Business Post Interview with OpenSky’s Business Development Manager, Susanne McCabe

opensky Data Systems Limited

Building chains of trust in public sector

 
Public sector IT is about trust, and IT consultancy OpenSky reports an increased interest in deploying blockchain to meet this need. 
 

As a technology, blockchain has been quietly maturing for some years now; quietly at least in the sense that work is under way to demonstrate useful applications in surprising places, because the fuss around the distributed ledger technology itself is anything but quiet.

Across Europe, on both a national level and on an EU basis, blockchain is being considered for delivering so-called e-government – and with public-facing offices shuttered across the continent due to the coronavirus pandemic, delivering public services online couldn’t be more important.

“The reform unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is issuing guidance around the potential uses and challenges to government,” said Susanne McCabe, business development manager at IT consultancy OpenSky.

OpenSky delivers IT consultancy and services to large business and government clients in Ireland and Poland, as well as other countries in Europe and North America.

Blockchain is coming up more and more in conversations, said McCabe. In government, though, technology must prove itself.

“Is there a use case in government or not? The government is very clear that they don’t onboard a technology for the sake of it,” she said.

International examples abound, however.

“If you look across Europe, there’s a lot going on in different countries. Estonia would be one of the counties testing it; they have astonishing digital services – but they were coming from a place where they didn’t have a lot of legacy digital systems,” said McCabe.

“They were also the first to look at blockchain e-law.”

Meanwhile, other applications include Sweden’s law commission’s adoption of blockchain for land registry, while Romania uses it for penalty points in road safety.

“Britain has done a lot in food supply chains, seeing that all compliance checks were done at a certain time and place,” she said.

OpenSky has itself applied for EU Horizon 2020 research funding for a project that looks at the use of blockchain as the digital driver in maintaining compliance in a fractional ownership model with key partners in Ireland, Germany and Spain.

“Last year we started this journey; while there are some key organisations very established in this area delivering blockchains for financial services, we don’t see a specialist in government – and this is where we come in. So, this year, we have undertaken some key initiatives to build our capability and will launch our Blockchain 4 Government practice towards the end of 2020.”

Ireland is in a good position, McCabe said, when it comes to adopting blockchain.

“It’s in a really strong, exciting place. We have Blockchain Ireland and the Blockchain Summit and we have a government that is open to it. As a company, Ireland’s only govtech specialist, we are making the point that the citizen can be put at the heart of all blockchain designs,” she said.

In practice, one of the benefits this brings is enhanced privacy. Blockchain makes use of decentralised identifiers (DID), pseudo-anonymous identifiers for a person, company, object.

“Each DID is secured by a private key. Only the private key owner can prove that they own or control their identity. One person can have many DIDs, which limits the extent to which they can be tracked across the multiple activities in their life,” said McCabe.

“For example, a person could have one DID associated with a gaming platform, and another entirely separate DID associated with their credit reporting platform.”

This year OpenSky launched a new blockchain research division, exploring how the technology can enable new methods of government engagement with the public – and vice-versa.

“When I get up and get on with my daily life, there’s very little that doesn’t interact with multiple government agencies. Driving is a good example: is my car taxed, is my car insured, do I have penalty points, did I speed, did I not speed, is my car NCTed, is it registered properly and so on.

“There are a lot of agencies that I have to interact with. Blockchain can break the silos,” she said.

OpenSky is now developing proofs of concept with some of its government clients to work through how the technology adapts to their individual tasks, as well as working with its strategic partners, Microsoft and PA Consulting.

As the technology is relatively new, it will also require new skills. Indeed, OpenSky’s head of research is advertising at the minute for a research fellow specialising in blockchain

“It’s to help us continue to stay ahead of advancements in this technology,” said McCabe.

New jobs, even new categories of job, will be the logical outworking of this.

“A good engineer, these days, is having to learn new technologies all the time, and there’s a lot that comes out from partners of ours, such as Microsoft, to help that,” she said.

Business Post: Achieve Business Competitiveness – with the Right Technology

The Business Post published an article by OpenSky’s Managing Director, Michael Cronin. In his piece, Michael advises businesses how to achieve business competitiveness – with the right technology.

