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  1. What your Customer sees when you’re NOT collaborative internally!

    612 Comments

    So I spent some time at a Radisson Hotel at the Waterpark of America this past weekend. Let’s just say the housekeeping and booking process did not live up to the standards I am used to when staying at a nationally recognized chain of hotels. I proceeded to express my views upon checking out on Tuesday August 27th:

    Radisson Tweet

    I did send Dana an email on August 28th, 2013. Now the problem is I am sending an email to a general email box, NOT Dana. So who knows if my email will be read and addressed. Sometimes these tweets are sent to passify us Customers thinking we will not bother doing anything further after venting. Yeah not in my case after the money investment we made in their establishment! What happens next is that I look in my inbox to see the following two emails. The interesting thing is they first want me to come back right away with a discount….did you read my tweet (and if you think I have not gone back after stating something like this your wrong!). Then they ask me how things went and asked me to take time to help them improve…really?

    First email

     

    Then the 2nd email asking how my stay was from of all people the COO! Come on really this is so automated and fake. I understand someone’s name has to be on it, but there has to be better ways to do this. Also you know where this originated from right?! The first thing I did was look him up on all the social networks….YUP you guessed it. No presence what so ever. You are begging for trouble with this, you know that right Radisson and CarlsonRezidor Hotel Group. If he is not going to use it get rid of it. Your customers that value that channel do not value the fake attempt to be apart of it.

    Second Email

    Now Javier does have a good profile on LinkedIn….I say good because all he is doing is gathering connections…but who I am to judge. But if I was in charge of sending out the above emails I would think twice about using this profile on the signature. Because there is so much more He and team could be doing besides this cold, unfriendly, see through it automated email. Trust me lot more positive customer engagement and internal employee collaboration could be happening.

    Javier Linkedin

    If your teams were more collaborative these two emails would NOT have been sent and Dana would’ve taken over as soon as She or He tweeted back to ensure resolution and nothing else adds gas to the fire. Your current automated systems, fragmented and disorganized departments serving your customers can NOT do this today…or can they?

    Offer from the Radisson that was given by the Customer Support Team not the Hotel itself. They never called. Wrong move again shows disconnect between corporate and regional properties. Also if I am a regional hotel operator I want to get as close to my customers as a I can. 6 degrees of circle of influence!

    Radisson Offer

     

    You have HIGHLY educated, passionate, and motivated people that do want to help customers and even better make their experiences exceed expectations. Let them solve problems together for the good of the company not some department goal or objective. Your customers or becoming digitally savvy and this will become a hourly occurrence by all your customers. Hashtags are mainstream NOW. Wait til more people start understanding the power they have as a consumer. You will have to adapt and starting internally is the easiest step. Well maybe not easiest, but it will be the most effective!

     

  2. The First Social Salsa: How relationships make dreams come true

    2 Comments

    Todd's Salsa

     

    The other day I received an email from [ilink url=”http://twitter.com/audiencemachine”]Todd Tweedy[/ilink] of [ilink url=”http://www.audiencemachine.com”]Audience Machine[/ilink] that really warmed my heart (no I was not eating his salsa at the time, more on that further on). Finally a story about how you leverage personal relationships and the social interwebs to make an idea come to life.

    Todd has been experimenting with perfecting his salsa reciepes and felt he was onto something that people would love to eat.  He brought some to a local [ilink url=”http://www.freshtart.net/”]Minnesota food blogger[/ilink] [ilink url=”https://twitter.com/freshtartsteph”]Stephanie Mayer[/ilink] and she convinced him to go for it.  So Todd did and leveraged every relationship on and offline to get his dream off the ground.  I will let the email speak for itself about how [ilink url=”http://www.wedge.coop/”]Todd got his dream on his first shelf at the Wedge Co-Op in Minneapolis[/ilink]

    You can check out all the latest developments of this story at [ilink url=”https://www.facebook.com/toddssalsa”]Todd’s Salsa over on Facebook[/ilink], because I have a feeling it will be a long one. And speaking of Facebook he was just at their headquarters with his Salsa!

