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Workday shares slide following claims Amazon ditched company-wide HR system • The Register

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Amazon has halted plans to roll out a company-wide HR system based on SaaS from Workday, highlighting the challenges of migrating to the in-vogue application model.

A deal between the megacorp and Workday, an enterprise application interloper, was signed in 2017 with Amazon HR veep Beth Galetti at the time declaring: “Workday is an HR cloud leader that provides an innovative, customer-focused HCM system that will support Amazon as we continue to hire employees around the world.”

Three years later, the Seattle book-seller-cum-enterprise-juggernaut has changed its tune. According to reports, a migration from Oracle’s PeopleSoft has come unstuck because Workday’s database, an in-memory system that drew inspiration from SAP’s HANA, did not scale to the needs of Amazon’s increasing number of employees. In 2017, around 300,000 worked for the firm worldwide. Now it is around 800,000 in the US and 1.3 million worldwide.

Reports claim that some Amazon businesses, like streaming platform Twitch, are using Workday’s HR system, but for the main part, the organisation still relies on Oracle’s PeopleSoft.

In a blogpost, Workday said it and Amazon had both “mutually agreed to discontinue Amazon’s Workday Human Capital Management deployment,” based on a decision taken “more than a year and a half ago.”

It said there was “the potential to revisit [the project] in the future” and denied the decision was “related to the scalability of the Workday system.” One of its largest retail customers supported 1.5 million workers worldwide, it said.

“At times… customers have a unique set of needs that are different from what we’re delivering for our broader customer base, as was the case with Amazon – one of the most unique and dynamic companies in the world,” the statement said.

The Register has approached Amazon for comment.

Workday’s shares slid by as much as 7.8 per cent when news of Amazon’s decision broke.

It is not only megacorps that seem to struggle to implement Workday software. In the last year, two North American public-sector projects have become mired in difficulties.

The State of Maine ordered an official review of its $54.6m project to renew its HR system based on software from Workday, accusing the vendor of showing “no accountability” for its part in a flawed project which could leave the state government continuing to rely on its 30-year-old mainframe-based system.

At the time, Workday told The Register it was “committed to partnering with the State of Maine to successfully complete this project.”

Meanwhile, teaching assistants at Canada’s McGill University spent Christmas waiting to be paid as the institution struggled with a new Workday HR and payroll system, according to the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM). ®

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India, Japan flex cyber-defence muscles as China seethes • The Register

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India and Japan have each flexed their cyber-defence muscles in ways that China can’t miss.

Japan’s flex was the Monday launch of a national cyber-security policy that for the first time names China, Russia, and North Korea as sources of heightened threat. The policy also calls for Japan’s Self Defence Force to increase its digital capabilities.

The new plan was released as expected under Japan’s policy of refreshing its defensive plans every three years. The theme for the policy is “Cybersecurity for all” and chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said its aim is to ensure that no part of Japanese society goes without the protections it needs.

Kato said the plan was also developed because Japan’s government “recognised a threat” and therefore a need to strengthen its online defences. The policy documents list many recent infosec incidents – such as the attack on SolarWinds and Microsoft’s Exchange flaw – as the sort of thing Japan needs to counter.

India’s flex came from vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu, who on Monday visited a military museum and remarked that India’s security forces should “prepare themselves to dominate not only in a conventional war but also establish their superiority in the new and emerging areas of conflict such as information and cyber warfare along with the increasing use of robotics and drones in the battlefield”.

“The nation is assured that any misadventure by an adversary will be given a befitting reply by the Indian Army,” Naidu said.

While the position of vice-president is largely ceremonial – the officeholder is backup to the head of state, but actual power resides with Parliament – Naidu’s words have weight. Doubly so as he stated India faces “both symmetric and asymmetric threats from outside and within” and then asserted India’s sovereignty over Jammu & Kashmir and argued that previous arrangements that gave the territory autonomy were temporary.

Mentioning Jammu & Kashmir is significant, as the disputed India/China border is in the territory. The territory is also the subject of a dispute with Pakistan.

Kashmiri separatists, which India labels Pakistan-supported terrorists, and China, will all have noticed the veep urging India to arm itself in the kinetic and digital realms.

China has certainly noticed last week’s meeting of “The Quad” – the grouping of Australia, the USA, Japan, and India – and its announcement of plans to develop infosec standards it hopes the world will follow.

China’s foreign ministry has labelled The Quad a “closed and exclusive clique” informed by “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological bias”.

Spokesperson Hua Chunying addressed the issue at a press conference in response to a question from Russian news agency TASS. “For some time, these countries have been keen on insinuating China with the so-called ‘rules-based order’, playing up and inciting the so-called ‘China threat’ theory, and driving a wedge between regional countries and China.”

Te actions of Japan and India actions suggest the wedge is working. ®

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Do you know how to spot the signs of burnout?

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People have been more likely to experience burnout of late, but do you know what the signs of burnout actually are?

Burnout has been a problem for many workers for years, but the last year and a half could give rise to more burnout than ever among the global workforce.

Unsurprisingly, frontline workers have been under severe pressure throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but other workers are not immune from the effects of the pandemic.

One example is cybersecurity professionals, who had to deal with the security ramifications of a mass move to remote working as well as a dramatic acceleration of digital transformation and an onslaught of cyberattacks.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

But even just for the regular knowledge worker who had to move from the office to their homes due to the pandemic, the likelihood of burnout has increased.

