EMC picks up European Best Workplace Award

EMC has been recognised as one of Europe’s Best Multinational Workplaces in the Best Workplaces 2015 awards announced last week. Every year the Great Place to Work Institute surveys some 6,000 organisations around the world to find companies that encourage workplace cultures of high trust and engagement. Due to the success of EMC’s operations in 12 national Best Workplace rankings across Europe, the company ranked an impressive second out of a field of 25 multinationals.

Ever since EMC came 19th in the 2012 awards, its ranking in these prestigious employer awards has improved year on year. This shows the strength and quality of EMC’s people, from senior leadership setting the strategy and direction to the employees on the front line. EMC’s EMEA President, Adrian McDonald said: ‘A key factor of EMC’s success is our focus on building our strength as an employer and creating the kind of workplace that attracts and retains the best talent, talent which focuses on meeting customers’ needs by helping them optimise their existing infrastructures and build new ones.”

Head to the career page to learn more about the company and what it’s like to work for EMC.

Study reveals: A highly demanding ‘Information Generation’

Are today’s youth our most demanding customers? We worked with Opinium to investigate and speak with 18-24 year olds in the UK & Ireland. What was unearthed was a lack of brand loyalty when providers can’t meet their needs.

Born in the era of the internet, todays ‘Information Generation’ is very much immersed in social media and the use of ‘smart’ phones. In our study they have shown demanding requirements over their suppliers across retail, financial services and technology, media and entertainment sectors. Control over personal data is their biggest concern: 54% of respondents suggest they’d switch providers if their current one didn’t give them control over their personal data.

Out of all three sectors surveyed, the financial services industry seems to face the greatest pressure when it comes to customer loyalty: 58% of 18-24 year olds would be willing to switch to a competitor if their current provider didn’t give them control over their personal data, marginally more than those that would switch if their provider suffered a data breach (53%), or didn’t provide mobile services e.g. via an App (40%).

Despite slightly stronger customer loyalty in the retail and technology, media and entertainment sector, the results still show a lack of loyalty to any one provider who can’t cater to the needs of today’s Information Generation. 57% in retail and 51% in tech, media and entertainment would switch suppliers, if their current provider didn’t give them control over their personal data. Moreover, 53% in retail would switch if their provider suffers a data breach compared with 47% in tech, media and entertainment.

The pressure facing businesses to cater for these consumers is becoming clear but how are they fairing in meeting those needs? In our next blog post we will a closer look at business leaders across 18 countries to find out how they are coping with fulfilling these demands.

How can we convince patients their data is safe?

Following news of patient data being sold, James Norman, UK Public Sector CIO, EMC, considers what’s required to change the perception of data use in healthcare.

This week’s news that medical records have been sold following data capture when claiming insurance or purchasing holidays or medical products is concerning to anyone who wants more transparency as to how their data is going to used. Equally, the news that NHS patient details have been sold after prescriptions were purchased online is hugely damaging to the data discussion in the healthcare sector. The reality is that there are huge opportunities for improving patient care and driving efficiencies in healthcare through better use of data, but stories such as these are damaging patient confidence and their likelihood to share data in the future.

Within the healthcare sector, data can be used to create a more predictive and personalised healthcare model; contributing significantly to medical research and a more positive patient experience.

Ultimately this can shift the NHS from an illness to a wellness model.

Informatics can now identify the risk factors that put the patient at high risk of developing a condition and help tackle it before it strikes. Monitoring patients using data can also dramatically improve care management. A recent report from EMC and Volterra highlighted the need for acceleration in the uptake of data analytics techniques and technologies to drive £16bn or more in efficiency savings to plug the NHS funding gap.

With all these potential benefits available to the healthcare sector, it’s crucial the discussion isn’t shut down before it’s even begun. It’s essential consumers understand how data can be used to benefit them and the wider population, rather than feeling as though their data is being used solely to aid sales and increase insurance premiums. As part of this, it’s crucial the government scrutinise legislation to ensure patient data is protected and to ensure a greater transparency around how data is being used in healthcare. The major challenge sits in providing proof points for data, leading to greater good and encouraging best practice across the entire healthcare sector.

The future of healthcare will require the right people to have access to patient’s data, with their consent, allowing them to provide appropriate care based on a full understanding of the patient’s history. This can drive real change in how we are able to predict and tackle health problems across the population, particularly around chronic diseases, and drive an efficient and effective health service in the UK.

