Unused Technology Costs

How much does your organization spend each year on technology? Not just new technology but maintenance and subscription renewals as well?

 

If you’re a medium or enterprise-level corporation, it’s probably not an insignificant amount

 

For that matter, relatively speaking, a lot of small businesses can also point to technology as a good chunk of their operating expense

 

But now the more uncomfortable question…are you using all of that technology you’re paying for?

 

I was going through my invoices last week and realized that I’m still getting charged by our old hosting provider even though we moved our website to another platform several months ago

 

It’s a small monthly charge but, if I hadn’t caught it, who knows how long I would’ve kept paying those fees

 

Now imagine if that were to happen in a larger organization. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen in large organizations, there’s not much left for the imagination

 

A few years ago, we were doing some consulting work for a client who’d heavily invested in a premier financial platform that was running on their on-premise servers

 

They’d paid seven figures for the initial license fee plus a year’s worth of consulting for customization, implementation and testing

 

And every year since they’d been paying close to six figures for annual maintenance

 

During our review we noticed two invoices our client had received from the same software supplier

 

One was for the annual maintenance, but the second one was for annual subscription fees

 

What had happened was, during the year they were going through their implementation, the supplier released a cloud version of the same product

 

And got the finance department to sign up for a one-year subscription so that they could start using the software right away

 

With the idea being that everyone would get moved to the on-premise version when it went live

 

But that road from on-premise to cloud is usually a one-way street. Rarely do you see an organization go the other way

 

So they went live, but everyone kept using the cloud version

 

And because there was a disconnect between the business and IT, the subscription would auto-renew each year and finance would pay the renewal

 

At the same time, IT would get an annual maintenance invoice for the server-based version and that would get paid as well

 

Now I know that a lot of you are hearing this and thinking about a time when this might have happened in your organization

 

Or you’re wondering if it’s happening right now

 

Folks, it’s September, which means a lot of your IT contracts are going to be coming up for renewals

 

And if there’s ever been a year when it was absolutely critical that you only pay for what you’re using…it’s this year

 

If you’re going to survive 2020 and still be standing in 2021, you have to get a handle on your IT spend

 

But you’ll never be able to do that until you have a handle on your IT contracts

 

And that’s where I believe we stand head and shoulders above everyone in this space

 

Because I designed a platform that gives your procurement team everything they need to properly manage contracts…and they’ll do it for pennies on the dollar

 

So take 5 minutes to see how OneView works

 

And if you need some help with your year-end renewals, reach out to us. We can help with that too

 

Mohammed Faridy

[email protected]

 

 

 

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Immunity

 

No individual, no organization, no place is completely immune from some form of a disruptive event. Pandemics, epidemics, financial and government unrest, terrorism, on top of the myriad of natural disasters and the consequences of those events that countries, states, provinces, cities, large enterprise, and small/medium business all could experience.

With these disruptive events, all of the aforementioned entities have difficult decisions to make with regards to their investment into response (and to what level of response), what level of security, what level of operational capability do they need during and immediately after these type of events and others.

How do we reduce the impact of disruptive events?

Invest in enhancing resilience. Organizations require the ability to prepare and plan, absorb and recover for and from disruptive events.

Building resilience, maintaining resilience, staying resilient.

Being resilient, allows organizations to be better equipped to anticipate disruptive events with the expectation that losses are reduced.

Disruptive events will continue. A proactive approach to enhancing your organization’s resiliency will reduce the economic, reputational, and operational affects that disruptive events can cause.

It all starts with a conversation.

We can Help. We’ve helped organizations enhance their resiliency, and will continue to do so with a collaborative approach and transparent communication.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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Risk Complacency

Why should you have a cyclical strategy to your risk and security?

Risk Complacency. You run the risk of being complacent. The one man-made hazard that is probably the easiest to avoid and the largest threat to any sized business, organization, government, event, institution, and book club. Okay, maybe not the book club.

 

So, what happened?

