Whats The Business Value Of Soa Show It With Kpis

Whats the Business Value of SOA? Show It with KPIs

If youre in IT, youre being asked to add more business value than ever. In fact, todays CIOs are being asked to become drivers of the business while at the same time many are trying to replace old and inflexible infrastructures with modern and flexible ones, according to InformationWeeks Analytics 2009 Global CIO Survey. This report adds that across the globe CIOs are fighting the stubborn perception that IT in generaland CIOs and their teams in particularare cost centers rather than creators of value and accelerators of innovation. Does this sound familiar? Whether you already have an SOA in placeor youre just getting started with SOAit is essential to prove business benefits.

Today, measuring cost and revenue impact as well as other SOA metrics is vital to any leading organization. Measuring the value and tracking changes to these metrics are critical as your SOA grows and its portfolio expands. Recent surveys from Forrester Research show organizations are increasingly implementing SOA as a business enabler. Furthermore, recent Gartner research concluded that:

More than 60% of organizations said their SOA projects had a positive impact on their organizations ability to grow revenue; and

SOA projects generated positive returnstypically within 10 months
A proven way to demonstrate an SOAs business value is through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs use a language your business colleagues understand: metrics. They give you the means to measure a return on your SOA investment and directly link SOA projects to real business improvements:

What KPIs you can use to start measuring SOA results

How leading organizationsAvnet, Coca-Cola Enterprises and France Telecommeasure how SOA contributes to business success

How Software AG can help you analyze and deliver on your SOA-based KPIs

Software AG, provides a complete solution for SOA Governance, CentraSite, that enables customers to manage their IT assets and measure their business value.

If youre looking for an introduction to SOA, please read our book, SOA Adoption for Dummies.

The Importance Of Registering Your Business’ Trademark

With the way that the country’s economy has been, more and more people are going into business for themselves. Taking on the role of a business owner comes with an abundance of responsibilities, as well as processes that prove to be beneficial for you and your business.

One of these processes is registering a trademark for your specific business. This is a very important step that any new (or old) business owner needs to take in order to properly protect your particular company’s unique look, whether it’s in the form of a phrase, name, logo, symbol or word. This is what makes your company stand out, and you should take the necessary steps to protect it.

If you do not register a trademark, there are many negative consequences that could occur. You could lose the unique image that your company is based upon. A competitor could adopt a very similar name, logo or symbol so that it’s almost impossible to tell your two companies apart. The worst thing is that if your competitor has their trademarks registered, then you could lose yours-it doesn’t matter if you came up with the initial trademark or not! In addition, you could have to pay fees to your competitor for trademark infringement!

All of this could possibly lead to you having to completely redesign your company’s name or create a new unique symbol, logo or phrase for your customers to associate with your particular business. Just imagine how much money and time you will spend trying to take on a new trademark when you could have saved all of this worry by simply registering your trademark! And think about how frustrating it will be to have to keep your current customers with a completely different look or trademark.

By taking the steps to register your business’ trademark, you are protecting your business’ (and your own) welfare in several different ways. Your trademark will be protected across the nation by federal registration. When you look at what could happen if you do not register your trademark, the choice is easy.

You have worked hard to ensure your company’s success and to build your customer base. Your success, undoubtedly, has something to do with your specific and unique trademark. Neglecting to register your trademark has a wide range of negative effects, while registering your trademark has only positive consequences. Make the decision that’s best for your business and your needs as a business owner.

Business Card Printing Pitfalls To Avoid

Engaging a printer to produce your custom business cards is a fantastic idea. The quality of the finished product will always be much better than a business card printed from a personal computer or stationary store, and most industry printing companies offer a wide assortment of quantities, card materials, and enhancement features (such as spot UV business cards). Some will even create your high-resolution, print-ready artwork for you, thereby eliminating the time and hassle of creating your own card files.

However, in order to optimize your print job, it is important to avoid or at least consider some of the potential problems that could create a less-than-perfect finished product.