    Happy Thursday!  

    I hope you’re doing well.  I have some news to share…  I’m a Salsa Maker!

    I started making three types of fresh refrigerated salsa that are available exclusively at The Wedge Co-op – www.wedge.coop – in Minneapolis, MN.

    My salsa line is called Todd’s Salsa.  I use nine types of chiles to make a Fresh Roasted Tomatillo Salsa using two 40 pound cases of fresh tomatillos to make 1 case of my roasted tomatillo salsa, a classic red salsa with Roma tomatoes from a dedicated field that just grows premium Romas, and a Hot Roast Chile Salsa that is about 80% chiles.

    Facebook will be my site’s my presence online => http://www.facebook.com/toddssalsa  I hope you’ll give my page some LIKE love and post a message on my wall.

    What makes my salsas The First Social Salsa.  The President Obama hasn’t tried them — yet!!  Besty – little help here!  But, I was on AIM with Len Bilello from USAToday talking about salsa of all things.   And, I shared the story of how I almost missed my launch because my printer came back with a print date that was two-weeks too late while I was playing golf on a Thursday afternoon!  So what did I do?

    I posted on Facebook that I needed help on Friday morning and by early afternoon thanks to Tracy Naghshineh I was introduced to Fern Peterson with Imagine Print Solutions http://www.imagineps.com – who rescued me!  My print job of 18,000 labels was delivered Tuesday thanks to Facebook.

    How did I learn about UPC codes?  Social media of course!  Keith Privette introduced me to Paula Giovannetti the UPC code goddess at Best Buy. Paula saved me from making a huge mistake.

    Cathy Paper of Rock Paper Star http://www.rockpaperstar.com/ turn social media networking via an event she was hosting into an opportunity for me to meet foodies like Donn Kelly who provided great tips and insights.

    Joe Paulini introduced me to Robert Farr a fellow salsa maker.

    My insurance agent Mark Phillips at Dolliff Insurance http://www.dolliff.com made so many introductions.

    I don’t know where to start but Stephanie Meyer – MN Food Blogger – http://www.facebook.com/groups/minnesotafoodbloggers/ was the catalyst.  Her reviews inspired me to go for it.  Check out this Fish Taco recipe – http://www.freshtart.net/Screw–Snow-Fish-Tacos-15173087

    Hat tip to Andrea Vollmer of Feed the Dog http://www.feedthedogcreative.com/ for an amazing label design!

    My salsa company was launched on Facebook!

    Best,

    Todd
    P.S.  No I’m not quitting my day job!
    Todd Tweedy
    Managing Director
    Audience Machine Inc.
    http://www.audiencemachineSo if you have an idea, dream, passion leverage the relationships you have built! You never know where it will lead and who they can potentially introduce you too.  This is a great example how to effectively use on and offline relationships to get ideas from your head out into the wild!  You to can make things happen too. I know I will! Will you?
  3. Planting the seed for 2012 Organizational Planning

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    So I have worked at some really large companies here in Minneapolis and have come to realize they move slow towards change, so I decided to plant a seed for planning in 2012. Since planning for 2011 is already in the books!  Try this approach for your BIG reorganization in 2012 (seems like this BIG organization changes .  Because let’s face it at least 50% of the fortune 1,000 companies will do one of this in 2012.  The only problem they have been doing it for 50 years now with similar or worse results.

    1. Survey your employees, shareholders, and customers and ask them this question:

    What is one problem we have?

     

    2. Again survey your employees, shareholders, and customers and ask them this question:

    What would be one thing you would innovate within our company?

     

    Now gather up all this information and pick the Top 5 problems and Top 5 Innovation ideas.  Now the next thing you do will sound absolutely crazy and a lot of work, but that is ok that is the purpose!

