The RGZ Blog encompasses contributions from members of the RGZ team, highlighting their expertise in subjects such as ERP, Project Management, IT Strategy, Forensic Investigations, and Risk Mitigation in an IT environment, etc. Please feel free to either comment with questions or join the discussion!
Written by Glenn Dinetz Monday, 18 April 2011 00:00
Here are the immediate next steps you have to take to secure your technological privacy:
- Secure your most important emails, received and sent on another form of digital media (thumb-drive, CD, Cloud drive, etc.)
- Change the user name and password on all of your credit cards, bank accounts, brokerage accounts and retirement accounts. If jointly owned, check with your attorney first.
- If you operate a wireless (WIFI) network in your home make sure you do the following:
- If the name of the network easily identifies you (you used your address or family name) change it. Change your WEP Password as well. Enable WPA2 encryption and disable the broadcast feature.
- Remember to write all of your changes down and keep it in a safe place
- This needs to be done especially in high-profile breakups. In domestic matters, once a spouse has moved out of the residence, these changes should be made
- In any and all matters, you should instruct your children not to give out WIFI passwords. (It never ceases to amaze us that in many cases, we find the entire neighborhood is able to connect to a ‘secure’ network.)
- Mobile Devices: This is where you can have the most problems. For those of you using the iPhones, Blackberry’s and Androids as well as iPads, iPods and tablets, you can be tracked! Turn off the location finder in the settings of your device when you are not using it.
- For Apple device users especially, make sure your MobileMe account is secure. We have found third parties setting up and paying for fictitious MobileMe Accounts and using the “find my iPad” feature to track individuals
- Your vehicle: GPS trackers are cheap these days. If your car is parked in a public place, it’s fair game for a tracking device. These work much the same way as your cell phone does. And, unless the NSA is tracking you, these devices have only a three -day battery life and are about the size of a pack of cigarettes. Check under your bumpers and in the wheel wells for anything suspicious. In some domestic cases where one spouse knows the habit of the other, the GPS device is placed right in the car in a messy console department or in the side pockets of luxury cars.
If you think you’ve been further compromised, give us a call. We have some equipment you don’t have and experience in looking in ‘all the wrong places'.
Written by Glenn Dinetz Friday, 15 April 2011 00:00
As a boutique management consulting firm, we’re often asked, “What are your competitive advantages?” One of the most important and overlooked answers is infrastructure. Within a matter of seconds, we can provide secure, cloud-based multi-media meetings with prospective and current clients using GoToMeeting ®, regardless of the operating system they may be using.
For our contractors and business partners, we are able to set them up with secure email account within minutes. And, for our clients, we are able to immediately fire up a Program or Project SharePoint site. Again, it can be accessed whether you’re a PC or Mac User.
RGZ Solutions has invested in the latest versions of all of these tools and developed zero to low latency provisioning for prospects, partners and clients.
The next time you are dealing with our ‘big brethren,” ask them how fast they can provide this type of connectivity. The advantage of being a little bit smaller is our ability to understand and execute quickly without undue bureaucracy and process. That equates to executing with a true sense of urgency and productivity that is reflected in our value and quality.
Written by Lauren Paige Friday, 25 March 2011 22:41
The internet has become more than just a place for brochure-like, static websites. The web is interactive, dynamic and real-time. People are more likely to visit and stay on a webpage if there is something for them to do there. They want an interactive experience and they want your organization to communicate with them, somehow. But what kind of investment should you make to accomplish that?
Social Media has become all the rage lately. Tons of companies have already integrated social media into their marketing strategies, social media consulting firms have popped out of what seems like nowhere, and it seems as though everywhere I turn, I can find a QR code or a prompt to become a fan of some Facebook page. Anyone paying attention will tell you that social media has revolutionized the way people communicate and think, but what exactly is “social media” and should we believe all the hype surrounding it?
For all intents and purposes, let us first start off by breaking down what the term “social media” actually means and what the qualifications are to be considered “social media”. While there are hardly any academic or official definitions for social media, let’s start with a working definition of “a set of internet based applications and tools that allows for the creation and exchange of user-generated content or consumer generated media (CGM)”.
