PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group hosts #EDGETalks: Artificial Intelligence in Operations: Where Can AI Fit in My Organization?

TORONTO, October 30, 2018 — The Burnie Group is pleased to announce #EDGETalks: Artificial Intelligence in Operations: Where Can AI Fit in My Organization? Featuring a keynote address by Mike Rhodin, former SVP at IBM and founder of IBM’s Watson Group. Mr. Rhodin’s 33-year career at IBM was infused with a passion for helping clients extract value from technology, improving business performance, and simplifying the way people work. Mr. Rhodin’s keynote will provide insight on the ways that artificial intelligence and automation are reshaping operations, augmenting human capacity, and changing the future of work.

“AI has been called the fourth industrial revolution. It is hard to conceptualize just how incredibly transformative its potential is,” says Doug Heintzman, Head of Innovation at The Burnie Group.

#EDGETalks: Artificial Intelligence in Operations: Where Can AI Fit in My Organization? will take place on the evening of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at The National Club. Following the keynote address, we will have a fireside chat featuring Kathryn Hume, Frank Tsiribis, and Mike Rhodin.

Kathryn Hume – Vice-President, Product and Strategy at integrate.ai
Frank Tsiribis – Head of Insight Strategies and Risk Management, Enterprise Infrastructure, Initiatives, and Innovation (EI3) at BMO Financial Group.

Increasingly, companies are investigating the potential implications of AI on their enterprise, and if and how they should adopt it. This event will help separate hype from reality and fact from fiction. It will identify some key areas where AI is changing the way business is done.

For tickets visit: https://ai-theburniegroup.eventbrite.ca

 

About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a Canadian-based management consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence.  The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

Media Contact:
Bruna Sofia Simoes
Senior Marketing Manager
bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com
416-909-6379

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group achieves second consecutive top 100 rank in 2018 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

–Canadian Business unveils its 30th annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies – 

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group achieves second consecutive top 100 rank in 2018 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies  TORONTO, ONTARIO– (Sept. 13, 2018) – The Burnie Group is pleased to announce that it has ranked No. 82 in the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. This is the 2nd year that The Burnie Group has ranked in the top 100, with five-year revenue growth of 1,030%. The Toronto-based management consulting firm ranked No. 2 in the category of Canada’s fastest-growing professional services companies for 2018.

“The companies on the 2018 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Deborah Aarts, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate 30 years of the Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies program, it’s encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is healthier than ever in this country.”

“Ranking in the Growth 500 two years in a row is a great honour, and we’re delighted to find ourselves amongst Canada’s best and brightest companies,” says David Burnie, Principal and Founder of The Burnie Group. “I believe this second nod confirms that we’re on the right track with our approach to client service and innovation. We want to thank our team and clients for making this possible once again.”

Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the Growth 500—formerly known as the PROFIT 500—profiles the country’s most successful entrepreneurial businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com.

 

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About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a Canadian-based management consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence.  The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

 

About the Growth 500

For 30 years, the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies has been Canada’s most respected and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Developed by PROFIT and now published in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian companies on five-year revenue growth. For more information on the ranking, visit Growth500.ca. 

 

About Canadian Business

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior

business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at CanadianBusiness.com.

 

Media Contact:

Bruna Sofia Simoes

Marketing & Sales Manager

Bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com

416-909-6379

 


 

Managing people in a time of automation

Managing people in a time of automation

As the presence of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in today’s workplaces continues to grow, the topic of job security and displacement becomes increasingly important for managers to consider.

With a widely held misconception that technology is a threat to traditional workforces, employers have an imperative to consider how RPA and AI will affect people and organizational culture when determining where and how these technologies should be used in their organizations.

Regardless of how well designed an RPA or AI strategy is, if the human side of implementing change is not a focal point of that strategy, it stands to fail. This article explores some tangible ways companies can approach change management, ensuring employee buy-in.

Automation, after all, is less about replacing employees and more about streamlining work processes. It allows an employee’s role to be redefined from a focus on mundane and repetitive tasks to one that is more complex, more value-added, and ultimately more meaningful.  Managed properly, automation can lead to a more engaged workforce.

Based on our experience designing and implementing broad-scale automation programs, we’ve identified three strategies that every organization should consider when adopting RPA and AI.

 

Prepare not just for automation, but for a cultural shift

When preparing for an automation project, managers are often tasked with developing a list of processes that AI and RPA can quickly improve. During this discovery phase managers also need to blueprint the broader impact of automation on people and culture. Such a blueprint can help to navigate the transition towards automation, identifying required changes to employee mindsets and behaviours and building an effective communication and change management plan.

