Unfreeze your Resources, Unlock your Projects – Delivery in the ‘New Normal’

Unfreeze your Resources, Unlock your Projects

Delivery in the ‘New Normal’

On the 13th of May, Aspira’s weekly webinar series features an engaging discussion into Project Resourcing. We provide insights and agile approaches that can help ensure projects are successfully delivered in the current climate.

This webinar will explore:

  • What is happening in the marketplace currently and how we see it trending over the coming year.
  • How companies can take back control of their project(s) destiny via optimised Project Resourcing Techniques.
  • How high performing companies are adapting to be successful today!
  • Practical and realistic steps to help companies / projects proactively build Project Resource capacity.

As a preamble to this engaging event, Russell Moore – Co-Presenter of this Webinar – provides his personal story that aligns with the themes to come on the 13th of May. We hope you enjoy the read and will see you at the Webinar.

When I was younger, I lived in a blissfully free existence of mind, largely down to the successful way that my parents protected and nurtured us through the minefield of growing up and completing our secondary education. Undoubtably, traumatic economic, financial and external forces were challenging our family, maybe not as dramatic as where we find ourselves today, but certainly significant enough to cause my parents to have the same sleepless nights that we are all having now.

As I see my own children now have their happiness and well-being challenged, I realise that we all need basic principles and sound decision making to ensure that we have the tools required to cope in our professional and personal lives. At Aspira I am part of the management team; I recognize that colleagues and staff look to me and others to provide security and comfort when all around seems desperate and chaotic. There was something about my own father that provided that level of reassurance throughout most of life.

Life goes on, and we will recover, because as human beings we have an enormous amount of resilience and the ability to change, adapt and rebuild. Earthquakes in Indonesia, China or Haiti, WW2, 9/11 or the Spanish Flu Epidemic to name but a few. In the business world, we have to adapt the same fighting spirit and plan our way out of the chaos, and put a firm and concrete foundation for recovery in place. A major component of this is people, your staff, your resources, whatever we call ourselves, we are the building blocks for the creation of new beginnings.

When I left home to go to University, the initial attraction was the fact that my newfound freedom allowed for a much greater appetite for risk taking. This took on many different forms, ranging from missing important Lectures, standard student pranks, unscheduled road trips, poor relationship choices and a cavalier approach to sport and personal injury. It was around this time that my father told me that I will ultimately have to rely on the Four Cornerstones of Life, as and when he might not be around to guide and stabilise my personal and professional progression in adulthood.

At the time, I worked out that Finance, Family & Friends, Health and Education were forming a foundation for me to thrive and prosper as a person. I was lucky that I had a firm footing; corner stones that created a framework for me to complete my degree, in England, France & Germany. Even when I lost a foothold on one of my cornerstones, the other three would support me and enable me to rebuild the other. But of course, later in life the inevitable happens, and you lose two or three cornerstones at the same time………..

For some, that is what it feels like, right here, right now. The familiarity of your workplace, the financial comfort of your job, your friends and family are all taken away at the same time. There is a huge imbalance in your life, and we find ourselves clinging to one or two cornerstones. Your family and home have become a massively important support, and at the moment, the foundation for your finances and professional performance. At Aspira, as a company, we have quickly had to understand and accept how this has all come about, and become the new normal for us all. Like many companies, we have had to mobilise rapidly and adapt, reestablish our cornerstones and create a framework for a different kind of future.

As the storm settles, and we see a calmer, more positive environment forming around us, we find ourselves re-routing to a new exciting vision. The measures we have taken to re-invent our offerings to online delivery, the support of our staff through technology and remote communications, the engagement with our customers and suppliers, and the cross-training of our staff is starting to create opportunities to stabilize and grow our teams and revenues again. At Aspira, we have Advisory services that can help our customers assess their current resource portfolio including staff capability, capacity and approach.  From this we can provide recommendations in terms of sizing of teams, optimal competencies required, appropriate ways to address future demands of a Remote/Office based workforce, and so forth. We also have the tools and systems to assess, test, evaluate and ultimately, select your new project team members. We hope that you will continue to enjoy our Webinar series.