    Next post Top 5 Problems List within your company and ask all your employees which one they would like to solve and ask them to put their name next to the problem solving initiative.  That is it.  If the employee has some skills, passion or purpose wanting to solve it they will put their name next to it.

    Next post Top 5 Innovations List within your company and ask all your employees which one they would like to tackle the innovation and ask them to put their name next to the status quo breaker or catalytic mechanism initiative.  That is it.  If the employee has some skills, passion or purpose wanting to innovate they will put their name next to it.

    There you go your top  10 projects for 2012 and the resources and organizational structure to go with it. Yup you have a problem solving organization. The company moves away from the silo’d business structure of Marketing, HR, Customer Service, IT, Legal, Merchandising, Distribution, etc. and builds teams with this eclectic group of skilled people to solve the problem they signed up for!

    Now in these new problem solving departments or project teams you have all the experts, roles, and titles banded together to solve the problem or problems. No duplication of people or roles across silos,  problems get solved,  people are happy they are doing what they want to be doing, problems get solved, cost are reduces,  produce more revenue and profits, and unfortunately you may have to reduce staffing levels, but this may help reduce costs of products or services good for consumers. The reason the last one happens is every silo today have similar problems but duplicate the solution and tools across those silos.  This typically happens more when trying to innovate, but happens in problem solving also!

    End result of this planning is 5 Problem Solving and 5 Innovation Implementing Organizations.  The company is no longer structured around industry specific silos, applications, or skill sets. This is no way to say companies still do not need these skill sets, because companies do.  Companies still need HR, Marketing, Technology, Supply Chain, PR, Communications, Business Operations, Customer Service experts, they just need to be deployed as ecosystems to solve problems or innovate.

    So if you have some leadership authority at your company start suggesting this now and then by 2012 you should be able to execute! What do you think the hurdles will be?  What behavior characteristics are going to be evident when proposing this?  How do you think leadership organizations will form around this idea?

    It would be pretty interesting see this initiative come across your email inbox, intranet or enterprise social business application, hey! Would you participate?

  4. What Social Media ROI looks like with Warners’ Stellian

    4 Comments

    This story has a little bit of a twist on using the social channels to buy a washer and dryer.  There are several elements of interacting online that brought me to Warners’ Stellian’s for purchasing our new washing and dryer.  This example of social media ROI is based purely only conversing with and observing Julie Warner online.  Julie is the Marketing Assistant at Warners’ Stellian Appliance Co. Inc.  The reason I say “online” is I have never met Julie face to face, which is weird because we have many of the same connections here in Minneapolis.  I started following Julie about two years ago, based on her and I being connected to several of the same people in Minneapolis.  One person I would like to thank for introducing us is Katie Schutrop.

    So I observed very great interactions Julie was having for Warners’ Stellian, colleagues, and friends.  I even saw her steal a sale from a competitor because the competitor’s customer was extremely frustrated with them and Julie was there in the same channel to help! Personally using the social channels to actually steal a customer and  close the deal is quite impressive.  Much should be written about how she did this!  This observation sealed the deal for me that when we were in the market for their products and services Warners’ Stellian was going to be on that list.

    In full disclosure,  I did no researching of prices, models, or customer reviews for these products.  I had a pretty good idea of prices ranges of what we should spend, but that is it!  I just knew where we should buy based on researching and knowing a company based on one of it’s employees.  My wife Tara did a lot of the research on price comparisons, customer reviews and model reviews.  So she was the educated consumer on the product being purchased, I was not.  I do believe she had some ideas on where she wanted to go and buy too, but since I was driving (“he who drives takes you in a direction”, yeah I just made that up), I suggested we swing by Warners’ Stellian to see if they could compete based on Tara’s research.  I also explained Warners’ Stellian was local and we should try this route.

