In the best of times, and the worst of times, communication is key

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. Accepting responsibility or simply disappointing others makes us uncomfortable and nervous. Yet the longer you wait to deliver bad news, the more difficult the inevitable conversation becomes. To alleviate some of this pain, any time you embark on a new project, create a culture for communicating early, often and honestly. For example:

  • Build a communications plan, have the stakeholders approve it and then stick to it.
  • Be clear and candid about risks at the beginning of a project. List every possibility, even those with extremely low probabilities.
  • Set and agree upon clear expectations at the onset of a project to avoid unnecessary disappointment and delays.
  • Avoid emotions when sharing any news—good, bad and status quo.
  • Whenever possible, deliver bad news in person or over the phone.
  • Seek and encourage feedback from others often.
Keeping your team abreast of progress developments can be tough, especially when they are negative or disappointing. The key to effective and successful project management requires consistent, candid and continuous communication.

In the best of times, and the worst of times, communication is key

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. Accepting responsibility or simply disappointing others makes us uncomfortable and nervous. Yet the longer you wait to deliver bad news, the more difficult the inevitable conversation becomes. To alleviate some of this pain, any time you embark on a new project, create a culture for communicating early, often and honestly.

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The Venerable Hedgehog Instructs on Change Leadership

The 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]

Does cloud storage fit into smart SAP archiving strategies?

The SAP world is all abuzz about cloud computing these days, and for good reason. During last fall’s TechEd conference, SAP announced a number of tools to help companies run SAP solutions on private cloud architectures. But amid all the buzz, there hasn’t been much talk on one aspect of cloud computing highly relevant for any user of SAP solutions: incorporating cloud storage into SAP data archiving strategies. Except by Dolphin.

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Can you continue to ignore data security?

As big data exponentially increases the amount of information organizations access, store and archive, the imperative to manage it securely gains attention and urgency. To protect privacy, federal, state and international governments have established a plethora of new regulations mandating the security of personally identifiable information including payment card data, human resources documents, medical, and other financial information. Industry analysts expect many corporations will need to meet the new data encryption obligations fast, or face significant fines for non-compliance. [Continue Reading]

Big Data, Data Growth—Too much of a good thing

Too much of a good thing typically hurts. Gorging on a second serving of pumpkin pie; guzzling a third hot toddy at the office holiday party; doing dozens of sit-ups as penance for it all.

Data is no different despite its obvious value to your business. Most major corporations today rely on real-time information to operate effectively, but the data being collected—Big Data—is growing faster than many companies can manage it. [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]

Big Data: Realize significant benefits now while building a bridge to SAP HANA

According to industry analysts we have entered the age of “Big Data”. On one hand, Big Data relates to the fact that today’s business intelligence (BI) systems—like SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW)—are experiencing record levels of data growth from terabytes to petabytes and beyond. Conversely, tools such as SAP HANA are becoming available to transform this mounting data into a powerful asset. The real challenge of Big Data is figuring out how to maximize the opportunity for never before realized real-time business intelligence while minimizing the impact of exploding data volume on productivity and total cost of ownership (TCO).[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]