Please register for our Webinar here

Auther:  Russell Moore, Account Manager, Aspira.

How remote working boosts morale & efficiency

Every cloud has a silver lining… and the Covid-19 crisis has just injected a huge shot in the arm to acceptance of remote working.  Before lockdown we had heard about the Gig Economy, which promotes remote working as a key element.   That has now been accelerated hugely and instead of talking about remote working becoming a norm in the future, we are now living in a world where remote working is the norm.

What does this change mean?   Should we embrace it as a benefit, or see it as a necessary evil we are forced to accept?   As someone that enjoys change, let me share my positive thoughts on how remote working really does work:

Trust

It all starts with Trust. We will not embrace any change without Trust.  Do managers and team members trust each other enough to move away from outmoded supervisory methods?  Do managers have the ability to move away from equating ‘presenteeism’ with productivity?  Will team members maintain their work ethic if their manager no longer has the ability to drop by the desk to check what they are doing?  Critically, leaders and team members must listen to each other and refine together their plan to make it do-able. Do-ability is key, so here they should look at it from both a soft side (person/teaming approach) and from a technical side (e.g. provide the tools necessary to work well from home).

Efficiency – I like to call it Gross Domestic* Product!

66% of professionals think they would be more efficient while working remotely than in a traditional solely office-based way.

So what are some of the factors that increase Efficiency?

  • Reduced commuting time.
  • Reduced travel cost.
  • Higher flexibility in hours worked, as when employees see companies being flexible they reciprocate and become more flexible with their time.
  • Less distractions and interruptions, so the employee can switch off from random interruptions more easily by agreeing to go ‘offline’ to get an important task complete.
  • Lower office rent & energy costs, as companies that embrace remote working can have a smaller office footprint.
  • More efficient use of the planet’s resources.

*Pun Intended

Morale – I like to call it Gross Domestic* Happiness!

50% of the global workforce already works remotely; part or full-time. While Covid-19 has seen that number rise dramatically, it has been driven by the fact that the option to work flexibly (including a mix of remote/home and work locations) is more important to millennials than salary.

So what are some of the factors that increase Morale?

  • Productivity/Efficiency is higher, due to the elimination of wasted time.
  • Remove the stress of the commute.
  • Ability to have bespoke/more comfortable working environment.
  • More family friendly; we can pop out of our home office to see our loved ones more easily.
  • Globally dispersed teams or teams in large organisations feel more equalised and close when all/many work remotely. The New York Times reported that employees who spend three to four days working off-site feel the most engaged with their teams.
  • The personal touch. Seeing your colleagues in their home environment can show their personal side more and reduce formal barriers.

In summary, remote working boosts morale & efficiency when both managers and team members embrace the change positively, construct the plan together, put in place the necessary soft and hard (technical) necessities, realise the perceived or real power/accountability shift and be brave so that when things do not work perfectly, the lessons can be learned rather than going backwards to old practices.

So go forth and take the leap together. Move away from the traditional 100% office-based working and instead provide the option for yourself and your team to work remotely where it makes sense for both…. then, see your morale, efficiency and productivity rise.

Please check out our new webinar series here

Author:  Peter Ryan, Managing Director, Aspira, The Netherlands.

“Kick Starting a Project in a Virtual Team”

“Kick Starting a Project in a Virtual Team”

The start of a project will set the tone for its entire duration. Starting up a new project today means starting with a virtual team, working remotely.  To do this successfully will require extra thought, effort, and the ability to leverage technology in order to produce the same results as when working with your team locally.

Here are some suggestions to effectively kick-start a project in a virtual team:

  • Conduct the Remote Project Kick-Start; Use video conferencing to run a formal Kick Start meeting which allows the team to get to know each other and understand the purpose of the project. This enables them to reach a shared understanding of the goals, the scope, the success factors, the key stakeholders, and to brainstorm how best to deliver the project.

