From Metrics to Meaningful Information

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  To make informed business decisions, enhance processes, and drive continuous improvement, companies implement – and continually monitor – internal and external metrics. However, many KPIs and benchmarks cannot be measured with current manual processes, because manual work is so difficult to monitor. Digitization enables finance departments to automate manual processes to significantly reduce the average processing time and increase the potential to control cash flow. This makes it possible to measure performance by capturing data points along the entire process lifecycle. These metrics, or key performance indicators, can help organizations identify areas for process improvements, remedy existing problems, and help curb delays at each step. In his latest blog on sharedserviceslink.com, Brian Shannon, Chief Strategy Officer of Dolphin, discusses how organizations can use digitization to implement better metrics and eventual move from metrics to meaningful information in the Finance department.  He discusses how it is only by continually reviewing metrics and performing regular benchmarking that organizations will be able to ensure that processes are operating efficiently and identify future areas of improvement and for accelerating innovation and growth. NAGPO_banner-3

Find out on the future metrics and measurement in the Finance department by reading Brian's blog.
 
Interested in learning more? Join Brian and the Shared Services Link team from May 10 to 12, 2016 at the North American Global Process Owners Summit in Seattle, WA to learn about the latest trends and metrics used to propel global businesses forward.
 

From Metrics to Meaningful Information

shared-services-link-logo

 
To make informed business decisions, enhance processes, and drive continuous improvement, companies implement – and continually monitor – internal and external metrics. However, many KPIs and benchmarks cannot be measured with current manual processes, because manual work is so difficult to monitor.

Digitization enables finance departments to automate manual processes to significantly reduce the average processing time and increase the potential to control cash flow. This makes it possible to measure performance by capturing data points along the entire process lifecycle. These metrics, or key performance indicators, can help organizations identify areas for process improvements, remedy existing problems, and help curb delays at each step.

In his latest blog on sharedserviceslink.com, Brian Shannon, Chief Strategy Officer of Dolphin, discusses how organizations can use digitization to implement better metrics and eventual move from metrics to meaningful information in the Finance department.  He discusses how it is only by continually reviewing metrics and performing regular benchmarking that organizations will be able to ensure that processes are operating efficiently and identify future areas of improvement and for accelerating innovation and growth.
NAGPO_banner-3

Find out on the future metrics and measurement in the Finance department by reading Brian’s blog.
 
Interested in learning more? Join Brian and the Shared Services Link team from May 10 to 12, 2016 at the North American Global Process Owners Summit in Seattle, WA to learn about the latest trends and metrics used to propel global businesses forward.

 

Digitization & More @ SAPinsider Financials 2016

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L_AHERN_UserGroup_MobileAPAfter a very successful User Group meeting yesterday the Dolphin team is excited to learn about how Finance will take a pivotal role in leading digital transformation that is taking over the SAP community. We’re thrilled that several Dolphin customers will be presenting their success stories at Financials 2016 this week.

  • On Thursday, March 17, Mary Wynne and Arlene Nikaido-Lung of Pepco Holdings Inc. will discuss how digitizing invoice processing across the company’s many energy companies resulted in a savings of $3 million in only the first year of operation. In addition to these remarkable cost savings, the highly regulated company has achieved greater control over invoice processing and increased transparency into cash flow.
  • On Wednesday, March 16, Tim Waldock of Owens Corning will discuss how decommissioning legacy SAP and Non-SAP systems helped the company respond quickly to international regulatory inquiries and standardize reporting across a diverse corporate landscape. The cost of decommissioning four legacy systems was almost equal to what these systems would cost to operate yearly, so not only has Owens Corning managed to reduce the cost and complexity of its SAP system landscape, it has better prepared to meet emerging regulatory and reporting requirements in the future.

Later this evening, Brian Shannon, Chief Strategy Officer of Dolphin will take questions and answers at the Ask the Experts session in the Exhibit Hall from 6:15-7:00 PM. On Wednesday, he will also present a session on Optimizing the Order-to-Cash mega process.

If you can’t make it to Las Vegas this week and want to learn more about the trends we’re seeing in Finance, be sure to check out Brian’s latest articles and blog posts:

  • From Metrics to Meaningful Information: Brian discusses how organizations can use digitization to establish real-time view of the Finance department with key productivity and value metrics. Using these metrics, the Finance department can begin to play a more strategic role in transforming the business by analyzing the way cash flows through the organization to maximize profitability.
  • 3 Questions You Should be Asking the Accounts Payable Department This Year: Are your financial processes ready for what the future will hold?  In this article in SAPinsider Brian discusses the three questions you should ask your Accounts Payable department this year so your processes are kept up to date and your organization is prepared for the future. Hint: How digitized are our processes?  is only one of the three questions you need to know.
  • Establishing a Process Maturity Model: In this blog topic, Brian asks: “Where does your organization fall along the process maturity model?” Knowing where you fall along this model will help your organization determine the best path to process transformation. For many organizations adding technology will not be enough. By combining process improvements with technology enhancements, organizations can enable greater process flexibility and drive greater value in less time.

 

 

Dolphin and Pepco Holdings @ Taulia Connect

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mary-taulia-connectThis week the Dolphin team flew into beautiful San Francisco to join our partner Taulia for their annual Taulia Connect event.

A highlight of the show for Dolphin and many of the attendees was Mary Wynne’s presentation Workflow as an Accelerator for Your Working Capital Initiative: PepCo. In this presentation, Mary discusses how the Pepco Holdings team improved invoice processing across the company and increased the company’s ability to capture available discounts. The results are impressive! The company has achieved: $4.4 million in savings from captured discounts in 2015 alone!

