demand for deeper levels of real-time personalized information. Increasingly, these savvy consumers are taking their business to companies that provide more than basic personalization and automated lifecycle campaigns. Customers now prefer brands that deliver individualized experiences that match their needs in the present moment”.[5]

Even giants of the online world, such as Yahoo,[6] have now realized that the way to truly reach and engage your customer, it to intimately know your customer for and through, “Real-time Marketing[7] and personalization practices. Personalization is based on gathering and analyzing observation data, to analyze and make predictions based upon what you know. This is why A3, which underlies real-time marketing, will also be a top trend for 2015-16, in my prediction.

A3 (Aggregation, Analytics, and Advising):

The SAS Institute, Inc., put out a 2013 white paper on demand sensing and shaping through big data analytics,[8] which perfectly sums-up the first stage of the real-time marketing process. In the second stage, I would add demand supporting and serving, which sustains that demand in existence by providing those cues to trigger it (familiarity, emotional advertising triggers, positive associations in product placement, and so forth), and thence return customers to your established, satisfaction-source.

Big Data (and its means of collection)[9] do have other applications beyond the pure consumer, however. These include generic disaster management applications,[10] and estimating or better “guess”-timating the true incremental and future impacts of climate change on humans and the environment.[11]

Protection:

With all of this data and its very many faces,[12] along with the potential to gather and analyze it, and the undisputed value of the end result in the predictive analytics space, there is a growing need at all levels, for more robust protective mechanisms – wherever it falls on the spectrum of privacy practices,[13] data governance and document preservation, or cybersecurity. IT in general, is looking forward to a banner year in 2015.[14] The IT security sub-sector, for its part, is not too far off, either, with a spate of increasingly spectacular, recent[15] and historical[16] hacks and cyberattacks drawing the attention of the risk management industry,[17] regulators,[18] private businesses,[19] and concerned citizens in an ongoing and multi-sided tussle,[20] both amongst themselves and with criminal elements. A very large data breach was just disclosed at Anthem Inc. (a health insurer with operations across 14 states), in which up to 80 million records of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – but apparently no Personal Health Information (PHI), according to initial evaluations – are suspected to have been compromised.[21]

eMoney:

Despite the dangers and concerns, however, the pace of progress continues to pick-up, with electronic payments of the Paypal variety moving to Square and eMoney, in the largely unregulated (and hacked)[22] Bitcoin, and the more mainstream proposed and competing offerings of CurrentC from the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) – which was also hacked,[23] and Google Wallet, Softcard, and Apple Pay.

Remoting:

With ever-more personalized experiences being available through more and more interconnected devices, we are moving towards an Internet of Things (IoT) that raises even more cybersecurity concerns that now include remote access and remote control/takeover,[24] whether or not authorized or even traceable back to source.[25] This has led one commentator to describe this future state as the “Internet of Bad Things”.[26] Going further to consider the impetus for a change in our security mindset, consider the words of Dr. Arati Prabhakar, the director of the United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), when she said:

“The largest explosion of millisecond machine actions will take place when billions of IoT devices are deployed. Until we find a way to authenticate, view, audit, analyze and block IoT devices often connected to cloud computing, we frankly shouldn’t be putting IoT out there. As the security industry saying goes, “money trumps security,” and as increasingly more of these IoT product (sic) are released, cybersecurity will just be playing catch-up. With potentially billions of these devices being deployed all over the world, this could lead to a cyber attack free-for-all of catastrophic proportions.”[27]

However, remoting is not all doom and gloom. Witness the growing use of crowdfunding to raise money for important events, popular initiatives, or proposed or emerging or growing business ventures; and even the burgeoning business of “pay to watch” that has now gone from the original voyeur cams, through specialized YouTube channels where you can pay to watch people play video games,[28] or modern day South Korea, where people will pay to remotely watch someone – a “broadcast jockey” – do something as mundane as eating.[29] Drones, scene capture devices, and wearable devices in ever-lighter cameras (from glass and its successors, through GoPro, police cam, dash cam, spy cam, home surveillance, commercial and industrial surveillance, government surveillance, and mobile devices in any and all form factors now known or yet to come, and from the clunky to the micro- or nano-scale), will combine[30] to bring more, and ever uniquer, shareable, monetizable remoting experiences to come![31]

CONCLUSION

These then, are my PAPER predictions for technology in 2015-16 – Personalization, A3 (aggregation, analytics, and advising), Protections, eMoney, and Remoting. I think they will come to fruition, just as predicted, but we have to wait and see. Enjoy the view!

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Author:

Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist. He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experiences in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory compliance practice. He is licensed to practice law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America. See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com. A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy. He is a published author on the National Security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal milieux.

Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practicing law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams. Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, and other targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: Healthcare; Education & Training; Law & Regulation; Policy & Plans; Statistics, Economics, & Evaluations including feasibility studies; Infrastructure; and Information Technology/Information Systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed Information Communications Technologies (ICT). See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering of any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred. The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein. Past results are no guarantee of future success, and specific legal advice should be sought for particular matters through counsel of your choosing, based on such factors as you deem appropriate.

[1] Ekundayo George. Ctrl-Shift-Del: 2013’s Top 5 Technology Trends for Consumers. Posted March 16, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/ctrl-shift-del-2013s-top-5-technology-trends-for-consumers/<

[2] Wikipedia.org. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), a definition. Online: >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course<

[3] Supra note 1.

[4] See e.g. selected Android personalization offerings, on display for download at the google store. Online:

>https://play.google.com/store/apps/category/PERSONALIZATION<

[5] Katrina Conn. Moving Beyond Basic Personalization to Real-Time Marketing. Posted January 7, 2014, on Clickz.com. Online: >http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2321243/moving-beyond-basic-personalization-to-real-time-marketing<

[6] Yahoo. The Balancing Act: Getting Personalization Right. Posted on yahoo.com. Online: >https://advertising.yahoo.com/Insights/BALANCING-ACT.html<

[7] Supra note 5. “Real-time marketing is the ongoing cycle of engagement, data management, analytical insights and optimization – performed continuously and immediately. In other words, it’s the streamlined management of data, transformed into actionable insight that is used to enhance your customer’s experience.”

[8] The SAS Institute. White Paper: Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping Through Big Data Analytics – How to Apply High-Performance Analytics in Your Supply Chain. Published on idgenterprise.com, and visited February 2, 2015. Online: >http://resources.idgenterprise.com/original/AST-0112051_UnlockingPromise.pdf<

[9] Dennis Keohane. Aaron Levie, Box see drones and Internet of Things as data sources of the future. Posted September 23, 2014, on betaboston.com. Online: >http://betaboston.com/news/2014/09/23/aaron-levie-box-data-drones-internet-of-things/<

[10] See e.g. Robert A. Runge and Isabel Runge. Data-Driven Disaster Management. Posted October 29, 2014, on nextgov.com. Online: >http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2014/10/data-driven-disaster-management/97700/?oref=voicesmodule<

[11] See e.g. Chelsea Harvey. UN REPORT: Our Climate Change Future Is Terrifying And Emissions Need To Stop Completely As Soon As Possible. Posted November 4, 2014, on businessinsider.com. Online: >

http://www.businessinsider.com/un-climate-report-stop-all-greenhouse-emissions-2014-11

< ; See also Carl Zimmer. Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says. Posted January 15, 2015, on nytimes.com. Online: >http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/16/science/earth/study-raises-alarm-for-health-of-ocean-life.html?_r=0<

[12] Ekundayo George. The 100 “FACES” of Data: a 5-part Complex Systems Study (Part 1 – Form Factors). Posted November 1, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/the-100-faces-of-data-a-5-part-complex-systems-study-part-1/<

[13] Amber Hunt, The Cincinnati Enquirer. Experts: Wearable tech tests our privacy limits. Posted February 5, 2015, on usatoday.com. Online: >http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/02/05/tech-wearables-privacy/22955707/< In one of my earlier blogs (if updated), the “User-Generated Legality Issues” (UGLIs) created by these treasure troves of “quantified self” data available through wearable devices, would be “self-outing 104”.

See e.g. Ekundayo George. The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) Amendment of 2012 – Self-Outing 103? Posted January 11, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-video-privacy-protection-act-vppa-amendment-of-2013-self-outing-103/<

[14] Steve Ranger. Bigger budgets, better tech: Why 2015 is a good year to be working in IT. Posted February 4, 2015, on techrepublic.com. Online: >http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/european-technology/bigger-budgets-better-tech-why-2015-is-a-good-year-to-be-working-in-it/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531<

[15] Pedro Hernandez. Xbox Live, PSN Back Online After Holiday DDoS Attacks. Posted December 29, 2014, on eweek.com. Online: >http://www.eweek.com/security/xbox-live-psn-back-online-after-holiday-ddos-attacks.html< See also the comprehensive hacking and public shaming of Sony, through compromised emails.

[16] I referenced several of the more historical, spectacular hacks in this earlier blog post. Ekundayo George. Cybersecurity: Its not just about “B” for Bob, but also eCommerce, Structure, and Trust. Posted November 3, 2014, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/cybersecurity-its-not-just-about-b-for-bob-but-also-ecommerce-structure-and-trust/<

[17] Pinsent Masons (out-law.com), citing the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Cyber risks evolving faster than business capabilities, says accountancy body. Posted October 30, 2014, on out-law.com. Online: >http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2014/october/cyber-risks-evolving-faster-than-business-capabilities-says-accountancy-body/<

[18] Aliya Sternstein. Report: Agencies Aren’t Properly Vetting All Cyber Contractors. Published September 9, 2014, on nextgov.com. Online: >http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/09/agencies-contractor-employees-cyber-workforce/93620/<

[19] Aliya Sternstein. 97 Percent of Key Industries Doubt Security Compliance Can Defy Hackers. Posted July 10, 2014, on nextgov.com. Online: >http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/07/97-percent-key-industries-doubt-security-compliance-can-defy-hackers/88324/?oref=ng-relatedstories<

[20] See e.g. In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain email Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corporation. Memorandum and Order of James C. Francis IV, United States Magistrate Judge, released April 25, 2014. 13 Mag. 3814, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Online: >https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1149373/in-re-matter-of-warrant.pdf<

Just reading through this decision, which from the first paragraph defines the complexity of this issue, shows the many interests, laws and policies, and considerations at stake in that constant tussle between individual rights and privacy, business interests (including the personalization push), and the mandates of law enforcement and national security – whether nationally and across borders, or when multiple nations do or claim to have a primary stake.

The further steps since taken in that ongoing effort by the United States government to access emails stored on servers that are physically located in Ireland, only further underline the complexities and interests at stake. See also Mark Scott. Ireland Lends Support to Microsoft in Email Privacy Case. Posted December 25, 2014, on bits.blogs.nytimes.com. Online:>http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/ireland-lends-support-to-microsoft-in-email-privacy-case/?_r=0&module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Technology&action=keypress&region=FixedLeft&pgtype=Blogs<

[21] Elizabeth Weise, USA Today. Massive breach at health care company Anthem Inc. Posted February 5, 2015, on usatoday.com. Online: >http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/02/04/health-care-anthem-hacked/22900925/<

[22] Zack Whittaker for Zero Day. Bitstamp exchange hacked, $5M worth of bitcoin stolen. Posted January 5, 2015, on zdnet.com. Online: >http://www.zdnet.com/article/bitstamp-bitcoin-exchange-suspended-amid-hack-concerns-heres-what-we-know/<

[23] Ryan Mac, Forbes Staff. Apple Pay Rival and Walmart-backed MCX Hacked, User Emails Snatched. Posted October 29, 2014, on forbes.com. Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2014/10/29/apple-pay-rival-and-walmart-backed-mcx-hacked-user-emails-compromised/<

[24] Katie Fehrenbacher. The real breakthrough of Google Glass: controlling the internet of things. Posted March 23, 2013, on gigacom.com. Online: >https://gigaom.com/2013/03/23/the-real-breakthrough-of-google-glass-controlling-the-internet-of-things/<

[25] Larry Karisny. Getting Cybersecurity to Actually Work: More Connections, More Problems. Posted September 15, 2014, on digitalcommunities.com. >http://www.digitalcommunities.com/articles/Getting-Cybersecurity-to-Actually-Work.html<

“Before we discuss solutions to these cybersecurity problems, let’s take a look at what the future looks like in our continually interconnected world. From social media to smart phones apps to the IoT promise of smart everything, we are reaching a point of truly not knowing what is connect to what — and hackers know this. Take the Target breach — the attacker used backdoor access to the company’s energy management systems to then access a server containing confidential customer information. We are increasing (sic) digitizing our people and machine processes, and are beginning to lose control of what we are doing.”  

[26] Zach Ferres. The Internet of (Bad) Things. Posted November 5, 2014, on linkedin.com. Online: >https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141105140616-28760747-the-internet-of-bad-things<

[27] Larry Karisny. DARPA Director Calls for Cybersecurity Change. Posted November 7, 2014, on digitalcommunities.com. Online: >http://www.digitalcommunities.com/articles/DARPA-Director-Calls-for-Cybersecurity-Change.html<

[28] By Josh Warwick, video by Phil Allen. Meet the 21-year-old YouTuber who made millions playing video games. Posted October 16, 2014, on telegraph.co.uk. Online: >http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/11139724/Meet-the-21-year-old-YouTuber-who-made-millions-playing-video-games.html<

[29] Stephen Evans. The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner. Posted February 4, 2015, on BBC.com. Online: >http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31130947<

[30] Luisa Rollenhagen. Guy Hacks Google Glass to Steer Drone. Posted August 23, 2013 on mashable.com. Online:

>http://mashable.com/2013/08/24/drone-pilots-google-glass/<

[31] See e.g. Erin Carson. 2015: 4 IT job skills for the new year. Posted January 8, 2015, on techrepublic.com. Online: >http://www.techrepublic.com/article/2015-4-it-job-skills-for-the-new-year/<

Canvassing conventional and learned wisdom, I would humbly say that at least one of my predictions (protections) is echoed and supported in the focus here on “security skills” in this piece by HR and IT professionals. Three of my other predictions (Remoting, A3, and Personalization) are at least strongly implicated, in the call for “versatility” and skills in “project management”. “Desktop support” is the fourth 2015 IT job skill set listed by Techrepublic.

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As this New Year starts and we all get back into the swing of work, or looking for work, or retirement, as the case may be, now is as good a time as any to reflect on what it means to be an ideal employee.

                Committed (old school):

There was a time when the ideal employee only needed to be “committed”, to his or her employer – whether in the public sector or private sector, and to a lifetime of employment with that employer.