While this still leaves us with a very broad definition, emphasizing that social media is a set of tools, allows us to understand that being a “social media expert” means being an expert at using these tools. It does NOT necessarily mean being an expert at creating a marketing strategy that depends upon these tools. That should be left up to a “marketing expert”. Though, clearly it is possible to be both skilled as a marketer and have expertise in these tools .
Social media allows us to engage, communicate and collaborate directly with our constituents and consumer-base. This is very different from traditional marketing and advertising. While we have established that being a social media expert does not make you a marketing expert, the same rule applies in the reverse, this especially goes for a marketing expert in the traditional sense of putting out a message that will draw in an audience (i.e. commercials, billboards, brochures, etc), but not necessarily utilizing a two way channel of communication, in which your audience will then respond to your message directly to you, publicly.
One of the most important concepts, usually unnecessary in traditional marketing strategies, when deciding whether or not to use social media tools as part of your organization’s marketing strategy, is that you MUST be willing to give up, at least partial, control of your message. Social media tools are only effective when there is participation and dialogue between the organization and its audience, though one of the goals should be to effectively influence the conversation. However, if your organization is not prepared to give up control of your message – social media is probably not for you.
While dialogue and conversation is seen as a great entry point for learning more about your audience, there is a downside. Giving your audience the opportunity to be a part of the dialogue also gives them the power to say whatever they want (And by “whatever”, I truly mean “whatever”, the sky is the limit). Your organization needs to be prepared for the possibility that not everyone interacting with you will like you and may even go to extreme efforts to communicate this publicly. If your organization decides to use social media tools, your organization MUST incorporate a strategy for how it will respond to the potential negative consequences of social media.
So, should we just encourage scores of people to “like” our fan page and hope for the best or join every social networking site we find (I’ve personally found a little over 300)? In case you are not able to gauge my tone here, the answer is: no, please don’t.
Looking past all of the hype, some of the hard ROI an organization can get from using social media in their marketing strategy are the limitless information you can obtain by tracking and analyzing user interactions and sharing patterns and data. Tools like AddThis and Google Analytics allow organizations to analyze where their audience is, what they like and what they want. Building a revenue model that caters to the results of these analyses allows you to determine your investment levels and gives you a strong sense of your ROI. ROI that is a little more difficult to evaluate is the potential to gain your consumer’s trust and establish yourself as an expert – this is what will allow your organization to influence the conversation.
Your organization does not need to jump on the bandwagon and turn your entire marketing team upside down with a social media makeover. The goal should be to create a strategy to integrate certain social media tools into your already existing, marketing strategy at a pace your organization has the resources to sustain. Not every social media tool will work for every organization and incorporating social media into an organization’s marketing strategy is not a one size fits all approach. This is a fairly new set of tools that is constantly expanding and changing. Just because a platform like Facebook is the new big thing does not mean it will always be the new big thing, just ask Friendster and AOL.
Written by Robert Kurtz Wednesday, 16 March 2011 14:58
Management of white space in an organization can often lead to increased efficiency and production. White space is a term used to describe the interdepartmental gaps and interactions in an organization. A white space manager is charged with eliminating waste and redundancy throughout all departments. Member communication and effective information flow augments cohesion between all the members of the organization. You can save time through the careful management of organizational white space.
Successful change requires management to look at its organization in a new way and, as a result, define its role differently. We believe that a major ingredient in establishing competitive advantage is management's ability to recognize that one of their primary responsibilities is one of managing the "white space" on the organization chart.
We all know what a typical corporate organization chart looks like with the Chairman of the Board at top reporting to a Board of Directors. Reporting to the Chairman is usually the CEO and/or President with Finance, Legal, Human Resource, etc. (Figure A) reporting to that position. Reporting relationships and functional responsibilities tend to dominate the way people who have this view think, evaluate and communicate about organization performance.