By positioning automation and AI as employee allies—put in place to help alleviate staff from repetitive and mundane tasks—organizations can rally employees to become champions for technological advancement. For this to work, transparency is key. Conversations reminding employees that these technologies are tools that are supposed to work for them are fundamental to ensuring a smooth transition. Employees of all skill levels are better served when they understand how and why their work landscape is changing.

 

Encourage ongoing learning and development

In typical employee onboarding, time and resources are committed to ensuring staff are trained on the skills that are required to work effectively and efficiently. For many organizations, this is where learning and development starts and ends.  However, organizations that thrive know that ongoing learning is essential to both employee and company growth.

Automation and AI provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to re-invest in the skills and capabilities of their employees.  With the capacity that automation and AI unlock, time can be invested in training employees on more advanced skills.  Staff can be redeployed to work on more value-added activities, including customer-facing interactions and revenue-generating initiatives.  Automation and AI initiatives also require employee oversight and support, and current Subject Matter Experts are often well positioned to transition into an Automation or AI Centre of Excellence.  With a thoughtful approach to training and upskilling employees and designing new value-added roles, a transition to automation and/or AI can lead to a more rewarding work environment that motivates staff and boosts morale and engagement in the workplace.

A Burnie Group client recently illustrated how to positively engage employees while embracing automation. In addition to clearly communicating their automation strategy, our client gave employees the opportunity to be trained in automation core skills and join the automation Centre of Excellence to participate in the automation implementation.  Employees were also encouraged to identify automation opportunities in their work area, with the commitment that capacity released through RPA would be repurposed towards growth initiatives in the organization.   This approach made employees feel that they were a part of the automation transformation and resulted in a very positive attitude towards the change.

As AI and RPA become more prevalent in the workplace, employees that are equipped with future-proof skills will be less fearful of automation and better prepared to work alongside this technology.

 

Position your company as an innovator

People want to work for organizations that support and empower their employees, and automation can be a tool that enables this. An organization’s investment in technology can help position it as an innovator in its field, helping it to attract and retain top talent.

When organizations embrace innovation and build it into their “DNA” to —continuously reinvent work,  they reduce barriers to change and create an innovative culture where everyone wins.

One Burnie Group client implemented Robotic Process Automation as part of a broader strategic focus on innovation.  With innovation being core to the values of the company, RPA was viewed as a natural fit.  Rather than challenging the implementation and resisting change, employees sought ways to build RPA into their day-to-day work and leverage it to spend more of time with customers and on growth-focused initiatives.

 

Conclusion

Introducing AI and RPA into the workplace is no small undertaking. While most leaders address the effectiveness and efficiency gains that these technologies can deliver, truly successful leaders take a broader view to consider the best way to engage employees in the change.

Successful companies take the time to understand how automation can complement the work of employees and then invest in building a workplace where people and automation live in harmony.


Managing people in a time of automation


 By: Jenya Doudareva, Senior Associate

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution

While the umbrella of digital ledger technology (DLT)—technologies which distribute records or information among all those using it—can be traced to 1991, it was Bitcoin’s cryptocurrency model that demonstrated blockchain’s—a special case of DLT—potential. Since its unveiling ten years ago, it has evolved and been repurposed for tasks beyond simple currency transactions. Below, we follow key moments in blockchain’s evolution in the last decade.

1. 2008 – Satoshi Nakamoto* releases whitepaper, Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Unlike real-world transactions, Nakamoto’s proposed cryptocurrency system is independent of third-party regulators such as a central bank. Its online peer-to-peer network facilitates unchangeable and indisputable public recordkeeping. Its timestamp servers provide proof-of-work to address trust issues and enforce rarity in the digital domain. Importantly, the proposed architecture solved the “double spending” problem (since digital information can be easily reproduced, it carries the risk that digital currency can be spent twice). In practice, Bitcoin becomes the first blockchain database.

* An unidentified pseudonymous person or group of people.

 

2. 2009 – First Bitcoin transaction and the establishment of the Bitcoin Market

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Bitcoin’s currency is released (created) through “mining.” This is an incentivized process that includes compiling recent transactions into blocks and solving computationally difficult puzzles. The first member to solve the problem is rewarded with newly-released bitcoin.

Within two weeks of mining the first group of transactions (the genesis block), Nakamoto and a computer scientist named Hal Finney tested the system, with Nakamoto sending ten bitcoins to Finney.

The Bitcoin Market is established later this year. It features automated and escrowed payment-processing options, which allow individuals to exchange real-world currency for the cryptocurrency (and vice versa).

As of June 30, 2018, more than 325 million Bitcoin transactions have taken place.

 

3. 2010 – First documented goods purchase using Bitcoin

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  As cryptocurrencies cannot be used for real-world purchases, Laszlo Hanyecz and Jeremy Sturdivant trade 10,000 BTC (US$25, at the time) for two large pizzas.