    This was my first ever visit to Warners’ Stellian.  Upon walking in you are greeted by a Warners’ Stellian employee that takes your name down so they know you are there and let’s you know if you have any questions or want to speak to a sales person to just let her know and she can find someone for you.  This allows you to walk around the store and not get bombarded by sales folks asking if you need help.  As we looked at the washers and dryers, I asked Tara “So are the prices in line with your research?” Tara said yes and they have the exact models I was looking for.  So right off the bat my research and her research were lining up.

    The next step was to talk through the models we were looking at with a sales person.  She answered all of our questions about price, feature differences, and product history.  We then sat down with the sales person to discuss purchasing and she was awesome! Very personable, helpful, and informative.  She helped us make the right decision about warrenty choices without being “salesy” about it. She even made a call to the delivery drivers to move up the delivery day by 3 days because when she indicated the date for delivery. Tara and I must’ve had the “Oh really? The laundry is really piling up” look on our faces and without hesitation she picked up the phone and got the delivery date moved up.  You can’t teach that customer service, you can hire for it though!

    Taking it the extra mile is a sure sign of empowered employee!  They value every customer that walks through the door.  The Delivery Technicians were friendly, helpful and returned to the house no questions asked when there was a slight problem with the install. This was a another sign of the overall commitment to the customer.  See it is not just your marketing, twitter feed, facebook fan page updates, or billboards you need to worry about making an “impression” that turns into ROI!

    Overall I was extremely happy with the choice I made to take a chance on observing a social media channel, then base a purchase on it.  Believe me this was not a cheap purchase to take a leap of faith on, but I figured the worse thing that could happen was being disappointed.  So this is an example that businesses have to be aware there are probably a lot more customers watching and observing your business more through the people accounts than the logo’d ones.

    Get these people out there and just as prominent as your logo! Now this adds an element of responsibility by your employees being aware of situations like this, but with some good old fashion media training, you will be pleasantly surprised how much this type of awareness adds to the element of success.

    I probably would not have done the same purchase path with a logo’d account.  So think about this in your strategy, planning, and execution when deciding company accounts vs real people accounts in your social accounts landscape.  You may want to measure and quite possibly incent them differently.  Just a thought!

     

    ps. Sorry about the miss spelling in my Gowalla checkin, it won’t happen again!

     


  5. What Social Media ROI looks like with Walser Auto Group

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    Her is part two of what Social Media ROI looks like from a customer.  This story starts about a year and a half ago when I met Andrea Kopfmann via twitter.  I met Andrea via a couple tweets here and there from other people I know via this channel.  Over this past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Andrea both on and offline!  This personal\professional relationship set in motion expanding into doing actual business with Walser.

    I was in need of  new tires for the Excursion and I wanted to apply the Bona Bros model to this business transaction too! In a couple of conversations on twitter (forgot to screen shot those, sorry!) I mentioned I needed to get new tires for my Ford Excursion. Which is not a cheap!

    Right away Andrea mentioned that Walser Auto Group had a deal going on buy 3 tires and get the 4th one free (first thought “hot damn” that is a good deal).  I started making plans to make an appointment to get my new tires.  Now the actual process took about four months to complete, but Andrea stuck with me the whole way.  She DM’d me the information of the nearest dealership to my house, which happened to be Hopkins Walser Dodge Chrysler Jeep at the time I would be scheduling. She also looked up my city (not creepy because Andrea and I know each other!) and gave me a google map including directions. She also gave me the name and number of the Service Manager at the dealership!  Information on a silver platter treatment was awesome!

    When I eventually got the appointment scheduled I was closer to the Walser Buick GMC dealership in Bloomington, MN. This location also happened to be next to where Andrea Kopfmann is the Director of the Walser Foundation.

    Since the Walser Buick GMC is right up the street from my current contract,  Andrea was kind enough to come pick me up and drive me back to the the dealership, because by the time my vehicle was done I was out of their normal curtiousity shuttle service that is provided by Walser (hopefully I did not set a precedent for you Andrea!).  This is where people relationships trump business hours and makes for long lasting impression of the brand based on the person and not the fancy designed logo on the outside of the building.

