June 6, 2014

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Key Issues Facing Today’s CXO Suite

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June 6, 2014

Corporations today are experiencing unprecedented change, creating both opportunities and challenges.  Numerous reports and surveys examine key issues that C-level executives are charged with resolving as the business environment continues to progress.  Here are four issues consistently appearing at or near the top of most lists.             

Business Intelligence: Data & Analytics

Data and analytics technology is now the driving force in business growth, transforming how companies look at and interact with customers.  It’s changing the approach to product development, operations, and even human resources. Data is telling everything about everybody, providing deep insight into consumers’ research, purchasing and usage habits.

The volume of available data is immense. The challenge is determining what insights can be derived from it, and how to drill down on those insights to help companies make the best decisions and develop winning strategies. CXOs who embrace this intelligence technology, and figure how best to implement it to fulfill their needs and add value, will lead the pack in corporate growth. Leader’s who resist will ultimately lose out to their competition.

Data and analytics are no longer a responsibility delegated to CIOs. All C-suite executives have a stake in analyzing and interpreting the data that’s crucial to their area of business growth.  Yet most executives are struggling to understand and apply it to business action plans. The technology is advancing at warp speed – what’s new today will be outdated before you realize it. Get in the game now if you want to lead the pack!             

IT security

Traditionally delegated to the tech staff, increased security breaches mean all C-level executives must take ownership of IT security. The stakes are high. The consequences of security failure and the compromise of sensitive data can destroy a business.

Because of increased capabilities, companies are collecting more data from customers, including financial, transactional, and even personal information. Companies are also increasing outbound information through cloud computing, drop boxes and social media.  Both internal and external data flows are necessary for companies to operate. 

Security technologies long relied on are the host-based anti-virus and appliance-based URL filtering. Though important technologies used to prevent attacks, neither will capture many of today’s advanced threats capable of evading those defenses. IT security must constantly update current technologies that can detect and stop new threats.  

Mobile devices present new concerns.  As workforce mobility increases, so does employee usage of cell phones, BYOD or company-owned equipment on which data can be accessed. A laptop in use off the enterprise network can pick up sophisticated malware which is then introduced to the network when it’s reconnected. Cell phones and tablets can’t be protected the same way as traditional network-connected devices, and require their own security strategies to protect proprietary information.

Cyber crime has become highly sophisticated and organized. Target’s security breach demonstrates even the best security strategies don’t eliminate the potential of being hacked.      


Affordable Health Care:

Although the Obama administration announced a delay earlier this year requiring employers to provide health insurance for their employees, corporate leaders still must navigate the waters of health care reform. Originally set to begin in 2014, the employer mandate will be delayed until 2015 / 2016.

Employer mandate requires all businesses with over 100 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance for their full-time employees, or pay a per month "Employer Shared Responsibility Payment." Small businesses with 50-99 full-time equivalent employees will need to start insuring workers by 2016.

In simple terms “full-time equivalent" equals (the total number of full-time employees) plus (the combined number of Part-time employee hours divided by 30). Part-time employee hours can be averaged from anywhere between a 3 and 12 months span to determine FTE. Penalties for failure to comply will vary according to several complex guidelines.

The breakdown of ACA details for businesses is complicated. The government agencies responsible for administering ACA continue to issue guidance and tools to assist in the further implementation of the law. For complete details, go to http://www.cbiz.com/page.asp?pid=8661

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