Michael writes, “As businesses emerge from the aftermath of the crisis, new trends and hyper-global competition are forcing companies to redesign business models and seek a greater edge in order to retain or increase their market positions. Regardless of business type, financial strength or situation, if a company is not focused on competitiveness, then the longevity of it is at risk.”

Focusing on staff retention, prioritising customer centricity, driving down costs and supporting expansion are key strategy examples to enhance competitiveness – and technology represents one of the primary channels through which one can positively impact these strategies, delivering competitiveness and efficiency to the business.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one such technology which has the proven ability to take a company to the next level. It does this by automating workplace processes, imitating the tasks that humans perform but much faster and with greater accuracy.

The full article is published in the Business Post and can be read by clicking here.

RPA in financial services isn’t diminishing human value, it’s empowering it!

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a hot commodity in today’s financial services enterprises and across many business units from finance and HR to IT and marketing. It accelerates performance by automating routine (and often mind-numbingly boring) work formerly done by humans. Its impact is transformational, disruptive and enables real business value.

What is RPA and how can it be harnessed in the financial services sector?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot” to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process. RPA robots utilise the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications just like humans do. The financial services sector requires a huge amount of daily task management that could be easily re-organised and streamlined by adopting RPA technology. Repeatable tasks are costly for the sector so when RPA offers a solution, then initiating it should be made a priority.

Empowering Staff

Taking staff away from repetitive tasks and ones that are dull or tedious can allow them to capitalise on their new free time by offering customers a better and more personalised experience. Mundane tasks don’t have to be run by a team of humans – the best-case scenario is a collaboration between robot & human i.e. the Robot is the human’s assistant. Ultimately, a business is not degrading or removing the importance of the human element of a job – instead they are powering their staff up, to work on vital roles in the organisations, facilitating career development, long term staff retention and an ultimately happier workforce.

Business benefits of RPA

The financial services sector is consistently faced with compliance, regulation and auditing challenges making RPA an ideal solution to deliver 100% accuracy to internal processes within these organisations. RPA technology can deliver a whole range of benefits

  • Better – more efficient processing with lower error rates
  • Cheaper – lower cost processing
  • Faster – faster throughput delivering quicker responses to customers and increasing customer satisfaction

Insurers and Banks work with many highly data intensive processes, where data is often held on individual legacy systems and must be moved around for processing purposes. This can mean that the data needs to be transferred or copied from one system to another. Financial Service providers also frequently need to take in data from their customers, carry out assessment on that data and make judgements based on the information provided. Examples include bank loan administration, checking of customer data for the purposes of KYC, claims administration, the adding of beneficiaries to insurance policies, accounts payable, reconciliations from investor trading systems to accounting systems, and the annual renewal of insurance products. These are just some examples of processes that can run more efficiently using RPA, quickly delivering benefits to both the business and its customers.

Furthermore, the financial services sector is a model environment for realising transformational RPA solutions. RPA is here, it’s evolving into many organisations and it’s here to help with some impressive business benefits:

  • 4x Faster than a Human Worker
  • Lower Cost Processing
  • Lower Error Rates

Improve Audit Capability & Protect the Business from Regulatory Burdens


The financial services sector must adhere to strict guidelines to avoid regulation breaches and other issues that could potentially damage reputation and lose business. That’s where RPA comes into its own as it automates systems with such a significant level of accuracy, that compliance is guaranteed. It leaves a trail so tracking is easier, and measurement is available while it can identify areas in the business that may need attention.

Grow Revenue with Enhanced Operational Efficiency


RPA grows revenue with enhanced operational efficiencies and ROI is usually visible within 12 months. Operational efficiency is achieved by RPA capturing and imitating what a human user does, extracting data, and instigating workflow automation. Using robots to execute processes independently or as part of a larger business process and doing so faster than a human would. Physical manipulation is not required via the mouse and keyboard and human interference is only required when unpredictable situations occur. RPA is quickly installed and instantly generates reports with no disruption to business operations. This ensures operational costs are reduced and productivity increases allowing for faster claims processing and recoveries.

Change the Customer Experience by Increasing Customer Satisfaction


As customers’ expectations continue to increase for seamless and speedy interactions with service providers, RPA enables financial service providers to increase customer satisfaction with faster processing, improved security and 100% accuracy – increasing your competitive advantage and accelerating growth. Customer experience is a vital part of the financial services offering and no financial services company should risk a level of reputational damage through muddled systems or problematic paperwork.