On June 30, 2018, 10,000 BTC was valued at more than US$64 million.

 

4. 2014 – Experts explore blockchain’s value outside of Bitcoin

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Companies see potential in blockchain technology for non-currency-based uses and begin exploring how blockchain could be harnessed. Sectors such as healthcare, insurance, and transportation take a keen interest. Experts investigate its potential in improving the management of specific areas such as supply chain, contracts, and elections.

 

5. 2014 – R3 consortium with global financial services companies to explore distributed ledger technology

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  A group of nine global financial services firms formed a consortium with R3, blockchain technology company, to examine and implement blockchain. Two years later, the growing partnership announced Corda, a private decentralized platform for financial institutions. Unlike traditional blockchain, where all data is copied to all participants, Corda only allows verified transactions to be shared with relevant members.

 

6. 2015 – Ethereum launches

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  In late 2013, Vitalek Buterin’s releases a whitepaper that re-envisions the uses for Bitcoin’s public blockchain. While the Bitcoin platform focused on peer-to-peer transactions and tracking cryptocurrency ownership, Ethereum’s purpose centred on allowing developers to run and deploy decentralized applications.

In 2015, Buterin launches Ethereum, a blockchain-based open software platform. It features smart contracts (self-executing agreements with terms directly written into lines of code, on a platform that made activities traceable, transparent, and irreversible). It allows traditionally centralized intermediary services to be redesigned into decentralized ones. Ethereum also smooths the way to creating Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. These are fully autonomous, personless organizations, run by programming code, owned by those who hold Ether (the system’s proprietary payment token). Like Bitcoin, the Ethereum platform features a proof-of-work consensus mechanism.

 

7. 2015 – Stock Exchanges evaluate blockchain technology and the first private securities transaction using blockchain

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Chain.com used Linq, the Nasdaq’s blockchain-based solution, to complete and record a private securities transaction. At this time, The Australian Stock Exchange begins evaluating replacements for its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (it later chose a blockchain-based system). In the following years, exchanges in Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom announce various blockchain-based trading system prototypes and evaluations.

 

8. 2016 –The Linux Foundation launches Hyperledger

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  The Linux Foundation launches Hyperledger, an open-source collaborative effort created to promote cross-industry blockchain technologies. The global initiative’s objective was to coordinate and focus efforts on improving the technology’s performance and reliability so it could support global business transactions. Among its 30 founding members were ABN AMRO, ANZ Bank, Blockchain, CME Group, Deutsche Börse Group, Fujitsu Limited, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, R3, and Wells Fargo. It is hoped Hyperledger Fabric (a blockchain framework implementation) will become the foundation of many large-scale, banking, supply chain, and digital identity systems.

 

9. 2016 – First international transaction between banks using blockchain

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  A transaction of AU$35,000 worth of cotton, shipped from China to the United States, is completed using blockchain applications. The deal takes place between the Australian and US divisions of Brighann Cotton Marketing; Wells Fargo & Co. and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia provides banking services. Blockchain is credited with streamlining the exchange by eliminating issues rooted in duplicated processing and differing time zones.

Read more about The Burnie Group’s offerings in the financial sector here.

 

10. 2017 and 2018 – Adoption in enterprise-level companies and large-scale operations

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  AIG and IBM use blockchain to manage complex international coverage for Standard Chartered Bank PLC, to develop a “smart” insurance policy. This first-of-its-kind policy used the technology to share real-time information for a main policy that was written in the United Kingdom and had three local policies in Kenya, Singapore, and the United States.

IBM, JD.com, IBM, Walmart, and Tsinghua University’s National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies announce the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in late 2017.  Its primary goal is to achieve greater transparency across China’s food supply chain through improved food tracking, traceability, and safety.

TradeLens, a collaboration between IBM and Maersk, is unveiled in 2018 as the first industry-wide cross-border supply chain solution based on blockchain technology. It allows those in the global shipping industry to share real-time information securely. With approximately 1 million shipments daily, more than 154 million shipments are logged by mid-August 2018. At this time, 94 partners were involved in the project, including more than 20 port and terminal operators, global container carriers, customs authorities, freight forwarders, and logistics companies.

In the spring of 2018, Facebook announces an internal blockchain start-up, while Google announces partnerships with BlockApps and Digital Asset to offer customers blockchain solutions as part of Google’s Cloud Platform Marketplace. At this time, Amazon also launched AWS Blockchain templates—pre-set blockchain frameworks that support Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.

