Updating Website

So we’ve been doing a bunch of stuff since the last time I posted here.  We launched a new product, called Mailgun and we’ve started a development outsourcing service targeted at entrepreneur’s called Sandcastle.  I think this means Profista is not just about Dunegrass anymore and we need to redesign the website.  Stay tuned.


Enterprises comfortable on the cloud?

On the heels of the Chrome OS announcement there seems to be a lot of steam behind the idea of moving more stuff to the cloud.  Which is good because our business depends on it.  It certainly seems logical.

However, I recently heard some contradictory comments from David Blumenstein at The Hatchery, not surprisingly, regarding privacy and reliability.  Also, the recent outage at Rackspace goes to show that there are still bumps in the road.  Obviously, there will be information that is so super confidential that it can not be moved to the cloud and there will probably be some major incidents that test the belief that data is safe on the cloud.

But people seem to forget that stuff gets stolen/misused  all the time and things break whether they are on the cloud or not.  Case in point, is the recent theft of documents from the National Archives.  You’d think that stuff would be pretty well protected.

I still believe the efficencies will outweigh the risks and eventually the risks will be reduced through innovation so that they become de minimis.  But the conversation reminded me that whenever something seems to be inevitable it’s always good to question it and maybe this movement will take a little longer than I thought.

Enterprise Data on Cloud

There seems to be a lot of steam picking up behind the idea of moving everything to the cloud…no doubt due to Chrome OS announcement. But heard some contradictory thoughts last night from a well respected individual in the tech space. Made me think that when ever something seems inevitable it’s always good to question it.

Why Intel is investing in social media

Andrew McAfee tweeted this post from Laurie Buczek at Intel on why they are investing in social media.  She has some great points on why improving the social infrastructure at a company is important.  The two below show how ROI can be achieved through better social media tools, although hard dollar numbers are difficult to come by.  I would love to hear more about how they calculated the “$$ impact” mentioned below.

  • Too much time is lost to find people & information to do your job:  The average Intel employee dumps one day a week trying to find people with the experience & expertise plus the relevant information to do their job. We have calculated some of the $$ impact due to lost productivity & opportunity.  Let me just say that it is motivating us to take action.
  • Getting work done effectively in globally dispersed teams is challenging: There is usually a window of 2 hours a day that team members can communicate real-time with each other.  Work in progress collaboration is often done in email, passing back and forth edited presentation decks and crossing discussion wires. Task hand-offs from one team leaving work and another entering are very rough.

McKinsey on Web 2.0

New report from McKinsey on Web 2.0.  I found it remarkable that companies have only spent $1 billion on web 2.0 technologies.  Maybe my frame of reference is just off from the amount of money in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It’s hard to believe that the value isn’t apparent to management.  I’ve been surprised at the lack of adoption of Web 2.0 technologies by enterprises, but intuitively eventual adoption seems inevitable.  Here are my favorite excerpts from the article.

  • Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor at New York University, calls the underused human potential at companies an immense “cognitive surplus” and one that could be tapped by participatory tools.
  • What’s in the workflow is what gets used. Perhaps because of the novelty of Web 2.0 initiatives, they’re often considered separate from mainstream work. Earlier generations of technologies, by contrast, often explicitly replaced the tools employees used to accomplish tasks. Thus, using Web 2.0 and participating in online work communities often becomes just another “to do” on an already crowded list of tasks. Participatory technologies have the highest chance of success when incorporated into a user’s daily workflow.

Great story about J.P. Morgan (the tycoon, not the bank)

It seems that execution was just as important in the 1800’s as it is now.

A man approached JP Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”

“Sir,” JP Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope, however if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”

The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope.

JP Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. 
He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back to the gent.

And paid him the 
agreed-upon $25,000 …

What was on the piece of paper?

  1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
  2. Do them.

Using a stopwatch to measure efficiency

I got a call from my brother a while ago after he returned from a business trip in California. When I asked him what he was doing there he said he was measuring how long various tasks took at a mortgage originator while they were processing a mortgage. I asked him how he does that and he responded, “with a stopwatch!” I laughed out loud at the image of him standing over some poor worker with a stopwatch in her face while she is trying to get her work done.

But, it brings up a good point. How do you effectively measure how efficient your knowledge workers are without sending a team of stop watch toting consultant to every cube in your organization? A good way to start is by getting your major business initiatives and action plans on a platform that logs the time it takes to get these things done.

PS Notebook

In an effort to show Dunegrass in action, we’ve built the PS Notebook inside of Dunegrass  The PS Notebook is a performance module for professional services (PS) that sits within Dunegrass. The metrics are based on real-world scenarios while the data has been changed to protect the innocent. We hope that it gives you a sense for what Dunegrass can bring to your business.

The below link will take you directly to the PS Notebook. Feel free to play around with Dunegrass. Go ahead and create messages and action plans.  You’ll be logged in under a generic user so it’s completely anonymous. If it starts to get messy in there, we’ll clean it up.

Also, if you’d prefer to kick back and watch Dunegrass in action first, visit our screencasts

Send any questions or feedback to feedback AT profista DOT com.  Enjoy!

The link can be found after the jump…

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Start, stop. Start, stop.

This is the pace at which lots of businesses review performance. Review is seen as something that you do every so often (weekly, monthly, quarterly). When you’re done with it, you go back to your desk to do “real work”.  

The problem is, reviewing results is real work. In fact, it’s more real than that email you rushed back to your desk to reply to.  But, imagine if these two things (review and rushing back to your desk for real work) were the same thing.  What if the review came to you?

It’s possible and we call it the Ongoing Business Review, or the OBR.  We’ve mapped out what an OBR looks like and even built a tool to help.  But first, let’s level-set on where we all are.

More after the jump…

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Compounding time

recent post from Tim Ferris got me thinking about the power of compounding time. Our friend Albert Einstein reminds us how important compounding interest is to long-term investing.

“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” – Albert Einstein

It made me think that the concept of compounding should apply to execution as well. The speed with which you get things done should compound on itself.

Think about it, if you get Action A done one week faster than normal, and Action B done one week faster, you just increased your organization’s capacity to get things done by two weeks. Not only do you get results faster, these results build on top of each other. In other words, your results compound.

Investopedia defines compounding as “the process of generating earnings on an asset’s reinvested earnings.” In business, the results of good execution are inherently reinvested in your business. By taking action quickly to improve results, you give yourself the ability to improve those results even more in the future.

This is why companies that act quickly outperform their peers. The good news is that how quickly you act is completely in your control. Make it happen.