A survey from earlier this year highlighted the level of overtime that workers in Ireland have been putting in since the start of the pandemic, with many remote workers finding it harder to disconnect.

However, it’s important not to conflate burnout with working long hours. While putting in continuous overtime can be a contributing factor to burnout, it doesn’t mean those who work within their designated hours are not in danger of suffering in the same way.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is an occupational phenomenon “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

And that stress does not only come from too many hours. So how do you recognise the signs of burnout?

Feeling disengaged with work

Cynicism or having a mental distance from your job is one of the dimensions mentioned by WHO as a clear sign of burnout.

What was once engaging and challenging for you is no longer motivating you. You might suddenly feel like you don’t care about the job you’re doing and this makes it harder to get up in the morning.

You might even feel completely disillusioned with the job to the point where you feel like you hate it even though you never felt like that before.

Physical symptoms

While burnout is not considered a medical condition, it can manifest with very physical symptoms.

Because burnout comes as a result of ongoing high-stress situations, your body will react by releasing cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone.

This puts your body under intense stress and when this is happening on a continuous basis, your body will essentially wear itself out, resulting in aching muscles, headaches and stomach problems, to name a few.

Exhaustion

Along with the physical symptoms that may be manifesting, the burnout you’re feeling is also most likely going to lead to intense exhaustion, both emotionally and physically.

Burnout can play havoc on a person’s sleep cycle, especially if that excess cortisol is keeping them awake late or waking them up with feelings of anxiety in the middle of the night.

However, even those who appear to have had an uninterrupted sleep can wake up feeling constantly drained or will find their energy levels depleting quickly throughout the day as a result of burnout. This reduction in energy is another key dimension of burnout according to WHO.

Reduced performance and productivity

WHO’s third dimension of burnout is “reduced professional efficacy”. This means that along with being exhausted and working through a really stressful time in work, you are also more likely to see your own job performance slipping.

You may find yourself procrastinating despite your increasingly rising to-do list and your cynicism and disengagement from the job is stopping you from even wanting to tackle it.

Another major sign of burnout is cognitive problems such as difficulty concentrating or struggling with remembering things. These cognitive issues along with your exhaustion are bound to have a ricochet effect on your performance.

Extreme emotions

Unsurprisingly, prolonged burnout and subsequent exposure to some or all of the above symptoms can wreak havoc on your emotional state.

Your defence systems are severely lowered, which means you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed, angry, bitter, upset or that you’re about to burst into tears at any moment.

You could find yourself lashing out unfairly or quick to frustration or anger at certain situations. These emotions will continue to be fuelled by an ongoing cycle of stress, exhaustion, disengagement and could lead to chronic burnout.

What to do

If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s important to first acknowledge the problem and stop yourself from thinking you’ll be fine if you just get through the next week/month/project.

If you’re suffering from burnout now, it’s only going to get worse, so the first step is to talk to your manager about how you’re feeling. Often, one of the best things you can do to start healing from burnout is to take some time off and engage in some self-care.

Self-care does not have to mean wellbeing retreats or yoga classes. It’s about re-engaging with your body and putting healthy habits back into your life while you take a mental break from work.

This means resetting your sleep patterns, making sure you take some time to exercise and eating reasonably healthy to give your body the best chance at building resilience.

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

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Screen time: are Harry and Meghan right to limit it to just 20 minutes? | Health & wellbeing

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Name: Screen time.

Age: It’s less about how old, more about how long.

OK, how long then? Twenty minutes.

Great. But what is 20 minutes? Enough.

Enough what? Screen time.

Ah. Says who? Meghan’n’Harry.

Where, when, how, why? On their Archewell website, a message …

Whoa, hold up, their Archewell website? Yes, it’s where you can keep an eye on what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are doing.

What are they doing? Uplifting and uniting communities – local and global, online and offline – one act of compassion at a time, or so the website says.

But for no more than 20 minutes at a time? Exactly. Not online anyway. Go on the site and after 20 minutes an automated message pops up. “We love having you here,” it says. “But we’re mindful of screen time. Why not take a break? We’ll be here.” It sits nicely with what the Centre for Humane Technology says.

What is that? And what does it say? One of Archewell’s partners. It is reframing the insidious effects of persuasive technology, exposing the runaway systems beneath and deepening the capacity of global decision-makers and everyday leaders to take wise action, it says here.

Does that mean less screen time? We think it includes that, yes. Meghan and Harry seem to as well.

What about the people who actually know? As you would expect, there has been tons of research into the effects of screen time on health, eyesight, sleep and mental health, with added concern during the pandemic, when screen time increased. But a recent study by the University of Colorado Boulder found that school-age kids who spend more time in front of screens are only slightly more likely to have attention disorders, disturbed sleep and are no more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.

Any government guidelines? Not in the UK. The US government recommends no more than two hours a day for children.

Hang on, are kids really going to be glued to the Sussex’s Archewell site? Aren’t they more likely to be on TikTok, or Minecraft? Probably true, but grownups need screen breaks, too. The UK law says so if we’re talking about using a screen at work (it doesn’t specify for how long or how often). Everyone agrees that screen breaks are a good thing.

Do say: “C’mon now, Archie, off mummy’s phone now. Let’s put some compassion into action, change our communities and change the world!”

Don’t say: “William and Kate say similar things about making a difference on their website and I can actually understand what they are on about.”

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