 

  • Build a Strong Relationship with the Customer from Day 1; Building a strong relationship with a new customer is challenging in the absence of the non-verbal cues that face-to-face meetings provide. You simply must plan in extra time and effort to get to know your customer

 

In addition to video-conferencing, there are many virtual collaboration tools which enable real time joint-review of key project requirements, milestones, risks and issues. Agree deadlines with your customer and be obsessive about sticking to them. Each commitment you meet means another element of trust is established.  Establish a communication plan that eliminates some of the challenges of remote work. Before deciding on which tools to use, talk with your customer to make sure they are comfortable with your choices.

 

  • Use Interactive Technology to build Project Collateral

The outputs of any successful project kick-start include a scope and schedule baseline within the approved budget. Collaborative technology such as MS Teams and Whiteboard helps the team create the scope statement, Work Breakdown Structure, estimates, project schedule and Risk log.  A collaborative and efficient mechanism to create key project kick-start collateral will enable success later on.  

 In summary, the success of a good project is determined by a productive kick-start. Setting the right tone from the get-go can make or break your project. The absence of face-to-face interactions does not mean we abandon or do less kick-starting, in fact it requires us to do more and to do them better.

This webinar will help you understand the value of kick-starting a project in a virtual team and how to actually:

  • Create a Project Charter
  • Identify Key Stakeholders
  • Create a WBS
  • Estimate using PERT
  • Create a Realistic Schedule
  • Develop a RAID Log

 

To sign up for the webinar this Wednesday, visit www.aspira/events

 

Author:  Gillian Whelan, Senior Consultant and Trainer

Can we be Agile without Architecture?

Yes, I know.

There is huge demand for Agile as many industries are seeking to gain the Agile advantage.  There are lots of ‘Agile’ consultants making money by introducing companies to Agile frameworks. The sales pitch can be overly simplistic and optimistic: simply learn Agile theories; put in place the roles of Scrum master and Product Owner; work in sprints and basically there will no problem at all – life will be nice and easy…

Except it isn’t so easy. 

The consultants may move on but they often leave behind a customer who realizes that something is wrong.  While the technical team may be keen on Agile, the Business team can often feel frustrated that they are losing their grip.  They worry about losing control and being unable to predict the delivery and quality of the new features being developed.

Documentation may never have been a top priority, but some Agile implementations neglect to use any documentation causing a potential increase in auditing issues.

To avoid these negative Agile scenarios, there must be a focus on the Architecture of the Enterprise.

Instead of allowing different departments to work in isolation and create their ‘own’ apps, there needs to be a well-thought out, agreed and consistent approach to the architecture.  This will avoid problems arising where scrum teams behave autonomously across a scattered landscape of apps and interfaces which I call ‘the Spaghetti Architecture’.

In this scenario the company will sooner or later realize that IT costs are increasing instead of  the expected decrease in costs as a result of the introduction of Agile.

So does this mean we shouldn’t adopt Agile?

Of course not!  I am very supportive of Agile when done right.  In my earlier career I worked for many years in large organisations  with the classic waterfall methodology and the, sometimes very bureaucratic, Prince-2 Project Management philosophy.  There are limitations to these  approaches and Agile can make life so much better.  We do not want to return to waterfall days.

Aspira offers Agile consultancy based on our experience of what works.

In order to reap the benefits of Agile, it must be done properly.  I strongly recommend to our customers that they focus as much on the Architecture as they do on the new Agile ways of working.

The general Business and IT department should work closely on the enterprise architecture in parallel with the design of IT solutions. In my experience, this is when you will see the real benefits of Agile – and those benefits can be huge.

For companies which are developing software, put some serious thought in at an early stage of the project. 

  • First, understand the company’s architecture principles,
  • Create a conceptual design that aligns with those principles.
  • Ensure the company’s delivery model will guarantee the generation of a proper Architecture design.