 

In the past ten years, blockchain has gone from being one of Bitcoin’s key underpinnings to a transformative technology in its own right. With this year’s worldwide spending projected to be US$1.5 billion—double that of 2017—and could grow to US$11.7 billion in 2022, it’s clear blockchain will play an increasingly important and significant part of the business technology landscape.

 


From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution


The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and intertwined concepts such as machine learning and predictive modelling have become indispensable in modern industries. It is often estimated that by 2030, AI will contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy.  AI has the potential to transform a wide number of industries. All over the world, AI is helping people do their jobs more effectively, from doctors who diagnose sepsis in patients to scientists who track endangered animals in the wild. In this article, we explore some of the more unusual uses of AI.

Rather than creating ominous issues for humankind, AI is helping people around the world do their jobs more effectively, including doctors who diagnose sepsis in patients and scientists who track endangered animals in the wild.

Below are some of the most unusual uses of AI that provide value to our society and go beyond their traditional and widely applied usages across industries.

 

Helping People

Rescue Missions

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  AI technology is helping first responders find victims of earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.

Normally, responders need to examine aerial footage to determine where people could be stranded. However, examining a vast amount of photos and drone footage is very time and labour intensive; this is a problem as time is a critical factor for victims’ survival.

AI developed at Texas A&M University permits computer programmers to write basic algorithms that can examine extensive footage and find missing people in less than two hours.

 

Diagnosing Sepsis

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, but it is treatable if identified promptly. When not identified in time, patients can experience organ failure or even death. Today, AI algorithms that analyse electronic medical records data can help physicians diagnose sepsis an average of 24 hours earlier than previously used methods, according to the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. The AI system, called Targeted Real-Time Early Warning System (TREWScore) can also be used to monitor other conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

 

Better Surgeries and Prosthetics

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  Surgical robotics today are machine learning-enabled tools that provide doctors with extended precision and control. These robots enable shortening the patients’ hospital stay, positively affecting the surgical experience, and reducing medical costs.

Mind-controlled robotic arms and brain chip implants have begun helping paralyzed patients regain not only mobility but also sensations of touch. Machine learning and AI are further helping these technologies improve the patient experience.

 

Earth and Wildlife

Robot Bees

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  Bees are indispensable to crop pollination, however, they are very susceptible to pesticides, diseases, and other environmental concerns that lead to their fragile populations dwindling. To ensure that these concerns do not lead to famine, researchers have developed a robot bee drone that incorporates artificial intelligence, GPS, and a high-resolution camera to pollinate in a manner similar to honeybees.

 

Tracking Wildlife Populations

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  Applications like iNaturalist and eBirds, that collect data from vast circles of experts on the species encountered, are helping to keep track of species populations, favourable ecosystems, and migration patterns. These applications also have an important role in the better identification and protection of marine and freshwater ecosystems.

 

Wildlife Poaching Prevention

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  Wildlife poaching is a global problem as species get hunted toward extinction. For example, the latest African census showed a 30 per cent decline in elephant populations between 2007 and 2014. Wildlife conservation areas have been established to protect these species from poachers, and these areas are protected by park rangers. The rangers, however, do not always have the resources to patrol the vast areas efficiently. Predictive modelling has been used and tested in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park to predict poaching threat levels. Such models can be used to generate efficient and feasible patrol routes for the park rangers.

 

Smart Agriculture

The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence  Neural networks are starting to be used to deliver smart agricultural solutions. Besides the use of both artificial and bio-sensor driven algorithms to provide a complete monitoring of the soil and crop yield, there are technologies that can be used to provide predictive analytic models to track and predict various factors and variables that could affect future yields.

For example, Berlin-based agricultural tech startup PEAT has developed a deep learning algorithm-based application called Plantix that can identify defects and nutrient deficiencies in the soil. Their algorithms correlate particular foliage patterns with certain soil defects, plant pests, and diseases.

 


The Most Unusual Uses of Artificial Intelligence


 By: Jenya Doudareva, Senior Associate

#EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement

This post is based on a panel discussion held on June 4, 2018. The 90-minute session focused on panellists’ experiences shaping culture and fostering engagement in their companies. Moderated by Darshan Jain, Head Technology and Operations of The Burnie Group, Norman Bacal, author and former managing partner, Heenan Blaikie LLP delivered the keynote and the panellists were Richard Anton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at CIBC Mellon, Cathie Brow, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Communications, Revera, Christina McClung, Vice President, Human Resources and Chief of Staff, Capital One, and Rob Lokinger, President and Chief Operating Officer, AppCentrica Inc.

#EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement  Many companies hire the best and the brightest to seize new opportunities and increase profits. Unfortunately, impressive résumés don’t always translate to an engaged employee base or a stimulating and innovative workplace culture. Individual contributors who once brimmed with enthusiasm and new ideas now only raise their heads to check the time. Regardless of systems put in place or reorganizations, teams struggle to get ahead.