                Conscientious:

Then the environmental movement came about, with the growth surge and popularity of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which led to a search for “conscientious” candidates for employment, in some industries and service sectors.  Truth be told, there are certainly a good number of employers who could care less, or who would even, perhaps, prefer those with no pre-set views or that fully reject prevailing “environmentally-correct” or “socially-responsible” or “politically-correct” or “anti-globalization” platforms; which platforms in some cases have brought-out quite extreme and obnoxious behaviours on both sides of the fence, as adjudged by the fence-sitters in that space, place, and time.  To be conscientious about the fighting issues and only those issues, is the raison d’être at one end of the spectrum.  At the other end, however, to be conscientious about the bottom line and solely the bottom line – to the point of blatant, repeated unethical behaviour or illegality in some cases, is highly valued.

                Connected:

Now, we have the “Social” phase, with potential employers themselves or through contracted third-parties, trolling criminal record and other databases, the Internet and social media in an effort to develop a better picture of the person and the “contacts or connections” of the person, who’s paper resume, personal video, multimedia resume, or LinkedIn or Facebook profile has been sent to their inbox, pasted on their private wall, or delivered by hand.  As a result of this highly disruptive paradigm-shift, the 5 (“five”) recurrent questions in HR circles, have now become:

(i) to whom are they connected;

(ii) where;

(iii) how;

(iv) what causes or entities do they like or follow; and

(v) how will any or all of this help or hurt us if we bring them onboard?

Alas, if you have no online profile, or too few connections but years of experience, then “some” HR professionals may well think you are hiding something due to the assumption that “everyone” now has an appreciable online presence and a large connection group through all of which the original data subject may itself, be or become far better known to them through open source and standoff means.

Unfortunately, the lack of an online presence or even a large connection group does not necessarily signify an issue.  I am sure that there are many people who have simply never gotten around to it, face restrictions on what they can post online due to current and former employers or their specific lines of work, or who have simply rebelled against what they feel is over-sharing and information overload.

To counter for this potential bias, it is likely high time to go back to the basics and focus on the “Committed” aspect, as in Committed (new school), in looking to the core of what an ideal employee is, or should develop into.

Committed (new school):

With a resounding yes, we can all agree that (at least in the western world and other parts that sincerely follow the western model), two core work assumptions are now gone, forever:

(i) that there is lifetime employment on offer; and

(ii) that the employment relationship is one with more obligation of employee to employer, than employer to employee.

Today, people will have more than one career, and often simultaneously; and there are a mix of mutual obligations and rights between the employer and employee – now codified by law and custom.  On account of this, the assessment of commitment is multifactor, multidisciplinary, and always in flux.  We can look at it through the 3 sub-elements of that commitment; being: (i) Culture; (ii) Competence; and (iii) Coordination.

(i) CULTURE.

Culture is a system of values, beliefs, and norms that guides worldviews, behaviours, and relationships. The employer will have a culture, and the potential employee will have taken in the culture of one or more societies or prior employers; resulting in quite a complex of motivators.  Organizations tend to be rather intolerant of newcomers who try to change the culture from the inside-out, once allowed inside.  If a person joins an employer after being attracted by the culture, then a later discovery of mismatch, or that the culture is not quite as it seemed, can lead to disillusionment, acting-out (in performance issues or whistleblowing), or separation – whether voluntary or involuntary.  Where HR speaks of “a good fit”, they are referring to their culture, and the likelihood that the potential recruit will both say “ok”, and actually decide to stay.

Behavioural interviewing is one way of assessing how the candidate will fit into the established order.  However, some veterans of the process can be very good at giving the right-sounding answers, only to be and present a later disaster.  This is why it is essential for the employer to project its true culture to potential hires, and for jobseekers to be true to themselves in their search and responses to interview questions.  If this is just to be a survival job, then what’s your problem?  Go with the right attitude and don’t try to change the whole place around you, if you know you won’t be there for the long-term.

(ii) COMPETENCE.

Competence is that mix of skills, abilities, certifications, and knowledge (SACK) that makes the candidate attractive to a potential employer.  The potential employer may have listed a specific requirement, or the potential candidate may be targeting that employer, or working with a third-party recruiter who does the match-making as go-between.  However, in all cases, the goal is to get a match and have as many SACK-points in common as possible.

Here, we can get a better appreciation of that mutuality of obligations mentioned earlier.  If the person is hired to do a specific job because of his or her SACK, then where the SACK is not used or under-used, due to any or all of re-tasking, lack of work, or disorganization and mismanagement, then the new hire will not be happy.  Mental muscles not used will tend to atrophy over time; especially in fast-moving infotainment fields such as IT and graphic design.  In this way, candidates who are under-used, will soon become candidates again, so that they can get meaningful work that they enjoy.  While it is true that this is not always the employer’s fault, especially in a slowed economy where work can be scarce in some lines, the truth of the matter is that employees are now more focused on their own longevity and their own bottom line, as lifelong loyalty to the employer – even a government employer– is no more.  It is one thing to grow with the company ….. but the company has to be growing (or at least stable) when they get there, and not just presenting a promise of growth or stability at some indeterminate point in the future.  There are, however, differences of individual risk appetite, and so this factor may still vary.

(iii) COORDINATION.

Where the employee has accepted the culture and has the right SACK, then the only remaining questions are – (I) can he or she demonstrate an ability to coordinate these in delivering for the employer; and (II) at what level can he or she do this, and with or without additional training or supervision.  There are four levels: Planning, Leading, Undertaking and Understanding, and Managing (PLUM), and we will consider them out of order.

(a)          Understanding and Undertaking:

This is the résumé or covering letter excerpt that speaks of undertaking tasks with minimal supervision.  Can the employee understand simple instructions and undertake the work to deliver a satisfactory (or preferably above satisfactory) end-result?  This is at the basic level.  For the intermediate level, the question is can the employee understand the results of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and independently apply his or her individual effort to capitalize on opportunities and strengths (product placement or service excellence), or address weaknesses and threats (brand recognition, market penetration, or negative publicity).  For the advanced level, can the employee both plan and conduct a detailed SWOT analysis, and then coherently communicate the results to others?

(b)          Planning:

This is the capacity of the employee to plan or co-plan any combination of events, projects, compliance programs, or succession.  It would clearly include the planning of a program to address the results of a SWOT analysis at an advanced or intermediate level, or the planning of a discrete employee initiative – such as a training seminar, a new product presentation or service rollout, or a packaging concept or promotional design competition in an environment where the employer had initially encouraged such collaboration and input.

(c)           Leading:

Of course, these factors are presented in no particular order, and so the employee may be given a managerial role (over strategic projects, such as social media outreach) before a purely leadership role (of a shop floor team, for example), and at a multitude of available levels from front-line supervisor, through middle management, to executive assistant.  Specific roles will be determined by the available talent, and the organizational need for leaders of change, projects, teams, events, or training, amongst others.

(d)          Managing:

Some people have natural interpersonal skills, whilst others will have to be coached or trained.  The “naturals” will be easily and speedily recognized in those environments where management is alert and open to its in-house talent, and additional opportunities will be presented to further hone and apply those innate skills as and when found.  Employees can also be or become skilled at managing resources (finance, logistics, human resources) or compliance (legal and regulatory affairs, or shareholder communications) through education and training, and past or current work experience.

SUMMARY.

Committed, Conscientious, and Connected are still valid macro-level descriptors of ideal employees.  However, “Committed” is dynamic, with its own micro-keys of culture, competence, and coordination.

Constant growth, constant learning, and constant expansion of the SACK (skills, abilities, certifications, and knowledge) that one possesses and brings to the job negotiation table is mandatory – because everyone else is doing the same thing and competition is only becoming more intense.  Rent-seeking is also a new constant, as the worker should be constantly seeking-out and plucking the juiciest and most demonstrable PLUMS (planning, leadership, understanding and undertaking, and management) as assignments and means by which to deliver value to the employer, and further fill-out the proprietary and portable sack on the employee’s back.  “As I help you, I also help myself”, but in a non-selfish way!!

For the prospective and current employer, the key to recruiting and retaining the “right fit” is to have and communicate the right culture, seek-out (and actually use once onboard) the right competencies, and have enough “plums” in the air to offer:

(i) sufficient;

(ii) meaningful work; and

(iii) personal growth opportunities; with

(iv) job satisfaction; and

(v) benefits and work-life balance;

to keep people (and the sacks on their backs) around.  I refrain from saying “the right people”, because everyone who wants to and is given the opportunity, is capable of growing into a series of increasingly responsible roles.

It has often been said that the more things change, such as the “committed” employee, the more they remain the same.  Do you agree?

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Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and has significant experienced in business law and counseling (incorporations, business plans, contracts and non-disclosure agreements, teaming and joint venture agreements), diverse litigation, and regulatory practice.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S. business advising, outsourcing and cross-border trade, technology contracts, and U.S. financing).  See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other Services, and Environmental Law and Policy.  He is a published author on the National Security aspects of Environmental Law, and enjoys complex systems analysis in the legal, technological, and societal milieu.

Mr. George is also an experienced strategic consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on large, strategic projects (investigations, procurements, and diverse consulting engagements) with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary project teams.  See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred.  The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein.

INTRODUCTION:

To this day – whatever day you are reading this – people debate and even argue with serious heat and animation, as to whether the chicken or the egg came first.  I always say that there is no definitive answer, as different people, different climes, and different times will all have their own perspectives.

Looking back, the increasing consumerization of information and communications technologies, the growth and maturation of outsourcing practices, just-in-time inventory systems, and both mechanization and the industrial revolution, have all caused their own paradigm shifts as disruptive technologies.  Today, it is not just the advent and development of cloud computing but a host of other factors, including: social media, mass mobility, information ubiquity, unparalleled social plus political plus economic diversity and uncertainty, and global competition for consumable inputs, consumers and their data, and other competitive advantages – have all combined to create a massive and sustained disruption in the way we both conduct business and understand business that has no known parallel.

As a result of this, it is hard to know where the supplier ends and the consumer starts (focus groups and beta testing); whether the regulator controls the business or vice versa (trade associations and lobbyists); and whether the consumer or the business decides what goes on store shelves (social media, loyalty programs and points or airmiles, and target-marketing campaigns).  One can hardly say that the business of business (governance) has become a public-private-partnership with the “Occupy” and “Anonymous” and “anti-globalization” movements, and outright revolutions here and there showing many separate and distinct actors.  However, the three “Ps” do still have a role to play.  Let me explain; using 3Ps, P3, and PPP interchangeably throughout this blog post.

CONCEPT:

There have been a few disruptive shifts in this paradigm of the 3Ps.  I would say that we have experienced a second shift, and we are therefore in the third cycle.

                Cycle 1: Goods and Services (as separate and distinct).

In the first cycle, the 3Ps were separately and distinctly applicable to each of goods and services.

In terms of goods, this stood for – Produce, Publicize, and Place on shelves.  For “widgets”, this would generally involve first creating one or more prototypes, publicizing its utility and efficacy through direct or indirect marketing, and finding the right combination of funding and sales or other patronage to make and sell ever more widgets through various distribution channels.

In terms of services, this stood for Present, Perform, and Persuade.  For “works”, the relevant steps would involve presenting or offering the service, performing for pay or as a teaser sample, and then persuading the customer to either pay for the sample, purchase more, or assist in building the market; whether or not for a set or fixed fee, or some other form of compensation.

                Cycle 2: Goods and Services (with blurred boundary lines).

In the second cycle, the 3Ps were used together and often blurred the boundary lines between goods and services.  This was and remains, the era of Public-Private Partnerships, in which engagements involved both the delivery of and performance on, a combination of goods and services mainly used to procure public infrastructure at significantly reduced public expense,[1] and yield greater value for money. Nomenclature differs slightly, such that in Canada, some of the common PPP variants have included:

(i) build and finance (BF);

(ii) operate and maintain (O&M);

(iii) build, operate, and own (BOO);

(iv) build, operate, and transfer (BOT);

(v) design and build (DB);

(vi) design, build, and finance (DBF);

(vii) design, build, finance, and operate

 (DBFO);

(iix) design, build, finance, and maintain

 (DBFM); and

(ix) design, build, finance, operate, and

 maintain (DBFOM).[2]

In other parts of the world, including the United States, some of the common PPP variants have included the above, as well as:

(x) lump-sum turnkey (LSTK);

(xi) build, lease, transfer (BLT);

(xii) build, transfer, operate (BTO);

(xiii) build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT);

(xiv) build, rehabilitate, operate, transfer

(BROT);

(xv) operate, maintain, transfer (OMT);

(xvi) design, build, finance, operate, transfer

(DBFOT);

(xvii) engineering, procurement, and

 construction (EPC);

(xiix) engineering procurement, construction

 and commissioning (EPCC);

(xix) engineering, procurement, construction

 and management (EPCM);

(xx) engineering, procurement, construction

 and installation (EPCI); and

(xxi) engineering, procurement installation

and commissioning (EPIC).[3]

Originally conceived for hard infrastructure “widgets” (bridges, airports, roads, tunnels and termnals, energy projects, and railways), PPP grew to be applied to “works” as infrastructure services (healthcare, social services, and disaster assistance through a variety of NGOs, Health Trusts in the United Kingdom, and multinational entities.  This paradigm shift to greater diversity in 3Ps application and an increased gradual blurring of the lines between goods and services, has now brought us to the third and current cycle.

                Cycle 3: Goods and Services (as indistinguishably forms encompassed by functions).[4]

In this paradigm, the focus is less on the widgets or the works, but more on the actions and inputs that go into creating these finished widgets and works.  Those actions and inputs can be put into two groups, with the Products (being both goods and services), in the middle.  On one side, would be the People, and on the other side, would be the Processes.  Hence, the 3Ps of Cycle 2 no longer stand for public-private-partnership at all, and have been eclipsed and overtaken by these 3Ps of Cycle 3, with 14 major sub-elements, as follows.

(A) People: There are 3 (“three”) main descriptors for what the people do in producing goods and services, being: Coordination (of leadership, rules, and goals); Empowerment and training/re-training; and Organic collaboration.  The first letters of these main descriptors happen to spell “CEO”;

(B) Products: There are 6 (“six”) main elements in the production process of both goods and services, being: Design; Requirements; Inventory; Virtualization; Experience; and Safety and security.  The first letters of these main elements happen to spell “drives”;

(C) Processes: There are 5 (“five”) main processes or process collectives that can impact upon the goods and services forms produced, being: Health and human rights; on-boarding and off-boarding; Market as a mammal; Environment (natural); and Supply chain.  The first letters of these processes and process collectives happen to spell “homes”.

ILLUSTRATIONS:

To show the salience of this typology, let us now consider the following illustrations, with each of these six examples containing one element from “people” (A), one from “products” (B), and one from “processes” (C), as presented in different orders to reveal all six possible, single-co-use combinations of these letters.