This combination of Architecture and Agile ensures you will create a sustainable and ‘smart’ solution.  No more spaghetti architecture!

In our experience, by taking this approach your IT costs will decrease and your business satisfaction will levels will significantly improve.

Bringing Agile and your Architecture together delivers a real competitive advantage. Apply industry Agile theories that are accepted in the industry and are best suited to YOUR business.   

My last piece of advice – when implementing Agile, take your time!  Only invite Agile consultants who have a proven track record and who will invest the time to help people to get used to a new way of working.  This is what Aspira do all the time and we are there when you need help.

Author:  Jos van Eck, Digital Transformation Consultant, Aspira Europe.

 

The future is remote. But the future is here.

 

 

The future is remote. But the future is here.

6 weeks ago I was dusting off my laptop, fishing out my Leap card and squeezing on to a packed train to set off for the office after 9 months on maternity leave. Little did I know that 3 days later I would be setting up my ‘office’ amongst sing-a-long Elmo and other unforgivingly repetitive children’s toys. But necessity is the mother of invention and, as they say, the show must go on!

Even as an experienced project manager, albeit with the remnants of baby brain, it was time to start re-thinking my approach to managing projects. I quickly realised that I had taken for granted the convenience of face to face communications and co-located working.

However, I now find myself in the advantageous position of just starting a project in this ‘new world’, so have the luxury to be able to plan to manage my project in a completely remote environment from the outset.

My key tips for remotely managing a  project include:

Your team:

  • Assemble your project team – have a kick off meeting, using video conferencing if possible
  • Do a round table introduction to ensure everyone gets a chance to meet and people understand their role and the roles of others on the team
  • Ensure everyone is clear on the objective, scope and planned timelines of the project
  • Promote collaborative working amongst team members – remote working will suit some, but not all, and collaboration will go some way to mitigate against team members feeling isolated

Communications:

  • Set the ground rules at the beginning of the project on how & when project communications will take place
  • Make use of the technology available to you such as Microsoft Teams and use innovative approaches to facilitate communications
  • Make your project meetings sacrosanct – it’s often too easy for these to get bumped when projects are in a busy period or firefighting mode
  • Some Dos and Don’ts for effective project meetings:
    • Do make sure all meetings have an agenda and send this out in advance of the meeting
    • Don’t invite the world to all meetings – let potential attendees deicide whether their attendance is necessary based on the agenda
    • Stick to the agreed time, try to keep meetings short and concise
    • Document decision and actions, not minutes

Your role:

  • Be available to your team and lead by example
  • Trust your team members and provide timely, clear communication
  • Listen to what your team are saying and seek regular feedback from them

We have all found ourselves thrust into this new reality, but it is a reality to which we must quickly adapt.

Article by Emma Daly, Business Operations Manager at Aspira. We at Aspira are here to help, For more information on how Aspira can help you with all your project management needs, contact us on info@aspira.ie or call +353 21 235 2550.

Getting to Grips with MS Project

 

Getting to Grips with Microsoft Project

The most widely used tool to manage projects around the world is… the simple spreadsheet.  Most people are comfortable playing with a spreadsheet, using it to create a list of tasks and assigning names and dates against those tasks.  And a spreadsheet works great for a simple list of tasks.

But if you are managing a more complex project, with dependencies and multiple activities happening in parallel, with people in different locations or different companies trying to point fingers at each other in the event of a slip, then you need a better tool to manage your project schedule.

The most commonly used specialist project management tool in use is MS Project, with close to 80% of the market.  It is a powerful tool, allowing users to control large and complex projects.  It will easily allow you to see the critical path of a project and lets you immediately see the impact on the end date if any part of your project slips. In my Advisory role with Aspira, I help companies to setup Project Management Offices, and carry out capability assessments of organizations’ ability to deliver projects on time/budget.  I simply could not manage my team’s workload without using MS Project to keep track of each project and the resources assigned.