Until that point, it’s down to the government and industry to tackle the data challenge together and convince patients that giving access to some of their personal data will be beneficial to the health of the nation and, ultimately, their own.

 

How close are you to deploying a hybrid cloud? Join the #HybridCloudChat

Ready, motivated, undecided – how close are you to deploying a hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud has been one of the industry’s biggest buzzwords for a few years now, and uptake is on the rise. However confusion around exactly what true hybrid cloud is and how it can be deployed remains. Recently EMC’s Vice President Global Services, Dinko Eror, debunked the top five hybrid cloud myths, and next week he is taking to Twitter to answer all your burning hybrid cloud questions.

So, where are you on your journey to the cloud? What is holding you back and what challenges do you face? Join Dinko and other EMC and industry experts in the #hybridcloudchat to discuss everything that is (and isn’t!) hybrid cloud on the 25th of March at 12:00 PM GMT.  We’ll cover common challenges and how to overcome them, and a professional illustrator will join us to bring your comments and questions to life, in real time!

Share any questions with us beforehand @emcuki , and don’t forget to join the #hybridcloudchat on March 25th!

Hybrid Cloud Chat Invite - FINAL_portrait

Data Protection Day – Taking Data Protection Seriously

We recently saw 9th annual international Data Protection Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of protecting personal data. Raising awareness and vigilance in is key amongst both businesses and individuals as 2014 not only saw a record number of data breaches, with some very high profile targets such as the Sony hacks, but was also rife with controversy concerning who has access to our data following a range of snooping revelations.

Results from our global data protection index study at the end of last year showed that businesses in the UK are losing out on £10.5 billion per year due to downtime and data-loss, with only 53% acknowledging data protection as being critical to the success of the business and only 22% fully confident they could recover systems and data today from all platforms. This is more alarming considering that two-thirds of organisations suffered from either unplanned systems downtime or data loss over the past year, with the average data-loss being equivalent to about 7 million e-mails.

EMC_Data_Country_UK

Of course, data protection requires time and investment, and businesses can’t protect everything. However, this just makes it even more important as it becomes an issue of managing risk and data, increasing the need for leadership and accountability, and the need for businesses to take it seriously.

And it’s not just businesses that need to take care.

For example, did you know how easy it is for hackers to access private information using free public Wi-Fi networks? In an experiment, it took a security expert just minutes to access e-mail and bank accounts details, and the ability to track people’s movements. There are some very interesting technologies coming out to help with security, such as biometric keyboards that can recognise the typing patterns of individual users, but these technologies aren’t yet widely available, and people still need to be vigilant when it comes to their data and devices.

Protecting information for Individuals and businesses is becoming an ever increasing priority – and this year’s data protection day was a clear reminder of the need to remain vigilant. The time for a ‘wait and see’ policy has certainly passed and businesses need to protect themselves now in order to make sure they’re not the next newsworthy target. Consumers also have a responsibility to protect themselves too. It’s about time we all united to make data protection a clear priority this year.

A Year of Financial Uncertainty

Said Tabet, Governance, Risk and Compliance Strategy lead at EMC asks, as we head into 2015, how can financial institutions reduce their risk?

Despite news that employment figures are still increasing, UK retail spend has bounced back and broader trends such as house sales continue to maintain a steady rhythm, so it may appear externally that the market is more stable than it has been for a number of years. Though this is true to an extent, stress tests from last month, which a number of UK institutions failed or came close to failing, along with the government targeting banks in the recent Autumn Statement, it’s safe to say that we’re not on even ground yet.

As we head into 2015, financial organisations need to get their ships in order and, in my opinion, this all centres around data and understanding risk. Here are my key themes for consideration as we go into next year:

  • Data: How much, at what cost and what quality?
    Digital pound - in textFinancial institutions of all sizes are looking to consume more and more data. While this is a general trend with ‘big data’, the use of “smart data” especially will be crucial in 2015. Essentially this takes into account that you need the right data at the right time (context) and relevant data (semantics) that is secure in order to succeed. Improving the productivity and performance of financial products will require discipline at the data level and we are moving more and more towards granular data. Financial institutions must be prepared for this and have measures in place to store, access and understand their data, in real-time.
  • Risk-based approach, still the way to go?
    Banks will continue to adopt a risk-based approach but as the markets start to improve, new innovations push the boundaries and new services emerge, we are going to see more and more of a balanced approach. This is all with the goal to satisfy shareholder requirements while being compliant. In a way, this model will help build a new view of compliance costs as an investment for the future of business. This is also emphasised by the need to develop and transform business processes. Loss of productivity can be measured through big data analytics and the ability to have near real-time relevant data and metadata will support this.
  • Risk will be managed at all levels and integrated with key data and metadata
    Risk is no longer about reporting. Risk management intelligence will be supported with better integration globally, particularly within large firms. The market as a whole is trying to better understand risk and prepare for potential pitfalls in the future, as demonstrated by recent stress tests. What’s concerning is that UK institutions are still falling short of industry expectations and measures, something which must be tackled, and quickly. There is a role for technology here, in ensuring that processes and access are allocated effectively.

