Data Consistency Is the Key to a Standardized Reporting Process

Standardized reporting is an intricate type of reporting process that aims to produce consistent, reliable, actionable information from disparate systems or sources. A reporting process is standardized if it can be applied across different business units or sub-units in an organization. The processes that generate and collect the data to be reported on must remain the same across all the business units.

For an organization to understand the status of conditions in real time, and make decisions quickly, standardized reporting is required. A universal understanding of information enables clarity and transparency. Clarity supports effective communication based on trust. And studies show that effective communication leads to enhanced productivity and deeper customer relationships (Source).

It’s not a stretch to say that data consistency creates a competitive advantage over other organizations that do not have standardized reporting processes.

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Superstition Ain’t the Way: Prevent Bad Habits from Running Rampant Among Users

Even if you’re not a superstitious person, it’s likely at one point in your lifetime you knocked on wood in an attempt to appease the gods of fate. Or maybe you made sure to close up that umbrella before stepping into your house. A couple seconds to rap on wood here, a few seconds of standing in the rain there—minor inconveniences to soothe away the universe’s impending spells of bad juju.

The reality is that no, wood is not magical. And opening an umbrella indoors doesn’t shepherd evil ghouls into your home. These quirky habits don’t add tangible value to our lives.

However, superstitions like these aren’t made up out of nowhere. They often arise from practical behaviors which may have made sense at one point, but lost their fundamental meaning after passing through generations. (Are umbrellas indoors really bad luck? Or did someone long ago get a bad poke in the eye?)

These learned behaviors take root over time, through generations of practice and habitual routine. They reassure people that no unintended consequences will come their way if they unquestioningly perform things a certain way—the way they’ve always been done.

Similarly, superstitious behaviors are alive and well in your organization. IT superstitions aren’t supernatural but rather the culmination of each user’s quirks, a natural evolution of processes, systems left unchecked, and a game-of-telephone effect.

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agile adoption - changing shapes

How Amica Reshaped Its IT Processes: An Agile Adoption Case Study

Rhode Island-based Amica Insurance provides auto, home and life insurance nationwide and employs more than 3,800 people in 44 offices across the U.S.

Amica was looking to upgrade its web and mobile applications. To reach its goal, the IT team established a digital program and decided to pilot an Agile SDLC framework for rapid and iterative delivery of customer value.

The Agile implementation worked for Amica because the organization from top to bottom accepted a bit of discomfort in the short-term to give the change effort a chance. Management agreed to support decisions made on the front line. Product owners, SMEs, and developers were game to try new approaches and grew professionally. In return, they achieved a level of productivity and speed they had not seen before. Here’s how we helped.

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Becoming a Data-Driven Organization: A 5-Part Framework for Sustainable Data Quality

In a previous post, we’ve established that data needs to be clean in order for organizations to make sound decisions, gain a competitive advantage, and improve the bottom line.

But, before jumping to fix your data issues, it’s important to establish a framework that ensures the data will be usable in the long run—not only immediately after a big cleanse, which is often time consuming and expensive. This 5-part framework provides a comprehensive approach for addressing existing data quality issues, and prevent issues from arising in the future.

5-Part Framework for Sustainable Data Quality

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Data Is to Business as Water Is to Life

It goes without saying that data is critical to make strategic decisions, to run operations, and to perform business functions.

  • Healthcare companies derive analytics from clinical and claims data to meet quality measures, improve care, and better manage high-cost and high-risk populations.
  • Manufacturing companies rely on performance data to improve efficiency, increase yields, and lower costs.
  • Retailers rely on data to predict trends, forecast demand, and optimize pricing.
  • Financial services organizations perform advanced data analytics to drive revenue and margins through operational efficiency, risk management, and improved customer intimacy.

All of these scenarios require vast amounts of data. Regardless of industry or company size, nearly every business is relying on gathering and leveraging data. Being a data-driven organization is an absolute necessity to gain a competitive advantage.

IT is uniquely positioned to have access to a comprehensive set of data which is stored on or passes through the company’s infrastructure. IT, therefore, carries a responsibility to provide end users access to this data, and to play a vital role in its effective use.

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Running an Effective Fit-Gap Analysis - Abraic

Running an Effective Fit/Gap Analysis

Commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) software—not custom software—continues to be the preferred option for many firms, especially for ERP and CRM solutions.

The benefits of COTS solutions have been publicized widely and revolve around reduced time to deploy, cost avoidance, standards based, best practices included, solution maturity and platform flexibility, to name a few. However, many COTS deployments end up being disappointments, if not failures, once in production. Thus, many of the touted benefits are not being realized.

A critical success factor in a COTS solution deployment is the fit/gap analysis. COTS solutions are not ‘plug and play’, no matter what their marketing materials say. During the fit/gap analysis phase, decisions need to be made about customizations and functional configurations.

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Tutorial Running a VSM Workshop - Abraic

Tutorial: Running a Value Stream Mapping Workshop

A Value Stream Mapping (VSM) workshop is designed to plan process improvements by mapping the current flow of information and materials, generating an ideal future state for that flow, and putting forth a high-level plan to achieve the future state.

Here is a tutorial explaining the process and expected outcomes from a VSM workshop:

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