Culture and engagement can be forgotten or an afterthought when setting and executing corporate strategies. Leaders should consider the mindsets and behaviours needed to support their company’s vision and goals.

 

How does culture fit within your corporate strategy?

You need to define the workplace culture required for teams to meet targets and create new opportunities. Whether team-centric, focused on high potentials, honed on improving shareholder value, (etc.), a culture strategy needs to be determined as well as its supporting tactics.

“You need to decide what your cultural imperative is, as part of your corporate strategy,” says Norman Bacal. “Once you understand what it is, it ought to put you in the direction of your tactics, day-to-day behaviours, and ultimately whom you recruit to your vision.”

Bacal offers three pieces of advice for leaders looking to set, change or improve corporate culture:

1. Be consistent

Policies, programs, and behaviours must align with culture vision and not vary across your organization regardless of geography or environment. Employee trust grows when words and actions align. If you, your peers, or other leaders say one thing and do another, you risk damaging your and the company’s credibility.

“Never confuse strategy with tactics. If you take those tactics and separate them from your cultural vision, they won’t work. In fact, they do the opposite of what you want and can build a level of cynicism, because you need to be consistent between your vision and execution.”

2. Recognize the importance of your front-line staff on a regular basis

#EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement  It’s easy to focus attention on only senior management or those with “star” quality. In fact, it’s the public’s or client’s first point of contact—receptionists, service agents, or call centre employees—who can be the linchpin to your organization’s success. They are often your company’s face and voice and some of your most valuable employees. Telling them you recognize this signals you understand their role and you appreciate what they do.

“I’d arrive in the morning and say to the receptionist, ‘You’re the most important person in this firm.’ If you say that once to somebody, they won’t believe you; if you say that to them on a regular basis, they begin to believe it.”

3. Walk the halls

It’s unlikely your staff will proactively tell you what’s happening or their collective mood. The best way to know these is to step outside your office and talk to employees. Have informal chats—saying “hello” and finding out how they’re doing or how their family is will help build goodwill and trust. Ask your leaders to do the same.

“It’s the small things you may consider completely insignificant to your life that have a huge impact on other people’s lives.”

Engaging your employees while building corporate culture

We know a strong corporate culture can be a competitive advantage when attracting employees or securing clients. When a company decides to define or redefine their culture, change doesn’t occur overnight: it takes time to learn and develop traits and behaviours. While organizations can launch campaigns focused on ethics, teamwork, or client-centric service, successful shifts often happen when leaders commit to and model desired behaviours and attitudes.

Who are engaged employees?

Engaged employees go above and beyond so the company realizes its corporate vision and strategies. Working isn’t “just a job” or a paycheque. They are front and centre when needed most. As individuals, they proactively update their skillset to be part of the organization’s future. They are active problem solvers and offer ideas to help shape the company.

“I really think engagement has to do with people’s passion and enthusiasm. We have a really great vision for our company that touches everybody. Employees need to feel connected—if they aren’t, they’re not going to be able to deliver the service we expect from them.”

~ Cathie Brow, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Communications, Revera

How do you build employee engagement?

Smart strategies and tactics build, maintain, and grow engagement over time. They are rolled out at the corporate level and supported by leaders.

Corporate tactics

Your corporate values should be defined, so everyone understands what they are and how to bring them life. You need to ensure all levels, especially C-suite and other senior leaders, walk the talk. Otherwise, employees will see the disconnection and may assume a double standard.

Find different ways to involve employees in corporate programs. Corporate Social Responsibility projects (such as Habitat for Humanity builds, sorting food bank donations, or registering teams for a charity bike ride) or internal problem-solving competitions for specific issues (ranging from hackathons to projects resolving client pain points) are more than team-building exercises: They reinforce company values and allow staff to participate in corporate projects in fun, meaningful, and non-financial ways.

Take the time to listen to your employees and don’t immediately jump to prescribing remedies. Instead, ask your employees for their ideas and implement solutions that need little lead-time (before putting into place more complex ideas). This way, you signal you hear your staff. Similarly, staff input when setting up a formal recognition program is important—don’t assume a gala or dinner with the CEO would appeal to the majority.

“Alignment around the right goals and cultural imperators yields great benefits. It carries through when people interact with each other and with customers. We founded our company on four principles that really defined our culture. They’re used to make our hiring decisions, evaluate people and make sure we have the right approach within our organization.”

~ Rob Lokinger, President and Chief Operating Officer, AppCentrica Inc.

