Disaster Recovery

Because information technology is now integrated in most businesses, a business continuity plan (BCP) cannot be complete without a corresponding disaster recovery plan (DRP). While a BCP encompasses everything needed – personnel, facilities, communications, processes and IT infrastructure – for a continuous delivery of products and services, a DRP is more focused on the IT aspects of the plan.

If you’re still not sure how big an impact loss of data can have, it’s time you pondered on the survival statistics of companies that incurred data losses after getting hit by a major disaster: 46% never recovered and 51% eventually folded after only two years.

Realising how damaging data loss can be to their entire business, most large enterprises allocate no less than 2% of their IT budget to disaster recovery planning. Those with more sensitive data apportion twice more than that.

A sound disaster recovery plan is hinged on the principles of business continuity. As such, our DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) blueprints are aimed at getting your IT system up and running in no time. Here’s what we can do for you:

  • Since the number one turn-off against BCPs and DRPs are their price tags, we’ll make a thorough and realistic assessment of possible risks to determine what specific methods need to be applied to your organisation and make sure you don’t spend more than you should.
  • Provide an option for virtualisation to enjoy substantial savings on disaster recovery costs.
  • Provide various backup options and suggest schedules and practices most suitable for your daily transactions.
  • Offer data replication to help you achieve business continuity with the shortest allowable downtime.
  • Refer to your overall BCP to determine your organisation’s critical functions, services, and products as well as their respective priority rankings to know what corresponding IT processes need to be in place first.
  • Implement IT Security to your system to reduce the risks associated with malware and hackers.
  • Introduce best practices to make future disaster recovery efforts as seamless as possible.

We can also assist you with the following:

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What is Servitisation?

In the current generation, innovation has transformed industries, businesses, economies, and livelihoods. Those who’ve accepted to embrace the changes have prospered and remained afloat and relevant in their respective industries.?

However, failure to embrace change has seen companies like Blockbuster pushed out of business by more innovative and technology-oriented companies like Netflix.?

What does this tell you?

That the only way to stay in business, despite the many challenges your business could be facing, is to remain alert to the dynamic demands of customers, many of which are dictated by technological advancements.?

So, if you’re a manufacturer and you’re keen on diving deeper into technology to stay on top of the game and beat your competition, you must also be expectant of the fast-approaching servitisation-centred economy. Companies like Rolls Royce that have already embraced servitisation are making great gains in their areas of expertise.?

What is Servitisation?

Servitisation can be defined as the transformation of a manufacturing firm from the mere offering of products to the market to providing innovative and invaluable services alongside their products. By so doing, the sale becomes an ongoing engagement and not a one-off event. Cranfield University professors call it “the innovation of an organisation’s capabilities and processes to better create mutual value through a shift from selling a product to selling product-service systems.”?

As foreign as it may seem for some professionals, servitisation has been a need that, though not embraced, its demand remains evident. Nonetheless, firms have hesitated to implement it. Shifting from manufacturing products only to incorporating product-centric services alongside the products is not a walk in the park. It boils down to completely changing the company’s entire structure and processes.

All the same, change is never comfortable, and that’s why it’s always best to focus on the positive for motivation.

Servitisation Case Study

Some manufacturing firms have already embraced servitisation, and they’re reaping big from it. They’ve understood the benefits of offering more value to customers at less cost. What Rolls Royce is doing currently with its “power-by-the-hour” program is a good example of servitisation.

Instead of selling Aero Engines and letting customers take charge of maintenance and uptime, Rolls-Royce now offers a full package that includes a product and relevant services.?

Essentially, what the company is creating is an intimate and long-term relationship with its customers.

The total care package by Rolls Royce means it’s essentially renting out its engines to customers and monitoring data for potential maintenance needs. The plan guarantees that maintenance is only done when necessary and avoidable damage detected in good time. As a result, there is a clear reduction in the overall cost.

Initially, Rolls Royce would make money by basically selling and repairing engines. That meant that the worse the engines, the more repairs required and the more the money the company would make.?

However, things changed when the company realised there is no demand for a product that’s constantly in the repair shop. That prompted Rolls Royce to embrace servitisation.

Servitisation aligns the interests of the customer and those of the manufacturer to ensure everyone benefits. Rolls Royce has been offering this package to airlines since 2010, and the company has seen significant returns as a result.

Benefits

There are several benefits of incorporating servitisation into your manufacturing firm. Below are three of the strongest benefits

  • Financial Stability– Servitisation establishes a more secure revenue stream because of the long term connection between manufacturer and customer. This also translates to loyal customers, meaning more profit.
  • Strong Customer Retention Rate– Being more experienced about the equipment and the constant tracking and monitoring that comes with servitisation; manufacturers are realising that they can keep more customers.
  • Selling a Solution And a Product– Today customers are not just looking to buy a product, instead, they want both the product and the solution to their problem. Meaning you make more money for the product you manufacture and the service you offer to your customers.

