Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Does your company’s leadership think that having a robust Business Intelligence function is only viable for large corporations? Think again. In today’s global world, with information shared in the blink of an eye it is imperative that all companies know their numbers and manage by them. The information that a Business Intelligence (BI) function can provide can mean the difference between growth and competitive decline. Utilizing BI has been proven to result in significant competitive advantages both for small companies as well as large corporations.

Business Intelligence Planning

Initiating a Business Intelligence function in your company does not need to be excessively expensive but does require careful planning. There are five key steps in developing a plan for a BI function that, if followed, increase your chance for success. The level of complexity required for these steps is dependent on the size and complexity of your organization. Small companies can rapidly design a BI program to accelerate the process with the help of a consultant with BI experience.

The five steps are:

  1. Evaluate the company’s  strategic objectives for critical success factors;
  2. Design the Performance Measurement Blueprint;
  3. Perform a Gap Analysis;
  4. Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); and
  5. Develop the high level plan for Reporting – Scorecards, Dashboards, Reports

It is important to involve top management early in this process. Their support will be critical to getting funding for the BI program once the analysis has been done.  Depending on the company culture however a draft of a proposal detailing the potential costs and benefits early on may be beneficial. A clear demonstration of the need for a BI program can facilitate its approval and funding.

It is always best to start the planning process with an evaluation of the company’s strategic objectives. To maximize the probability of success, any BI program should be aligned to the mission, vision, and the strategic objectives of the organization. Another critical success factor is documenting the benefits of a BI program up front in order to garner the support of top management or ownership.

Once you have determined how to align to the strategic objectives take a look at what are the expected levels of performance in order to meet or exceed these objectives. Determine any dependencies between objectives in this review. This will help you determine where you can expect cost savings and cost avoidances. An initial draft of non-tangible benefits should be developed at this time. Common benefits include improving quality, improving customer retention, gaining market share, reducing costs, meeting regulatory requirements, and fostering continuous improvement and innovation.

The next two steps are to identify the high level requirements for data collection and to perform a gap analysis. The gap analysis will identify any gaps in current capabilities to measure, analyze, and present the elements of the performance plan.  From there you can start to develop the KPIs that are needed to track performance. The last step of the planning process is to determine the high level plan for what reporting components will be needed. Generally scorecards and reports will be needed for managers and staff while dashboards will be needed for management.

Before you can complete the proposal for establishing a BI program you will need to determine the expected costs and benefits for presentation to management. This involves determining how the program will be designed. There are several options to consider in developing your capabilities for initiating a BI function. Each option will have different costs, timelines, and pros and cons associated with it.

The most popular options for launching a BI program are:

  1. Outsourcing a portion or the entire function;
  2. Purchasing a package through one of the many BI vendors; or
  3. Starting small with an in-house team.

The costs and the benefits for each of these options should be included in the BI program proposal. For a small company the third option is often the best initial choice due to the lower cost. However the cost of outsourcing and vendor packages can often be competitive and can decrease the time to adoption.

With all aspects of the BI plan identified the last step is to put them together in a proposal that clearly shows the associated costs and the benefits of having a BI program. The most compelling benefit in today’s increasingly competitive environment is to gain the advantages that an analytically focused strategy can give to your company’s success regardless of its size.

Written by Linda Williams who is partnered with Datacenter Trust and also has a Business Intelligence consulting practice where she provides businesses with assistance in performance measurement, process improvement, and cost reduction.
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Budget Season! Time to Start Thinking about 2012

by Matthew Carmen on May 23, 2011

Well here we are in May. 2011 seems to be flying by – the year is almost half over, and in the corporate world you know what that means:

Time to start planning for 2012.

This is that time of the year everyone dislikes. For operations and the overall business, it is essentially time away from what they want to focus on, and for the finance teams, it is that time when they find themselves refereeing battles between operations and business for the finite amount of dollars.  All in all, this time of the year is where the challenges of the year ahead are discussed, strategized around, and hopefully addressed.