The danger in viewing an organization as a set of functions that are connected only vertically is that one begins to manage that way. More often than not, the manager of several units begins to manage on a one-to-one basis. The goals and measures are set separately for each function. In this environment, each manager tends to be protective of his or her function, often behaving as if other functions are the enemy, rather than partners in the battle against the competition.
Each function and sub-function works hard to meet its goals, which are set independently of other functions. All too frequently, when a function optimizes (meets its goals), it ends up contributing to the sub-optimization of other functions and of the organization as a whole. Marketing makes its numbers by selling products that can't be designed or delivered on schedule. R&D looks good by designing sophisticated products that can't be profitably manufactured. Manufacturing meets its yield goals and, in so doing, sends inventory costs through the roof.
In this environment, barriers exist between functions and sub-functions. Issues must go to the top of these chimneys or silos before they can be resolved, which takes managers away from higher priority customer and competitor concerns.
When the manager of functions A, B and C goes to the manager of sub-function B to determine why B failed to produce on time, the response tends to be: "It's those dimwits in A."
In the good old days of a seller's market, a company could introduce products at its own pace, meet only its internal quality goals and set a price that guaranteed adequate margins. In “the good ole days” functional silos, did not lead to serious consequences. Those days are over. Because of strong global competition, most organizations now compete in a buyer's market.
At a macro level, we see the organization as a giant processing system that takes in resources and produces products and services for a receiving system, the marketplace. The organization processing system responds to the demands of the marketplace for product quality, customer service and price. An organization that does not quickly respond to these demands will usually fail as a business.
When we publish our "White Space" white paper (coming soon!), in addition to making visible the products/services and the market, you will have a full understanding of what actually goes on inside an organization. Functional boundaries are present, but in the background. The focus is on the way work is accomplished. In this case, new product ideas move from Sales and Marketing to R&D, where new product specs are developed and provided to Manufacturing. This horizontal, or systems, view makes visible the internal customer-supplier relationships through which products and services are produced.
The effectiveness of horizontal work processes make or break organizations. Processes (such as the product development and introduction process and the customer service process) are the key to quality, cost and cycle time/productivity improvement. In successfully competitive organizations, process performance, not function performance, is the primary concern of management.
How does your organization manage the white space? Stay tuned for future posts that cover “how to” ideas for your consumption!
Written by Lauren Paige Wednesday, 02 February 2011 15:06
RGZ’s Glenn Dinetz appointed as IMC-NJ Special Membership Ambassador. The Institute of Management Consultants (NJ Chapter) has requested that Dinetz assist the chapter in building local IMC membership during the coming year. For those unfamiliar with the IMC, it is one of only three professional certification organizations that have earned earned a prestigious ISO accreditation for its Certified Management Consultant™ (CMC®) process. The CMC mark is becoming the gold standard of certification for U.S. Government Consulting work as well as in Europe and India. For those unfamiliar with the organization, please visit www.imcusa.org.
Recently, using simple Listserve technology Glenn created a an IMCNJ Yahoo Group to foster instant communications and networking amongst members. “As a member of other professional groups using Listserve technology fully 30% of our business and more than 50% of our staffing has come through use of the Listserve,” Dinetz said.
Certifications have become an industry unto themselves. Membership and the certification process can be expensive. It is important to do a proper due diligence and personal assessment on any business organization and certification you may pursue. We believe the IMC and its CMC mark are the standard for management consulting in terms of Ethics and Practice. RGZ’s code of ethics and professional standards closely imitates those of the IMC. Having satisfied the stringent requirements and tests required to obtain the mark, Dinetz is a CMC. He also holds professional certifications from ISACA and the ACFE. RGZ’s CEO, Bob Kurtz is a CPA and former president of ISACA.
“RGZ Solutions is honored to be associated with the IMC.” said Kurtz. “We would like to see membership in the NY Metro Area double in the next several years. IMC Membership and the CMC Mark go along way in establishing the credentials and experience of firms who we would partner with on engagements.”
If you are interested in finding out more about this organization or attending a New Jersey Chapter meeting as our guest, please contact us!
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