News Article | December 6, 2016
Global Marketing Communications Company Moves to Aryaka's Global SD-WAN to Connect Offices in Asia-Pacific to IBM Cloud Services MILPITAS, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 5, 2016) - Aryaka®, the global SD-WAN provider, announced today that Havas, one of the global integrated marketing communications leaders, has made a strategic shift from IP-VPN to Aryaka's global SD-WAN solution to accelerate IBM cloud services access and performance for their offices in the Asia-Pacific region. Havas has operations spread across 100 countries and employs 18,600+ people. In 2015, the company moved from legacy, on-premises collaboration tools to IBM's cloud-based productivity and social collaboration platform. Havas was experiencing performance issues when accessing the cloud-based platform over the Internet. The company was looking for a solution that could improve access and performance for applications and services on the Cloud, in order to enhance employee productivity in Asia-Pacific. "Emails and file transfers were slow, while voice and video quality suffered. Latency and packet loss over the Internet were huge bottlenecks to accessing cloud applications," said Ivan Glaser, Chief Information Officer - Asia-Pacific at Havas. The company added special emphasis on the importance of agility (organizations cannot afford to wait months for installation as in the case of MPLS deployments) and scalability (in terms of adding more bandwidth and/or sites on the global network). Havas decided to trial Aryaka's global SD-WAN, and started with a no-obligation Proof-of-Concept for their offices located in Beijing and Shanghai, to the IBM cloud datacenter in Amsterdam. The company achieved the following benefits after deploying Aryaka: "We approached Aryaka to address application performance challenges we were facing in Asia-Pacific. We ran a POC from Beijing and Shanghai to Amsterdam, and were extremely happy with what we saw," said Glaser. "We were up and running within a week, and applications performed up to seven times faster. Overall, it was a huge win for us! Aryaka's solution is agile, scalable, cost-effective, and enables IT to support productivity needs of our global workforce." "The Internet is often the performance killer when global businesses migrate their mission-critical applications to the cloud," said Ashwath Nagaraj, Aryaka's Founder and CTO. "Aryaka's global SD-WAN combines private network connectivity with WAN Optimization to solve this problem, delivering performance for applications migrated to the cloud. We are thrilled Havas was able to reap the full benefits of their IBM cloud implementation using Aryaka." Havas is one of the world's largest global communications groups. Founded in 1835 in Paris, the Group now employs 18,000 people in over 100 countries. The company is committed to being the world's best company at creating meaningful connections between people and brands through creativity, media and innovation. Havas has two major divisions -- Havas Creative Group which includes one global creative network, several creative micro networks (Havas Health, BETC, Arnold, FullSix) and many specialized agencies and Havas Media Group which is made up of four main networks: Havas Media, Arena Media, Forward Media, and Havas Sports & Entertainment. Aryaka's global SD-WAN provides optimized, software-defined network connectivity and application acceleration to globally distributed enterprises. Aryaka's services have over 10 million users across more than 4,500 sites. Leading brands such as Skullcandy, Air China, and ThoughtWorks, as well as partners such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Intelisys, and SK Broadband, have all chosen Aryaka for their enterprise-grade networking needs. To learn more, visit www.aryaka.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
News Article | November 8, 2016
Leading Consumer Electrical Equipment Manufacturer Deploys Aryaka's Global SD-WAN to Achieve Enterprise-Grade, Stable Connectivity between Global Locations and Better Performance for Collaborative Real-Time Applications MILPITAS, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 8, 2016) - Aryaka®, the global SD-WAN provider, announced today that Bajaj Electricals ( : BAJAJELEC), a leading consumer electrical equipment manufacturing company, has chosen Aryaka to deliver improved network connectivity between its headquarters in Mumbai, India, and branch offices in China and Dubai. "Our users in China were experiencing a lot of performance issues while using Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and web-conferencing applications. The high jitter and packet loss was undermining our efforts to enable effective communication and collaboration between global employees," said G Sowmiyanarayanan, General Manager of IT Infrastructure at Bajaj Electricals. "We considered MPLS but chose Aryaka as it demonstrated significantly better and more stable performance during trials. Also, the fast deployment, top-notch customer support, and overall cost-effectiveness was a huge sell for us!" Founded in 1938, Bajaj Electricals is one of India's most reputed consumer electrical equipment manufacturing companies. Prior to deploying Aryaka, the company's legacy Internet-based wide-area-network (WAN) connectivity failed to meet quality expectations, resulting in frequent disconnects during VoIP and web-conferencing sessions. There was an imperative need to address the resulting loss in collaboration and employee productivity. Bajaj Electricals had considered MPLS but found the solution to be an expensive investment, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the long deployment timelines of MPLS, which can run into several months, rendered the solution incapable of supporting the company's business expansion initiatives. When Bajaj Electricals evaluated Aryaka's global SD-WAN, the company witnessed significantly faster and more reliable network connectivity between their China and India offices, and dramatic application performance improvements. Aryaka's solution combines a global private network, WAN Optimization, SD-WAN functionality, 24×7 CCIE-grade customer support, and network and application visibility, to deliver superior global network connectivity that can be deployed in only a few days. On deploying Aryaka, the company experienced the following benefits: Further, the performance improvements in China instilled confidence in Bajaj to add another one of their challenging locations, Dubai, to the Aryaka network. Aryaka's global SD-WAN was operational at Bajaj's Dubai site within 24 hours of their ISP (Internet Service Provider) provisioning an Internet link -- another validation of Aryaka's rapid deployment model. "Aryaka's global SD-WAN is the best MPLS alternative in the global network connectivity space," said Ashwath Nagaraj, Founder and CTO, Aryaka Networks. "It is exciting to see Aryaka gain significant traction in Asia-Pacific, especially China. Many global businesses in this part of the world, like Bajaj Electricals, are looking for smarter alternatives or replacements to legacy connectivity technologies like MPLS. And Aryaka delivers everything they need -- performance, agility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness." About Bajaj Electricals Limited Founded on 14th July 1938, Bajaj Electricals has established itself as one of the most powerful and well-recognized brands in India during the last seven decades. The consumer electrical equipment manufacturing company is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra and is a part of the INR 280 Billion (USD 6 Billion, at INR 46 per USD) Bajaj Group. BEL's main domains are lighting, consumer durables, engineering and projects. Bajaj Electrical Limited have 19 branch offices in India, a chain of 600 distributors, 3,000 authorised dealers, over 2,50,000 retail outlets and over 230 service franchises spread across the country. About Aryaka Networks Aryaka's global SD-WAN solution provides optimized, software-defined network connectivity and application acceleration to globally distributed enterprises. Aryaka's services have over 10 million users across more than 4,500 sites. Leading brands such as Skullcandy, Air China, and ThoughtWorks, as well as partners such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Intelisys, and SK Broadband, have all chosen Aryaka for their enterprise-grade networking needs. To learn more, visit www.aryaka.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
News Article | December 6, 2016