So why do some Project Managers prefer to use Excel to MS Project?  We find that there can be a ‘fear factor’.  I have met people who don’t use MS Project because they are intimidated by it, so instead they have developed really complex spreadsheets, with conditional formatting, pivot tables and macros, as an alternative.  It would have been far easier for them to learn to use MS project, as even a very basic user can immediately access a range of functionality that would take an excel guru years to develop.

In an effort to demystify MS Project, I will deliver a live webinar on Weds April 22nd, called ‘Getting to Grips with MS Project’.  It will cover topics such as:

  • Setting up your first project
  • Adding tasks and resources to a project
  • Updating your project plan
  • Creating calculated fields and custom fields
  • Reporting and creating visual reports

Register here for this webinar:  https://aspira.ie/events/getting-to-grips-with-ms-project/

I’ll also look at the roadmap for MS Project, and the exciting enterprise-level capabilities on offer from MS Project Online.   For those interested in a more detailed walk through MS Project, Aspira regularly deliver training courses and I’ll be sharing a special offer to attend our virtual classroom 2-day course on MS Project.

Author:  Damien Kearns,  Senior Consultant, Aspira

 

Working Remotely – Made easier with Microsoft Teams

Working Remotely – Made easier with Microsoft Teams

Each day, I think about all of the people that continue to work through the current risks with Covid-19, to ensure the sustained provision of healthcare and essential services.  These are the “invisible hero’s” whom we all depend on so much and whose efforts humble us.

My small contribution to the effort is to work from home.  This presents a series of challenges on a daily basis. There are many technology items that I previously took for granted – such as Power, Phone, Broadband and Wi-Fi – that I now appreciate as absolutely necessary to be able to work from home.

The next challenge comes in the form of the family battle for bandwidth.  With the whole family at home, including two teenagers, the bandwidth is quickly consumed. As I look at my schedule of meetings for the day, I need to negotiate with the kids to avoid their PlayStation Network and Netflix hogging our internet connection.

After completing my negotiations I can turn my focus to work, finally!

When I do, I am relieved that my company had the foresight to invest in the right tools to enable me to work remotely – it has certainly made my life much easier over the last few weeks. One of those tools – Microsoft Teams – enables remote working to be much easier than I recall on previous experiences.

What is MS Teams?

Teams is a collaboration workspace that brings together chat, meetings, calling, and Office 365 into all-in-one application. You can use Teams for informal 1:1 or group chats – directly on your phone if you’re on the go, or you can have an open conversation in a channel. Teams also has deep collaboration with Office 365 applications that are frequently used in the workplace.  All Teams are unique, and the MS Teams application can be customised to integrate with business processes, enabling your business teams to continue to perform highly, even when they are remote!

Teams enables people to share information in a transparent way to accelerate decision making.

If you would like to learn more, please listen to the webinar I recorded live where I explain how to use Teams and walk through a demo of some of the most useful functionality.

The Webinar can be accessed by clicking on this link:  https://aspira.ie/webinarseries/

As a Gold Certified Microsoft partner, we want to help you to realise the full benefits of the Office 365, so we have created a selection of Enablement Solutions that leverages our broad range of skills across Office 365 to enhance your productivity.

We would like to offer you a 12 month Office 365 subscription for the price of 6.  We will also assist you to be more productive with 5 Key Enablement Solutions composed of activities related to Teams and features found across Office 365 applications.

Full offer includes:

  • 12-month subscription for the price of 6 In conjunction with the Microsoft Office 365 E1 Trial License offer
  • 5 key Enablement Solutions at no charge

Subject to

  • Existing Office 365 tenant required
  • One-year minimum term
  • Annual billing

For further information on this offer, please contact me at bizapps@aspira.ie

Stay Safe.

Author:  Stephen McCluskey, Head of Business Applications, Aspira.

How Secure is your Cloud?

 

How Secure is your Cloud?

Cloud-based solutions are increasing in demand globally. These solutions span from secure data storage to entire business processes. The allure of transferring IT from being a cost centre to a business engine have organisations flocking to avail of cloud potential.