Customer Expectations are improved by:

  • Faster Processing
  • 100% Accuracy
  • Speedy Interactions
  • Seamless Service
  • Improved Security
Other Key Benefits of RPA

  • Digital Transformation Acceleration

Delivery of omni-channel customer self service
Increased adoption of connected insurance (IoT)

  • Improved employee engagement

Removes the monotonous, dull tasks that plague offices
Staff are utilised more proactively in other areas of the business.

  • 24/7 operation with improved security

No rest time needed
Completes tasks every day of the year, securely and effectively.

  • Data gathering capabilities and predictability

RPA can log, update, and process data.
It understands repetitive processes so it can predict outcomes.

Preparing for RPA technology


Altering the way, a business works is always going to be challenging and moving towards a more technological efficient system does take time but the benefits when it is implemented make the journey worthwhile. The initial planning will work to align the plans with efficiency and reduce the chances of complications down the tracks. Collaboration is key and not forgetting, the need to engage with other stakeholders and team members so they are educated and prepared for the changes ahead. Often transformation projects get delayed as people aren’t prepared or projects are not fulfilled due to fear amongst staff so there is a requirement to initialise training and collaboration with teams. Once it is planned, implemented and structured into a financial services business, RPA will become an important team member in daily business operations, empowering your staff, improving customer experience and increasing revenue.

Don’t let repetitive tasks bore your staff – get them an RPA assistant

Did you know that one of the biggest complaints amongst employees is working on ‘boring tasks’ and it is something which most people dread?  

The dawn of a new decade represented time to change and to innovate towards better solutions for the workplace. Companies or organisations that rely on the ‘tried and tested’ methods of workplace processes may not be aware of the opportunities available that could save money, save peoplepower, increase staff retention rates – all while delivering an increase in customer satisfaction.  The workplace has never been as technology reliant as it is now (mainly due to Covid-19), and this is a trend that will continue as more companies recognise the benefits of technological advancement during the pandemic.  The dynamic of the workplace is changing, and employees are more demanding of a better working environment, improved work/life balance and job satisfaction. Technology drives employees to be more productive – making their life easier which not only attracts talent but retains it. The war on talent is real so while the traditional data processing system may be reliable, employees are going to become less so as they realise, they don’t have to do mundane jobs without the help of an RPA assistant. Critically, workers don’t want to be bored, they want to feel empowered. It is expected that young professionals entering the workforce (in the future) will be more educated on how technology tools offer better outcomes.

RPA is an assistant – the perfect virtual co-worker which takes the boredom out of
the workplace while doing so with better results

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology is emerging with new models set to dominate 2020 and is proving itself all over the world with spending projections from Gartner on RPA software to hit $1.3 billion this year. Forrester, meanwhile, has predicted the RPA software market to total $2.9 billion in 2021. These kinds of forecasts showcase the strength in RPA and how it will dominate as an impressive technology tool for the workplace. Pivotally, RPA acts as an assistant to staff members freeing them from repetitive and mundane tasks which enables them to undertake more important and rewarding work. RPA is not replacing human workers, but it is complimenting their efforts and involving itself in the workplace processes easily and effectively. RPA is an assistant – the perfect virtual co-worker which takes the boredom out of the workplace while doing so with better results.

RPA works 24/7 with an accuracy rate of 100%

RPA works 24/7 with an accuracy rate of 100% and can produce results in minutes against a human’s hours on the same task. With such accuracy, another advantage of adopting an RPA assistant is compliance and security adherence. Many people mistakenly think that RPA is purely about operational efficiency and cost reduction, but it is about much more. It is true to say that RPA can
reduce costs, but it will also increase throughput, eliminate errors, increase response times, and accuracy – and so can really drive improvements in customer satisfaction. For organisations that are dealing with a huge amount of data and processing, automating those tasks can be hugely beneficial.