Global Marketing Communications Company Moves to Aryaka's Global SD-WAN to Connect Offices in Asia-Pacific to IBM Cloud Services MILPITAS, CA -- (Marketwired) -- Dec 05, 2016 -- Aryaka®, the global SD-WAN provider, announced today that Havas, one of the global integrated marketing communications leaders, has made a strategic shift from IP-VPN to Aryaka's global SD-WAN solution to accelerate IBM cloud services access and performance for their offices in the Asia-Pacific region. Havas has operations spread across 100 countries and employs 18,600+ people. In 2015, the company moved from legacy, on-premises collaboration tools to IBM's cloud-based productivity and social collaboration platform. Havas was experiencing performance issues when accessing the cloud-based platform over the Internet. The company was looking for a solution that could improve access and performance for applications and services on the Cloud, in order to enhance employee productivity in Asia-Pacific. "Emails and file transfers were slow, while voice and video quality suffered. Latency and packet loss over the Internet were huge bottlenecks to accessing cloud applications," said Ivan Glaser, Chief Information Officer - Asia-Pacific at Havas. The company added special emphasis on the importance of agility (organizations cannot afford to wait months for installation as in the case of MPLS deployments) and scalability (in terms of adding more bandwidth and/or sites on the global network). Havas decided to trial Aryaka's global SD-WAN, and started with a no-obligation Proof-of-Concept for their offices located in Beijing and Shanghai, to the IBM cloud datacenter in Amsterdam. The company achieved the following benefits after deploying Aryaka: "We approached Aryaka to address application performance challenges we were facing in Asia-Pacific. We ran a POC from Beijing and Shanghai to Amsterdam, and were extremely happy with what we saw," said Glaser. "We were up and running within a week, and applications performed up to seven times faster. Overall, it was a huge win for us! Aryaka's solution is agile, scalable, cost-effective, and enables IT to support productivity needs of our global workforce." "The Internet is often the performance killer when global businesses migrate their mission-critical applications to the cloud," said Ashwath Nagaraj, Aryaka's Founder and CTO. "Aryaka's global SD-WAN combines private network connectivity with WAN Optimization to solve this problem, delivering performance for applications migrated to the cloud. We are thrilled Havas was able to reap the full benefits of their IBM cloud implementation using Aryaka." Havas is one of the world's largest global communications groups. Founded in 1835 in Paris, the Group now employs 18,000 people in over 100 countries. The company is committed to being the world's best company at creating meaningful connections between people and brands through creativity, media and innovation. Havas has two major divisions -- Havas Creative Group which includes one global creative network, several creative micro networks (Havas Health, BETC, Arnold, FullSix) and many specialized agencies and Havas Media Group which is made up of four main networks: Havas Media, Arena Media, Forward Media, and Havas Sports & Entertainment. Aryaka's global SD-WAN provides optimized, software-defined network connectivity and application acceleration to globally distributed enterprises. Aryaka's services have over 10 million users across more than 4,500 sites. Leading brands such as Skullcandy, Air China, and ThoughtWorks, as well as partners such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Intelisys, and SK Broadband, have all chosen Aryaka for their enterprise-grade networking needs. To learn more, visit www.aryaka.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
News Article | October 28, 2016
The 2014 State of DevOps Report by Puppet Labs, IT Revolution Press and ThoughtWorks is an analysis of more than 9,200 survey responses from technical professionals around the world, making this the largest and most comprehensive DevOps study to date. As the first scientific study of the relationship between organizational performance, IT performance and DevOps practices, the report reveals: Strong IT performance is a competitive advantage. Firms with high-performing IT organizations were twice as likely to exceed their profitability, market share and productivity goals. DevOps practices improve IT performance. IT performance strongly correlates with well-known DevOps practices such as use of version control and continuous delivery. The longer an organization has implemented — and continues to improve upon — DevOps practices, the better it performs. And better IT performance correlates to higher performance for the entire organization. Organizational culture matters. Organizational culture is one of the strongest predictors of both IT performance and overall performance of the organization. High-trust organizations encourage good information flow, cross-functional collaboration, shared responsibilities, learning from failures and new ideas; they are also the most likely to perform at a high level. These cultural practices and norms found in high-trust organizations are also at the heart of DevOps, which helps explain why DevOps practices correlate so strongly with high organizational performance. Job satisfaction is the No. 1 predictor of organizational performance. We all know how job satisfaction feels: It’s about doing work that’s challenging and meaningful, and being empowered to exercise our skills and judgment. We also know that where there’s job satisfaction, employees bring the best of themselves to work: their engagement, their creativity and their strongest thinking. That makes for more innovation in any area of the business, including IT.
News Article | December 2, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO, CA --(Marketwired - December 02, 2016) - Covata Limited ( : CVT), a global leader in data-centric security solutions for enterprise and government organizations, has issued the following letter to Company shareholders from CEO, Trent Telford. For supplemental proxy materials and additional information regarding the Fiscal Year 2016 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, please visit the Covata ASX website here. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us at Covata's AGM. I would like to formally welcome my fellow board members, and thank them for the support they have provided over the year. I would like to echo Chuck's sentiment in that this is not an easy time to be standing before you. Equally, I would like to acknowledge that this is where we are. We are all keenly focused on a growth strategy aligned to our goals, that we believe will deliver shareholder value in 2017. This address serves to update you on our partner progress, product solutions, business channels, and the strategic and tactical work that has been undertaken over the past year, as well as to reinforce what we are doing going forward. I truly believe in the plans ahead for Covata, but recognize the hard work involved to get us there. Today I will give you some insights into those plans, with a personal view on our future to close my address. There are five existing partnerships that I would like to update the market on, as well as relationships where investors have requested further information. While our partners have been slow to deliver revenue, they are strong names validating our technology. In April 2015, just less than 18 months ago, we signed a ten-year agreement with Cisco. While it was originally signed as an OEM agreement, in practice, it has not worked this way. The intention was for Cisco to include Covata in cloud solutions sold by the SXP team to its customers. Instead we have spent a significant amount of time working with Cisco to better understand where we fit, and where our value proposition lies within its technology stack. Both companies now have a much clearer understanding, and we are driving this relationship forward. We have pursued and worked on potential pilots with Cisco in healthcare and manufacturing that have not progressed for Cisco -- this has been beyond our control. Unfortunately, the cloud division of Cisco has faced challenges in the past year and we have been caught up in this. However, they too are aware of these issues and are refocusing. There is increased recognition that partners like Covata can be a serious force in providing innovative capability to Cisco's customers. There are new budgets under review, and accordingly, we remain positive about the year ahead. We continue to work with Cisco to progress opportunities within the partnership and will update the market with progress. We are simultaneously pursuing relationships with other system integrators and organizations under a more flexible low cost model with Covata Delta -- more to come on this. Sumatics is a company related to Cisco that we formed a strategic partnership with, and whom were instrumental in helping to sign the Cisco partnership. Sumatics remain active in progressing the Cisco partnership and are tied to specific success criteria by way of warrants, once an $8 million revenue run rate is achieved. Both Covata and Sumatics are focused on reaching this goal with Cisco. In February 2016, we announced that Covata was named in a successful government tender with a Prime Tenderer. In April, we notified the market about a 'current state,' and a 'future state.' The Prime's current state remains problematic with regards to the takeover of infrastructure and services from the incumbent. This is causing issues for the Prime from both a reputational and financial perspective. It is not only Covata in this position with the Prime; there is also a major global Telco sharing similar frustrations after being named in the bid. Until the Prime is able to resolve this issue, which it is working on, Covata will not be engaged on a 'future state' work stream. The Prime is one year into a ten-year contract with the government department and I am sure they are looking forward to moving to the future state as much as we are. With regards to our Telco channel partners, we advised the market in our FY2016 business update that our Latin American and broader Telco strategy was on hold, while we focus on T-Systems and Chungwha. In March 2015 we signed a partnership agreement with Germany's largest telecommunications provider, T-Systems to sell Safe Share through its digital market place. Within T-Systems we have focused on two specific customer segments; automotive and big data. T-Systems recently reduced its digital marketplace from 100 down to five vendors, of which Covata is one. T-Systems have made public statements regarding Covata's importance in a recent article, also announcing its strategy to add security and IoT solutions to its portfolio suite to offset declining revenue. Telcos around the world face strategic and executional challenges in developing cloud digital marketplaces. We believe that like Cisco, T-Systems will be successful in its channel strategy, and we remain supportive of our partner. Six months, ago, we signed a reseller partner agreement with Chunghwa, Taiwan's largest Telco. Chunghwa presented with the right mix of