Implementation of Servitisation in the Industry

To effectively implement servitisation, there must be an effective two-way flow of information and data in the supply chain. Meaning you may require software like FieldElite for scalable condition monitoring of performance. With FieldElite, for example, servitisation is made easier for you because it enables you to monitor the performance of your assets remotely.

Maintenance and monitoring of assets were traditionally very expensive and time-consuming until the arrival of intelligent software that makes work easier and cost-effective for manufacturers. FieldElite uses advanced learning algorithms to remotely automate the entire process, allowing you to detect, in real-time, the performance and need for maintenance on your asset.

Required Organisational Changes

A few important steps include;

Companies that invest in continuous training and development always have a more competitive edge than their counterparts. Meaning an important step towards servitisation is training the workforce. This is important, considering that the company structure, focus, and process will have to change.

Set up a team that is focused on the challenge, change, and creation. With this, you can easily adjust to industry changes. The team should always work on knowing what should be adjusted and when it should be.?

In the shift to servitisation, adopting a comprehensive service technology is an important step. Such service technology software includes FieldElite. This technology will ensure that you’re able to monitor your product in real-time, meaning you can maintain good performance for as long as possible.

Because servitisation essentially focuses on the customer, take time to study customer behaviour. Knowing what your customers need and want will help you remain relevant in the industry.

Conclusion

As the demand for more benefits and long-lasting relationships with dealers grow, so is the need for manufacturers to adjust. Hence more and more manufacturing companies are leaning towards embracing servitisation as a solution to the growing demand.?

In turn, manufacturers who’re attaching service contracts to their product sales are making more than those who remain stuck in the traditional approach to sales.?

Essentially, servitisation will ensure that, as a manufacturer, you remain relevant to your customers now and in years to come. This is a much better arrangement in terms of saving costs and making more returns. Remember to be successful, you have to be flexible enough to change with demand.

What is work force management?

For organisations to ensure they provide the right service.  In order to do they need to assign the right employees with the right skills to the right job at the right time to meet demand.

Workforce Management Background

Workforce management (WFM) is a strategy used by companies to increase their efficiency and performance. It entails all activities aimed at maintaining a steady output, such as human resource management, forecasting, field service management, budgeting, scheduling, performance and training management, analytics, recruitment and data collection.

Workforce management utilizes a unique set of performance enhancing tools and software to bolster corporate management, workers, and other categories of managers and supervisors in the manufacturing team, distribution, transportation, and retail operators. This is sometimes called HRM systems, or part of ERP systems, or workforce asset management.

Unlike the conventional outlay that only needed staff scheduling to improve time management, workforce management is now all-inclusive and demand-oriented to optimize staff scheduling. Apart from focusing on demand-orientation and optimization, workforce management also incorporates:

  • Estimating the workload and resource utilisation
  • Job scheduling
  • Management of working times and accounts
  • Monitoring the process of workforce management

Each task should be clearly defined and performed efficiently based on set engineering standards and methods of optimizing each task as much as possible. Out of this framework and demand based forecasts, workers are scheduled and given tasks, performance measured, give feedback, and incentives computed and paid.

Workforce management is an entire scheme aimed at building the capacity of workers, increase productivity and client relations, and where possible reduce labour costs.

What is Mobile Workforce Management (MWM)

Mobile workforce management (MWM) is a software-based service used to oversee employees outside of the institution?s premises; MWM sometimes refers to the field teams. Mobile workforce management encompasses all activities done to monitor and schedule the field workforce.

The entire process includes procurement, management and using mobile devices, applications and computer software. Related support services like tracking, logging, dispatch, productivity management, and other types of communication are also to make it efficient.

Companies do not have the same needs and MWM firms need to fine-tune their software and devices to sufficiently bridge this gap. Some providers are suited only to a specific type of company because of specialization, like managing the electric grid. This experience makes the MWM company suited to provide applications that are relevant to the company for them to continue operating smoothly and efficiently.

With the increase in mobile devices, applications, secured wireless networks and virtual desktop, there comes a stream of opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and other ventures. Nevertheless, a mobile workforce needs better controls, security and support, as well as a functioning mobile workforce management strategy.

MMS (managed mobility services) is often used interchangeably with MWM, but they should not be confused. MWM is related to software and applications used by mobile and computer devices to manage on-field work while MMS focuses on enterprises, and is like a way of keeping in touch with the company, other employees, and linking the mobile while at work to servers and the database.

Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management

MWM allows the utilization of technology to drive productivity. Here are the top five advantages of MWM..

