Posts Tagged ‘brian beedle’

Week In Review: Sep 26 – Oct 2, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 3, 2010

Doing what is Right Vs. Being the Best

by Brian Beedle, Sep 27, 2010

Is it good enough to do the right thing? Certainly not. We as individuals and companies should constantly strive to be the best in our fields. This is necessary to survive in the highly competitive times we live in. For individuals it takes patient parenting from a young age and mentoring as adults to gain this ability. Companies achieve this via Six-Sigma, ITIL, etc.  more…

Chaos and Complexity #3: Managing Expectations

by Gary Monti, Sep 28, 2010

Project managers out there… this article is for you. When a project encounters a rough spot, the project manager is held accountable. Anybody expecting projects to be smooth and trouble free is living in utopia. But there are certain things which if you do consistently, you can manage such situations gracefully. more…

Social Media and Tribes # 14: Taking Dinosaurs Online

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 29, 2010

Deepika is not irreverent when she uses dinosaurs as an analogy for our older generation. In fact the opposite is true and it is out of fondness for them. The past few decades has seen tremendous progress in technology and it has been especially tough for the older generation to keep pace with. But still they are a hardy bunch excited to adapt with the times and open up to social media albeit slowly and cautiously. more…

Flexible Focus #21: The 8 frames of life: Finances

by William Reed, Sep 30, 2010

Peter Drucker observed that people who chased money were all utterly miserable, without exception. Money should be part of the plan, a means to an end, not an end in itself. So pick a career in something you love and have some talent in. Then understand how economics is tied to everything else. You can do it if you view it with a flexible focus perspective. William’s Mandala chart can help you do it easier and better. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #3: The Sales Contract

by Tina Burke, Oct 1, 2010

Direct sales teams are expensive to maintain. Alternate sales teams do not cost any money up front. But there are challenges with either one. It may be an effective strategy to employ both channels, but there are thing you need to be aware of when you choose this path. more…

Doing what is Right Vs. Being the Best

by Brian Beedle on September 27, 2010

Defined by Webster’s Dictionary, the word “Best”:

of the highest quality, excellence, or standing: the best work; the best students”.

Every day in business, we are faced with challenges that require us to act quickly and to react even quicker.  As leaders we are expected to make pivotal decisions; we are exposed to different types of challenges, and are expected to accurately address problems each and every day. These challenges we are faced with often take us outside of our comfort zone, and require us to take on responsibilities and make decisions that we sometimes feel go beyond our areas of expertise.

As a manager, I always strive to do things right and deliver a high quality product to my customer, whether internal or external.  But is “doing things right” necessarily enough? Or should management go beyond “doing things right” and strive for ONLY being the best at what you do?

Coincidentally, I had a conversation with my son today who recently began his freshman year at college in August. We discussed the challenges that he is currently facing in college and how the effort that he is putting forth today, lays the groundwork for later success in college, and the successes that he will encounter as he lives the life he chooses as an adult. It was very obvious to me that he was frustrated with the conversation, but later in the evening, it was even clearer that he agreed with me and understood my point.  A BREAKTHROUGH!

The following are some points to keep in mind:

  • As a parent, it is important to instill values in your children during their formative years.  Teaching your children that “doing the right thing” is not only important but necessary. Being aware that one is doing the right thing will ultimately pave the path for a productive, ethical and value based lifestyle.
  • As a student, it is important to identify one’s successes and identify the challenges that exist. The level of competition today for graduates of Generation Y is far greater than those of Generation X.  Being able to assert yourself and have the ability to identify the fine line between doing the right thing and knowing what it takes to become the best at what you do, is critical. Developing this skill set early will yield significant advantages, and make the transition into the workforce, and ultimately becoming a successful manager far easier. Providing young people today with the tools to be able to understand what it is to exceed beyond “doing the right thing” is necessary.  Students must subscribe to the teachings of the leaders within our colleges and communities, and identify mentors to coach Gen Y in developing the skills to become the best at what they do.
  • As a manager, it is important to continue to learn and develop one’s skills. As technology and business changes, it is necessary to maintain the competitive advantage and remain current on today’s business needs. Many top companies enlist the practices of Six-Sigma and ITIL as part of the company’s culture. Enlisting a quality program will assist in removing the effects of errors and to minimize the inconsistency in business processes.  A Six-Sigma program is a huge commitment for a company and not only requires major changes to business processes; it requires a change in culture.  If a company is not prepared to set forth on the Six-Sigma adventure, it is possible for companies to employ certain aspects of Six-Sigma into their business to improve business processes.