    I will definitely return to Walser for my tire needs in the future (Customer Retention).  I will also keep them on the radar for other vehicle needs (Customer Development).  So in the course of doing one transaction based on one of their employees reaching out as themselves and getting to know a customer they sold 4 tires and gained a customer for future revenue and it costed a lot less than trying to get new customers through other activities TV, billboards, inserts in newspapers, and banner ads.

    This example is yet another reason to let your employees shine for you where ever and whenever they can and it produces actual social media ROI.  First, you have to have foster a culture of empowerment (trust me 98% will succeed for you).  Second, start looking at the collective power of all your human accounts versus your logo’d accounts. Last, make sure your business is tying these real world social conversations of your people to bottom line business financials where possible.

    Thank You Andrea for everything! Thank you Walser for empowering your employees to allow for these channels to development customers for the long term!

  6. What Social Media ROI looks like with Bona Bros

    6 Comments

    So many folks struggle with the concept of “How do you actually get ROI from all this stuff on the twitters?”  Well I decided to show and explain how this looks like IRL (In Real Life).  So this story starts about a 2 years ago.  I have met many people, yes people not logos or brands, people.  By meeting these people I get the opportunity to be introduced to the companies they work for and with. Through these people I get to know the brands, then decide whether I like the products and or services their company provides.

    So the first story started when starts when I bought my 2004 Ford Excursion last year.  I was looking for a reputable auto mechanic and like I normally do, sent out a tweet asking for recommendations and that is when Adria Richards recommended Bona Bros!  I had known Adria via twitter for a about a year prior to this recommendation and highly respected Adria and her work so I entertained the recommendation.  Adria did disclose she was currently working with Bona Bros with there website and social profiles (she still manages the technical side of their website).  This strengthened the recommendation, because I know Adria is very particular about the Clients she does work for.  So I brought my Excursion there for that complete service overhaul when you buy a new used vehicle.

    I am so glad Adria recommended John, Matt, Jacque, and John Jr. of Bona Bros.  These people are absolutely top notch with the service, repair recommendations, honesty, and all around human touch they apply to their business.  This sold me on them for all my service needs for my Urban Assault Vehicle (#uav – now you know what this hashtag stands for).

    During my 1st visit Matt indicated I may need a new ball joint in another 20-25,000 miles.  This assessment was spot on and why I brought it back to them for the repair.  Once again I was throughly impressed by the staff at Bona Bros about their attention to detail and explanations of some key repairs that will be upcoming.  This latest visit to get the ball joint repaired Matt indicated I may want to have the u-joint repaired on the drive shaft, but it was up to me.  Well let’s just say I did not listen which brings me to the series of tweets that happened while I was there the second time.

    So this is what a simple request for a recommendation can turn into on social media channels.  So I encourage all businesses in the social channels to be on the look out for these small opportunities to make big impressions for the ever coveted return on investment.  Many of your customers are not all that impressed with your BIG marketing campaigns, but your customers do appreciate when your people help them on a small scale!  This is the difference maker social can do for small and medium sized businesses to get above the noise.

    This is the first of three posts I will be doing on what Social Media ROI looks like in the real world.  The next two posts will be about  Walser Auto Group and Warners Stellian. These are all based on real life engagements and purchases.  In full disclosure nothing and I repeat nothing was done by these brands except having good business people and good businesses.

    On a side note this interaction also included me encouraging Jacque Bona of all things to buy the book written by Olivier Blanchard called Social Media ROI, which I have not decided if that is irony or good business through social business channels…..

  7. Join me at #ungeeked Chicago May 12th-14th & #RoastBrogan

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    You should attend unGeeked if you are responsible for developing or managing your company, organization or client’s social media, marketing, branding, advertising, on-line community, customer service, or recruiting campaigns.