Individual leaders’ tactics

Your behaviour, attitude, and presence go a long way in shaping corporate culture. Sit with your team to get a feel for their day-to-day environment and issues. Be seen. Have informal chats with specialists and coordinators as well as more senior staff at their desks or in the cafeteria. Encourage peers and people leaders under you to do the same.

Trust in leadership is essential. Employees want to see the genuine you. Façades won’t gain their trust and may make you harder to follow. Your actions need to be consistent, and you must deliver on your commitments.

Celebrate team wins, but also find ways that are personal to you to congratulate or acknowledge staff accomplishments. Equally crucial is being there and supporting your staff in challenging times.

“My role is about fostering the kind of culture and principles we want. It’s about how I handle myself every single day, and also how I expect my management team to handle themselves. I am a firm believer that if I display those characteristics, those traits across the organization, that’s when people start to buy into that idea that it’s not more than a one-off that’s quickly forgotten.”

~ Richard Anton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at CIBC Mellon

 

How do you measure culture?

#EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement  Annual and biannual employee satisfaction and sentiment surveys may not be helpful because they are lagging indicators. Instead, get timely feedback by measuring employee experience after critical points in their tenure: onboarding, first three months, performance reviews (etc.). Ask questions about diversity and inclusion, and track indicators such as employee referrals and attrition rates.

“It’s hard to measure feelings, but we try. I think there’s a lot to be said about the anecdotal feedback—look at what you might measure. I think some measurements that can be found along with the survey scores. Make sure you deep dive into topics where people are feeling engaged and the various contributors, such as enablement to getting work done.”

~ Christina McClung, Vice President, Human Resources and Chief of Staff, Capital One

Working with an experienced partner can help build and improve your employee engagement. Choose a partner who can efficiently lead the project, keep it on track, and who will develop your internal capabilities. The Burnie Group will help you to set the right strategy and build the right foundation. Contact us to learn more about employee engagement.

 


#EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement


PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group hosts #EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement

TORONTO, May 28, 2018 — The Burnie Group is pleased to announce #EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement. Featuring a keynote address by Norman Bacal, who, in his best-selling novel, Breakdown: The Inside Story of the Rise and Fall of Heenan Blaikie, recounts the cautionary tale of the perils of ignoring a firm’s culture and vision, and the danger of hiring as CEOs individuals with little to no management experience.

This event provides an opportunity for our clients and colleagues to discuss the very significant implications of employee engagement on organizational culture. As many of our clients are finding themselves in a rapidly commoditizing marketplace, organizational culture—and especially, employee engagement—remains one of the few competitive advantages you can leverage as a senior leader to grow and out manoeuvre your competitors.” says Darshan Jain, Head of Technology and Operations at The Burnie Group.

#EDGETalks: Actively Engaged – Leadership and Innovation in Building Employee Engagement will take place on the evening of Monday June 4th 2018 in the Gallery at First Canadian Place. Norm Bacal’s keynote address will be followed by a panel discussion led by industry thought leaders, academics and practitioners, including:

Richard Anton – Senior Vice-President, Chief Operations Officer, CIBC Mellon
Cathie Brow – Senior Vice-President, Human Resources & Communications, Revera
Nathalie Clark – Vice-President, HR TD Securities & Risk Management, TD Bank Group
Rob Lokinger – Chief Operating Officer, AppCentrica

With extensive research showing that organizations face a radically shifting context in the workplace, an engaged workforce should be a top priority for senior management.  Converging issues such as flatter hierarchies leaving less 1:1 time with direct managers, accelerated career development expectations, and a technology-driven 24/7 work environment are driving the need to rewrite the rules of employee engagement.  With so much on the line, what does it take for an organization to really understand its culture and create an inclusive and engaging corporate environment?

For tickets visit: https://activelyengaged.eventbrite.ca

About The Burnie Group
The Burnie Group is a highly specialized operations consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and top-tier domain expertise.  The Burnie Group specializes in StrategyOperationsRobotic Process Automation (RPA)Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM).

Media Contact:
Bruna Sofia Simoes
Marketing Manager
bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com
416-909-6379

 

Source: The Burnie Group


 

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group receives Blue Prism Silver Partner Award in Robotic Process Automation

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group receives Blue Prism Silver Partner Award in Robotic Process Automation  TORONTO, ONTARIO– (June 1, 2018) – This latest achievement builds upon an already deep and long-standing relationship with Blue Prism. One of North America’s first Blue Prism partners, The Burnie Group helps clients transform their operations through the delivery of robotic process automation, augmented by thoughtful business process redesign and performance management. This approach provides substantial cost savings, streamlines and simplifies operations, and eliminates waste, errors and the risk of fraud.