In today’s economic environment, it may be more of a common place than not for companies to cut corners in order to save a nickel or dime, yielding a lack of quality.  Now is the time for businesses to focus on quality and set the standard for providing the best possible product or service possible.  Businesses must continue to redefine and work to establish themselves as the business segment leader, as well as the leader in quality and value, when a favorable economy returns.

Week In Review – Aug 15 – Aug 21, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on August 22, 2010

4 tips for selecting the right consultant

by Brian Beedle, Aug 16, 2010

Vendor selection process can be an arduous, time consuming, and stressful task.  Receiving quotes that run the gambit of the budgetary spectrum, deciding which product will give your company the biggest bang for the buck and wondering if saving a dollar or two is really worth the frustration of finding the “right partner”.  Every Project Manager has dealt with these issues. In this article, Brian lists some key points may provide some clarity and assist with narrowing the decision-making process when seeking a value-added business partner. more…

Character and Personality #7: Courage

by Gary Monti, Aug 17, 2010

Tiger Woods’ difficulties with his swing and Mark Hurd’s (HP’s CEO) inability to fill out expense reports correctly can be traced back to complexes. In a very public way they both show how trying to succeed simply by ego has limits and the desire to be complete as Self will, when denied, erupt and wreak havoc without any regard to the consequences. more…

Working Hard – Still no progress?

by Vijay Peduru, Aug 18, 2010

According to most economic historians, the Industrial age ended about 20Yrs ago in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down and the internet came up. In the industrial age, working hard meant, using our body and working long hours i.e physical labor. The easiest way to do hard work in the post industrial age, is to love change, train ourselves to love challenges and question the status quo all by using and exerting our mind. more…

Flexible Focus #15: Karma and Connections

by William Reed, Aug 19, 2010

You reap as you sow. Therefore if we want to achieve positive results, you need to think, speak, and act positively. There is also collective Karma, which is often thought of as collective fate, but more constructively can be interpreted as collective action. Things are connected in ways that are not always obvious. Even when the connections are not obvious, it is possible to take small actions which use the butterfly effect to create good Karma. more…

A diverse workforce: The smart thing to do

by Robert Driscoll, Aug 20, 2010

Diversity in the workplace should not be limited to race, gender and age, but differences of views and personalities as well. If this diverse workforce is guided properly, they will share their unique knowledge and discuss their differences rather than what’s common between them. This will lead to generating innovative ideas that could potentially change the marketplace you are in. more…

4 tips for selecting the right consultant

by Brian Beedle on August 16, 2010

The vendor selection process can be an arduous, time consuming, and stressful task.  Receiving quotes that run the gambit of the budgetary spectrum, deciding which product will give your company the biggest bang for the buck and wondering if saving a dollar or two is really worth the frustration of finding the “right partner”.  Every Project Manager has dealt with these issues, but keeping in mind the following points may provide some clarity and assist with narrowing the decision-making process when seeking a value-added business partner.