  1. Customer focused. The customer is the backbone of any business. The team needs to keep in touch with up-to-date information about every interaction. In the end, better client relation makes sure that the customer is always happy.
  2. Information has the power to build or destroy. A cloud-based system is easier to manage and can help with collection of data which is used to make business decisions. This can help cut costs, increase the workforce support, and identify areas where polishing needs to be done.
  3. Improved efficiency. Mobile workforce management is majorly used in taskforce allocation. If the company adopts a cloud-based work force management system, allocation is done automatically saving a lot of time.
  4. Increased revenue. Each business seeks to maximize the profit. With cloud-based mobile workforce management some operations like task management, data analysis, customer communication, reporting, and performance monitoring can be automated. This reduces the costs incurred for multiple applications and saves time.
  5. Ease of communication. Communication is vital. Constant communication with customers drives sales rates and everyone loves that. Quick communication will help customers solve their problems faster and get instant feedback.

Additional WFM benefits

 Other WFM benefits are:

  • Operations are made efficient as all complex processes are automated.
  • Employers learn more about worker engagement, productivity and attendance, allowing them to modify training, coaching and processes aimed at streamlining performance.
  • Automation and easy manipulation of data to improve HR, productivity and slash administrative costs.
  • It increases employee productivity by reducing absenteeism and late arrivals.
  • Boosts the morale of employees by encouraging transparency and facilitating manager-employee communication.
  • WFM analyzes market and schedule requirements to pick the right employee with the best set of skills for a certain task.

Companies which embrace workforce management and mobile workforce management have a higher operational efficiency. They have lower operational costs and limit manual work as much as possible

How To Get Started with your IT Compliance Efforts for SOX

There’s no question about it. For many of you top executives in the corporate world, all roads leading to a brighter future have to go through SOX compliance. And because the business processes that contribute to financial reporting (the crux of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) are now highly reliant on IT systems, it is important to focus a good part of your attention there.

It is a long and arduous path to IT compliance, so if you don’t want your company to fall by the wayside due to inefficient utilisation of resources, it is important to set out with a plan on hand. What we have here are some vital information that will guide you in putting together a sound plan for SOX compliance of your company?s IT systems.

Why focus on IT systems for SOX compliance?

We’ll get to that. But first, let’s take up the specific portions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that affect information technology. These portions can be found in Section 302 and Section 404 of the act.

In simplified form, Section 302 grants the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) authority to come up with rules requiring you, CEOs and CFOs, to certify in each annual or quarterly financial report the following:

  • that you have reviewed the report;
  • that based on your knowledge, the report does not contain anything or leave out anything that would render it misleading;
  • that based on your knowledge, all financial information in the report fairly represent the financial conditions of the company;
  • that you are responsible for establishing internal controls over financial reporting; and
  • that you have assessed the effectiveness of the internal controls.

Similarly, Section 404, stated in simplified form, allows the SEC to come up with rules requiring you, CEOs and CFOs, to add an internal control report to each annual financial report stating that you are responsible for establishing internal controls over financial reporting.

You are also required to assess the effectiveness of those controls and to have a public accounting firm to attest to your assessment based upon standards adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

While there is no mention of IT systems, IT systems now play a significant role in financial reporting. Practically all of the data you need for your financial reports are stored, retrieved and processed on IT systems, so you really have to include them in your SOX compliance initiatives and establish controls on them.

Now that that’s settled, your next question could very well be: How do you know what controls to install and whether those controls are already sufficient to achieve compliance?

Finding a suitable guide for IT compliance

The two bodies responsible for setting rules and standards dealing with SOX, SEC and PCAOB, point to a well-established control framework for guidance – COSO. This framework was drafted by the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) and is the most widely accepted control framework in the business world.

However, while COSO is a tested and proven framework, it is more suitable for general controls. What we recommend is a widely-used control framework that aligns well with COSO but also caters to the more technical features and issues that come with IT systems.

Taking into consideration those qualifiers, we recommend COBIT. COBIT features a well thought out collection of IT-related control objectives grouped into four domains: Plan and Organise (PO), Acquire and Implement (AI), Deliver and Support (DS), and Monitor and Evaluate (ME). The document also includes maturity models, performance goals and metrics, and activity goals.

A few examples of COBIt’s detailed control objectives are:

DS4.2 – IT Continuity Plans
DS4.9 – Offsite Backup Storage
DS5.4 – User Account Management
DS5.8 – Cryptographic Key Management
DS5.10 – Network Security
DS5.11 – Exchange of Sensitive Data

By those titles alone, you can see that the framework is specifically designed for IT. But the document is quite extensive and, chances are, you won’t need all of the items detailed there. Furthermore, don’t expect COBIT to specify a control solution controls for every control objective. For example, throughout the control objective DS4 (Ensure Continuous Service), you won’t find any mention of virtualisation, which is common in any modern business continuity solution.

Basically, COBIT will tell you what you need to attain in order to achieve effective governance, management and control, but you’ll have to pick the solution best suited to reach that level of attainment.

Articles highly relevant to the one you just read:

Month End Accounting The Way It Should Be Today
Spreadsheet Woes ? Burden in SOX Compliance and Other Regulations
Spreadsheet Woes ? Limited Features For Easy Adoption of a Control Framework
How Internal Auditors Can Win The War Against Spreadsheet Fraud

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