Pitfall #1: Cards with Spot Colors

Accurate color reproduction is by far the most common problem seen throughout the printing industry. Most times, problems arise when a CMYK printer attempts to print a Pantone color. Pantone or spot colors are typically highly customized colors that fall outside of the normal CMYK 4-color printing process.

CMYK is a process whereby thousands of colors can be created by mixing various percentages of cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K). Open any full color magazine and you will see CMYK printing. The vast majority of printers in the market utilize a CMYK process that is not compatible with spot colors.

Usually, whenever a CMYK business card printer attempts to print a spot color, a color shift occurs. In other words, the shade of the color might come out differently than the artwork file dictates. It might be possible to match a spot color to a CMYK color by utilizing a Pantone swatch book, but this is more of an art than a science and there is still no guarantee that the spot color will be accurately reproduced in a CMYK printing environment.

If you have a logo or some other design element that utilizes a Pantone color, attempt to locate a Pantone printer. Otherwise, you will have to recreate the logo in CMYK mode as closely as possible to the Pantone color.

Pitfall #2: Cards with Black Backgrounds

Whether you are printing a black business card or mixing black paint at the local Home Depot, black is by far the most difficult color to reproduce due to its deep, dark nature. A common problem with black cards is that they turn out gray, or that the black bleeds into other areas of the card.

This problem can be solved by following the best practice of utilizing a rich black for your cards background. Rich black incorporates other colors of the CMYK spectrum into the black color. A black background consisting of 100% black (C=0%, M=0%, Y=0%, K=100%) will almost certainly result in oversaturation and produce unexpected results.

A rich black incorporates values of C, M, and Y into the mix. To the naked eye, the black will look the same, but rich black is much more printer-friendly. The specific rich black CMYK mix varies depending on printer preference, but a good mix is C=40%, M=30%, Y=20%, and K=100%.

Pitfall #3: Business Cards with Borders

Artwork containing a border is a tricky proposition because even if the cardstock is perfectly lined up in the equipment, a slight shift could occur during the trimming process. Thus, the border may have one side larger or smaller than the others, or it might be off center on some of the cards.

Theres really not much you can do about this because this shifting possibility is an industry-accepted standard. Just realize the possibility, and if the risk of uneven borders seems too great, remove the border from your custom business card artwork.

Pitfall #4: Cramming Multiple Enhancement Features on the Same Card

Enhancement features refer to such bells and whistles as spot UV, embossing, foil stamping, scoring, perforation, and more. It is not advisable to put more than one of these options on a single card because it puts too much stress on the cardstock.

You should only consider multiple enhancements with thick cardstock (15pt or higher). However, no matter how thick the cards are, the possibility for flaws is still high. Spot UV could crack, foil could flake, or embossing could show up unclear, among other possible problems. Your best bet is to stick with a single enhancement like spot UV business cards.

Pitfall #5: Hidden File Problems

Whenever you submit your files to the printer, pay careful attention to their file specifications. Many business card printers will check your files to ensure they are in-spec prior to production, but its not a good idea to rely on this because you just never know.

Hidden problems include things such as transparencies, overprint, and embedded fonts. Transparencies are basically layers in your file that could cause unexpected results. Always flatten your files. Also, always turn off overprint, and outline any and all embedded fonts to ensure they are not converted to an unwanted default font during production.

Conclusion

Hiring a business card printer for your custom business cards is an excellent idea, but occasionally printing problems could occur. By following the advice in this article, you can eliminate 99% of these potential problems.

When in doubt, ask your printing company for specific advice, especially if you are printing spot UV business cards or some other enhanced product. Most printers are highly accommodating, and are more than willing to provide advice to avoid problems down the road.

The Evolution Of Business Analysts

Software application development has only been around since the late 1970s. Compared to other industries and professions the software industry is still very young. Ever since organizations began to use computers to support their business tasks, the people who create and maintain those “systems” have become more and more sophisticated and specialized. This specialization is necessary because as computer systems become more and more complex, no one person can know how to do everything.

