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Nov 13, 2006
After working for years in the belly of the beast of corporate structures working endlessly to help those same 'beasts' get to the source of problems, it never ceases to amaze me how many companies still try and get by without a solid system or means of measuring their success or failure.
Many companies still choose to fly blind. There was a large amount of IT money spent in the run up to the internet bubble that resulted in a number of companies getting off of their archaic main frame systems and moving to a more flexible environment. The thing is many of the middle managers have not yet realized that they are now empowered and even expected to figure out what is going on with or without the assistance of a staff of IT programmers. The years when you could draft requirements for the IT staff to program you a new solution or rapidly disappearing. More and more middle management is expected to learn the technical skills necessary to pull this information out of increasingly easier to use systems.
I read a release from Acorn Systems describing their consulting methodology that applies corporate performance management techniques to help the team adapt and learn how to use the systems necessary to succeed. They help companies build or rebuild a solid foundation and outline concrete and measurable goals and metrics. This can and does often involve the entire business, supply chain, sales force or customer support group depending on the scope of the project.
Acorn offers a Enterprise Profit System that includes a next generation Activity Based Costing system. Such systems used to make accountants like myself drool, however the truth is these same systems can be used by anyone in the organization that can learn to speak the language of business, money and data warehouses. These same tools will wipe out many of the low level accounting and analysis positions that historically have churned the same report over and over again, passing it up the chain for further churning and analysis and consolidation. These systems can provide answers in real time that previously took a month or better to determine when handled in manual spreadsheets.
This new breed of systems is going to drastically reshape the corporate environment and lay waste to the expectation set of what is acceptable and unacceptable productivity.