It was quiet. It was nice, there was a sense of security. Unfortunately, that feeling is usually supplemented with a lack of awareness. A lack of awareness of threats, dangers to your organization, those deficiencies that slowly creep up but yet can quickly hammer down all the previous work.

Plan out the work to get your organization on a cyclical strategy to address, manage and mitigate your risk and security threats.

Once planned out. Execute the plan. Do what you say you are going to do…and don’t stop.

Need help? We can Help.

It starts with a conversation.

As we say…Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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Organizational Resiliency – What else is it good for?

What else does organizational resiliency do for the organization aside from being able to carry on during and after a disruptive event?

  • Reduces stress – it reduces stress in those managing and working prior to, during and after an event
  • Increase in trust and confidence – employees believe in the leadership, each other, and the plan to move through an event
  • Reduces absenteeism – people are comfortable and confident in the decision making of their peers and the responsibilities they have
  • Improvement in physical health and wellbeing – with strong mental health comes stronger and maintained physical health
  • Productivity increases – a happy workforce wants to produce
  • An alert workforce – reduction in accident and workplace injuries
  • Learning power – with overall personal health and wellbeing comes the drive, adaptability to learn and the willingness to be flexible in the event of change

There are other benefits to making your organization resilient that are not just about the bottom line.

We can help your organization in building your risk and security management program resiliency.

It starts with a conversation.

We can Help.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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How to Negotiate With Your Existing Suppliers

“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”

       Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

When it comes to negotiating with a supplier you know versus a supplier you don’t, the tendency is to prefer the one you have an existing relationship with.

 

There could be several reasons as to why this would make the most sense:

 

       Renewing an agreement for goods and services that are already being provided.

       Engaging a supplier who is already on site for time-sensitive work

       Leveraging pre-negotiated terms, conditions and/or pricing

 

However, these are not the most common reasons for businesses to prefer their incumbent suppliers to new ones.

 

The main reason we negotiate with incumbents is because we know them.

 

When I needed new tires I asked my mechanic what he would recommend, since he had been servicing my car for the last 6 years. Tires were not his specialty and I knew I would pay a premium by having him find and purchase the tires for me. But I also knew that he would recommend the best tires based on his knowledge of my car and the way I drive it.

 

Similarly, we tend to prefer looking to our incumbent suppliers for solutions to our problems because we feel that they will recommend what is best for our organization based on their knowledge and experience from having worked with us.

 

This makes complete sense, and in most cases would be the recommended approach. The goal should be to have 80% (or more) of your annual spend go through your top 20 suppliers.

 

But this should not mean that we forego the negotiation. A healthy supplier relationship is built not only on trust, but also on transparency and mutual benefit. Good suppliers understand this and are willing to open up discussions for a mutually beneficial agreement. The rest are looking to make a quick buck at their customer’s expense.

 

I recently had the good fortune and misfortune of representing a client in negotiations with two very well known software suppliers. The client had acquired another company through a divestiture and both suppliers were incumbents of the divested entity.

 

One supplier came to the table in the full spirit of partnership. Their team brought forth all of the knowledge they had gleaned over the years in licensing their products to the divested entity. They understood the architecture and proposed solutions that would allow my client to maximize their investment. They also provided industry insight that demonstrated an understanding of my client’s business beyond what their software did.

 

The other supplier pointed to their existing license agreement with the divested entity and stated that, since it did not allow for assignment of licenses, my client would need to re-purchase all of the licenses that were currently installed or face legal recourse.

 

In the end, we negotiated a short-term agreement with one supplier and established a longer-term strategic partnership with the other.

 

I will let you guess which supplier my client no longer uses.

 

Leveraging existing relationships doesn’t mean giving in to the incumbent’s demands, but rather negotiating mutually beneficial agreements with the suppliers that want to be true business partners and not just vendors that sell you things.

 

Have you recently negotiated with an incumbent supplier, or are you preparing to do so anytime soon? If so, I would love to hear about any challenges you’ve had to overcome or tips you may have for the rest of us.

 

OneView

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Redesigning The Way Your Company Works

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, play, and interact with our world. Whether your company is a single or multiple branch office operation, with industrial facilities or mobile public and field workers — developing a clear, concise program requires careful consideration and detailed risk and resource assessments.