If you’re interested in learning how Mary’s team was able to improve invoice processing to achieve such spectacular results, be sure to attend SAPinsider Financials 2016 from Mar-15 to Mar-18 in Las Vegas where Mary and her colleague Arlene Nikaido-Lung will be discussing Pepco Holding’s Invoice Improvement Project.

Best of all both Mary and Arlene will be joining Dolphin and our other customers as the Dolphin User Group meeting, which is held in Las Vegas immediately preceding SAPinsider Financials.

Hope to see you in Las Vegas!

 

 

Dolphin Advanced Approvals for SAP HANA Cloud Platform Highlighted by SAP PartnerEdge

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One of the biggest trends we saw in the SAP market in 2015 was the continued transition of customers to Cloud-based solutions and to SAP HANA.

Recently, Dolphin CTO Vishal Awasthi spoke about how Dolphin is helping accelerate this transition with solutions such as Dolphin Advanced Approvals, which is available on the SAP® HANA Cloud Platform.
 

 
In his interview with SAP PartnerEdge, Vishal discusses why the HANA Cloud Platform’s platform-as-a-service model is the future for many SAP customers. He discusses how the platform enables organizations to quickly introduce new cloud-based, highly scalable, innovative solutions while maintaining tight integration with existing on-premise SAP systems. Dolphin customers can benefit from SAP HANA Cloud Platform solutions, because the solutions allow them to lower the cost and complexity of innovation while also addressing urgent business needs.

Dolphin was one of the first SAP partners to develop a solution on the platform and we are proud that our solution, Dolphin Advanced Approvals was highlighted this month by SAP as part of its PartnerEdge program.

Find out more about Dolphin Advanced Approvals.

3 Questions to Ask Accounts Payable Today to Plan for Tomorrow

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For organizations that are looking to improve cash flow in 2016, be sure to check out Brian Shannon’s latest article in SAPinsider magazine. In this article, he provides some suggestions for how CFOs can challenge the Accounts Payable department to look for ways to make processes more flexible and scalable in the new year. Things to consider include:
 

  1. Digitization – It’s 2016 – is your organization planning to digitize information so that processes are faster, more accurate and more transparent? Make this the year that your organization finally eliminates paper and moves to entirely digital processing. 
  2. Technology – Cloud, web and mobile technologies are permeating every corner of enterprise IT. How is your Accounts Payable department taking advantage of these technologies to improve invoice processing in your organization? Faster invoice approvals, vendor self-service portals, and the ability to roll out new functionality and adapt processes quickly are all ways that your AP department can take advantage of technology to improve processes and drive down the cost of invoice processing.  
  3. Customer Experience – Being easy to do business with is the key to success for every organization and vendors are the customers of your AP department. What is your AP department doing to improve the vendors’ experience? Vendor portals are one way to make it easier for the vendor to do business with you. Improving the speed with which your AP department handles invoice exceptions or offering vendors dynamic discounting opportunities are other ways to improve vendor relations and drive greater success for your business. 

 
Read more to find out more about the questions every CFO should ask their AP department this year.

3 Tips for Establishing a Process Maturity Model

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New year is always a time when we think about resolutions to better ourselves. If one of your 2016 work resolutions in is to help optimize processes at your organization, a good place to start is by building a process maturity model.

ProcessMaturityMode_600x320lA process maturity model allows global process owners (GPOs) to understand the current maturity of processes at their organization so they can methodically evolve them for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. At each stage, organizations can combine new technologies with new ways of processing to gather the granular information they need to understand not just the how, but, more importantly, the why behind each exception or delay that is hindering the process.

For GPOs, who are mandated to show continuous improvement, a process maturity model helps the company put measures in place that can reveal patterns that may be emerging in their key business processes. Being able to detect emerging process trends quickly, such as increased late payments, increase day sales outstanding, or delayed invoice approvals, enables organizations to take corrective action and minimize process disruptions across the organization.

Brian Shannon, Chief Strategy Officer recently wrote about the concept of process maturity models in a blog on Shared Services Link, along with his advice on how to get the most value from using a process maturity model in your business.

To read Brian’s full blog, go to: http://www.sharedserviceslink.com/article/3-tips-for-establishing-an-ap-process-maturity-model

 

5 SAP Trends We Saw in 2015 and to Watch for in 2016

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As we reach the end of 2015, we thought we’d take the time to look back on the past year and see what recent developments we’ve seen in the SAP® ecosystem. Here are just a few of the highlights from the past year.

 

1. Strategic Business Transformations Change the SAP System Landscape
In 2015 businesses were eager to transform themselves to support planned consolidation, modernization and future growth. These plans had a wide ranging impact on SAP systems. In some cases, companies consolidated systems into new data centers or improved their existing processes to support new products, locations, and business models. The biggest transformation, however, was the continued adoption of SAP HANA and cloud solutions.

At SAP TechEd 2015, Dolphin CEO Dr. Werner Hopf spoke with Thomas Wailgum of ASUG News about how companies can prepare for these large scale business transformations. According to Dr. Hopf, by employing data archiving to reduce data in online SAP systems companies can greatly reduce the time and effort needed to realize their strategic business goals.

 

  

 

2. Increasing Importance of Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance Initiatives
Corporate governance, risk and compliance initiatives remained a high priority for many companies in 2015. Companies were looking for ways to ensure the correct retention rules and process controls were in place to prove that they were in full compliance with legal, fiscal, and industry regulations.

On the data side, leading retailer Big Lots leveraged Dolphin’s data archiving solution with nearline storage to provide fast access to archived data to improve its retail operational reporting and respond quickly to sales tax audits.

On the process side, GE Water and Process Technologies and Pepco Holdings, two customers in the highly regulated utilities and related industries implemented Dolphin’s Accounts Payable solution to centralize and standardize processes and provide greater transparency across the procure-to-pay process.