enterprise and government customers, seeking secure file sharing, rather than a consumer grade product. Having internal resources available and the right level of commitment to support the sale of Safe Share into its customer base made Chunghwa a suitable partner. The go-to-market body of work is underway. Key materials are currently being translated and transformed into marketing collateral for pre-defined target segments. These activities are typical for a product inside a Telco. Chunghwa is looking to sell our product as an 'appliance' -- pre-installed and shipped on a server for data center installation -- for highly secure private cloud applications. We will provide more information when appropriate. We remain positive about this relationship. In February 2015, we signed a non-exclusive agreement with Macquarie Telecom who white labelled Safe Share as Sigbox to resell it into Canberra's government market. There are currently 15 government departments using Sigbox with approximately 1000 users. While the revenue Covata receives is a very small proportion of the total sales value, key here is that government employees are using the product on a daily basis, and this validates its suitability for the government market. We are looking at this validation to focus more broadly on the Australian government market as part of our whole of government strategy. You can access further information on Sigbox from Macquarie Telecom's website here. We have two key products that we are focusing on. Let me begin with Safe Share, our flagship product, which is a highly secure, end-to-end encryption file sharing solution. To date, Safe Share has been sold via channel distribution through various partners. This is a strategy that we continue to pursue. However, we have not achieved expected revenues from these channels -- yet -- but we do believe the channel will scale in time. None the less, as an ASX listed company, any slippage becomes problematic, so we are presented with the option to either discard this channel because of timing issues, or in addition, open Safe Share up to the market for global access, via a direct Software as a Service (SaaS) channel and generate an additional revenue stream. This is exactly what we will be launching soon -- Safe Share SaaS. We are building off a zero base, we cannot accurately predict how many organizations will sign up quarter by quarter, and therefore, are not making public forecasts at this stage. To augment that take-up, we will focus on building out go-to-market strategies in defined verticals such as legal firms, where compliance is key. We want to make Safe Share available and accessible for everyone in an organization, so our proposed business model and pricing will reflect this. More people using the product will see an incremental transfer of data, and a greater need for storage, where the margins for Covata are bigger. In a sense, it's the iCloud model. Apple charges for apps in its App Store, and users are regularly prompted to 'buy more storage.' The more users an organization has, the more entrenched the product becomes, and the more storage they will require. We look forward to direct revenue from this online subscription based model. With no partner or channel costs incurred, every dollar is retained by Covata. As previously announced to the market, our second product, Covata Delta, is being driven from our San Francisco office by Pavan Singh who joined Covata six months ago. Pavan has engaged in business development across the market, with partners including Cisco, consultants and prospective customers in the U.S. and in Europe. Covata Delta, currently in an alpha release phase, is our new developer portal. It's being developed as a Software Developer Kit (SDKs) and Application Programming Interface (API's) to allow developers and innovators to plug, build and play with our security offering. It will enable developers to seamlessly integrate security into their apps, products and services and allow highly secure communication between devices and cloud applications in a common language, regardless of what legacy systems or variant code language is used. Developers are inherently not interested in building security. They want to build apps, products and services to meet user needs. Security is hard, it has overheads, so we're making it easier for them to plug and play security. Every time a piece of data is sent from one application to another, Covata Delta secures it with end-to-end encryption and ties identity and policy to it. When the data reaches the receiving application, Covata Delta confirms the identity of the recipient against pre-defined policies before decrypting the piece of information. The entire process happens in real-time. In this example, we are talking about data that might be shared once a day or once a week. However, the process is the same. We are only just starting to discover all of the instances that Covata Delta can be used for. Imagine the not too distant future where cars are connected real-time to various cloud services as approved by the vehicle owner. One cloud is for insurance -- how and where you drive determines the cost of insurance premiums. The second cloud connects to service departments of dealerships enabling real-time vehicle monitoring to manage services or unscheduled maintenance if a part is about to fail. These are real examples of 'Risk-as-a-Service' in the connected car world. We are currently and actively working with a range of different innovators and system integrators to better understand where Covata Delta can be applied to this and other instances. To support this business development, which will see Delta develop as a standalone business model, we are in the process of appointing an advisory panel of industry experts and early stage advocates. As we build out our developer community, these sponsors will help drive awareness and adoption of our APIs and SDKs. In the lead up to the alpha launch of Delta we are hosting a private partner appreciation event in San Francisco in mid-December. Technologists and industry experts who have shown early interest in Delta will be joining other guests from SalesForce, Cisco, ThoughtWorks, Lochbridge, CodeScience, the Tides Foundation, McKesson, San Francisco General Hospital and others, to discuss how security will enable further cloud and IoT innovation. Following the event, Delta will be made available to a select group of developers, system integrators and partners for a number of months. We had originally thought we needed to have clearly developed Proof of Concepts (POCs) before we took the product out to the developer market, but now think differently. It's important to understand that the original Covata Platform, as signed with Cisco, was a closed or 'walled garden' approach. Over the last nine months, we have progressed from this thinking to an open, scalable cloud service approach for all software developers on the internet. We have since had conversations with a number of multi-billion dollar companies, whose feedback is that they want something to download, play with and experience. This network will then help give us market feedback, drive use cases, and inspire our current and future partners to better understand how they can align Covata Delta with their offerings. In line with these conversations and budding relationships, we continue to flesh out POCs, focusing on defined verticals such as healthcare, banking and finance, and other industries where security and compliance are legislatively mandated. We are not aware of any existing models for a key service in the cloud akin to Delta. We intend to drive direct revenue through a transaction based billing model, which will allow developers and innovators to flexibly build security into their offerings. Current market feedback indicates a substantial need for this cloud service. The portal will be opened up for broader access to all software developers across the internet once the alpha phase is complete. Again, we cannot accurately predict the number of developers that quarter by quarter, will use the portal once it has been opened up, so are not making public forecasts at this stage. Now let's look at two successful businesses that target the software developer market. First, Twilio, a transaction based API billing cloud communications company, based in San Francisco. Twilio allows software developers to build apps that communicate using voice, video and messaging web based APIs. Founded in 2007, it went public in June 2016, with more than one million developers -- 30,000 active paying -- using its service. With technology innovation running rampant, developing 'in demand' APIs that assist the ever-growing global developer community is a lucrative business model -- and one Delta is seeking to emulate. Atlassian is another successful example. Atlassian's founders have famously disparaged the use of sales representatives. They are Australia's standout success story and a $6 billion NASDAQ company that sells software directly to developers. My point here is that developers have buying power and represent a substantial market. In 2015 we implemented our-go-to-market strategy and attained a marquee partner in each of our three channels. In 2016 we strengthened our foundation so that we had the technology and support mechanisms in place to best align with partner and customer needs. We move into 2017 with three well-defined channels: Government, Telco and OEM (platform). Let me provide you with further detail on our government channel and platform business. The government sector has been a market of historical success for Covata. Given the strength of our security products, we have been a natural fit for the hyper security conscious government sector. With our history in defense and classified intelligence agencies, our G Cloud 8 status, our POC with the Crown Prosecution Service and our recent accreditation from Cyber