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ERP Implementations: 9 Months of PowerPoint; 3 Months of Panic

Adam Jacobson May 19,2016

I once ran a 30-person team that did nothing but software implementations. Happily, software implementations haven’t been my bread and butter for some time. (It’s a lot of effort and stress). But I had a good track record in this area, and I have some proven ideas about how things should be done.

Most of it boils down to one key rule: One hour of entry on the system is worth 20 hours of talking in a conference room. (Although your mileage may vary.)

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Tags: Business Intelligence

Yes, I Yelled at You—and I'm #sorrynotsorry

Adam Jacobson April 26,2016

I wrote a while ago about being less of a jerk. And I think I’ve been making progress (although you’d have to ask my team). But this week, I lost it. I raised my voice. I yelled at the project lead of a consulting team I was working with.

It was only for a moment. It felt good. And it got the results I wanted. But that's not how I like to operate.

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Tags: Business Intelligence

What Does “Mid-Market” Mean for Our BI Projects?

Adam Jacobson March 29,2016

The term "mid-market" is rather vague. We know GM isn't mid-market. And we know the local corner pizza store isn't either. But everything in between is a bit muddy.

At Red Three, we work primarily with mid-market companies. But what do we mean by that? While we often set a revenue range of between 50 and 500 million, other parameters provide a better indication of whether we're a good fit for your company.

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Tags: Business Intelligence

On Fixed Price and Not-to-Exceed Estimates for BI Projects

Adam Jacobson March 10,2016

Many of my client engagements start with a fixed price or not-to-exceed estimate. And often, as people come to trust us, we'll work within a specified monthly budget without estimating each individual project or request.

That said, I've learned from experience that a few rules must be in place for fixed pricing and not-to-exceed estimates to work. (And, in fact, most of these rules apply whether you're hiring an outside consultant or trying to get an in house project completed.)

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Tags: Business Intelligence

The Importance of Being Rational

Adam Jacobson February 18,2016

Balance sheets and sub-ledgers get out of whack sometimes. And although I’ve written about how to keep your ERP system on track, alas and alack, not everyone in the world reads my blog.

And besides, sometimes the ERP system was coming off the rails well before you arrived on the scene. So what to do?

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Tags: Business Intelligence

Five Things to Get Your Finance Team for the Holidays

Adam Jacobson December 11,2015

In my previous post, I provided a list of gifts that Finance should give their application developers for the holidays. But, giving should be mutual. So now, as promised, a holiday gift list for Finance from application developers:

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Tags: Business Intelligence

Six Things to Get Your Development Team for the Holidays

Adam Jacobson December 9,2015

In a multi-generational, multi-cultural office, secret Santa gets awkward pretty quickly. And as for those guys with the drunken, “I love you man!” at the office holiday party, the less said the better. But still, it’s the holidays. So it’s important to foster a spirit of generosity as well as a resolve to do better in the coming year.

So to facilitate the crossing of the Finance department/IT department divide (a regular topic of ours as business intelligence consultants), here are suggestions for what Finance folks should get their developers this year. (And watch for our follow up post on what developers should get Finance.)

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Tags: Business Intelligence

Numbers That Don’t Do Anything

Adam Jacobson November 24,2015

As a business intelligence consultant, I spend most of time looking at other people’s information. But as a small business owner, I do occasionally get to look at my own information. And when I do, it reminds me of a basic rule: Information is worthless if you can’t do anything with it.

Case in point: We use HubSpot to run our website. And HubSpot provides lots of metrics. But many of the metrics don’t really help me. For example, HubSpot tells me where my traffic is coming from. (It's easier to use than Google Analytics in this respect.) It can tell me whether traffic is coming from organic search or social media.

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Tags: Business Intelligence

Person + Hammer <> Carpenter:  Thoughts on Self Service BI

Adam Jacobson November 19,2015

For years and years, software vendors have promised end-users they can have the data they want without talking to the IT department they don’t like. Things haven't changed. I recently saw the following business intelligence stats (thanks to @TimoElliott and Logi Analytics).

As you can see, people still need IT. But why? Here are a few thoughts:

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Tags: Microsoft BI Business Intelligence

(Almost) Never Blame Your System

Adam Jacobson November 17,2015

It’s been a fun few weeks. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with Halloween, but in the last 10 days I've fixed more business intelligence “systems” problems than in the last six months. But in almost every case, it wasn’t a systems problem at all. It was a people problem.

Blaming the system is easy but usually not correct. If you have problems with your technology, you probably have issues in your process, training and communication. When (and only when) you have these other pieces in place (and working well) should you look to your system as the source of your problems.

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Tags: Business Intelligence