  1. Prepare a well defined project scope
    • Create a list of requirements. Ensure all aspects of the project are being captured.  Alignment and agreement within the organization must occur first and foremost.
    • Project Scope must outline all roles and responsibilities.
    • Establish all high level deliverable dates and the associated milestones for the project.
    • Sign-off from the Executive sponsor of the project must occur at this stage.
  2. Gather a list of recommended vendors and interview each. It is critical that the following points are addressed during the interview process to ensure that the vendor(s) have the resources available and the knowledge to deliver a final product that aligns with the project scope.
    • It is important to determine the level of experience that the consulting team exhibits.
    • Request resumes for the consultants on staff.
    • Inquire as to the specific projects these consultants have worked to qualify the expertise that exists.
      • Do they have relevant industry experience?
      • Speak to them about a “proven approach” to a similar project and how they were successful in delivering in a timely manner.
      • How many dedicated and part-time resources are available?
    • What involvement (if any) is the customer expected to contribute?
      • This is key in determining not only the resources that your organization will need to dedicate, but will also have an impact on the billable hours being allocated for the project.
      • Keep in mind, having an internal resource dedicated to the project is a great way to leverage the “hands-on” experience as a training mechanism.  In addition, these employee costs can be capitalized, reducing the expense budget.
    • Does the vendor’s Project Lead have a Business or Finance understanding or does this person strictly possess a technical background? Depending on the direct involvement of the business users, this is an important issue that needs to be considered.
    • Have a thorough understanding of how your organization is going to be billed.
      • Understand how your organization is going to be billed and at what milestones.
      • What is considered as reimbursable expenses at what percentage is this “capped”?
    • Request three business references in which the vendor has successfully implemented a similar product.  It is acceptable to ask for examples, or a letter of recommendation from former or current clients.
  3. Depending on the result of the interview stage, make a request of the vendor to develop a proof of concept. Compare this document to the original project scope
    • Does the Proof of Concept support the Project Scope and required end result defined by your organization?  Ensure that all key deliverables are being met.
    • Ensure that the timelines seem reasonable. Do they align with the deliverable dates of your organization?
    • Don’t hesitate to challenge the methodology or the approach being used by the prospective vendor.
    • Compare the approaches of the different vendors – It is important to keep in mind that you are the subject matter expert, push back on what does not seem reasonable.
  4. Negotiation
    • The lowest price does not always constitute the best solution. However, staying within an allocated budget is important. Do what is fiscally responsible for your organization; do not sacrifice quality or functionality just because a vendor comes in with a significantly lower price.  It is important to deliver a product that is going to meet the expectation of the sponsors.
    • It is important to understand what level of post-implementation support, training, and maintenance is included. This can be used as a key negotiation point.

These high-level items touch on a number of areas that should be considered during the vendor selection process.  Of course, there are a lot of other aspects that may need to be considered for your organization which go beyond the areas addressed here. Be resourceful. Don’t hurry off to start a project without doing your due diligence by investigating and selecting a firm that fits your needs. The results of a good implementation can change the way a business functions, the remnants of an implementation that is not successful can have even longer effects

Week In Review – Jul 4 – Jul 10, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on July 11, 2010

4 Effective cost saving techniques in a down economy

by Brian Beedle, Jul 5, 2010

In these uncertain economic times, it is imperative for businesses to cut costs to maintain profitability. Prudence in what is cut will help us be positioned to return to “normal” business cycle. With that in mind, Brian has short listed 4 simple cost saving areas that every IT organization should consider. more…

Character and Personality #1: Emotionality

by Gary Monti, Jul 6, 2010

WOW… another great  article from Gary! Strong leaders are not without emotions. But they are able to validate their emotions with their principles at play. This helps them deliver an honest expression of emotions with a statement of underlying principles (agenda). This supports communications, while emotionality tears the community apart. more…

Social Media and Tribes #5: Social by Intention

by Deepika Bajaj, Jul 7, 2010

Participating and being active on online social media does not have to be detrimental to your career. If you can watch what you say, you can create a reputation you desire. Social media is a tool to build relationships and take them offline to build stronger relationships. more…

Flexible Focus #9: The magic of mindset

by William Reed, Jul 8, 2010

Having a point of view enables us to be very clear on where we stand. But it also give us the tendency to believe our point of view is the only correct one. Inflexibility over view points can put people on the warpath. Flexible focus gives us a strategic advantage, opens your eyes and lets you frame and reframe. more…

Author’s Journey #29: Research Tips – How do other authors profit?

by Roger Parker, July 9, 2010

Very often, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Researching and following what other authors do to profit can be valuable. more…

In uncertain economic times, businesses are forced to redefine “business as usual” and come up with a new definition. This new definition must allow companies to not only to sustain business, but drive profitability with the face of uncertainty looming through the window. With a big bite coming directly out of Profit Margin, typically attributed to the lack of consumer spending, how is it possible for companies to survive?