Unique challenges require unique customized solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for businesses and workforces all across Canada. Public health departments, government leaders, and associations provide continual streams of information where business owners and executives must analyze this information to the best of their ability, providing direction in the creation of customized solutions for their business.

Barantas Inc. (Barantas) has remained focused on the core principles of prevention and safety services offering clarity and direction to company programs and operational procedure development.

Barantas can assist in any of the following key areas:

  • Business re-opening plans and implementation strategies
  • Operational redesign of workspace management
  • Worker inter-personal safety prevention programs and methodologies
  • Workforce programs for office, industrial, municipal and education sectors
  • Construction project-specific pandemic enhanced programs and inspections
  • Health and safety manual and policy development
  • Personal protective equipment supply and sourcing (masks, gloves, face shields)

Barantas provides comprehensive, long-term protection strategies and a personalized partnership anchored by our commitment to service excellence.

Redesigning Workplaces in a Post Pandemic Era

Our national reach and multi-disciplinary approach to safety management allow you to access a complete suite of health and safety services for a fraction of what it would cost you to source these services individually.

Barantas interactively works with you in evaluating and developing your new workplace strategies and worker health and safety management. Our goal is to collaboratively provide our expertise and knowledge to your key persons or teams, building a sustainable, internal infrastructure focused on the health and safety of your workforce.

We utilize a FIVE phase process. This process begins with a data acquisition phase, where we learn and understand your business, through to ensuring your teams can execute, monitor and continually adapt your program to meet today’s and future challenges.

Our process is based on the following principles:

  • Risk Reduction: Focused on reducing risk through prevention methodologies using the hierarchy of controls.
  • Individual Health and Safety Protection: Ensuring your company is taking the precautions reasonable for the protection of workers, employees, clients and affected individuals.
  • Maintenance of Applicable Requirements: Continual monitoring of authority directives, legislative requirements, and corporate due diligence best practices combined into a preparedness program able to adapt to changing environments and new directives.
  • Education and Sustainability: As part of working with your team through the five-phase process, our goal is to ensure understanding and application of the principles and methodologies for key team members ensuring an ability to assess, respond and adapt to continual change in both external factors and internal business decisions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR 5 STEP PROCESS https://www.barantas.ca/the-five-phase-process/

For a full version PDF of this document https://www.barantas.ca/pandemicmanagement/

 

 

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Municipalities and the Use of Technology During the Pandemic

If our current situation due to COVID-19 has had any positive impact, it is that municipalities who have been hesitant to adopt technology are now realizing just how vital it is. In the past, many municipal employees were unable to work from home due to technology limitations and concerns about the protection of confidential information. Let’s take a look at how some municipalities are adapting to the “new normal”.

 

WASAGA BEACH, ONTARIO

While other municipalities have set up a system allowing many staff to work from home instead of reporting to town offices, in the case of Wasaga Beach, the risk of an information breach has prevented them from allowing staff to work off-site.

“We had a cyber-attack almost three years ago that has made us wary of the security of confidential information being transmitted over the Internet from off-site locations,” said Communications Officer Michael Gennings.

“We have implemented many of the measures that other municipalities have, including work shifts to increase physical distancing. Should the pandemic situation change, the municipality will consider its options at that time.”

“Staff that must stay home are required to use vacation time or explore a leave. The bulk of our workforce remains onsite. Some have taken leaves.”

Wasaga Beach council is meeting via video conference for regular meetings, and in council chambers for closed session meetings.

 

MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA

The City of Medicine Hat has laid off 170 workers – about 15% of its workforce – and has deferred filling many summer positions as it wrestles with closures and budget stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Hall is attempting to conduct as much business as possible, but with less physical interaction and higher safety standards. “The City of Medicine Hat has taken the approach that it’s business as usual during an unusual time,” said Dennis Egert, the city’s corporate services commissioner,  pointing to online, teleconferencing, or directing resident queries via email rather than in-person meetings. 