                Goods:

A-B-C – A new and disruptive market entrant uses an innovative organic collaboration strategy (A), to devise and deliver a product security innovation (B), through crowdsourcing and gamification; and the market as a mammal (C), shifts en-masse to both sides of collaborative production and individual consumption, of the popular good.

C-A-B – Bad off-boarding (C), and the fallout from improper segregation of duties leads to a new and more open leadership style (A), and a focus on customer experience marketing (B), through traditional and social media; all in an effort to win back market share of the demand for that good, and both public and employee confidence.

B-C-A – A product safety recall (B), stemming from faulty production processes and quality controls that led to an unsanitary contamination (C), results in significant worker re-retraining (A) for the producer of that good.

                Services:

B-A-C – The successful trade dress design (B), of a service provider demonstrates the type of inspired leadership (A), on environmental issues (C), in the use of alternative energy that generates a loyal neighborhood of patrons and significant in-bound tourists and curiosity travelers who further stimulate the local economy.

C-B-A – A lean supply chain (C), achieved by using virtualization (B), and cloud applications allows for rapid sourcing of additional services as and when required, and so keeps staff oriented and focused on discrete and achievable employee goals (A).

A-C-B – New, consumer-driven government rules (A), and regulations on carbon and pollution (C), in this service industry sector lead many of its providers to speedily re-align products in their inventory (B), to better meet regulatory and market demands.

SUMMARY:

The collective phrase spelled-out by the 14 (“fourteen”) major above elements grouped as People, Products, and Processes, is “CEO drives homes”.  This is no accident, as both producers and consumers of products and services are fully enclosed by this current paradigm – no matter where in the model you start or end your application of the paradigm to goods or services, as the above illustrations well-show.  No entity can function or properly deploy its human capital without solid goals, rules, and leadership from the C-suite; which then drives an economy as well as the homes, of all who live, work, learn, and play there.

So, what is P3 to me?  In this current cycle, post-2nd paradigm-shift, it is for me a way of doing things (works) and making things (widgets) that better sees the different inputs and impacts of people and processes, on today’s many and different types of collaboration, that lead to those “forms” or “products” that we still insist on calling goods (widgets) & services (works).

But then again, if the widget or work is the chicken, does this make the 3Ps one big egg; or is the egg actually both a widget (a good) and a work (a service, less the stork, in delivering future chickens)?

********************************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and has significant experienced in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory practice.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.).  See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.  An avid writer, blogger, and reader, Mr. George is a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects), and has sector experience in healthcare, communications, financial services, real estate, international trade, eCommerce, and Outsourcing.

Mr. George is also an experienced strategic consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on large, high stakes, strategic projects (investigations, procurements, and consulting engagements) with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary project teams.  See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not legal advice, or an attorney advert where barred.


[1] Common Public-Private Partnership Projects (PPP) in Canada involved healthcare, transportation, justice, and corrections.  See Infra note 2, at text immediately preceding Table 1 in the cited material.

[2] PPP Canada (Public-Private Partnerships).  What does the Canadian P3 market look like?  Table 1: Distribution of P3 Projects in Procurement by Procurement Method (2009 – 2011).   Online: >http://www.p3canada.ca/p3-market.php<; See also The Canadian Council of Public-Private Partnerships.  Models of Public-Private Partnerships.  Online: >http://www.pppcouncil.ca/resources/about-ppp/models.html<

[3] Ministry of Finance, India.  National PPP Policy 2011 – Draft for Consultation.  Released to the public on October 15, 2011.  Online: >http://www.pppinindia.com/Defining-PPP.php<; See also The Energy Industries Council (EIC), United Kingdom.  Project Profiles and Contract Types.  Online: >http://www.the-eic.com/EICDataStream/EICDataStreamGlossary/ProjectProfilesandContractTypes.aspx<

[4] We should note that naming conventions are shifting in multiple fields, with laptops, tablets, PCs, and smartphones together and increasingly labeled “Form Factors”, as they all serve collective and distinct functions of communication, collaboration, and connectivity in ways at times similar and at times distinct, as the case may be.

Some people have said that IT careers and IT jobs will disappear due to the advent and mainstreaming of Cloud applications, as well as IT commoditization and outsourcing that will close data centers en masse.  Indeed, one author in 2012 directly predicted a coming re-imagination or demise, of 4 (“four”) specific IT roles and career paths, namely: (i) Programming; (ii) Datacenter; (iii) Data Technology; and (iv) Security.[1]  My detailed thinking on these predictions is more specifically laid-out below, in the “Analysis” section.

Will IT Jobs Disappear?

Such projections are in error, at best!  Consider this statement regarding current IT role disruptions:

The more interesting lesson is the tectonic shift in computing away from the device and software residing on the device, to data and applications access on a variety of form factors and connected operating systems”.[2]

In-house, traditional data centers are there to ensure that data and applications can be accessed from devices near and far; cloud computing data centers are there to ensure that data and applications can be accessed from devices near and far; IT staff are needed in both cases to troubleshoot, ensure that those devices and/or the servers are configured to “play nicely” with each other, and otherwise act when the system cannot itself, or its subsystems will not themselves, fail-over, add or reduce capacity, self-diagnose, grant access to technicians and tours to top brass, run out with backup tapes or portable  hard drives when all else “really” fails, things fall apart, and the (data) center cannot hold,[3] and so on.  Even when printing money and coins (stamps are less used in the West nowadays, due to the rapidity of mobility, and courier efficiencies), human eyes are still needed for that final quality control function Indeed, the case is also and stringently made that there is in fact an accelerating skills shortage in IT.[4]

What then, has changed to make the human factor suddenly obsolete?

I would say nothing, because the more things change, outwardly, the more they stay the same, behind the scenes, as IT jobs and IT professionals will always be needed; albeit with skills–sets that are both more diverse and more specialized at one and the same time, due to an increasing complexity of things.

“We estimate that by 2016 approximately 106,000 ICT jobs will need to be filled in Canada with demand for critical jobs far exceeding the supply. This figure will be further compounded if we account for the new emerging ICT sectors.  Canada is also competing in an increasingly tight labour market, emerging global economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South-Africa (BRICS) are achieving unprecedented economic growth using new energy, telecommunications and information technologies”.[5]

Let us look, then, at 7 (“seven”) specific area examples to help demonstrate how and why this must be.

7 Examples as Proof of IT’s Adaptability, Persistence, and Traction (APT).

1. Cloud applications.

Late last year, there came the headline story – “Almost 1.7 Million Cloud-Related Jobs Went Unfilled in 2012: Estimate“.[6]  That’s a lot of jobs!  However, what is the Cloud and what might those jobs be, some doubtless asked?  In the 6 (“six”) months since the article was published, many of those who asked may now know a little more about the Cloud.  For others, however, an overview may help give perspective.

                                What is Cloud Computing (“Cloud”)?

According to data from the United States’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.  This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics (On-demand self-service, Broad network access, Resource pooling, Rapid elasticity, Measured Service); three service models (Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)); and, four deployment models (Private cloud, Community cloud, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud). Key enabling technologies include: (1) fast wide-area networks, (2) powerful, inexpensive server computers, and (3) high-performance virtualization for commodity hardware”. [7]

Unfortunately, this NIST data is already behind the market as the Cloud is advancing so fast.  There are now no less than 7 (“seven”) well-identified Cloud service models, being: Software as a Service (SaaS),[8] Security as a Service (SecaaS),[9] Platform as a Service (PaaS),[10] Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS),[11] Networking as a Service (NaaS),[12] Data as a Service (DaaS),[13] and Migration as a Service (MaaS).[14]

                                Which are the Cloud Jobs?

An October, 2012 article identified the following 10 (“ten”) IT jobs as in-demand Cloud careers;[15] being:

(I) Cloud Architect; (II) Cloud Software Engineer; (III) Cloud Sales; (IV) Cloud Engineer; (V) Cloud Services Developer; (VI) Cloud Systems Administrator; (VII) Cloud Consultant; (IIX) Cloud Systems Engineer; (IX) Cloud Network Engineer; and (X) Cloud Product Manager.

The takeaway, is that “professionals who are experts in cloud computing, software as a service and virtualization are in high demand, but those with combined skills in server, software and networking are the most sought after in the current IT job market”.[16] Add to this, another recent survey that concludes: “[c]loud related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide as demand for cloud-related positions grows.”[17]  Together, these findings put to rest any assertion that datacenter jobs will disappear, because servers are housed in data centers and data farms, and the need for them as well as the IT staff to tend to and manage them, is increasing with time and Cloud uptake.

Where is Cloud Heading – Long term?

In response to the PWC/Digital IQ Report that presented this year’s top 10 technology trends for business, I pondered this year’s top 5 technology trends for consumers;[18] one of which was EULA3.  This term co-represents: (i) End-User Legal Authority (free rein to develop and customize screen savers, fonts, skins, and avatars to their liking, after download from developers with the IP rights therein); (ii) End-User License Autonomy (lawful unlocking of devices and to remove geographic restrictions, freedom from multi-year service contracts, number portability, rights to opt-out of geo-tracking, receiving ongoing service or functionality updates, and in the EU, a right to be free from pre-sale, bundled OEM-ware; and (iii) End-User Leveraged Ability (massively enhanced remote and mobile collaboration and empowerment tools and technologies, in “online groups, archives, fora, encyclopedias, and societies”).[19]

My focus here, is on the leveraged ability, that allows for more creativity, collaboration, commentary, commerce, connections, and cloud applications.[20]  Within and as a result of this leveraged ability, I see the coming offering of Economies as a Service/Elasticity as a Service (EaaS).  This will go beyond the mere discrete, standalone offerings of storage, ERP, and data analytics, to offer specific enterprise-level function and service suites that are customizable to users of various sizes, and that help customers to cut-down on their overhead in a still very tight global economic climate.

I can think of 10 (“ten”) such scalable suites right now, being: (1) Administration; (2) Compliance; (3) Efficiencies (requirements analyses, efficiency audits, business process reengineering, and big data analytics with recommendations and action on same, all from one vendor– essentially, management consultant services on demand, with M2M delivery in eFormat); (4) Facilities management (electronic and sensory, in M2M/SCADA); (5) General Counsel (as outsourced to on-call, geographically distributed providers through a Cloud contact point); (6) Human Resources; (7) Operations and Development; (8) Research and Development; (9) Sales (as tasked to geographically distributed operatives, on-call in the requisite locations- little travel needed; and (10) Treasury (audit, bookkeeping, and capital markets).[21]

Which Cloud sub-sectors will likely lead?

In a 2012 report for the EU, IDC predicted that the market for public cloud services in Europe would grow at a compound, annualized, 35% (“thirty-five percent”) from 2011 to 2014, despite structural challenges (security, infrastructure, standardization), and the continued tight economic climate.[22]  IDC further posits that “[…] the diffusion of cloud computing is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect impacts on economic and employment growth in the EU, thanks to the migration to a new IT paradigm enabling greater innovation and productivity”.[23]  Admitting that jobs will both be lost and created, “the cloud market is expected to be a driver of net creation of employment in the medium term”, regarding the European economy through 2020; with their estimate of the number of European cloud industry jobs then existing, ranging from 1.3 million to 3.8 million.[24]

Globally, IDC’s results from an Infosys-sponsored July, 2012 survey of 326 large companies across the US, Germany, France, and the U.K. found that, 2 out of 3 were adopting the cloud, with private cloud more popular than public or hybrid cloud.[25]  While cloud strategy in Europe is more developed, it is standalone and needs to be integrated into a larger “whole of IT” approach; U.S. cloud adoption lags behind, but this is due to its being part of a “whole of IT” planning process with many stakeholders.[26]  According to IDC, many survey respondents across the board were reportedly dabbling in “public cloud for some specific areas, but when it comes to the core IT environments, they are starting out with private cloud. Connecting the two into a hybrid model is gaining momentum”.[27]

                                Why use the Cloud?

In essence, “cloud computing simply capitalizes on the need of a business to manage costs, stick to its core competencies and outsource the rest”.[28]  Services and servers formerly managed in house with capital expenditures, can now be managed by vendors as operational cost items, and expensed.  “Companies want to escape IT equipment and support costs, but there are also certain applications and data that large enterprises especially are unlikely to ever let out of their sight and perimeters, King said. That is why the hybrid model works pretty well for many companies right now”.[29]


2. Mobility.

“Digitization—the mass adoption of connected digital services by consumers, enterprises, and governments— is far more than a disruptive wave washing over isolated industries.  We have long since recognized that reality.  Digitization is a fundamental driver of economic growth and job creation the world over- in both developed and emerging markets”.[30]

Within the home and other fixed locations, this digitization has permitted the visual TV broadcast format to shift in many locales to High Definition, allowing for clearer pictures, denser colours and images, and added content and utilities.  In addition, ubiquitous computing is now the default mode, with digitization and packetization, and smartphones and tablets fast-nearing the raw computing power of earlier laptops; if not surpassing them in both that, and storage capacity, through the availability of add-on storage and memory card capacity. Customer-facing cloud applications (online photo storage, social media profile pages, and available-anywhere office productivity and document processing or management service offerings), all benefit from the spread of digitization and the ongoing drop in memory and hardware costs.  Taken together, these developments have enabled location independence, geo-tagging, behavioural marketing, and social business on a hitherto unprecedented scale.

“IT” with regard to mobility ranges from applications, through form factors, to networking, diagnostics, and data analytics.  Similarly, “convergence” in general, means that the field of mobile computing is already broad and deep,[31] and continues to grow with the expanding market for existing form factors (laptop, tablet, smartphone), and ever more innovative offerings to come. Even though some employers eschew creating and implementing BYOD policies for their increasingly mobile workforces (a dangerous oversight, in my opinion), while others re-think or seek to restrict aspects of the whole “mobility” dimension of work,[32] I really cannot envisage ITs mobility-enabling skills-sets facing any realistic danger of impending obsolescence.

3. Operational and ongoing improvements.

In the words of the American Society for Quality (ASQ): “[c]ontinuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes.  These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once”.[33] Of course, improving the individual (skills and abilities), can also lead to improving the product, service, or process – including of business processes and in separate business cost centres.  Aside from the plethora of quality measures and quality improvement models, perhaps the simplest offering suggested by ASQ, is the P-D-C-A cycle, which stands for:

(i) Plan (identify opportunities and strategize for their exploitation);

(ii) Do (roll-out a pilot or beta of the change as planned);

(iii) Check (analyze the results and determine whether the desired result was achieved);

(iv) Act (Proceed on a larger scale if successful, or revise if not, with ongoing assessment in both cases).[34]

In the current and evolving IT environment, the need for operational and ongoing improvements is driven by a desire for post-merger, acquisition, or restructuring economies of scale; improved efficiencies in a very tight global economy and hyper-competitive climate; and to increase security in the face of heightened governance, risk, and regulatory compliance (GRC) requirements, and Cybersecurity exposures and events. Automated systems (after human programming), can gather and crunch a vast quantity of data in terms of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Privacy Impact Analysis (PIA), Security and Risk Analysis (SRA), and Threat Risk Assessment (TRA).  However, in the three common, broad stages of all these activities (identification, assessment, mitigation), human input is indispensable to catch the nuances, round-out the corners, and otherwise right-size and customize both process and result.  IT professionals will always be needed to plan, to do, to check and double-check, and to act.

