Garrett Hill – Perficient Blogs Expert Insights Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:23:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Garrett Hill – Perficient Blogs 32 32 30508587 [Watch] Using AI & Automation to Enhance Adverse Event Case Processing Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:30:13 +0000

Recently, Christine Livingston, Chief Strategist, Artificial Intelligence, Kari Blaho-Owens, Ph.D. Director, Safety and Pharmacovigilance, and Prabha Ranganathan, Director, Clinical Data Warehousing and Analytics, hosted a webinar with Bio-IT World that discussed how to leverage AI and automation to improve case processing.

The implementation of such cutting-edge technology results in fewer manual processes, streamlines workflows, and increases consistency. It has the potential to transform your PV operations significantly and save you tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars. The ROI directly relates to your current processes and the number of adverse event cases you have every year.

You can find the webinar recording below, in which you will learn how you can apply AI and automation with your complementary PV/drug safety platforms to support your innovation journey. The webinar highlights:

  • Challenges in PV
  • Adverse Events Case Processing Workflow
  • AE/PQC End-to-End Data Flow With Automation and AI
  • Natural Language Processing
  • AE/PQC Intake Demo
  • Automation and AI Outcomes in PV
  • ROI of Automation for Intake

If you are interested in learning more about our PV capabilities, please reach out to us.

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[Watch] Transforming Pharmacovigilance Workflows with AI & Automation Wed, 16 Sep 2020 17:00:21 +0000

Recently, Kari Blaho-Owens, Ph.D. Director, Safety and PharmacovigilancePrabha Ranganathan Director, Clinical Data Warehousing and Analytics, and Christine Livingston, Chief Strategist, Artificial Intelligence, presented a webinar on integrating AI and automation to transform and optimize an end-to-end pharmacovigilance (PV) system. 

The implementation of such advanced technology improves data quality, consistency, compliance, and operational efficiency. The ROI can be significant.  

You can find the one-hour webinar below, in which you will learn how to utilize AI and automation to enhance your PV system. The webinar highlights: 

  • PV Landscape Challenges 
  • Integrating AI and Automation Into the PV Workflow
  • Transforming the End-to-End Data Flow With AI and Automation 
  • A Live Demo
  • Use Cases

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[Webinar Recording] The Secret to Acquiring and Retaining Customers in Financial Services Tue, 25 Aug 2020 13:34:57 +0000

Recently, Perficient’s Scott Albahary, Chief Strategist of Financial Services, and Arvind Murali, Chief Strategist of Data Governance, presented a webinar that discussed what it takes for banks and insurance companies to acquire and retain customers.

The key, they say, is to create a 360-degree view of customers. Without a holistic view, a company can never truly personalize advice and offers, resulting in lost opportunities.

We live in the age of incredibly high consumer expectations and rightly so. Fortunately, with the right strategies and tools, financial services companies can work hard to meet them.

Watch the recording to hear Scott and Arvind discuss:

  • Customer Data Management Challenges
  • What Banks and Insurers Are Experiencing​
  • What Customer Intelligence Is
  • Two Real-World Examples
  • How To Achieve Success

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[Webinar Recording] Automate the Coding of Drug Names With WHODrug Koda Wed, 29 Jul 2020 13:30:29 +0000

On July 23, 2020, Caz Halsey, Director, Life Sciences, Perficient, and Damon Fahimi, Product Manager, Uppsala Monitoring Center, hosted a webinar that discussed WHODrug Koda and how it can be integrated with other systems using an application developed by Perficient.

The topics covered include:

  • WHODrug Global and Drug Coding Background
  • An Introduction to WHODrug Koda
  • Why Use Koda
  • Methods of Using Koda
  • Perficient’s Koda Interface – Prototype
  • Use Cases

For more information about WHODrug Koda or Perficient’s solution that is capable of integrating Koda with your systems, please reach out to Caz Halsey at


Webinar Transcript

My name is Caroline Halsey. I am a Director in the Life Sciences Business Unit at Perficient. I have 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including:

  • Clinical data management
  • Project & program management
  • Process design & system implementation
  • Computer system validation

For the past few years, I have been focussed on medical coding processes and systems. Today, I am here to describe how you could integrate the UMC’s WHODrug Koda coding engine into your coding process via its webservice API and I am pleased to be joined by Damon Fahimi from the UMC to discuss this.

