Teema Press

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THE BIG QUESTION ABOUT BIG DATA

THE BIG QUESTION ABOUT BIG DATA

By Vaclav Vincalek, CIO

Predicting the future isn’t quite a mug’s game anymore. It was once the province of futurists who talked like evangelists and fortune-tellers who paradoxically could never seem to leverage their predictive abilities with a lottery ticket at their local convenience store. Today, lots of folks are into the prediction racket these days – “predictive analysis”, anyway, with an eerie degree of accuracy. It’s all thanks to Big Data – that ambiguous little term every vendor is using to sell their technology.

What is ‘Big Data’? (For those who are having visions of a ‘roided-out Brent Spiner from Star Trek TNG, nice try – but no). It is what it sounds like: a set of data so large you might not quite know what to do with it; gigabytes and terabytes of data that firms and organizations have been gathering, often for years at a stretch. From the NSA’s logs of telephone calls from every American citizen (and Canadians as well, for all we know), to medical records from state and provincial health authorities, crime statistics, demographics of every one who ever purchased tax filing software and what you bought at the supermarket using your in-store card, we’re sitting on piles of data that would make the fictional Bill Gates of 1981 flinch (Mythbusting tip of the day: he actually never said that “640 kb ought to be enough for anybody”. It’s still a great story, though).

The promise of big data comes from two developments: first, the dramatic increase in storage capability that allows that data to be collected in the first place; and better software tools for sorting that data into usable intelligence. Companies want to use that intelligence not just to recognize patterns, but to predict future behavior (and capitalize on it). From supermarkets and chain restaurants to insurance companies and CIA spooks, that power of prediction is a powerful lure. That’s why so many vendors are adding this – or at least the promise of it, to their technology offerings.

Before you start considering technology offerings, the big question your company has to answer before you start investing in a solution is “what do you want to know?” You’ll want to be careful what you wish for.

Actual predictive power is a Pandora’s box. Think about it — true insight into data is rarely benign. Often it will have significant impact on the organization, leading to changes in their business model. Big Data can be disruptive.

Cautionary notes aside, once you’ve decided you want to move ahead with predictive analysis, you’re going to need to proceed strategically. You’ll need a team in place that includes business managers, IT resources, and senior executives; a wide range of skill sets, including business and analytical capabilities; highly-qualified coders – and most importantly, team members with the desire to learn and contribute, who can ask questions and imagine the future. These experts will build a roadmap, define clear objectives and outcomes, validate their approach. Once that legwork is done – and only then, your firm can use technology to drive your vision forward.

Dealing with a Big Data problem? You’ll need people to solve it, starting with asking the right questions. Then we can start talking about the technology.

Need help getting value out of your big data? We want to hear from you!

NO, LINKEDIN ISN’T GOING TO KILL OUR RECRUITMENT BUSINESS (BUT IT DID CHANGE IT)

NO, LINKEDIN ISN’T GOING TO KILL OUR RECRUITMENT BUSINESS (BUT IT DID CHANGE IT)
By Brian Antenbring, President

“Strategic hiring is planned. The more a position impacts revenue, the more you need TEEMA Executive Search.” That’s what we tell our clients – and it’s one of the main reason we’re still going strong in the recruitment biz, 10 years and about 300 million LinkedIn users later, after this helpful social application for connecting smart folks with jobs has disrupted and decimated a good chunk of our competition.

There were those who thought that LinkedIn spelled the end of the recruiting service sector (paradoxically enough, this included some forward-thinking executives in recruiting companies that invested in LinkedIn’s IPO). For recruitment firms that tended to facilitate entry-level-to-mid-level hires, that is undoubtedly the case; there’s no denying LinkedIn’s attraction for companies that are just looking to fill vacancies, fast. Those kinds of staffing firms are indeed falling by the wayside.

Fortunately for TEEMA, we’re not in that kind of business.

We service companies looking for executives; leaders, visionaries and results-oriented professionals at the top of their game, who can transform firms from also-rans to top of the heap. These companies are thinking strategically about how these hires will develop their companies over years, not months. They’re dealing with the long game and very big revenue goals. It’s not about adding a programmer to meet a coding deadline or a health professional to fill a temporary gap in a ward, but adding a leader who will take their organization to the next level.