4. Networking.

Networking has come very far since it was merely a question of connecting desktops to servers, and making sure that different servers or server versions and their operating systems (usually all in the same place or distributed corporate space or ecosystem), all meshed well together.  Now, we network across availability zones in region, time zones, and definitely different ecosystems.  With the speed at which technology is currently advancing and generations of IT are maturing,[35] there will always be “legacy” systems in the mix, and this will require the presence of professionals who know and are familiar enough with the idiosyncracies of these legacy systems to service and maintain them.  As with the Basic, Fortran, and Pascal programming languages (which are still used, in some places), someone somewhere, will always be needed into the foreseeable future.  This peculiarity will come into the clearest focus when data must be migrated from these legacy systems, and it can only be done the hard way.  Networking also gains importance with the mainstreaming of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), the Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine to Machine (M2M) communication[36] – as enabled and enhanced by MEMs[37], Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and of course, Cloud Computing.  These, in their turn, further fuel the “apolitical” socialization of business, living, and leisure.

5. Virtualization.

“The term virtualization is commonly used to refer to the creation of multiple virtual servers that operate on one physical computer. Virtualization uses fewer physical resources to do an increased amount of work in a virtual environment, cuts the costs of purchasing expensive hardware for computers, uses less physical storage space and reduces costs to power and cool physical computers”.[38]

As stated, virtualization has many benefits; including heightened productivity and cost savings.  However, the need for real human beings will persist.  Additional solutions enabled by virtualization include advanced gamification (both single user and multi-user), eLearning, and social business with real time product and service demonstrations, serious streaming and graphics, and simultaneous screen-in-screen separate software instances for multitaneous collaboration, creativity, and other connections.  Content is key, so there will always be a need for IT professionals across the 15 (“fifteen”) phases of the following, proposed new “horseshoe waterfall” software development process (up from the classic 6):

1. Requirements Analysis phase (PIA, ERP, SRA, TRA, and Objective-oriented Risk Identification);

2. Programming & Development phase (design, documentation, IP, cross-disciplinary “play-in/pet-in”[39]);

3. Vendor Development Testing phase (Quality, Usability, Interfaces, Performance, Stability – “QUIPS1”);

4. Application Security Testing (by subsystem, including to regulatory standard/industry metrics);

5. Contract Modeler/Tweaker phase (add-ons, P3 standalone software, and software for hardware);

6. P3 Development Testing phase (Quality, Usability, Interfaces, Performance, Stability – “QUIPS2”);

7. Vendor Integration phase (collective work of all subsystems & add-ons; documentation & IP updates);

8. Application Security testing (complete system by Vendor, and by user panel on late-stage beta);

9. White Hat phase (QUIPS3; with penetration testing, and to regulatory standard/industry metrics);

10. Feedback Integration phase (rectifications, new requirements, ruggedizing for special orders);

11. Deployment phase (with customer training, static testing, and onsite and remote debugging);

12. Implementation Validation phase (QUIPS4 ; with training, operational testing, and debugging);

13. Maintenance and Support phase (updates, patches, customer service, technical support);

14. Customer and Industry Feedback Analysis phase (knowledgebase, data analytics, planning);

15. Re-start at phase 1, 2, or 5: (next generation solution, fully new iteration, or market re-focus).

The falls are shaped like a horseshoe because the water can fall from several places or points at once, because the phases can easily overlap, and because the constant cycle of water never stops; so nobody can peer into the resulting product whirlpool and determine from where, or when, something fell-in.

6. Innovations.

The predictable thing about change, is that it will be constant.  Whether or not you define it as progress, technology innovations will generally have knock-on effects that include additional innovations.  This is a given, as items and areas rendered obsolete will be replaced, and those that wish to resist obsolescence, will make speedy and aggressive moves to adapt to that “new normal”.  From mainframes, through PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and wearable IT[40] and other solutions, innovation feeds upon itself, and knowledgeable IT personnel will always be needed to make things work, adapt, and counter-adapt with concatenating advances in miniaturization[41] and processing power spurring “chipification[42] of ever more discrete utilities and ecosystems to enable higher functions, remote diagnostics, and interoperation.  Current and developing form factors including wearables (heartrate monitors), scannables (QR codes and RFID), flyables (drones), drivables (smart cars and next generation autopilot), and as enabled by current (Gesticuloperation – i.e. operation by voice, clap, and hand signals in the likes of Microsoft Kinect, Sony Wii, interior lighting, and otherwise by voice or eyesight recognition), or Google Glass, and future tech., will likewise still demand contributions from multifaceted IT personnel.

7. Predictive Analytics.

Big Data is here to stay, due to the proliferation of ways in which it is collected, and the depth and detail with which it is being concatenated.  Businesses will need ever-more powerful and intuitive ways to crunch and package its content, whether for ERP, CRM, or other predictive data analytics.[43]  We already see automated resume sorting, but the human eye and brain will still be needed to develop and tweak the software, perform quality checks, and deal with data input delays (illegible writing that won’t scan, jammed paper in scanner input feeds, and machine maintenance and downtime for whatever reason).

ANALYSIS:

                Rightly Forecast to Stay.

While the 2012 ICTC briefing identified 3 (“three”) specific areas of greatest need and growth potential in the prevailing IT skills shortage: Mobile Computing, Cloud Computing, and creative online content (Social Business),[44] IBM’s study of the global IT picture found a fourth: Business Analytics.[45]   Looking at the above 7 areas, Cloud computing touches (at least), 1, 5, 6, and 7; Business Analytics, touches (at least), 3, 4, 6, and 7; Mobile Computing, touches (at least), 2, 4, 6, and 5; and Social Business, touches (at most), 1 through 7.  I see no way that IT jobs or career paths can disappear any time soon.  The health of that sector may well ebb and flow, with economic growth and job prospects fluctuating back and forth; but ITs adaptability, persistence, and traction (APT), give it true staying-power as a criss-crossing, sub-factor of production supporting that new factor of production, “information” – both of which now span mere land, labor, and capital,[46] and thusly remain indispensable bedrocks of modern and future society.

                Wrongly Forecast to Go.

Similarly, regarding the 4 (“four”) specific IT roles identified for re-imagination or extinction,[47] vis-à-vis the above 7 areas: Programming; Datacenter; Data Technology; and Security.  With regard to programming, the author states that the popular or most common computer languages will change.  I agree, but the older languages will not die-out, due to the reasons I gave above.  Similarly, with regard to data technology, the author states that the new and evolving paradigms will require IT professionals who are both more multifunctional and more capable of multitasking across different cost centres in the organization (IT, data analytics, PR, R&D).  With this, I also agree, because up-skilling should be a constant when the going is good, and retraining should remain an option should the paradigm shift.

My disagreements arise with regard to the author’s predictions for IT’s datacenter functions[48] and IT’s security functions,[49] which will supposedly be forever and irretrievably changed by Unified Communications (UC) protocols, outsourced to third-parties, and otherwise surpassed or subsumed by and within the ambit of, a variety of Cloud Services Providers (CSPs).

                Datacenter, specifically.

With regard to datacenter functions, machines can still not fully administer themselves, whether it is an airliner on autopilot, a nuclear power station, the switching center of a railway system, or a conveyor belt – which is supposed to stop by itself when something clogs the mechanism, but still has an emergency stop mechanism for the occasional “human” intervention.  I think that any prediction of the demise of these jobs and functions is premature or wishful thinking at best, and ill-advised at worst.

                Security, specifically.

With regard to security functions, it is worthwhile to note that evolving data protection and privacy standards set-out by legislation, as well as industry best practices across several fields, are severely limiting the extent to which an entity can outsource the “responsibility” that it does and must hold in-house, for the ultimate security of customer or client data; especially with regard to Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including within the financial services industry, and Personal Health Information (PHI), including within the healthcare sector.  This fact, alone, will mandate the persistence of the need for in-house skill sets in “security standardization, procedures, and auditing[50], due to the necessity of verifying: (i) that third-party providers can and do perform as promised and required by law; (ii) that breach notification is timely and properly conducted, and that third-parties are aware of their contractual and legal responsibilities, as applicable; and (iii) that loss prevention, IT, managerial, and legal personal are all on the same page with regard to ERP, outsourcing, risk mitigation, and regulatory compliance across the entire IT ecosystem – whether in-house physical, in-house virtual, outsourced (including Cloud and offshoring), BYOD, or otherwise.  This security matrix must be complete, as omitted input will lead to omitted considerations, and avoidable losses that could rise to be in the extreme.

Even the much maligned practice of offshoring can have a net benefit to the outsourcing economy by pushing those it leaves behind into higher, more skilled, and managerial roles that are needed locally.

Outsourcing can help create opportunities that didn’t exist before,” […].  Recruiting more bodies in another country can “upskill” Canadian IT workers, boosting them into higher level managerial positions,[…].   “The jobs are slightly different than what they may have been before, but it actually is an economic addition, not necessarily a detractor from the economy and from the employment landscape.[51]

CONCLUSION:

For the final word on this issue, I think Stephen C. Ehrman, summarized it best, when he wrote that:

Each predictable doubling of chip power enables the development of surprising new tools for thinking, analyzing, studying, creating, and communicating in the world. Products and professions erupt, altering the content of some discipline, creating new fields, and compelling new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration in the wider world. The level of education required for many jobs is increasing as well. So technological change in the wider world both increases the number of people who need an education and changes what it is they need to learn as well.[52]

I think that should do it!

************************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with over a decade of legal experience including business law and counseling (business formation, outsourcing, commercial leasing, healthcare privacy, Cloud applications, social media, and Cybersecurity); diverse litigation, as well as ADR; and regulatory practice (planning and zoning, environmental controls, landlord and tenant, and GRC – governance, risk, and compliance investigations, audits, and counseling) in both Canada and the United States.  He is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.  Please See: http://www.ogalaws.com

He is an experienced strategic and management consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Please See: http://www.simprime-ca.com

Backed by courses in management, organizational behaviour and micro-organizational behaviour, and a Certificate in Field Security from the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), in New York, Mr. George is also a writer, tweeter and blogger (as time permits), and a published author in Environmental Law & Policy (National Security aspects).

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.


[1] Kerry Doyle, MBA.  IT Roles Facing Extinction.  Published on globalknowledge.com by Global Knowledge Training LLC, 2012.  Online: >http://images.globalknowledge.com/wwwimages/pdfs/SR_IT_Roles_Facing_Extinction.pdf<

[2] Patrick Gray.  HP and BlackBerry abandon in-house tablet ecosystems.  Published in “Tablets in the Enterprise”, on techrepublic.com, May 24, 2013.  Online: >http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tablets/hp-and-blackberry-abandon-in-house-tablet-ecosystems/3428?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101<

[3] Tribute to the late Professor Albert Chinualumogu (Chinua) Achebe, (1930-2013), author of the timeless classic “Things Fall Apart” (first published in A.D. 1958).

[4] A sometimes heated debate persists on whether or not the United States is currently experiencing a skills shortage in graduates of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  See e.g. (severe shortage exists): Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  The Ongoing Impact of the Recession – Recruiting and Skills Gap.  Published on shrm.org, March 12, 2013.  Online: >http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/SHRM-Recession-Recruiting-Skill-Gaps-Technology.aspx<; see contra (no shortage found): Economic Policy Institute (EPI).Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell.  Guestworkers in the high-skill U.S. labor market: An analysis of supply, employment, and wage trends.  Published in “Immigration”, on epi.org, April 24, 2013.  Online:

>http://www.epi.org/publication/bp359-guestworkers-high-skill-labor-market-analysis/<

[5] In Canada, however, the skills shortage issue appears better settled – it exists!  See e.g. Namir Anani, President and CEO of the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC).  Briefing – HUMA – Fixing The Skills Gap and Understanding the Labour Shortages, at page 2.  Mr. Anani delivered this briefing in Ottawa, Canada, on April 4, 2012, before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.  Published on ictc-ctic.ca.  Online: >http://www.ictc-ctic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ICTC_HUMAPresentation_EN_04-12.pdf<

[6] Joe McKendrick.  Almost 1.7 Million Cloud-Related Jobs Went Unfilled in 2012: Estimate.  Published in “Tech”, on forbes.com, December 21, 2012.  Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2012/12/21/almost-1-7-million-cloud-related-jobs-went-unfilled-in-2012-estimate/<

[7] National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  NIST Cloud Computing Program.  Online: >http://www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/index.cfm<

[8] PCI Security Standards Council: Cloud Special interest Group.  PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Version 2.0 – Information Supplement: PCI DSS Cloud Computing Guidelines, at 4.  Released March, 2013.  Online: >https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/information_supplement_11.3.pdf< Software as a Service (SaaS), is there defined by PCI SSC as: “[c]apability for clients to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser, or a program interface”.  See also Ekundayo George.  Data Protection and Retention in the Cloud: Getting it Right, at Note 1.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, March 11, 2013.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/data-protection-and-retention-in-the-cloud-getting-it-right/< SaaS offerings generally include tools for processing, analysis, accounting, CRM, and back-office functions, as delivered on a “pay by use or increment” basis.

[9] Michael Hafner, Mukhtiar Memon, and Ruth Breu.  SeAAS – A Reference Architecture for Security Services in SOA.  Published 1.9.09 in the Journal of Universal Computer Science (JUCS), vol. 15, no. 15 (2009), 2916-2936, at 2924. Online: >http://www.jucs.org/jucs_15_15/seaas_a_reference_architecture/jucs_15_15_2916_2936_hafner.pdf<

Security as a Service (SecaaS), is there defined by the authors, as:

“[…] the delivery of security functionality over infrastructure components in a service-oriented manner. For SOA, this means that security services are accessed through common Web services technologies and standards”.

As stated in that publication, SecaaS offerings generally encompasses services for: authentication, authorization, security compliance, security interoperability, cryptography and message processing, protocol-based security, and security monitoring and auditing.

