Malta’s Prime Minister Confirms Parliament Will Pass Three Cryptocurrency Bills

During today’s press conference organised by Stasis, Malta’s Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat confirmed that the parliament will be approving the three cryptocurrency bills. This comes just a few hours before today’s third and final reading of the three bills that are set to make Malta a Blockchain island.

Today’s final reading comes a week after the Maltese Parliament passed the second reading of three bills that covers the regulation of initial coin offerings (ICOs), and the guidelines for cryptocurrency exchange operators looking to establish a presence in Malta and the broader regulation of the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector.

The Individual as the Driver of Change

Change remains one of the most topical – and in many ways, still controversial – aspects of organisational management. The tortuous process involved in recognising and acknowledging the need for change certainly remains a central issue in this regard. As does the fact that every business entity has its own, unique ‘persona’ – reflecting the people who lead and work within it, as well as the competitive environment in which it operates. These preliminary considerations should be more than enough to deter thoughts of one-size-fits-all solutions. Simply stated, both the stimuli for change and the way change is perceived and handled, will vary dramatically from company to company.

Of course, the ability of individuals to change will determine the success of change at organisational level. Organisations don’t change, individuals do. No matter how large a project one is taking on, the success of that project ultimately lies with each employee doing their work differently, multiplied across all of the employees impacted by the change. Effective change management requires an understanding for and appreciation of how one person makes a change successfully. Without an individual perspective, we are left with activities but no idea of the goal or outcome that we are trying to achieve.

We also know that change can scare a lot of people. And in viewing change-related challenges from an organisational perspective, we often tend to overlook the fundamental role of the individual. Are today’s executives open to, and primed to deal with change? Do they understand the pivotal role they have in helping their organisation evolve along the path of long-term, sustainable success?

From a professional standpoint, there is no doubt that, at individual level, the ability to manage change will determine one’s relevance within the workplace, whatever the role and responsibility. Today, executives at all levels are expected to manage change effectively. Innovation is becoming more than a buzzword. It is making its way into job descriptions and performance reviews. And producing results is simply not enough; one needs to be able to show that one can make the results more sustainable, and profitable.  The new reality is that executives at all levels must be adept at leading and/or coordinating some kind of change at various points in their careers.

In my professional experience, I find that an increasing number of top executives do embrace the significance of change management – the tools and structure meant to control the change effort – and understand the concept of change leadership, which is concerned with optimising the effects of the change effort. However, many still tend to seriously underestimate the importance of selling effectively the importance of change within their organisations, and empowering their people to deliver change.

Corporate leaders and executives at all levels need to be aware of this issue, and tackle it head on. They need to promote the idea – the reality, as it is – that change is one of the most powerful professional development tools available to individuals, and ultimately to the organisation. And they need to pursue this objective through a formal, dedicated training programme.

Our executives must be trained to think of themselves as individual agents of change. Among others, they need to be aware of their company’s business realities, in order to recognise that there is indeed a need for change. They need to have a concept of timing – knowing when the time is ripe to recommend and push for change, with minimal disruption. They need to know how to package and promote sustainable actions towards change, with attainable objectives. And they need to be prepared to have the overwhelming desire, and the mental toughness, to withstand and overcome resistance.

At an organisational level, on the other hand, we need to evaluate what tools we have to help individuals make changes successfully. While change happens one person at a time, there are processes and tools that can help facilitate this change across groups and organisations. All this has to be done within a strategic perspective, encapsulating the essential components of successful change management.

At the end of the day, as a result of this focused, structured approach, the organisation will be gaining a crop of executives who will not only embrace the idea of change, but who will also turn out to be credible, reliable and enduring leaders. This will also ensure that change within your organisation will be part of an evolutionary process, and not merely short-term, piecemeal substitution.

Original article published on The Malta Chamber of Commerce website.

Evolving Into A Leaner Business

Identifying and eliminating process waste requires determining whether something is adding value or not. One has to ask questions such as, ‘Is the customer willing to pay for the activity?’ and ‘Does the activity add value to the good or service?’ One should also ask whether the activity is being done first time round or otherwise. If the activity is a rework or a fix, it can be immediately deduced that such subsequent activities are sheer waste. Preventing reasons for rework, redoing and/or verifying outcomes is one of the simplest means of eliminating waste.

