April 2016: Nonprofits Today

Working for north country businesses

Editor’s note: The following information was presented March 3 during the Business of the Year Awards given by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce. The United Way of Northern New York was named the Small Nonprofit of the Year at the event.

Bob Gorman

Bob Gorman

Every day the Watertown Daily Times prints the names of people charged with driving under the influence. It’s easy to dismiss the names as representing the dregs of society.

But if you are in management around here long enough, one day one of those names will belong to one of your employees, a person who is crucial to the success of your business. [Read more…]

April 2016: Commerce Corner

Six ways colleges impact local economies

Brooke Rouse

Brooke Rouse

The north country is fortunate to be home to many institutions of higher education. Many businesses in college towns feel the ebbs and flows of a “semester-based business cycle” and periods of particular peaks during move in, move out, graduations, family weekends, reunions and sporting events. The influx of students and their families, as well as a constantly revolving pool of faculty and staff, presents challenges and tremendous opportunity for the local economy. Here are six ways that colleges help to drive the local economy: [Read more…]

April 2016: Business Tech Bytes

Modern classrooms require good tech

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

You have heard it before: technology is everywhere. It is part of your everyday life and it affects most every facet of it. Technology is a valuable learning tool and with the ever-increasing presence in our lives today, how can it not become part of every student’s curriculum? [Read more…]

April 2016: Guest Essay

Connecting education with business, industry

Tracy Gyoerkoe

Tracy Gyoerkoe

Career and technical educators have been connecting education with business and industry almost since their inception. In today’s world, it’s even more important for these connections to remain strong, and more and more, all educators are working to connect learning to the real world of work. [Read more…]

April 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

Release your expectations and enjoy

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

The large majority of us have dreams.

Wait, scratch that.

Every single one of us has dreams. Desires. Goals. A things-to-do list or bucket list or whatever-you-want-to-call-it list. For many of us, we make a plan to attain a particular desire or goal and then we attach an expectation to that desire or goal. When that goal isn’t met, then the expectation isn’t met. That’s when we crumble. We die inside. We whine and cry and decide to give up, all because we attached an expectation to the end of our desire. But here’s the tried-and-true secret to life: If we release the expectation or outcome of any scenario, some seriously incredible and beautiful things can happen. [Read more…]

April 2016: Economically Speaking

Local health care reform sees progress

Erika Flint

Erika Flint

While the health care community has known of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program for some time, community members of the Tug Hill region are now also beginning to recognize this acronym and the work being accomplished. DSRIP has been labeled both unprecedented change and unprecedented opportunity, but the point has finally arrived when planning has become doing, and as changes happen, opportunities are being realized. So it is my pleasure to highlight just some of the critical work of more than 100 partners within the North Country Initiative Performing Providers System. [Read more…]

April 2016: Agri-business

Big business in high-quality ag products

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

The north country is very fortunate to be home to some of the highest quality agricultural products and businesses. Recently, one of our newest agricultural businesses, Aviagen, was recognized for its excellence as a global poultry genetics company. Aviagen begins operation this spring in the Jefferson County Industrial Park. It purchased the former Morris Northstar Hatchery that operated successfully for several years. Morris Northstar hatched approximately 300,000 chicks a week for export to broiler chicken farms in Canada. Aviagen indicates it is a higher-end hatchery. It will hatch out chicks that instead of growing directly into meat chickens will be used as parent stock to meet other poultry company demands. Aviagen provides the parents for many different poultry operations around the world. Officials indicate many of the chicks born in Jefferson County will be exported around the world. Aviagen is noted as one of the world’s leading poultry genetics companies. [Read more…]

April 2016: Small Business Success

Resources for small business funding

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

In our local area, there are several different avenues a business owner can use to fund a start-up or growing small business. I touched on a few resources in a previous column, but there are several others you might want to be aware of. Depending on the needs of the business, the type of business and the size of the project, one funding resource might be better than another. At the Small Business Development Center, we can help direct business owners to the best fit for a project. [Read more…]

March 2016: Nonprofits Today

Youths excited to invest in our region

Max DelSignore

Max DelSignore

The question made Harrison Fish pause for a few moments.