[10] PCI Security Standards Council: Cloud Special interest Group.  PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Version 2.0 – Information Supplement: PCI DSS Cloud Computing Guidelines, at 4.  Released March, 2013.  Online: >https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/information_supplement_11.3.pdf< Platform as a Service (PaaS), is there defined by PCI SSC as: “[c]apability for clients to deploy their applications (created or acquired) onto the cloud infrastructure, using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider”.  See also Ekundayo George.  Data Protection and Retention in the Cloud: Getting it Right, at Note 2.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, March 11, 2013.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/data-protection-and-retention-in-the-cloud-getting-it-right/< PaaS offerings generally include tools for email, online backup, or desktops on demand, as well as middleware and raw development platforms.

[11] PCI Security Standards Council: Cloud Special interest Group.  PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Version 2.0 – Information Supplement: PCI DSS Cloud Computing Guidelines, at 4.  Released March, 2013.  Online: >https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/information_supplement_11.3.pdf<  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), is there defined by PCI SSC as: “[c]apability for clients to utilize the provider’s processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources to deploy and run operating systems, applications and other software on a cloud infrastructure”.  See also Ekundayo George.  Data Protection and Retention in the Cloud: Getting it Right, at Note 3.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, March 11, 2013.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/data-protection-and-retention-in-the-cloud-getting-it-right/< IaaS offerings generally include tools for collaboration, integration, and visualization, in scalable storage and server capacity on demand.

[12] Ekundayo George.  Data Protection and Retention in the Cloud: Getting it Right, at Note 4.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, March 11, 2013.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/data-protection-and-retention-in-the-cloud-getting-it-right/<  Network as a Service (NaaS), generally includes advanced virtualization tools such as bandwidth-on-demand for multiple VPNs-on-demand, and for cloud-to-cloud networking on-demand.

[13] Data as a Service (DaaS), generally includes the hosting and delivery-on-call of data that is both form factor independent and software independent, as its storage (static) and delivery (formatted) states will differ, and the data will only be transformed from one to the other as and when needed, and as optimized to form factor or use.  Increasing data analytics and in-house ownership of the crunched result, will spur growth in this DaaS (author).

[14] Migration as a Service (MaaS), refers to the transmission or translocation of clientele (users of blogs, wikis, chats, or other collaborative portals), data and databases (documents, files, spreadsheets and folders), capital operations and office suites (applications, business processes, or operating systems from version to version, or from server to server on premise), or services (emails and VOIP/voicemails); whether from one platform or service provider, to another (on-premise to cloud transforming capital expenditures to operating expenses, or cloud to cloud).  This can be done on a self-serve basis, or through a vendor.  The volume of data that many companies now command otherwise makes migrations quite expensive, and implies that MaaS will remain a growth area (author).

[15] Christine Burns, Network World.  Cloud careers: It’s a seller’s market.  Published on networkworld.com, October 8, 2012.  Online: >http://www.networkworld.com/supp/2012/enterprise5/100812-ecs-cloud-careers-262741.html<

[16] Id.

[17] Joe McKendrick.  Almost 1.7 Million Cloud-Related Jobs Went Unfilled in 2012: Estimate.  Published in “Tech”, on forbes.com, December 21, 2012.  Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2012/12/21/almost-1-7-million-cloud-related-jobs-went-unfilled-in-2012-estimate/<

[18] See Ekundayo George.  Ctrl-Shift-Del: 2013’s Top 5 Technology Trends for Consumers.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, March 16, 2013.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/ctrl-shift-del-2013s-top-5-technology-trends-for-consumers/<

[19] Id.

[20] See e.g. Ekundayo George.  Social Media Policies: Why have them, and what should they cover?  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, May 29, 2013.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/social-media-policies-why-have-them-and-what-should-they-cover/<

[21] I see these enabling, at the very least: (i) ”eNUB“ (email, number, and URL banking); and (ii) “Work-Shifting”.

(i) eNUB will be the response of entities and employers to salesforce BYOD, now better able to take existing contacts, prospects, vendors, and sales peers with them, due to all knowing that contact number by heart.  Hence, even if that person’s entire eRolodex gets remote-wiped, they can still be reached by their now “good old friends”. So, with growing number portability and VOIP, employers will own and manage banks of mobile contact numbers (in addition to the URLs and emails they already tag-onto/under domain names), to prevent salesforce lead-bleed.

(ii) The growing ability, through advancing mobile device management (MDM) technologies to stop and start the delivery of emails, and to route and unroute calls to BYOD-enabled workers so that they are not troubled (into working costly overtime), outside the standard workday, will enable employers to more easily juggle the workflow between permanent and contract employees in different time-zones through disclosed/undisclosed jobsharing arrangements. Hence, less downtime in a new, cloud-enabled world of work-shifting, as opposed to shift-work.

See Tom Kaneshige, CIO.  Which Workers Are the Best Fit for BYOD?  Published on cio.com, May 14, 2013.  Online: >http://www.cio.com/article/733399/Which_Workers_Are_the_Best_Fit_for_BYOD_?taxonomyId=600007<

[22] IDC.  Quantitative Estimates of the Demand for Cloud Computing in Europe and the Likely Barriers to Up-take. SMART 2011/0045.  D4 – Final Report, at 30.  Published on ec.europa.eu, July 13, 2012.  Online: >http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/cloudcomputing/docs/quantitative_estimates.pdf<

[23] Id. at 9.

[24] Id. at 9.

[25] Marianne Kolding.  IDC White Paper.  Adoption of Cloud: Private Cloud is Current Flavour but Hybrid Cloud is Fast Becoming a Reality, at 1-2.  Published on Infosys.com, September, 2012.  Online: >http://www.infosys.com/cloud/features-opinions/Documents/hybrid-cloud-becoming-reality.pdf<

[26] Id. at 2.

[27] Id. at 3.

[28] Peter Brown and Leonard T. Nuara, Co-chairs.  Cloud Computing 2011: Cut Through the Fluff & Tackle the Critical Stuff.  Intellectual Property Course Handbook Series.  Number G-1055, at 49.  Published in 2011 by the Practicing Law Institute, New York (PLI).

[29] TechRepublic.  Executive’s Guide to Best practices in SAAS and the Cloud, at 14.  Published in “Whitepapers”, on ZDNet.com, March 2013.  Online: >http://www.zdnet.com/executive-guide-to-best-practices-in-saas-and-the-cloud-free-ebook-7000012032/< The author quotes Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

[30] World Economic Forum and INSEAD.  The Global Information Technology Report 2013: Growth and Jobs in a Hyperconnected WorldForeword by Cesare Mainardi, Chief Executive Officer, Booz and Company, at vii.  Published on weforum.org, 2013.  Online: >http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GITR_Report_2013.pdf<

The author takes care to point-out that while digitization brings benefits in both productivity and employment growth, there “may well come” a point of disequilibrium.  Similarly, there is a delicate balance to be found for the 3 (“three”) roles on the input matrix, being the roles of financier, facilitator, and direct developer.  Where and when the ratio is off, the national cake will not rise to meet the demand, or otherwise respond on command.

[31] See e.g. Guarav Kumar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Applications, Chitkara University, Rajpura, Punjab.  Career Guide: Career in Mobile Computing and Wireless Technology.  Published in Employment News Weekly, 25 May – 31 May, 2013, issue (No. 08), on employmentnews.gov.in.  Online: >http://www.employmentnews.gov.in/career_in_mobile.asp< This article and the sheer diversity of the career streams here listed provide a very clear idea of just how vast the mobile field now is, and promises to become.

[32] See e.g. Kara Swisher.  “Physically Together”: Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo for Remote Workers and Maybe More.  Published on allthingsd.com, February 22, 2013.  Online: >http://allthingsd.com/20130222/physically-together-heres-the-internal-yahoo-no-work-from-home-memo-which-extends-beyond-remote-workers/<

[33] American Society for Quality (ASQ).  Continuous Improvement.  Published on asq.org, at Continuous Improvement Model – Learning Resources.  Online: >http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/continuous-improvement/overview/overview.html<

[34] Id.

[35] Jonathan Huebner, Ph.D.  A possible declining trend for worldwide innovation.  Published 2005, in Technological Forecasting & Social Change 72 (2005) 980-986, at 981, on sciencedirect.com.  Online: > http://accelerating.org/articles/InnovationHuebnerTFSC2005.pdf<

 

There is a general consensus that technology is advancing exponentially, and that this advance will continue into the distant future. The basic assumption behind this view is that either there is no limit to technological advance, or if there is a limit, then we are far from reaching it.

[36] See Infra, note 41.

[37] Visa.  The Future of Technology and Payments report: More of the Same (2nd edition, printable version), at pp. 10-11.  Published by Visa, on visaeurope.com, April 24, 2013.  Online: >http://www.visaeurope.com/en/about_us/industry_insights/tech_trends.aspx<

“We therefore expect to see the progressive deployment of so-called Microelectromechanical systems (MEMs).  These minute devices, generally smaller than a square-millimetre, typically comprise of a microprocessor plus a sensor or actuator. Already, they are common components within consumer devices acting, for example, as accelerometers or gyroscopes. (…)”.

 

“For the future, the use of MEMs seems destined to become more widespread. More exotic sensors will become available (capable, for example, or checking blood pressure or glucose levels). Their proliferation could therefore enable the so-called “internet of things” (…). And, in the coming years, IBM holds out the prospect of a trillion connected d devices (…) – that equates to one hundred smart objects for every person on our planet”.

[38] Megan M. Kearney, Esq.  Faster Than the Speed of Law: Technological Advancements Generate a Host of Novel Legal Concerns.  Originally published in The Philadelphia Lawyer, Winter 2011, “Intellectual property law”, pepperlaw.com.  Online: >http://www.pepperlaw.com/pdfs/PhilaLawyer_Kearney.pdf<

[39] See e.g. Lucas Mearian, Computerworld.  The Time is Right for an ‘IT Petting Zoo’.  Published on cio.com, June 5, 2013.  Online: >http://www.cio.com/article/734452/The_Time_is_Right_for_an_IT_Petting_Zoo_?taxonomyId=600007<

[40] Canadian Manufacturing Daily Staff.  Ontario firm gets federal funding for wearable lithium-ion pack.  Published on canadianmanufacturing.com, April 23, 2013.  Online: >http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/general/ontario-firm-gets-federal-funding-for-wearable-lithium-ion-pack-101574<

[41] Fundación de la Innovación, Bankinter, and Accenture.  Future Trends Forum (FTF) Series, Number 15: The Internet of Things – In a Connected World of Smart Objects.  Chapter 3, at page 37.  Published on fundacionbankinter.org, in 2011.  Online: >http://www.fundacionbankinter.org/system/documents/8189/original/XV_FTF_Interneto_of_things.pdf

 

“More than half a century on from the days of mainframe computers that took up whole rooms, components are becoming smaller and smaller, enabling faster and more powerful computers to be developed. This physical layer occupies less space, making it easier to connect practically anything, anywhere, anytime. What we are seeing is the phenomenon of miniaturization”.

 

[42] Supra note 37.

[43] Toni Bowers.  IT needs to understand the move from BI to data analytics.  Published in “Tech Decision Maker”, on techrepublic.com, May 28, 2013.  Online: >http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-manager/it-needs-to-understand-the-move-from-bi-to-data-analytics/8277?tag=nl.e099&s_cid=e099&ttag=e099<

[44] Namir Anani, President and CEO of the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC).  Briefing – HUMA – Fixing The Skills Gap and Understanding the Labour Shortages.  Mr. Anani delivered this briefing in Ottawa, Canada, on April 4, 2012, before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.  Published on ictc-ctic.ca.  Online: >http://www.ictc-ctic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ICTC_HUMAPresentation_EN_04-12.pdf<

[45] See IBM.  Fast Track to the Future: The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report.  Published by the IBM Center for Applied Insights, on ibm.com, December, 2012.  Online: >https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/techtrends/?lang=en<

[46] Supra note 41, at 18.  Just as in an agricultural economy, the factors of production were land and labor, and in an industrial economy they were capital and labor, information has become the production factor of the twenty-first century”.

[47] Kerry Doyle, MBA.  IT Roles Facing Extinction.  Published globalknowledge.com, by Global Knowledge Training LLC, 2012.  Online: >http://images.globalknowledge.com/wwwimages/pdfs/SR_IT_Roles_Facing_Extinction.pdf<

[48] Id. at 3.  “Gone are the service technicians responsible for rewiring and maintenance.  UC makes those skills unnecessary.  In the future, one or two systems analysts will centrally handle communication implementation and flow from within the datacenter”.

[49] Id. at 4.  “Within organizations, gone are the traditional back-up and recovery skill sets which will be relegated to third-party providers”. (…)  “Gone are the technicians who relied on security standardization, procedures, and auditing”.

[50] Id. at 4.

[51] Brian Bloom.  IDC: Offshoring IT keeps Canadian firms competitive.  Published for Computing Canada in itworldcanada.com, June 14, 2012. The quotation is from Jason Trussell, senior vice-president and Canadian regional manager at iGate Inc.  Online: >http://www.itworldcanada.com/news/idc-offshoring-it-keeps-canadian-firms-competitive/145611<

[52] Stephen C. Ehrman, Ph.D.  Technology and Revolution in Education: Ending the Cycle of Failure.  Published in Liberal Education, Fall (2000) 40-49, at “Double Double Toil and Trouble: Moore’s Law”.  This penultimate draft of the final article is available through The TLT Group (Teaching, Learning, and Technology), on tltgroup.org.  Online: >http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/V_Cycle_of_Failure.html

RATIONALE:

I was recently reading the PWC/Digital IQ Report, entitled “2013 Top 10 Technology Trends for Business”,[1] when I deduced that something was missing.  Rather than say that the venerable PWC were wrong in omitting something (who am I?), I thought it better to perhaps bring my views to light with a separate but related story; hence this blog post with a title that plays-on that of the PWC Report.

The PWC/Digital IQ Report identifies and presents those 2013, top 10 tech. trends for business, as: (1) Pervasive computing; (2) Cybersecurity; (3) Big Data mining and analysis; (4) Private Cloud; (5) Enterprise social networking; (6) Digital delivery of products and services; (7) Public Cloud infrastructure; (8) Data visualization; (9) Simulation and scenario modeling; and (10) Gamification.[2]

IDENTIFICATION:

One might say that these are, each and all, complete in and of themselves.  However, the additional trends for consumers that they inspire, should, I feel, be presented as either:

(a) additional trends (numbered 11 through 15) for businesses (considering the business-to-consumer/business-to-business implications and possibilities); or

(b) as separate & distinct (numbered one through five), consumer specific trends.

These 5, are: (v) Accelerated lived experience; (w) BYOD; (x) Crowdsourcing; (y) Distance education; and (z) End-User legal authority/license autonomy/leveraged ability (EULA3, or cubed).  Hence, choosing (b) – presented as separate and distinct, consumer-specific trends, I detail them below.

