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Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

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Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

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Process Improvement | Insight Edge
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Don’t Make the Same Mistake as Your Peers! Minimizing Software Purchase Risk

Posted by admin on December 11, 2012 under Enterprise Architecture, Operational Performance, Process Improvement, Technology | Be the First to Comment

If you are like many of your colleagues, you are looking for ways to increase the cost effectiveness and efficiency of your organization, and one of the ways companies do that is through automation of business processes – particularly those which are paper-intensive or manually executed. However, did you know many organizations are literally throwing away tens of thousands of dollars or more on software which never gets implemented?

Here are a few real stories:

- A government health agency spent $100K on records management software. When the vendor arrived to implement, they couldn’t do it. The agency had to start over, and none of the work was reusable.

- A healthcare management company spent tens of thousands of dollars on data management software and services, but the vendor couldn’t implement the software. The company tried again, and almost failed a second time. Even now, after $1M+ spent on software and services and 18 months of staff time invested, they still do not have a system in production.

- A life sciences firm spent $500K and three years trying to implement information management software. They even went through a system upgrade during the development, and still did not implement. They are now starting over.

If you have new business software in your budget for next year, please stop and consider these suggestions about how to minimize software purchasing risk.

Fifteen Signs Your Software is Not Working For You

Posted by admin on October 6, 2010 under Enterprise Architecture, Operational Performance, Process Improvement, Technology | Be the First to Comment

In this age of technology, we rely on our software systems to automate many of the manual tasks our employees do each day. Unfortunately, however, many times the software actually gets in the way of what we ask our employees to accomplish!

Whether we made bad software selections initially, or we automated manual processes without considering how to leverage software to work smarter, there are some consistent indicators which highlight software as the roadblock to efficiency and effective operations. Here’s my list of 15:

  1. You use spreadsheets and word processing software to do the ‘real” work you need to get done.
  2. You have so many problems with the system that the IT Help Desk is on speed dial.
  3. You don’t even bother calling the IT Help Desk anymore with a problem – you just “work around” it.
  4. You’d rather walk across hot coals than log into the system.
  5. You spend more time complaining about the system than working in it.
  6. You make excuses for the system - even to customers.
  7. You can’t provide the information management wants when they want it, so you make up the answer.
  8. You have to submit a report request 24 hours before you need the information.
  9. Reports are only run once per month, and weigh 25 pounds when you get them.
  10. You are generating reports for people who don’t use them.
  11. You have an entire list of “work arounds” you use to get the job done.
  12. When training someone new, you don’t use the software training manual – you teach the “work arounds”.
  13. You roll your eyes every time someone says “the bug has been fixed”.
  14. Your system is so complicated that your manager comes to you for information rather than getting it from the system.
  15. You have to ask customers for information they have already provided.

What have you seen which should be added to this list?

Don’t let your software stand in the way – do something about it.

Consistency Counts!

Posted by admin on August 18, 2010 under Customer Focus, Operational Performance, Process Improvement | Be the First to Comment

Business performance excellence relies on performance consistency - consistency in process execution, as well as consistency in communication. In order to accurately predict and achieve your revenue, market share or other goals, executives must be able to rely on reasonably predictable levels of organizational performance.

The same holds true with communications – both internal and external. A clear, consistent message must be presented to internal stakeholders (employees, partners) so everyone understands what is expected. Perhaps more important, however, is the communication messages sent to your marketplace – customers, potential customers, and competitors. Particularly in these hyper-communicative times, consistent communication is critical to cut through all the noise in the marketplace. A small slip in consistency can make all the difference in gaining and keeping customers, impacting revenue and market share.

Let me give you a couple of real-world examples – both of these situations happened to me last week, and on the same day!

I needed to have some work done on my car. Now, I am pretty mechanically inclined and often like to do the work on my car. This time, however, I just didn’t feel like taking on this particular project. Additionally, there was some other work that I wanted to have done at the same time. So…. I called my local Mazda dealer to obtain a quote on the bigger piece of work. I was transferred to the Service Department and spoke with a gentleman about the work I wanted performed. He quoted me $110.00, plus tax and the environmental fee – “about $115.00”, he said.

That seemed pretty reasonable, but I didn’t make the appointment on the spot. Two days later I made the appointment, and arrived the following day to have the work done. When I checked in for the appointment, the Service Agent printed the estimate – they were going to charge me $160.00 for the work! I mentioned that I had received a quote a couple of days prior, and the Agent actually told me I was wrong, and that I couldn’t have spoken with anyone because no man worked in the Service Department! She even expected me to have the name of the person with whom I had spoken! (Do you ask the name of everyone you speak with at a store so you can justify your conversation later???)

The inconsistency in communication between the phone quote and behavior at the Service Department cost that dealership a sale – a sale of about $225.00.

Later that same day, I decided to have lunch at my local Domino’s Pizza shop. I didn’t want to have pizza because of the bread, but according to the menu there were pasta dishes available. The menu showed several photos of the various pasta dishes – pasta in an au gratin-style dish – for a price of $5.99. That seemed like a pretty good deal, and just what  I wanted – no bread. Well, wasn’t I surprised when the counter clerk charged me $6.99 (plus tax) for the meal, explaining that their prices on the menu were wrong! Can you imagine the prices being wrong on the menu?

The next surprise came when I received my order – a huge bread bowl filled with the pasta I ordered – not at all what I expected from the menu photos and item description. While I did walk away with the meal, the inconsistency here in communication regarding the product and its price was a big surprise. Will I think twice before going back there? You bet – there are lots of other options for lunch, and without the surprises.

Remember, consistency in communication is critical in setting expectations – of employees, partners, customers and others. Be sensitive to the communications in your organization – they could be impacting your overall performance much more than you think!

The Right Use of Enterprise Architecture

Posted by admin on May 7, 2010 under Enterprise Architecture, Process Improvement | Be the First to Comment

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a comment (http://ow.ly/1Ifgm) on an article published by McKinsey about a failed Enterprise Architecture (EA) initiative. I wanted to follow up on this topic because of EAs increasing popularity and importance in organizations.

What is EA? Quite simply, it is a holistic view of the components of an organization, and their relationships to one another. This, of course, implies alignment and connectivity throughout the organization which is one of the reasons EA is becoming so popular. Documenting an organizations enterprise architecture highlights any disconnects in an organization. Further, the potential impacts of strategic decisions are readily apparent when viewed in the context of the organizations architecture.

While EA is a powerful and useful tool, organizations must enter into EA initiatives with “eyes wide open”. If you have ever tried documenting a current business process, you can appreciate the complexity of documenting a high level architecture across an entire organization. This exercise is not for the faint of heart! However, the insight it provides is well worth pursuing. With a few “ground rules”, an organization can be successful in implementing EA.

I have just released an article commenting on on the McKinsey case study, and a few success factors in undertaking an EA initiative. I’d be interested in your perspective on this subject.


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