Being Wrong Versus Being Confused

Which is worse? Being wrong or being confused?

Let’s start with some definitions. To make a wrong decision means you were mistaken and erroneous. Your decision was incorrect for the problem to be solved or opportunity that could have been realized. (There is also an immoral, unethical, and illegal connotation; but that is a different variation of a poor choice. To be confused means you are baffled, bewildered, and perplexed. You cannot be positioned to make a correct decision because your thinking is muddled and clouded.

Embracing analytics can resolve both conditions.

Are All of Your Customers Profitable to You?

It is no longer sufficient for an organization to be lean, agile and efficient. Its entire supply chain must also perform as the company itself does. If some of its trading-partner suppliers and customers are excessively high-maintenance, those suppliers and customers erode profit margins. Who are these troublesome suppliers and customers, and how much do they drag down profit margins? More importantly, once these questions are answered, what corrective actions should managers and employees take?

Analytics for Creating More Choices

Analytics’ goal should be to gain insights and solve problems, to make better and quicker decisions with more accurate and fact-based data, and to take actions. “Big data” with high performance computing is allowing organizations to deploy business analytics to have more choices and make better decisions. But the three challenges that Iyengar describes also apply to organizations. For commercial companies they seek a competitive edge typically through differentiated products and services increasingly targeting differentiated customers.

Since customer preferences are not static – they are making individual choices on what to purchase – business analytics are essential to detect what is changing. They are also needed for organizations to uniquely define themselves. Ultimately the best source to gain a competitive edge is to grow competencies in employees with analytics – creating a culture for analytics.

When Will Two Trains Collide? (an Analytics Story Problem)

Two trains are on the same track 600 miles apart traveling towards each other. One train is traveling west at 50 mph and the other train is traveling east at 20 mph. How long will it take for the trains to impact each other?

8 hours, 30 minutes
8 hours, 34 minutes
8 hours, 42 minutes
The narrow correct answer is #2.

But an experienced analyst thinking out-of-the-box would ask (1) Who would ride on a train traveling 20 mph? and (2) Who would put two trains on a collision course?

The Promise and Perils of the Balanced Scorecard

The balanced scorecard, the methodology developed by Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David Norton, recognizes the shortcoming of executive management’s excessive emphasis on after-the-fact, shortterm financial results. It resolves this myopia and improves organizational performance by shifting attention from financial measures and managing nonfinancial operational measures related to customers; internal processes; and employee innovation, learning, and growth. These influencing measures are reported during the period when sooner reactions can occur. This in turn leads to better financial results.

Gary Cokins’ Performance Management Mini-Book

There is confusion in the marketplace about the term performance management. Just Google the term and you will see what I mean.

The confusion begins with which phrase we should use to refer to performance management. This confusion in part is due to semantics and language. We often see in the media the acronyms BPM for business performance management, CPM for corporate performance management, and EPM for enterprise performance management. But just as the words merci, gracias, danke scho¨n, and thank you all mean the same thing, so do these acronyms. Fortunately, information technology (IT) research firms like IDC and Gartner are accepting the short version, and simply calling it performance management.

Horse Racing’s Triple Crown – Just Like Business Analysts

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness horseraces, the first and second legs of the USA’s prestigious Triple Crown races, have been run. The winner of both races, I’ll Have Another, will be trying to win horseracing’s famous Triple Crown by winning the Belmont, but he will need to again outrun the final stretch Bodemeister, the favorite of the first two Triple Crown race legs.

It made me think that thoroughbred racehorses and business analytic and performance management project leaders have similarities depending on which type they are. (This metaphor is also applicable to professional careers.) There are three types of racehorses: starters, stalkers and deep closers. How arebusiness analytics and enterprise performance management methodologies project managers similar?

A Poorly Managed Company’s Tour Guide

Publicly traded companies issue annual reports that increasingly look like magazines. Almost all organizations publish a brochure with glossy pictures that describe what their organizations do. In either case they are very traditional, and many look the same. What is needed is a new idea – a better way to communicate their branding and positioning message in a similar way that international countries’ government tourist agencies promote their nations to attract tourists.

Follow us on a chronological “tour” with our “tour guide” Gary Cokins, who will explain how this fictional company, Mesdup (get it? as in Messed Up) relaunched itself into a successful brand by incorporating EPM measures.

CFO Leadership with Business Analytics – Nature or Nurture?

What distinguishes strong from weak leaders?

Having all the knowledge means nothing without the right types of people. One person can make a big difference. They can be someone who somehow gets it altogether and changes the fabric of an organization’s culture not through mandating change but by engaging and motivating others.

[But] for some leaders irritating people is not only a sport but it is their personal entertainment.

Are Accountants Homo Accounticus?

I enjoy maturity and evolution models of all kinds, especially for business. There is a stages of maturity model for information technologies and others such as for sales teams and their customer relationships. What I like about stages of maturity models is they provide confidence that regardless what stage one is at – low or high – there is a next step further up that can be attained in an evolutionary way.