Ing. Joseph Micallef, Partner and Chief Operations Officer at BEAT Limited, a Maltese niche-based consulting firm specialising in the provision of project management, strategic advice and business transformation solutions, defines waste as “anything which does not add value to one’s product or service offering. This applies to all types of business activity, since businesses operate through processes.”

Ing. Micallef says that an essential part of implementing Lean Management principles lies in identifying the process waste: the non-value adding activities. “Whilst these are more evident in the more tangible operations-oriented business setup – think about rejected stock carried within the quarantine stores, for example – it becomes trickier to identify such waste in less tangible, service-oriented business settings. But just imagine a pool of administrators who are busy tapping at their keyboards, repeatedly keying in data bits into a myriad of e-forms, possibly duplicating and making data entry errors in the process too! Waste can occur in any type of business process, whether it is a tangible operations-oriented one or (possibly even more!) service-oriented and within an administrative environment,” he maintains.

The foundation for a solution lies in developing as correct a process definition as possible, with clear roles and responsibilities being identified for specific activities and tasks. From this, the skills and talents demanded by each role are identified, and subsequently fit the rightful resource capability within that role. “It goes without saying that building the right culture, which recognises the strengths and potential contribution of your people, promoting team work, providing sufficient training and coaching, and empowering leadership will contribute towards the engagement of all employees,” Ing. Micallef states. “When it comes to human capital, Lean Management principles promote optimised people who are flexible, multi-skilled and cross-functional, who can deliver value across the process value stream.”

Of course, some degree of specialisation is inevitable, so some specialist roles have to be maximised by directing them towards their relevant strengths. “The most successful organisations are those which manage to encourage their people to take ownership of their areas, processes, products and services, thus promoting a sense of pride, involvement and engagement. Your people are your biggest asset: respect them, nurture them and involve them in your business, and you will reap the rewards,” he advises.

Poor communication can be said to be at the source of many inefficiencies and waste, Ing. Micallef insists, and most issues, such as defects, excess processing and overproduction, can generally all be traced to poor communication and a clear understanding of goals, roles, targets, standards, procedures and systems. “While completely eradicating any form of waste can be a difficult task, defects, for example, can certainly be limited by the communication and application of standardised work plans, more stringent quality assurance at all levels, a full understanding of work requirements and customer needs, and simple job aids such as poka-yoke, which is Japanese for ‘mistake-proofing’.”

This is where BEAT comes in. The company’s mission is to ensure that organisations who call on the company for support benefit from a well-designed methodology which will improve efficiency and deliver greater productivity within their processes. “Our end-objective is to achieve a leaner organisation that is adaptable to changes and ready to evolve in anticipation of its internal and/or external environment and influences,” Ing. Micallef says.

“To do all this, we work hand in hand with executives and staff at all levels within the organisation. Information gleaned from the client’s strategic direction, operational activity and organisation setup, together with participative stakeholder consultation workshops, will help us identify mission-critical business processes, key operational and management metrics, and priorities for improvement. This would be followed by the appointment of Business Process Owners and Change Champions within the organisation, who are empowered to lead the process internally. We then proceed with an analysis of existing processes, identifying critical weaknesses and outlining the relevant redesign principles,” he explains.

Together with management, BEAT defines process improvement goals, identifies the investment required for the proposed implementation plan, and sets out to formulate and deliver that plan. “We remain on hand to carry out the implementation phase and to see the project through till its completion. We also place considerable attention on the transfer of knowledge and expertise to ensure ownership and the long-term validity of our work, providing innovative and pragmatic recommendations to allow in-house personnel to implement and follow up on our work effectively into the future,” Ing. Micallef says, emphasising that business process management revolves around three important factors: methodology, people and technology. “Without the right methodology and the core people to execute, improvement can be somewhat limited. Technology is there to be ‘exploited’ after we have mastered the first two factors. If technology is applied to a situation in which people are being utilised ineffectively, or if the process design and methodology is less than optimal, technology will, at best, help save some time, to at worst, help an organisation generate waste faster!”

