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. When I was a kid – like 5, not 25 – my kindly uncle in Arizona who always wore cowboy boots and black cowboy hat gave me my first black hat and a pair of for-real leather chaps and vest, complete with holster and cap gun.  I promoted myself to Sheriff of my cousin’s bedroom and took it upon myself to rule the game of Sorry that was underway.  I have yet to recapture the same feeling of control in my life ever since. In case you are bound for Dallas in a few weeks, I want to ensure you are well prepared  in case someone hands you a black hat or presents you with any special terms that may seem unfamiliar.  I shall do my level best to interpret some key entries found in my cowboy dictionary – a complementary service I offer using my advanced ‘cowboy-to-financial-process’ translation abilities (tips graciously accepted):

  • Bonanza – A productive strike in some form of raw material – oil, gas, gold, silver.  “Finding funding for my project was a real Bonanza”.
  • Searching for the Elephant – “just over that next hill there…” Ah, the promise of finite process optimization.
  • Horse – A necessary tool to ensure uninterrupted flow of data and documents from one outpost to another.   See: workflow.
  • Cowgirl – The real brains of the operation.  Clear decision-maker, best shot on the range.  Best to listen to what she has to say.
  • Rodeo – A grouping of really neat activities, feats and tests somewhat akin to an AP project.  If it’s your first, get ready for a bumpy ride.
  • Campfire – What cowboy hasn’t sat around burning logs, poking embers and longing for ‘some-more’ (marshmallows included)?  Reminds me of a steering committee meeting with the smell of sugary donuts while the grilling takes place.
  • Brand artist – Holding onto your rightful property is a trick when one cow looks eerily similar to another.  So before the invention of the spray-paint can, aspiring graffiti artists would express themselves in molten steel to design just the right mark with which to brand your cattle.  Similar to configuring your business rules to ensure proper process ownership.
  • Wrangler – Ok, the term has been widely used as a marketing brand to label jeans.  But the real wrangler is out on the range roping little doggies (not actual canines).  Can you say Project Manager?
  • Rawhide – Not only a song popularized in the movie Blues Brothers, it is also a form of whip to encourage participation by recalcitrant cattle.  Don’t feel the need to incorporate into your own Change Management plan, unless…
  • Badlands – A ruggedly beautiful expanse of land in South Dakota termed so as being bad for travel.  Sometimes a poorly laid out project plan can lead you here.  Beware.
  • Chuck wagon – Process innovation can really work up an appetite.  Feel free to mosey down to the company cafeteria for project necessities such as coffee, candy, fruits & vegetables (requisite PSA) or ground chuck burgers.

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]

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]