 

3. Continued Growth of Global Shared Services
Throughout the year companies continued to consolidate financial and HR processing in shared services centers. Many companies successfully used Dolphin solutions to centralize and standardize processing across multiple business units and regional shared services centers in 2015.

Most recently in an ASUG webcast,  Honeywell International spoke of the benefits of using Dolphin’s Accounts Payable solution across its multiple strategic business units processing over 5 million invoices per year.

Tennant Company also spoke about the flexibility that moving to a shared services model  has afforded the company, allowing them to “lift and shift” resources to meet different global and seasonal demands.

 

4.Business and Industry Trends Drive the Need for Specialized Data Management
There were several business trends in 2015 that had certain industries seeking solutions for their unique data management needs.

In the Retail and Utility industries, big data is pushing systems to the limit, requiring frequent archiving and flexible storage solutions including nearline and cloud storage.

In the Oil and Gas and Life Sciences industries, the trend towards divesting major business units had companies looking for ways to economically “carve out” or “cleanse” data from SAP systems. Not only did these companies need to protect corporate intellectual property but they also wanted to reduce the footprint and cost of maintaining SAP systems to secure the value of these deals after the divestiture was complete.

In Manufacturing and many other industries we saw companies look to decommission older systems and content management repositories so they could modernize aging infrastructure and lower IT costs.

 

5. New Technology Options Add Flexibility and Facilitate Innovation
This year we saw stronger adoption of SAP Fiori and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform solutions. These two technologies help companies add flexibility and advanced functionality to their existing SAP implementations without significant additional overhead. The advanced, modern user interface available with SAP Fiori provides users with a more intuitive entry point for SAP applications, making it easier for casual SAP users to use these powerful tools. It also enables users to access applications from mobile devices and tablets, which is ideal for today’s mobile workforce. Best of all, Fiori applications, such as Dolphin Advanced Approvals can be hosted on the HANA Cloud Platform. This platform enables organizations to quickly add new, innovative HANA functionality on top of their existing on-premise SAP systems, without having to make the full transition to SAP HANA.

 

We look forward to seeing what other new trends will emerge in 2016!

On another note, the Dolphin team updated our website in 2015. We hope you like the new look and feel and that it is easier for you to find the content you’re looking for on emerging trends and best practices for data and processes for SAP systems.

2015 Data and Process Trends with Dr. Werner Hopf & Brian Shannon

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While at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference, Dolphin CEO Dr. Werner Hopf and Brian Shannon, Chief Strategy Officer were interviewed in the ASUG Hub about recent trends Dolphin is seeing in data and process challenges faced by SAP customers.

 

Tom Waiglum of ASUG News interviews the Dolphin team about how organizations can reduce the cost and footprint of SAP systems with the latest data and process solutions.

In the interview, Dr. Hopf discusses how SAP HANA and HANA Cloud are driving the need for data archiving to reduce the cost of systems and keep the data footprint small, so organizations can make an easier transition to these new systems.  Other trends include the increasing need for organizations to “carve out” data from SAP systems when they divest business units. Increasingly, Dolphin is working with customers that want to use archiving to protect intellectual property as they  hand over copies of SAP systems that contain sensitive master customer, vendor, and material master data.

Brian Shannon discusses how Dolphin’s expertise in SAP systems enables organizations to streamline business processes to reduce cycle time and  centralize and standardize processes across global organizations. He discusses how Dolphin is helping business users discover ways to drive additional cost savings from their SAP systems with automation and shared services solutions that support long term business goals.

 

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Leonardo da Vinci

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April 15th is a significant date. It matters not if the letters I, R, or S are present in your email address, to do list or worry box. For April 15th marks the birthday of a true thought leader. A moment or two spent considering his accomplishments and contributions to our collective knowledge base may help us to become better thinkers ourselves.

Close up of vintage movie film strips

Close up of vintage movie film strips

Leonardo da Vinci would be something on the order of DLXIII years old on the 15th day of this year’s fourth month. To put things into perspective, there was of course no internet nor Google, no television nor radio, and the printing press was celebrating just its tenth birthday. The United Nations estimates the total earth’s population was 500 million then, or roughly that of present day North America. Leonardo had already drawn the iconic Vitruvian Man by the time America was even ‘discovered’. Yet his achievements dwarf those of any today in spite of the latest technological and scientific advancements.[Continue Reading]

Dolphin Goes Global at Financials 2015 & SAP Forum Brazil

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Well the Dolphin team is going to opposite ends of the earth today to find out what’s new in SAP. You can find the Dolphin team at either of these premiere events:

  • SAPinsider Financials 2015, Las Vegas, NV
  • SAP Forum Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Be sure to stop by our booth at either event and say Hi!

SAPinsiders Financials 2015, Las Vegas, NV

Drop by the Dolphin Booth (#1025) and learn about Dolphin’s latest customer success stories in the optimizing processes for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Management, and Finance and Administration.

A highlight of the SAPinsider Financials show will be:

Gretchen Kincade of GE Power and Water’s presentation
How GE Water is turning accounts payable into a strategic corporate entity
Thursday, March 19, 2015
3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Room: La Tache

We also have several Dolphin sessions while at the show:

Brian Shannon, Principal Process Consultant
Streamline cash management with improved invoice-to-pay processes

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Room: Mouton 2

See Brian’s Ask the Experts Session:
Wednesday, March 18, 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm

Terri Bold, Principal Solution Delivery
Strategies and lessons for automating and optimizing accounts payable

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
11:30 AM – 12:45 PM
Room: Alsace 1

See Terri’s Ask the Experts Session:
Tuesday, March 17, 6:15 pm – 7:00 pm

 

SAP Forum Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Werner Hopf, CEO of Dolphin will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil with our partner Sonda, to introduce Latin America’s SAP users to its industry-best Data Volume Management and Business Process Optimization solutions.

