Introduction & Purpose
Knowledge update and Industry update at Skyline University College (SUC) is an online platform for communicating knowledge with SUC stakeholders, industry, and the outside world about the current trends of business development, technology, and social changes. The platform helps in branding SUC as a leading institution of updated knowledge base and in encouraging faculties, students, and others to create and contribute under different streams of domain and application. The platform also acts as a catalyst for learning and sharing knowledge in various areas.
Companies spend billions in marketing initiatives today to attract foot traffic, acquire new consumers, retain existing ones, and regain lost customers. However, few companies take the route of technology to achieve them. The rest of the companies resort to the conventional mode of marketing strategies that involve the consumption of resources (materials and manpower) to achieve the set target. At present, the world is moving towards achieving sustainability in all aspects of our life involving several initiatives for the conservation of natural resources. It is high time for the companies to resort to holistic technology-based marketing initiatives that include focusing on human connection in achieving the set goals. It is important to draw a fine balance between using technology and human connection in marketing to achieve maximum performance output i.e. achieving company goals with the least resource consumption and cost. Therefore, companies need to work on identifying an appropriate set of marketing initiatives which includes technology and human connection to achieve the mentioned goal. Looking at the existing practices of several companies, they largely use marketing strategies targeting a big group of consumers with generic and mundane promotional offers and price benefits.
To promote such initiatives, they often spend millions to reach target consumers. While assessing the performance output of using such initiatives, the outcome is not encouraging because most of the time, it fails to generate expected results due to its generic nature and focus on all sorts of target consumers. So, how such a predicament could be resolved and generate the much needed revenues for the companies? It is high time for companies to embrace technology and human connection to design their strategies personally targeting individual consumers. It would feel like sci-fi had it been discussed 30 years earlier, but with the advent of cutting edge technologies, targeting individual consumers is highly possible and achievable. The companies need to approach this aspect by integrating technology into human elements. Most of the companies take the technology route to reach target consumers forgetting the fact that their offers should be able to satisfy the expectations of consumers for the price they pay for.
It is imperative to focus on the basics of designing appropriate products/services that would satisfy and provide value to target consumers. Such aspects would encourage target consumers to share such experiences with their community, generating positive word of mouth and establishing a human connection. So producing and delivery value to consumers is a vital aspect to satisfy them, turning them into brand ambassadors, encouraging them to connect with their community and share experience, and establishing trusted human communication within the community. Once the connection is established, the companies need to bring in technology to augment and reach individual customers as a part of their retention strategy. Such technology includes big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, real-time connectivity, robust network, etc. Making customers declare their profile and important dates in their life is a major task for the companies. Such data would be extremely valuable to profile individual customers based on their requirements to establish and activate purchase triggers.
The purchase triggers would act as a stimulus to design and offer personalized offerings to individual customers based on their profile and self-declared important dates and the same to be communicated through different sources using cloud and telecommunication. Such triggers would induce customers to react positively to the offers and generate value for both customers and companies. Such an exercise would create a win-win situation for both consumers and companies. The outcome of the exercise would motivate customers to share their experience with their network, creating a continuous chain of human connection, and a cycle of events leading to revenues, profits and growth. Such aspects would reduce the usage of offline sources, thus, preserving the resources ensuring sustainability. Smart companies need to strike a balance between using technology and human connection to achieve their goals, growth, and prosperity in the transforming era of sustainability. Leading universities in Dubai offering BBA, MBA, and BSIT programs offer courses dealing with technology-based marketing, cutting edge technologies, and sustainability.
Dr. Pranav Kumar International Business
The general assembly of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) at Paris awarded Dubai the hosting of world expo which is now popularly known to UAE residents as Dubai Expo 2020.
Dr. Ajith Kumar V.V From Different Corners
In the new millennium, organizations across the globe are aiming for more diversity in the workplace to ensure that varying perspectives contribute to the achievement of organizational goals. Managing a diverse workforce is not an easy task and requires a plethora of skills to ensure the smooth functioning of the organization. Organizations should engage in deep-level diversity where people from different backgrounds share opinions, discuss issues and create ‘out of the box’ solutions, rather than surface-level diversity that focusses on gender, color, race and so on. Diversity initiatives of any organization will be successful only when top management fully supports the implementation of these initiatives. Leadership plays a highly important role in this regard as modern-style leadership is not only the ability to influence people but also the ability to visualize how various emerging technologies can be used to solve organizational problems and enhance customer experience, all while keeping the cost implications in mind.