2015 has the potential to be a crossroads for the UK economy. With likely changes in interest rates, along with possible changes in government, financial institutions need to be prepared for whatever the future may hold. Now is the time to put in place measures to ensure risk and data are prioritised.

 

 

IT as an enabler for business change – EMC Forum Survey

The trends of cloud, mobile, social and big data have fundamentally changed the expectations of consumers and end-users, affecting what is required and expected of IT departments. This much has become clear from our recent survey findings*, questioning IT decision makers in the UK for their perspective on IT’s role as an enabler of business change during the rise of these industry mega trends.

Jeremy Burton, President Products and Marketing, EMC Corporation, explains: “To remain relevant and competitive, businesses across every industry are reinventing their business models to handle unprecedented levels of access, interaction and scale. For this reason, IT finds itself back in the driver’s seat, morphing from cost center to a true catalyst for change through the use of cloud and big data technologies.”

Our survey results reflect this, as although creating efficiencies and reducing cost is still a priority for 60% of businesses, 70% of respondents see IT as a strategic business driver and 78% agree their organisation sees the increasing role of automation as critical to business growth.

Customer experience is a key factor, with 54% of respondents using cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies to improve customer experiences, and 53% seeing it as a top business priority. Organisations are making use of the technologies available to get their IT into shape by building new products and services (43%) and streamlining business functions and improving efficiencies (42%).

However, barriers will need to be overcome to achieve IT’s full potential, as 73% of respondents don’t believe IT has the skills to keep up in the next couple of years.

Take a look at more results from the survey below, and get in touch with any questions or comments on @emcuki.

 

IT is a Business Enabler

  • 70% of respondents in the UK report that their CXOs consider IT as a strategic lever to grow the business, now more than ever before.
  • The top three business priorities when implementing new technologies in organisations from the UK are: delivering savings and finding efficiencies (60%), enhancing the customer experience (53%) and automating processes (49%).
  • 78% of respondents in the UK agree that their organisation sees the increasing role of automation – such as software defined storage – as critical to business growth.

Taking advantage of the Mega Trends

  • 77% of respondents in the UK expect next-generation technologies such as mobile, social, cloud and big data to give their organisation a competitive advantage.
  • UK respondents say these new technologies will impact key aspects of the business, including: improving customer experience (54%), building new products and services (43%) and streamlining business functions and improving efficiencies (42%).
  • As businesses operate increasingly online today, 71% of respondents identified a need for joint public and private cloud services – hybrid cloud – as a means for greater agility and security.

Future of IT

  • 59% of respondents in the UK believe their organisation has the right level of skills and knowledge to complete business priorities successfully.
  • 73% believe it will be a challenge to have these skills keep up with the pace of IT innovation over the next 1-2 years
  • 70% of companies see IT as a business enabler, yet 43% of companies believe that spending for technology was outside IT’s control – indicating there is still work to do in gaining trust from decision makers.
  • 77% believe that the model IT department of the future will act as the in-house provider of on-demand services, including platform-as-a-service and public and private cloud.

*Collected during a non-mandatory questionnaire after completion of registration for the EMC Forum held in London on October 21, 2014. This research polled a total of 664 business and IT management and executives, technical architects, data scientists and storage/infrastructure managers from a range of UK businesses

Restoring confidence in UK data protection technology is vital

Last week, EMC launched its UK findings of their global Data Protection Index study at a media roundtable event on the 38th floor of the Gherkin. It was revealed that in the UK, £10.5 billion was lost per year due to downtime and data loss. In addition, 67% of organisations reported they had suffered disruption, up from 78% since the last study in 2011, while the average disruption causes 700GB of data loss – a significant amount that cannot be ignored.