 

NOVA SCOTIA

Despite the roadblocks presented by COVID-19, Nova Scotia’s municipal elections will go forward as scheduled. Electors from all 49 provincial municipalities will go to the polls on October 17 in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act stipulation that elections be held every four years on the third Saturday in October.

Chuck Porter, Minister of the province’s municipal affairs department, told reporters “At this point, we see no reason why municipal elections can’t move forward. We’re all adapting to do business differently these days and certainly we will work with (municipalities) to offer support where we can.

“We’ve done things in the past like electronic voting, by-phone voting in some circumstances. So I think there are a number of options that are out there for us to be able to vote this coming fall.”

How is your municipality dealing with social distancing, council meetings, and more? We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how you are doing … [email protected]

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Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT

We are deeply focused on keeping your employees, customers, and suppliers safe while working, visiting, or conducting business at your facilities and supporting your business operations.

The Michael White Group International and Hilt International Security have partnered together in order to create a dynamic resource that is continuously growing, developing, and being  revised to keep you informed of the latest requirements, new best practices, and procedures.

As we all continue to navigate our  ‘new normal’, we have tapped into our global resources to develop a toolKIT that lays out processes to raise awareness of new health and well-being protocols and potentially helpful practices for cross-functional teamwork, operating discipline, and training for employees.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from Health Canada and World Health Organization, that could be tailored for different  businesses (when required) to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the toolKIT based on real-time feedback. The toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:

•      Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team

•      Cleaning and disinfection procedures

•      Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other physical distancing strategies

•      On-site health screening

•      Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

•      & more.

This has been a difficult time for everyone, and re-establishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely is a multi-faceted challenge. It is our hope that by developing and providing this resource we can help your organization accomplish and adapt to the new operating protocols in today’s still ever challenging conditions.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, whilst accessing our  toolKIT to assist you during  the re-opening, and re-populating of your facilities, contact Michael White Group International today, and in partnership with Hilt International Security we will be happy to assist.

 

 

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The Negotiators Toolkit: 6 Roles for Effective Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiations are often complicated processes that can take several weeks or months to finalize.

 

The responsibility of the negotiator is to not only engage with his or her counterpart on the other side of the table, but to also oversee and manage the overall process.

 

While this may sound simple and intuitive, a closer look at all of the roles and responsibilities of a negotiator shows just how complex the management of a negotiation can be.

 

More importantly, not giving each of these distinct roles its due diligence and attention could be the difference between a mutually beneficial negotiation that mitigates risk and a lopsided negotiation that benefits one party while setting up the other for failure. 

 

When representing my clients in a negotiation, I typically wear a few different hats.

 

The Negotiator

This is the obvious one. The role and responsibilities are fairly well defined. My job is to understand the requirements of the business and negotiate the most favourable outcome while mitigating as much risk as I can in the contract.

 

The Lawyer

All lawyers are negotiators but not all negotiators are lawyers. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been negotiating for over 20 years so I know my way around the legal terms and conditions of a contract. That doesn’t mean I don’t need a lawyer on the team, but part of my job is to know our lawyer’s threshold of acceptability and negotiate terms as close to that threshold without going over it.

 

The Accountant

Two of the most important business terms in a contract, for both sides, is a description of what goods and/or services are being transacted, and for how much. Because of their importance, a lot of focus is given to making sure the “what” and “how much” in a contract is well defined. But there are other aspects of the agreement that also require some level of financial analysis such as payment terms, taxes and delivery fees.

 

The Decision Maker

A good negotiator takes the time to really understand the business requirements before getting into a negotiation. Because as much as we try to put structure around our negotiating strategy, there will always be unstructured moments when one party puts something on the table and the other party needs to make a decision. There have been times, during a meal or a round of golf, when my counterpart has casually offered up or conceded a key point in a contract and I’ve found myself having to make a quick decision on behalf of the business

 

The Project Manager

As a negotiator, I’ve often found myself at odds with project managers, and to some extent they’re my nemesis in negotiations. Gantt charts, timelines and status updates define their world. But contract negotiations are hard to manage on a Gantt chart because I don’t know if it’ll take 4 hours, 4 days or 4 weeks to agree on Warranty language or an Indemnity clause. However the reality is that project managers are there to make sure things are moving forward on time and on budget, and since they can’t sit in on every negotiation, I often find myself taking on that responsibility.

