Mar 09

One of my close friends recently decided to leave Microsoft and start his own company. He has been with Microsoft for a long time and the change from MS to a starting a new organization will be a big one. When I started thinking about this change I started thinking about my own journey through various organizations. Every organization has an character, a heart and a soul. What do I mean? Let me take you through my journey through these organizations and explain…

Baan(1997-2000): A Successful ERP company trying to accept globalization and experimenting with distributed development across NL, US and India. In 1997 that was tough thing to do with infrastructure limitations and also cultural limitations. There was still frictions between different teams on ownership of work. This instability was not just in development but also in management originally the company was run from NL then it was taken over by management in US. Management styles are very different between NL and US. It was a great learning experience to see how a successful company was struggling to cope up with time.

Nortel(2001): Again a successful company trying to survive in economic downturn. There was chaos everywhere. The goal seemed to be survival to fight another day. It was tough with major layoffs going on in every division. Moral was low and people spend more time in worrying rather than working.

e-Emphasys(2001-2005): An entrepreneurial venture trying to define itself. Are we Consulting company or a Product company? Should we focus on long term strategy or short term gains? How do we refuse lucrative consulting projects today and just focus on product development for long term benefit? It is amazing how this conflict impacted every decision we made. Basically we just could not decide what we were. Some employees loved consulting and working closely with customers other did not like traveling as consultants and were happy doing product development but for a startup you do not have choice you make your call based on daily needs. The key learning was define your strategy and follow it. You cannot do everything successfully and grow.

SAMSys/Sirit(2005-2006): Another small entrepreneurial venture in RFID space struggling to raise capital and survive to see brighter days. We all could see the hockey stick but the rapid growth in industry was just not happening. Finally we just ran out of money and Sirit took us over. The key lesson was raise capital when you can and not when you need it most.

Microsoft(2006-2008): Amazingly successful company trying to maintain alignment across all its products. Think about it when a new release of Visual studio is planned you have to make sure it is compatible with the latest under development release of SQL, Share Point and Office. When new version of BizTalk is built it is also dependent on SQL, Share Point and Office and Visual studio designer. Did I miss the Windows releases. How do you keep all this in sync. It is a complex problem to solve and I think the company does pretty well to maintain this alignment.

Alignment is really crucial for overall success but I personally think it takes too much time and effort and affects time that can be spent on innovation. I am sure someone higher up in the organization thinks about it. :)

So this brief info about companies I have worked for. What about your companies? What was/is your company like? What does its character look like? Do share with me… Until then enjoy…

Dec 09

McKinsey published a new article on 8 new Business Technology trends. It is a great article. Please register at McKinsey site to read the complete article. Following are 8 Trends to watch according to Mckinsey.

  1. Distributing Cocreation (Managing Relationships)
  2. Using Consumers as innovators (Managing Relationships)
  3. Tapping into World of Talent (Managing Relationships)
  4. Extracting more value from interactions (Managing Relationships)
  5. Expanding the frontiers of automation (Managing Capital and assets)
  6. Unbundling production from delivery (Managing Capital and assets)
  7. Putting more science into management (Leveraging information in new ways)
  8. Making business from Information (Leveraging information in new ways)

You can register for Mckinsey newsletter at http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com.

 

 

Mar 22

Following are steps to solve any problem.

  • Fact Gather
    • Interview
      • Internal
      • External
    • Gather Data
      • Company
      • Competitors
      • Customers
    • Market Research
    • Internet Research
    • Facilitated Group Sessions
  • Analyze
    • Process Analysis
    • Financial Analysis
    • Value Drivers
      • Simulate/Model
      • Value Chain Analysis
      • Benchmarking
      • Business Ecosystem
        • <value net>
        • <5 Forces>
  • Interpret
    • Team Brainstorming
    • Client/Consultant Brainstorming
    • Progress Reviews
    • Use of Firm Methodologies
  • Motivate
    • One-On-One Feedback
    • Progress Reporting
    • Coaching/Training
    • Graphic Feedback
  • Confirm
    • Final Presentation
    • Report
  • Launch
    • Action Plan
    • Coaching
Mar 22

Following is a problem solving framework.