To be a successful employee currently means being adaptable and possessing good emotional intelligence skills. These traits enable employees to understand various perspectives put across by people from diverse backgrounds. For sure, organizations with a diverse team will have higher productivity, flexibility and the ability to face challenges and implement changes as per industry requirements. At the same time, if diversity is not managed well it leads to misunderstandings and conflicts which may not only hamper the day to day operations but could also result in a decrease in productivity and possibly the collapse of the entire organization.
Having a proper culture in place and focusing on inclusion is the key to success. Diversity and inclusion are crucial concepts for all organizations and the achievement of such is a continuous process in which the focus should be on attracting talent from diverse backgrounds. The Human Resource Department should ensure that employees are actively engaged and that suitable flexible work arrangements are in place to meet the requirements of millennials. The Human Resource departments of all organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion, should develop a plan that ensures that all functions, from attracting and developing to maintaining the talent, focus on developing belongingness among all the internal stakeholders to reap the benefits of diversity.
Organizations and their teams should have a positive attitude towards diversity and encourage their employees to immerse themselves in the organization’s culture of diversity and inclusion. Students studying in colleges should be trained on the importance of not only creating but also managing a diverse team. Furthermore, colleges should investigate how to provide opportunities for students to work on projects with diverse group members. This will enable the students to understand the importance of respecting and accepting differences for the betterment of the organization. Diversity and inclusion are not abstract notions but must be experienced. More opportunities for this experience should be provided by giving students showcase situations such as role-plays, group discussions, panel discussions and more. People who excel in effectively managing diverse teams that focus on inclusion will be successful managers in this era of disruptions.
Dr. Paul Katuse Retail and Marketing
In the past, Strategic Business environmental changes triggered organizations to delve into the sphere of what was known as knowledge management. Today digitization of business has changed the strategic analysis content, context, and process. Previously, data science and analysis were not areas many organizations would think twice about. A decade ago, many organizations would just be content with traditional strategic decision making only. Today, that has changed. As strategy making becomes progressively contingent on analytics, connecting data science, analytics and decision making become indispensable. Due to the colossal amount of data being spewed daily by this change, organizations operating in this era of information explosion have no other alternative, other than to adapt to strategy analytics. So what is Strategy analytics? How do analytics fit into strategic management? Who are the practitioners in an organization? At what level of operations do organizations need to adapt to the use of strategy analytics? Is it a necessary evil for organizations, whether struggling or raring to advance to the next frontier? What is the eventual outcome of the use of strategy analytics? Which organizations have already embraced this? Have they been successful?
Metaphorically speaking, Strategy Analytics is the contemporary Trojan horse for organizations. Handling and dealing with big data for strategic reasons is the “in” thing today for many businesses. Strategy Analytics for business is the study of statistical and operational data culminating into the crafting of sustainable strategic alternatives and predictive models, implementation of optimization techniques and organizational capability, dissemination of information for decision making for the right and appropriate stakeholder of the organization, be it customers, business partners, or the greater organizational value system. In a dynamic business environment, strategy analytics aids an organization formulate defensible and distinctive strategies to excel in a complex technologically driven market.
In order to overcome the curse of paralysis by analysis, several organizations have realized the need for big data, even though in varying levels. It is no longer a hidden truth, organizations today need to develop data analytical capabilities. Though the outcomes of strategy analytics maybe bought, internal analytics capability is essential. This comprehension by internal users of strategy data analytics is necessary as the organization seeks to optimize its operative decision making.
Each day makes the world smarter, every day gives fresh challenges to the C-suite and operational executives, this smartness, strategic and operational challenges seem to converge at the need for data, big data. Data has become the core to an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage. Data translation gives an organization the capability to interact with a dynamically competitive environment in the right manner. For an organization to optimize its operations, to satisfy stakeholders, and to out maneuver rivals, it will highly be depended on how well it leverages the use of data, employ data analytics and implement new technologies.
Digital business is thriving nowadays with companies like Amazon and Alibaba leading the digital business wave. Amazon made USD 232 billion in sales in 2018, a big jump from USD 107 billion in sales in 2015 which accounted for more than 100% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) from 2015.