Damon will introduce WHODrug coding and WHODrug Koda. Then I will discuss how it could be used and what we are working on at Perficient to enable the integration of Koda into medical coding processes.

Thanks Caz! I’d like to start us off by giving you all some background on who we –UMC –are, and what WHODrug Global is, before talking about the star of today, WHODrug Koda. After that, I’ll hand over to Caz to let her guide you through Perficient’s work and experiences with Koda. And after our respective presentations, we’ll of course both be available for questions, and I’ll be glad to answer questions related to Koda itself from the UMC side, and again Caz can answer questions related to the work done by Perficient.

But now, to get everyone on the same page, I wanted to start us off with some basic information on who we, the UMC, are. So let’s take it from the very beginning.

UMC, or Uppsala Monitoring Centre was established in 1978to support the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring, and since this point we‘ve been working as a WHO Collaborating Centre from our office in Uppsala, Sweden, which also happens to be my hometown!

We have a vision of a world where all patients and health care professionals make wise therapeutic decisions in their use of medicines and our mission is basically to achieve this by working with and promoting pharmacovigilance on a global level.

We are doing this in different ways, but given the scope of today’s presentation, I would like to draw your attention to this; WHODrug Global, which is something that we at the UMC have developed and are maintaining. I think most are more or less familiar with WHODrug Global, but basically WHODrug Global is a drug dictionary used for drug coding and mandated by leading regulatory authorities.

Before we start to talk about WHODrug Koda, I think it’s really important that we all understand what the most significant challenges in regards to drug coding are. So on these slides are some of the key challenges, as reported by WHODrug users when we’ve been talking to them,

First of all, drug coding requires highly trained staff, not only within the field of medical coding, but also when it comes to internal coding convention.

What’s more, the volumes of drug data to structure is constantly increasing. Did you for example know that the number of unique clinical trial studies increased with nearly 90 % between 2010 and 2019. Of course this leads to more drug data to code. To top it off, we also need to have a scalable operation, so that we can handle temporary peaks of data to code, often with tight deadlines.

To be able to make best use of the coded data, of course both coding quality and consistency is really important. How do we make sure that everyone within a coding team, all codes the same?

Finally, we have come to understand that the available supportive tools and processes, such as synonym lists and existing autoencoders, do not always fulfil user needs and takes a lot of time to figure out, maintain and version.

With all of this in our minds we asked ourselves; could the UMC potentially step in and do something that could facilitate the drug coding process by increasing coding efficiency & consistency and making use of technology and WHODrug know-how?

So, a couple of years ago, we started to ask ourselves, do we, the UMC, have a role to play here.

What if…

Based on all of this, we kind of said that, well, maybe we can’t just be an organisation that provides WHODrug Global, and leave all the challenges that is pertaining to the drug coding itself to our users. Don’t we have a responsibility, as to also make sure that we facilitate the drug coding process? We also realised that we actually have unique insights on WHODrug Global, as we are the maintenance organisation and also have connections with expert WHODrug users world-wide, both from the industry but also on the regulatory side of things.

Based on this, we initiated a project in which we wanted to explore if we, with the help of machines, could find an intelligent approach to automating drug coding while still using the human brain, when needed.

The project evolved and I am actually really glad that we, after spending very, and I mean VERY, much time discussing this internally and with reference WHODrug users worldwide, were able to make something available to WHODrug users in March 2019 namely, WHODrug Koda.,

Koda feeds on raw data that is normally collected in both drug safety and clinical trials, namely; drug verbatim, route and indication. None of the information needs to be pre-coded, so you just provide Koda with the information coming directly from the sites.

Drug coding can in fact be divided into two parts; drug NAME coding, and ATC selection, if there are more than ATC code assigned for a specific drug name. What WHODrug Koda spits out is both coded drug names but also one selected ATC code, based on the raw data.

Please note that Coding is performed even if indication or route, or both are missing. But naturally, the performance and accuracy are much higher if all three values are present, as it would be for a manual coder.

This is a screen shot from the WHODrug Koda web application, which we will talk about in a few more minutes. But basically, this slide shows you the same information as on the previous slide.

You have the input data on your left hand side. Please note that none of the input data needs to be pre-coded or structured as Koda for example can handle spelling errors.

On your right hand side, you can find the output from Koda; coded drug names and selected ATC codes.