Those kinds of hires take more than just a cursory search of the top 10 hits on the world’s biggest directory. Thanks to widespread adoption of LinkedIn by professionals at all levels, along with an increasingly commonplace (and disturbing) trend of CV-padding, finding the right hire there may be even trickier than it was just two or three years ago. Going it alone on hiring, firms are increasingly finding they’re looking not for a needle in a haystack, but a particular needle in a big stack of needles.

Our staffing solution is about far more than having a great database of talented people from the tech sector, healthcare, engineering, accounting and more. This is a ‘people’ business’, where we get to know candidates on a personal level, understanding their value (and potentially, their risks) to organizations that go far beyond what you might be able to ascertain from a CV on LinkedIn.

There’s another big aspect of the value we offer clients that LinkedIn can’t touch: the time and effort it takes to undertake a professional executive search. Doing it right does take time – and many of our clients simply have to outsource it to us, because the process is so involved. It’s not just about finding potential matches in terms of skills and ‘corporate culture’, but vetting them before they even connect with the client. By leaving it in our hands, the client saves effort and lowers the risk of a bad hire that can turn a profitable business upside-down.

We actually like LinkedIn. There’s no question it is one tool that helps our recruiters do a small part of their jobs, and it’s also upping the ante for our competition that otherwise might have gotten away with not providing real value, behind a lot of smoke-and-mirrors shenanigans. LinkedIn has created new challenges for the industry as a whole to reconsider how they provide value – and thankfully, our clients would agree that we still provide that value for their strategic executive hires.

Aligning People

WELCOME TO OUR NEW TEEM MEMBERS

ROSLYN DEMERCHANT

Roslyn has over nine years of recruiting experience.  She worked with CNC Global/Sapphire for seven years after working as a Software Developer and Manager at an IT company.

After leaving Sapphire, she joined URS Flint Energy Services in, 2011.  With URS Flint, Roslyn specialized in providing a candidate supply line to the Recruitment team. In her first year with URS Flint Energy Services, Roslyn revitalized contact with over 1000 candidates and placed 40 employees in hard to fill roles.  Roslyn was then promoted to a Senior Recruitment Advisor role where she worked on bids and recruitment strategies.

Roslyn is excited to join TEEMA and is looking forward to the new challenges, flexibility and working with a number of familiar faces in our Calgary office!

 

FIDELI ENG

Fideli has joined the Vancouver office and brings with her 14 years of recruitment experience.  She started her career in the accounting, finance and administration space filling both contract/temp and perm roles while working with Robert Half Recruitment and the Aplin Group.  For the last two and half years, Fideli has worked with Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions, focusing on mid to senior level management searches across Western Canada where most of the roles were in the engineering and sales areas.

 

Read more about all our members…

The Martians Are Coming! Staffing & System Integration Challenges of the Future

By Brian Antenbring, President

Early in 2014, we learned that 75 Canadian finalists are competing for the right to be ferried 54.6 million km away from their relatives to a desolate rocky place from which they will never return. I know the holidays can be a stressful time for families, but this seems a bit extreme.

All joking aside, whether we’re talking about missions to Mars or firms beating astronomically high odds to become the next Google, Amazon or IBM, organizations are taking on huge challenges all the time. They demand staffing solutions to find people who can do amazing things. They also need integrated technologies that can help those people do the amazing things they’ve been hired to do.

When we launched TEEMA Technology Solutions in 2013, adding to the Staffing Solutions division we are renowned for, we had our eye on the future. There’s a natural convergence happening in most international markets, with firms now offering both system integration and resourcing services.

Companies want integrated technology systems. Even when firms go with a customized technology solution, one of the first questions asked is how it’s going to integrate with their existing systems. Restaurants integrate their Point of Sale systems with their scheduling and accounting software. Hospitals integrate their HR database with their training software. Salespeople from over 100 different industries are integrating their CRM systems with their social media networks. Scientists are integrating hundreds of systems of sensors, wireless technology and robotics to ensure that when humans do land on Mars, there will already be a place for them to live and air to breathe.

At the same time, companies also want integrated solutions for staffing; tech firms in particular need executives and operators who are qualified on a range of systems, or able to manage a full team of specialists. The goal isn’t just to help a company fill a position, but to find a hire that will integrate into the company seamlessly. Silos can be inefficient and even dangerous when it comes to technology or people.