Our mission is to take our customers on that journey and realise the full potential
of this powerful technology to build smarter organisations for a smarter world

At OpenSky we believe that customising technology like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has the potential to take Digital Transformation to a whole new level, quickly delivering highly tangible benefits to our customers, their employees and their customers. Our mission is to take our customers on that journey and realise the full potential of this powerful technology to build smarter organisations for a smarter world.  It’s not enough anymore to lead business with the same structures and technologies that have long passed on productivity or accuracy. With new tech tools, life can be so much easier for staff – equipping them with tools to complete work to a higher degree of quality – resulting in pride of work, enjoyment of work and ultimately delivering a better work/life balance. Every organisation has team members who have potential, dreams and career hopes who have found themselves locked into mundane jobs. If you use RPA you are, in effect unlocking their potential and valuing their role and their abilities that technology can’t provide.

Are you ready to remove the boring jobs in your workplace? Are you ready to
empower your staff to more fulfilling roles, and are you ready to innovate?

At OpenSky one of our core capabilities is our business expertise – understanding business processes is the key to applying the right technology solution. We help our customers identify which processes to target for an RPA solution, then customise RPA technology to fit the processes, delivering instant results, quickly and cost effectively. Our mission is to take our customers on that journey and realise the full potential of Robotic Process Automation.

Are you ready to remove the boring jobs in your workplace? Are you ready to empower your staff to more fulfilling roles, and are you ready to innovate?

OpenSky partners with UiPath to help Irish public sector leverage robotic process automation

William Flanagan – Director Commercial & Technology and Michael Cronin – Managing Director of OpenSky Data Systems.

– Partnership will streamline back-office processes for government agencies 

– UiPath is fastest-growing enterprise software company, with 400,000-strong developer          community and customer base of more than 2,800 customers 

–  Robotic Process Automation (RPA) boosts employee productivity and efficiency  

–  Approach also makes services more accessible for citizens in Ireland 

Dublin, 23 July 2019 – OpenSky, the Irish GovTech transformation specialist which provides process automated solutions to public sector bodies, announces that it has partnered with UiPath, the leading enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software company.  

Through this strategic partnership, OpenSky will design, develop and implement cutting-edge RPA solutions for public sector bodies and government agencies in Ireland.  

Leveraging robotic automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), OpenSky will provide automated solutions that enable organisations to maximise efficiency – up to 80% of organisations using RPA have experienced significant increases in business process efficiency (The Impact of RPA on Employee Experience; Forrester survey, Aug 2018). 

These solutions will also help to reduce operational costs and free up resources, enabling employees to work on more customer-focused and business critical tasks, as opposed to menial jobs.   

The collaborative venture will also help Irish public sector organisations to enhance the citizen experience by making services more accessible via online portals and digital touchpoints. This digitisation of core services also means improved responsiveness and better value for the public 

UiPath has a 400,000-strong developer community and a customer base of more than 2,800 customers, including 50% of the top 20 Fortune Global 500 companies. Leading the ‘Automation First’ era and championing one robot for every person, UiPath brings digital skills to more than a million people, with its Enterprise RPA Platform already automating millions of repetitive tasks for businesses and government organisations all over the world. 

UiPath’s Enterprise RPA Platform is an end-to-end, high-performance solution that facilitates robotic process automation. OpenSky will customise, implement and support it within Irish public sector organisations to create digital, integrated ecosystems; helping to save time and expense, and improving data quality and compliance. 

Meanwhile, OpenSky has delivered major projects for leading government organisations which impact 2.5 million people every day. Its new partnership with UiPath ties in with the company’s wider plans to maintain revenue growth, increase staff numbers and expand further in international markets. 

Michael Cronin, Managing Director, OpenSky, said: It’s great to work with such a valuable partner and world leader in terms of RPA. UiPath is helping us to innovate and deliver cutting edge solutions for our clients. We pride ourselves on bringing valuable technology to the market that makes an impact for government organisations, not only for those who work within these organisations but for Irish citizens as well. 

“Together with UiPath, we are enabling government digital strategy to produce successful outcomes, transform the way in which they work and improve access to services for the general public. Through automation and RPA technologies, we can boost productivity, experience and satisfaction for everyone involved.” – Michael Cronin.

Michael Cronin – Managing Director of OpenSky Data Systems.