WHODrug Koda performs drug coding on two confidence levels. Whenever WHODrug Koda is able to provide high certainty predictions, the output data has normal colours. When WHODrug Koda is providing lower certainty predictions, there will be a yellowish background colour as seen here.

On the next few slides, I will try to describe how WHODrug Koda can do all of this. This is something I could speak on for hours, but I’ve tried to condense it a bit for you today, so please bear with me.

From the very beginning, we were kind of certain that appropriate use of the latest technology would be a crucial factor for us to succeed and we looked into Artificial intelligence and Machine learning basically from day 1. In the end, we did make use of a supervised machine learning model via logistical regression. Basically, this is a classification algorithm used to assign observations to a discrete set of classes.

We provided the model with a lot of training data, which I will talk more about in a minute, which is basically teaching the machine learning model how to perform the task we want it to learn. And eventually, the idea is that the model should be able to deal with data it never has seen before, and make correct predictions.

An interesting aspect is that the machine learning model is mostly applied to the ATC selection part of Koda, and the reason for that is that the number of so called classes available for drug name coding is as many as there exist drug names, that is over half a million. The number of classes of ATC codes, is much more suitable for this machine learning model, with around 1,400 classes. With that said, we did actually also use machine learning for the drug name coding as well, but then as one component out of many other, which I will describe in a minute.

So how were we able to teach our friend Koda to perform in a good way? Well, training is absolute key, and we were extremely fortunate in that we could make use of something called VigiBase.

VigiBaseisa WHO global data base consisting of ICSRs from all over the world that is maintained by the UMC. Within VigiBase, there are millions unique combinations of verbatim, route and indication. What’s more, the drug data in VigiBasehas already been coded by the coding team at UMC –which makes it a perfect training data set for Koda. Also, as VigiBaseis basically refilled each and every day, we automatically get new training data with we could use to optimise Koda for each and every version of Koda.

To be honest with you, from the very beginning, we thought that technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning would alone be able to solve a large part of the drug coding dilemma. However, we quickly learned that this was not the case. And I want to stress that one important thing we learnt with this project it’s that technology itself does never solve problems. What solve problems is how technology is being applied.

In our experience, this meant that the key success factor for us was to make use of our –and WHODrug user’s –WHODrug expertise into the solution.

One important piece of the puzzle was to incorporate built-in coding rules, based on the latest regulatory expectations and best practices. Both systemic, coding rules, which are static rules that can be regarded as foundational for all WHODrug use cases. In addition, there are also some rules that are so called dynamic, and can be turned on or off, dependent on internal coding conventions.

We also included spell checks and algorithms to help Koda identify key components of the raw data provided to Koda. As you can see from the examples on this slide, drug verbatims can be quite complex and making sense of the data is of course then very important for Koda to make wise predictions.

I would say that maybe the most important piece of Koda’s intelligence originates from WHODrug expertise, from pharmacists and medical expertise at UMC, who are working with maintaining and developing WHODrug on a full-time basis but also by making use of the intelligence of WHODrug users world-wide.

There is also a direct feedback loop which users of Koda can make use of to influence coding predictions. This feedback functionality is available for all WHODrug Koda users and allows users to indicate potential prediction errors. This feedback is then made available to the Koda maintenance team at UMC which valides the feedback and can retrain Koda accordingly.

So now you know quite a lot about how WHODrug Koda works, but how about performance you might ask? Let’s have a look at some results.

First of all, it’s important to understand that there aren’t any absolute results. Of course, the results will vary according to the data you feed WHODrug Koda with, and how many of the three input parameters that you have and so on. But with that said, we have seen quite a few big batches of data, from various external sources, been run in Koda, with more or less consistent results, as per this slide.

We are gonna start with the efficiency, that is the percentage of the terms that WHODrug Koda can actually code.

For the drug name coding, Koda codes around 95% of all drug names, 80% of which are high-certainty predictions and with an additional 15% lower certainty predictions. And around 5% of the data remains uncoded.

If we then look at the ATC selection, WHODrug Koda can successfully and confidently select ATC codes for around 80 % of the coded drug names, with an additional 20% selected with lower certainty. Please note that Koda always provides at least a lower certainty ATC selection, as long as indication information is provided. If you do not provide indication information, you will of course see lower percentages.

I think that the maybe most important aspect of looking at the results is probably how often WHODrug Koda is right vs. wrong?