It’s easier to overcome these challenges with an integrated approach, which is why we are continuing to build up our two divisions. To borrow from our own corporate motto, the key to success is aligning people, process and technology. More than ever, in 2014, we’re helping companies reach for the stars.

Does your company have big plans for 2014? How are you integrating systems and new staff to reach your goals? Leave a comment!

Get Your Head Out Of The Cloud. Focus On The Business Need.

By Vaclav Vincalek, CIO

“Put it in the cloud.” If you used that phrase even five years ago, most CEOs would have had no idea what you were talking about. Today, many companies store their apps, databases and websites in the cloud as a default business move. According to a 2013 TechTarget survey, of 830 IT leaders, nearly half said they adopted public cloud technologies out of “business needs”. Only 29% cited cost savings as the main reason for putting their business in the cloud (a steep decline from 73% in 2011).

That’s a good trend happening. Sure, moving your business to the cloud can save money; fewer servers (or no servers) or onsite hardware to deal with, a shrunken IT department etc., translates into lower costs. The cloud is a commodity – you get the best price for performance ratio. However, while lowering costs is inarguably a business need in an abstract sense, saving money isn’t directly furthering the business model and company goals.

It’s a subtle difference, but a distinct one. That’s where the big shift is happening now in cloud decision-making.

Putting it in the cloud is useful for business when you need to scale up quickly, particularly for public facing systems. For instance, making it easier for people to collaborate using shared documents in a database; giving instant access to heavily-used apps or CRM without worrying about downtime; ensuring a eCommerce site has the capacity to scale up to serve a ton of users over the Christmas buying season; adding training resources for a web portal serving tens of thousands of government employees. Those are just a few examples, but the possibilities are endless.

For companies thinking about putting their business in the cloud, TEEMA helps with integration between various systems and the cloud environment. As well, it doesn’t need to be an either-or decision, by having everything in the cloud or everything on the onsite server. Whichever way companies decide to go with the cloud, it’s important to ask the question: “How will this help the business do what it needs to do.”

Need help putting your business in the cloud? We want to hear from you!

A LOT GOES INTO YOUR COMPANY’S MOBILE APP BEFORE IT GETS MOVING

A LOT GOES INTO YOUR COMPANY’S MOBILE APP BEFORE IT GETS MOVING

By Vaclav Vincalek, CIO

I was talking recently with a friend of mine who runs a virtual accounting company. His firm recently launched a mobile version of his web-based app and to extend that out to other platforms. He had a head start on a lot of my other colleagues in business who hadn’t even got their first mobile app built for their firms; still, he’d come to the conclusion that he probably should have just farmed out the development in the first place to a technology expert – because it’s not an easy thing to do in-house.

These days, having a mobile app is almost a rite of passage for a growing company. The advantages for a company to build one are multi-layered. Many firms, from Starbucks to big banks and car-sharing startups, use them to let their customers buy their products and services directly via their smartphone or tablet (increasingly, the only option customers have, as folks switch over from desktops and laptops). There’s also a branding advantage for companies that build playable apps, so they’re constantly reminded of the company in between checking their high scores. There are lots of business case reasons to build apps – but it’s not easy.

Companies try – and often fail – to build their own apps in-house, because there’s a lot more to it than most realize. It’s not a matter of adding this on to your overworked in-house IT expert’s pile of to-do tasks. There’s a lot to consider: what about responsive design (so that the app will work on multiple systems without the need to code it in to a dozen different operating systems that are constantly getting updated)? Does the user always need to be online or will there be offline access for this app? You’ll need a developer, of course, along with a quality assurance person.

But wait – how are you going to test out the app before it goes live? You’ll need to build a dedicated test environment, because all of your staff using their own devices off a single network isn’t going to cut it.

We live in a DIY culture, where “hacker” is no longer a term reserved for the technocratic elite (AKA “nerds”) and where both individual employees and entire firms are being asked to do more with less… but there are limits. My friend in that virtual accounting company had learned his lesson; for the next phase, he decided to leave that to the experts.

Need help with a technology solution for your company? We want to hear from you! Contact our CIO at vaclav@teemagroup.com.