One of the “specialties” to arise is the Business Analyst. A Business Analyst is a person who acts as a liaison between business people who have a business problem and technology people who know how to create solutions. Although some organizations have used this title in non-IT areas of the business, it is an appropriate description for the role that functions as the bridge between people in business and IT. The use of the word “Business” is a constant reminder that any application software developed by an organization should further improve its business operations, either by increasing revenue, reducing costs, or increasing service level to the customers.

History of the Business Analyst Role

In the 1980s when the software development life cycle was well accepted as a necessary step, people doing this work typically came from a technical background and were working in the IT organization. They understood the software development process and often had programming experience. They used textual requirements along with ANSI flowcharts, dataflow diagrams, database diagrams, and prototypes. The biggest complaint about software development was the length of time required to develop a system that didn’t always meet the business needs. Business people had become accustomed to sophisticated software and wanted it better and faster.

In response to the demand for speed, a class of development tools referred to as CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) were invented. These tools were designed to capture requirements and use them to manage a software development project from beginning to end. They required a strict adherence to a methodology, involved a long learning curve, and often alienated the business community from the development process due to the unfamiliar symbols used in the diagrams.

As IT teams struggled to learn to use CASE tools, PCs (personal computers) began to appear in large numbers on desktops around the organization. Suddenly anyone could be a computer programmer, designer and user. IT teams were still perfecting their management of a central mainframe computer and then suddenly had hundreds of independent computers to manage. Client-server technologies emerged as an advanced alternative to the traditional “green screen,” keyboard-based software.

The impact on the software development process was devastating. Methodologies and classic approaches to development had to be revised to support the new distributed systems technology and the increased sophistication of the computer user prompted the number of software requests to skyrocket.

Many business areas got tired of waiting for a large, slow moving IT department to rollout yet another cumbersome application. They began learning to do things for themselves, or hiring consultants, often called Business Analysts, who would report directly to them, to help with automation needs. This caused even more problems for IT which was suddenly asked to support software that they had not written or approved. Small independent databases were created everywhere with inconsistent, and often, unprotected data. During this time, the internal Business Analyst role was minimized and as a result many systems did not solve the right business problem causing an increase in maintenance expenses and rework.

New methodologies and approaches were developed to respond to the changes, RAD (rapid application development), JAD (joint application development), and OO (object oriented) tools and methods were developed.

As we began the new millennium, the Internet emerged as the new technology and IT was again faced with a tremendous change. Once again, more sophisticated users, anxious to take advantage of new technology, often looked outside of their own organizations for the automation they craved. The business side of the organization started driving the technology as never before and in a large percentage of organizations began staffing the Business Analyst role from within the operational units instead of from IT. We now have Marketing Directors, Accountants, Attorneys, and Payroll Clerks performing the role of the Business Analyst.

In addition, the quality movement that had started in the 70s with TQM, came into focus again as companies looked for ways to lower their cost of missed requirements as they expanded globally. The ISO (International Standards Organization) set quality standards that must be adhered to when doing international business. Carnegie Mellon created a software development quality standard CMM (Capability Maturity Model). Additionally, Six Sigma provided a disciplined, data-driven quality approach to process improvement aimed at the near elimination of defects from every product, process, and transaction. Each of these quality efforts required more facts and rigor during requirements gathering and analysis which highlighted the need for more skilled Business Analysts familiar with the business, IT, and quality best practices.

Future of the Business Analyst Role

Today we see Business Analysts coming from both the IT and business areas. In the best situations, the Business Analyst today has a combination of IT and business skills. Each organization has unique titles for these individuals and the structure of Business Analyst groups is as varied as the companies themselves. However, there is a core set of tasks that most Business Analysts are doing regardless of their background or their industry.

The Business Analyst role becomes more critical as project teams become more geographically dispersed.
Outsourcing and globalization of large corporations have been the driving factors for much of this change recently. When the IT development role no longer resides inside our organizations, it becomes necessary to accurately and completely define the requirements in more detail than ever before. A consistent structured approach, while nice to have in the past, is required to be successful in the new environment. Most organizations will maintain the Business Analyst role as an “inhouse” function. As a result, more IT staff are being trained as Business Analysts.