When we have manually evaluated the precision for Koda predictions, we’ve seen that Koda is correct in more than 99% of the cases. We have also seen that Koda actually makes mistakes just as often, or oven more rarely than human coding teams, which to me is very promising.

If you want to dig into the details of what you can expect with Koda in terms of results, I would finally like to recommend you to follow the link on this slide, describing an evaluation of Koda from Novo Nordisk.

Finally, how can WHODrug Koda be accessed? The service of WHODrug Koda is available as both a web application and as an API service, which can be integrated in your existing coding tool or similar.

Our vision is that the web application might be helpful for evaluations of WHODrug koda features or coding concomitant medications and ATC classes in smaller studies.

While, if you are planning to code large amount of data, UMC recommends to implement the Koda API in your workflow, for example by making use of Koda within your coding tool.

Before handing over to Caz, I just wanted to explain a bit about the collaboration we, UMC, have with Perficient.

This means that they have all information about how the API works, they have validation information and of course, we are also supporting our Perficient colleagues with all the support they need in regards to their work with Koda.

For us, collaborations with Perficient and other vendors and implementation partners are extremely important, and I really want to thank Perficient for a fruitful collaboration so far. And of course, thanks for having me here today on this webinar as well.

With that, we’ve reached the end of my part of the presentation. So Caz, please take it away! And I’ll of course be here for questions in the end of our slot.

As you have heard, Koda can help you with your daily drug coding business, but it can also help to recode data by upgrading your WHODrug version or even your WHODrug format.

For example, when recoding a study from B2 to B3 a large number of terms may no longer code. Submitting those terms to WHODrug Koda could dramatically reduce the manual effort of recoding.

One of the main challenges in the use of AI in medical coding is the significant time, effort and volume of data required to train the AI system. With WHODrug KODA the training has already been done for you.”

We’ve heard from Damon, one way to use Koda is via manually uploading and downloading data through the Koda UI, but it is also possible to fully integrate it into your systems by using the Koda webservice Application Programming Interface.

Now, using webservice APIs is not always straightforward, as you have to deal with technicalities like transforming data, generating network traffic, security cerificates etc.

It would simplify integration if you had an additional interface level available, which hides all the technical bits. Some of my Perficient colleagues have built a prototype of such an interface, and this is what I’d like to talk about today.

I’ll give an overview of the design, usage and possible integration and let you know how to find out more if you are interested.

In order to build such an interface we needed first to decide on a platform, and we have chosen Oracle. This choice was kind of arbitrary, and of course you could build a similar interface on any other platform.

This prototype consists basically of

  1. a table which contains the drug data to be coded and mimics the source application
  2. plus some programming objects in PL/SQL, which interact with the webservice API right out of the database.

The only system requirement is that you have Oracle version 11 or higher, and you need to have the UMC certificates installed and an open network connection from your database to the UMC server. No further infrastructure is needed.

In addition to the interface a custom adapter is required for each source system

Here you can see the designed workflow.

The source system or application sends the drugs to be coded via the custom adapter to the interface.

The interface converts the data into the format expected by the Koda application and calls the Koda webservice API.

It then gets back the response from Koda with coding information, parses the response and updates the drug data with the coding information in the source system.

Triggering the interface could of course be an automated process, e.g. a regular batchjob or automated execution if the table of drugs has been updated.

This design actually hides all the technical complicated bits from the end user or end application.

Now lets have a look at a real example.

The columns with blue heading here reflect data which is exchanged with Koda.

Initially the drug table contains drug verbatims, some of them with route and / or indication.

Now we trigger the interface.

The interface now

  1. Transforms the data into Koda format
  2. Builds the network connection and send data to Koda
  3. Gets the response in Koda format
  4. Parses the response
  5. Puts coding information back into the source table

This is the part that nobody wants to deal with as it looks like endless lines of code.

This is what the table of coded data looks like after the interface execution.

The interface has updated the code and ATC code column with some values.

Please note that here you can only see the encoded information, the comments column shows some information on suggested drugs if available. Let’s have a look at a few examples in more detail…

Line 1 is paracetamol, which is correctly coded to its drug code and ATC code although no indication was provided. This is because Paracetamol has only one ATC code.

Lines 2 to 6 are some records with Aspirin, which has 4 ATC codes from 4 different classes, so is fairly distinctive. For correctly spelled indications the drug code and ATC is always correct, for the misspelled indication in line 4 the ATC code is incorrect.