GROWING A BUSINESS BUILT ON A STRONG FOUNDATION

GROWING A BUSINESS BUILT ON A STRONG FOUNDATION

By Brian Antenbring, President

Change is inevitable – if you control the change, it can become a very powerful engine for growth.  If you don’t control it, you’ll be like the other 95% of businesses that have become non-existent.

Sometimes businesses have to fundamentally rework how they do things in order to grow. We see that a lot with our customers, who we’re helping to make that growth happen. Lately, we’ve seen it a lot in our own company.

We’re not just a leading staffing company anymore; we’re also a big provider of technology solutions – and humbly aim to be the number one provider of full cycle staffing and technology solutions. This change was happening as we were accepting some very nice accolades. In 2013, TEEMA was recognized by PROFIT Magazine’s HOT50 top new-growth companies in Canada, as well as Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 fastest growing companies in the United States.  TEEMA also made The Branham300 of Canada’s Top ICT Companies. Not too shabby.

I don’t mention all those media mentions to brag, but to underline an important point: successful companies that want to stay on top have to constantly keep adapting. That may mean changing up or vastly increasing their product or service offerings, as we have; but it can also mean realigning the core mission, vision and values of what you do.

As our staff (ie. we refer to internal staff as ‘Members’) engage with our various clients across North America and get a handle on their staffing and technology needs, we’re constantly reminded of the importance of core values and principles. Every facet of a business, from project management to sales campaigns, and hiring must stem from these mission, vision, and core values statements. When you find that your business does not embrace or adapt to the current ways of doing things, a company’s story can become a cautionary tale, as with fallen brands like Kodak or Blockbuster.

Particularly when we encounter some companies that have made rapid transitions from startup to become a large-sized firm, their biggest challenge may be deeper than people, process or technology: just a mish-mash of a core business identity. Complacency about this can kill a company.

As your company changes and grows, we’ll be there to help anticipate and meet your needs. We’ve been there – and we’ve got the solutions.

How do your company’s core mission and values connect with your staffing and technology needs? Leave a comment!

Welcome New TEEMA Member – Amrita Riarh

Amrita joins TEEMA from Sapphire/Randstad, where she spent six and half years with the IT staffing team. Prior to that she pursued her entrepreneurial calling as a Second Cup franchisee.  She started her career in the Insurance industry.

Amrita’s passion is the pursuit and development of strong customer relationships.  Offering those customers the very best service possible.  She is once again pursuing her entrepreneurial passion but this time with TEEMA.

Welcome to the TEEM Amrita.

 

 

Welcome New TEEMA Member – Donna Vincent

Donna has nearly 10 years in the staffing industry, primarily in IT, spending 8 years in Manitoba and Saskatchewan as both a Recruiter and Account manager with CNC Global/Sapphire/Randstad.  In 2011 she transferred to Toronto with Randstad and spent another year as an Account Manager in the technology division.  Most recently she was working with Nexus Systems Group as Business Development Director.

Donna is both passionate about great customer service and strives to provide an exceptional experience in business. She has had clients and candidates frequently comment on how their interaction in business with Donna has been one of high availability and great service!  She strives to make every experience a memorable one, maintains long term relationships and receives repeat business because of these relationships.  It’s evident she loves what she does!

A little trivia – she has personally renovated/flipped 5 houses, and has accumulated an impressive array of power tools, making the garage her favorite room in the house!

Her hobbies include weight lifting, cycling, water sports, travel (she has a bucket list of 100 places to visit) , gardening/landscaping, and loves to keep very active!

Welcome to the TEEM Donna.

Welcome New TEEMA Member – Paul Spoutz

Paul is a journeyman recruiter.  Early in his career he held executive level positions with companies that included Automatic Data Processing, Wang Laboratories and IBM.  He began his recruiting career with Source Services Corp. (now Kforce) in 1994 where he launched the Source Consulting operation in Denver, CO.  Over the next six years he grew that operation into one of the largest providers of technology solutions in the Rocky Mountain region.  He has since held various recruiting-oriented positions with companies that included ProDX and, for the past six years, HumCap, a Dallas-based specialty provider of contingency search, RPO and HR outsourcing.

Paul’s strengths reside in the technology, engineering, marketing, accounting and purchasing disciplines.  He is passionate about drilling down searches with only the best, most qualified candidates and has reluctantly earned a “sharpshooter” moniker due to his ratio of hires per submittals.

Welcome to the TEEM “Sharpshooter”!