Leveraging cloud capabilities allows system and infrastructure tasks to be completed in hours rather than weeks. This in turn allows staff to focus on more important aspects such as innovation and driving the business forward.

However, reduced costs and an abundance of features don’t come without drawbacks. Security has always been the primary concern. Since the introduction of cloud services, that concern is elevated.

So how secure is the cloud?

To answer this, let’s look at what the cloud offers in terms of security.

Users are most familiar with the security credentials around gaining access. Cloud vendors secure user data using other means; some of these include:

  • Advanced firewalls: These verify content integrity and can map known security threats vs. the standard firewall which only examines source and destination data.
  • Intrusion detection: Several layers of detection provided by cloud services can stop intruders should they pass the initial defence.
  • Encryption: All data is encrypted in the cloud. Should encrypted data be stolen, access will be denied without the encryption key.
  • Event logs: Cloud security analysts use these logs to help predict and prevent security breaches.
  • Physical security: Data centres are certified, meaning they provide 24-hour monitoring, advanced personal access and onsite security guards.

Next, let’s look at some of the security risks. Cloud services clearly offer many security measures to ensure your cloud is kept safe. To ensure your cloud security is complete, staff must be made aware of these security measures. As secure as the cloud is, negligent users can leave the door wide open.

Security breaches are rarely caused by inefficient cloud security but by the end user. Several factors are contributed to user security and can be reduced with employee training that focuses on:

  • Authentication: Weak credentials are the primary security vulnerability – no more password123. Utilizing security services such as multi-factor authentication will go a long way to reduce this vulnerability.
  • Awareness: Employees should be trained in security awareness; this should include how businesses are breached and how to respond to common attack approaches.
  • Phishing: A very common attack technique which can attempt to compromise a user’s credentials to gain access to business systems.

In conclusion, cloud security provides advanced security features–usually better than an on-premise solution. It is up to businesses to follow the cloud provider’s security guidelines and to correctly deploy their data into the cloud. Incorrect or negligent use could jeopardize even the most secure environments, which is why employee training is the first step to securing your cloud environment.

Aspira are Microsoft Gold Certified Partners offer secure access to the Azure Cloud services and the Office 365 and Teams environment. Contact info@aspira.ie with your questions on the cloud.

 

Author:  Allan Locke, Senior Systems Administrator, Aspira

Bringing sexy back to Project Management

 

I was recently lined up to do a live radio interview on a national broadcaster business show. As he was introducing my interview segment, the show host said, “And next we’ll talk to Pat Lucey, the man who’ll explain what makes Project Management sexy”.

And for the next couple of minutes as the ad-break ran, my mind was in a whirl.  Is Project Management a sexy career?  If so why?  What can I talk about…

Thankfully, when the interview started the discussion went down other avenues, as I talked about Aspira’s consulting and technology business; how we help organisations deliver their technology projects so that they can reap the benefits of digital transformation, and have confidence that their Aspira colleagues will ensure their projects get delivered.

Afterwards I reflected… what is the sexiest career?  I have to admit that for me the answer is to be an astronaut!  Since I was a small kid, I fantasised about that career and when Norah Patten – Ireland’s prospective first astronaut – spoke at the Ireland Project Management Conference in 2018, I was a total fan-boy.

So, could Project Management compete on the sexiness scale of careers.  Over to my Google search page to seek the definition of sexiness.  Once I got past some inappropriate options, I found a nice definition – to be sexy something must be exciting, appealing and attractive.  So let’s apply the test:

What could be more exciting than turning ideas into reality?  It is the Project Manager that takes a notion, a vision, a dream, and finds a way to make that dream come true.  Overcoming obstacles, thwarting opponents, and delivering the treasure at the end – the Project Manager is a modern day Prince/Princess Charming.  10/10 for excitement.