We look forward to meeting everyone at these shows this week and will be updating you on what is new and exciting in the world of SAP shortly.

 

Change Leadership – Key to Success of AP Projects

ChangeLeadership The Heraclitus axiom, “change is constant,” is an absolute truth for businesses today. Without change businesses are at risk of serving customer needs with antiquated and inefficient approaches and technologies, losing an important competitive edge. One should look no further than organizations such as Blockbuster and Kodak as examples. These former titans are now nothing more than a memory of times gone by, when movies meant videotape and photography meant film.In his latest article “Change Leadership: Key to Success of AP Projects”, in Paytech Magazine, Brian Shannon discusses how teams can look at change as a growth opportunity not only for the organization but also for employees. It allows employees to learn new skills, explore new ideas, and exercise their creativity in ways that ultimately benefit the organization through increased commitment.

Read Article

 

Running simply every day . . . in Life and in SAP

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I like to run. I like simple. Ergo…oh wait, let’s not jump there just yet.

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There is something calming about running for me. My runner’s closet is equipped with a multitude of patterned footwear. Selecting the right shoe for the weather, the terrain and the distance are decisions I love to make. The route – that’s usually easy – hills or no? Short or long run? Outside or treadmill? Throw in a handy phone app that logs miles and prioritizes music, and I am ready for the run. A few decisions must be made, but for the most part it is an opportunity to undertake an activity that yields great results but hazards few input conundrums.
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Brian’s Q&A Session on Optimizing AP and AR Processes

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In the rush of activity at the end of the year, it’s hard to think about optimizing AP and AR processes. However, I’m sure the idea danced like “sugar plum fairies” through the heads of many AP and AR staff and managers as they struggled with cumbersome, manual processes as they tried to close the books on 2014.

Find out how to make year end in 2015 faster and easier by reviewing Brian Shannon’s recent Q&A session on Optimizing AP and AR processes with SAPinsider. In this chat transcript Brian shares his advice on the importance of process optimization in helping organizations contain costs and improve cash flow. He also discusses how organizations can fully leverage SAP systems to optimize near-cash business processes for 2015.

New Infographic – The Path to Touchless Invoice Processing

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Giving thanks for an optimized accounts payable process may not be at the top of your list this Thanksgiving, but it is if you are part of an AP team. Just ask the team at Bourns Inc.

Dolphin’s latest infographic,  illustrates the journey that the Bourns AP team followed as they transformed the existing manual, disconnected invoice process into an optimized one that enables the company to process 75% of invoices – touchless! See how, in just a few simple steps the team managed to eliminate low-value manual tasks from the AP process, giving them time to focus on high-value tasks that improve vendor relations and the company’s bottom line. If you’d like to re-post this infographic, simply scroll to the bottom of the page and use the provided embed code.

Download the infographic in PDF format here

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from the team here at Dolphin. We’re thankful for our continued valuable relationships with our customers and with the entire SAP community.

Copy & Paste the Embed Code below to host this infographic on your own page or blog!

 <code><a href="http://www.dolphin-corp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ap-infographic.jpg"><img src="http://www.dolphin-corp.com//wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ap-infographic.jpg" width="600"
 border="0"></a><BR>© 2014 <a href="http://www.dolphin-corp.com">
Dolphin</a></code>

Dr. Werner Hopf Speaks on Controlling Explosive Data Growth at TechEd && d-code

This week the Dolphin team is busy at the SAP TechEd && d-code conference, where we’re meeting with SAP developers and experts and learning about the latest and greatest updates that are coming to the SAP ecosystem.

CTO, Vishal Awasthi presented on Dolphin’s Imaging and Document Management solution at his session “Lightweight Document Management: Lower Cost, Less Complexity, Improved UX”, which was well attended.

CEO, Dr. Werner Hopf presented on “Big Data Management and Storage Strategies Critical to SAP HANA Performance”, where he discussed strategies for controlling explosive data growth in SAP systems. If you couldn’t make it to the show and see Dr. Hopf present in person, be sure to take a look at his interview with ASUG News on the show floor, where he discusses this pressing issue for today’s organizations.

Retirement takes planning AND implementing

I went to a retirement party last week.  I pictured we would be sitting outside on the deck where hors d’oeuvres would be served with the fanciful summer cocktail menu.  But alas, it was dull and dreary in the basement where co-workers had assembled to bid their adieu.  The recipient of the send-off had served the company unfailingly for over 30 years, but had indeed found a storied skillset had been replaced by a better connected, shinier, faster face.  The retirement had not really been planned, it was more like someone created a flash mob at the behest of the auditors.  Not the type of orderly and grateful departure one might expect at the end of such a long-term service engagement.[Continue Reading]

Does the thought of Disruptive Innovation Have you on Edge?

In his keynote at Sapphire NOW, Hasso Platner spoke about change in SAP systems and applications not only being a good thing, but essential. He used the term,  ‘Disruptive Innovation’, an expression that often has management and staff alike shuddering at thoughts of what this means to their daily work existence.

As SAP solutions evolve and take advantage of new technologies, customers evolve as well. And, the change can be disruptive in a good way. What everyone wants to avoid is true disruption of ‘business as usual’. How do organizations avoid the pain of change?  They don’t. They plan for it. By planning, they can avoid the worst of disruption and cultivate a formula for transition.

[Continue Reading]

Soccer, Life & SAP Innovation.