Whilst up in the clouds, Chris Ratcliffe, SVP EMC Advanced Software Division, EMC and Kelly Brown, Senior Director DPAD Marketing Global, EMC discussed the effect on businesses of not having a secure data protection strategy in place. The study found that although, 25 hours was lost on average in the last year due to unplanned downtime, organisations are still spending less of their budget on recovery and data protection.

Data Protection Index

“If you don’t have a protection strategy in place, you may find that you don’t have the data you want to run things like analytics, business intelligence and Big Data”, says Kelly Brown. “IT can’t always be ‘sexy’; sometimes it has to focus on the slightly more practical side of what technology can do, in order to support the business, protect it from data loss and open up new revenue opportunities.”

The study looked at 24 different countries around the world and ranked them in order of their maturity with regards to data protection capabilities. The UK features very much in the middle of the rank, lagging behind the USA, China and the Netherlands.

John Bland, MD UK Sales at SCC concluded by looking at the emotional effect and executive behavior patterns behind data protection. He focused on the CIO agenda and explained that because data protection has become so integrated with other elements on the board agenda, the question becomes how you roll it into one business conversation.  “The CIO is becoming increasingly marginalized in the organisation as few people want to take the responsibility of ‘owning’ the company’s data” said Bland. “It won’t be long before Chief Digital Officers and the marketing teams are spending more on IT than their own IT department, without understanding the need to protect the data they are trying to work with.”

The rise in popularity of the cloud as a storage device and the use of mobile devices by company employees, mean data protection and back up is as big of an issue today as it ever was. The risk becomes greater as companies generate and store more and more data, and without a backup solution in place, businesses could be in real trouble should problems arise.

The audience heard how UK businesses need to increase their confidence in their own systems, but this can be tricky if there are delays to hardware upgrades, resulting in infrastructure that is more likely to fail. It’s startling that in this era, 78% of UK organisations are not confident that they can fully recover after a disruption. As budgets become tighter and tighter, delays in refreshing technology both at a hardware and software layer, only serves to further expose the risk of data loss.

Barely a day goes by without hacking and cybercrime filling the news agenda, so businesses are starting to invest in strategies and perimeters that can be put in place for protection. The same emphasis needs to be put into backup solutions so that if an attack were to break the perimeter, the company would have the effective data protection technologies in position to avoid too much loose of data or information.

Unfortunately the reality is probably more extreme than the results suggest, and whilst the number of data loss incidents is decreasing overall from 2011, the volume of data loss is growing exponentially and action needs to be taken quickly before the situation gets out of control.

How much data do people actually give away?

James Petter, Vice President and Country Manager for the UK and Ireland, EMC shares his thoughts on digital privacy. JP at Techmanifesto - square

2014 is stacking up to be a seminal year in online privacy. Fuelled by the debate in to government and business access to citizen information, the Information Commissioner’s Office recently revealed a 7.1 percent increase in the number of data complaints made between 2013 and 2014. It has also been the year that Edward Snowden urged people to upgrade their security measures in order to protect confidentiality; and earlier this year, the introduction of the “right to be forgotten” ruling stated that Google must delete inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant data from its search results when a member of the public requests it.

I recently submitted evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as part of its inquiry into social media data and real time analytics. As part of this, I discussed the topic of privacy and how I believe the debate has evolved. We recently commissioned some research to better understand consumer perception around privacy and the importance of protecting individuals against the benefits of convenient online commerce and social media. The study found that there was a global divergence of views around transparency, fairness, safe online behaviour and trustworthy use of personal data. In the UK specifically, 59 percent of respondents felt that they have less privacy now, compared to a year ago, whilst 52 percent reported that they have experienced a data breach.

The study suggests that people want the convenience and benefits of this fast moving technological world we live in, but without sacrificing privacy. Three distinct, yet intertwined privacy paradoxes emerged, each with powerful implications for consumers, businesses and technology providers as they consider the issue of digital privacy.

Paradox One: “We want it all”

Although people are using digital technology more frequently and place considerable value on the benefits offered, few say they are willing to trade their privacy for these benefits. Consumers in the UK were among the least willing (12th out of 15 countries) to sacrifice privacy for the benefits and convenience offered by technology, while people in India and China were much more inclined to share information in exchange for useful technology and services.

Paradox Two: “Take no Action”

While more than half of consumers have experienced a data breach where their privacy was potentially compromised, they are not taking basic measures to protect their information, such as changing passwords regularly and using password protection on mobile devices. Most believe it is the responsibility of the government, not the individual, to protect consumers’ privacy through the creation of laws and regulations. Further to this, there is a widespread lack of confidence in the organisations charged with protecting privacy, whether they are businesses or governments. With this pervasive mistrust in the organisations that are handling consumer data, there is a need for these institutions to take steps to improve internal processes and public perception around what they’re doing to protect privacy.

