Sunday, September 15, 2019

Three Factors For New Product Success



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© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Disruptive Innovation = Simplicity


Disruptive innovation = simplicity Because progress occurs by making things faster, cheaper, and easier. hashtaginnovation hashtagdisruptiveinnovation hashtagsimplicity hashtagstrategicsimplicity


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Simplicity: 21st Century Super Power

Simplicity is a super power, and the future of the 21st century's Attention scarcity age. Our creativity is sapped by complexity and having to make decisions. The amount of info in the world is increasing. To scale, we need to be able to quickly train employees and educate our customers about our products/services. Simplicity allows us to do this. hashtagsuccess hashtagsimplicity hashtagstrategicsimplicity hashtagbusiness



© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Happiness and Doing


Nothing I do makes me happy. I am just happy, and I bring that happiness to the things I do. hashtagtruth


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Data Science: Pipes and Straws


Data Management: Organizations need both fat pipes and narrow straws hashtagDataAnalytics hashtagdatascience

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

How to Have a Fulfilling Career


Having a fulfilling career: It's 20% choosing the right field and 80% finding the right company / boss. #business #hr #careermanagement


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Apps and User Settings: Use Groups

When you design an application, it is an audit and security risk to give all users access to every function.

But, there are two ways to set user access—and one of them is much better.

1. Direct user settings - For each user, you enable system settings, such as limits and access.

2. User Groups - Settings are done at the group level, and users are assigned to a group.

In my 30 years of experience, I have seen both types of applications.  From both an administrative and a security/audit point of view, the group option is always best.

Apps should be designed so that new groups can be created/modified/deleted, and users are never directly assigned any settings.

As the number of settings becomes complex, the group model is even more important.  It is easier to track one group for each user, then having to track multiple settings per user.

For example, if you have 30+ different settings and, for a user, you need to temporarily give them a higher level of permission for one function, it is easy to forget to set the value back, and hard for auditing to catch it.

However, if you create a new group, with "temp until XX/XX/XXXX" in the name,  set the permission here, and change the user's group to this new group, it is much easier to track.

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Disney is the Master of Synergy


They have perfected the system of transforming their intellectual property (such as Marvel, Star Wars, or Disney Princesses) into multiple products and services, and using them to cross-promote each other. Their main engines are the Disney Channel and their theme parks. Whenever they acquire a new franchise (such as Marvel), they can create movies, merchandise, rides, TV specials, etc. and they can promote them to viewers of the Disney Channel and visitors to the theme parks. Every product and service strengthens the brand, and makes it more likely that a customer will consume another product. hashtagsynergy hashtagdisney hashtagstrategy


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

"net" = "not entirely true"

'Let’s start with this warning: The acronym "net" stands for not entirely true. Anyone on the human side of the web can say anything at any time for any reason.' 

- Don Lancaster, back in 1997 (even more true today)


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

ALL Companies Are Now Tech Companies...and Need A High-Level IT Strategy

As a former start-up CEO, bank executive, and now strategy consultant, I know that ALL companies are now tech companies. While there are plenty of vendors who provide app design and cloud services, I find that the one thing that companies need, above all else, is a high level IT strategy. Too often, I have seen that companies, and their vendors, focus on tactics (the How?), like apps or website design, without thinking about strategy (the Why? and What?). To really grow your business with technology, you need alignment between the business and the technology. Unfortunately, many consultants in IT strategy work for, or are aligned, with vendors, so they focus on fitting the strategy to their pet technology. However, there are independent consultants out there, such as myself, who don't align with vendors or specific technologies, and stay unbiased. hashtagcloudservices hashtagitstrategy hashtagconsulting hashtagerp


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Sell Them Fish First!




Ever hear the saw "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and you feed him for life" ?

Well,

1. If a person is malnourished, he needs the fish! He / she is in no shape you learn to fish.

2. This is the Attention Scarcity Age.  Most people just want the fish, and don't care about fishing.

3. Until they taste the fish, they won't trust you or have the confidence to learn to fish.

So, sell them the fish first!


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Benchmark Against Yourself



Many consulting firms have their ONE BEST benchmark.  They evaluate their clients against it, and then create a large report detailing the changes needed to completely convert them over.