The three distinct groups – business, operations, and finance teams, each play a role in ensuring a successful budgeting and planning season.  In the case of the business, each area – whether a business unit, product line or service; needs to have its strategy fully developed by the executive team and communicated to all levels of the business.  By doing this, each person – from the lowest level all the way up – will know:

  • What the corporate strategy is, going forward,
  • How their work will help move the company towards the goal, and
  • It will provide management teams the direction in which to plan programs and projects.

By establishing a clear direction across the board, the business will be able to have conversations with the operational areas (such as IT) to make sure that the needs of the business are top priority for everyone.

No Personal Agendas

In my experiences, which have taken place in each of the three distinct areas, one thing has always been paramount to success, “Don’t come to the negotiations with a personal agenda”.  The more emotion that is brought to the table, the longer and more drawn out the negotiations become, and feelings are hurt at the end of the process.  Many times these feelings carry forward and the working relationships between people, groups and departments can be irreparably harmed.  This definitely does not help the long-term growth of a company.

The IT Operations View

In the case of the IT operations groups, this time of year is typically focused on two major things;

  1. The planning of programs and projects that benefit the business, and
  2. The planning of the IT organization.

In the case of the second point, IT has to weigh the benefits to the business versus the needs of the IT organization.  This means that with a finite amount of budget dollars available, the IT department needs to find the right mix of dollars for the benefit of the business while having enough budget to make sure the IT department is able to do the things it needs to do to ensure the business survives long term.  This internal IT spend will likely include: disaster recovery, continued infrastructure modernization, replacement systems for facilities, server and storage growth and refresh, etc.  These areas of spend need to be voiced to the business and discussions need to take place at this time of year, at times, the business seems to forget that ongoing operations need to be sustained and this costs money. May and June are critical communication months in the budgeting and planning season.  Communicating now means that once the finance team is ready to open the budgeting tool, usually right after the July 4th holiday, the whole budgeting project goes more smoothly.

The Finance Team View

The finance team always hopes for a smooth budget season.  Depending on the work they do in these early stages of the process, this smooth season is possible.  At this time of the year, the finance team needs to make sure that its message is communicated as well.  The finance team needs to make sure that all of the business and operational groups know and understand the process by which the budget will happen, what the key dates are, what the budgeting system will include and what business and operations will need to add to it.  These are all very important, the more the business and operational groups understand about what they are responsible to do at this point and throughout the whole budgeting process, the easier it becomes for everyone.

Another area that the finance team needs to be working on at this point is the final testing for its budgeting system.  Changes to the system from previous years may have been done due to upgraded equipment and upgrades in software functionality.  If a completely new system has been implemented (Hyperion and Cognos-TM1 are the two largest systems currently in use by midsized and large companies), the work becomes even more challenging.  Lastly, on the finance side of the budgeting triangle, training the usage of the system must be planned for.  All planning sessions need to be calendared, and anyone who will use the system including: cost center managers, department managers, executives and financial representation should be included in the training. (Either a complete training on a new system, or in the case of the use of the same system, a refresher course will be needed as well as complete training for new users.)

Plan Ahead for Success

Just like most endeavors, the more work that is put into the early phases of the annual planning exercise, the easier it become to achieve success.  The easier the complete budgeting process is, the less evasive to all areas involved it is.  Remember, for most people involved, the budget process is an addition to their “regular” job.  Remember, throughout the whole process, nothing is personal, it is all about moving the business forward…the right way.  Lastly, there are professionals, like myself, that can help with anything from questions to process and system integration.  We are here to help and make your business grow.

Matthew Carmen launched Datacenter Trust along with Marc Watley in February, 2010 and serves as Co-Founder & COO as well as Managing Partner of their Financial Intelligence practice. Datacenter Trust is a recently-launched consulting and services delivery firm, providing outsourced server hosting, bandwidth, cloud services, and IT financial intelligence and analysis services to growing businesses. Follow Datacenter Trust on Twitter @datacentertrust
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I recently attended Adtech in San Francisco, a digital marketing conference in US.  And some of the insights I got from speaking to industry experts and thought leaders validated my initial perception that mobile marketing and M-commerce is at the onset of taking off here in the US and in Asia with Japan being the only leader in this space. It reminded me of my days when I was getting out of Engineering school back in 1996.