Essentials, we are building up a strong position within the UK government market. Safe Share is well placed to become the most suitable choice for government departments and agencies focused on procuring the best available file sharing security product. Along with a number of ex-senior government officials operating in consulting capacities -- the UK team have spent the last year working closely with several key departments. The recent Crown Prosecution Service announcement is the first public POC resulting from this work. The POC started in the second half of November and is expected to run until Christmas. This POC will see Safe Share being trialled by major agencies focused on law enforcement and justice. These agencies are seeking a solution to share sensitive digital information pertinent to the prosecution process. The scope of the project requires a SaaS solution that delivers end-to-end encryption, the ability to securely share information with strict access controls and a complete audit trail -- all of these attributes are core features of Safe Share. A successful outcome would open Safe Share licensing negotiations to many thousands of government employees and bear well for licensing discussions in many others areas of the UK government. Beyond CPS licensing, we intend to target a further 42 police regions across the UK that capture and share evidence with CPS. If successful, this project would set Safe Share up well to continue to build market share throughout 2017 and beyond. We will focus on building and executing a 'whole of government strategy,' and intend to continue commercial discussions with our key UK based government infrastructure partner FCOS. Historically, government departments have been largely siloed and operate in isolation. Those departments and agencies with cross-domain operational needs, undertake time consuming, out-dated means to share information -- often still printing physical documents or CD's. We are working to change this and enable secure content sharing at multiple levels of classification. We believe this is a substantial market opportunity, set for disruption, and are well supported with the addition of our newest board member, Bill McCluggage. His appointment illustrates the real and near term opportunity the UK government represents for Covata. Our third and most recent channel is our platform channel, of which Cisco is the founding partner. This channel is serviced by Covata Delta, which, as mentioned, safely and securely allows the exchange of communication between products, cloud apps and the Internet of Things (IoT). Every aspect of how we live and do business will be disrupted over the next two decades. We are already seeing incredible innovation and development of connected devices and cloud services. In July this year, Gartner estimated that there were around 5.5 million new 'things' -- from home security to cars and hospital equipment -- being connected to the Internet every single day. That number will total more than 6.4 billion by the end of this year. While IoT opens up a world of possibilities, it also opens up a world of vulnerabilities. We are not seeing the necessary security automatically built in to new products and services that are therefore, exposing businesses to security risk. The first major IoT breach occurred in October this year, bringing down a number of major web sites in what experts coined as, "serious, unusual and historic." What if it were a connected medical device administering lifesaving, or life threatening medicine, or perhaps a connected device within a nuclear power plant? All of these connected devices can act as vector points for attack. We know this is just the start, which is why we spent the last year developing Covata Delta. We have already had interest from research analysts, resulting in Gartner listing Covata Delta in its IoT security product guide released in October. This is a major endorsement and a solid recognition of Covata Delta's uniqueness and security excellence. Additionally, Covata Delta was shortlisted for the IoT Security Solution Award at the Computing Security Excellence Awards held last week in London. I am pleased to announce that Covata won that coveted award, joining other category winners including Splunk, Symantec, Sophos and Microsoft. We believe that the organizations previously mentioned and attending our Delta launch event will provide excellent use cases and innovations that will further our existing pipeline and develop new opportunities within our platform channel. At the start of FY2016, we opened an office in San Francisco. Over the year, we expanded our UK team, and structured our Australian engineering team as a resource pool to better service our two product lines as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. The aim of our investment in the San Francisco office was to support our Cisco partnership. Given previously described challenges with Cisco, we have carefully monitored and managed office growth over the year. Without the San Francisco team, we would have been unable to develop and advance the Covata Delta platform to its current stage. Given our U.S. focus shifted to Covata Delta, which is managed out of San Francisco, it made business and financial sense to refocus capital into business activities previously described -- resulting in the closure of the Washington DC office and a relocation of resources to Sydney. Covata's offering is attracting significant talent from around the world. I believe that the appointment of Bill McCluggage, who worked closely with the Company for several months in the lead up to joining the board, illustrates this. To augment the Company's current team, we appointed an independent executive search firm at the start of the second quarter to source additional highly qualified Board and Executive members. The focus of all new appointments is to immediately open up new networks and opportunities to drive revenue from our technology. We are excited about some of the people currently in the pipeline and look forward to announcing these to the market in due course. While we are progressing, we are conscious of our current expenditure. We have implemented a cost reduction program which started last quarter and will continue, with the intent to extend runway to the third quarter of FY2018, without the need to rely on capital markets. Every dollar we earn will extend runway even further. The closure of the DC office, new employment contracts and cost reductions already in place have seen reduced spend in October and November. We anticipate that December and January will see further changes and cost savings. Full benefits are expected to be realized within the third quarter of FY2017. I trust my address today has highlighted the large body of work undertaken since we listed, the substantial progress we have made in the last 12 months, what we have learned, and the opportunities that lie ahead. Building a business, particularly a global cyber security company, takes time. However, we believe the foundation has been laid and we are on the right path to deliver results for our shareholders. We operate across three defined regions, Asia Pacific, Europe and the U.S., and are targeting three identified channels, Government, Telco and OEM (platform). We are containing expenditure through a cost reduction program, where every incremental dollar we receive in revenue will add to the runway. We are acutely focused on the Safe Share business getting to break even within a reasonable time frame. The acquisition of government contracts and SaaS revenue over the coming periods should deliver this under a new cost base. In my personal opinion, with the current government pipeline, this is not as far off as some may think. The investment in Delta will continue against specified milestones. As the Delta platform evolves, the Company will assess development options which may include other strategic investment partners. In summary, while we have experienced numerous successes and achievements along the way, there have been a number of delays and unavoidable setbacks. Where things have been in our control we have been largely on track. Where some third parties have been involved, challenges have presented themselves, but none that are unique in the enterprise software space. With the substantial amount of work I have outlined today, we firmly believe in the future of the Company. Board and management remain fully committed to driving forward our product streams, partnerships and business channels to maximize value for our shareholders. We have entered FY2017 with a strong balance sheet, which we believe will provide the Company with the runway required to achieve key milestones. The Company currently has 44.3 million options and loan shares on issue to board, management and employees. We believe that board, management and employees are very much aligned with the goals of shareholders. Finally, I would like to thank our employees who have worked tirelessly to drive the business forward, our board who provide invaluable support and guidance, and our shareholders whose continued support during these challenging times is what allows us to continue to build Covata. Thank you for your time today, Covata Limited ( : CVT) enables true ownership and control over your data in the cloud and over mobile services. We deliver data-centric security solutions without compromising simple usability, providing true end-to-end security. Your data is always protected wherever it may travel -- inside your network, beyond the domain, to mobile devices and to the cloud -- with granular access controls that extend to external users, view-only restrictions, real-time revocation and complete visibility and auditability. Own Your Data, control your data and choose where it is stored -- with complete assurance that it is protected and secure. For further information, please visit Covata.com.