    • Branding, Marketing and PR VPs, Directors and Managers
    • CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of mid to large companies
    • Not-for-Profit Organizations – Cause Marketing Professionals
    • Recruiters, HR and Legal Professionals
    • Community Managers, Social Media Managers
    • Customer Service, Sales and Advertising VPs, Directors and Managers

    ungeeked_pointing

    The format is “open discussion” The topics focus on enhancing, positioning and leveraging both the internal and external brand. Power Points are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among Discussion Leaders (speakers), regional leaders and attendees are encouraged.

    chicago speakers

    Who is speaking at unGeeked?
    Spike Jones, Jason Falls, Barry Moltz, Heather Taylor, Anita Campbell, Olivier Blanchard, Hajj Flemings, Lou Hoffman, Chris Heuer, Amanda Hite and Jeff Willinger and more.

     

    Full list of  Discussion Leaders (speakers)

    Click to see list of Discussion Leaders

     

    Scheduled Discussion Topics

    Click to view Discussion Topics/Schedule

     

    Registrations include one admission to

    Celebrity Charity Roast honoring Chris Brogan

    #RoastBrogan on twitter

     

    brogan

     

    Hostmaster: Jason Falls

    When: May 11th, 2011Time: 5:30PM – 9PM –  Honors/Roast begins:6PM 

     

    Roasting Panel: C.C.Chapman,  Dave Murray,  Jason Falls,  Liz Strauss and Troy Janisch

    Join Chris Brogan and family, while his friends deliver comedic insults, banter, tongue-in-cheek criticism and outlandish stories along with heartwarming tributes to honor one of our most recognized social media thought leaders, while supporting the charity SitStayRead.

     

    Roast and Auction to benefit Chicago Charity SitStayRead Literacy Program. Items for auction:

    • One lifetime membership to Exploring Social Media (valued at $300 per year) – from Social Media Explorer
    • Two certificates each entitling the bearer to a 6 bottle in-home wine tasting for up to 14 people with private wine adviser for 2 hours (valued at $350 each) – from Wines For Humanity
    • Two Chris Brogan T-Shirts from Mom Pop Pow

     

    thebrandbuilder

    Newest author, Olivier Blanchard is on the forefront of spearheading theSocial Media ROI initiative.
    A copy of Social Media ROI is included with 3-day Registrations.

    Click here to Register for unGeeked Chicago

     

    SAVE When you RSVP before 4/30/2011

     

     

    Sponsors

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  8. Have an IT Organization, Try this Model on for Size

    Comments Off on Have an IT Organization, Try this Model on for Size

    This post was inspired by another que from discussing a topic via twitter.  So it seems that most mid-size, large, and super large companies are struggling with getting how to get IT and business resources closer to adapt to the  rapid nature of the market changes that happen both in business as well as in technology.  From what I have seen and what I going to explain is the financial model has to support this interaction model as well.  For the most part how a company is paying for things is one component that is getting in the way! The model I am going to explain is based on working inside of the model and not creating the model itself.  I am no way shape or form taking credit for the creation.

    @ElliotRoss' Request

    I do have experience seeing it work and work well and that is the perspective I am offering up. I have also seen many attempts to fix the financial problem at several companies since I have worked in this model and I have yet to seen anyone succeed. The major buzzwords that sometimes associate this financial model are transformation, matrixed organization, centers of excellence, and delivery centers.  The model we used had one concept: Internal Consulting Firm or Development Center to our own business.  The technology resources within the Development Center model were hired by the business to do a job, they do it, the business pays, and they move onto something else, period.

    A key ingredient to the  Development Center is that it reports directly to the CTO or CIO of the company.  There are basically three layers management.

    1. Director of the Development Center

    2. Discipline Community Managers

    3. Discipline Community Practitioners (BA, PM, Developers, UX, UI, IA, Data, DBA, Infrastructure Engineers, Engineers, etc)

    This flat organization is focused on getting work done and improving the enterprise. I do believe this was one of the key and essential ingredients to our success, but the main course of the feast was the financial model. This model actually facilitated partnering and sharing the responsibility of delivery for the enterprise (not in a buzzword in a powerpoint deck way either). Yes it sounds funny to say a financial model was a main course of delivering success, but it is true.