As an Electronics and Communication Engineering graduate, I landed in the emerging wireless industry at the time. I was probably the only one who even had a wireless phone based on GSM technology (thanks to the wireless service provider company I was working for at that time). It was clear to me that I was at the intersection of the biggest mobile revolution that would change the world. And it did.

From feature phones to iPhones to Andriod Phones, the world of mobile communication has come a long way. And just like we were at the helm of wireless communication over fifteen years ago, I believe that we are now at the intersection of the biggest revolution at the intersection of  M-commerce and Mobile marketing.

Here are some of my observations:

The New Media renaissance: When SMS marketing was experimented with, it took a lot of heat from the mobile users.But with guidelines that were put in place by the mobile operators; mobile marketing via SMS has expanded rapidly in Europe and Asia as a new channel to reach the consumer. Now the industry is looking at mobile as not only a way of “Targeting” users but to become “Business solutions”. I love that I can use location based services by some cell phone networks as a way to send custom advertising and other information to cell-phone subscribers based on their current location.

The Mobile web : We all know that FB gives marketers access to over 200M users growing exponentially. But another statistics that is mind boggling is that 65M users are accessing FB through mobile devices.  Infact mobile FB users are 50% more active on FB than the rest of the users. And the 80 mobile operators in over 60 countries are to deploy FB mobile products in the coming future. Advertisers are increasingly using the mobile Web as platform to reach consumers. The total value of advertising on mobile was 2.2 billion dollars in 2007. A recent study by the Online Publishers Association reports that about one-in-ten mobile Web users said they have made a purchase based on a mobile Web ad, while 23% said they have visited a Web site, 13% said they have requested more information about a product or service and 11% said they have gone to a store to check out a product.

M-commerce: Gives the ability to conduct commerce using a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, a Personal digital assistantPDA, a smartphone, or other emerging mobile equipment such as dashtop mobile devices. Everything that you ever got from your AppStore on iPhone falls in this category. But this is reaching new heights when game developers bring out games like we city where you are required to get ZAP from Zap store within the game or in Angry birds, get frustrated in clearing a session and get power to get through it.

What will be the next big thing? Ever wondered about a mobile social network…keep a watch…its coming soon.

DD-new-pic-headshot Contributed by Deepika Bajaj, President and Founder, Invincibelle, LLC and co-founder, ActiveGarage (the company behind 99tribes). Deepika is also the author of the book DiversityTweet: Embracing the growing diversity in our world and Pink and Grow Rich:11 Unreasonable Rules for Success You can follow Deepika on Twitter at invincibelle
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Week In Review: Mar 13 – Mar 19, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on March 20, 2011

Why the iPad2 and a good datacenter might be all you’ll need!

by Marc Watley, Mar 14, 2011

The time of the tablet has clearly arrived as evidenced by Marc’s informal survey of his flight form New York to San Francisco. You can be as productive with an iPad (and soon iPad2), if not more. Lugging a heavy laptop from meeting to meeting is not necessary anymore. But before you run off to buy a tablet, you need to understand some caveats. more…

Project Reality Check #13: Embracing the Project Fog

by Gary Monti, Mar 15, 2011

No project plan is perfect. It’s usually what the team thinks will work based on certain assumptions and drawn from a large universe of possible solutions. As the project starts, “things happen” and the fog begins to roll in. You can dispel the fog by embracing it. The solution is the fog’s equal in terms of appearance and a countermanding positive performance. It is the team’s wisdom focused into a new or modified deliverable and/or process commonly called the workaroundmore…

Social Media and Tribes #31: Social Media comes through during Japan crisis

by Deepika Bajaj, Mar 16, 2011

In the recent Japan quake, most infrastructure was knocked out, but interestingly Internet availability remains relatively unaffected. And what is most compelling is that Japan turned to social media for connecting with their loved ones. Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets from Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute. Facebook again helped in not only connecting friends and family but also became a broadcast channel for people to share their updates and checkin with their friends. Youtube and blogs became instrumental in giving people eyes into the disaster ridden areas with the help of citizen journalism. more…

