Take the Big Data Pregnancy Test

photo credit: Adam Schilling via photopin cc

photo credit: Adam Schilling via photopin cc

Today, leading Big Data companies such as Walmart can for instance access every receipt issued since 1999. This allows Walmart detailed insights into customer behaviour and leads to adapted positioning for goods in one example: The company now positions beer next to baby nappies since fathers shopping for nappies are more likely to drink at home than go to the pub.

One famous example of how insightful data can be, was the case of a 16 year old girl shopping at Walmart. She was sent coupons for baby related articles, e.g. nappies and baby nutrition, since her shopping behaviour indicated that she was pregnant. The father angrily called the store and was complaining that his daughter was sent these vouchers since she is just 16 and it would be highly unlikely that she was pregnant. Two weeks later, the father rang the store again and apologized since his daughter told him that she was actually pregnant. Continue reading

Do Our Expectations Cloud Our World?

photo credit: One Way Stock via photopin cc

photo credit: One Way Stock via photopin cc

In strategic decision making, we have certain expectations about the world and how it behaves. In order to find your blue ocean, you are on the lookout for distinguishing elements.

The aim is to make competition irrelevant by carving out for yourself a hopefully close to inimitable competitive advantage. These processes are often similar to paradigm shifts in sciences. These shift describe the advancement from one paradigm, e.g the sun circulates the earth, to another, e.g. the earth circulates the sun. Continue reading

Embed the Document Lifecycle Approach into Your Organisation

medium_6140792529No matter how clean and accessible your business documentation is, it is dead weight if it’s out of date. And this is the sad reality in many organisations today. Your business is growing, optimising, and doing things differently every day. Document maintenance becomes a nightmare. Continue reading

Game of CIOs

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

As you might have noticed, the first episode of Game of Throne’s new season was released by HBO. You have probably been as excited as million of other fans and have eagerly awaited the start.

HBO was probably excited as well but ruined the fun for some of its users. HBO GO, the streaming platform, crashed during the release and none of its users where able to watch their long anticipated show. Continue reading

More on Operational DNA – Keeping your Documentation Procedures up to Date

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

“We had some great documentation but it is now out of date from all the changes we made in the past years”

Sounds familiar?

How many times do we put the effort into constructing something only for the projects we run to invalidate it. This is especially the case with operational documentation. Organisations get it in place for a whole host of reasons but so many just ignore updating it when they run a project which becomes a false economy as the update job will happen at some time. Once they are established in a job, the organisation forgets that useful asset and ignores it when they make changes to the way they work.

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ATMs, Microsoft and the End of Life

photo credit: redspotted via photopin cc

photo credit: redspotted via photopin cc

Those of you familiar with this blog know that a recurring theme in our posts is planning ahead and being proactive. We like to think that strategy is a living process in organisations and not a one off and random act. Well sadly in many, and especially in big organisations, planning ahead strategically can be sadly lacking. Continue reading

5 Steps to Embedding Operational Documentation in the DNA of Your Organisation

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

So you are embarking on an operational documentation review. The reasons can vary: an upcoming audit, a standardization mandate from above, or more efficient knowledge transfer. No matter what the case, the task doesn’t exactly scream “sexy” but it needs to be done and it needs to bring solid results. Continue reading

Why Operational Documentation Really Matters

photo credit: Christmas w/a K via photopin cc

photo credit: Christmas w/a K via photopin cc

It might not seem straightforward, but the benefits of having an up to date and accurate business process documentation are much more imperative than you may think. The need for a proper operational package can be driven by different organizational triggers and objectives. Some common scenarios include:

Regulatory compliance: Highly regulated industries (e.g. financial services) more than others require strict compliance in terms of documenting your business processes. This task then becomes mandatory and cannot be ignored – it’s not a “nice to have” process.

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Getting Buy-in for Strategy

photo credit: Global X via photopin cc

photo credit: Global X via photopin cc

Whenever we kick of a strategy study in our consulting business with a client, we face a classic choice – do we involve the team from the start or work in a think tank and then syndicate the results. I was fascinated to notice that this dilemma occurs more often as mentioned in the recent BBC Article ‘The Difficult Art of a Good Brainstorm’.

There are many relevant points in the article but I think a fundamental point has been omitted that applies to many organisations, especially larger ones. It is of little relevance how good the idea is as long as the organisation does not buy into it. Therefore consulting the wider team in early stages can be critical to paving the way to future radical change. In order to achieve a mental alignment, it is important to to assess early on whether the strategy is likely to just be an ‘evolution’ from where you are today or more a ‘revolution’. Continue reading

The Importance of IT Upgrade and Replacement Cycles

photo credit: r000pert via photopin cc

photo credit: r000pert via photopin cc

The BBC draws attention in it’s article Why IT failures at big companies are unlikely to go away to one of the largest challenges in developing and defining an end to end strategy – the aging of software – for organisations, especially larger, older and more complex ones. However, not only is this a challenge for larger organisations but also for SMEs. It is all to easy for reasons of economy to avoid upgrades, bypass patches and to generally keep the status quo. The article states that maybe as much as 20% of any software in organisations, and not just big banks, is out of date.  Any house or car owner knows the perils of failing to update things before they reach the end of their life – would you drive a car with worn of tyres or eat something that has already past the best before date? But somehow we are happy to run software that is years past its replacement date.

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