Dr. Taleb Bilal Eli From Different Corners
Skyline University College’s Mapathon
Due to the significance of maps in responding to disasters and the delivery of healthcare, Skyline University College`s Services Committee organized a Mapathon in collaboration with MSF (Doctors without Borders) in Dubai and Missing Maps Team in Spring 2019. Mapathon is a humanitarian project aimed at putting the world`s most vulnerable people/places on the map.
The Mapathon was intended to contribute to the fulfillment of Skyline University College`s vision to be a globally renowned university that nurtures the spirit of innovation and creativity. With the assistance of MSF, the Mapathon was an opportunity for students and other volunteers to digitally navigate and map of more than 550 building in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The data that students and other volunteers generated will be used by local and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) to better respond to the crises affecting the world`s most vulnerable places.
Specifically, Skyline University College`s Mapathon was an outlet for BSIT and Business School`s students and other volunteers to use IT tools available at the campus to expand SUC`s community services internationally, and more importantly, take part in one of the most recurrent and timely humanitarian projects.
Students and other volunteers were given a training session on the concept of Mapathon by Jan Böhm, Missing Maps Communications and Community Engagement Manager, MSF Geneva. Mr. Jan was supported by Rasha Ahmed, Digital Communications Manager and Estelle Januel, Communication Assistant, MSF, Dubai.
Mr. Haftamu Menker Gebre Yohannes From Different Corners
Mathematical modelling is the conversion of problems from an application zone into manageable mathematical formulations with a hypothetical and arithmetical analysis that provides perception, answers, and guidance useful for the creating application. Mathematical modelling is valuable in various applications; it gives precision and strategy for problem solution and enables a systematic understanding of the system modelled. It also allows better design, control of a system, and the efficient use of modern computing capabilities.
Knowing the ins and outs of mathematical modelling is a crucial step from theoretical mathematical training to application-oriented mathematical expertise; it also helps the students master the challenges of our modern technological culture.
Looking at the core application of Mathematical Modelling:
I can list some of the modelling applications I understand, at least in some details, with areas involving numerous mathematical experiments. Various areas have interesting mathematical problems and these include Artificial intelligence, Computer science, Economics, Finance, and the Internet. Mathematical modelling is applicable in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, speech recognition, optical character recognition, reasoning under computer vision, and image interpretation, among others. Aside from computer sciences and economics, it’s important in image processing, realistic computer graphics (ray tracing), and labour data analysis.
Key areas of mathematics useful in Mathematical Modelling:
To formulate the basic algorithms for your mathematical formulation, the following are the key mathematical categories: Numerical linear algebra (linear systems of equations, Eigenvalue problems, linear programming, linear optimization, techniques for large, sparse problems), numerical analysis (function evaluation, automatic and numerical differentiation, Interpolation, Approximation Padé, least squares, radial basis functions, special functions, Integration univariate, multivariate, Fourier transform nonlinear systems of equations, optimization and nonlinear programming), numerical data analysis (Visualization 2D and 3D computational geometry), parameter estimation least squares, maximum likelihood, filtering, time correlations, spectral analysis prediction, Classification Time series analysis, signal processing) Categorical Time series, hidden Markov models, random numbers and Monte Carlo methods), and numerical functional analysis (ordinary differential equations, initial value problems, boundary value problems, eigenvalue problems, stability techniques for large problems, partial differential equations finite differences, finite elements, boundary elements, mesh generation, adaptive meshes Stochastic differential equations Integral equations and regularization) and non-numerical algorithms (symbolic methods, computer algebra, sorting, and Compression Cryptography).
Mr. Omar Sattar From Different Corners
The aim of any 21st-century education system should be to prepare students on how to deal with life challenges in a very fast moving world. Therefore, it has to adapt to the constantly changing conditions as it cannot function in isolation from reality and ultimately, without modern technology.
Information and Communications Technology, also known as ICT, has changed the way people communicate with each other, acquire information, spend their free time, and obtain knowledge. Computers, mp3 players, DVDs, radio stations, television channels and, of course, the Internet are used to send or convey various types of information that contains written texts, graphics, sound or video images which can greatly help students learning at every level of education. The use of such devices and technologies in schools is, indeed, influencing the changes happening in teaching methodologies. When skillfully utilized, ICT allows us to change the current concepts of conducting school activities, and thus, to greatly enhance their quality. In today’s world, it is an inevitable process.