Over half of the world’s population – that would be more than 3.5 Billion people – is expected to tune into the 2014 World Cup before it concludes in a few weeks. They will watch on TV, listen on radio, or check in via YouTube on shared screens or mobile devices in the far reaches of every continent. An incredible showing for a sport that barely registers in the world’s two most populous countries of India and China.[Continue Reading]

How Many Invoices Do You Auto Post? Find Out with Dolphin’s Auto Post Status Report

As anyone who caught Marie Bourns’ presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference knows, touchless processing is a goal for many Accounts Payable departments. Now you can find out how many invoices your Accounts Payable department is auto posting by using Dolphin’s new Auto Post Status report.

[Continue Reading]

SAPPHIRE NOW & ASUG Update: Day 1

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Today at SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG annual conference, Marie Bourns of Bourns Inc., a global manufacturer of electronic components, and Dr. Werner Hopf, CEO of Dolphin appeared on the ASUG News channel to discuss the recent success of their Dolphin accounts payable solution. By focusing on verifying invoice data early in the cycle, Bourns was able to minimize exception handling and auto post 65% of all invoices

[Continue Reading]

It’s Never too Late: A Mother’s Day Lesson on Achieving Goals

Lucky for me, I had the Mother I had. She never once questioned my evolutionary existence (ok, I was a sick kid), my artistic capabilities (OMG she actually wore that thing on a necklace to work?), or my commitment (“Mom, I’m quitting my job, selling everything I own and backpacking around the world”). No, she’s my Mom, and she is indeed worthy of a day dedicated solely to her. I’m sure each and every one of you reading this blog has similar “Phew, thank goodness she loves me unconditionally” stories. Smiling, you are.[Continue Reading]

The Cowboy’s Guide to Financials

There are analogies everywhere we look in our personal lives to what we could or should become in our professional lives.  Or how we would like to see things work.  The cowboy offers an interesting equivalence.

Fusion is the annual conference for all things Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, hosted by our fine colleagues at the Institute for Financial Operations.  This year the annual shin-dig is in the Big D – Dallas, Texas – inspiration to such fine cowboy institutions as the Dallas Cowboys, Texas oil tycoons on TV, and certainly the spirit of building a trading post on a river in what was at the time no doubt considered inhospitable terrain.  So naturally the cowboy parallels to process optimization will freely flow.[Continue Reading]

Brian’s 5 Tips for Getting More Out of Sales Transaction Data in SAP Applications

Dolphin’s business performance improvement solutions for SAP applications apply across many industries, but for Retail companies, being able to manage large volumes of sales transactions data and streamline disjointed business processes can really improve the bottom line.

This week Brian Shannon, Principal Business Process Consultant at Dolphin, discusses his “Sales Transaction Data in SAP: 5 Ways to Get More Value” in Solutions Providers for Retail. In his post, he discusses the importance of having a data volume management strategy, streamlining near cash processes, and integrating siloed data to make your organization successful in the increasingly competitive consumer market.
[Continue Reading]

Credit Card Data Still Too Vulnerable – Almost 90% of Organizations Don’t Meet PCI Data Security Standards

An article today in Computer Weekly, “PCI DSS compliance still too low”, had me thinking of several recent high profile cases of customer data and credit card breaches.  Whenever there is a customer data breach, it is BIG news. Maybe you know someone who was personally impacted by one of the recent credit card breaches .

According to to the latest report on Data Security from Verizon., almost 90% of organizations surveyed don’t comply fully with the Payment Card Information (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). While that number is shockingly high, it is not entirely a surprise. Protecting customer data is hard.[Continue Reading]

And the Winner Is…

Limousines, bold smiles, red carpets, the whirr and click from the ranks of the paparazzi, Valentino gowns, Jimmy Choo shoes, and of course the venerable Versace tuxedos. Yes, it’s time for your next User Acceptance Test. Oh wait, no, it’s Academy Awards season.

The 86th edition of everyone’s favorite entertainment gush-fest is upon us. A chance to see exorbitantly paid professionals risking orthopedic trauma to the radius to ensure they get the most necessary of pats. The plethora of platitudes to how great everyone who has been put on the pedestal is a bit much, no? Now I enjoy going to the movies as much as the next person, and these folks have worked hard to elevate their game to the level at which their craft is due some form of recognition. They already have the fame and the fortune – and I’m near certain that Ellen may have something better to do on Sunday nights – so why all the hubbub? And more importantly, why does it seem we are constantly recognizing the wrong people?[Continue Reading]

The Winter Olympics…

Part 4: SAP® Business Process Management – Inspired Individuals Can Drive Team Success

Ok, so I’ve previously coached you on the importance of teamwork in hockey. Scrap everything I said. It’s so much more important to have a hot goalie.

Oh wait. That was the little Canadian Hockey devil on my right shoulder out-shouting the Process Optimization Angel on my left.

Emotion is a powerful ally and has been on stunning display for the last couple of weeks. I am a steadfast college sports fan because, it could be argued, the student athletes have yet to be tainted by a monumental payday. That’s what the Olympics used to be, according to my fading memory. But irrespective of whether you are an amateur or a professional, you are likely subject to the disruptive effect of emotions.[Continue Reading]

The Winter Olympics…

Part 3: SAP Business Process Management – Go for Gold with Teamwork

Many of the astounding feats from the Winter Olympics are borne of intense personal drive, determination and fortitude. They are individual sports from a participant perspective, yet there is considerable teamwork that has gone into the preparation and training.

Ice hockey has superstars, yet it is undeniably a team sport.  It is fast paced, filled with athleticism, skill and coordination. When the puck moves quickly and accurately from stick to stick to back of net, well that elevates the teamwork to something more akin to poetry.[Continue Reading]

The Winter Olympics…

Part 2: Precision of SAP Business Process Management – Change Leadership not a Fast Sweep

Curling. Now there is a sport that demands precision. As well as the ability to take direction from someone insanely yelling guttural sounds from the other end of the ice, imploring you to sweep or not, harder or not, all to get the rock past the hog line, into the house, preferably on the button. You can’t make this stuff up.[Continue Reading]

The Winter Olympics Are Here!