Flexible Focus #45: My Cup Runneth Over

by William Reed, Mar 17, 2011

In our pursuit of prosperity, we tend to take for granted the blessings that we already have in abundance. The Mandala Chart looks at wealth as part of a larger mosaic, and abundance as the experience of blessings in 8 areas of life: health, business, finances, home, society, character, learning, and leisure. The real appreciation of what we already have begins with gratitude. And gratitude grows into giving, and is a principle seen everywhere in nature. The quality of abundance is not something to experience in solitude. It starts with the appreciation that your cup runneth over even now, and that it gets even better when you share your blessings with others. more…

Leader driven Harmony #16: Rely on the most reliable person – YOU!

by Mack McKinney, Mar 18, 2011

With the horror of the Japanese tsunami catastrophe still unfolding, ask yourself this.  If there was a 9.0 scale earthquake in the city whereyou live and you managed to survive it, what would you do then? Well, it is time for you to go back to the basics and learn some fundamental survival skills. You don’t need to move into a cabin in the wild and become a fully self-contained homesteader.  But adding a few basic skills will improve your self-confidence and your sense of self-reliance.. more…

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Not that one would be able to tell the difference, but I’m writing this article while flying back to San Francisco from a great week of meetings in New York, and I’m absolutely convinced of two things:

  1. Lugging a laptop around from meeting to meeting is overrated; and
  2. The iPad makes it ridiculously easy to be just as productive on the road. (Oh and 3, as if it weren’t blatantly obvious to anyone who’s flown them: Virgin America = love.) By the time this article publishes, the iPad2 will be shipping, which will present a faster, lighter, longer-lasting experience.

Informal survey time: This flight is just about full, and looks like half of my fellow passengers are using some type of mobile device: iSomethings, Androids, and iPads. (Sorry Motorola, love the Xoom but none spotted around this nightclub-in-the-sky.) I counted maybe four or five laptops, and about 8 iPads.

The time of the tablet has clearly arrived.

Now anyone who has or does carry a laptop with them, you are with me on this, right? Seriously, it’s 2011 and the average laptop is still heavy (6lbs!). The exception might be the MacBook Air 1.86Mhz – a slick machine for sure, but make a move in that direction and $1,600 will need to make a move from your wallet. For less than half this cost you can have a fairly nicely-loaded iPad2 3G.

Now before you drop this post like a hot skillet and rush off to the Apple Store, you need to know a few things. The iPad is indeed quite cool, but a full-fledged laptop it isn’t, so some sacrifice is definitely necessary. Making the iPad your primary road machine requires having some proverbial ducks lined up first:

  1. Email.  The good news here is that the native Mail app works nicely for just about all email needs. The only drawback is that if you’re a Salesforce user, you’re out of luck for a mail-to-Salesforce sync with the iPad.
  2. Documents & spreadsheets. There is currently no MS Office for iPad. Sad, I know. However there are workarounds for working with documents and sheets: Google Docs works pretty well with iPad, and Safari’s use of HTML5 caches your work in case of a connection interruption. Also, apps like Citrix Receiver (for Xen users) and LogMeIn Ignition will connect you to your laptop or other machine back at the office.  I understand that Apple’s own iWork for iPad app is pretty good, though apparently has limitations if you need to convert to MS Office formats.
  3. Presentations. Keynote for iPad allows you to create all the decks you need, or better yet edit existing PowerPoint files. Since most meetings tend to be between two or three people, presenting from the iPad itself is a great, intimate way to talk someone through your deck. For formal presentations, just use the A/V dongle and you’re all set. Need to drop some Photoshopped goodness into your deck? There’s an app for that.
  4. Backoffice apps. Of course while on the road you’ll need to stay connected; your business juice running back in your datacenter.  Salesforce and most other CRM apps are web-based, so you’re already covered here. Connecting to your company’s systems is possible using the native Cisco and other supported VPN protocols. Datacenter providers are themselves releasing server management apps for the iPad. Rackspace, for example, just released an updated version of their feature-packed admin app for iPad, and I’d expect Terremark and the other major players to follow suit.
  5. File management. Storage space is key here, and since there (still) is no support for SD cards with the iPad2, I’d recommend getting the 64GB version. Given almost ubiquitous WiFi or 3G, both Dropbox and Google Docs are two smart ways to manage and backup files from the iPad.