To implement all the changes, the client would have to spend a lot of time and money.  Afterward, the chances are, their ROI would be average at best.

I've seen companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new IT systems, such as ERP, when all they needed was a custom app, added to their existing system, to eliminate functional gaps.

That is why my firm specializes in advising.  By not offering implementation services, I avoid biases (unconscious or not) towards large changes, or specific vendor systems.

After 30 years of experience, I know there are many paths to excellence.  I don't try and convert clients to any single model.  Instead, I like to start where they are, recognizing the value of their existing business, and then identifying the key changes that lead to dramatic ROI.

As a consultant, I want to work with a scalpel, not a demolition crew.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Great Leaders Develop Their Team Members


Whenever I managed a team, I was never afraid to give my teammates more responsibility and help them improve their skills. I never thought about hoarding knowledge or credit for myself for job security. 

What I found was that, not only were my team members happier and engaged, but it reflected on me, and made me look better. 

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Successful On-Boarding For New IT Resources

To create a successful on-boarding process for new IT resources , set it up by project—not per system—so that ONE form could be filled out that would get the person access to all the resources they need. hashtag


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

First Mover Advantage

A connection on LinkedIn asked "What qualities do Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson or Bill Gates or Mark Cuban or Barbara Corcoran have that most entrepreneurs don't have?"  

My answer is that they were successful primarily for vision.  

They were one of the first in the markets they succeed in—or at least they entered before the field got crowded. 

We are in the Attention Scarcity Age. There are too many entrepreneurs competing for too little available attention.  First movers / leaders in any field have a huge advantage.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Monday, September 2, 2019

World War I Trench Design and School Safety: Not All Important Innovation Has A Positive Vibe

Usually, it's pleasant to write about interesting innovation.

But I recently read about and innovative idea that, while interesting because it's lateral, out-of-the-box thinking, I wish was unnecessary.

In Michigan high school, as a response to school shootings, is redesigning itself according to principles developed by trench engineers in World War I.

The engineers had designed the long trenches to be serpentine so that, if an enemy breeched any part of it, they would not be able to shoot down the length of the trench.  Only soldiers nearby would be in danger, and other soldiers would be able to regroup, protected by sharp turns.

The school is using these principles to make, for example, serpentine hallways, panopticon main offices that can look for intruders from all angles, and push-button door cutoffs.  In classrooms, there will be areas to hide that are protected by shadows, so that a shooter looking in from a window will not see anyone.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Iteration


Iteration is the most powerful concept for business success.

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Value of A Pure Advisor

There are many consulting companies that will both advise on strategy, and then implement the findings.

But clients are usually better off hiring a pure advisor such as myself, and then hiring a separate consulting firm to implement.

Why?

Because hybrid advisor/implementors have a bias for big, "sexy", high-tech, complicated changes.  Even if it is unconscious and unintentional, it is still there.  They tend to gloss over simple changes which, while trivial to implement, lead to tremendous value.

Also, on the other hand, if they identify a change that would yield great value, but is beyond their competency, they make think "How would I implement this?", and then be reluctant to recommend it.

As pure advisor, however, I have a clean, blank slate.  I am like a detective, looking for clues.  I actually love small changes that yield big results.  They give my clients the best ROI.  As I identify changes, I focus on value to the client, not on the triviality or complexity of implementation.

It is analogous to the brainstorming process.  When brainstorming ideas, you don't want to be simultaneously editing.  The editing / critiquing mode comes later.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

How To Spice Up Commodity Products to Increase Revenue and Profit Margins

Let's say you sell a product, such as a heavy-duty blender that you drop ship from a contract manufacturer.  You sell it for $X, buy and ship it for $Y, and you make $(X-Y).  How can you increase your revenues and profit margins?

One way is to build high-margin information products that you can bundle with your product.  In the case of the blender, you can "upsell" a deluxe set that features the blender and a recipe book.

The value of the recipe book is in the quality of the recipes, which isn't dependent on the printing / shipping costs of the book.  Thus, the recipe book can increase both your revenue and profit margins.

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, August 30, 2019

Specialize and Niche?


There is a lot of business advice out there—most of it of questionable value.