Part 1: Similarities to SAP Business Process Management. Take the Leap!

Just when you thought you had enough of winter…

Woohoo!!! The Winter Olympics are here.  I love the Winter Olympics, because, well, they celebrate WINTER.  And I’m Canadian…there are few things more Canadian than winter.  Well, of course there is beer, Tim Hortons, and Kraft Dinner, but Winter is like Super-Duper Cool.  I grew up riding my toboggan down Goose’s Hill while one of my willing sisters would oh so graciously pull me back up the hill.  I could almost skate without the use of my ankles when I was 8.  And skiing, well I was a regular slopestyler down the hills of Thunder Bay.  Wait, what is slopestyle exactly again?[Continue Reading]

Big Data in 2014

We’re one month into 2014, and many enterprises we work with are now moving full speed ahead to shift their Big Data projects for this year from the planning and proposal stage to actual execution. For the past few years, Big Data has generated an increasing amount of discussion in board rooms, blogs and the IT press. Rightfully so, too. Big Data holds the promise to unlock valuable new insights that can help drive customer sales and grow the bottom line.[Continue Reading]

How Automation Improves Business Performance and Overall Society

dolphin

Automation continues to play an increasingly large role in our lives as humans leverage technology to improve quality of life. At Dolphin, automation is a huge part of what we do and the services that we provide. Through Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable automation in SAP applications, customers see increases in productivity by as much as 30-50 percent or more and reductions in cost per transaction by up to 60 percent.

Looking at the concept of automation at an even larger level, we thought it would be a fun and interesting exercise to create an infographic highlighting the impact that automation has had on our ability to improve business performance in addition to its impact of society-at-large.  From agriculture to accounting, and from travel agents to toll takers to telephone operators, automation has reduced business costs and improved efficiency over the last several decades.

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Intersection of Technology and Humanity: A customer-focused tech company’s CTO balances what people need with what technology allows

Being the CTO of an enterprise information technology provider company implies that I have to be on a constant hunt for bleeding edge technologies or else risk obsolescence. While that is true and the reason we read technology publications, attend technology events and build flashy prototypes, we need to always remind ourselves that the end goal of all those cool artifacts helps a business user at an organization perform his/her functions more efficiently and at a lower cost. Tapping into the wisdom of this business user, who is at the intersection of technology and humanity, is key to the success of what we do. If we keep this simple notion in our thoughts, the result can be very rewarding. In this blog series I will provide a few examples where we drew inspirations for major improvements in our solutions, or new solutions, through customer collaboration.[Continue Reading]

Spotlight on Oil & Gas Industry: Managing SAP Data and Processes to Maximize Business Efficiency

Harnessing the power of Big Data is an overwhelming challenge for even the most disciplined enterprise. However, the task grows more complicated in highly regulated industries such as Oil and Gas / Energy Services, where incredibly large volumes of data are simultaneously being created, shared and processed from locations across the globe. System performance is paramount, and it’s critical that all data be available and accessible when needed, or the process can break down.[Continue Reading]

Bill Payment is Changing—Is Your Accounts Receivable Process Ready?

Rapidly Changing Trends in Bill Payment Requires Active Accounts Receivable Process Reconfiguration. Are You Ready?

The seismic shift in payment media witnessed over the last five years is picking up steam. Paper checks—those documents for which the banking industry has developed a decades-old lockbox solution—are becoming a thing of the past. [Continue Reading]

Need improved SAP business performance? CIOs can benefit by starting with core systems.

Need improved SAP business performance? CIOs can benefit by starting with core systems.

Think it is easy being a CIO these days? Perhaps more than any CXO role, the chief information officer is coping with significant ‘new’ business challenges. Rapidly evolving technologies, an increasingly mobile workforce and pressure from internal groups to launch their own applications are just a few of the drivers jeopardizing overall business performance. Throw the push to operate at the “speed of now” and the expectations for Big Data into the mix, and it is no wonder that the CIO’s head is spinning.[Continue Reading]

Survivalist Meets SAP Environments: Hiking my way to optimization

The Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine along the spine of much of the Appalachian range of mountains. While it is an aged mountain range with time taking its toll and eroding many of its previously formidable peaks, it can still be a rugged, rocky and hilly trail. I have been fortunate to hike two separate sections in West Virginia and Virginia with quite variable levels of difficulty, and I look forward to more. [Continue Reading]

Cut SAP® Application Costs – Even those that can’t be seen

Sometimes we do things for one reason and not only get the desired results, but acquire additional results somewhere else as well. An example is converting paper documents to an electronic format in support of green initiatives. Paper is indeed reduced; but, making documents electronic also aids in minimizing lost items, enabling automated work flows, and generally completing the process faster.[Continue Reading]

How small efficiencies make a big impact on the bottom line – Part 1

In this series of short blogs, I would like to refute the conventional wisdom that only big projects result in bottom-line relevant results. While big initiatives do have big potential, they also carry big risk and companies often overlook opportunities to optimize what they already have. Introduce small gains in efficiency that have tangible bottom-line impact. In these blogs we will explore some real-life examples of organizations that have done just that. The focus of this blog is the AP (Accounts Payable) business process, but in the future I will provide similar case studies for other key business processes.[Continue Reading]

The Business Case for Data Archiving

CaseForDataArchiving

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? I just Googled ‘What is an Infographic?’ I immediately received a very long list of hits. One of the first ones—and my personal favorite—is the Infographic that explains what an Infographic is. Pretty cool.