If you happen not to be an Apple or iPad fan, I’d still recommend considering a tablet versus a laptop as your ‘road dog’. (Motorola Xoom is the best of this bunch at the moment, IMHO.) The light weight, size, decent-sized screen, and connectivity to your datacenter and business applications presents a compelling case for replacing that heavy old laptop. Your shoulders will thank you, too!

Written by Marc Watley, Co-Founder & CEO of Datacenter Trust and CMO at Reppify. Datacenter Trust is an IT consulting and services delivery firm, helping growing businesses make smart decisions from sound financial analysis and business intelligence. Reppify is a leading-edge technology company pioneering the use of social media data to drive better business decisions. Follow on Twitter: Datacenter Trust @datacentertrust and Reppify @reppify
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7 Key Strategies for designing an Analysis based Company

by Linda Williams on February 16, 2011

In today’s fast changing environment being an analysis based company is critical to survival and profitability. Different industries will have different needs for analysis but there are some key components of an analytical strategy that are foundational to the majority of businesses. Here are the top 7 strategies for designing an Analytical Strategy:

  1. Taking an existing business model and innovating against it: Some of the most successful companies over the last decade have been innovators in their space: Netflix, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Priceline. Each took an existing model and made compelling technological and structural changes. This model can be used by other sectors to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies.
  2. Keeping aware of changes in the technical environment and quickly growing your offerings to take advantage of newly emerging trends: The pace of technological change has been steadily increasing and businesses that miss these trends miss opportunities to thrive. For example, Netflix moved from postal delivery of movies to downloads on laptops and WII based systems and now is moving into offering content on iPhones and iPads. Its competitors are scrambling to catch up as evidenced by Blockbuster’s recent filing for bankruptcy.
  3. Developing an easy interface for customers, customizable to their interests: Customers have come to expect near instant response to changing orders, tracking, and complaints. Using technology is part of this equation but it should also include value- added services such as presenting relevant suggestions on what else they may find valuable either in products or shipping options. This is seen in the use by Amazon and Netflix of making recommendations or suggestions for new orders given past orders.
  4. Focusing on listening to the customer to develop and improve your service; capitalize on complaints customers have with your competitors: One of the key differentiators for companies is their real (or perceived) focus on the customer. People have come to expect superior service and are quick to go to a competitor when they don’t get it. It is critical to develop robust customer service capabilities for handling questions, complaints, and surveying customers on speed of delivery. Social media blogs are now an expected forum for customers to use to exchange ideas and suggestions.
  5. Offering a variety of service plans/products at several price points: This feature was a key to Netflix’s initial strategy which was to get customers to try their new delivery service – who can’t afford $4.99 per month. Then there is a simple upgrade plan with many levels that is flexible to meet anyone’s needs. Again, the pricing plans are very customer focused. This same approach could be used for pricing services for a support service giving various price points each with a higher level of services.
  6. Designing logistics so as to ensure cost effective, fast delivery: Logistics are pivotal to any business providing a product especially as the business expands internationally. Any product business must be able to deliver their goods/services in a timeframe that not only meets their customer’s needs but exceeds them.
  7. Having a data-driven culture that supports your strategy, direction, and profitability: Successful companies rely on using data-driven information to strengthen their product offerings and emerge ahead of the competition. This includes being able to identify top purchasers based on profitability, sales by market segment, or potential. Having a robust marketing analytics program has now become indispensible to providing valuable insight to drive the company’s strategy, direction, and profitability.

In summary, the increasingly competitive environment makes it critical to gain the advantages that an analytically focused strategy can give to your company’s success

Written by Linda Williams who is partnered with Datacenter Trust and also has a Business Intelligence consulting practice where she provides businesses with assistance in performance measurement, process improvement, and cost reduction.
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Week In Review : Feb 6 – Feb 12, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 13, 2011

Developing Organizational Bench Strength

by Sean Conrad, Feb 7, 2011

Identifying your core, differentiating competencies, and then developing them in your entire workforce, but especially in your high potential employees helps to ensure your organization has the bench strength it needs to compete and succeed. Developing bench strength is about developing pools or groups of employees, not just individuals. It’s vital that you identify these high potential employees. If they’re valuable to you, they’re likely also valuable to your competitors and to companies in other industries. more…

