“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Leonardo da Vinci

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. [caption id="attachment_12377" align="alignleft" width="300"]Close up of vintage movie film strips Close up of vintage movie film strips[/caption] 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. Today we are the direct beneficiaries of many of Leonardo’s thoughts, ideas and beliefs. He is credited with inspiring generations of painters, having himself brought a wryly smiling lady and fateful dinner get-together to the staggering heights of the planet’s most recognized works of art. And he was a master of mathematics, engineering, anatomy, geology, physics, cartography, botany, writing, sculpture and architecture. Today we over-use the term “Renaissance Man”, but he was it. He was the Renaissance Man. He knew how to think. His principles embodied curiosity, experience, self-awareness. The ability to embrace ambiguity and trust in one’s senses, engage the entirety of one’s brain in thinking, all the while displaying grace, fitness and poise all factored into his ideology. Most importantly, Leonardo could meld not just art and science, but he was keenly aware of the interconnectedness of all things as a means of ‘system thinking’. Each of us addresses the problems we must solve and the decisions we must make using our own tools and methodologies. We have likely honed these skills by learning from our mistakes, applying one theory or the next, or simply devising ways to look at the world through our own lenses. As we go about readying our organizations for the opportunities of today and uncertainties of tomorrow, let’s just for one day think about how Leonardo attended to the challenges that he faced. An analogy to the notion of business performance improvement from Leonardo: “The painter who is familiar with the nature of the sinews, muscles, and tendons, will know very well, in giving movement to a limb, how many and which sinews cause it; and which muscle, by swelling, causes the contraction of that sinew; and which sinews, expanded into the thinnest cartilage, surround and support the said muscle.” So it is true for us process innovators, business optimizers and general system consulting do-gooders. We must understand the interconnectedness of the sinews, muscles and tendons within our organizations to be able to understand the implications of their effects to other parts of our structural beings. The integration we strive to improve upon is always part of a bigger perspective. Think larger and deeper, and then take action. One last quote from the master to inspire: “Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation...even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Today let’s go forward and each draw a picture using our senses to see our challenges a bit clearer. Good luck. And happy tax day.

“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]

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]

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]

SAPPHIRE NOW & ASUG Update: Day 2

CharlieASUG

CharlieASUG

Today at SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG annual conference,  Charlie Hoppa, of McCormick and Company, and Katharina Perigo, Sr. Data Archiving Consultant at Dolphin, presented McCormick’s data archiving success story. He emphasized the importance of engaging business owners early in the process to build support for achiving.“Users need to understand that archiving does not delete the data. The data is still available — it’s just being sourced from another data store.”

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SAPPHIRE NOW & ASUG Update: Day 1

mariebourns_SapphireNoew

mariebourns_SapphireNoew

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

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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.
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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]