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Exit Interview by Patrick Donegan – Newsletter #6

By: Patrick Donegan


For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers.

I never found it — so I decided to build it.

Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh insights on tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

My Thoughts

I spend a lot of time following trends in digital innovation, and so I’m surprised that we’re not mobilizing effective digital tracing technology for the COVID-19 vaccine. With doses finally rolling out, we need a paperless solution that helps us keep track of who’s received vaccine doses, which vaccine they’ve received, and other relevant health information. Compared to other countries, the US has been slow to start. A coalition of tech companies – including Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce – are working together to create standards for vaccine passport apps, which would improve tracking accuracy and efficiency significantly. 

Tech Innovation at Work

A number of tech companies, health organizations, and nonprofit groups — including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, the Mitre Corporation and the Mayo Clinic — announced that they are developing technology standards for health passport ✅👩‍⚕️💪   apps. This will enable users to demonstrate a negative test or a new vaccination when going back to work, school, or to attend events. Accessing vaccine records via an app is by no means straightforward, and the federal government will have to ensure it can be equitably implemented. 🤔⚖️   If it works, this will certainly be an improvement over paper cards. 

CES 2021 — the world’s largest tech show 👨‍💻🔥🤖   — took place last week. It’s usually hosted in the Las Vegas Convention Center, but this year, it moved online. The digital venue is open till February 15, but if you didn’t attend or register, here‘s what you may have missed. The main attraction was “digital activations,” interactive portals for networking, demonstrations, and presentations. People were able to shoot virtual photos and enjoy gaming elements. To pull all this off, the organizers partnered with Microsoft. There were upwards of 1,900 exhibitors, almost twice the initial target.

Here’s a helpful “brief history of the cloud” ☁️🙌   that sums up how far we’ve come. It goes over the early days of computing when enterprise stacks included on-premise hardware and licensed software, the transition to cloud led by Amazon Web ServicesMicrosoft Azure, Google Cloud Services, and the new cloud-only era that no longer serves legacy environments. That said, many companies are still working in hybrid environments. But if you have any doubts about whether migrating to a “cloud-only” environment matters, this piece breaks it down: “software written for cloud-only assumes logical disaggregation of compute, storage, and networking, meaning it can take advantage of the intrinsic elasticity of the cloud.” Cloud only provides better functionality for developers and pushes the boundaries of what analytics can do.

The Changing Workplace

Is this the beginning of the “Metaverse” — a true, collective virtual shared space? 💃🐣   From concerts, to movie premieres, to conferences, participating in digital experiences using 3D simulations no longer seems strange. Initially the preserve of gaming, the Metaverse definitely got a boost from the responses to the pandemic. It’s certainly the start of new forms of entertainment and socializing — but what this means for networking, workplace collaboration, and leadership remains to be seen. Read more about it in this piece by David Baszucki, CEO and Founder of Roblox.

One of the unexpected benefits of remote work is that it eases the coming-out process for transgender employees. 👏🚻   Office environments often present hurdles for transgender employees — for example, gendered bathrooms and gendered expectations for dress. While working at home, it’s easier to let your work speak for you. Here are a few illuminating stories from employees who have come out during the pandemic.

Why do strategies fail? Often, because the strategy wasn’t actually a strategy. 🤔📈💅   That’s why it’s helpful to distinguish strategies from goals, priorities, and a set of decisions. Here’s a high-level breakdown of what it takes to formulate a strategy. Among other things, it involves more than top-down decisions. It’s about developing a system for determining what works and letting decisions emerge from your criteria. This may be intuitive, but make sure your organization is built for change — whether it’s shuffling teams around when necessary or adapting to new, challenging projects.

All About Data

A new IDC Market Spotlight commissioned by Box, Okta, Slack and Zoom — “Unlocking Collaboration: Making Software Work Better Together”— found that the market is trending away from single-vendor, suite-based tools toward a best-of-breed approach to technology. ⚒️🏆🐖   Here are a few other highlights:

  • 37% of companies enjoy a mean productivity increase with three or more applications integrated
  • 75% of organizations see a increase in productivity with six or more applications integrated
  • Organizations with six or more integrated applications see a 75% increase in productivity

Here are a few industry trends to watch in 2021 from S&P Global’s Special Report. The economy may be moving toward a fragile recovery, but pandemic worries are still driving credit conditions. 😬🔮   Risks to watch for: uneven health recovery, recessionary pressures, federal funding changes, ESG. Another thing to anticipate down the line is the impact of phasing out stimulus measures. Here’s an upside — more states are pushing toward 100% renewable energy and net-zero emissions 👏🌟🌳:

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Patrick Donegan Chief Strategy Officer

Patrick Donegan

Chief Strategy Officer

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