Line 7 to 11 are some examples where we have tried non-unique drugs, non-existing names, umbrella terms, drugs with multiple ATC codes from the same class etc. All codes which were provided were as expected and correct. Suggested information is also as expected and correct.

Of special interest are lines 12 to 14, which is an example on how you could use Koda for a version or format upgrade. The tradename SEBCUR was non-unique in a previous WHODrug version and became unique in a more recent version. Koda is able to correctly encode or suggest the code from the current version if you pass in the tradename with ingredients attached as it was stored in the previous version.

Such an Oracle based interface could be potentially integrated with any Oracle based system, for example Argus Safety, where you could use it for coding during case entry, or for coding during case save.

Or you could integrate it with Oracle TMS, where you could for example auto-create non-approved VTAs for coding omissions which you send to Koda and where Koda returns a code.

As already mentioned, this prototype is currently Oracle based, but could be explored for other platforms as well, so please don’t go away with the impression that this would only work if you use Argus and TMS.

This wraps up today’s webinar, thank you all for attending.

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Perficient’s Banking & Insurance Client Executive Featured in Nuxeo’s New Podcast Wed, 24 Jun 2020 13:01:17 +0000

Recently, Sean Calvillo, a director in Perficient’s financial services group, was invited to speak on Nuxeo’s Content Journeys podcast, which is a monthly discussion about the world of content in business.

For those not familiar with the company, Nuxeo is the developer of a content services platform that combines enterprise content management (ECM) and digital asset management (DAM) functionality. It has an incredible list of customers.

The podcast is hosted by Alan Porter, Nuxeo’s director of product marketing. He interviews people across the spectrum, from practitioners to analysts to industry thought leaders, and explores various topics including innovation, technology, and customer experience.

In the newest episode, Sean shared some anecdotes and his thoughts on customer experience in the financial services industry. Having run big projects for many banks and insurance companies, he’s got a lot of great insight. You might even be surprised to hear some of his candid thoughts!

Here are some of the questions Sean covers during the podcast:

  1. How is “customer experience” different than “customer satisfaction?”
  2. What is the driving force behind the current push for enhancing customer experience in financial services?
  3. What are the main challenges that keep traditional financial services organizations from competing on a level playing field when it comes to customer experience, and what steps can be taken to address these challenges?
  4. What can companies do to drive more value for their customers?

If you have 30 minutes, I’d love for you to listen to the podcast and let us know your thoughts.

And, of course, if you are interested in learning more about Nuxeo and our capabilities, please reach out to Sean Calvillo.

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5G Is Here, and It’s Time to Increase Your Cybersecurity Posture Wed, 20 May 2020 13:03:14 +0000

5G is changing the face of communication and connection. According to Forbes, the technological innovations from 5G could contribute as much as $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years. The service will revolutionize the amount of data collection and increasing the number of connected devices and sensors. With the rapid growth in the service and the explosion of new applications (all collecting personal data and information), it’s critical to make sure your cybersecurity posture is up to the test.

5G will be moving data at unprecedented speeds, so data governance, security, and privacy measures need to keep pace. The new service can move data back and forth at such speeds due to low latency. In the current environment, any device can effectively become mobile with the assistance of sensors and the IoT. Thus, as more and more devices become connected, it becomes easier for individuals to steal data. The number of connected devices will only rise, so it’s pertinent to set up a 5G cybersecurity strategy now.

In an article published by, it was stated that, “Low-latency 5G networks will unlock tremendous potential across several verticals, including healthcare, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, Industry 4.0, and the Internet of Things (IoT). It could expose vulnerabilities of a hyper-connected environment leading to issues such as online frauds, data breach, identity theft, and ransomware attacks.”

From this and instantaneous connectivity, the old methods of control slip away, so companies need to focus on new measures to monitor, protect and keep control of their data. Data keeps a business moving forward, so the new standards for monitoring and cybersecurity must move forward with the times as well.

Several proactive measures to take to make networks more secure include:

  • Updating encryption protocols
  • Cybersecurity Assessment
  • Adding edge network safety
  • Improved network function virtualization models

These proactive efforts could reduce or mitigate cybersecurity risk and enhance your company’s reputation. As the new technology gains more traction, 5G implementations will evolve and mature, and security will need to become even stronger. Perficient is ready to help you mature your cybersecurity posture.