And this brings me to the topic of Data Archiving. A stretch? Maybe not if you look at data as a ‘picture’ as does the Infographic referenced above. In ERP systems there are great volumes of data that need to be tamed so that it can be sorted, arranged and presented. But in ERP systems, the data is more complicated and how to manage it can get dicey depending on the stakeholders involved and their requirements. For corporate databases, growth must be kept in check or it becomes unmanageable. And, for those using the data, it must be available instantly whenever and wherever it is needed.

So it begs the question: Why not archive it? After all, archiving saves money on a variety of levels! Isn’t that what the boss wants? Ahh. You have to build a Business Case for Data Archiving? Enough said. Let’s go back to the picture concept. Check out the infographic below and let me know if this helps. Also, if you’d like to share this infographic on your own blog or webpage, please use the “embed code” below the graphic.

CaseForDataArchiving

Copy & Paste the Embed Code below to host this infographic on your own page or blog!

 <code><a href="http://www.dolphin-corp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/CaseForDataArchiving.jpg"><img src="http://www.dolphin-
corp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/CaseForDataArchiving.jpg"
 alt="The Case for Data Archiving Infographic" width="600"
 border="0"></a><BR>© 2013 <a href="http://www.dolphin-corp.com">
Dolphin</a></code>

Still Doing More with Less—& Getting BIG Results

Green is the new Lean, so says Alix Stuart in CFO Magazine’s cover article by the same title. It goes on to say that “doing more with less is what many sustainability initiatives are all about. That’s why CFOs are embracing them.” Not only have companies jumped on the bandwagon of sustainability and actually been successful with it, but they are finding that going green has helped streamline their business, provided eligibility for government entitlements and tax breaks, and made them heroes in the eyes of stakeholders. Today even the supply chain is being given a closer look to see if suppliers are adhering to human-rights standards and environmental regulations.[Continue Reading]

The Photograph

On my desk sits a black and white picture of myself and my father. I am perhaps no more than 7 years old in the photo, and I am standing next to a chair where my father sits. My hair is clearly in need of a comb, as I lean happily into his arms. A Toronto Maple Leafs jersey adorns my thin, bony torso. I love the picture for many reasons, not the least of which is that there simply aren’t many pictures of just me and my Dad when I was that age. I had 4 older, and dare I say, more photogenic sisters for whom the camera seemed a more natural fit. But there is also an odd happenstance in the photo. There is a double exposure that has taken place within the plastic casing of our old family Kodak, and growing out of our living room where my father and I share a light moment is an implausible forest of trees. Right beside him. I did not grow up in Jumanji, so I know this to be a trick of the photo.[Continue Reading]

The nexus of technologies is here. Do you have the funds to implement them?

Virtually every technology report and blog discussing trends for 2013 proclaimed that the “nexus” of Big Data, Social, Mobile and Cloud is finally upon us. If you’re like me, I had to consult Webster’s to get an understanding of the word nexus. It means a connected series or group. According to Gartner’s October 2012 predictions and SAP’s Sanjay Poonen, the tightly connected and highly complementary group of technologies and trends will drive information technology (IT) spending through the next five years.[Continue Reading]

Improve Business Processes, Improve the Bottom Line

An old adage in business suggests that it takes money to make money.

Undoubtedly business process improvement efforts such as automated data entry, optimized workflows and streamlined systems require time, effort and resources to make your company more efficient. New technology spending, investments in training, and downtime associated with system conversions all contribute to the total cost.

But new evidence reinforces our belief that business process improvement efforts can result in real financial gains. [Continue Reading]

The Venerable Hedgehog Instructs on Change Leadership

MauriceThe hedgehog is not your everyday pet. In fact, it is an odd choice for a pet in general; a nocturnal mammal that is not particularly cuddly. But don’t ask my daughter who has pined for a hedgehog for several years now and only recently been allowed to acquire one. Spending a bit of time with Maurice—perhaps named for a certain line from a Steve Miller Band song, perhaps not (but you’re singing it now, aren’t you?) and it got me thinking that there were certain principles that we espouse on change leadership that were undoubtedly encountered in the procurement and introduction of the little night-dweller. [Continue Reading]

Thinking outside of the box generates cost-saving improvements in AP

Improve Processing of Over One Million Invoices Per Year
I recently returned from a trip to a customer in an amazing Eastern European city where a major US corporation runs financial shared service operations for their entire EMEA and NA businesses. They completely moved away from paper-based Accounts Payable transaction processing to electronic about five years ago. Their main back-end system is SAP ERP. For AP automation and optimization, Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) suite for SAP solutions is used in conjunction with OCR. They process around a million invoices on this system every year and, given the scale of operations, are constantly finding ways to improve the overall process efficiency.[Continue Reading]

The Olympics are here, the Olympics are here!!

Every four years my summer calendar is ringed five times with the two weeks of energy and delight that arise out of the ritual Summer Olympics. There are so many moments of exhilaration and joy, pain, fear and heartache. Just like an SAP project.

So let’s take a peek at the Olympics as we might a Business Process Management (BPM) project, and see if there aren’t some similarities and lessons we might learn.[Continue Reading]

Coffee, dear coffee

I love coffee. Morning, noon and night, j’adore le café. Decaf and regular with cream, latte, café au lait and double espresso—I drink them all. And I’m Canadian, so “Timmy’s” holds special meaning to me. I’m inspired by the people who make coffee possible for me…those farmers planting and harvesting beans, the roasters making flavorful magic happen and my favorite baristas at the world’s-best-customer-service-drive-thru-experience-coffee-outlet ever. So what does my infatuation with a steaming hot, sometimes icy frosty, drink have to do with SAP and business process innovation?[Continue Reading]

Is process disruption the key element for driving transformative change within your SAP financial systems?