Project Reality Check #8: Project Execution – Fantasy vs. Reality

by Gary Monti, Feb 8, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished” is a common project reality. It happens in spite of the best of intentions because of the disconnect between the various truth systems. One of the project manager’s jobs is working the interfaces between all those truth systems and doing so in a way their integrity remains intact. more…

Brilliant advertisements = Phenomenal Sales. True or False?

by Vijay Peduru, Feb 9, 2011

Don’t expect your product to sell more with brilliant ads and average product. 1984 Superbowl commercial for Macintosh computers is a great example. This strategy does not work in the Industrial age anymore. A product has to be first really useful to the customers before advertising helps. Now we need remarkable products or remarkable ideas, which can spread virally. more…

Flexible Focus #40: The 8 frames of life: Society

by William Reed, Feb 10, 2011

In today’s world, your place in society is not longer controlled by birth, circumstance or fortune. The amazing impact of technology to connect people and facilitate communication is firmly put you in control of your personal identity. There is plenty of good and generous advice searchable on the Internet about personal branding through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, and many other popular social networks. The challenge is not so much how to get online but rather why, knowing your role, mission, and purpose in engaging in Social Media. Download a Social Media Mandalato help you think about which aspect of social media you might want to include or improve. more…

Leader driven Harmony #11: Know your Boss’s job and Your Replacement’s Name

by Mack McKinney, Feb 11, 2011

Succession planning in some organizations happen more methodically and maybe only for key positions. But in most cases, it may not be thought out or planned for. And when circumstances arise, you may be in your boss’s shoes… soon. You never know. Learn about how to get ready to take your boss’s job. more…

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Week In Review : Jan 16 – Jan 22, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on January 23, 2011

Still busy? – Even with all the productivity enhancing gadgets

by Vijay Peduru, Jan 17, 2011

A recent article in NYT  talked about how kids are wired for distraction by always being online . Every Gadget they use is connected to the internet and the kids are always distracted. It is not just the kids even we grown-ups do this. Each one of us wants distractions and these tools are just another avenue for our distractions. We want distractions because we want to escape from things which are bothering us. Choose to face the problem and use the time previously used for distractions for more enjoyable tasks. more…

Free eBook: Freedom, money, time and the key to Creative Success

by Himanshu Jhamb, Jan 18, 2011

In Mark McGuinness’ own words: Creative people are those who work hard, but because they love what they do, it doesn’t feel like work. Your key to success doesn’t cost a dime… Get your FREE copy of Freedom, Money, Time and the Key to Creative Success by clicking here OR by going directly to the download page. It’s a light read – 34 pages in all. And it’s full of practical advice you can apply to your own situation. more…

Project Reality Check #5: The Devil is in the Details

by Gary Monti, Jan 19, 2011

Expected Monetary Value (EMV) connects the customer with the team. This tool is very powerful. At the core, an EMV calculation comprises probability times impact to get a weighted number. The EMV model is a great way to connect with stakeholders and work rationally while keeping relationships intact. more…

Flexible Focus #37: Navigate with Nanba!

by William Reed, Jan 20, 2011

Earlier in this series in an article called Mobile Mandala, we introduced an exciting new iPad Application called theMandalaChart for iPad, which is available in the iTunes Store. We are proud to announce the first of these templates, a set of 30 Mandala Charts for the iPad application called the Nanba Diary. These pages explain how the MandalaChart and Nanba Diary work for you. more…

Leader driven Harmony #8: Get a FIRE going in Your Belly!

by Mack McKinney, Jan 21, 2011

Let’s pretend you have a major, life-threatening disease and are seeking treatment.  Do you want to be treated by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse who just kinda likes their job?  Who just muddles through the day?  Who is about as good at the job as most other physicians?  OF COURSE NOT! Same applies to you if you are providing some service or product to someone. In this article Mack tells you how do you get to be the best and how you can rise past the others in your field and become the “go-to” person?. more…

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Week In Review : Jan 2 – Jan 8, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on January 9, 2011