Anyone with any business knowledge understands that the only way to preserve profitability when revenues are down is by reducing costs.  However, proceed with caution here and do not jump to conclusions. Keep in mind, the economic downturn will not last forever.  Therefore a company must be positioned to return to “business as usual” when the opportunity arises.  With these key points in mind, there are many different approaches to reducing costs which will allow for preserving staff, maintaining a high level of product quality, as well as maintaining the high level of customer service that is currently being delivered.

One of the primary areas that hold a great deal of operating cost savings is in the area of IT.  Here are 4 simple cost saving measures that may hold the key to a great deal of cost savings:

  • Assess Maintenance and Support Contracts: Depending on the size and complexity of an organization and whether or not a company has an asset management practice, the on-going charges for software and hardware support and maintenance agreements can compound exponentially.  Discovering software or hardware that is no longer being used, then conducting a deep dive into the current base of IT contracts and determining whether maintenance is being paid on these assets , is a great way to pulling the plug on unnecessary infrastructure costs.  On-going cost control and monitoring is an effective way for an organization to implement an asset management program.
  • Consider Re-Negotiation of License and Maintenance Contracts: Hardware and Software companies are faced with the same challenges as everyone else in the business world. They are looking for ways to sustain their businesses in a new economy.  Although we look at the down-turn of the economy as a challenge when running and sustaining business, we also need to position this as an opportunity to leverage better contracts. Take the opportunity of a down economy to negotiate better rates and terms.  Consider third party maintenance on equipment; Third party maintenance can be just as good as OEM, at a fraction of the cost.
  • Reduce Printing Costs: The average cost per page for personal B&W laser printers average around $0.04 to $0.05. Eliminate personal printers by replacing stand-alone units with more efficient network-multi-function printers. By implementing a multi-function network printer/copier, an immediate savings of $0.02 per page can be yielded.  Again, another expense that can grow exponentially.
  • Eliminate Digital Storage Waste: According to Iron Mountain, on average, unstructured data claims 60% of total storage capacity.  Even under the best circumstances, approximately 30% – 40% of data falls under this category.  On average, a company’s storage requirements may grow anywhere from 30% – 50%.  With requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, the need to maintain inactive data has dramatically increased the storage requirements for all organizations. By outsourcing storage, companies can realize tremendous storage infrastructure cost savings and preserve a more efficient infrastructure.

Although this article only touches on a few different ideas in which financial relief can be recognized by an organization, it hopefully provides examples as to how hidden cost saving opportunities may exist where you least expect them. Take the opportunity to seek out your own hidden treasures and you will find your company positioned strongly for the next economic up-turn.

Making the transition from spreadsheet-based Financial Planning and Analysis to a leading Enterprise Performance Management Solution (e.g., Hyperion, Cognos, etc..) requires commitment, executive sponsorship, and significant adjustment by those involved.  Before moving forward with haste, certain items should be considered to ensure a successful and sustainable implementation:

