There can be a variety of reasons why bad decisions get made in the corporate world. Last week I wrote about psychopaths in the C-Suite and Boardroom. Today I want to look at some less flamboyant, more mundane ways that a company might get into compliance hot water through poor decision making. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, entitled “Deciding How to Decide”, authors Hugh Courtney, Dan Lovallo and Carmina Clarke reviewed how senior decision makers in a company might go about strategic decision making. One of the areas that they explored was how systemic roadblocks might get in the way of making a valid decision.
I found their discussion very interesting from the compliance perspective. The FCPA Guidance emphasized the need for companies to have a robust pre-acquisition due diligence process, in addition to a vigorous post-acquisition integration. The FCPA Guidance stated, “In the context of the FCPA, mergers and acquisitions present both risks and opportunities. A company that does not perform adequate FCPA due diligence prior to a merger or acquisition may face both legal and business risks. Perhaps most commonly, inadequate due diligence can allow a course of bribery to continue—with all the attendant harms to a business’s profitability and reputation, as well as potential civil and criminal liability.” But what are some of the biases which might prevent a company from making a good strategic decision even with adequate pre-acquisition due diligence. The authors set out five which I will explore in more detail.
IDG News Service (Boston Bureau) — Trends come and go in the technology industry but some things, such as IT system failures, bloom eternal.
"Nothing has changed," said analyst Michael Krigsman of consulting firm Asuret, an expert on why IT projects go off the rails. "Not a damn thing."
"These are hard problems," he added. "People mistakenly believe that IT failures are due to a technical problem or a software problem, and in fact it has its roots into the culture, how people work together, how they share knowledge, the politics of an organization. The worse the politics, the more likely the failure."
Here's a look at some of this year's highest-profile IT disasters.
CIO — Growth is normally a boon for any business. Servers hum faster when an ecommerce site attracts more customers (and more credit card transactions). When storage requirements for a new business that handles documentation for large companies suddenly escalate, executives high-five each other.
Scaling can be so costly, though, that fast growth isn't always a positive. Fortunately, new technologies can help a company ramp up quickly and efficiently, removing some of the pain of having to expand a data center. Instead of being faced with a major capital outlay that offsets new revenue, these innovations make the impact of scaling up a data center to meet demand less of a drain.
Vendors supplying you with components or services for your infrastructure need to feel confident about working with your organisation. That way they’ll be motivated to give off their best. It could be argued that stressing a vendor with unannounced tests might have a negative impact on their relationship with you. After all, they have a business to run too and your test is a business disruption for them. However, real disasters often arrive unannounced and in order to be realistic tests should be unannounced too. Is there a way out of this conundrum, and if so what is it?
No doubt you’ve heard about a shortage of data analytics specialists.
The data’s getting a bit long in the tooth, but a 2011 McKinsey Global Institute study predicted a shortfall of about 150,000 people with the needed analytic skills to manage Big Data analytics.
That may not be the biggest problem facing analytics, however. An equally important, but less cited, finding in that study was the predicted shortfall of 1.5 million business people who could leverage that data, notes a recent Harvard Business Review blog post.
The hard disk drive’s utility in enterprise settings has been under question since the first enterprise-class, solid-state solutions were introduced nearly five years ago. But now it seems a new challenge is on the horizon, not from advanced technologies like Flash, but from a perceived lower order of storage: consumer disk drives.
A recent blog post from cloud backup provider BackBlaze details the company’s use of both consumer and enterprise-class drives for its Storage Pod service and its own administrative and transactional applications. Over the past two years, the company reports that it has racked up 368 drive years with the enterprise systems—primarily Dell PowerVault and various EMC solutions—and 14,719 drive years with consumer-grade technology. In that time, it reported 17 enterprise-class failures and 613 consumer failures, which produces an annual failure rate of 4.6 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. So with lower costs and better reliability, why bother with an enterprise drive?
TEKsystems, a company that provides IT staffing and services, recently did a study that essentially took the temperature of IT departments – what they think trends are, where budgets are focusing dollars and the like. One of the areas the survey focused on was security.
Most of the predictions and trend reports I see are from security experts. While I think these predictions are essential for anyone in charge of enterprise network security – it really does help to have an idea of what threats to protect against – it is good to hear about security concerns and predictions from the IT point of view.
