Campbells Soup

Enterprise Risk’s Race to the Bottom: Sexy SAIDI

Cue this one up for today’s soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSk5U4oHhu0 Today I learned the statistical acronym SAIDI: System Average Interruption Duration Index. It’s the internationally recognized formula for calculating the average outage duration for each customer served by a utility, and it’s calculated by the expression: For those of you still PTSD’d from high school algebra and things containing letters from the Greek alphabet, in other words, it’s the sum of all the customer interruption durations divided by the total number of customers. Why should anyone care, do you ask? Following up on our recent examination of supply chain risk under-mitigation, have you or anyone else in your company investigated the impact to your business if, suddenly, employees’ mobile phones stopped working for any extended length of […]

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Measuring the Impact of Just-In-Time

Measuring the Impact of Just-In-Time

In a perfect world, people do exactly what they’re paid to do. Trouble is, in an imperfect world, people also do exactly what they’re paid to do, but it isn’t quite the right thing. Compensation managers who design plans based on unquestioning loyalty to executive mandates can often be missing opportunity to be a better partner to the business. Case in point: Though they got the closing Biff Tannen quote wrong, (it’s “and get out of here”), this right here is chapter next in the seemingly never-ending saga of “Just In Time Too Often Isn’t.” When I first started out, I honed my airport-fu to the fine edge of a Shaolin sword. That is, until it dawned on me that “success” wasn’t about how many […]

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When Is a Software Company Not a Software Company?

From the newswire: Atos shareholder calls for chairman to resign. On paper and from a certain perspective, Atos’ business focus sounds great—among many other things, they’re a Platinum SAP partner, with lots of products and services to sell, and a ton of big-name customers. But peel back a layer or two… Years ago, when DBS (Dun & Bradstreet Software, and, yes, I go back that far) started their own consulting arm, a very wise man observed to me that you can’t sell both software and services—your focus and your bottom line have to be one or the other. Sure, you can dabble across the fence for fun and profit in support of your primary business. However, get lost in what looks like all that green […]

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A Recipe to Evaluate Technology

A Recipe to Evaluate Technology: How Big Is Your Picture?

I had opportunity this week to trot out one of my favorites from Nathan Myhrvold: “Among modern occupations, only cult leaders and TV weathermen rival the technological visionary’s ability to retain credibility despite all evidence to the contrary.” (It’s funny because it’s true). And it IS true. But, before we step away, let’s also step back to acknowledge human nature’s own contribution to all this nonsense. Roy S. Durstine called it in 1945: “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” That, of course, goes well for pundits, but I’d also like to suggest it goes double for the audience which solicits the ideological solipsism in the first place. Let’s face it—we, the audience, are quickest to lap up punditry of the […]

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Playground Rules for the World of Work

My colleague, Jennifer Dole, got me started this week with an extremely thoughtful piece on one of my lightning rod favorite topics—youth sports. (If you haven’t read Bob Bigelow’s book, Just Let the Kids Play, you really should). Because Jennifer and I are business and software research nerds, things immediately veered into dimensions of relevance to the Future of Work, and we had quite a bit of fun in the comments. The part that’s stuck with me today is how naturally and effectively kids organize themselves to optimize their play. If you are, like me, “of a certain age”, (and didn’t grow up burdened by uniforms, playing between the lines, being whistled at by referees, and hectored by over-zealous parents), you know how it works: […]

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The Launch of Zuora Secure Data Share for Snowflake Is Only Logical

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” isn’t quite the original, but The Borg absolutely deserve a place in the Pantheon of Sci-Fi nemeses right beside Klingons, Tribbles, and Harcourt Fenton Mudd. It’s impossible to work with enterprise application software and not be fascinated by The Borg. Advances in automation are constantly and inexorably being assimilated back into the enterprise collective. (Resistance is futile.) General ledger achieves automated input from accounts receivable (financials). Next, AR becomes connected to sales (CRM). Eventually, sales bills directly from the catalog (procurement) and automatically feeds commissions (payroll), which pays employees (human capital management, HCM) via bank accounts (treasury), and it all eventually becomes “ERP.” Or so we’d like to think… The first rule of assimilation (sorry, that’s Deep Space 9) is […]

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The Opaqueness of Corporate Culture

Hat tip to The Economist‘s Bartleby column (and its unnamed author, Philip Coggan) for continuing to shine the light on possibly the most powerful business force on the planet — “corporate culture.” In my earliest career, “corporate culture” both built, and then savagely destroyed, the two then-world-leading enterprise application software companies, McCormack & Dodge and MSA: In 1983, Dun & Bradstreet Corporation bought McCormack & Dodge for what The Wall Street Journal suggested was around $50 million bucks In 1990, the inelegantly renamed “Dun & Bradstreet Software” bought its biggest competitor, MSA, for around $330 million bucks In 1996, the whole sorry mess of incompatible corporate culture was cleaned up and taken off D&B’s red-ink-bleeding books by GEAC for a fire sale valuation of around […]

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