News Article | February 16, 2017
Before the advent of paid parental leave, the majority of new mothers in Australia quit their jobs so they could cash out holiday pay to help fund those first few months at home. At Westpac Bank, only 32% of mothers were returning to work after having a baby in 1995. Two years later, the figure had shot up to 53% – undoubtedly because the bank launched a paid maternity leave scheme. Today, almost all (96% of women) return to work, says Shenaz Khan, Westpac Group general manager, enterprise HR, strategy and service. “We are able to retain that knowledge and experience,” she says. The bank’s offer of 13 weeks’ leave for primary carers (or half pay for 26 weeks) is offset by the savings it has made by plugging the “brain drain” of its talented women. Khan says it can cost up to 2.5 times a woman’s salary to replace her if she leaves because of the money spent on recruitment, retraining and inducting people into the business. “And in specialist roles, where skills are hard to find, those costs are significantly higher,” she says. When looking at the value of paid parental leave, Westpac is a good example, as it has one of the longest-running schemes in the country. The business community was agog when Westpac became the first publicly listed Australian company to offer the leave 22 years ago. “It was quite a shock to the industry because it was revolutionary back in 1995,” Khan says. The then CEO, Bob Joss, was trying to turn around a struggling bank and a brand that had been battered by financial scandal and a painful run of foreclosures – particularly on famers. He asked his group executive, people and performance, Ann Sherry (now the chief executive of Carnival Cruises), to find something that would make the bank an “employer of choice” and she convinced him that paid maternity leave would do the trick – and that it could be paid for by the increase in staff retention. Sherry has said that before paid parental leave women left the workforce because they needed the money they got when they cashed out their benefits. “Having babies is an expensive business and they couldn’t afford to be off work for 12 months and paying the mortgage, and kitting out the house,” Sherry said in an interview with this reporter, 14 months ago. Even though there had been longstanding resistance by businesses to pay maternity leave, Westpac’s move changed the landscape. “It was like a domino effect,” Sherry said. “Other businesses couldn’t bear for Westpac to get a march on them, so lots of major businesses in Australia just folded and all introduced it.” The chief executive of the Diversity Council Australia, Lisa Annese, is another Westpac alumnus. She was working as a graduate recruit at the bank when the paid parental leave was launched. “It was really innovative stuff at the time,” she says. “And now organisations compete with each other for who has got the best paid parental leave scheme because there is a war for talent in many industries. “Any organisation could crunch numbers and it is a no-brainer.” There are some impressive examples out there: the freight company Aurizon’s “shared care” program allows male employees to take primary care of their child for at least 13 weeks at half pay while their partner returns to work. This is on top of the primary carer’s parental leave and is available even when the father (or secondary carer) works for another company. The real estate advertising company REA Group offers 26 weeks at full pay, along with 12 weeks’ paid leave for secondary carers (comprised of six weeks at half pay and six weeks at full pay). It also pays superannuation for the entire period up to 12 months. The tech consultancy ThoughtWorks employs 300 people in Australia and has been offering paid parental leave since 2008. In Australia, women make up only 28% of the information and communication technology workforce, but 49% of the workforce at ThoughtWorks is female. Its regional group managing director, Ange Ferguson, sees the 18 weeks’ leave as a tool to encourage and retain women in the industry. “The cost to source and hire is significant, and the benefit we gain from policies that increase both attraction and retention, as well as the uplift to awareness of our brand as an employer make it easily worthwhile.” In 2011 the federal government launched its own paid parental leave scheme, paying families 18 weeks’ salary at minimum wage rates. This could be paid on top of employer-paid schemes, for those who had access to them. Around half of private-sector employers have a paid parental scheme, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. But this “hybrid” arrangement has been under attack from the Coalition government since 2015, when the then treasurer, Joe Hockey, characterised it as “double dipping” and “basically fraud” by parents. Those employee and employer groups who support access to both schemes say the government’s contribution provides a minimum standard and helps top up employer contributions so they start to approach the 26 weeks of paid leave recommended by the World Health Organisation. The average leave provided by employers is about 10 weeks and the total amount of paid parental leave provided to Australian families is low by world standards. Those families who rely solely on the government scheme actually receive less than two months’ pay at the national average rate – because they are paid at minimum wage rates, rather than their actual salary. The Turnbull government’s latest threat to disallow access to employer and government schemes at the same time appears, at present, to be stymied by the Nick Xenophon’s Team’s decision not to support the government’s childcare and welfare “omnibus” bill. According to submissions to the Senate inquiry into paid parental leave, if the government was to succeed in the future, the likely result would be that large employers would find ways to make up the difference – which could be an average of $5,600. Smaller employers, however, would be more likely to scrap their own schemes and allow the government to make all the payments. In those families made worse off, parents may find themselves returning to work earlier than they would have liked – with the added concerns about the wellbeing of mothers and children and the difficulties and costs of childcare. Annese says the proposed changes are likely to act as a disincentive for employer-funded schemes: “It might demoralise employers from being generous and it will end up costing the government more money because more women will need to access the scheme in a more dependent way. “There is no advantage to it and, in fact, it could be argued that it could be a disincentive for organisations who are still working out how to attract and retain young parents in the workplace.”
News Article | November 19, 2015
"This is the best room in the world!" Hilary Mason, the founder of data and machine learning R&D group Fast Forward Labs, yells enthusiastically as she walks on stage at the Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing. She’s facing a block of neatly lined chairs that stretches the length of more than a football field. Most of those chairs are full, and—remarkably, for a technology conference—most of their occupants (93% of the 12,000 attendees) are women. The unusual gender ratio makes for an atmosphere that is tangibly different from other tech conferences. The business card trading, panel discussions, and conference food are all the same. There’s no giant pink banner that shouts "This is a safe space for women!" But there are a million subtle cues that together create a palpably different environment. As Mason launches into a talk about machine intelligence, her shoulder-length curly hair brushes against her microphone, and a man in a black shirt rushes on stage to fix it. Mason shrugs. "Curly hair girl problems," she jokes. The audience laughs knowingly, and Mason continues talking about data science. It’s a comfortable moment, and one that's hard to imagine seeing on stage at SxSW, which typically feels like a networking blitz hosted at a frat house. "It’s hard to say specifically and factually what it changes," Mason tells me later about speaking to a crowd with more than just a few women, "but it changes the feeling of the room. It changes the way it sounds when people laugh. It changes the fact that I’m not the only one freezing all the time in the convention center." You need only speak with the few men at Grace Hopper, who comprise 7% of the crowd (up from 6% last year), for confirmation that these differences are powerful. "I’ve never before had to think about being the only man in the room," Ben Augarten, a software engineer from Twitter, tells me later. Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, addresses him and the other men in the audience during her opening speech. "Welcome to our world," she says. For years, technology companies actively hid the extent of their diversity problems—going so far as to block FOIA requests by arguing that the gender and race makeup of their workforce was a trade secret. Behind the scenes, these same companies scrambled to find ways to increase diversity. Google, for instance, created workshops to encourage women to nominate themselves for promotions, offered longer maternity leaves, and made sure women interviewing at Google interviewed with women. Microsoft created "mentoring rings" to give its women more guidance from senior leaders. In 2008, a Harvard Business Review report highlighted 14 "innovative programs" targeted at increasing the representation of women in science, engineering, and technology. There were plenty of hackathons and dinners for women in tech, scholarships, and sponsorship of International Women’s Day. What went unacknowledged was the extent to which the problem remained unresolved. Then, in 2013, a Pinterest programmer, with the company's approval, wrote a blog post that revealed 90% of its engineers were male. Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple, and LinkedIn followed suit in 2014, posting their dismal diversity numbers publicly. Transparency became the expected norm. With these disclosures came promises to evolve, the appointment of chief diversity officers, and a whirlwind of new programs and initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining people from underrepresented groups. But as far as numbers go, little has actually changed over the past few years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the representation of women in computer and mathematical operations is slightly worse than it was in 2010 (it has improved somewhat for underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities). The same is true for the more specific field of software developers. This is a business problem. Companies are struggling to hire engineers, period, and not maximizing half of the population's talent doesn’t help. Research suggests diverse teams make better decisions and, ultimately, more money, and women control the majority of household spending. A lopsided gender ratio does not bode well for making the most profitable design, marketing, and product decisions. Transparency is a move in the right direction but by no means a solution. Intel, for instance, first made diversity numbers public more than a decade ago, and its U.S. gender ratio is almost exactly the same as it was in 2010. Companies that have made progress since disclosing their numbers in 2014, meanwhile, have done so only minimally. Attention toward diversity in technology companies has never been more intense. And perhaps nowhere are technology companies’ efforts to address part of this problem—their low numbers of women—more visible than at Grace Hopper. This year 148 companies, 57 academic institutions, and 22 labs, government, and nonprofit organizations came to recruit from a pool of about 7,000 women who work in technical roles and about 3,600 students. The conference is so much the center of the women in tech discussion that when companies outline their diversity efforts on promotional websites, it often gets a specific mention. As the adage goes, the first step is admitting you have a problem. A year after companies finally owned up, I went to the conference to find out: What’s next? Grace Hopper’s swag bags bulge with efforts to reach and hire the women who are gathered here. Among trinkets and flyers from more than 50 companies: a cheap white plastic compact mirror from State Farm insurance; a blue plastic nail file from Nationwide; TripAdvisor-branded lip balm; and headphones from both YouTube and Spotify. Rackspace includes hammer stickers ("Got glass ceilings? We don’t"), and Walmart promises on a pamphlet to "de-bro-gram" the industry. At some point, as my phone battery putters, I fish from the bag a Yelp-branded charging cable that I connect to a Juniper Networks charging plug. Recruiters began contacting Grace Hopper attendees months ago, and many of them will host a constant rotation of preliminary interviews—conducted in a block of navy-curtained makeshift booths—throughout the conference. Because people who work at tech companies are primarily white and Asian men, they tend to know networks full of white and Asian men, which means it is easiest for them to hire white and Asian men. To widen its pool, Facebook has piloted a requirement to interview at least one qualified candidate from an underrepresented group for certain positions (Twitter has a similar pilot). Google has embedded engineers at historically black colleges as professors. Intel doubles its referral bonus to employees who recommend someone from an underrepresented group. Efforts to widen this pool are also partly why, despite setting aside 325,850 square feet of space for the career fair, the Grace Hopper conference has sold out of sponsor space at the event for the first time in its history. "Let’s hire all female interns this year," muses a recruiter to her partner during a lunch break. The pair has just finished inventorying the swag bag, and concluded that it is the best swag bag of all the many career fairs they attend. Jamie Hand, a senior at Middlebury, has plopped her taco bowl down next to them and is listening with polite interest. All of the senior women in her computer science department made the trip to Grace Hopper (which is less impressive when you realize that, in this case, that’s four people). "I’m not sure about that," she tells the recruiter about her wish to stack the intern class with women. It doesn’t seem fair to her. The recruiter’s joking demeanor dissolves, and she adopts a sudden maternal seriousness—what's unfair, she says, is how much the deck is historically stacked for men. "It is so easy to hire men," she tells Hand. "Everything flows that way." An alien with no information about society or history (or perhaps a male professor of computer science at Yale in 1999) might look at the dearth of women in technical fields and think something like David Gelernter did when he published this sentiment in an argument against affirmative action: "If women aren't being kept out of science by force, they must be choosing not to enter, presumably because they don't want to; presumably because (by and large) they don't like these fields or (on average) don't tend to excel in them, which is nearly the same thing." But we know better (I contacted Gelernter to see if his thinking had evolved in the last 16 years as well, and he defended his stance on affirmative action but did not respond to this quote specifically). We know, for instance, that both men and women associate STEM fields more strongly with men. We know women are less likely to receive credit for their contributions. We know women are more likely to be given negative feedback on their personality—abrasive, strident, aggressive—by both male and female supervisors. And we know that in a study in which science faculty were given the same resumes with male and female names, they thought the men more competent and offered them a salary $4,000 higher. If there’s a root cause behind women’s underrepresentation in tech—one that contributes to the leaky pipeline, the non-inclusive culture, and the retention problem—there is convincing evidence that this is it: implicit bias. Unfortunately, bias hasn’t created just one problem that can be neatly repaired. Instead, it has struck the pipeline like the scattershot of a musket. "There are all these holes all over the place," says LinkedIn’s director of engineering growth, Erica Lockheimer, who runs the company's engineer-driven women in tech initiative as 20% of her job. "And we’re trying to plug them here," she plops her hand on the table to indicate an imaginary leak, "and here and here and here." It’s been 10 days since Jack Dorsey was named the CEO of Twitter, two days since Twitter laid off 8% of its workforce, and one day since his payments company, Square, made its initial public offering prospectus public. Still, he's made it to Houston to participate in a panel about "Fixing the Leaky Pipeline" with Chelsea Clinton, the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, and Maxine Williams, the global diversity director of Facebook. He’s wearing a "Hire Me" T-shirt (which comes off as a bit ironic) to support a new effort from Girls Who Code, whose CEO, Reshma Saujani, moderates the panel. Dorsey has had, to put it lightly, a very fast-paced few days. Showing up itself is a message about the importance of Grace Hopper, and by extension, gender diversity. Square has not released diversity numbers but has several women in key leadership positions; of the tech companies who make diversity data public, Twitter has one of the lowest rates of women in technical roles. Dorsey insists, however, that he values a diverse workforce. "Any time you bring together diverse perspectives, it just creates a bunch of potential that you weren’t really expecting," he offers. Even as men like Dorsey and women like Facebook’s Williams speak about efforts to bring more women into tech, the industry remains a challenging place for the women who are already there. Women who work in science and tech are 45% more likely to leave the industry than their male peers. Nadya Fouad, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, surveyed 5,300 women who graduated with engineering degrees between 1980 and 2010 to figure out why they were leaving in droves. Those who left, her research showed, reported less manager support and were less likely to feel as though they had fair opportunities for advancement. "We wanted to show, are they leaving or being pushed out?" Fouad says. "Our data shows they were being pushed out." The damage this culture has caused is evident at Grace Hopper. During the Q&A that follows Dorsey, Clinton, and Williams's panel, a young women takes the microphone: "I have not a question, but a suggestion," she says, her voice already starting to crack. "This summer, at my internship, I found the interns did just as much damage to people from underrepresented backgrounds as their teams and their bias supervisors. If we’re talking about implementing policy and implementing bias training, we need to start early. And teach the interns." It’s painful to hear the struggle in her voice. "I hope you take this back to Facebook, Square, and Twitter, and teach them what bias is and how you hurt the people around you." "We just wanted to come up to you and tell you that we loved your talk so much,"a college student from India who has flown in to attend Grace Hopper tells Mason, the woman who gave the opening keynote. Mason, who in her keynote described herself at her first Grace Hopper in 2002 as "a shy and quiet student who hid in the back and was afraid of asking questions," is clearly touched, but unaccustomed to having these fan-like encounters. "Could we by any chance get a picture with you?" the girl's friend sheepishly asks Mason. Mason, though she may not be used to rock star treatment, is clearly a rock star: the kind of senior leader that many companies would like to hire. That would be true whether or not she were a woman. But even if she weren’t already building her own company, she would be unlikely to join company with no women or minorities in leadership roles. "Nobody wants to be the first woman on a tech team," says Sara Chipps, the co-founder and CEO of a company called Jewelbots that makes programmable friendship bracelets for girls. "I’ve been there, I know others who have been there, and it’s awful." Women drop out of companies at every level of technology, but the disparity in the rate at which they drop out at the top is more jarring. Mason and Chipps didn’t leave tech, but they did leave established tech companies to start their own. That’s awesome for the world, but bad for the tech companies who want to hire them. "Women at the senior level are beacons for other women," says Elizabeth Ames, the Anita Borg Institute's senior vice president of marketing, alliances, and programs. "If you go interview at a company and there is nobody at the senior level who looks even remotely like you, is that a place where you think you'll be comfortable or able to achieve?" So lest their swag, speakers, or the giant displays under which they collect resumes be missed, companies have also upped their female presence on the ground at Grace Hopper. Microsoft sent 800 employees. Linkedin brought 100 women, up from 40 last year and 20 the year before. Symantec (with Veritas, which has been operationally independent from Symantec since October 1) brought 215 women, up from 25 the year before. Under a sign that says "Hello from HQ," Facebook has posted photos of the women on its teams. Many of the real, in-person versions are parked in front of the sign, talking with young recruits. Macy’s posts a sign that says, "26% of our engineers are female," which in this industry still passes for impressive. It’s a dilemma: Hiring women in leadership positions is key to promoting diversity across the company. But many women eligible for leadership positions understandably don’t want to work in non-diverse cultures. I ask Mason about this—would she do it? Would she consider a job with a bunch of white dudes? "No," she laughs, because the answer is obvious. "Maybe they’re screwed and it’s a problem they created. But if it were a great work