How to REALLY optimize business processes


For anyone who has worked with Six Sigma or Lean to drive waste out of business processes, that first year or two of full commitment is exciting and often results in large type savings.






Following that it takes a different mindset.  Kate Tayler captures that well with her article about Panera Bread.



The simple line that ‘what they found was that there wasn’t one thing that needed to change, but instead “hundreds of little things” to adjust.’ tells it short and sweet.  changes

Continuous improvement will occur not with big changes, but many many little ones.  Be prepared to experiment, fail and experiment some more.  That failing more

These Six Sigma experiments are greatly improved with current and emerging analytics, AI, IoT and the speed to market of cloud services.

A lot of fun too.





Cannot find or afford a data scientist – yes you can.

Mr. Vashishta’s is perfectly correct in his article for Fast Company “What If The Data Science “Skills Gap” Is Just A Hiring Hot Mess?”.

Specifically his formula, Platforms + Business Problems = Required Skills could unlock a pool of candidates.puzzle key

Hire that graduate out of university with mad math skills mad mathand they will crunch and crunch, build data sets, dashboards and what insights will be drawn.  Not much.

But like Vin states find a candidate solved the business problem on the same or a similar platform before?  You likely have a person like that if not in IT, then see who is solving business problems with data in accounting or marketing.  Customer Service is another hot area for those data technology savvy folks.

Ask those candidates whether internal who know your business and processes best or outside candidates from similar industries and ask them as Mr. Vashishta would to tell you the problems, their platforms, and their data.

dataoceanYour need deeper analytics to stay competitive to find new markets, strengthen customer retention and identify new opportunities. The heavy math you can rent, but the experience and knowledge of what questions to ask and provide the measure of confidence in the accuracy/quality of existing data.

You have to look past the hyped job description of the role you need and what candidates current titles are now to what their skills fully are capable of doing to uncover the talents that are already there or nearby.hidden talents.jpg

Article review – To Create Change

right wrongMr. Satell does a fantastic job of explaining the power of leadership over authority.

– Influence versus control

– Being in charge versus facilitating

He wrote the article titled To Create Change, Leadership Is More Important Than Authority.

Please please read this not once, not twice,

but yes I say thrice.

He line “The problem is that, while authority can compel action, it does little to inspire belief.” is spot on and so many people in charge spend way to much time use logic, power and failing that threats to force people to not only do what they say, but demand people go beyond compliance all the way to believing they are right.

Explaining in more detail that “To make change really happen, it doesn’t need to be managed, but empowered.”

He offers examples of failures with his poor doctor and Blockbusters, however I offer successes of Apple and Southwest.southwest

While we can pick out where they have grown so large that failures have occurred, it impresses me daily how each company empowers their teams to drive their success whether it be technology innovation or customer service excellence.

A major component of the failures is that they as Satell states “Instead of painstakingly building local majorities, they attempted to compel entire populations.”

Whether it be an airline, consumer products company or a small local restaurant.

To implement change –    change

expansion of your travel routes

end a long time successful product

having only vegan and non-vegan days of menu items




If you just explained to you employees WHY this is such a great idea and WHY it will definitely work the predictable expectation is that they WILL full accept it.    Nope – ain’t gonna happen.

Annie Lennox herself could not help you.

You might get a few people to accept, but not the ‘local majority’ as Satell says.  You have to facilitate their acceptance.

How, that is for another entry.


Video article: big or small data no difference

If you look through this blog you will see analytics pop up often as I am a strong proponent that analytic is needed everywhere in every business.

However, as Ms. Steeley Reed states in this video, just measuring and reporting on everything is not effective for your business.  She speaks of make the data actionable.  images

More so, she points out you must measure and report on what impacts the customer and I will add visualize that data to make it actionable.Capture

Having actionable data focus means that you move away from reporting on everything and focus on both what impacts your customer (internal/external).  Then present that data in a visual manner to allow the employee, manager or executive to take action.

Therefore, big data or small comes into play here.  Start small with using the readily available data to create actionable data visualizations.  Then add to that data from the harder to get to structured and that unstructured data that requires data governance.

Be mindful here of data that is available in real-time video, social media and so forth that you can stream into visualizations to provide improved customer engagement immediately.

  • Tracking customer wait lines in videos streams to start offering discounts on product/service items that are quicker to deliver


  • Display support line hold times and hang ups to contact those customers to offer them alternatives to phone support


  • Health providers leverage mobile technology to track out-patients health conditions to detect needed adjustments treatments

Many other to be mindful of as you progress.

8 Ways, 5 Things to avoid, the 3 top tips and that 1 must do

What the heck are these writers talking about with their number of must do’s or must never do’s in these   business, technology and finance articles.                    numbersNever mind those personal health articles about what food you should or should not eat – I hate those.  There are aways foods on the should eat list that I will never eat and those on the should not that I eat all the time.

I looked at my trash folder and found the past weeks aggregation and each day there was at-least one and often two stories with a number indicating the list of the number of





and so on and so on.

Then this thought crept into my head what and who determines the right number of ways, things, tips or steps?  

writerMy opinion is it the writer who runs out of ways, things, tips and steps.  Simple yes, but likely the way it is.

Now for the other thought.  Without any scientific research my analysis is the bulk of these number oriented articles and books are focused in two areas.