While evolution is a challenge for businesses of all sizes, implementing it carefully is especially important for small but growing businesses, for which properly handled business process management can help maintain growth in flexible, sustainable and measurable ways. “It’s inevitable that a small business growing at pace will need new systems and processes to keep moving forward, but while scaling up sounds ‘sexy’ in theory, in practice it can be a minefield,” Ing. Micallef warns. “Bear in mind, wildlife that evolved over time is the ultimate survivor. If a business owner is not geared to evolve in anticipation of upcoming change, business success may be jeopardised.”

To this effect, measures recommended by Ing. Micallef include improving cash flow, recruiting and maintaining competent staff, and promoting flexibility, multiple skill capabilities and cross-functionality with a careful dose of specialisation where needed. “Automating repetitive tasks that are generally expected to remain unchanged for a considerable number of processes whilst introducing more flexible automation for the more volatile tasks are just some of the considerations that can benefit from being systemised in a fast-growing business. Approached correctly, business process management (BPM) can help your company adjust to the changes that rapid growth brings. Whether you, as an SME owner, bring in a consultant or tackle it in-house, BPM can help reduce costs, improve overall company performance and organisational flexibility, and give your company an edge over competitors.”

Whichever way one goes about it, reviewing one’s business processes on a regular basis ensures that these evolve in step with business growth. “Having simple systems and procedures makes it easier to ensure that things are done consistently, and that employees operate in an expected way. With any process that you implement, keep in mind that the beauty of a start-up is its agility; that you can change and evolve your business model overnight. Implement efficient processes to make growth manageable, but hang on to that agility for as long as you possibly can.”

“At the end of the day, ignoring any waste generation activities in the process encourages negative development. Only systematic discovery and elimination of waste improves such processes, ensures positive development, and ultimately maximises output and profitability. And that is, after all, what every manager should be aiming for,” he concludes.

 

 

 

The Business of Transforming Business

David Galea, CEO, Beat Limited. Photos by Inigo Taylor
David Galea, CEO, Beat Limited. Photos by Inigo Taylor

BEAT Limited – whose acronym stands for Business Excellence in Achieving Transformation – was set up in 2007, in response to a growing need in the market to help companies manage their change transition during periods of growth, and where these require assistance with the different processes, structures and systems required to make the leap. The company’s core expertise lies in the provision of integrated business process management services, as well as portfolio, programme, project and change management. “In layman’s terms, we essentially help companies to become leaner in their operations and manage their projects in accordance with time, cost and quality objectives,” explained BEAT’s CEO David Galea. “We also assist companies in prioritising and maximising the return on investment on a range of programmes.”

Since BEAT’s inception, the company has sought to become the leader in Malta in the provision of business transformation solutions, striving to help client companies reduce their total cost of operations, and become more competitive in their own sector. Between 2007 and 2012, its focus was primarily on helping companies manage change transitions. In 2013, BEAT branched out into project management and incubation – “primarily in response to the lack of proper management discipline evident in many projects which were being implemented around the island,” Mr Galea added.

BEAT also managed to penetrate the UAE market, and in 2012, the company developed an alliance with Informa, the world’s leading player in the conference training and exhibition market. “Through this alliance, BEAT continues to provide training to an extensive suite of clients in the UAE. Our search for partners of international repute has since led to other alliances, including with TUV Nord from Italy, the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce, Prime Advantage in the UK, and Auraportal in Spain,” Mr Galea explained.

One of the strengths of BEAT is the degree and depth of experience and expertise it offers its clients, having developed a network of quality assurance specialists in a variety of sectors, with whom the company then collaborates when approaching assignments in specialist industries.  “For example, when we were engaged on a project requiring the streamlining of business processes in an organisation involved in the wholesale and retail of fruit and vegetables, we engaged the services of an agricultural specialist,” said Mr Galea. “In another instance, we were engaged in the development of an automated ticketing system for a major organisation, for which we subsequently brought on board a ticketing expert to support us.  In a nutshell, we combine our process expertise with industry specialist knowledge available within our network, thereby offering flexibility in our approach, whilst servicing the specific needs of the client.”