 

The Admin

This is probably the most overlooked and challenging role I’ve had to assume in a negotiation. It’s also the reason why I believe a good administrative staff is the backbone of any successful business. Even simple contract negotiations involve a lot of paperwork exchanging hands. In addition to several iterations of the contract draft circulating internally and back and forth between parties, there are also emails, meeting minutes, term sheets, schedules, addendums and other miscellaneous notes that need to be tracked and summarized

 

So all of this begs the obvious question: How does one person handle all of these responsibilities?

 

The short answer is that in most cases they shouldn’t, at least not directly.

 

Good negotiators are also good delegators. They have a keen sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and will move other resources in and out of their negotiations as the need arises.

 

When I’m working on a deal with a strong emphasis on protecting my client’s Intellectual Property, I’ll lean a little more heavily on our lawyer to help negotiate key legal terms and conditions.

 

Similarly, if my client’s business requirements seem high-level or somewhat undefined (which is a very common occurrence) I’ll make sure to involve a decision maker from the business in key discussions with our counter-parts.

 

What hats do you wear as a negotiator? Which ones do you find most challenging?

 

By: OneView

The only platform built for managing contracts!

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Is Your Municipality Ready for a Disruptive Event? Business Continuity Planning 101

Every municipality needs an Emergency Management Program.

There are a number of components that make up a comprehensive emergency management program, (i.e. Emergency Response Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Communications Plan, Employee & Family Support Plan, Pandemic Plan, etc.).

When I was with the Office of the Fire Marshal I was responsible for emergency management and the development of these plans for the OFM. And now in these times of global uncertainty, I am once again reminded of just how important it is for organizations to have them – and particularly a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place.

What is a BCP?

A BCP is a plan that outlines the critical services to be delivered during a disruptive event and how full operations are going to be resumed after the event.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is, your BCP needs to address planning/mitigation, response, recovery and restoration.

Generally, a Business Continuity Plan outlines:

  • Who is responsible for recovery actions

  • What is needed to deliver, resume, continue, or restore the municipality’s services

  • Where to go to resume operations if necessary, and,

  • How the municipality’s critical services and operations will continue to be provided during a disruptive event (detailed procedures for provision, recovery, resumption and restoration of services)

Basic Elements of a BCP

It is important to remember that while the unique characteristics of your municipality must be reflected in the plan, the basic elements detailed below represent the foundation on which every BCP should be built.

  • Gather the necessary Baseline Information – This is used to identify municipal services, where the service is located, who uses the service, dependencies, alternate service delivery, critical infrastructure, etc.

  • Conduct a Business Services Risk Assessment Needed to help identify areas of potential vulnerabilities and to examine current and necessary control measures to mitigate threats.

  • Undertake a Business Impact Analysis – Gathers information concerning the exposure and impact on the service should the service experience significant disruptions and assesses the potential financial and non-financial impacts of a disruptive event.

  • Develop a Business Continuity Recovery Strategy – Assesses the advantages and disadvantages, estimated associated costs and determines the recommended strategy for each critical service and the resources that may be necessary for quick recovery.

  • Identify Emergency Response and Operational Protocols & Procedures – This is a checklist of protocols and procedures that help to simplify the necessary activities even further (i.e. notification protocols, call trees, etc.).

  • Create the Business Continuity Plan

Of course, once it’s completed don’t let your BCP collect dust. Keep it dynamic by updating it to reflect any changes to personnel or processes, and practice it with your team so when a disruptive event occurs, like we’re experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization will be ready and well prepared to resume operations.

If you’d like to receive a free Business Continuity Plan template to help you get started or information on any of the other emergency management plans mentioned, please feel free to contact me. Susan Shannon at s[email protected]

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