Mar 22

Defining Goals is first step to solving problems. Following is a framework to define goals.

S1

è

S2

è

B

(current

 

(Desired

 

(Benefits)

situation)

 

Result)

   

 

S1    something you want to change

Should be one statement or max 1 para.. Should focus on current state of problem. What problem are we solving?

S2    will be produced at the end of support

Where will we end… This is easy implementation or objective…

B    what you will gain at S2

Feb 24

What is carbon trading?

• Under Kyoto protocol, developed countries agreed that if their industries can’t reduce carbon emissions in their own countries, they will pay others like India (a signatory to the Protocol) to do it for them and help them meet their promised reduction quotas in the interest of worldwide reduction of greenhouse gases.

• The “currency” for this trade is called Carbon Emission Reduction (CER). One unit of CER is one tonne equivalent of carbon dioxide emission.

• UN Framework Convention on Climate Change registers the project, allowing the company to offer CERs produced by the project to a prospective buyer.

Pasted from <http://www.indianexpress.com/story/15354.html>

 

Feb 23

Global Sustainability is ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Similarly sustainable development is a process o achieving human development in an inclusive, connected, equitable, prudent, and secure manner.

Sustainable Enterprise is one that contributes to sustainable development by delivering simultaneously economic, social, and environmental benefits the so called triple bottom line.

    

Feb 21

Green buildings have less negative impact on environment than standard buildings.

In 2000, U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) started LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

 Following are 10 rules for Green development

Rule 1: Focus on the big picture

Integrating green principles into building’s planning and design from the start, appointing the right people.

Rule 2:Choose a sustainable site

Cannot be constructed on prime farm land, parkland, historic site or endangered habitat of a species. Ideal location would be vacant lots, redevelopment sites like rail yards etc.

Rule 3:Do the Math

Apply a cost /benefit analysis before allocating funding.

Rule 4:Make the site plan work for you

Reduce the amount of roads, parking lots, reduce grading and earthwork, limit erosion. Easy access to public transportation. 

Rule 5:Landscape for Savings

Minimizing heat islands, green roof, drought tolerant plants.

Rule 6:Design for greater green

Maximize of day lighting, Operable windows and skylights enable natural ventilation.

Rule 7:Take advantage of Technology

Help conserve and even generate energy. Install motion sensitive lighting sensors and individual climate controls in offices, workstations. Highly efficient HVAC systems that do not use chloro floro carbons. Though it will take long time before we get back the investment cost, in part through lower operating costs, increased productivity, longer employee retention and less sick time. 

Rule 8: Save and manage water

Water conserving irrigation systems, waterless urinals, recycled water for landscape.

Rule 9: Use alternative materials

Low emission paints, strawboard made out of wheat.

Rule 10:Construct green

Construction process control, recycle waste, recycle at least 50% of its waste

 
 

Source: Building the Green Way – Charles Lockwood (HBR:R0606J)

Jan 28

Evaluating any new venture is really difficult. It is a very subjective process. The environment is so uncertain that using traditional tools like DCF or IRR will never work. Following is one approach for evaluation of such ventures

  1. Develop a reverse income statement
  2. Lay out all the activities needed to run the venture i.e. Pro forma operations specs (sales, manufacturing, shipping and equipment and depreciation)
  3. Track all assumptions
  4. Revise the reverse income statement based on assumptions and operations specs
  5. Plan to test assumptions at milestones

The process is really an interesting way of looking at ventures. It is what we normally call backward planning in regular project management, only here we are doing reverse evaluation of venture. Basically trying to take profits we want to make and calculating back how much we will need to invest and will it be worth it.

Source: Discovery driven planning by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan(HBR:95406)