Since one of BEAT’s functions is to provide strategic alternatives for the purpose of enhancing its clients’ performance in the marketplace, it often works closely with companies’ management at all levels, in order to ensure that they are capable of taking on the change process forward after the job is done. In fact, the company’s innovative modus operandi involves reinforcing its in-house specific process expertise by bringing on board client staff to provide the corporate cultural perspective, as well as external industry experts who are in a position to provide an independent external outlook pertaining to the sector in which the client operates.  “Moreover, although we lead and implement the various projects we undertake in conjunction with company owners and management, we also place considerable attention on the transfer of knowledge and expertise to ensure ownership and the long-term validity of our work. We therefore provide innovative and pragmatic recommendations which will allow in-house personnel to implement and follow up on our work effectively into the future,” Mr Galea continued.

“We have found that our clients greatly appreciate the high level of innovative strategic thinking we put on the table, complemented by practical advice tailored to organisations’ financial and operating realities. We regularly receive feedback complimenting us, amongst others, on our ability to manage change and to infuse the right mindsets to encourage change to take place. Other clients have pointed out our strong technical, analytical, and yet pragmatic approach to resolving operational issues, particularly in streamlining critical processes and achieving process integration. Just as importantly, we strive to infuse a culture of change, with an emphasis on increased accountability and responsibility, which will enable client companies to continue benefitting from the outcome of the change process well after our role has come at an end.”

For BEAT, business optimisation is an umbrella term, grouping within its scope services such as business transformations, project incubation, and implementation. “BEAT’s Project Incubation services put our extensive experience and expertise at the service of the client to help them develop and leverage ideas into pragmatic business concepts. These services encompass the whole cycle of this process, from concept origination, to determining the project’s technical, economic and financial feasibility, as well as its commercialisation,” Mr Galea explained.

As far as business transformations are concerned, BEAT is well aware that one rarely gets a second chance at turning a business around, and focuses on helping clients get it right the first time. “We do this by identifying, developing and implementing those fundamental changes which will enable their organisation to interact internally and externally to cope with evolving markets. As a result, their business will benefit from improved profitability and enhanced shareholder value. Our service portfolio in this respect includes the laying out of strategic blueprints, the formulation of performance management systems, as well as the provision of organisational and business process design capabilities.”

Finally, throughout any project undertaken, BEAT are on hand to guide and support their clients in implementing measures to achieve the long-term sustainability of their organisation. “Whether our clients require hands-on support to implement and manage change, or to maximise the value and impact of their project and programme investments, we will direct our experience and expertise towards ensuring that these deliver the desired business results.”

What drove BEAT initially was a passion for excellence in helping client companies cut down their costs and improve their operations. At the time of BEAT’s inception, Mr Galea estimates that the consulting industry in Malta was relatively immature, with a market size of around 100 million liri (around €233 million). It was a period which saw a number of large-scale IT projects mushrooming around the island, and a growing acceptance of integrating ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions. At the same time, most of these projects were IT-led, and limited importance was given to the implementation of changes in the business model. However, given the increased competition from abroad – particularly since Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004 – as well as a change in the ownership structure of companies and the handover of the operations to the younger generation, BEAT experienced “a growing acceptance of managing change as a profession,” as Mr Galea described it. “Importance also started being given to engaging outsiders to help in the shaping of new and improved processes. Today, with technology revolutionising many businesses, the demand for process improvement and project management is set to increase significantly, and will become increasingly recognised as a fundamental service. Just as in the early 2000s technology specialists were embraced by industry, we have seen – and are likely to see in the future – a growing recognition for the need for more business process specialists.”

Mr Galea’s major impetus for BEAT for the future is to expand its global scope of operations and become the most internationalised advisory firm in Malta. “We aim to achieve this by developing our business processes in line with international best practices, by seeking international recognition such as ISO certifications, and by investing extensively in the training of our staff members, who are our strongest champions and ambassadors for growth. We are constantly striving to develop a customer-centric organisation by achieving growth, without losing that personal touch with the customer which has defined our modus operandi since day one. Finally, we will continue exploiting opportunities for further partnerships and joined ventures in the international scene with a view to gaining a wider reach on the global market.”