What TEKsystems discovered is that security is a rising concern for IT departments. When asked, “Which of the following trends or technology will have the biggest impact on your organization in 2014,” big data came in first, but security moved from third place in 2013 to second place in 2014. Mobile computing also moved up a spot, from fourth to third. It is fitting that security and mobile move together because the two issues are so intertwined. An IT department can’t have a good mobile policy without having a solid security plan built into it.
This time last year public health officials were grappling with a meningitis outbreak linked to fungus found in tainted medication. Now officials are trying to rein in a different outbreak of meningitis, more specifically meningococcal disease, popping up on a college campus, including Princeton University.
Most college freshmen are instructed to get a series of vaccinations before starting school in the fall, including one for meningococcal disease which can spread quickly in close quarters, such as dorms. The meningococcal vaccine routinely given to rising freshman protects against four different serogroups, or types, of meningococcal bacteria – A, C, Y, and W-135. Unfortunately, the cases of meningococcal disease that have been appearing at Princeton University are from a different strain of these bacteria not covered by the vaccine.
Because meningococcal disease can be deadly or lead to long-term disabilities [LINK], affecting the linings of the brain and spinal cord or the bloodstream, and can spread more easily on college campuses, it’s important that school and health officials take immediate action to stem the spread of disease. Princeton University and the New Jersey Department of Health have launched an aggressive awareness campaign to educate students and the University community about the disease and how to help prevent spreading it. Individuals who were in close contact with patients diagnosed with meningococcal disease have also been recommended antibiotic treatment as a precautionary measure. But because giving antibiotics to everyone isn’t an effective strategy, CDC has recommended that a vaccine approved in Europe and Australia be imported to try and halt the spread of this outbreak. FDA has given the OK for use of the vaccine at Princeton University under an Investigational New Drug application. This is a term FDA uses to describe a vaccine that’s not licensed (approved) in the US, but which is made available in certain situations. FDA has concluded that the benefits of using the vaccine to prevent meningococcal disease at Princeton University outweigh the risks of possible adverse events. Clinical trials in other countries have shown the vaccine to meet safety and efficacy standards to allow licensure in the European Union and Australia in January and August 2013, respectively. This is the first time CDC has had the chance to consider using this newly licensed vaccine in response to a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak.
Since students have become ill over the course of two school years, officials believe there will be more cases. And because predicting who meningococcal bacteria will strike next isn’t possible – many people carry the bacteria in their throats without actually get sick – vaccination is the most effective way of controlling future spread of the disease. Unlike antibiotics, a vaccine would protect people for a longer period of time, and could help decrease or stop the spread of the bacteria, which would help protect the University community as a whole. It also avoids some of the complications of antibiotics, such as antibiotic resistance and side effects. The vaccine is recommended for all Princeton University undergraduate (regardless of where they live) and graduate students living in dormitories. Certain other individuals associated with the University may be evaluated for vaccination if they have specific medical conditions. Getting vaccinated would be voluntary and funded by the University. You can get more information on the vaccine at http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/vaccine-serogroupB.html
Staying Safe at School
Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person, through saliva (think coughing or kissing) or through lengthy contact (think living in the same dorm room or apartment). Symptoms of meningococcal disease include rapid onset of fever, headache, body aches, and feeling very tired. Individuals may also experience a stiff neck, increased sensitivity to light, feel nauseated or confused, and have a rash. Students should be aware of how they are feeling and look for possible signs or symptoms. If you feel you might be getting sick, seek medical attention immediately and avoid contact with others (don’t go to class or work until you’ve talked to a doctor about how you’re feeling). The same basic health practices that you should normally follow for preventing infection from the flu or colds are also recommended. They include:
- Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze,
- Washing your hands often with soap and warm water, and
- Practicing good health habits like not sharing utensils, water bottles, or other items that might be contaminated with someone else’s saliva (this means beer pong too!)
***Stay Tuned! Dr. Clark, Branch Chief of CDC’s Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch is currently in New Jersey working with Princeton University on their vaccination campaign.***
Healthcare Data Management system used to protect Caché configurations throughout customization process with seamless transition to production workflows
WOBURN, MA – BridgeHead Software today announced Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, has selected BridgeHead Healthcare Data Management (HDM) as its platform for protecting clinical data in its new Epic Systems environment. Mercy Medical uses Epic Systems to support its ambulatory care services. BridgeHead was selected, in part, due to the strength of the long-term relationship that Mercy has had with BridgeHead in protecting other hospital applications in the environment.