“The Burnie Group is honoured to be recognized as a Blue Prism Silver Partner,” said David Burnie, Principal and Founder of The Burnie Group. “We constantly strive to be at the forefront of what’s new, and what stands to have incredible influence. We were the first consulting firm in Canada to adopt and embrace Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and we’ve been very successful in building this practice, this award is a testament to that.”

Recently, The Burnie Group supported ATB Financial in achieving Blue Prism’s 2018 ROM Excellence Award. An accolade presented to the company who has been judged to have achieved the best performance through implementing the Robotic Operating Model that leverages object reusability, appropriate controls and organizational design to maximize business benefits and scalability.

With the demand for RPA and The Burnie Group’s services continuing to increase, together The Burnie Group and Blue Prism are helping clients deploy digital workforces across North America.

 

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About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a Canadian-based management consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence.  The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

 

 

Media Contact:

Bruna Sofia Simoes

Marketing & Sales Manager

Bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com

416-909-6379

 


 

INFOGRAPHIC: The Automation Race: Comparing 5 RPA providers

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a disruptive technology that can improve workforce productivity, accelerate process execution, reduce process error rates, and improve customer satisfaction. Companies that are quick to recognize the potential of automation stand to have considerable cost advantages and organizational agility. However, it can be difficult to know which provider has the automation solution specific to your company’s needs.

In this infographic, we compare the features and strengths of 5 leading RPA providers.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Automation Race: Comparing 5 RPA providers


INFOGRAPHIC: The Automation Race: Comparing 5 RPA providers


 

Digital Disruption and Private Equity: Understanding Effects and Opportunities.

Disruption is an age-old force of change that both drives and destroys. Forces such as globalization and the increasing pace of innovation diffusion are accelerating the frequency of disruption and the impact it can have on industry. As a result, value can be both created and destroyed seemingly overnight. By their nature, private equity (PE) firms have always had to be quick to respond to disruptive trends.

Digital Disruption and Private Equity: Understanding Effects and Opportunities.  With the rise of digital technologies, the pace of disruption and the speed of its diffusion has increased dramatically. If PE firms are to survive and thrive in this new era, they must consider the effect of digital disruption on their portfolios as well as their internal operations. They must also continuously adjust their strategy and decision-making framework, with consideration to how disruption affects industries, portfolios, and internal firm operations.

 

How does disruption alter industries?

1.Businesses.

With new disruptive innovations come new markets and value networks. These innovations can fuel new business models (e.g. ride-sharing applications helping to launch the sharing economy) and can disrupt existing markets and networks (e.g. how ride-sharing changed the taxi industry).

Furthermore, the very nature of what a business is changing. The power of “open innovation” means that the advantages of the classical firm as the most efficient means of creating value are giving way to ecosystems that have a much larger and more efficient means of assembling and reconfiguring resources in the pursuit of value creation.

 

2. Customers.

Digital disruption has irrevocably changed the customer journey. Customers of the “digital native” generation now expect information about a product to be accessible from the palms of their hands. They expect to be able to compare prices, see demonstrations, and receive feedback and recommendations from their social networks about products. Companies that can meet these new digital expectations can reap the value, while those that do not will rapidly succumb to irrelevance and insolvency.

 

3. Products.

As pressure mounts to meet increasingly demanding customer expectations of “the newest thing,” product lifespans get shorter. Long established products can quickly become obsolete. The advent of the smartphone leading to the decrease in relevance of Nokia, Blackberry and Motorola is a clear example. The fate of Kodak, once one of the most powerful brands in the world, serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when digital disruption is ignored. This example is especially poignant as it was Kodak itself that invented the digital camera and the digital SLR camera. In Kodak’s case, the curse of a powerful product-linked brand, an aversion to self-disruption, and the inability to recognize customers’ latent desire to share photos with friends and family in real time, led Kodak to fall from the Fortune 500 to bankruptcy in less than 15 years.

 

How does disruption create new value opportunities for PE?

As industries are disrupted, PE firms must themselves ask the following:

  1. Is a portfolio or target company at risk for becoming devalued by new technology?
  2. Is a target company appropriately prepared to embrace new technology?
  3. Is there an opportunity to capitalize on value emerging elsewhere as a result of disruption?

The ability to recognize the potential value of digital technologies in yet-unconsidered applications can add limitless value to a PE portfolio. Consider, for example, the emergence of bitcoin as a disruptive new asset class in the financial industry. It turns out that bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, will be far more disruptive than bitcoin and will fundamentally impact countless industries. The ability to recognize the potential value of digital technologies in yet-unconsidered applications can add significant value to a PE portfolio.