    I am going to dig into the financial model from a very high level. Before I start let me qualify what I mean by financial.  I mean financial by the concepts and not hardcore debits and credits, by no means am I a financial analyst or accounting specialist.  I would recommend if you do decide on this model find the people that love talking debits, credits, forecasting, and financial modeling and buy them lunch and coffee! This relationships will pay off huge (yes pun intended).


    Build a Development Center

    This is an organizational structure that houses all the disciplines within the development of technology.  The development center will have business analysts, project/program managers, engineers, data architects, technical architects, infrastructure architects, DBA’s, server technicians, developers, and one layer of management.  These development center resources are able to form a whole development team to partner with a business unit or multiple business units to build and implement technology. Once this technology is implemented the business unit takes over full support for the technology.

    This puts the technology and business unit resources really close together to maximize total cost of ownership, time to market, and technology making business more efficient.  The development center resources can perform staff augmentation to business units that don’t need a whole development team, as well.  They just need a couple resources to enhance a current technology.  The development team is there to partner with the business unit technology staff.  The us and them is not tolerated in this model.  This clearly divides support and maintenance from new development.  Ask any IT professional when you have resources trying to do both it never works.  This model works because the Development team needs the business unit IT’s expertise, experiences and partnership to deliver on the mark products to that business unit!


    Revenue and Expense

    The Development Center financial operational model is revenue expense.  What this means is this unit must operate at zero.  The Development Center resources are charged to a project just like hiring an external contractor or consultant.  So if the Development Center resource works 40 hours per week at $100 per hour, the business unit pays the Development Center $4,000 to their revenue.  On the expense side the Development Center must pay out their own expenses training, salary, bonus, computer, etc.  If the expenses total $1,000.00 the Development Center is now sitting on $3,000 in revenue…..got to get back to $0.00!

    Being that they are revenue expense they have to get back to money if they run a profit based on the resources billable hours.  How do they do this, you may be asking? Here is what we did. We called up the business that we technically over charged (I will get into why this is not a bad thing) and said “Hey we have $3,000 here we need to give back to you.” Business Unit: “Uh really, you want to give me money back?” DC: “Yes we do, it’s your money….we don’t sell anything so yeah we want to give it back.” Business Unit: “Oh wow this is awesome!” DC: “Should we set up some time to see what your next set of needs and problems there are to help with?” Business Unit: “Yes let’s do that I have a couple of ideas”  This sounds too good be true doesn’t it!  I was part of many of these conversations.  So how much the conversation changes if you are delivering expected results for your business!


    The Art of the Financial Model:

    The art of the financial model will start creating collaboration, sharing, and communities of practice! The  Business Unit and Development Center technology people proactively and reactively immerse themselves into communities to make each other better (this is not easy and you need some resources dedicated to making this happen).  There is no “us and them” there is just “we” deliver technology solutions for making the enterprise work well and in some cases gain competitive advantage in different markets whether that be talent acquisition or not bleeding talent, drive customers to purchase based on allowing the technology the get the consumer closer to the enterprise.  In most cases you can not train this, you hire for it if you do not have it.  This could mean a complete overhaul of resources.  I know that sounds painful, but how less painful and costly is your current model?


    Competitive Rates

    Yes the Development resources have bill rates just like the consultants and contractors outside the organization.  At the beginning of the year the Development Center is given a budget to cover the resources expenses; including assets, training, and overhead of management (they are not billable).  Each discipline was assigned a bill rate that was reflective of their role, skill set and experience.  The manager of that discipline was responsible for finding work for their resources and bill them out to cover the expense budget allotted to them at the beginning of the year.

    This part of the model was always the relationship building part with our business units.  At the beginning of the year we would have Service Fair.  All the business units would come in and meet all the resources from the Development Center.  The Business Units would explain the types of problems and initiatives they have needs for within that year and how much of each service they would like to buy to get these problems or initiatives implemented.