Is Project Management an appealing career?  One measure is just how much in demand are Project Managers today.  Aspira provide Project Management consultants to our clients internationally and we can say without fear of contradiction that the market is crying out for good Project Managers.  In some market regions, the demand is 7:1 – in other words for every Project Manager there are seven roles vying for his/her attention.  10/10 for appealing.

Are Project Managers attractive?  In order to be a Project Manager you must be an optimist – you must see the power of the possible, and you must have deep faith in the character of people.  These are really positive and attractive qualities in any individual.  Throw in the fact that all Project Managers are really handsome and good looking people, and you have to award 10/10 for attractiveness.

So there we have it.  After a deeply scientific analysis, I have proven that Project Management is indeed a very sexy career choice.  In fact I bet there are some astronauts who are now looking to switch to join us PM types…

Article by Pat Lucey, CEO of Aspira. For more information on how Aspira can help you with all your project management needs or to find out more about a career in project management, contact info@aspira.ie.

21st century challenges for insurance companies in Ireland

 

The digital era presents a number of challenges for insurance companies, not least in IT and data management. This blog explores some of the most pertinent IT challenges facing Irish insurance companies.

Operational Resilience

No company can totally guarantee the security of its IT systems. We cannot assume that insurers are immune to the service disruptions that have beset other industries. Both conduct and prudential regulators are sniffing around operational resilience. We will need better IT, more sophisticated governance of incidents when they occur, and multiple ways of keeping in touch with customers.

Public challenges to insurers’ use of data

Data systems salesmen routinely exaggerate the benefits of big data, particularly in industries they don’t really understand. In contrast, our regulators understate the benefits and overstate the risks. There is of course a trade-off between improved products and services and access to customers’ data. It is all too easy to expect the benefits of big data – tailored services, quick delivery, greater choice – while objecting to the data processing that makes all this possible. Insurers need to think for themselves about the ethical standards that should be expected in the industry, and then explain the consequences to regulators and customers alike.

Squeezing the middle of the value chain

The trend of obtaining services from a Managing General Agent when seeking Guaranteed Issue insurance and platforms in savings, both point in the same direction. Market participants are looking for capital light approaches to insurance. Taken to its logical end, this trend leads to a wide variety of intermediaries with direct access to customers and a much smaller number of very large international capital providers, closer in nature to reinsurers. There is little room for the traditional carrier in this model. It also definitively breaks the link between consumer protection and prudential regulation.

Dominance of large data providers

Uber has not destroyed taxis, and Airbnb has not destroyed hotels. Instead they have exposed huge levels of demand, which was not previously met. There is great potential for digitalisation to tap currently unmet needs for protection as well as to provide access to policyholders.

But who will do this? Large American data providers are unlikely to want to become insurers, if only because the returns, in such a highly regulated industry, are not attractive to them. But they can extract returns by controlling distribution from just outside the regulatory perimeter. They will also be able to offer other services linked to insurance in a way that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) makes very difficult for insurers to do. By the time regulators notice what is happening, they could be in a very strong position indeed.

The disappearing retail customer

Digitisation allows customers to fragment their insurance cover and choose only the bits they are really interested in. For instance, instead of comprehensive motor cover you have a pay as you drive approach (until the arrival of driverless cars ushers out personal motor insurance all together). Instead of contents insurance, customers can protect only those items they really care about or would find difficult to replace. The trends point to a world where personal insurance is a relatively low value item, increasingly replaced by a broader offering of catastrophe insurance.

Over-regulation

Last but not least, and returning to Brexit, the UK is in competition with other jurisdictions, to provide a good location in which to do insurance. Beyond a certain point, higher standards do not attract business. If conduct regulation gets in the way of easy contact with customers, they will move outside the regulatory boundaries. If prudential regulation demands too much capital, risks will be placed overseas.

Article written by Stephen Hegarty, National Sales Manager at Aspira. To find out more about how Aspira works with insurance companies, contact info@aspira.ie.