“Ever since our early days, we at UiPath have made it our mission to empower organizations and their staff to take back control over their time by relegating those repetitive, time consuming menial tasks to a digital workforce made up of software robots. Via this partnership, we get to witness technology at work bringing more efficiency to the public sector and freeing up critical human resources that can better focus on increasing citizen experience and ultimately channel their efforts on making our cities a better place to live.” – Jan Ursi, VP of Partnerships for EMEA at UiPath.

OpenSky hosted an event in collaboration with UiPath at the 5* Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge on the morning of 11th July. The half-day workshop showcased use-cases on how automation improves government processes through AI-powered RPA. Gov-Tech C-Suite & Senior Management were invited to attend. 

Recent press coverage stemming from the UiPath & OpenSky partnership press release:

RPA for Government Processes Workshop with UiPath

Robotic Process Atomation

OpenSky & UiPath will hold their first collaborative workshop, bringing together Government C-suite and Senior Management, to showcase Use-Cases on how automation Improves Government services through intelligent RPA.

As Gov-Tech Transformation Specialists, OpenSky’s recent partnership with UiPath, creates new and exciting opportunities for us to further enhance Government services & better interaction for the citizen & business with the public sector.

Our Programme

9:45 a.m – Registration

Refreshments at Hibernia II Suite

10:00 a.m – Welcome

Jennifer Ward (Marketing Manager, OpenSky)

10:10 a.m OpenSky and Technology supporting Government

William Flanagan (Commercial & Technology Director, OpenSky)

11:00 a.m – UiPath Introduction  

Anthony Ryan (UiPath Consultant)

11:30 a.m – Coffee/Tea Break

11:45 a.m – A Demo of RPA for Business Processes – UiPath

12:00 a.m – A Demo of RPA for Government Processes – OpenSky

12:45 a.m – Q & A

Location

When: July 11th 10am – 1pm

Where: 5 Star Intercontinental Hotel, Ballsbridge

Please note that places are limited and invitations will be restricted on a first come first served basis.

Register your place

Register now to reserve your official invitation to this event by contacting our Marketing Manager Jennifer Ward at: jward@openskydata.com

Life is Short, Work Somewhere Awesome

About Us Opensky

If we were to look at our life in numbers, the average human spends approx. 79 years or 28,835 days on earth – after sleep, work is the biggest time consumer. Whether we’re going through the motions or working in our ‘dream’ job, it takes up a lot of our time……working out at an average of 13 years (not including any overtime that may be worked!). (Huffington Post) 

Huffingtonpost image
Huffingtonpost infographic

Infographic by dreams.co.uk 

With these figures in mind, it really highlights the need for a person to work in an organisation where they feel fulfilled, supported, respected, challenged and feel they can grow and develop their skills. It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure they foster a positive working environment that provides engagement for their employees and allows them to succeed.  

There are many ways an organisation can approach this 

*Have a robust, clear and transparent recruitment process 

*Understand that an employee’s engagement is not only driven by the Human Resources department but also by their Manager and Team 

*Provide employees with the room to grow and develop their skills whilst ensuring a clear career path is identified  

*Promote a culture of continuous learning, knowledge sharing and professional development – driven by the organisation alongside the employee 

*Have a clear structure and reporting lines in place 

*Ensure there is a competent and fully skilled management team in place that not only utilise their job/industry knowledge but are capable of leading and motivating a team 

*Ensure Managers do not underestimate the power of showing appreciation and acknowledging a job well done – the power of a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way 

*Promote and follow an ‘open door’ environment/policy  

*Ensure there is a clear and transparent communication policy and practice 

*Ensure that employees have the right support available to them from both a work and personal perspective  

Supporting an employee’s development ensures they’ll be more engaged, more productive, and better skilled at what they do.

An organisation needs to appreciate and understand the importance of making a positive first impression on prospective employee which will follow suit into their working life with the organisation. This is achieved by ensuring you have a robust, clear and transparent recruitment process where there is open and regular communication. Once an applicant is hired, this positive impression should follow via a clear and structured induction into the organisation. 

It is highly important that when a new employee joins an organisation that they obtain an introduction to the organisation as a whole and not purely focused on the area in which they will be working. This approach ensures that an employee has a clear understanding of the organisationits values, goals, work practices and can see how their role contributes to the overall success and growth of the organisation. This approach also provides an employee the opportunity to have a clear understanding as to where they are now within the organisation but also where they can be in the future. 