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To Build Brand Loyalty, Focus on CX and Find a Way to Differentiate Yourself Thu, 07 May 2020 13:40:43 +0000

It’s time to focus on customer experiences (CX). But, how do you differentiate yourself from the pack? According to a digital trends report from Adobe, the answer is…by providing an excellent CX. It beats content marketing, video marketing, and social pages.

Why should brands focus on CX?

Its official, consumer’s value exceptional experiences and will engage with a brand that provides such services. Wouldn’t you agree that engaging with brands focused on the customer, instead of the direct product sale, is more comfortable and more fun? Of course it is. When a brand focuses on the needs of the consumer and doesn’t force a product or service down their throat, it builds loyalty.

Here are a few statistics that show why brands need to focus on the customer experience.

  • Companies with a CX mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their competitors
  • Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to the company
  • 96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand
  • Brands with superior CX bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience
  • Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers
  • Customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience with a brand, but they tell 16 people about a negative experience

CX at its best

Let’s take a look at a leading company that implemented a super personalization experience. We are talking about the “most magical place on Earth,” Disney World. Disney implemented a wristband called the MagicBand. The band is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, and these bands interact with the thousands of sensors located throughout the theme park.

These bands communicate with the sensors across the park, allowing the Disney cast and team members to examine and predict all actions and needs. These proactive analytics allow the Disney team to provide a fully personalized experience for all the guests. Taking it a step further, Disney securely documents all of the data to create a massive predictive analytics database to further adapt and renovate the parks and customer experience for the best possible experiences.

With these advanced technologies in the theme park, Disney can now assess wait times, predict paths in the park, optimize personal experiences with Disney characters meet and greets, and simply greet guests by name when they arrive at any destination – all because of a brilliant wristband.

Now, that’s a big picture version of personalization. Small, medium, and large companies can still incorporate personalization efforts to their customers as well. Have you ever been online shopping, and all of the items you routinely order are on the front page? After multiple searches on a specific company site, did the searches become easier, more structured to your likes, and possibly even autofill? Most of the leading companies are incorporating some sort of personalization in their customer experience. Whether that’s from artificial intelligence, chatbots, or an enhanced enterprise search, the possibilities to enhance the customer journey are endless.

Find a way to differentiate yourself through CX

There are many ways to implement a successful customer experience. It can be a simple-to-use website, a fast-loading mobile app, loyalty initiatives, and personalization, to name a few. Unfortunately, these examples are what consumers expect already, so it’s not enough. You need to think about how you will differentiate yourself from the pack, just like Disney did.

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Association of Change Management Professionals Features David Chapman on COVID-19 Thu, 30 Apr 2020 17:30:34 +0000

The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) recently featured David Chapman, Chief Strategist of Organizational Change Management (OCM), in a blog post. Dc Ignitors

David points out that current conditions call for new approaches to user enablement and that historic change management playbooks will likely not be effective. In this new reality, leadership concerns range from project success to company survival.


David continuously works to help companies realize that change is possible and that there CAN be a smooth adoption process. He recently recorded a video titled “Enabling Employee Collaboration Amid COVID-19.”

He also delivered a webinar titled “Accelerating Adoption for Microsoft Teams.

He and the OCM team work tirelessly to lead clients through the change process. But the conversation always starts with, “Are you ready to change?”

The Ignitor Insights is a group of change management thought leaders within ACMP who share their perspectives and experiences, particularly in the midst of the changing landscape. Experts, like David, are there to answer your questions related to how we can best manage the personal, professional, societal, economic, cultural, and global impact of COVID-19.

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10 Ways to Secure Your Next Zoom Meeting Wed, 08 Apr 2020 14:00:32 +0000

The COVID-19 pandemic uncovered many challenges organizations face with enabling and supporting remote work. Companies, teachers, and others are turning their communication efforts to Zoom, a leader in modern enterprise video communications, with easy, reliable video and audio conferencing systems.

As millions of people look to Zoom as a go-to source of video and audio conferencing, it’s essential to keep your meetings safe and secure. This blog highlights a few best practices to make sure you’re meetings are secure before, during, and after.

Here are 10 ways to enhance your meeting security.

