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Technology Fireside with Wes Okumura & Eric Halverson




 About the show - April 14th 2021

On this episode, Brian and Nitzan were joined by Benivo Strategy Council members Eric Halverson, former Director of HR Global Mobility at eBay, and Wes Okumura, former EY People Advisory Services Leader to discuss the future of technology.

Never waste a good crisis…necessity is the mother of invention - we’ve all heard these or similar anecdotes over time and the pandemic of 2020 was that opportunity for the mobility industry.

Eric’s take on what the pandemic taught us is to always expect the unexpected and never say never. As he points out, whatever processes are in place, there needs to be an understanding that it’s temporary and companies need to be flexible and able to adapt. 

Wes also saw some significant changes that came about from the pandemic including the acceleration of remote workers and changes to what the future of work will like, mobility issues now impacting the entire workforce and elevating the importance of the mobility function, and the need for more investment in mobility technology has increased now more than ever. 

As Nitzan adds, Benivo has seen companies accelerating their existing processes. The perception of how services can be delivered is also taking on a new look.  Another change is the critical importance of data privacy because of more digitization.

Scalability has also become a big subject amid so many layoffs because of the pandemic.  As Nitzan says, knowledge sits with the people.  As organizations laid off record numbers of employees, there was a significant loss of information brought on by those layoffs as companies made efforts to scale back. The positive side of this is the forcing function towards digitization of repetitive work, automating tasks previously done by those people. 

The need to improve operational efficiencies with technology is also key post pandemic.  As Eric points out, identifying what it is that is taking up the mobility department’s time is key to understanding the value of technology in mobility, especially in our ever-changing post-pandemic world.  Wes adds, the mobility function crosses so many areas and the data involved in each sector needs to be harmonized and connected, to improve operational effectiveness and become more strategic.

Nitzan offered a quick, high-level demonstration of how Benivo technology can support clients and their employees in achieving these goals. Watch the recording and clips on our feed to see highlights from the session with live questions from the audience!   

Join us April 28th for part 2 with Eric and Wes discussing more about the future of technology on:

  • Cost management
  • Managing and integrating the entire mobility ecosystem
  • Challenges of managing new mobility populations
  • Need to be a proactive advisor to the business
  • Changing attitudes towards self-service
  • Changing role of the GM Manager

Immigration Update

By Julia Onslow-Cole at Fragomen

1. The China travel ban remains in place and only those who are Chinese citizens or hold PR status or are from Macau or Hong Kong can freely enter China. The exceptional process for those who wish to come outside of the ban is becoming more difficult. 
2. The Chinese authorities have released a new exception for those who wish to enter China outside of the ban, namely that they can travel if they demonstrate that they have received two doses  of a Chinese vaccination. 
3. In March 2021 Shanghai relaxed the work permit requirements for foreign nations in scientific and technological occupations. 
4. The Singapore travel ban also remained in place and most of the travel bubbles that the Singaporean Government had negotiated have fallen apart as new cases of COVID have sprung up in many countries. 
5. The Singapore Government is working with other countries, including Malaysia and New Zealand  to look at block-chain technology to enable mutual recognition of vaccine certification.