ServiceNow/Cisco: enhancing contact tracing capabilities
In an announcement made by ServiceNow, the company reports its latest partnership with Cisco to enhance COVID-19 contract tracing capabilities.
As part of the partnership ServiceNow has integrated Cisco DNA Spaces into its WiFi enabled Proximity Reporting app. The integration will allow businesses returning employees to work, the capability to monitor their workspaces to ensure social distancing is being applied. In addition the company added additional capabilities to its ServiceNow Safe Workplace suite to make travel safer and manageable.
“We are committed to innovating and expanding the ServiceNow Safe Workplace suite to help businesses manage the new and complex workflows required to help keep employees healthy and workplaces safe,” commented Blake McConnell, senior vice president of Employee Workflow Products at ServiceNow.
“Through the power of the Now Platform, we are helping our customers navigate this uncharted territory and solve the unique challenges that arise as a result of the pandemic, so that companies and employees can feel confident and safe about returning to the workplace.”
The integration will allow customers of both Cisco and ServiceNow to import location based data into the contact tracing app to identify potential interactions with affected employees.
The proximity data from Cisco DNA Spaces also allows customers to better understand the extent of each interaction and potential exposure to a floor or building.
ServiceNow and Cisco’s ambition is to help reduce transmission of infectious diseases in the workplace - such as COVID-19 - by identifying on-site employees who may have come into contact with an affected employee.
“We’re thrilled to partner with ServiceNow to help our customers prioritise the health and safety of their workers,” added Rajesh Reddy, Head of Product, Cisco DNA Spaces.
“By integrating Cisco DNA Spaces, the industry’s leading indoor cloud location platform, with the power of the ServiceNow platform, customers can more easily deploy and manage end-to-end return to workplace solutions. Our customers can confidently introduce return to work policies knowing they have a solution to react quickly to an incident, while also protecting the privacy of employees.”
ServiceNow also introduced its Employee travel Safety app as part of its Safe Workplace suite. The app enables organisations to pre-authorise business travel based on the safety of the destination. The app also provides automatic health verification before and during travel, as well as daily contact tracing check-ins to ensure company safety guidelines are followed.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.