ROI for Business Intelligence

by Matthew Carmen, Jan 3, 2011

There are many other direct and indirect efficiencies and benefits that can be realized through the proper planning and implementation of BI tools and systems.  The more end-user groups that participate in the planning of a company’s BI system, the easier it becomes to change the ultimate corporate culture. Once the buy-in from the users is attained, the real savings begin, and a platform to accelerate corporate growth now exists. more…

Project Reality Check #3: Hangman – The Triple Constraint

by Gary Monti, Jan 4, 2011

Project management has a lot in common with the game “Hangman” in that the project manager is expected to figure out what the stakeholder(s) in control want without them telling the PM directly. But project managers also have to ensure sufficient time and money are left to implement the scope. This is the triple constraint. more…

Keys to a successful Strategic Planning Process

by Steve Popell, Jan 5, 2011

Marrying the Vision and Mission statements is essential, because it helps to get across to your employees how truly important each of their jobs is in the grand scheme of things. You want your employees to make the connection between them. If your strategic planning group crafts meaningful Vision and Mission statements, you will create an environment in which this kind of connection will be a small step, not a leap. more…

Flexible Focus #35: Move less, Attract more

by William Reed, Jan 6, 2011

The abundance mentality is a shift in mindset, a broader and more generous view. It is also the realization that you are not stuck with what you start with. Regular practice with the Mandala Chart gives you the ability to take any idea and quickly multiply it by eight to generate new ideas, applications, perspectives, or connections. more…

Leader driven Harmony #6 : Failure is required (Part I)

by Mack McKinney, Jan 7, 2011

It is important that you fail in order to succeed. When learning a new skill, you have to be allowed to fail. If not, you will not be prepared to face situations in real life and you may panic in those situations. more…

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Week In Review : Dec 19 – Dec 25, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on December 26, 2010

Reaching Corporate goals using Business Intelligence

by Matthew Carmen, Dec 20, 2010

Noble intentions expressed in a company’s mission statement do not provide an actionable corporate strategy. But this strategy is rarely known by the “workers” who are the majority of the workforce and the operational part of the company. Business Intelligence (BI) is key to successfully aligning corporate operations with its strategy in order to achieve its goals and mission. But what exactly is BI? more…

Project Reality Check #1: The Challenge!

by Gary Monti, Dec 21, 2010

No matter which part of the world you are in, project management is always challenging or you can even say nightmarish. And the reasons for this are the same: Lack of clear requirements, Arbitrary dates / budget, inadequate resources / skill, etc. So how does a project manager get the job done? Answer is, by sticking to the simple path grounded in the 9 areas of project management. But the secret lies in completing a simple sentence  that will be explored in this series: If everything were okay I would see ________________. more…

Social Media and Tribes #25: Sharing ideas gets a discount this holiday season!

by Deepika Bajaj, Dec 22, 2010

Most writers don’t make a living out of simply writing. They do it to change the world, like James Baldwin. Or because like Seth Godin believes, there is no better way to spread ideas. For Deepika, it is because of the power of sharing ideas through social media. That’s what she discovered while writing PINk and Grow RICH. She also found an aspect of “creativity” and “community” along the way. So, as a gift this holiday season, she’s taking 40% off the price on her ebook (regularly priced at $9.95,now $5.99). Gift it to as many people this holiday season…and become an agent to spread the ideas. more…

Flexible Focus #33: The Wonderful World of Flow

by William Reed, Dec 23, 2010

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi drew the world’s attention to an ancient phenomenon which is at that core of what makes life worth living, the state of being in Flow. The state of being in Flow is associated with intense enjoyment, deep concentration, and optimal performance. He describes it as a state of ecstasy, as if standing outside of oneself and watching things unfold effortlessly. You can download a PDF Mandala on the BENEFITS OF DEEP PRACTICE, and use it as a reminder of how to enter the Flow state through the art or discipline you practice. more…

Leader driven Harmony #4: How to make your writing Crisp, Flavorful and Satisfying (Part II)

by Mack McKinney, Dec 24, 2010

Last week’s post discussed the importance of understanding the purpose of anything you write, long before you hit the first key on the old laptop.  This post discusses the crucial importance of understanding the likely audience of your document, the main content and the most appropriate style for your purpose. more…

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