 

The Rise of Contingent Workforce – Aspira

Companies are slowly but surely moving to the contingent workforce model – a provisional group of workers who work for an organization on a non-permanent basis. It is necessary for companies in today’s highly competitive environment to ensure that operating costs are as low as possible in order to maintain profitability. The contingent worker model offers great benefits as staff can dip in and out of the company as needed; whether it is an IT consultant, a business analyst, a project manager, a scheduling expert or other IT resource that is only needed on a temporary basis, bringing in a contingent worker to fill a gap reduces redundancy in the resource model. No company wants to pay to retain good staff if there is no work for them at that time. In this way you know you have the right resources available at the right time and leaving the company when their tasks have been completed.

Aspira is a solutions driven company and a leading supplier of experienced, skilled and intelligent IT and Project Management resources. We take a 360° view of all your needs and requirements to ensure that we offer the right candidates to you. Company culture, business process and the nuances of technical and business skills combined in the right individual are what make a successful contract resource. Our rigorous standards for selecting candidates will ensure a great match every time.

Aspira can provide our clients with the highest calibre:

• Programme and Project Managers
• PMO Specialists
• Business and Systems Analysts
• Project Risk Analysts
• Solution and Technical Architects (Software, Middleware and Infrastructure)
• Infrastructure & Networking Specialists
• Database Specialists
• Middleware and Application Developers covering multiple technologies….and many other profiles.

Aspira does more than simply offer individual resources. Our aim is to offer maximum value to our clients by building long standing and mutually beneficial relationships. In this way we can assist our clients in the most effective way by offering our wealth of experience and counsel when selecting candidates that are not only more than able to do the job but who can offer added value in many diverse areas of the project lifecycle. We want our candidates to be able to effectively communicate with all of the different audiences and stakeholders in your business and, while they are specialists in their field, we hope they add extra value on top with additional skills and experience which you can avail of.

Our comprehensive approach ensures that we help you define who you need (if necessary), what technical skills the required individuals must have as well as what soft skills are fundamental to guaranteeing their overall success. We work with our clients to keep track of the performance of our contract resources ensuring you get the best for your investment.

Click here and talk to us today to discuss your resource needs and let us empower you to find the perfect match for your project.

4 Reasons to work for Aspira

 

1. You’ll never stop learning
At Aspira, training and development provision is one of our key services. We are renowned globally for excellence in Project Management and Business Analysis Training. We constantly reiterate the need for companies to train up their staff, develop new skillsets among their teams and empower their employees through learning. We are no exception to that rule. At Aspira, we have a company-wide focus on personal development and career enhancement through on site, internal and formal training programmes. All Aspira staff benefit from this approach.

2. Work with a connected community
You will benefit from the support of your colleagues – a team of experts across a range of areas such as Development, Cloud Deployment, Senior Project Management and Business Analysis. Our collaborative approach to work is further bolstered by the opportunity to work in multi-experienced teams to help deliver exceptional projects for our clients.

We have a very present management team who are always nearby to point you in the right direction and offer their advice and support. Aspira staff also have a hands-on approach to company wide matters, having their say in a number of broader business aspects. The only limits at Aspira are the ones you set for yourself!

3. Flexibility and rewards
Our diversity means that we work with a new way of thinking. Our teams enjoy flexible working to allow for personal circumstances and family. Working for Aspira also means flexibility in the clients you work with. We work with some of the best organisations in the country across both the private and public sector. The work is always exciting and never boring!

Our staff are also offered a number of other benefits such as pension, healthcare, training allowance, and paid holidays. Not to mention that our team is considered by many to be a family of sorts.

4. Diversity
Aspira is a diverse, international company. We have people from over 15 different nationalities building their careers with Aspira and we work with global leaders around the world. We offer opportunities to work globally and work on international assignments, so if you’re looking for a new challenge, Aspira might just be the place for you.

Want to work with us? See all current career opportunities on our website here https://aspira.ie/work-with-aspira/

Author:  Russell Moore, HR & Resourcing Manager, Aspira