  1. Use a unique ID for large or “public” calls
    1. When you schedule a Zoom meeting, look for the Meeting ID Options, and choose Generate Automatically. Doing so can plug up one of the most significant holes hackers can exploit.
  2. Create an invite-only meeting
      1. This might seem juvenile, but when the meeting is invite-only, the participants must sign in with the email address you used to invite them.
  3. Require a meeting password
    1. Implementing a password can increase your Zoom meeting safety ten-fold. Give the password out only to those who are reliable, credible, and should be attending the call. To protect your meeting with a password, schedule a meeting, and check the box next to “require meeting password.”
  4. Create a waiting room
    1. When participants log into the call, they will be directed into the virtual waiting room. This gives the host an opportunity to let people into the call manually or accept all attendees at once. This process allows the host to decline access to names they do not recognize.
  5. Lock a meeting once it begins
      1. When the Zoom meeting beings, navigate to the bottom of the screen and click Manage Participants. The participants panel will open and at the bottom click More > Lock Meeting.
  6. Only the hosts should share their screen
    1. Make sure the Zoom call settings are set to allow only the hosts to share their screen. You can set this up in advance or even during the call.
  7. Kick someone out or put them on hold
    1. If a participant is questionable, go to the Participant Panel and hover over the name of the person you would want to boot or place on hold. Options will appear, choose Remove.
  8. Disable someone’s camera
    1. If you need to allow participants to share their screen, that is perfectly OK. But, if a participant is rude or inappropriate while on the video chat, the host can open the Participant Panel and click on the video icon next to the person’s name. This will deactivate their camera
  9. Prevent animated GIFs and other files in the chat
    1. Participants can share these items in the chat, unless the meeting is set up not to allow these items.
  10. Disable private chat
    1. To do this, open Settings in the Zoom Web Application (it’s not available on the desktop app). Go to Personal > Settings, then click in Meeting (Basic). Scroll until you see Private Chat and make sure the button is disabled.

Perficient’s Organizational Change Management Chief Strategist David Chapman recently shared a video that discussed what you can do to ensure that your employees can collaborate and communicate with each other (and their customers) regardless of where they are located. He discusses what steps you need to take to roll out collaboration and communication tools effectively and how you can ensure the adoption of these new technologies.

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COVID-19 and Supply Chain: The New Route to Transform Wed, 25 Mar 2020 13:55:42 +0000

Stores are left with empty shelves and a bunch of questions. How will they get a new product? How will they keep employees safe? How will this affect the supply chain and distribution?

As the economy sees a major jump in consumer purchases, it raises the question of supply and demand. It’s common for companies to keep a few weeks’ worth of product on site, but in just a few short days, that inventory level could be dropping.

Food distributors and wholesalers are focused on continuing the supply chain. Yet, companies are trying to perform logistical miracles, which includes redirecting truckloads of food from shuttered businesses toward places where people now crave it — mainly grocery stores.

How is this affecting our goods and their distribution?

Recently, Howard Roth, president of the National Pork Producers Council, wrote in a statement, “Slaughterhouses, dairies and vegetable producers are open for business, ready to feed the nation. Telecommuting is not an option for us; we are reporting for work as always””.”

Currently, there is no dramatic reason to think the supply chain will end. According to numerous sources, the food production and consumer goods industries are keeping up with demands. With that said, these companies can now focus on delivery and safety. But how will these companies prepare for the future?

How to move forward

  • Understand and plan for supply and demand risk
    • Consumers aren’t going out to social events, nightlife or stadiums, so the demand risk can possibly get severe very quickly. Hopefully, supply chains take the time to monitor and maintain communication with vendors. These methods will help predict supply issues and, in turn, allow for retailers and logistics companies to plan for the weeks to come.
  • Develop new inventory and distribution levels
    • While most companies keep a certain “number of weeks” worth of inventory, just-in-time manufacturing allows companies to increase efficiency and lower the cost of their supply chain. But this method also means, in a situation like this, a company can quickly run out of that inventory. Tactics to store the proper amounts of inventory will need to be readdressed. Making companies less resilient to sudden shocks and supply shortages.
  • Efficiently map the supply chain
    • Continuously monitoring locations and their COVID-19 updates is the biggest priority for success. As these companies map out the chain, it’s crucial to understand which locations have the highest risk and when. The data sharing between logistics and partner companies must be transparent and prompt; to minimize disruption.
  • Be proactive and design tactics for “what-if” situations
    • A step-by-step, case-by-case analysis is required here. We don’t know how long this situation will be around, nor do we know the overall effects this will cause. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial to be proactive and develop multiple “what-if” plans for even the worst situations.