environment, they’d be able to attract a diverse workforce." So how can a company attract a diverse workforce without diversity? Tech companies have tried to fix the pipeline: to partner with organizations like Girls Who Code, demonstrate that computer science isn't only for boys, change Hollywood’s portrayal of scientists. They have tried to fix some leaks in the pipeline: to create mentoring and networking opportunities for women in their companies, give scholarships to women in computing, and create engineering-led task forces. They have tried to fix their hiring practices: to change the places they recruit, reword job descriptions, and increase referral bonuses to reward diversity. They have tried to fix their culture: instituting implicit bias training, creating programs like a pilot from LinkedIn called "inclusivity training." But they have yet to land on a solid second step. On webpages outlining diversity efforts, sponsoring ten women to attend Grace Hopper or Promotion of International Women’s Day (both nice!) are still listed as serious efforts. When Forbes asked Facebook's Williams about the movement to promote diversity across the industry, she told him, "I don’t know that there’s a movement happening across the industry." A conversation? "Yes, but that conversation only happened when the results got released, which for us was a non-event, because by the time the results got released, we were already in this movement internally." On day two of the conference, I attend a panel called "Retain and Advance Your Top Talented Women Technologists: Three companies share studies about programs with proven results" with hopes of clarifying the question of what efforts to recruit and retain women are working. There are four panelists. One is an former executive of Microsoft named Lauren Antonoff (she is now at GoDaddy) who, without any budget, started a program to support women within the company who were candidates for a "managers of managers" role. "We had a clear goal," she says, "and the goal was to increase the representation of women in this specific role." Four of the women in the pilot, about as many as were in this role overall before the program started, ended up being hired to be managers of managers before the it ended. Shortly after, two more were promoted to the role. Microsoft has since expanded and formalized the program. Another pair of panelists co-founded PWC’s program for women, Women In Technology (WIT), which started as a grassroots effort and now includes mentoring programs, meetings highlighting technology solutions and leaders, events and forums, speaking opportunities, and recruiting events. About 1,400 people participate in one way or another. The fourth panelist, Molly Gantz—a talent and development director at Thompson Reuters—speaks about a development program for high-potential women called Leadhership1. All three programs are impressive (especially those that launched despite the lack of a budget), but I still can’t help seeing them as small drops in enormous buckets. Other companies, like Intel, have commendably devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to diversity programs—but even those efforts feel somewhat token when you consider the billions of dollars of revenue these companies pull in. At many companies, diversity efforts get lost in the day-to-day pressure to deliver. "Diversity is a sub-goal for most companies," says Jim McKelvey, the cofounder of Square, who now works on an apprenticeship program called LaunchCode that places programmers with unconventional credentials at more than 300 companies. "The first job is to get it done. So if the company needs a work product, and the people who could do that work product are all, pick whatever stereotype, let’s say they’re a bunch of white guys. If that’s what’s going to get it done, that’s what's going to get done." "That’s short-term thinking" McKelvey continues. "Because if you build a monolithic group, it will result in homogeneous thinking. And it’s not as durable as a culture that includes a lot of diversity. But it’s hard to graph that value in an emergency situation. You just need someone who can write this Java applet, and somebody comes in; you don’t care what they look like." Clear goals are one way to firmly connect diversity to long-term business interests and engage managers in the process. "In business," says Cecily Joseph, Symantec’s vice president of corporate responsibility and, as of two years ago, its chief diversity officer, "you make goals around everything that’s important. If you don’t make goals, you won’t do it, and it’s not important." Publicly, Symantec aims to "increase the diversity of its workforce, at all levels within the company, by 15 percent by 2020." Internally, it started with an ambitious short-term priority to have a board composed of at least 30% women. As the board began its search for open seats, they considered candidates who had not been CEOs and didn't report to CEOs to avoid automatically limiting the number of candidates who were from underrepresented groups. In October 2013, the company added two qualified women to its board and met its goal. Now, it has set a similar internal goal to raise representation of leadership at Symantec to 30%. Smaller companies, which can more quickly change the makeup of their workforce as they grow, are more easily able to demonstrate the power of treating diversity as a goal-oriented business objective. The most ambitious example I found at Grace Hopper was ThoughtWorks, a company of about 3,500 employees across 13 countries that specializes in software consulting, delivery, and products. In 2010, when it had about 1,500 employees, it set a goal of enrolling 50% women into its onboarding process for new hires directly from college, a six-week program hosted in India. But ThoughtWorks had the same problem as everybody else: Only 18% of computer science graduates in 2010 were women. What made it easier for ThoughtWorks to meet the goal was that it considered candidates with nontraditional credentials. Biology students, for instance, often had some exposure to code through their classes. Like many computer science graduates, they might not be versed in the specific languages they would need for the job, but, as with the computer science graduates, that could be fixed. After the six-week introduction course, new hires are enrolled in a coaching and mentoring program for two years. With this approach of considering unconventional credentials, the company successfully made its 50% goal the first year. Throughout North America, 34% of ThoughtWorks’s technical roles are filled by women. Last year, 40% of all new hires were women. ThoughtWorks's program was driven by a desire to build better products and to hire for technical roles in a competitive environment, but its goal of filling its training program with 50% women helped formalize inclusivity. "At the end of the day, women in computing have to see a path and feel they belong there," says Joanna Parke, the company’s managing director in North America. "It’s fuzzy and hard to quantify." But the goal, she says, "set a clear message that we were serious about it. The other thing it did is force us to get creative. You can’t just post a job and expect to meet it." Pinterest, Intel, and Twitter have also set diversity goals publicly. Most other large tech companies have not and weren't weren't willing to discuss why. Here are responses from the few who would discuss it: "One thing diversity gurus would say is important when thinking about recruiting is to think about diversity of (job candidates) as opposed to only outcomes of the process," says Lisa Dugal, the diversity leader at PWC. "The overall goal is get more diversity. Which of those two levers you focus on will give you two different mindsets and outcomes." LinkedIn (which this year made comparatively large progress when it saw women’s representation in technical roles increase 1% and in leadership roles increase 5%) sends me a statement that says, "While we are looking to extend the diversity of our employee base, interviews are ultimately based on merit. We do not set requirements related to diversity." And with regard to specific goals, "We aim to build the best teams that are comprised of a diverse makeup, but we do not approach this goal with any set hiring quotas." Some types of goal-setting can be counterproductive. In a study published in the American Sociological Review in 2006, researchers looked at the diversity programs at more than 708 companies and concluded that diversity reviews, in which managers were given a formal rating every year for success in promoting diversity, had positive effects for white women but negative effects for black men (diversity training also backfired). "We think that incentives determine what people do on the job," says Frank Dobbin, one of the study's authors, "but incentives can turn people off by sending them the signal that they have to be bribed to do something they otherwise might do naturally." But goals don’t need to be quotas. Between 1995 and 2004, IBM increased its representation of female executives worldwide by 370%. Former CEO Lou Gerster said in a case study by the Harvard Business Review that the driver of the company’s success at expanding its diversity was that "we made diversity a market-based issue." "We did not set quotas," he said later in the article, "but we did set goals and made people aware of the people in their units who they needed to be accountable for developing." "So. You sparked a global conversation and dragged this elephant in the room into the light," begins Nora Denzel, vice chair of the Anita Borg Institute Board of Trustees, who is interviewing Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg onstage at Grace Hopper. Sandberg’s book about the challenges women face at work, Lean In, was loved, hated, and, most helpfully, widely discussed after it was published in 2013. More than 24,600 people in 126 countries have registered for small peer-support groups on its website. "Everything is wonderful, except for one thing," continues Denzel. "The numbers aren’t moving." Sandberg doesn’t miss a beat when presented with this awkward question, the new elephant in the room. "No problem has ever been solved by thinking we can’t solve the problem," she says. "So of course we can solve the problem." The rest of the interview is peppered with polished anecdotes, jokes, and data that she has delivered frequently during other media appearances: Women who are more successful tend to be less liked. Men who are successful tend to be better liked. Little girls aren’t bossy, they have executive leadership skills. But toward the end of the talk, Sandberg goes off-script. "Stay in tech," she says to Grace Hopper’s attendees. "Stay in tech. Tech needs you. Facebook needs you, Google needs you, Microsoft needs you. We all need you. " Despite her position as the de facto spokesperson for the issue, the COO of Facebook doesn’t have all the answers to tech’s diversity problems, either. She looks into what is quite possibly the largest crowd of women in computing ever gathered, and she pleads.