SPECIFICS:

Accelerated Lived Experience:

(v) The speed at which information now moves has led to an accelerated lived experience, for everyone.  Anything and everything posted in a social media setting can be shared instantaneously, with millions of people all over the world.  And, once something is released into the wild of the web, it can “never” be taken back.  Legally, there are archives of webpages, tweets, blogs, pictures, videos, and postings – even the deleted ones – kept by licensed players within the internet superstructure; technically, there are vast storehouses (server farms) sifting through everything that is uploaded to, sent across, and downloaded from the internet by many governments around the world, and their functionaries; and individually and collectively, people and groups – both criminal and law-abiding – can surf, send, and select for download or copy/paste at their pleasure.  We are almost at a stage of constant reaction to external initiators, and always on the lookout for the next trending thing with heightened anxiety, heart rates, and hyper-dilated pupils.  The jolt of electricity from AC/DC (alternate current/direct current) is now equated by the constant, (almost intravenous in some case for those who cannot turn-off or put-down the smartphone), stimulus experienced by the always connected/always online (AC/AO) generation.

BYOD:

(w) Bring Your Own Device, is the new policy in an increasing number of workplaces, that allows employees to bring their own devices to work, or use them remotely for work.  Despite the real dangers of allowing sometimes uncleared (inherently unsecure, or running old and unpatched operating systems), incompatible (incorrectly configured), or unnecessarily vulnerable (inadequate virus and spyware protections, or already loaded with exploits-in-waiting) tech. tools to connect and send to, and source valuable personal data, customer information, intellectual property and trade secrets from, a work network, this trend is likely to continue.[3]  BYOD has the potential to enable significant savings for the organization in not having to constantly acquire, distribute, and manage ever newer devices for its sometimes vast army of employees.  However, it can also import liabilities for anything from: failing to properly train employees in, monitor, and enforce a responsible BYOD usage policy – along with a social media usage policy; negative publicity in employee pushback against the employer’s attempts to overly-regulate their private use of private property, despite its incidental business application; and legal exposure in preventable data breach, or employee loss of personal data on an unsecured device that was misplaced or stolen.  Should the employer’s insurer or the employee’s insurer pay for the ensuing liabilities when a personal laptop, used for business, is lost or stolen when an employee is on vacation (or stress leave), but finishing-off some work?

Crowdsourcing:

(x) Having so many people, in so many different places, with myriad perspectives and experiences, enables a whole new world of crowdsourcing.  This can range from personal networking sites that allow one to rapidly get information on a specific subject from a variety of sources or thought and knowledge leaders; through groups, blogs, and list serves that are more targeted and which people join or subscribe to at their pleasure; to news media sites that invite people to post their images, videos, or opinions on a variety of current and historical issues, or disasters and other developing events of significance.  Of course, there is no guarantee that some or all such crowd sources are correct, accurate, or honest.  There have also been instances of late, involving “massaged” evidence; old footage from somewhere else presented as current footage from a hot location; and cases in which people with their own agendas have either directly impersonated, or hacked the accounts and credentials of others – not to mention those “crashing” glitzy events who could easily be mistaken for legitimate participants, if presented with the right caption to an unwitting audience (not aware of, or even so far gone as to not believe), the original footage.  Crowd-sourced “fodder” is best taken with a good dose of skepticism, and at least a little salt; lest one join the ranks of those who are so easily fooled, all of the time.  On the converse side, business use of crowdsourcing within the organization may defeat itself if not properly managed. The digital suggestion box, if too full, will see management applying that very same filtering-type software, already adept at sniffing through servers full of resumes, to sift through and sort the suggestions.  Good ones, as always, may still be filtered-out by the wrong or imprecise Big Data analytical tools.

Distance Education:

(y) This trend, thankfully, is not quite as controversial.  However, the accreditation and quality of an increasing collection of online courses, degree and certificate programs, and institutions, is a fast-developing concern.  Accredited Professionals who cannot always travel so easily to attend presentations they need for continuing education credits or that are otherwise of interest to them, can more conveniently sit and watch the webcast, or listen to the teleconference from the comfort of their own homes and offices; or even when on the road (to the extent, of course, that it does not lead them into distracted driving, boating, flying, riding, or otherwise).  As technology continues to develop and regulatory accreditation issues and concerns are resolved, this trend can only continue; including, of course, greater use of learning-on-demand, (like already pervasive delivery of video and audio content on-demand), as digitized in a Cloud for later, multi-taneous,[4] ever-replicable access.   Additionally, education need not be so formal, as someone can gain knowledge from virtually any video, blog post, or seminar – posted from anywhere and available everywhere (that does not have filtering or blocked sites) that they find online in their own identified field of pre-existing, related, or newly-created interest.

End-User Legal Authority/ License Autonomy/ Leveraged Ability (EULA3, or cubed):

(z) In the olden days (dating myself a little here), computer software was released and “sent” by snail-mail in shrink-wrapped packages.  Opening the package constituted acceptance of the manufacturer/ publisher End-User License Agreement (EULA).  Once you had broken the shrink-wrap packaging, it could prove difficult to impossible, to say that you had not accepted the EULA, or to try to return the software and get a refund if you had not otherwise fulfilled the warranty requirements, where they even existed.  Then, with the growth of online commerce/eCommerce, this turned into a click-wrap scenario, which still exists, somewhat.  By clicking on the appropriate “I accept” box or boxes, you accept the terms of use, EULA, and other conditions and prerequisites to download the software, access the site, utilize the online service, fully activate a device, or register its warranty, as appropriate.  Today, we have an increasing prevalence of shareware with licenses that are not quite free, but in the creative commons (too detailed for fuller presentation here); we have devices that are sold as locked but that can be unlocked – whether or not legally; contract hackers and programmers who work for a fee are available online, or through friends-of-friends; and stolen devices still under contract or EULA can be relatively easily wiped of data, re-programmed, and re-purposed with new Sim (Subscriber Identity Module) cards or software; whether right next door or on the other side of the world.

Users and developers of shareware, including “apps.” available for download and use on various trusted and not so trusted sites, now have added and significant legal authority to use and further develop or customize them (screensavers, fonts, skins, and avatars)  to their own liking.

Those using un-locked devices – howsoever obtained – have a significant degree of license autonomy, as they can be free from multi-year contracts; they can sometimes be free from geographic restrictions on where they can use their smartphones or play their DVDs; and they can also be free (whether through active choice or by default setting, depending on the jurisdiction) from having add-ons bundled with initial programs (EU), from having their location automatically tracked by the service provider (opt-out), and from the compulsory download of automatic updates that may conflict with programs and applications installed on the device since its initial purchase or acquisition.  Of course, an original purchaser would already have known of the manufacturer/developer caveat that the item might not work as originally envisaged if automatic updates were not accepted.  However, the later purchaser or recipient of dubious propriety, might have the device wiped and/or locked, and/or tagged on him or her when searching for an update online.  Life as lived in a certain way, will always have its risks, for those who dare there stay!

The increasing online prevalence of tools and technologies enabling groups to collaborate, individuals to innovate, and everyone to share almost anything from everywhere, with everyone at any time, provides us all with significant leveraged ability.  This has ranged from simple apps. (for almost anything thinkable and unthinkable); through online groups, archives, fora, encyclopedias, and societies (ditto); to the ever-expanding plethora of additionally leveraging SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and NaaS[5] offerings.

END-STATE:

Control once held by the manufacturer and copyright holder over the consumer and what he or she could legitimately do with the former’s intellectual property has been reduced, in cases to zero; this massive Shift of power to the consumer from the variety of choices, service options, and delivery channels available to them and in constant competition for market share; has now served to virtually Delete the EULA as once known, with end-users experiencing significant legal authority, license autonomy, and leveraged ability.  “No contract”; “unlocked”; “number portability”; “free wifi”; “roaming included”; “unlimited data package”- these are the new and standard terms, now!!

Apparently, these terms are all here to stay (and get even better in favour of the now-empowered consumer), to the extent that data-flows and internet flexibility are not slowly or suddenly throttled by sometimes competing security and IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) interests, and so long as PWCs 2013 Top 10 Technology Trends for Business[6] continue to enable & expand these 2013 Top 5 Technology Trends for Consumers that I have identified above, in this post.

************************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with over a decade of legal experience including business law and counseling (business formation, outsourcing, commercial leasing, healthcare privacy, Cloud applications, social media, and Cybersecurity); diverse litigation, as well as ADR; and regulatory practice (planning and zoning, environmental controls, landlord and tenant, and GRC – governance, risk, and compliance investigations, audits, and counseling) in both Canada and the United States.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.). Please See: http://www.ogalaws.com

He is an experienced strategic and management consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Please See: http://www.simprime-ca.com

Backed by courses in management, organizational behaviour, and micro-organizational behaviour, Mr. George is also a writer, tweeter and blogger (as time permits), and a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.


[1] PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.  Digital IQ – 2013 Top 10 Technology Trends for Business.  Results of the 5th Annual, PwC Digital IQ Survey.  Published on pwc.com, in 2013.  Online: >http://www.pwc.com/us/en/advisory/2013-digital-iq-survey/top-10-technology-trends-for-business.jhtml<

[2] Id.

[3] See e.g. Ekundayo George.  What about hospital BYOD?  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, October 7, 2012.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/med-tech-byod-is-really-catching-on/<

[4] I have not seen the word used in this specific context before, and so I thought I might as well use it here.  It stands for “simultaneous access in multiple locations on multiple platforms or devices”; as possible through an intermediary Cloud Services Provider with a high and demonstrably reliable SLA, given industry outages to date, or a robust private/hybrid Cloud capable of running multiple and adequately buffered instances at once – providing the user (read thin- or rich- “client device”), can access adequate bandwidth and memory (as applicable), and a stable power supply.

[5] See e.g. Ekundayo George.  Data Protection and Retention in the Cloud: Getting it Right.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, March 11, 2013.  I further define these 4 (“four”) SaaS service offerings here, at notes 1 through 5 and accompanying text.  Online: > https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/data-protection-and-retention-in-the-cloud-getting-it-right/<

[6] Supra note 1.

This blog post has taken a while to write, for those of you who have been watching the empty “pending” tab for some time.  For newcomers: welcome!  I will try to keep it brief. (*For part 1 of this series, please see: http://www.ogalaws.wordpress.com/issues-counseling/).

INTRODUCTION.

The Eurozone remains in deep crisis,[1] an extended period of further Global Economic Stagnation is a significant possibility,[2] economic recovery in the United States has long remained on shaky ground despite occasional gains,[3] and substantially everywhere else and anywhere else you look, either things are slowing,[4] or a storm of tension is rising just below the surface calm[5] – at least, so it seems to the naked eye.  There are pockets of prosperity, apart from the billionaires who in America want to pay a fairer tax share just like the everyday worker[6] (being more often than not the “willing and able, available potential worker”, nowadays), but who in Europe and especially France,[7] want no part of this; and there are also areas of opportunity for the bold, the nimble, and the plain old imaginative who refuse to stay or remain as one of the crowd under such a cloud of despondency.  This is not to belittle or ridicule the very serious situation of those who have lost their homes, cannot afford medical treatment or medications, have lost relationships and families, or have just lost hope in a better future, or any meaningful future.  Yes, things are a mess; but should we lose hope now, when – “the Occupy Movement” aside[8] – the whole world is not at war with itself?  There have been two World Wars in recent memory, and myriad Proxy Wars, Civil Wars, border disputes, skirmishes, Operations Other than War, and both high and low-level “tests of wills” (or “games of chicken”, if you insist), since that time; and not once, not even during a near-nuclear test of wills in the Cuban Missile Crisis,[9] was all hope fully lost.  Mankind as a group and in sub-groups, has a time-tested tendency to be ingenious, resilient, and stubborn; especially in the face of what many a reasonable onlooker would call simply insurmountable odds, and often succeed.  So, let’s get to it!

CONTEXT.

First, we review the context on three levels – federal, state/provincial, and private sector.

Federal.

The jobs market and poverty rates are directly and inversely related, for as the former goes down,[10] the latter must go up,[11] and vice-versa.  At the same time, we know that an economy moves on money, both in cash and through credit.  Unfortunately, all of the jobs needed, worldwide, cannot be created by U.S., Chinese, or even European stimulus alone[12] when banks around the world are caught in the tricky situation of heeding regulatory calls for more lending, while also raising and maintaining lending standards to avoid another credit fiasco.[13]  As for local businesses?  Some have long hoarded cash.[14]  Fewer people buying all around due to lack of disposable income from tighter wages; fewer people employed in the first place; and fewer businesses spending on anything but the barest minimum, create a very complex mix for anyone trying to balance their books.

State/Province.

State and federal governments[15] are sometimes accused of having a lackadaisical attitude to the totality of the situation.  Even in Ontario, the province appears to be stagnant and lacking direction as the host province for a federal government that has promised to make 19,000 of its employees redundant,[16] and with a provincial government – also battling deficits[17] – that has a leadership crisis.[18]

However, political leaders occasionally also get accolades for their dogged determination and willingness to do whatever they feel is necessary to get things moving, again, and to keep them moving in a growth direction.[19]  Once in a while, though, you can still hear a strident plea to not put short-term politics ahead of the long-term good of the people.[20]

Private Sector.

Individuals and employers on both sides of the border, are understandably quite hesitant to make any large capital outlays or expenditures because of these public sector considerations.  As a result, U.S.[21] and Canadian hiring and general confidence[22] in the economy remain depressed, U.S.[23] and Canadian holiday sales were down,[24] and Canadian holiday travel was substantially hampered by bad weather and power outages,[25] which undoubtedly made a good number of people just stay at home.  Now that the Fiscal Cliff brinksmanship in the United States is over, there still remain many known and still to arise or be realized options to further exacerbate or attenuate the mass malaise.

THE CORE AREAS.

Having taken the time to seek-out trends, constants, and changing paradigms, S’imprime-ça[26] (the wholly-owned, management and strategic consulting subsidiary of George Law Offices), has considered and chosen 8 (“eight”) core areas in which one might consider concentrating, in order to survive and even thrive, in any sustained economic slump.  A truly global listing of examples is somewhat beyond the scope of this wee blog; ergo, I shall concentrate this treatment on the United States of America, with a focus on hot spots and clusters of hot spots by location, such as in the State of New Jersey.  Admittedly, parallels can doubtless be found in many other places both within and outside the North American continent.  Some examples may be dated, some proposed projects may also have since been cancelled.  Nevertheless, we list them here because they are still valid, and remain quite relevant.  These 8, which spell “LESS MUST”, are:

(a)    On a predominantly Macro-level:

•Leveraging;

•Exigencies;

•Stimulus; and

•Security.