  1. Assess the Current Environment: Before a company can even consider beginning to scope out the analytical and reporting needs of a given organization, it is important to take a careful look at the current environment. Many organizations make the mistake of implementing analytical tools that only produce what is currently being used. The only difference may be a more complex user front end.  Doing this will not create any value for the organization and will only lead to frustration and a low adoption rate.
  2. Get to Know Users and Understand User Needs: It is important to meet with the key people in the organization that will be using or relying on the new tool to make business decisions.  Approach these conversations in a way that opens the door so that they are intricate in the design and development.  Keep in mind, fulfilling the needs of the Finance is important, however, providing a tool that has the power to directly impact the business and profitability is the goal.  It is important to have a strong executive sponsor of the project which will assist with driving the project and promoting it through-out the executive team of the company. However, receiving input from the data experts / users of the data will lay the foundation for a useful tool which will have an impact on the day to day operation and management of the company.
  3. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s): During the discussion with management and the users in the organization, it is not only important to understand the business drivers, but also being able to measure business performance by applying KPI’s.  KPI’s need to be measurable, but one simple aspect to keep in mind, is they should be useful. Don’t overwhelm your user base with complex KPI’s that do not add value.  During your information gathering sessions you should be able to get a feel of what is needed, and you may find in most cases there is a common theme.  Some examples of KPI’s include:
    • Profit and Loss
    • Inventory Turn
    • DSO (Days Sales Outstanding)
    • Customer Loyalty/Attrition
    • Market Share Indicators
    • Other relevant measurements
  4. Good Project Management Skills Are Key: Once the information gathering sessions are complete and a signed-off proof-of-concept is in place, it is time to create a Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW is a detailed road map of the project. While drafting the SOW, it is important to keep in mind that you are providing a solution to an existing problem. Therefore it is important not to over complicate as this will only create resistance and lack of acceptance. When drafting the Statement of Work, the following should be defined:
    • Project Scope
    • Risks identified
    • Timelines defined
    • Any additional terms of the project

It is a good practice when managing a project of this scope to schedule weekly update meetings and to track the progress of the project to ensure that key deliverables are being met. This will keep the project in line with goals and timelines detailed in the SOW. Lack of diligence can most certainly result in an overage in project budget and delays in implementation. Some others points to keep in mind include:

  • Implement in phases and conduct User Acceptance Testing along the way.
  • Ensure proper training is made available not only users, but the administrators of the new tool.
  • Do not over complicate. In some cases, less is more. Provide a sustainable, usable system that can provide standardized reporting, yet have the flexibility to provide ad-hoc analysis as needed by users.

There are many styles to managing a project in the IT or Finance world. Information Technology people have their own style, understanding, and expertise. Finance and operational people have the ability to bring a different angle that is also very important to a successful implementation. Using the items detailed above as a guideline and engaging the necessary key people upfront, will make a big difference in the success of the project.

Week In Review – Mar 28 – Apr 3, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on April 4, 2010

Business Intelligence or lack thereof?

by Brian Beedle, Mar 29, 2010

In these tough economic times, it is imperative that organizations make strategic changes rapidly. Traditionally, business leaders are focused on the profitability and the lower rungs don’t have the business intelligence to make serious impact. The answer lies in implementing a performance management system. Brian discusses some key factors you need to be cognizant of before you take the plunge. more…

Leadership Cancers #3: The myth of peak performance

by Gary Monti, by Mar 30, 2010

You know the story of Apollo 13. The entire ground team worked round the clock for several days to bring the astronauts back. The team performed at the peak level. Realistically, you cannot expect this team or any team to perform at that level continuously. There is a normal performance level and we need to strive to improve the normal performance level. But striving for peak performance all the time will burn people out and will setup the team and the organization for failure. more…

Timing the Flood

by Guy Ralfe, Mar 31, 2010

Timing is everything. It involves being at the right place at the right time and then evaluating the offer’s risk vs. opportunity. Guy’s current situation has put him in the right place for offers to be made. And he is evaluating the offers within his current capability. more…

How to handle any situation

by Vijay Peduru, Apr 1, 2010

Life is nothing but a series of situations. How we handle them determines how our life shapes up. We can approach situation will resignation or anger. But these are not powerful moves and will not enhance your life. Deal with situations in a mood of possibility and see a new and wonderful world open up for you. more…

Author’s Journey #15 – Crafting the perfect book proposal

by Roger Parker, Apr 2, 2010

Your book proposal for your first book is among the most important documents you’ll ever prepare. The purpose is two fold: 1) Sales pitch 2) Marketing plan. A typical proposal has seven sections described in this article. Think of your book proposal as an investment. more…

more…