Original article published on The Business Observer on the 26th of October 2017, pages 20-21.

Helping Businesses Transform

David Galea, Chief Executive Officer at BEAT Limited – a specialist firm providing integrated business transformation solutions – talks to Sarah Micallef about the firm’s origins, service offering and what makes BEAT stand out in a competitive market.

“BEAT stands for Business Excellence in Achieving Transformation,” CEO David Galea explains as he looks back on the firm’s origins in 2007. Set up in response to a growing need in the market to help companies manage their change transition during periods of growth, BEAT assists with the different processes, structures and systems required to make the leap. Since starting out, Mr Galea affirms, “we have sought to become the leader in Malta in the provision of business transformation solutions, striving to help client companies reduce their total cost of operations, and become more competitive in their own sector.”

By 2010, BEAT had penetrated the UAE market, and in 2012, the firm developed an alliance with Informa – the world’s leading player in the conference training and exhibition market. “Through this alliance, BEAT continues to provide training to an extensive suite of clients in the UAE. Our search for partners of international repute has since led to other alliances, including with TUV Nord from Italy, the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce, Prime Advantage in the UK, and Auraportal in Spain,” Mr Galea maintains, adding that in 2013, BEAT branched out into project management and incubation, primarily in response to the lack of proper management discipline evident in many projects which were being implemented around the island.

Speaking of BEAT’s service offering, the CEO explains that the firm’s core expertise lies in the provision of integrated business process management services, as well as portfolio, programme, project and change management. “In layman’s terms, we essentially help companies to become leaner in their operations, and manage their projects in accordance with time, cost and quality objectives. We also assist companies in prioritising and maximising the return on investment on a range of programmes,” Mr Galea explains.

Among BEAT’s areas of specialisation is business optimisation – a primary niche area in which they have proven themselves time and again. The CEO breaks down the services offered in relation to this area as falling within the scope of business transformations, project incubation and implementation.

“As far as business transformations are concerned, we are aware that one rarely gets a second chance at turning a business around, and therefore our job is to help clients get it right the first time,” he says, explaining that this is done by identifying, developing and implementing the fundamental changes which will enable an organisation to cope with evolving markets. “As a result, their business will benefit from improved profitability and enhanced shareholder value. Our service portfolio in this respect includes the laying out of strategic blueprints and the formulation of performance management systems, as well as the provision of organisational and business process design capabilities,” he affirms.

Meanwhile, BEAT’s project incubation services put the firm’s extensive experience and expertise at the service of their clients, to help them develop and leverage ideas into pragmatic business concepts. “These services encompass the whole cycle of this process, from concept origination to determining the project’s technical, economic and financial feasibility, as well as its commercialisation,” the CEO explains.

Finally, for any project undertaken, BEAT are on hand to guide and support clients in implementing measures to achieve the long-term sustainability of their organisation. “Whether our clients require hands on support to implement and manage change, or to maximise the value and impact of their project and programme investments, we will direct our experience and expertise towards ensuring that these deliver the desired business results,” Mr Galea says.

Asked where the company’s strength lies, the CEO cites the team’s dedication to supporting clients in leveraging and realising equity value from their business activities by adopting a holistic, customised and personalised approach to every project or assignment. “Over the past years, we have developed a reputation based on our commitment to provide dynamic, innovative business solutions. These solutions are designed to support our clients in improving their overall performance, and helping them reach their strategic and tactical objectives,” he maintains.

“We have found that our clients greatly appreciate the high level of innovative strategic thinking we put on the table, complemented by practical advice tailored to organisations’ financial and operating realities. We regularly receive feedback complimenting us on our ability to manage change and to infuse the right mindsets to encourage change to take place, among other things. Clients have also pointed out our strong technical, analytical and yet pragmatic approach in resolving operational issues, particularly in stream lining critical processes and achieving process integration,” Mr Galea continues, adding that although the firm leads and implements the various projects it undertakes in conjunction with company owners and management, “we place considerable attention on the transfer of knowledge and expertise to ensure ownership and the long term validity of our work.”