(b) On a predominantly Micro-level:

•Maintenance;

•Upgrading;

•Sustenance; and

•TeleTransport.

Macro-Level:

Although the elements at this level may appear to be implemented at a macro-level, it is their impetus or ultimate intention that stems from the micro- or individual level.

Leveraging, as initiated by the person or an individual entity, is generally brought about as a means for it to ultimately gain some macro-level advantage.

Exigencies, or emergent situations that spur massive increases in spending, tend to come as a result of environmental or technological disasters that require cleanup; care for the displaced, deceased, and dispossessed; and reconstruction of damaged or destroyed protective measures, or fabrication and installation of additional protective measures.

Stimulus is a recurring topic of late, as the need to get individuals on the move and back to work at the micro-level, leads to top-down policies at the macro-level.

Finally, increased spending on Security, for example results from larger, and external structural changes such as rising unemployment, some heightened sense of general insecurity, overall – such as due to recent, tragic, and well-publicized incidents of extreme firearms violence – or greater competitive and other pressures (including through economic espionage and simply having ever-more valuable intellectual property to protect).

Leveraging.

The wrong thing to do with downtime is to remain idle, especially when that time could be leveraged to your advantage.  Education might be an option, if you have the desire and ability to benefit from any free or discounted[27] educational options – whether in your field or in a field that might become yours, if given the opportunity to appeal to you – or options tied to education, such as student discount bundles and programs.  There has also been a significant upsurge in the number and quality of blogs, as large numbers of people find they have greater time on their hands and realize that this is a way to: (a) market their knowledge and aptitudes on a budget; (b) educate themselves and keep up their research and writing skills; and (c) do something useful and fun in their down-time.

With regard to a business, use the slowdown to take a critical look at your operations and explore options to enhance your organizational efficiencies and economies of scale.[28]  Software developers can always write and promote programs and utilities to make something either faster and more streamlined through outsourcing,[29] or more fun,[30] as inspired by something they thought-up or came across when they “apparently” had nothing better to do.  Inspiration can hit at any time, for individuals.  And, those (staying alert and attuned) who can offer some value-added services related to public sector makeup,[31] or private sector break-up,[32] can also find openings to do what they do best.

Other leveraging examples we saw included several in tied-marketing, such as loss leaders,[33] the pre “like” version of targeted and reactive online advertising,[34] lenders helping their client businesses compete for and win government contracts,[35] businesses taking their tangible and visible products directly to the cautious consumer in a knowledge-based economy,[36] construction companies training and assisting their competitor builders (and potential sub-contractors),[37] and co-located complementary product lines.[38]  To make shopping and spending easier, retailers in recent years revived and encouraged layaway purchase options – long disused due to immediate cashflow needs.[39]

Unlike Mission Creep, which is the often ill-advised expansion of job scope to unfamiliar areas with less than stellar results, Category Capture is the expansion of service offerings to better or more fully make available the diversity of services that one’s clients do or might eventually need.  One example of this is the purchase by Avis Budget Group Inc., a rental car industry leader, of Zipcar Inc., a pioneer in the fledgling but rapidly growing market for car sharing services.[40]  If you can’t beat them (or they are eating your lunch) …… then buy them!

Exigencies.

Both Hurricane Irene of August, 2011, and Hurricane Sandy of October, 2012, led to significant clean-up and recovery efforts, and costs.  Spending both during and after exigencies can bring much needed employment and other knock-on economic benefits,[41] especially for those individuals and entities who are the top or sole providers of some specialized element needed for that exigency – like oil dispersants for a marine oil spill.[42]

Stimulus.

Federal, provincial, and state examples of stimulus abound, whether or not as successful as originally planned, and they are simply far too numerous and diverse to list here.

Security.

Spending in this area can include build-outs, which require the recruitment of skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen; actual systems and products supplied by vendors both large and small; and specialized service and integration contracts[43] or hardening,[44] which will involve highly-skilled technicians and consultants – often with high security clearances and several years of past experience in the military or security field before branching-out on their own, or coming back into government as contractors on a modified pay-grade.

Micro-Level:

Similarly, these micro-level actions tend to have macro-level impacts.

Maintenance, whether of products, or functionalities, or service levels, is noticed more in its absence.  Bad maintenance of infrastructure can lead to fatalities and liability, in sinkholes, collapsed bridges and parking garages, and falling building facades, as just some of the examples from recent stories in the U.S. and Canadian news media.

Upgrading, which is an immediate and local action, tends to have a distant and more widespread result, as the facility, individual, or entity is primed and set to move on and thereby benefit from, future opportunities as they are noticed and become available.

Sustenance, is a permanent opportunity as people will always eat to function – whether real food, rations or specially formulated pills as food, or intravenous cocktails.

Once upon a time, people traveled more in search of work, because they had to physically mail or drop a resume.  Then, fax and email reduced that need.  Now, social media and old school websites, online videos, and so much more, all act as interactive resumes, and people travel even less.  Add to this, internet accessibility on the go through Smartphones, Tablets, and so forth, along with the ability to telecommute, and people hardly ever need to leave home for work.  Hence, the tech. of TeleTransport, is now one.

Maintenance.

Maintaining infrastructure is a constant challenge, whether bridges, tunnels, roads, utilities, or even municipal services which are all a part of the “enabling” mosaic that one can describe as infrastructure in a post-classical sense.  Without properly functioning depots, terminals, ports,[45] and airports, commerce and life get seriously stuck in the mud.

Upgrading.

Wise leaders will thus strive to keep their infrastructure up to date and up to the task, including offering encouragement and incentives for people and businesses to take advantage of such enhanced functionalities as smart meters,[46] and clean technologies like windmills[47] and solar energy,[48] in order to enhance their service levels and overall energy-efficiency.[49]  Unfortunately, it is not all actual and aspiring vendors – even the first-movers – in these areas that will sail through to the promised or perpetual prosperity,[50] and so an abundance of caution coupled with a good and flexible plan, are both very strongly advised.[51]

Sustenance.

Whether this is a soup kitchen feeding an ever-growing torrent of the economically disadvantaged, a restaurant or a diner with a steady or faltering clientele, or a farmer trying to get the produce to market while it is still fresh, food is quite unlikely to go out of style.  However, major investments should always be preceded by good market research and feasibility studies, because entering a business with prices that are too high for that local market or too low to cover what needs to be covered, will likely create major issues.  Yes, you can start a business during a recession, but must have (and heed) the right advice.

TeleTransport.

The theory of TeleTransport was for it to take over.  However, persistently high rates of unemployment in Europe and the Americas have brought back all of those direct resume drops and needs for travel.  People trying to conserve valuable funds during the jobsearch will try to take public transport whenever possible, avoiding high fuel costs and parking fees (or fines).  Vendors and providers of local transportation may see some seasonal fluctuations.  However, there will likely not be any total drop-off, due to the constant need.  Vendors and providers of more distant travel, as we have seen from the airlines, will face steeper and more sustained economic challenges as fewer people take vacations.

Telephone and internet providers (one and the same with VOIP) saw a boost in business because those who properly leverage their access time to the internet – whether in paid, personal monthly service subscriptions or at a library or internet café – are more interested in securing and sustaining their access to affordable and efficient telecommunications services.  Due to the tested adage that change is constant, however, portable hotspots now let those with a smartphones or tablets and minimalist or unlimited plans, roam ever further away from “one place” or “fixed space” online access providers.

Of course, some jobs will always need physical relocation and cannot be done remotely.[52]

CONCLUSION.

Whether finding a niche, converting your business model or personal pitch, or managing change astutely, it is always important to create and perfect the most sustainable mix that fits best with your own skills and abilities, preferences, timeframe(s), and temperament.

There is a way!  One must stay active on multiple fronts (jobsearch, keeping skills sets sharp, and self-promotion or work creation – in horizon scanning and keeping a keen eye on 1 or more of these 8 listed areas); while also watching your general health and fitness, and stress levels, so as not to melt-down for lack of energy, or give-up, for lack of hope.

Wishing a happy and successful 2013, to all.

******************************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with over a decade of legal experience including business law and counseling (business formation, outsourcing, commercial leasing, healthcare privacy, Cloud applications, and Cybersecurity); diverse litigation, as well as ADR; and regulatory practice (planning and zoning, environmental controls, landlord and tenant, and GRC – governance, risk, and compliance investigations, audits, and counseling) in both Canada and the United States.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.). See: http://www.ogalaws.com

He is an experienced strategic and management consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  See: http://www.simprime-ca.com

Backed by courses in management, organizational behaviour, and micro-organizational behaviour, Mr. George is also a writer, tweeter and blogger (as time permits), and a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.


[1] Margo D. Beller.  Europe Needs More Than Cash: Deutsche Bank CEO.  Published on CNBC.com, October 14, 2011.  Online: > http://www.cnbc.com/id/44908372<

[2] Patrick Allen.  Goldman Sachs Sees 40% Risk of Great Stagnation.  Published on CNBC.com, September 29, 2011.  Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/44713332/Goldman_Sachs_Sees_40_Risk_of_Great_Stagnation<

[3] BBC.  U.S. retail sales in strong September growth.  Published on BBC.com, October 14, 2011.  Online:>http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15310997<; See also Pedro da Costa and Mark Felsenthal, for Reuters.  U.S. recovery ‘close to faltering’: Bernanke. Published on Financialpost.com, October 4, 2011.  Online: >http://business.financialpost.com/2011/10/04/bernanke-says-fed-ready-to-step-in/<

[4] See e.g. Heather Stewart.  Chinese hard landing won’t help western economies: China’s exports may be in decline – which is not the economic good news that some might think.  Published on theguardian.co.uk, October 16, 2011.  Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/16/china-exports-decline-hard-landing<

[5] Pankaj Mishra.  The dead end of globalisation looms before our youth.  Even in the west there is little chance of stable jobs or affordable education. Across the world the rage will grow.  Published in theguardian.co.uk, August 25, 2011.  Online: >  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/25/dead-end-globalisation-youth-rage<;  See also Ha-Joon Chang.  The Bric countries can’t save us: The emerging economies won’t prevent worldwide stagnation. The rich world must abandon its 18th-century ideas.  Published in theguardian.co.uk, October 11, 2011.  Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/11/global-recession-leaders-must-act?INTCMP=SRCH<

[6] Amy Bingham.  Warren Buffett Tells Congress To Raise Taxes On Wealthy.  Published on abcnews.com, August 15, 2011.  Online: >http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/warren-buffett-raise-taxes-wealthy-friends/story?id=14307993&singlePage=true<

[7] Jamie Dettmer.  France’s rich are fleeing the country – With a Socialist president in charge and dramatic tax hikes looming, they’re taking their money–and splitting.  Published on macleans.ca, Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  Online: > http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/09/04/take-the-money-and-run/<

[8] Mark Townsend and Lisa O’Carroll.  Occupy’ anti-capitalism protests spread around the world: Thousands march in Rome, Sydney and Madrid as Occupy Wall Street protests go global.  Published on theguardian.co.uk, October 15, 2011.   Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/16/occupy-protests-europe-london-assange<

[9] See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis.  Lasting in total from October 14, 1962, to November 20, 1962, “The Cuban Missile Crisis”, as it was and remains known in the United States of America and one portion of the Cold War world (i.e. NATO and the former Non-Aligned countries, then classified by General Charles de Gaulle as “First World” and “Third World”, respectively, before these two terms became generally misunderstood and widely misapplied), was also called “The October Crisis”, in Cuba, and “The Caribbean Crisis”, in Russia (i.e. former Warsaw Pact countries: de Gaulle’s “Second World”, which lay on the other side of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain dividing Europe into East and West).

[10] John Goodman.  Why The U.S. Job Market Remains Terribly Bleak.  Published on  forbes.com, November 15, 2012.  Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2012/11/15/why-the-u-s-job-market-remains-terribly-bleak/<

[11] The Associated Press.  U.S. poverty rate increases to 1 in 6 people.  Published on nj.com, September 13, 2011.  Online: >http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/us_poverty_rate_increases_to_1.html#incart_mce<

[12] Constantine Gardner.  Marc Faber still sees global recession in 2013, says stimulus has impoverished the U.S.  Published on bi-me.com, August 25, 2012.  Online: >http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=59005&t=1&cg=4<

[13] Paul Hannon.  BOE Member Warns on Forced Bank Lending.  Published on wsj.com, November 13, 2012.  Online: >http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324556304578116561769116762.html<; See also Stephen McMahon.  RBA warns Australia’s major banks to ignore temptation to cut lending standards and write riskier loans.  Published on heraldsun.com, September 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.heraldsun.com.au/money/banking/rba-warns-australias-major-banks-to-ignore-temptation-to-cut-lending-standards-and-write-riskier-loans/story-e6frfh5o-1226481411832 <

[14] Eliot Caroom/The Star Ledger.  Fearful of economy, N.J.-based companies sit on large piles of money.  Published on nj.com, Tuesday, August 9, 2011.  Online: >http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/fearful_of_economcy_nj-based_c.html<

[15] Andrew Kitchenman.  Business issues are relegated to back burner in Statehouse – Christie: Pro-industry priorities pushed back until close of lame-duck session.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 12, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110912/NJBIZ01/110919996/Business-issues-are-relegated-to-back-burner-in-Statehouse<; See also NBC News staff and wire reports.  Bipartisan outrage after House skips vote on $60 billion Sandy aid bill.  Published on nbcnews.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/02/16295303-bipartisan-outrage-after-house-skips-vote-on-60-billion-sandy-aid-bill?lite<

[16] Joanna Smith.  Federal budget 2012: Conservatives to cut 19,000 public service jobs. Published on torontostar.com, Ottawa Bureau, March 30, 2012.  Online: >http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1153804–federal-budget-2012-conservatives-to-cut-19-000-public-service-jobs<

[17]See e.g. Linda Nguyen, Post Media News.  Blunt Drummond report urges tough cuts to eliminate Ontario’s deficit.  Published on canada.com, February 16, 2012.  Online: >http://www.canada.com/news/Blunt+report+urges+tough+cuts+eliminate+Ontario+deficit/6162868/story.html<

[18] Ontario’s Premier, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, announced his resignation in mid-October, 2012, but the party will not choose a new leader until January, 2013, at the earliest.  See CBC News.  Ontario Liberal Leader Hopeful Wants To Avoid Quick Election.  Published on huffingtonpost.ca, December 24, 2012.  Online: >http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/24/ontario-liberal-leader-ho_n_2360056.html<

[19] John Froonjian.  New Jersey Senate committees approve 10 job-creation bills.  Published on pressofatlanticcity.com, Monday, September 19, 2011.  Online: >http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/new_jersey/new-jersey-senate-committees-approve-job-creation-bills/article_353ee640-e31d-11e0-bfe4-001cc4c03286.html<; See also Erik Bernstein.  Bloomberg Scores with Sandy Crisis Management.  Published on business2community.com, December 3, 2012.  Online: >http://www.business2community.com/strategy/bloomberg-scores-with-sandy-crisis-management-0347032<

[20] Mark Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario (GPO).  Ontario needs responsible leadership, not partisan brinksmanship.  Submitted by Jaymini Bhikha on the GPO.ca website, Wednesday, 2012-06-20.   Online: >http://www.gpo.ca/statement/ontario-needs-responsible-leadership-not-partisan-brinksmanship<

[21] Steve Hargreaves.  August jobs report: Hiring slows, unemployment falls.  Published on CNNMoney, September 7, 2012.  Online: >http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/07/news/economy/august-jobs-report/index.html<  As the author succinctly writes, the combination of slowed hiring with falling unemployment can only result from one thing: “[t]he unemployment rate fell largely because 368,000 people stopped looking for work, many of them young people”.  But See Katie Eder.  Federal data: Hiring continues at slow, steady pace.  Published on NJBIZ.com, January 4, 2013.  >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20130104/NJBIZ01/130109928/-1/enews_dailyT5<  Recent U.S. Jobs numbers were recently revised upwards, with renewed projections for the year ahead.