The importance of this is reinforced by a study completed by BambooHR where they surveyed 1,000 currently employed individuals and found that nearly a third of them, 31%, reported to have left a job before reaching the six-month mark. According to the research participants, the main reasons for leaving, were a poor onboarding experience, a lack of clarity surrounding their job duties and/or expectations, or a less than stellar boss. 

Organisations need to ensure they have an effective, competent, experienced and skilled Management team in place. It is not enough to have an appropriately experienced or skilled professional in a Management role, soft skills are just as important. An effective Manager needs to have the appropriate experience, but they also need to know how to motivate and get the best out of their team by displaying a genuine interest in their direct reports – not only from a work perspective but also on a personal level. Another important aspect of an effective Manager is ensuring they display professionalism, remain unbiased/neutral and not allow personal opinions to cloud their judgement.

According to a recent publication by Access Perks where global survey results were collated regarding 2018 Employee Engagement & Loyalty Statistics, the following show the importance and impact that a Manager can have on an organisation’s workforce; 

*Employees who give their managers a low rating are four times more likely to be interviewing for other jobs than their peers (TINYpulse) 

*Of employees who rate their boss unfavourable, 40% interviewed for a new job in the past three months vs. 10% who rated their manager highly (TINYpulse) 

*21.5% of workers who don’t feel recognised for doing great work have interviewed for a job in the past three months vs. 12.4% who do feel recognised (TINYpulse)

*Nearly half of employees said they’ve quit a job because of a bad manager, 56% think managers are promoted prematurely, and 60% think managers need managerial training (Udemy) 

I quite my job

An organisation needs to ensure they foster an environment where learning, knowledge sharing, and continuous development is at the forefront not only for Human Resource departments but also Line Management. According to a Willis Towers Watson study, more than 70% of high-retention-risk employees, employees who possess critical skills and are top performers, say they’ll have to leave their organisation to advance their career. 

An employee’s growth and development are vital elements of what an organisation can offer, and the benefits extend in every direction. Supporting an employee’s development ensures they’ll be more engaged, more productive, and better skilled at what they do.  

Again, according to the same publication by Access Perks, the following statistics confirm the importance of employee development; 

 *Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position (Bridge) 

*51% of employees would quit their job if training was not offered (Udemy) 

*If a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position (Bridge) 

*42% of L&D professionals who indicated their employees were highly engaged in learning were also highly engaged overall at the organisation (Findcourses.com) 

*70% of employees believe training could help them become more focused on the job and better at managing their time, but 66% have never asked their managers for such training (Udemy) 

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ― Benjamin Franklin 

Trainning.

Finally, but by no means least, organisations need to be aware that the mental wellbeing of an employee is extremely important and that support mechanisms need to be in place to address this.  

Many organisations may assume, for example; poor results, absenteeism or missed deadlines are signs that an employee isn’t right for the job. While it can be hard at times to identify the root cause of performance issues, it’s crucial for organisations to consider a factor that has, until recent times, been discountedemployee wellbeing. 

  

The issues and stresses that employees are bringing with them to the workplace could be affecting their overall morale and productivity. 

This year, Colonial Life released survey results that analysed 1,506 consumers working full-time January 29th to February 1st that revealed: 

*More than 70% of employees spend valuable work time worrying 

*More than 20% of full-time workers responded that they spend more than five hours thinking about what makes them stressed 

*An additional 50% said they lost at least an hour of work per week due to stress 

There are practical ways in which an organisation can address this; 

*Normalise the conversation around mental health and remove the any stigma associated with same 

*Implement strong and clear policies/procedures to address and support healthy mental wellbeing in the workplace 

*Tailor employee benefits to ensure they support a healthy mental wellbeing e.g. Employee Assistance Programme 

Following a recent survey commissioned by Friends First, it highlighted some concerning statistics regarding mental wellbeing and its impact on the workplace; 

*Mental health issues are the most common illnesses in the workplace 

*Almost two in five workers say they are suffering from stress and anxiety 

*38% of workers say they are under stress 

*Nearly half of millennials in the workforce say that they have experienced mental illness 

*Almost half of under-35’s say they have taken extended sick leave of a week or more due to stress or anxiety 

Karen Gallagher, Protection Director of Friends First, said the research showed mental health issues had the potential to affect us all and the effects of stress and anxiety knew no boundaries when it came to age, gender or profession. 