“What are your thoughts on being a community leader as a high school student?”

As a senior at South Jefferson Central School, Mr. Fish has served in a variety of extracurricular clubs. Community service is a likely requirement for his participation. His perspective has changed slightly in recent months though, as he and his classmates engage in the “LEAD Your School Challenge.” [Read more…]

March 2016: Business Tech Bytes

The right tools to manage IT disruption

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

Is information technology management in your enterprise increasingly about coordinating a concoction of disparate systems? Do you have varying departments making purchasing and usage decisions independently? Has the consumerization of IT, with all the tools and solutions in the palm of your employee’s hand, invaded your enterprise?

I’m sure most of your employees are using some cloud or personal software to abet them with their job.

In the 2015 Harvey Nash and KPMG CIO survey, “Into an Age of Disruption,” a full range of information technology topics, from recruitment and business strategy to overall IT priorities were explored. Nine out of 10 survey respondents believe that digital disruption will impact their organizations within the next decade, and 61 percent said they think they’ll capitalize on this disruption better than their present and future competitors.

“The speed of technology is what’s driving IT today,” said Bob Miano, president and CEO of Harvey Nash USAPAC. “Disruption is the norm now, so it’s about how fast companies can innovate. Pressure to produce at an accelerated pace is felt across all vertical markets, and has direct ties to the talent war.”

So the quandary, how do you deliver stable consistent IT performance that will drive revenue while still containing or even cutting costs? To be successful in managing your IT solutions more effectively, Janco Associate’s CIO Concern Management Toolkit recommends three focus areas of consideration: people, infrastructure and technology.

People — Security rises directly to the top. From cyber attacks to phishing emails, your employees are your biggest security concern. It goes hand in hand with cloud computing, how many new applications are being used each and every day on your network that is not under complete control of your IT organization? If you think you know, look again. No matter your business, technology applications are constantly evolving and changing in this digital age.

Infrastructure — Gone are the days of everyone accessing the IBM mainframe in a single location with IT approved standardized hardware and software. As new technologies are being implemented, traditional functions are being eliminated, making way for even further automation. This automation brings with it mountains of data which needs to be analyzed quickly and efficiently so that the decision making process within your enterprise can be improved. Records management, version control, retention and destruction are just a few of the traditional areas that still need to be under internal management and control.

Technology — BYOD, mobile applications, cloud storage. These represent non vented IT platforms that your employees are using in order to improve theirs and your bottom line. Your employees will use whatever applications are in the palm of their hands to get these results. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, just to name a few, are the wave of the future and need to be managed more efficiently in most every enterprise today. This management needs to span from advertising to productivity losses. Does your business have a Facebook page? Check out Facebook Business Manager; that will assist with advertising. As for time spent on Facebook and other social media sites during work time? I’m soliciting your comments, suggestions, policies and procedures for an upcoming column.

To be sure, clouds, mobility, social media and BYOD has redistributed power within most very aspect of most every business. In the light of the every growing list of cyber-attacks, now more than ever there is a need to focus on designing an enterprise security and privacy strategic roadmap. These policies and procedures need to be based on governance models such as PCI, HIPAA or SOX depending on the nature of your business. Your end goal is for your people, infrastructure and technology to evolve beyond the point of being a motley and disjointed collection of software solutions, tools, and technologies. You need to attain the mindset and approach that will harness the full power that digital technology has to offer. It will be a challenging balancing act, but many IT teams and technology leaders have the innate aptitude to propel an organization through this complex “age of disruption.”

Jill Van Hoesen is chief information officer for Johnson Newspapers and a 25-year IT veteran. Contact her at jvanhoesen@wdt.net. Her column appears monthly in NNY Business.