Another source of value generated by digital disruption and efficient diffusion is accelerated innovation. Rather than focusing on developing a new product that may soon be outdated, accelerated innovation focuses on using new technologies to re-engineer research and development processes. Approaches include reducing lead times by engineering product elements simultaneously, reducing the learning curve by quickly incorporating user feedback, and increasing problem-solving efficiency by restructuring the organization. Despite the associated risk of failure, the ability of accelerated innovation to cut costs and reduce production times has proved highly valuable to customers, and worth considering not only as a framework to evaluate assets in a PE portfolio but as a means of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the PE firm itself.  

 

How can PE firms realize new value opportunities?

In the age of digital disruption, it is no longer sufficient for PE firms to evaluate a target company using traditional value indicators (e.g. cash flow, capital expenditures, and historical performance). Historically valued companies may still be vulnerable to the newest wave of digital disruption. Others that appear to be digital laggards may actually have the potential for huge value generation given the right injection of capital, technology, and coaching.

To realize a valuable investment, PE firms must conduct due digital diligence on potential investments, asking the following:

  1. What is the target company’s level of digital maturity? I.e. have multiple aspects of the company–talent acquisition, marketing, sales, and customer relations, etc.—been digitized?
  2. What is the target company’s strategy for managing digital disruption?
  3. Does the target company have a method for measuring the financial impact of digital disruption and a formal discipline of data-driven decision making?
  4. Are the target company’s operations being reshaped by any industry trends?
  5. What technology has the potential to destroy profit across the current value chain?
  6. Which companies might emerge as unexpected competitors?
  7. Does the company’s senior leadership team support a culture of innovation and risk-taking?

Digital disruption can increase the potential revenue of a business that is culturally prepared embrace disruption. As a result, it can generate new business growth in new and adjacent markets. To capitalize on this potential value, PE firms must calculate risks and opportunities by conducting conduct rigorous digital due diligence on potential investments.  They should also consider what value they can contribute to prospective and existing investments to help those companies survive and prosper in an age of accelerating innovation.

 

How can disruption impact PE firms internally?

The primary focus of most PE firms is on the operations and business prospects of their portfolio companies. The internal operations of the firm itself are often of secondary importance. But digital disruption is as much of a risk, and a potential opportunity, for firms. Disruption can impact investors and partners alike, altering expectations of business conduct and introducing new security threats.

PE firms should address their own place in their digital ecosystems by asking:

  1. How will new and growing threats to privacy and cybersecurity be addressed?
  2. Should the firm buy an existing system to enhance its digital capabilities, or build its own?
  3. Which disruptive technologies can be utilized to improve and enhance firm operations?

 

How can PE firms use disruptive technology to optimize internal operations?

Despite sophisticated financial tools, transactions currently rely on manual processes that are legally and paperwork-intensive. As a result, PE firms are an ideal environment for leveraging many disruptive technologies. The following technologies can all be implemented to optimize PE internal operations:

  • Robotic process automation (RPA): Improves productivity through automation. Processes that can be improved using RPA include investor reporting, waterfall calculations, capital call and distribution notices, performance calculations, tax compliance, management reporting, and regulatory reporting.
  • Advanced cybersecurity: Enables proactive protection and improves risk mitigation. Can be used to secure internal PE firm operations, including the exchange of money and sensitive information during deals and the management of the portfolio company post-deal. Cybersecurity ensures the safety of finances, intellectual property, and customer data.
  • Cloud: Improves the operational speed and ease of deployment, resource utilization, the agility of adjustments, security of materials, and containment of costs.
  • Advanced analytics: Drives decision making and insight with deep pattern recognition and outcome prediction. Use of analytics can also improve and accelerate the due diligence process. Advanced analytics also can rationalize unstructured and complex data sets already available.
  • Blockchain: Improves workflow efficiency, fraud reduction, and onboarding and identity management. Blockchain can also be used to secure deal execution.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Improves insight and exception handling. AI can be applied to valuations, using qualitative and quantitative variables to estimate the odds of achieving higher risk-adjusted returns. Natural language processing can improve sentiment analyses, identify trends, and automate call centres. A noteworthy example, Deep Knowledge Ventures uses an AI system, called VITAL, with its investment committees. This system makes decisions by scanning prospective companies’ intellectual property, clinical trials, financing, and previous funding rounds to determine the attractiveness of an investment and assess related risk. 

 

The final word.

To develop the operational framework necessary to manage internal and external disruption, organizations require a well-designed strategy led by an aligned and engaged management team. By combining a robust operating framework with a formalized approach to strategic innovation, organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement and adjustment. This includes looking outside of the organization to forecast possible scenarios, new domains, and potential offerings. Internally, this includes the reallocation and definition of roles and responsibilities with leadership capabilities. With these strategies in place, the focus can shift to the creation of an innovative culture that seeks new value in both internal operations and external performance.

 


Digital Disruption and Private Equity: Understanding Effects and Opportunities.