November 2010

Is the value of doing 2 and 3 year plans and 6 Qtr. Rolling forecasts to help the CFO to stay out of jail or is it more about providing a mechanism to manage the business?.

With 3 year plans and 6 quarter operational rolling forecasts with daily /weekly reporting then the next 12 month operational budgets becomes just another forecast (once it spans the next full year) and work the same. One day budgeting is then a very real option and the politics of budgeting can be managed to deal with more strategic issues and the longer term aims. That is just so easy to do and I have found it works well. What is you experience? [...]

In organizations, does having a Business Driver Matrix bind outcomes based thinking and help plan and control resources that deliver them?

What drives a business and the bases of measures of performance that may be applied? In a product based business, new product development may rank very high in the delivery process that drives revenue generating activity. Whereas a category retail business may have advertising ranked much higher. In a service business alliances may be a very strong influence so marketing and sales campaigns may be the primary enabler. In a strategic planning workshop I was at recently this table shows what we came up with as a result of some brainstorming sessions. Without even considering what industry, this produced range of external influences that typically drive any business. The table here has some types of sensible measure criteria related process activity in terms of the supply chain relationships inside a business. I hope it is useful for you too. [...]

Customers need a strong criteria set that is relevant to evaluate Data warehouse/Business Intelligence vendor proposals from common ground

One thing I believe often missing when considering vendors proposals, is how they address or show how they want to be involved in elements of the exploitation phase, e.g. inclusion of warranty period and provision of help desk support for user support and an ongoing maintenance and review programs which is typically after the project goes live. Even though many companies may elect not to use this, it shows the vendor is confidence and committed to ensuring the project is successful and gives customers great comfort on risk from attrition and change. In Information Management Newsletters I subscribe to , on November 9, 2010 Kumar Ramamurthy posted these 20 Questions to Ask When Choosing a DW/BI Vendor Partner For the record I have posted it here and refer you to the original. It as an excellent article. I have summarized here what he says to look for in vendor proposals How well a vendor has understood the business problem and the value they bring. Requirements are separated into source system , data integration and BI layer Requirements provided have been well-dissected Shows depth of the vendor experience in executing turnkey DW/BI projects The team is led by a DW/BI-certified project manager/lead Black box estimates, show dependencies to realistically limit surprises. Vendor plan shows measures of productivity gains and efficiencies Vendor shows component parts of the bid, and who owns the IP rights Quality and performance metrics capturing included and inferred during project lifecycle .Rollback mechanism or running a parallel system been considered as part of estimates Has well-balanced test automation and automated test data creation process Has knowledge transfer plan to customer’s for DW/BI team “Code freeze” time is mandated in proposal to push changes to production systems Power users have guidelines to develop reports or query the data and functionality Vendor has mechanisms to point out the code that contributes to SLA lapses Project estimate in project phases to allow de-scope nicely, or adding functionality Project dissected for the chance to bring some phases of the project in-house, Risk/reward clause Inclusions indicates vendor is very confident of executing it well. Relevant proofs of concept cited that have been showcased and shown as well tested Show what elements in the proposed solution are unique differentiators Included in his post he makes a very good point that the handoff includes a well-documented solution cookbook, run book and a meeting to pass the details on to people who will continue to support the system and functionality developed. Here is the full post [...]

Thailand Syndrome. Apparently, it is not fatal, but it is highly contagious and is spreading fast to the rest of the world.

Paul Snowdon is a expatriate living in Thailand. He is also a journalist and freelance reporter who uses his skill to get in the face of people there as he reports on local issues that he sees need to be reported. He is published weekly in local syndicate updates. Paul just sent me his weekly publication which I am compelled to share in its entirety. The highly contagious syndrome he cites is not something that is not confined just to Thailand. When you see his report on the symptoms you may see similar symptoms in people at home. It will certainly make you sit up and take notice about how to get inoculated before it spreads to you and your family. [...]

Some serious fun on why is 7 an important number?

A friend, Lynda Verran, on her face book wall recently added the following sequence of lucky numbers, Namely 7 68 33 34. “These came from my daily fortune cookie!”, Lynda said. Curiously when I looked at the numbers I found they all related to seven. [...]