    At the end of the fair we would all get together and figure out how we get back to $0.00 with all the services we sold and just like clockwork, every year the answer was “Uh Oh we do not have enough services to cover our expenses!” It became quite comical because we would all freak out and think wow we run RED for 6 mos they are going to shut us down!  This is not a bad way of thinking, it keeps the fire burning trust me, a little pressure to perform is not a bad thing!  Low and behold by June we are typically $10 to $15 million in the BLACK.  This was not because of poor planning or estimating, it is just software development life-cycles realities.  Sometimes your on and sometimes your off, but with good partnerships and real collaborative financial efforts what is produced everyone wins.


    This model is a framework and not an end all be all to the solution.  This framework can be dropped into just about any company and any industry, but the art of the financial model comes from the people delivering and executing technology to make the business more efficient and some cases gain competitive advantage.

    Being that more and more companies are realizing Software as a Service and Platform as a Service is a more cost effective, secure and gets them back to running their business and not upgrades or a software factories (you should not be a software factory unless you are selling software). The Development Center financial model helps facilitate the implementation and management of these new ways businesses should be running their technology landscape.

    I think without this organizational and financial structure implementing the above mentioned technologies can and will run into many road blocks and cost overruns (I have seen it!).  Because of the flexibility the Development Center offers of tying project teams to solving a problem or innovating and not to an organizational structure, they can solve or innovate and move on.  A business unit does not have to pay for 50 people to build, implement, and support because they do not have to with this model.

    So next time you are wondering how can I solve my total cost of ownership of technology for my business, implement the  Development Center financial and resource model, your wallet, business, and investors will love you for it!

  9. Real Rahm vs Fake Rahm and Influence

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    We live in some interesting social dynamic times today!  People can become other people online, in less than 3 minutes (about how long it takes to setup a twitter account).  Case in point, the “little” scenario playing out in Chicago with Rahm Emanuel’s campaign to be the next mayor of that city.

    Now here is where it gets interesting check out their Klout Profiles:

    @MayorEmanuel




    @RahmEmanuel





























     

    Now at first glance and if you did not know any better you could start following and interacting with the fake Rahm Emanuel (do you know which is which?).  If you assumed the Real Rahm would have a better influence quotient, you would have been WRONG!   So there is a Real Rahm Emanuel account on twitter @rahmemanuel, there is also a fake Rahm Emanuel account on twitter@mayoremanuel.

    So if you started following the first account, you may be disappointed,  if trying to follow the real Rahm to discuss issues in the city of Chicago. You may not be disappointed if you found out you were following the fake account, because the influence thing did not matter to you that much. On a side note and personal opinion the person running the fake account is hilarious (I am sure Rahm’s campaign staff does not think so)!

    After thinking about this a little further, Klout may have themselves an interesting case study.  The case study would center around online vs offline influence and the combining of the two sets of data. The reason I include offline because this is a data points Klout is figuring out to include in their algorithm, which I am fascinated and tuning in to see how they are going to get this information (have a couple ideas myself, but really curious how they are going to measure this information). Clearly if offline influence was a factor in the quotient and most likely carried a higher weight there would be a clear line of site between these two accounts.

    So on face value the Fake Rahm Emanuel appears to have more influence, based on the current evaluation, but here is where it gets interesting! The Fake account has no offline influence (well it could, but we do not know who this person is yet!), but the Real Rahm Emanuel has tons of offline influence and if this was factored into the equation would that boost the score and by how much.  So this example shows how influence is way deeper than the score or reach you see in the pictures above.

    Just something to think about when using data points to help produce a execution strategies and operational plans for your business.  Klout can be very helpful in these categories, but your business should not use this as an exclusive path, which I am sure I am preaching to the choir on that. What do you think is this interesting?  It will be really interesting if @mayoremanuel takes @rahmemanuel up on his $5,000 offer!

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