The Business Analyst role will continue to shift its focus from “Software” to “Business System.”
Most Business Analysts today are focused on software development and maintenance, but the skills of the Business Analyst can be utilized on a larger scale. An excellent Business Analyst can study a business area and make recommendations about procedural changes, personnel changes, and policy changes in addition to recommending software. The Business Analyst can help improve the business system not just the business software.

The Business Analyst role will continue to evolve as business dictates.
Future productivity increases will be achieved through re-usability of requirements. Requirements Management will become another key skill in the expanding role of the Business Analyst as organizations mature in their understanding of this critical expertise. The Business Analyst is often described as an “Agent of Change.” Having a detailed understanding of the organization’s key initiatives, a Business Analyst can lead the way to influence people to adapt to major changes that benefit the organization and its business goals. The role of a Business Analyst is an exciting and secure career choice as U.S. companies continue to drive the global economy.

Training for the Business Analyst

The skill set needed for a successful Business Analyst is diverse and can range from communication skills to data modeling. A Business Analyst’s educational and professional background may vary as well–some possess an IT background while others come from the business stakeholder area.

With backgrounds as diverse and broad as these it is difficult for a Business Analyst to possess all the skills necessary to perform successful business analysis. Companies are finding that individuals with a strong business analysis background are difficult to locate in the marketplace and are choosing to train their employees to become Business Analysts in consistent structured approaches. First, organizations seeking formal business analysis training should examine vendors who are considered “experts” on the field with a strong focus on business analysis approaches and methodologies. Second, you will want to examine the quality of the training vendor’s materials. This may be done by researching who wrote a vendor’s materials and how often they are updated to stay abreast of industry best practices. Third, matching the real-world experience of instructors to the needs and experience level of your organization is critical to successful training. Business analysis is an emerging profession and it is critical that the instructors that you choose have been practicing Business Analysts.

Create A Business Opportunity From A Problem

Turn a Problem into a Business Opportunity by creative thinking.

People pay money to create a problem and then somebody else turns that problem into a business opportunity. How do we do this? First step is to examine and define in great detail what exactly the problem is? Then look at innovative ways to turn the problem into a business opportunity.

Problem – We are eating a lot more then we should. Opportunity – exercise classes, weight loss diets, larger size clothes & diet drinks / foods.

Think of traffic, then think of bottlenecks! Problem – a lot of people stuck in traffic. Opportunity – Billboard advertising & more demand for entertainment on the move!

Problem – In this day of high speed life, people don’t have time to sit down and eat. Opportunity – Create a fast food franchise that serves hot food within minutes for customers to take away and eat on the move.

Problem – people are drinking more. Opportunity – diet drinks, drink dispensers, low calorie alcoholic drinks, vitamins, more fun drinks & definitely more counselling!

In our previous business, we had a problem when we were manufacturing specialised, shock absorbing pallets. We always many pieces of a certain size of wood left. I sent our salesman round local businesses to see if he could find a use for it. In the end we ended up making “button-ups” which had a 100% profit margin after expenses for pieces of wood which we used to throw away!

Problem – Higher number of asylum seekers & refugees. Opportunity – low cost housing, lower paid labour force and increased demand for economy products!

Problem – More spam! Opportunity – more demand for new software, better firewalls & more experts needed!

What problems have you faced recently? Can you nail it down and turn it into an opportunity?

Here are the steps we should take to turn a problem into a business opportunity:

1) Identify the problem
2) Do overall market research
3) Get a team in to collectively debate the problem
5) Sleep on it
6) Do some more market research
6) Apply creative thinking and problem solving strategies to identify a business opportunity

Many questions can be answered by market research. What is the current state? Where is the market going? Who are the main players? How do consumers feel about the current solutions to their problems? How can we meet their needs better?

We can turn every challenge into a business opportunity. Every business process can be improved. Every problem is a business opportunity. Every time you have a bright idea, make sure that you write it down in an ideas notebook. Can you solve last weeks problems in a way which people will pay money?