As this dreadful situation continues to extend across the world, it’s important to remember that employees and customers are always the biggest priority. When a situation like this occurs, and businesses have to re-evaluate distribution methods and supply chain logistics, it’s crucial to have a plan in place.

Once the situation with COVID-19 resolves, how will your company start to prepare for the future supply chain? Will you offer new services or modify the logistics in place? What steps towards risk management will you implement? Will you shift the way you communicate to businesses and partners? There is a lot to think about.

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The Mobile App Response to COVID-19 Fri, 20 Mar 2020 13:35:20 +0000

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, we are seeing brick-and-mortar hours change and doors closing for a period of days and weeks. The retail and restaurant industries have been hit hard in particular, and it will likely get worse. Only time will tell. Fortunately, though, consumers can still engage with their favorite brands.

In many cases, brands are upping their game and focusing on their digital presence. Website updates, new app features, new delivery options – the list goes on.

A few examples of companies upping their game:

Recently, Nike published an Instagram post acknowledging store closures across multiple countries. At the end of the post, it highlighted methods to continue shopping via its app and encouraged people to be healthy and active through its Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club applications. These mobile apps offer fun and innovative ways to work on personal health while practicing safe, social-distancing methods.

The up-and-coming gym, Dogpound, is promoting healthy habits and full gym workouts via Instagram. The social platform enables this gym to convert regular gym workouts into at-home methods by using items most followers can find in their own home.

With the closing of restaurants and limited use of dine-in services, Uber Eats is taking dedicated measures to ensure everybody, both consumers and drivers, is safe during this time. Uber Eats has an entire page of best practices for drivers, consumers, and restaurants on its website. With restaurants reducing their dine-in options, Uber Eats is expected to increase the number of deliveries exponentially. The app even offers a way to include notes for drivers, such as “Please leave my order at the door.”

What does the future hold?

As a terrible situation sweeps across the world, it’s important to remember that employees and customers are always the number one priority. When a situation like COVID-19 occurs, and businesses have to close their doors temporarily, it’s crucial to have a plan in place.

Once this situation resolves itself, how will your company start to prepare for the future? Will you offer new services? Will you shift the way you communicate? There’s lots to think about.

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Walmart Health Provides Care For All to Save Money and Live Better Mon, 02 Mar 2020 14:35:57 +0000

Walmart’s iconic slogan, “Save Money. Live Better,” is taking on a whole new meaning. The retail conglomerate now offers health services to individuals in select markets. The new store feature is called “Walmart Health.”

Save Money, Live Better

Walmart Health is offering quality medical care at low prices, with no insurance required. The care services include:

  • Primary Care
  • Optometry
  • Dental
  • X-Ray
  • Lab Testing
  • Audiology
  • Tivity Health
  • Counseling

According to the website, basic checkups and exams range from $20 to $60 depending on age, exam level, and new patients versus registered patients. These prices are focused on providing quality and effective care to individuals across the spectrum who might not have insurance or the ability to spend more than usual while on a fixed income.

“We have an opportunity to help the country and to build a stronger business,” — Doug McMillon, Walmart Chief Executive Officer

Each clinic is staffed by an assortment of health professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, optometrists and behavioral health providers. On-site care navigators and community health workers are also available to assist. A few locations are even testing nutritionist involvement, which allows patients to walk the store with these professionals to discuss dietary options and healthier eating habits.

Are you interested in the new healthcare offerings? Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that this campaign is just a foot in the door of healthcare. Walmart is looking to disrupt the industry and become a major player in the provider category.

The bad news is that patients can only find these locations in three regions; Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas. However, if the new healthcare offerings succeed as intended, you can expect to see these health clinics appear across the United States and possibly, the world.

The Bottom Line

“We’re going to have a consumer revolution in retail for point of care. Why? Because people will be able to go in and get health services at a lower cost than if they had health insurance. Think about that. There are nearly 30 million people in the United States who don’t have health insurance. A lot of these people are going to go to a Walmart where you get these kinds of routine services. That’s going to be a dramatic change.” — John Sculley, CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993, current Chairman of RxAdvance

Walmart already has a health and wellness business reaching revenues of $36 billion. The full-service health centers are set to be a lucrative market, especially since the stores see 150 million weekly customers. All-in-all, the retail conglomerate can now offer one stop shopping for groceries, automotive, and healthcare; making it a force to be reckoned with.

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