Paradox Three: “Social Sharing”

It is not new news that social media has exploded in popularity over the last few years and an overwhelming majority of consumers are actively sharing information via social media channels. More than 400 million Tweets were shared daily in 2012 and more than one billion share personal information on Facebook. 84 percent of consumers claim they don’t like anyone knowing anything about them or their habits, unless they make a decision themselves to share that information.

For consumers, the realisation that everyone is vulnerable hopefully reinforces the importance of increasing their awareness of privacy issues and to take personal action to protect their own privacy. For businesses, the imperative is to understand how varied customer perception is. Consumers are likely to engage in more online activities with institutions that demonstrate greater privacy protections – something that businesses and governments must not ignore. However, consumers need to also understand that using citizen data isn’t immediately insidious. The Office for National Statistics makes use of hundreds of data sets to guide and inform government decision making, and is planning to expand this in the future. Big data automates, creates efficiencies and offers huge potential to deliver significant economic and social benefits, such as higher growth, the next generation of public services, and billions in government efficiency savings.

All members of society – technologists, government, and citizens – can, and should, be more bullish about making this positive case for big data and analytics. All of us should do everything possible to increase levels of awareness and understanding in order to realise these benefits while continuing to protect individual rights and privacy. The rise in cloud computing and the use of big data to address society’s most urgent challenges will be accelerated with the protection of information assets and trust in the cloud. The winners and losers will be determined by those that demonstrate the most relevant and practical privacy practices to ensure the safety of data. It’s great to see that this issue is being considered by government, but it’s down to all of us to protect our privacy.

Has the public sector taken on the big data challenge?

James Petter, Vice President and Country Manager for the UK and Ireland, EMC shares his thoughts on how the public sector is approaching the big data challenge. 

Big data is a term which has been thrown around in recent years, but essentially it is an evolving expression that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information.

In my view, the real crux of whether something is big data or not is the ability to make decisions based on data insights, in real time. It’s the holy grail for most organisations – be they private or public sector – and could open the door to new revenue streams and stronger customer insights.

I was recently asked to give evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as part of its inquiry into social media data and real time analytics. I believe there are already great examples of what can be done in government through better use of data, but the reality is that we’re only scratching the surface. And it’s not just something for consideration by central government. Local authorities could benefit significantly from projects already in place and through implementing schemes on the ground to improve citizen services, streamline processes, better understand their working environment and save costs in the process.

A year ago in his Autumn Statement to Parliament, the Chancellor recognised big data as an area that warrants additional research and development funds in order to strengthen the UK’s competitive advantage. However, little seems to have changed on the ground in recent months. So where are the biggest opportunities across all areas of the public sector?

There are some pockets of innovation and good practice across UK government already, with some departments beginning to explore how they might apply big data analytics, and the benefits this could bring. Notable progress is being made in the healthcare arena, and I am also aware that other departments like the Ministry of Justice, HMRC and the Ministry of Defence, are examining the potential. But, there is certainly plenty of scope to take things further and faster across the whole of government.

For local government on the frontline of citizen services, big data represents a huge opportunity. Particularly around understanding citizen priorities and how healthcare and benefit payments in particular could be better allocated.

So what can and should be done now? In my view, the government could do more to help create a market for big data analysis by using its own data sets more creatively to transform services to benefit citizens and taxpayers. Government should also do more to support innovation by pooling, sharing and linking public and external data sources, and encourage collaboration, knowledge and skill sharing within and across government, as well as external bodies.

Local government also has a role to play, particularly in ensuring its data is captured and stored in a secure and accessible way and that insights are being gleaned from this data in order to make decisions around citizen services and internal processes. Small steps to maximise data insights now will ensure that local authorities are better placed to sync up with big data developments as they roll out across the public sector in the years to come. Those who make steps to prepare themselves now will be far better placed to succeed in the coming months and years.

The public sector is in danger of being outpaced in terms of its ability to handle and exploit big data. Clear leadership and a willingness to adopt a culture of change are needed if big data is to achieve its great potential, and this is true across all areas of government, both at a central and local level. Technology is no longer simply a back-office function and big data is something which we all need to be prepared to adopt, or risk missing out on the positive financial, operational and citizen opportunities which it presents.