This article will present the possibilities and advantages of using the Internet as a technology supporting traditional learning. The main purpose is to present the tools and advantages of using ICT in schools such as blended learning, e-learning, etc., which are a mix of modern tools and some traditional teaching methodologies. The dynamic spread and progress of ICT have undoubtedly contributed to the development of a knowledge-based society, known as Lifelong Learning.
Ever since the computer was first introduced in education, teaching and learning have become noticeably more effective. The first use of computers in education took place in the USA in the 1960s. Computer dissemination in American schools started in the 1970s. In the 1980s, approximately 96% of teaching was supported by computers (Computer-Assisted Instruction). In contrast, the rest of the world remained far behind the United States. The Open University in the United Kingdom (est. in 1969), is the first educational institution whose activity was devoted entirely to distance learning. To date, it is still based on the active use of materials from the Internet, radio, and television.
The last years of the 20th century were the beginning of a new trend. E-learning and blended learning were introduced and quickly gained popularity. They enabled the dissemination of distance education, learning foreign languages, participating in courses, or even on-campus learning. Generally speaking, all of these methods added a new dimension to learning and as a result, many barriers have been overcome. In most European countries, ICT is gaining more and more popularity. In fact, ICT now is an independent subject in school in many countries.
Teaching methods – the use of ICT tools in teaching
In the 21st century, a digital generation is growing up, for which new technologies are a natural thing as they have been in contact with them from a very early age. They are referred to as digital natives. It is a generation that is difficult to reach without using digital tools, which are completely natural to them. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to adopt the forms and methods of teaching to the tools that the students use in everyday life (e.g. computer, Internet), and the teacher’s role should be one of a facilitator, inspirer, adviser, and guide.
ICT is based on the use of blended learning. The use of ICT tools in the classroom is associated with the active inclusion of familiar information and communication technologies in the teaching process. Language classes are a perfect example.
Foreign language teaching with traditional methods supplemented with distance learning (e.g. e-learning, m-learning, blended learning), encompasses different teaching methods, allowing the learner to practice all language skills owing it to a wide range of exercises and tasks available. One of the many possibilities to diversify language classes is the use of interactive computer games in learning a foreign language, i.e. introducing elements of learning through fun.
Today’s business world witnesses’ paradox in creating value to target consumers. Some companies travel the extra mile to create value to their target consumers, and some do nothing to create value to their target consumers. However, today’s consumers are smart and well informed, thanks to the abundance of real-time information available online, choose the companies they want to associate, buy, and continue to patronize. So, taking consumers for granted will not be possible in today’s scenario. The companies that are doing such a thing and be successful may be lucky, but the luck will not work forever. Instead of taking the lucky route, smart companies take technology route, i.e. using technology to create value to its target consumers. In the new age of technology, smart companies use technology extensively in all the areas of operational aspects right from procurement until the consumer service. Looking at the value chain model created by Michael E Porter from Harvard Business School, USA, he developed an extensive value chain model based on the activities from the manufacturing industry. Thus, the value chain model comprises two major sections such as primary/core activities and secondary/trivial activities.
The model depicts the core activities which a business should follow to create value through its business to consumers. However, such model has been developed for manufacturing companies, whilst looking to implement such model to service companies, it needs to be recreated/redesigned suit to the required core activities and secondary activities pertinent to service businesses. Even among service businesses, different services require different value chain model such as academic services, health services, hospitality services, banking services, etc. to name a few. Therefore, the companies need to identify the DNA of each service businesses and redesign the value chain model accordingly. The basic model of value chain places technology as a part of the secondary activities of the manufacturing business. However, today dynamic business environment emphasis a major thrust on utilizing technology across any business. So, the emphasis and role of technology in any business are growing rapidly, and the companies are now acknowledging the necessity the same to create value to their target consumers. Looking at the availability of technology which could be used for businesses today, there are many leading cutting edge technologies available, however, the ones which the companies could use to value and touch points to consumers are Analytics, Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics to name a few. Though the same technologies could be used for backend operations of the companies, using such technologies for creating customer value would likely to score more points as it is visible and measurable. Looking at the practical use of such technologies, the retail industry would be on the high end of utilizing such technologies to create value to consumers. Albeit, many industries the same technologies could be applied, the visibility is very high through the retail industry.