Epic Systems embeds InterSystems Caché® databases as an integral part of its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) application. In July 2013, BridgeHead announced its integrated backup and recovery solution for Caché, which remains the only integrated offering available for this important high-performance database at the heart of so many hospital applications.
“Mercy Medical Center had been using BridgeHead’s backup for our MEDITECH application, so when we decided to bring in Epic EMR, we knew that BridgeHead would be our best partner for data protection,” said Glen Byam, Sr. Director IT, Mercy Medical Center. “What surprised us with the new BridgeHead Caché solution, is how BridgeHead facilitated the deployment for our production Epic environment: we were protected at every step in our roll-out and seamlessly into production. Now, we have a central BridgeHead management console and consolidated infrastructure, across both Epic and MEDITECH.”
BridgeHead began work with Mercy’s healthcare IT team in April 2013, to help to plan the roll-out of their new Epic Systems environment. The customization of any EMR application is critical for it to support a particular hospital’s workflow. Being able to protect that custom configuration daily, with frequent roll-back and restore, proved critical to Mercy throughout the deployment process. This process ensured that good configurations were not lost with subsequent customization work. It also helped establish good baseline configurations for workflows, which could then be used as the basis for related departments within the hospital.
“BridgeHead was delighted to participate and support the roll-out of Epic EMR at Mercy,” stated Steve Matheson, Vice President of Sales, North America, BridgeHead Software. “Our services team has expertise on healthcare applications like Epic, and their interdependencies on the underlying infrastructure like InterSystems Caché databases. We feel that designing data protection into these environments from the outset is optimal in supporting better clinical outcomes for organizations like Mercy Medical Center.”
Find out more about BridgeHead Caché Protection at:
Read our blog, to learn how an Epic Systems environment can benefit from BridgeHead’s approach during deployment of the EMR system:
About BridgeHead Software
With 20 years’ experience in data and storage management, and 12 years in healthcare, BridgeHead Software is trusted by over 1,000 hospitals worldwide. Today, BridgeHead Software helps healthcare facilities overcome challenges stemming from rising data volumes and increasing storage costs while delivering peace of mind around how to store, protect and share clinical and administrative information.
BridgeHead’s Healthcare Data Management (HDM) solutions are designed to work with any hospital’s chosen applications and storage hardware, regardless of vendor, providing greater choice, flexibility and control over the way data is managed, now and in the future. For more information, visit http://www.bridgeheadsoftware.com or follow on Twitter at @BridgeHeadHDM.
BUMI trade-up offer includes a complimentary backup and recovery consultation, migration plan and two-month free cloud backup.
NEW YORK, NY – BUMI (Backup My Info!), the premium provider of managed online backup and recovery solutions for small to mid-sized businesses, today announced an alternative to the Symantec Backup Exec.cloud service that will cease operation on January 6, 2015. BUMI’s Symantec Trade-Up program provides Backup Exec.cloud customers with a complimentary backup and recovery consultation, a migration plan with best practices recommendations and two months of its BUMI There cloud backup service for free.
One of three solutions offered by BUMI, BUMI There is a premium, fully-managed cloud backup and recovery service that requires no onsite equipment. It provides a turn-key solution for organizations to off-load their backup operations to the BUMI cloud, and is supported by the company’s award-winning engineering team that provides proactive monitoring and service.
“Cloud backup is an integral part of today’s business operations,” said Jennifer Walzer, CEO of BUMI. “In addition to receiving a highly scalable and secure cloud backup and recovery platform that leverages Asigra’s enterprise-class technology, Symantec Backup Exec.cloud customers will appreciate our white-glove approach to customer service and support which differentiates BUMI from other solutions.”
To redeem the Symantec Trade-Up offer, participants must verify their status as a former Backup Exec.cloud customer and are required to sign a 12-month agreement. For more information on the Symantec Backup Exec.cloud program, visit http://go.bumi.com/tradeup.
In addition to BUMI There, BUMI also offers BUMI Here, a solution that allows organizations to leverage existing IT infrastructure to create their own private cloud for backup and recovery and BUMI Everywhere, a hybrid cloud backup solution that combines onsite data protection with offsite replication, setup, remote monitoring and support.
BUMI Here, There and Everywhere are available today. Contact BUMI for pricing and a free engineering consultation at (866) 444- BUMI (2864).
Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company's Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit http://www.bumi.com or call (866) 444- BUMI (2864).