Economic Change is Constant. One only has to look at the latest installment in the European sovereign debt crisis to understand that even well-established macroeconomic models are susceptible to transformative change. Who would have dared to think just months ago that the Euro, the second largest reserve currency in the world, might itself be on the verge of disassembly? Recall all that testing and prep work for the launch of the Euro on New Year’s Day in 1999? SAP old-timers will. To prepare our organizations for both macro and micro environmental challenges, ‘Process Disruption’ may well be necessary to prime our teams and processes to effectively meet ever-present economic change.[Continue Reading]

SAP Workflow vs. Pure ABAP Based Task Management for Business Process Transformation – the False Choice

It is well established by now that business processes requiring repeated manual data entry, paper transport and/or approvals or intervention from a diverse group of users can hamper productivity, increase cost and introduce systemic risks in any organization. When such processes involve enterprise business applications such as SAP, they need to be brought under a controlled framework, or the promised ROI could be elusive.[Continue Reading]

2012 Financial Process Performance Wish List

I just came back from the SAPinsider Financials Conference in Las Vegas. Had over 75 people in my session on Friday morning … interesting for a last day. The topic, “Leading change in the finance organization,” clearly hit home. I had several attendees tell me that it was the best presentation they had been to this week as it wasn’t technical and provided them with real tips and insight into change leadership.

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The Detroit North American International Auto Show and Process Innovation

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) has just wrapped up in Detroit, Michigan. The show has delivered a one-two punch that shows the industry has a renewed focus for the first time in years on the recovery of the American car-buying market. There is significant potential for the US market to help pull the troubled European economy out of its skid, not to mention the ripple effects throughout the supply chain. [Continue Reading]

The Power of Process

‘Tis the season of out-of-control diets and talk of trimming the fat. As year-end nears, we often contemplate how to rid ourselves of unwanted pounds, live better, be more efficient, save more money.

The same is true of managing business processes. How can you do more with less and still operate at peak performance? [Continue Reading]

Anyone can tell you how great they are. That’s easy. The hard part is proving it.

That’s why companies seeking an SAP solution provider should demand references. When you speak with a long-time or recent customer, you get the real story about their level of satisfaction. And, you’ll learn about the nuances that made their situation and purchasing decision unique. Often you’ll find that your own organization shares some similar challenges and can learn best practices from others in the business.[Continue Reading]

Top 10 Reasons Why Using SAP Workflow are the Sensible Choice for your AP Process

Based on Dolphin’s many years of helping customers with the most efficient and flexible improvements to their SAP business processes, we’ve gained insight as to what works best in the SAP environment. Here are  the Top 10 Reasons why the ‘best practice’ third-party solutions for Accounts Payable automation and enhancements for SAP applications is one that leverages your SAP system.[Continue Reading]

Dynamic Discounting for Accounts Payable

Many suppliers are willing to agree to discounts in exchange for earlier payment of their invoices. But for scores of companies, the financial supply chain is just not equipped to take advantage of the opportunity—missing out on early pay discounts because it is too difficult to change payment terms, or the accounts payable tools simply aren’t in place to offer or accept a change in payment terms.[Continue Reading]

A Risk is a Risk is a Risk

What’s risk? Wikipedia defines risk as ‘the expected value of one or more results of one or more future events’. Technically, the value of those results may be positive or negative; general usage tends to focus only on potential harm that may arise from a future event, which may accrue either from incurring a cost or by failing to attain some benefit.[Continue Reading]

Dolphin and Brainware Deliver SAP® Invoice Automation Solution

Dolphin and Brainware Deliver SAP® Invoice Automation Solution to Global Manufacturer
Accounts Payable Solution Allows Users to Capture, Process, View and Analyze Invoice Information

WEST CHESTER, Pa and ASHBURN, Va. (February 25, 2010)Dolphin, a top provider of business process optimization and information lifecycle management for customers using SAP solutions, and Brainware, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent data capture and enterprise search solutions, have announced a collaboration on an accounts payable automation solution for an international manufacturing company running SAP.[Continue Reading]

Save Time and Cost in Order-to-Cash Process for SAP

The Order-to-Cash process is at the heart of your business. And yet, it is often surprisingly inefficient and difficult to track. Even the smallest error can make the process inefficient, quickly draining available capital and resources. Automating O2C processes and linking documents improves cash availability by decreasing the number of touch points at each step of the cycle.[Continue Reading]

Our Solution Your Way

What does this mean….  we give you our solution, your way? Business processes are inherent in any business and each business has adapted what they do to their own needs and their internal culture. Because of that, it is often difficult to find third party out of the box software solutions that ‘drop in’ actually do what they advertise. Nothing really mirrors your environment exactly. So what about customization? A tweak here and there and you’re good to go.[Continue Reading]

The New Reality for Financial Business Processes

The cover story in November’s CFO magazine offers a smart overview of the new reality for  financial executives to effectively manage  business processes in a time when even lean departments are being forced to cut back.

The article, “The Incredible Shrinking Finance Department”, by Alix Stuart, talks about a transition that Dolphin is seeing in our work—from manual process management to automated and optimized strategic management of cash flow in key business processes like accounts payable, accounts receivable and order management. [Continue Reading]

Green IT Saves More than Dollars

For some, going green means going out of the way to do good. For others, going green is a by-product of doing right by the business.

Rebecca Newell of SAP effectively illustrates the latter point in her article in the October issue of SAPinsider. Her article, “Realizing the Environmental and Financial Value of Green IT,” points out that going green in IT benefits the environment, and sends dollars right back to the company—and, typically, the IT department.[Continue Reading]