One common piece of advice is that you should specialize in a narrow niche.  A classic example these "marketing gurus" give is that, if you are a web designer, you should specialize in designing sites for dentists.

They go on to say that, if you are a dentist, who would you choose: the web designer who specializes in dental sites, or a general business website designer?

Well, if I was a dentist, I certainly wouldn't pick the web designer who only works for dentists!  The last thing I'd want is a cookie-cutter site that looks like ALL the other dental practices out there.

This is the Attention Scarcity Age!  People are bombarded with noise and choices.  You want to stand out as an expert, not a commodity.  You want someone who is a process expert, who has honed his skills designing unique sites for a variety of clients and domains.

Remember, YOU have the content knowledge on how to be a dentist.  You can provide the content.  You need someone who will design it in a way that attracts and informs your customers.

This goes beyond web sites.  For any kind of expert or consultant, you want a process expert who works with varied clients and industries to keep his or her thinking fresh.  You don't need them to be an expert in your field.  YOU are the subject matter expert in your field.

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in reduced costs and new revenue. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Rinse and Repeat




A powerful piece of business advice comes from your shampoo bottle: rinse and repeat.

Iteration is one of the most important, but under-used principles today. 

These days, businesses must react and respond quickly to change.  This means having to implement before something is perfected. Therefore, businesses must keep cycling through, continually delivering better versions of products and services.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, August 23, 2019

Glue!


My 8 year old son decided it would be fun to make a "squeeze ball" out of a balloon, glue, and air.

A little while ago, he came into my office and was demonstrating it.  Amazingly, the glue doesn't dry or harden in the balloon.

Unfortunately, he squeezed it too hard, the balloon popped, and our clothes, my office, and my computer ended up splattered with glue...


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Teeth, Geography, and Isotopes



Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Last night, I read a fascinating article in the Economist about how anthropologists wanted to figure out if Mayan human sacrifice victims were local (hence volunteers) or slaves captured from further away.

Their method was to analyze ancient teeth from the sacrificial pit, and determine the ratios of oxygen and strontium isotopes.  As a chemistry refresher, an isotope of an element has the same number of protons, but different neutrons.  For example, oxygen atoms have 8 protons, but they can have 8 or 10 neutrons, for a total of 16 to 18 particles.  For strontium, it can be 86 or 87 total particles.

The isotopes are useful for determining geography because, in the case of oxygen, since O18 is heavier than O16, it is more likely to fall first when storms move from the sea onto land.

So, by measuring the ratio of isotopes in the teeth, they could determine the relative locations of where the victims grew up.  The surprising conclusion was that victims were both local and from other areas.  But for me, the method is the most interesting thing.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Do you Provide Software As A Service (SaaS)? What's Your Goldilocks Value?


Photo by Derick Santos from Pexels

Just like Goldilocks wanted to get comfortable at the Three Bears' house, your customers want to tune your software to their level of comfort.  The "Goldilocks Value" is my term for how complex it is to fine-tune all the settings.

ERPs (especially SAP) are infamous for all their complex set-ups. Linked In also has a reputation for a high Goldilocks Value.

If you want to attract more customers, and become the dominate application in your field, then you need to have a low Goldilocks Value—i.e. make it easy for users to customize your application.  Achieve this, and you'll have come a long way towards Strategic Simplicity®!


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pros and cons of using RPAs versus APIs for integration

My view is that APIs are always superior for integration.  

The only time to use RPAs (Robot Process Automation) are:

1. One or both of the systems to be integrated either lack an API, or the ability to call APIs.

2. The systems are legacy, and cannot be modified to provide/call APIs, or the cost of implementing an API is prohibitive given the budget or timeline.


The reason that APIs are always preferable is that the process is robust, consistent, and straight forward.  CIOs should always favor environments that work consistently, and correctly, with no surprises.

With RPAs, even with the help of today's AI, you are dealing with using software to replicate a human being interacting with a user interface.  Menus can change, be inconsistent among different screens, and screen renderings can be affected by network effects.  Creators of software interfaces designed and tested their software for use by humans, not automation.  Humans can quickly adjust to slight variations.

APIs, on the other hand, are designed specifically for bypassing human interfaces, and making software to software calls.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Who Owns That Unicorn?


Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

I recently read an interesting article in the Economist about how, for many start-ups, it gets hard to know who actually owns it.

The average successful start-up goes through 7 rounds of funding, and a lot of private sales are made. The article mentioned how, at one start-up, employees spend their time trying to keep track of shareholders using Excel spreadsheets.

I'd add this to my list of required management databases a firm should have.

For example, all CIOs should have an application database, which tracks all applications, the people responsible for them, all hardware, operating systems, etc., and downstream/upstream applications.  This database should also have the dates of the last security audit, contingency exercises, etc. and send out alerts when they are due.

Now, it looks like they should have an ownership/sales database, to track who really owns them.  This will prevent legal issues and headaches, in case the company is sold or goes public.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients "weaponize" simplicity and bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Monetizing Art




Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels


I like reading about things you never thought about.

In this case, it is an Economist article on how owners of multi-million dollar works of art use them to secure loans. Many art owners are not liquid, and it's not easy to buy and sell art quickly.  But loans can be arranged quickly.

It turns out this is big business, handled by both traditional banks (like Bank of America) and specialized, boutique lenders (such as Athena).

According to the article, while banks might loan $1 million for every $5 million the painting is worth,   Athena will load closer to $1 million per $2 million in value.

Art-secured loans are less risky than you might think because they only loan against works of well-known artists (like Picasso), who have longevity in the art market.

The article concludes that 90% of art lending happens in the U.S., and Europe will probably be the best prospect for loan growth.

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients "weaponize" simplicity and bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Power Point "Disaster"




"Oh No!" Bob was in BIG trouble.  He had just plugged his laptop into the projector in the conference room, but now he couldn't locate his Power Point slide deck—the one he had just spent all night tweaking. The CEO and his team would be arriving any minute now to hear Bob's presentation on a new software product.

Bob had had high hopes for this presentation.  He had noticed that, during his previous presentations, the CEO had always seemed distracted and not paying attention.  Bob's proposals usually ended up low priority and not funded.  But, this time, Bob had made sure that the CEO would notice!  He added lots of colorful details to his presentation, pictures, sounds, and animations.

Now, he thought with a sigh, he would have nothing.

Just then, Bob's friend Norman walked in.  He immediately saw the look on Bob's face, and asked him what was wrong.  "I lost my presentation!"

"What?", said Norman.

"My whole presentation.  All of it!  I can't find the file and the meeting is about to begin..."

"Relax! Focus. You don't need Power Point, Bob.  You're the expert.  You KNOW what message you want to get across."

"But Norman, I don't know how to organize it! And the CEO is walking into the room now!"

"Get a grip! Can you draw a simple box?"

"Sure, I can do that."

"Then draw a simple box.  Then think of a way to make the box convey your message, simple and succinctly."

The presentation started and Bob drew a simple square box.  As he stopped to think for a moment, he could feel the CEO look at the box—and then look at Bob.  Finally, after what felt to him like 5 minutes (but was actually less than 30 seconds), Bob drew a horizontal axis called "reactive" and "proactive".  He then drew a vertical axis labelled "hi quality" and "low quality".

"The upper left side of the box represents a reactive, but high quality product.  This is our current flagship product.  Our customers love it, but we mostly attract large companies who are not cutting edge.  Meanwhile, the smaller, faster growing innovative companies go with Acme, because they stay right on the cutting edge, but their quality is not good.  They have a lot of complaints, and their customers have to constantly apply patches and upgrades.  We have a golden opportunity here to capture these companies, with a more proactive, lesser version of our flagship product, that still keeps its reliability."

Instead of being distracted and tired, the CEO was excited!  "I've been sitting through Power Point presentations all day, and was dreading another, but you made a great presentation.  Short, quick, and focused!  I totally understand what you're proposing, and I agree!.  We'll do it!"

And with that, the CEO left.

Later, Norman congratulated Bob.  "They are going with your idea and putting you in charge.  You'll have lots of meetings now."

"Yes, but I'm ditching the large, complicated slide decks.  I realize now that complexity was holding back my success in presentations.  From now on, I'm just going to draw simple boxes on paper or white board.  As a bonus, no more worrying about audio-visual glitches!"



© 2019 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients "weaponize" simplicity and bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Visit PuriConsulting.com