Optimize BEFORE You Automate

By | Systems Thinking
optimize before you automate
Happy new year! 2017 is off to the races and companies are coming back online and ready to tackle their goals for the new year. Like a lot of companies, a technology upgrade may be on the table for you. Maybe it’s a project management system, a CRM, an accounting platform, a workflow system – maybe it’s an off the shelf solution or a custom build… either way, STOP. Consider this quote before anything else.


The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates


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Email is not your friend, Visualized.

By | Systems Thinking
Visual Analysis of Typical Email Exchange
Let’s assume for a moment that you have a finite amount of mental bandwidth and that every piece of visual information that you have to process uses up some of that bandwidth. Here’s just one way that email robs you blind without you even realizing it.

To illustrate, I took a 7 email exchange with a colleague and dissected the information. The exchange went like this:

  1. I emailed a colleague with a simple request.
  2. He responded with a question.
  3. I replied with an answer.
  4. He emailed a 3rd person for clarification.
  5. He forwarded the 3rd person’s response to me with a question.
  6. I replied with an answer.
  7. He confirmed, and closed the thread.

I looked at this email exchange and highlighted all the new information, the redundant information, the sub-thread information and the completely worthless information. For all the text in the exchange, there were about 9 or 10 short sentences (6.81%) worth anything at all, out of the pages and pages of content. Read More

Smarter, Faster: Gmail Nirvana

By | Smarter, Faster

Smarter, Faster by Lithyem: Gmail Nirvana

I’m always amazed at how overwhelmed nearly everyone I know and respect are by their inboxes. People who are absolute rockstars in life and business are brought to their knees by the oldest digital tool around. In the last few weeks I’ve had half a dozen people ask me how I manage to get to Inbox Zero every week – here you go.

Note, Inbox Zero is not a goal I set, it’s just a result of the systems and tools that I use to be incredibly responsive in communication and keep tasks & conversations organized.

The main tool in my arsenal is FollowUp.cc. It’s built for Gmail, works in Outlook but really shines in Gmail. There are a lot of similar tools (Boomerang, Gmelius, etc.) but for me this one checks all the boxes. Read More

Your Systems Suck and You Need to Know Why

By | Systems Thinking
Business systems and process imrovement

Do your systems look like this?

Two words; Deliberate and Variance. If your business systems and processes have NOT been carefully designed, tested, documented and measured then they are not deliberate and I guarantee you that they have variance. If your processes use words like usually, typically and sometimes – we’ve got red flags.

Why do I care?

Without intention behind the design of operations and when each process varies from instance to instance you end up with massive inefficiency. Employees buried in excel and email, with desks covered in paper and post-it notes are all the rage in these companies. The fun really gets going with manual double data entry, having to correct errors constantly, and slow, inconsistent service. Forget real-time data and reports – that’s science fiction. Read More

Business Software Doesn’t Have to be Painful

By | Lithyem Insights

business_operating_platformsYou work at an enterprise corporation. On a daily basis, you use at least seven different programs, likely to perform just one or two tasks. You use an HR portal, an inventory tracker, a content management system, and the company intranet. You run reports in one program only to have to input the same numbers into another program to get the reports that you actually need for your weekly huddle.  You have nightmares about not hitting the save button before you move to the next thing, and you’d rather just do everything in Excel because at least you know how to use it. Sound familiar?

It doesn’t have to be like that. What if you had a piece of software that turned a five minute task into a two and a half minute task? Software that’s reminiscent of your favorite apps where you can swipe, reorganize, and produce results. Software that solves problems and facilitates the primary goals of your job function. Too good to be true? No way. Enter UX design for enterprise, where good design equals good work. We understand that employees are also consumers, downloading daily the newest, fastest, and leanest apps on their phones and tablets. They’ve become accustomed to immediate gratification, one click functionality, and simple layouts. Why should the software we use at work be different? Read More

Welcome to the age of operating platforms

By | Lithyem Insights

ljlw_4In the past, the typical business assembled its IT systems piece by piece.

Core enterprises systems such as enterprise resource planning, financial management and human resources would be installed. As the company grew, additional applications would be added. Security solutions and backup systems would also come into play, typically retrofitted into the existing collection of IT resources. The company might also add a dashboard to enhance executive decision making.

All of those systems would almost always reside on-premises. The business would take on the responsibility for assembling and maintaining the necessary hardware, software and networking components of the IT infrastructure.

The emergence of the operating platform, however, promises to shake up the business-as-usual take on IT. Instead of a piecemeal approach to business process automation, the operating platform provides application software, process workflows, security and backup, and business analytics in a single, integrated offering. Read More

3 Tips for Bringing Operations Data Up to the Boardroom

By | Lithyem Insights

amo_cs_3Boardroom and C-level executives are keen to keep tabs on a company’s fundamentals at all times.

One way to keep the top-tier appraised of an enterprise’s performance is to make sure they are receiving the latest operations data. That particular tactic may seem fairly obvious. Unfortunately, the exact ways in which an organization can best meet the informational needs of company decision makers may not be as self evident. A large corporate entity generates massive amounts of data. Which data sets will prove relevant for demanding executives? And once the data sets are determined, how will the organization deliver the information to the boardroom? What technologies will be involved?

Those are just some of the questions to be settled when pushing operations data to the front office. Here are a few tips on how to get the job done.

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Three Reasons Understanding Operational Intelligence Will Increase Growth

By | Lithyem Insights

equipment_managementWhen you come to grips with the main benefits of operational intelligence, new avenues for expansion should come into focus almost immediately.

Operational intelligence, a branch of of the broader field of analytics, focuses on the here-and- now of business. Solutions generally consist of a monitoring component that feeds key performance indicators into a dashboard that lets executives visualize business trends and patterns. The operational intelligence dashboards, in turn, facilitate the management of an enterprise’s business processes. Such dashboards provide insights that improve the organizational decision-making process. Another type of dashboard, namely an analytical dashboard, focuses on predictive analytics and emerging business opportunities. They are chiefly concerned with the future.

Operational intelligence, in contrast, is all about the present — and unlocking a business entity’s potential today. Here are three reasons understanding the essence of operational intelligence will propel your company’s growth:

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