News Article | November 10, 2016
Organisers of this week's Web Summit in Lisbon said nearly half its 53,000 attendees were women, helped by their offer of free tickets for female entrepreneurs in a drive to try to rectify a large gender imbalance in tech. The scale of the industry's challenge remains immense. In France for example, 91 percent of startups are run by men, according to a study last year. Rana el Kaliouby, chief executive of the artificial intelligence startup Affectiva, called for gender quotas in recruitment at tech firms. "Women are the majority of gamers, they spend the most time on social media, they make the most app purchases, but they're not part of the design process and the (development) of these technologies. That is a problem," she said in Lisbon. "When you don't get the female perspective, you miss out entirely on an opportunity to leverage that." The homogeneous workforce in the US technology industry became a hot topic after an attention-grabbing civil trial in 2014 that aired charges of sexism at a powerful Silicon Valley venture capital firm and disclosures by internet titans that workforces are mostly male, and very white. Hillary Clinton's agonising failure to break through the ultimate glass ceiling, in losing the US presidential race to Donald Trump, was a motif of discussion at the Web Summit as tech evangelists fretted about the consequences for their industry. Tony Conrad, founder of the about.me blog site, said Trump's views on women and immigrants were "antithetical to everything we in the tech community believe in". "We already have gender imbalances in tech companies specifically. I don't know the impact specific to our community, but as a society the impact is going to be profound. It sends a really bad message." A long way to go Still, there was recognition of the efforts in Lisbon, where the summit set aside a "Women in Tech Lounge" and organised several panels to discuss the gender question. "There is this space (the lounge), coffee breaks and even events just for us, lot of opportunities to meet and discuss, for networking," said Carla Barros, who heads strategy and marketing for a digital firm in Brazil. The imbalance, however, remained plain in the makeup of panel discussions at the Web Summit, which likes to promote itself as "the Davos for geeks" and provides a platform for startups to hook up with venture capitalists and hear about new trends from industry leaders such as Facebook. Of the 663 speakers on the various stages over the week, only about 100 were women. "Even here, where we have a private space for women, you only have white men in their 40s speaking on stage. There isn't much diversity," said Maria Ines, who heads digital marketing at a Portuguese hotel group. "When you look at the upper hierarchy of companies, you can see only men. We still have a long way to go," she said. Female speakers included Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at software design company ThoughtWorks, a pioneering woman in tech whose panel was entitled: "I'm a technologist, not a female technologist." Ines underlined that at every level, "you must prove yourself much more" as a woman in tech when the overwhelming majority of executives, software writers and engineers are male. While happy to have made some inroads on the imbalance, Web Summit organisers recognised the work ahead. "It's a global problem and we are part of this industry," said one of the Irish organisers, Mike Harvey. "We know that there's much to do, specially on the stages. We scan the whole industry to find female speakers."
News Article | November 28, 2016
Call off the polyglot holiday party. Developers are voting for consolidation, after all. Despite years of hearing that developers now run the enterprise asylum (true), and that this means they'll use a dizzying assortment of technologies to get things done (not as true), the limits of human patience have been reached. Instead of a proliferation of programming languages, databases, operating systems, and other developer-friendly technologies, developers are instead settling into a relatively homogeneous mix of general-purpose technologies. It wasn't supposed to be this way. In a world where developers reign, developers would choose the optimal tool for a particular job, even at the expense of increased complexity. Some of the smartest minds in the business have been heralding the future of polyglot computing, from Redmonk's James Governor ("We're entering a polyglot era in software development, driven by cloud and multicore systems architectures, as new languages emerge to challenge, and coexist with, the long hegemony of Java and .NET.") to ThoughtWorks' Martin Fowler ("We are gearing up for a shift to polyglot persistence — where any decent sized enterprise will have a variety of different data storage technologies for different kinds of data."). While they've been right to call out the increased complexity developer-led enterprises have yielded us, there was no way this polyglot reality could persist. Not given its cost. I'm not referring as much to the cost of the enterprise — which is very real — but rather, the cost to developers in terms of time and attention. Make no mistake: the cost is enormous. For example, while the idea of using the exact right database for a precise type of data seems right, the reality is that this approach means that developers are forced to learn a seemingly infinite number of databases. (Okay, DB-Engines only lists 190, but that's the functional equivalent of "infinite" since more are added all the time.) One of the developers he cites, ex-Googler Tim Bray, makes the case very clearly: Bray is, of course, not alone. In fact, the history of every market involves a whittling down of choices to a few that are somewhat general purpose and good enough. We used to have many relational databases, and now you can count the ones that matter on one hand. (I cover this in detail in a presentation I often give — see especially slides 26 to 28.) Developers, being human, want choice. But not too much of it. Because too much choice is hard, exhausting, and ultimately counterproductive. This calls to mind Hugh Macleod's hilarious (and true) response to Chris Anderson's "Long Tail" theory (Figure A). There are many reasons that the "long tail" ultimately fails, but in terms of technology adoption, developer fatigue ranks top of the list. Second is the reality that while developers may initiate more and more technology acquisition today — removing IT completely from the purchasing picture 7.2% of the time by 2015, and initiating 10.4% of technology purchases, then including IT to manage the applications, according to Forrester — it's more often the case that developers are working in partnership with their CIOs/IT departments. In such a partnership, the realities of IT governance and ongoing management come into play. No large enterprise wants to support 30 different programming languages. In fact, even small startups tend to agglomerate when it comes to their technology choices: the top-five programming languages featured on HackerNews remain constant month-to-month, and Leo Polovets' analysis of AngelList data suggests they tend to congregate around a few standards up and down the technology stack. Again, this is just how markets work. We get excited by new technologies and find novel ways and places to use them. That's normal. But it's also normal to then consolidate options, even as they borrow features from each other to become general purpose and good enough. This results in the industry stabilizing around a few options that everyone grumbles about together, eventually to be displaced by the next big thing(s). But for now, we're in consolidation mode for developers, and it's about time.
News Article | November 7, 2016
Leading Technologists Issue Trends Report Alongside Visualization Tool for Companies to Develop Their Own Tech Strategies CHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- ThoughtWorks, a global technology company, today issued the latest Technology Radar, a bi-annual assessment of trends and...