Retail industry could make full use of the aforesaid technologies in terms of identifying the existence of consumers inside the store through scanning of loyalty card or through facial recognition technology, upon identifying the existence of such consumers, Artificial Intelligence system can generate the purchase history of the respective consumers from its big data through analytics, and create a customized offers to such consumers and communicate the same through personalized messages to their mobiles or using public Address System (PAS) inside the store. Even, the same technologies could be used to create customized pricing (CP) for individual consumers based on their contribution to the specific store or business from a specific period i.e. year or month. So, using such technologies would create a personalized value to consumers, in turn, enhance loyalty, footfalls, and contribution to the businesses. Thus, increasing sales and profits. Even, leading universities from UAE offering BBA, MBA, BSIT use such technologies primarily online through using search engine optimization to reach out target audience i.e. students.
Ms. Nadine Felix From Different Corners
The heading of this piece is a question that students often ask me in a rather incredulous tone. Why must we practice thinking? We think all the time, according to my students. What’s the relevance of having a course about thinking? There is no skill involved. Yes, lower order thinking is instinctive and does not require any conscious effort but critical thinking, on the other hand, needs work. Critical thinking needs brain work and lots of it.
I’ve still not answered the question though. Why study critical thinking and problem solving? Well, the World Health Organization consistently ranks critical thinking as one of the top ten life skills that everyone should possess. Given the ever-changing nature of society, the job market and job descriptions themselves, employers more and more want employees who can think on their feet and adapt to diverse situations. For this, we need to be able to think critically. Therefore, studying the practice of critical thinking will stand everyone in good stead for our entire lives, not just during higher education and not just for the duration of one course. Critical thinking is a skill that can be applied to everything in life. Critical thinkers are better able to contribute to the society in which we live. We are able to share ideas with our colleagues, friends and bosses. Critical thinkers are people who other people turn to for advice and guidance, as to think critically means that you can look at all angles of an issue and most likely find solutions to problems. Critical thinking, at its most basic definition, is thinking outside of the box and this is what employers both want and need from their employees.
Let’s unpack the words that are vital to the concept of critical thinking. Why? Well because in order to understand the importance of the concept, we need to understand all the terms involved. The most important terms, in my opinion, are skill and reasoning. These words are central to understanding the concept of critical thinking.
What is a skill? If you search for that answer you will most likely find something along the lines of ‘the ability to do something well’ or ‘expertise’. How do you become an expert in something? How do footballers score goals from seemingly impossible angles? They practice! That is what we need to do with our thinking; practice. Right now you are most likely thinking that I am a little bit crazy but, hopefully by the end of this brief article, you will understand what I mean and hopefully even agree with me. Now what do you think of the statement where I tell you that thinking is a skill? Thinking, you might ask? I’m not talking about the thoughts that flit through your mind at night as you drift off to sleep or the very first thoughts that you wake up with. The skill part comes in to play when we have to put a conscious effort into our thoughts. Most of our thoughts are unconscious, in that they just happen. The thinking that is part of critical thinking is of a higher order. For example, if someone asks me what my favourite colour is, then I can instinctively, without thinking, tell them: Yellow! If someone, however, asks me on my opinion on an issue in education, such as how to improve an advisory system, I need to stop and consciously think. It takes work. Brain work! The difference between conscious and unconscious thought contributions is almost always the quality of the thought. Your thoughts in this course, and in life, need to be conscious, skillful and quality.
This lead to the notion of reasoning. Arguably, this can be said to be one of the most important aspects that sets humans apart from other species; our ability to figure things out, learn from the process and then remember and apply what we have learned. Reasoning talks about our ability to draw conclusions in a meaningful way and put those conclusions (and the process we used to reach them) to good use. The main part of reasoning is that we are rational. Rational implies being calm. Rational is based on logic. The best way to win arguments and solve problems is by being rational. This, once again, reiterates the importance of practicing this skill.
Therefore, it is clear to see how employers and in fact anyone in life would like to be surrounded by critical thinkers. Yes, knowledge about a certain area is always important but given the speed at which the world changes daily, critical thinkers will always be needed and valued.