 

About OpenSky 

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion

OpenSky, Ireland’s only GovTech transformation specialist which provides process automated solutions to public sector bodies, is proud to announce that it has invested €2.5 million in its own expansion and will create 80 jobs over the next two years.

The company’s employee numbers are set to reach 160 by the end of 2021. New roles will include digital transformation consultants, software engineers, sales and marketing executives, and project and team leaders.

OpenSky is an IT and consultancy solutions company, based in Naas in Co Kildare, that provides innovative solutions and managed services to public sector bodies. The team has successfully delivered major projects for 50 organisations in the sector, impacting 2.5 million people every day. Their systems manage more than 100 million digital transactions per month between Ireland and the UK.

Over the last two years, OpenSky has achieved continued growth, with revenue increasing 30% year-on-year. As well as investing in new additions to the team, 10% of revenue is put towards research and development activities.

The company’s success has been driven not only by the increasing demand among government agencies and public bodies for digital transformation, but OpenSky’s extensive range of services which now includes Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Information Intelligence.

 

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

Furthermore, the business is planning to expand further in international markets, including the UK and the US. OpenSky’s customer base has grown in recent years with both international and Irish customers including the Health Service Executive, the National Transport Authority, the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, North London Waste and Surrey County Council.

Michael Cronin, Managing Director, OpenSky, said: “More and more public service agencies and government organisations realise how important it is for them to be able to boost productivity, deliver services and support citizens as directly and efficiently as possible.

By transforming, they can not only streamline their own processes and optimise resources, but also enhance the citizen experience and create a digital government that works. In order to meet this increasing and evolving demand, we have invested in expanding our team and adding new services.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

Check out Vacancies at OpenSky

 

Smarter Taxi Regulation

Government & Public Services

All around the world taxi regulators are investing in their technology platforms to increase staff and driver engagement online efficiencies, manage changing policy and regulatory compliance and create Realtime collaboration with industry and government partners along the taxi regulation continuum.

Zero paper and reduction in call centre investments is the ultimate goal. Many regulators are struggling to drive even 20% of its service and business processes online which given the complexities and breadth of taxi authorities role, is understandable. Advances in workflow technologies, online customer engagement portals and API availability in most modern systems, moving towards a 100% online function, is now an achievable goal for many.

While in Ireland taxi regulation is a national regulatory duty, taxi regulation responsibilities across the world vary. In the USA, various states have eliminated regulations in order to completely level the playing field between traditional taxis and the newer Transport Network companies ie Uber. Other States are considering regulation of TNC’s at a State level while retaining the traditional regulatory powers of city and county regulators.

Outside of London, taxis in the UK are regulated by over 300 local councils, many of which adopt very old taxi legislation in various ways using very different systems, which is a challenge currently under review by the Department of Transport which aims to publish their national working group report in January 2019. In 2018, the Urban Transport GroupTaxi! Issues and Options for City Region Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Policy” report called for a new approach to taxi and PHV policy to ensure a good service for users whilst also making sure the sector contributes to wider public policy goals around public safety, congestion reduction, economic inclusion and air quality.

 

How are Taxi Regulators using Technology to achieve a safe, compliant and collaborative industry?

In Ireland, drivers can engage with the National Transport Authority through the driver portal and complete all their engagements (pay fees, book in skills test, create link etc) online on a selection of devices, applications / renewals remain offline and all industry contractors and government partners collaborate in Realtime with the Taxi Directorate through their core business application – CABS. All drivers and vehicles are linked in Realtime through a smart mobile application which enables the driver to link to a particular vehicle and this is enforced strictly by the NTA inspection team through the mobile inspection app iCABS.

In the USA, according to the IATR, the Transportation Network Company (TNC) movement has run its initial course, there is now some freedom from political pressures exerted on taxi regulators, who may now pick-up the pieces following the casualties of disruption.  Finally, for the incumbent taxicab and limousine industries, key decisions are being made on whether to lobby for the elimination of regulations that tie their hands from competing. From a technical standpoint the Federal Transit Administration’s Mobility on Demand Sandbox Program presents an interesting moment of opportunity to connect TNC’s and taxi regulators with federal services through data sharing.

Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) for the District of Columbia in Washington D.Clead the charge in terms of technology and its application to modernise the regulations engagement with drivers, inspectors, the public, industry and government partners. The authority has recently launched its Open Data Taxi Dashboard,  An Option For Payment Technology (OPT) and can showcase other useful technology applications however licencing and renewals remain offline.

New York

In New York, the biggest taxi regulatory body in the USA (similar in numbers of taxis licenced to London & Ireland) – The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), created in 1971, is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating New York City’s medallion (yellow) taxicabs, for-hire vehicles (community-based liveries, black cars and luxury limousines), commuter vans, and paratransit vehicles and employs 600 staff assigned to various divisions and bureaus.

The TLC licenses and regulates over 50,000 vehicles and approximately 100,000 drivers, and performs safety and emissions inspections of the 13,587 medallion taxicabs three times each year, as well as biennial inspections of all TLC-licensed For-Hire vehicles, making it the most active taxi and limousine licensing regulatory agency in the United States.

Systems at the TLC are traditional mainframe systems at the core, but the team at the TLC, along with support from the DoITT have developed some unique driver information upload portalslicencing applications and renewals are only taken online and data and Google Big Querys are open and shared. Tapping into the potential offered by unifying smart meter data with the information held by the TLC, is clearly an interesting exploration for the Commission.

OpenSky‘s Taxi Regulation teams continue investing in innovative ways of building smarter systems to support smart regulation”

London

In London, Transport for Londons Taxi Regulation body approved plans to modernise London’s private hire industry which included: 

  • A fare estimate for customers in advance of their journey
  • The provision of driver and vehicle details to customers, including a photo of the driver, before the start of each journey where customers are able to receive this information
  • Requiring operators to keep improved records and provide driver and vehicle information to TfL regularly to make enforcement easier and more effective

 

In 2018, for the first time TfL’s Taxi and Private Hire (TPH) Compliance Officers have been granted new powers by the Metropolitan Police to carry out road stops without police presence for the first time. TFL offers website visitors an online taxi checker and while drivers can register to apply online, renew online and pay fees online, there are still steps in the process offline.  The TFL Twitter handle for Taxi Industry updates has over 14.5k followers and is a good example of using social media for industry engagement. As Uber renews its licence in London for the foreseeable future, how can technology help TFL level the playing pitch and ensure the safety and high taxi standards it holds so dear in London?

 

Taxi Private Hire London.

In London, New York and Dublin, taxi regulation teams continue to invest in innovative ways of building smarter systems to support smart regulation, albeit in various ways depending on public priorities, economic conditions and evolutions of taxi policy and regulations. The Role of Taxis in the Future of Digital Urban Mobility was a key issue explored by regulators from around the world at the 4th edition of UITP International Taxi Seminar in London this year and technology was discussed as a key enabler of unlocking the value of the taxi transport system to wider public transport strategies. Many regulators from around the world presented their use of technology in maintaining safe, compliant and collaborative taxi industries including Montréal Taxis BureauLand Transport Authority of SingaporeLand Public Transport Commission (SPAD) of Malaysia and the Dubai Taxi Corporation, UAE. Overcoming industry obstacles and supporting rapid adoption of changing taxi regulations using the best in class innovation in technology is a common theme when speaking with global regulators

Our Taxi Regulation team at OpenSky data continue to work with regulators across the world assessing technological landscapes, future visions for model architectures and secure data management and enhancing the technological capability of in house technical teams or where support is minimal from in house tech support, providing a one stop shop for rapid innovation in line with strategic policy.

Interesting Links from around the World

IATR – International Association of Taxi Regulators – http://www.iatr.global/

UITP Taxi Platform – http://www.uitp.org/expert-groups

The Regulation of Taxi Markets in the European Union: a liberalisation forced by technological disruption  – https://www.coleurope.eu/regulation-taxi-markets-european-union-liberalisation-forced-technological-disruption

Taxi driver licensing in select EU countries/cities – http://www.ttnh.ie/news/taxi-driver-licencing-doc2..pdf

About OpenSky 

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