Self-help – whether it be food, exercise or steps to improve yourself in general.     self helpI feel completely unqualified to comment anything on this particular area.  Mainly due to the desperate need for help – self or otherwise.

The second area is business & technology.  Business-TechnologyCombined yes, especially today where there are very few places where business and technology are not interchangeable.

Whether it be customer engagement, systems of record or process productivity, you can find someone with just the right amount of steps around that problem or solution.  Do not consider the impression that the I find these someone’s advice not worth you time.  The contrary is true.

Whether it be the 1 thing or the 13 steps there are people and businesses that have been through what you are going through now.  There advice may be crap.

sherlockBut, like a Sherlock Holmes is want to say.  When you rule out everything that was possible, the impossible must be true.

So read the good number of things to do or not to do.

Read the bad as well.

For both will help guide you to be more successful in however many steps you decide to take to make it so.


Article Review: 7 Perspectives of IT in 2020

images (1)Please do, yes do read Ms. Zhu’s full article and determine for yourself your alignment or not with her perspectives.  For me,  I believe the overall basis is that IT departments in companies will go through the evolutionary leap achieving the gains of both political and strategic power that IT leaders, pundits, analysts and so on have talked about for more than 15 years.

Hmmm, ao in the next 7 years (2020) IT will achieve the missing link of change it has strived make happen in the past 15, 20, well since the 1960’s.

I agree with the 5 through 7 is the most likely.

5. Abundance of Opportunities and Risks

– Democratization of IT:

– Every opportunity has risks:

– Governance:

6. Pervasive IT & The Planet of Apps

– Pervasive IT:

– The Planet of Apps:

– App-enriched Community Management:

7. Talent Paradox

1 through 4 for some, I really mean some (like 30) large enterprise companies and a handful of mid-market companies who have a CEO that trusts (not loves, not wants – trusts) technology and the people they have hired to run that for them.images

My perspective is that by 2020, IT for most companies will evolve into a centralized utility of network, messaging and data storage, with the application and data analysis work around processes pulled into the lines of business units.  They will utilize a combination of SAAS products (ERP, CRM, WMS, Analytics, etc…) and low-level macro object programming changes by medium to high level power users.

IT will be strategic, just not called IT.  The utility part will be service based similar to today’s power utilities.  So, it will roll under the facilities budget.

The app and analysis type work will roll under individual departments.  There will still be a need for a coordinated of data sharing across applications and thus a role for a C-Level, but it will become more focused on governance, compliance and direction like a in-house legal counsel versus a department head.




Really? – The Future Of Enterprise IT: 30 Executives Share Their 2013 Predictions

Brian Rice culled together these thoughts from 30 Executives on 2013.  So when it popped up in my email I was intrigued to learn what colleagues of mine thought would be happening in 2013.

Oh dear, I was disappointed.  The same BYOD/Consumerization of IT, Cloud, Big Data, tight budgets require innovation and IT needs to create an identity, aka brand.  I flashed back to the movie Bull Durham and Meat having to learn his cliches.  

So I put on my best Seth Meyers impersonation and read through the whole thing.  The out-liars of Data Copy Management (too many versions of the same file) and middleware security where interesting just because they where different, even though dull predictions of the future.

Where is my ready access to information everywhere at anytime?  Not just that IT will have handle delivering it on different devices and networks.  This is IT being the Dr. No Dr No once again, talking about the obstacles vs the opportunities.  This is the difference between most IT executives and engineers at NASA.  IT is how are we going to do it and what is hard about it and NASA is what we are going to do and when.

Saying that BYOD/Consumerization is a major thing in 2013 is just silly, not Mayan end of the world silly, but similar in it is really not a prediction.  BYOD is a thing now, and has been for a while.  The 2013 thing for IT should be moving from Dr. No to Mr. Hell Yes! as for one thing it would make IT high valued again, even in failure.  Because you went big, okay so you may have to go home – ala get a new job, but it would be worth it.

Then cloud and big data again, really – still.  That is like saying today you think Facebook will be important in 2013.  Yes, is the percentage of companies in the cloud and leveraging big data more than about 15%, no.  But, in 2013 will that number double or triple – not likely.  It will eek along,  just like in the past adoption by established companies of the internet, mobile devices and in the past and still now most sorrily analytics.

Mr. Rice gathered these thoughts well and a good distribution of people, but not truly 2013 predictions from my perspective.  I could be wrong and frankly hope I am.  My last thought when reading this was the responses people give when asked do they watch PBS shows – yes, sure we do – Masterpiece Theater and the like.  No, what they watch is reality shows like Survivor and Hoarders.  So, based on that here are my 2013 predictions for IT to focus on.

winking smilely

#1. Maintaining the old legacy systems they currently have that are actually running the business

#2 That one project of something new (could be big data, cloud, or even analytics), but likely a new ERP, CRM, or a governance project

#3 BYOD – yes, but reluctantly, because they will be brought in to your organization and you will simply have to deal with it

#4 Keeping your staff sane from having to deal with 1 – 3

#5 Chasing down IT spending not in the IT budget that other non-IT departments are doing to buy software and cloud services because they got tired of waiting for IT to get it for them

Yep, 2013 – looking forward to it.  distressed smilely