Speaking of his own experience, Mr Galea reveals that his own baptism of fire came when he first started out, working for a Big Four company, before moving to the Office of the Prime Minister, where he was involved in the restructuring of major public organisations. Later high-profile appointments included those of Head of Strategy and Knowledge Management at Malta Enterprise, and the role of General Manager responsible for Financial Control at Air Malta plc. He also served as Non-Executive Chairman for Mount Carmel Hospital in Malta.

In the United Kingdom, Mr Galea was involved in a variety of project management initiatives, including the development of international project management standards for a global oil and gas company, the development of a business case for the consolidation of plutonium contaminated material into a single site, as well as the setting up of a Programme Management Office for a major telecommunications company.

However, he believes it is his involvement in business transformation, project management and performance management assignments that set him on the road he eventually under took with BEAT, particularly in key BPR and Change Management projects at Maltese blue chip and best-in-class organisations engaged in the utilities, ICT and financial services, as well as in the public sector.

“During this time, I acted as the Programme Director for a multi-billion euro deal involving a long term Power Purchase Agreement and Gas Supply Agreement, the first of its kind on an international scale, bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of international experts using Agile Project Management methodologies to fast-track the project. I also led a number of international commercial negotiations, including a Power Purchase Agreement with a leading international electricity power generation company,” he maintains.

On the other hand, Mr Galea’s partner and the company’s COO, Joseph Micallef, is an engineer by profession, with a penchant for guiding organisations along the road leading to operational effectiveness, value-adding activities, and customer-centric, high-quality performance through business excellence processes. His career, originating in manufacturing, involved his engagement along a very broad spectrum of industrial processes, which later expanded to encompass the services sectors.

“Within the manufacturing industry, Joseph has occupied various senior management roles in research and development, quality management and health and safety. His corporate career developed primarily through the medical devices industry, and later within the high-tech electronics industry. Meanwhile, his consultancy experience started off with an experimental project in 1999. Since then, it has developed into a fulltime professional passion that has seen him successfully undertake a broad portfolio of projects, both locally and overseas,” Mr Galea explains, adding that his partner also has a strong background in providing coaching or mentoring services, designed to facilitate the establishment of effective, value-adding and quality-driven business pro cesses within organisations. “A regular speaker and facilitator at a number of training seminars, workshops and conferences, he has trained hundreds of middle-management level and executive management delegates in Malta, Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.”

Turning his attention to the local land scape, I ask BEAT’s CEO how the industry in Malta has changed since he first started out. Maintaining that what drove BEAT initially was a passion for excellence in helping client companies cut down their costs and improve their operations, Mr Galea explains that at the time of BEAT’s inception, the consulting industry in Malta was relatively immature, with a market size of around 100 million Liri. “It was a period which saw a number of large-scale IT projects mushrooming around the island, and a growing acceptance of integrating ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions. At the same time, however, most of these projects were IT-led with limited importance being given to the changes in the business model,” he says.

Nowadays, given the increased competition from abroad – particularly since Malta joined the EU in 2004 – as well as a change in the ownership structure of companies and the handover of operations to the younger generation, BEAT’s CEO believes that there is a growing acceptance of managing change as a profession. “Importance also started being given to engaging outsiders to help in the shaping of new and improved processes. Today, with technology revolutionising many businesses, the demand for process improvement and project management is set to increase significantly, and will become increasingly recognised as a fundamental service. Just as in the early 2000s industry embraced technology specialists, we have seen – and are likely to see in the future – a growing recognition for the need for more business process specialists.”

Meanwhile, looking towards the future for BEAT, Mr Galea explains that the aim is to expand its global scope of operations and become the most internationalised advisory firm in Malta. “We aim to achieve this by developing our business processes in line with international best practices, by seeking international recognition such as ISO certifications, and by investing extensively in the training of our staff members, who are our strongest champions and ambassadors for growth. We are constantly striving to develop a customer-centric organisation by achieving growth, without losing that personal touch with the customer which has defined our modus operandi since day one. Finally, we will continue exploiting opportunities for further partnerships and joint ventures in the international scene with a view to gaining a wider reach on the global market,” he concludes. BA

Original article published on the Business Agenda, Issue 32, pages 30,31.

 

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