[22] See contra CBC News.  Canada’s jobless rate drops to 4-year low – Ontario cranks out 33,000 new jobs in December.  Published on cbcnews, January 4, 2013.  >http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/01/04/business-jobs-canada.html<  The latest Canadian job numbers show an uptick in some sectors, but with strong regional differences.  However, for a fuller assessment of general Canadian economic confidence levels and other factors, see Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW).  How are Canadians Really doing?  The 2012 CIW Report.  Published on the website of the University of Waterloo, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, October 23, 2012.  Online: >https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/sites/ca.canadian-index-wellbeing/files/uploads/files/CIW2012-HowAreCanadiansReallyDoing-23Oct2012_0.pdf<

[23] Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Jessica Wohl.  U.S. retailers scramble after lackluster holiday sales.  Published on Reuters.com, Wednesday, December 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/26/us-usa-retail-holiday-idUSBRE8BL03G20121226<

[24] Guy Dixon.  Holiday season a let-down for retailers.  Published on the Globe and Mail.com, Thursday, December 27, 2012.  Online: >http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/holiday-season-a-let-down-for-retailers/article6756666/<

[25] CBC News.  Holiday travel a wintry mess in Quebec, central Ontario – Thousands without power after heavy, wet snow topples power lines.  Published on CBCNews, December 22, 2012.  Online: >http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/12/22/weather-canada-winter.html<

[26] S’imprime-ça (Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc.) is the management and strategic consulting side of George Law Offices that maintains relationships with a diversity of professionals in multiple jurisdictions to enable rapid team formation, remote work – or TeleTransport – and surge capacity as needed.  The letters I-M-P-R-I-M-E denote its core focal areas of: “Investigations; Media effectiveness, audit, and tracking; Public relations, and brand management; Regulatory and government affairs, governance, and shareholder and analyst communications; Issues counseling; Management consulting; and Effective lead and opportunity marketing”.  To learn more, please visit us at: http://www.simprime-ca.com

[27] Katie Eder.  Seton Hall extends tuition discount to top-tier law students.  Published on NJBIZ.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20130102/NJBIZ01/130109975/0/1792137269/Seton-Hall-extends-tuition-discount-to-top-tier-law-students<; See also Annamaria Andriotis.  15 Colleges Offering Tuition Discounts – A growing number of private colleges and universities are offering discounted tuition and other ways to save.  Published on smartmoney.com, September 30, 2011.  Online: >http://www.smartmoney.com/borrow/student-loans/15-colleges-offering-tuition-discounts-1317348321248/<

[28] Marti C. Daks.  Weathering the economic storm – Promotional products company sees growth by reducing costs, outsourcing and combining multiple warehouse functions.  Published August 8, 2011 on NJBiz.com.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110808/NJBIZ01/110809Promotional products company sees growth by reducing costs, outsourcing and combining multiple warehouse functions909/-1/enews_NorthJersey<

[29] Melinda Caliendo.  In nod to payroll industry, Jamesburg firm aims to get bills out of mailbox.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 6, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110906/NJBIZ01/110909929/-1/enews_dailyt1<

[30] Melinda Caliendo.  Terracycle taps Facebook game to encourage connection with consumers.  Posted on NJBIZ.com, July 13, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110713/NJBIZ01/110719961/-1/enews_dailyT4<

[31] United Press International, Inc.  N.J.’s two Princetons finally become one.  Published on UPI.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2013/01/02/NJs-two-Princetons-finally-become-one/UPI-98911357106580/< Princeton Borough and Princeton Township expect  to achieve major savings and efficiencies from their long-awaited merger.

[32] Reuters.  Tyco Shareholders Approve Three Way Breakup.  Published on reuters.com, Monday, 17 September, 2012.  Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/49059140/Tyco_Shareholders_Approve_Three_Way_Breakup<

[33] Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Staff Writer.  PMN offers tablet computers with apps subscriptions.  Published on philly.com, September 14, 2011.  Online: >http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-14/business/30149785_1_philadelphia-media-network-tablet-market-tablet-offer<; See also The Times Digital.  Get a Nexus 7 for just £50 when you subscribe to The Times.  Published on  times.co.uk, December 1, 2012.  Online: >http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/digital/article3615541.ece<

[34] Melinda Caliendo.  Instant feedback creates a sophisticated online advertiser.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 12, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110912/NJBIZ01/110919986/Instant-feedback-creates-a-sophisticated-online-advertiser<

[35] Melinda Caliendo.  Helping small businesses land government contracts.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 12, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110812/NJBIZ01/110819924/-1/enews_dailyT3<

[36] Melinda Caliendo.  Xerox opens graphic showroom to woo business clients.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 16, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110816/NJBIZ01/110819897/-1/enews_dailyT4<

[37] Melinda Caliendo.  Skanska offers bids training to smaller builders.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 13, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110913/NJBIZ01/110919941/-1/enews_dailyt5<

[38] Joan Verdon, Staff writer, The Record.  Toys, Babies, perfect together, says Toys “R” Us.  Published on northjersey.com, Tuesday, August 23, 2011.  Online: >http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/128227603_More_combination_Toys__Babies_stores.html<; See also note 40 and accompanying text, as this is also an example of ”Category Capture”

[39] Melinda Caliendo.  Toys R Us, other retailers hope layaway offers strengthen Christmas sales.  Published on NJBIZ.com, October 6, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20111006/NJBIZ01/111009908/0/spotlight/Toys-R-Us-other-retailers-hope-layaway-offers-strengthen-Christmas-sales<; See also Jane Taguciana.  Is buying on layaway making a comeback?  Published on theglobeandmail.com, Monday, November 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/is-buying-on-layaway-making-a-comeback/article5567036/?service=print<

[40] The Associated Press.  Car rental company Avis Budget Group purchasing Zipcar in a deal worth nearly $500 million.  Published on WashingtonPost.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/car-rental-company-avis-budget-group-purchasing-zipcar-in-a-deal-worth-nearly-500-million/2013/01/02/f9c2d58a-54d2-11e2-89de-76c1c54b1418_story.html<

[41] Beth Fitzgerald. Economists find silver lining to Irene’s storm clouds.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 29, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110829/NJBIZ01/110829874/-1/enews_dailyT1<; See also Edgar Sandoval/New York Daily News.  Hurricane Sandy silver lining for thousands of unemployed New Yorkers?  New jobs cleaning up the mess left by storm – Gov. Cuomo has set aside $27 million from a federal grant to hire more than 5,000 New Yorkers to help clean and rebuild their own neighborhoods.  Published on nydailynews.com, November 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hurricane-sandy-silver-lining-thousands-unemployed-nyers-article-1.1208003<

[42] Jessica Resnick Ault.  Little Nalco Will Benefit from BP’s Spill.  Published on businessweek.com, May 13, 2010.  Online: >http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_21/b4179019975403.htm<

[43] Melinda Caliendo.  Honeywell lands $450M contract to service NASA satellites.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 7, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110907/NJBIZ01/110909910/-1/enews_dailyT2<

[44] New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA).  Schumer, NYSBA Announce Critical Counterterrorism Upgrades for 5 Hudson Valley Bridges – Schumer Helped Secure Millions of Dollars.  Published on nysba.state.ny.us, June 25, 2010.  Online: >http://www.nysba.state.ny.us/index%20page/2010%20Media%20Release%20Pages/062510.html<

[45]See e.g. NJBIZ.  Port Newark Container Terminal breaks ground on $500M expansion.  Published on NJBIZ.com, on July 27, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110727/NJBIZ01/110729892/-1/enews_NorthJersey<

[46] Ontario Energy Board.  Smart Meters and Time-of-use (TOU) Prices.  Page last updated on November 28, 2012.   Online: >http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Electricity/Smart%20Meters<

[47] Joel Landau, Staff writer.  Atlantic County considering possible locations for windmills in Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township.  Published on pressofatlanticcity.com, Sunday, September 18, 2011, and last updated Monday, September 19, 2011.  Online: >http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/atlantic/atlantic-county-considering-possible-locations-for-windmills-in-atlantic-city/article_77fcf100-e24d-11e0-bdb4-001cc4c03286.html<  I do concede, though, that subsequent effects of Hurricanes Rita and Sandy, may well have caused a rethink of this plan.

[48] Melinda Caliendo.  St. Peter’s announces large solar project to power three sites.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 15, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110915/NJBIZ01/110919886/-1/enews_dailyT2<

[49] Beth Fitzgerald.  South Jersey medical center unveils $1.89M in energy-efficient upgrades.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 1, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110901/NJBIZ01/110909987/-1/enews_dailyT4<

[50] Mike Taugher and Peter Delevett, McClatchy Newspapers, The Record.  Solar energy company collapse a worrisome sign for ’green-tech’ hopes.  Published on northjersey.com, September 4, 2011.  Online: >http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/129205743_Failure_of_solar_company_is_worrisome_for_U_S__green-tech_industry.html<

[51] For an example of one cautious company in the industry with a good and flexible plan and foresight, See Martin C. Daks.  Long-range planning drives long-term growth – Road construction company boosts revenue by remaining flexible, preparing for future.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 29, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110829/NJBIZ01/110829901/Long-range-planning-drives-l…9/6/2011Comment%7CE-mail%7CPrint%7CLike0August29.20113:00AMLon<

[52] Liza Jansen, special for CNBC.com.  Young, Hopeless Europeans Flock to Former Colonies.  Published on CNBC.com, Friday, 2 November, 2012.  Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/49642514/Young_Hopeless_Europeans_Flock_to_Former_Colonies<

SWOT is outdated.

The standing paradigm for assessing business strategies and situations is the SWOT analysis, which considers Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  This model is outdated, due to the speed at which business now operates, the diversity of potential influences and influencers that now be considered, and the increasing super-complexity of consumer, competition, and climate for business.

Multidisciplinary “BLITS”, a necessity.

In addition and as a result, any new paradigm must approach and pursue the many questions of modern business with a combination of business, legal, industry, technical, and strategic knowledge, skills, and abilities in order to properly occupy the field and turn over all of the stones that need to be so turned.

SSBSS must be merged.

To date, experts, academics, practitioners, and business leaders have further duplicated and convoluted approaches to the creation and evaluation of business strategy by using many different terms to say what is essentially the same thing; or squeezing ever more diverse content into each of these different terms.  We call those leading options, the “Seven Smart Business Strategy Sisters” (SSBSS), and they are:

  1. Business Intelligence (mostly technical and statistical methods for data mining, benchmarking, and predictive analysis);
  2. Competitive Intelligence (mostly the who, where, what are they doing, and how are they doing it, with regard to competitors);
  3. Market Intelligence (essentially, knowing the market in terms of maturity, trends, and the like);
  4. Knowledge Management (essentially, having a good grip on what you know and how best to use it, what you do not know, and what you need to find out including its urgency level);
  5. Best Practices (revolving around training, industry and regulatory standards, and the like);
  6. Due Diligence (being scruples in ethics and corporate social responsibility; proper and adequate target scrutiny before a merger or acquisition; and proper and adequate corporate security protocols, to guard against harms);
  7. Contingency Planning (is guarding against extraordinary events: in the business process, due to environmental or regulatory complication, and due to third-party or other influences).

Ten Concentric and Co-central Corners (TOP Analysis).

What we have developed, then, is an analytical tool that covers ten concentric and co-central corners, or a TOP Analysis that properly contains, correlates, and contradistinguishes as appropriate, the Terrain, the Operations, and the Players with regard to business strategy, as follows.

“T” for Terrain.

At the four principal compass points and bounding the model’s remaining 6 points, we place the 4 Ts of Terrain: to the North, South, East, and West.

“O” for Operations.

Forming a trilateral pyramid with the base down, we have the Operations; being Overseers and Operations at the base, and Outliers at the apex.

Operations (business processes), includes marketing, manufacturing, recruiting, raising financing, restructuring, and research and development.

Overseers (government and governance), includes general and competition laws and regulations, ethics and corporate governance, and the regulators themselves.

Outliers (special events), includes scenarios and modeling that considers environmental, product, industry, and contingent events, whether foreseeable or remote, in the business planning and hardening process.

“P” for Players.

Forming an inverted trilateral pyramid with its base-up, and intersecting the “O” pyramid to form a star, we have the Players; being the Product at that inverted apex, and the Population and Players at the inverted base.

Product (good or service), will also consider planning, placement, promotions and projections.

Population (the market), which can be anywhere and anytime in the current system of “absolute competition” filled with competing products, competing markets both physical and virtual, and proprietary technologies, will also consider channels, selections, segmentation, seniority, and differentiation; along with consumer-specific choices, locations, abilities, and tastes.

Players (the competition), will consider competitors, partners, predators, and companies standing-by).

Further Portfolio analysis, Life-cycle analysis, Anticipatory analysis, Implication analysis, and Demandanalysis, can likewise be applied  to each Operations element, each Players element, and each Terrain element, respectively.

 

Summary.

The TOP Analysis promises to be a better and significantly more comprehensive means to get the job done, in helping you adroitly navigate changing times and paradigms to further leverage your success.  Oh yes, about the four “T”s: you will learn of those when we assist you in applying the analysis :–)

 

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with experience in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory practice.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.).  See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.

Mr. George is also an experienced strategic consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on large, high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders, large budgets, and multidisciplinary teams.  See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

As an avid reader, writer and blogger Ekundayo George is a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices or Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (S’imprime-ça), in whole or in part for their content, or accuracy, or availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.

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