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Millennia Group Blog

Support your local decision maker

Monday, March 18, 2019

via Flickr, Andy FoggHard as we all try, we are human and we make mistakes.  When these mistakes take the form of data entry errors, it can range from being an annoyance all the way to a full-fledged disaster.  Products get shipped to the wrong address, billing errors occur, critical dates are missed and so on.

Data entry into a “system”; an accounting system, CRM, ERP or any type of database or spreadsheet, feeds information to many users.  Therefore, it is important to do whatever it takes to ensure accurate information is captured and the wrong information is not magnified across many decision makers.  Here are some simple methods to support those decision makers and help them avoid costly mistakes. 

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And the answer is...

Thursday, February 28, 2019

via Flickr Terry JohnstonHere’s a situation that is probably familiar to many.  The company you work for has a database or some type of online application that contains information on your customers; CRM, accounting system, ERP, etc.  The customer calls and has a question.  It appears that some information was entered into the “system” but from experience, you know to double check.

The double check usually involves pulling up the original documentation. This lack of trust is not entirely unfounded nor irrational.  There are many unintentional mistakes made when doing data input or possibly mis-interpretation of terms.  What is the best way to ensure your employees always find out what the real answer is?

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Does Sears have a good idea?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Via Flickr - Mikeg44311According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026 about 90% of job growth will be in service producing industries.  Sears is embarking on what might be a crazy idea that they can revive their retail model by making the stores smaller and what looks like increasing the level of service or service offerings related to what they sell.  Is this where the new jobs will come from, purchasers getting more service?

The U.S. BOL stats indicate that the number two jobs creator will be in Professional and Business Services and number 12 will be Information, including data processing and hosting.  Business software providers must fit into one of those two categories.  However, software providers, like Retailers, can suffer from a purchase decision based primarily on cost and functionality.  Should software firms follow Sears formula and not only provide technology but provide service?

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The Ideal plan may not seem ideal

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The prospect of getting a company to change a long established process is difficult, especially when that process touches multiple departments.  That should not discourage technology solution providers and businesses from having the confidence to make well thought-out ideas happen, even if seemingly idealistic. 

Despite excellent planning, some hurdles will take a long time to clear.  One or two parts of the plan may need to slip into a later phase.  Creating a plan that needs to deviate from the ideal solution in the short term may be disappointing, but could it be the ideal plan in the end?

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Are any of us on the same page?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Via Flickr - Aaron FulkersonIt’s not news that every industry has a set of unique acronyms for describing processes, requirements, features, etc.  As long as people participating in a conversation sprinkled with these acronyms are from that industry, it’s a good bet everyone understands.  Except for the newbie of course.

However, there are plenty of acronyms, words or descriptions that can be a bit too general, which leads to mis-understanding and likely, wasted time.  For instance, when doing a Google search for “workflow systems”, the results come back with 452,000 hits to search through.  Just so we are on the same page, let’s try to narrow the definition of workflow a little to save us all a lot of time and money.

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Steps in the right direction

Thursday, December 13, 2018

via Flickr - Tim J KeeganHere are some tips for getting your company or personal electronic files and documents better organized in 2019.  These tips will really make life easier if you are currently storing your company files and documents on a network drive or you use a document management system but never really configured it for your business.

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We feel guilty about tiny workspaces

Thursday, November 29, 2018

via Flickr - BakokoThe open office concept is all the rage, both at work and on Wall Street.  It is not only being executed in corporate offices but there is a booming industry of shared office space startups that take open office to a whole new level.  These spaces do have some intriguing features like comfortable common areas to gather and in the case of shared office spaces like WeWork, beer on tap.

However, we have also seen the demoralizingly small workspaces at some companies and we hear the grumblings of workers about a lack of privacy and inability to focus.  We are not owners of office buildings, nor space designers.  We are, however, somewhat responsible for this phenomenon because we provide the tools that have enabled this to happen – workflow and document management.  We do feel a little guilty, but enabling tiny workspaces isn’t the whole story.

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Try doing less, it really works

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
via Flickr - Juhan Sonin

It is usually with good intentions that a project is tackled with extreme attention to detail.  Every possible variation of input and output are considered and analyzed.  Focus groups are put together to gather information from all interested parties.  The process is time consuming but can result in some good data being gathered and a successful project outcome.  It is the right way to do things.

Now the hard part is trying determine how users will find that data if they need it again.  The data that was gathered may have dug up some minutia but also large sets of data that will be used every day.  The trick is to provide the everyday user with the ability to find information in a few clicks (simple interface) but also provide a way to find that one obscure piece of data.  Can a one size fits all search work? 

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Absolutely positively this is the one

Thursday, October 11, 2018

via Flickr - Dan Zen and William HookLet’s face it, if we encounter 10 of our co-workers during the day, it would be impossible to categorize all 10 as highly structured, organized rule followers.  It might be more realistic to say maybe three of the 10 fit that description.  If you extrapolate those numbers out in a company of 1,000 employees, that is 700 employees that can take a unique approach to structure and organization.  No big deal unless any one of those 1,000 employees needs to go back to find a document because the CEO has a question.

An easy way to turn all 1,000 employees into super organized, happy rule followers is to use electronic workflows where-ever possible.  The end result of workflow is the final, approved set of information upon which all employees can rely.  There will be no more guessing on which supporting documents were the basis for the final credit approval or what version of a spreadsheet was the final one used in the report.  All users will be able to confidently say to the CEO, Yes, this is absolutely, positively the one.

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To Repair or Replace

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

via Flickr - Tetsuya Yamanoto, click for licenseMost likely every business school in the country teaches a section on lease versus buy analysis.  That may be trickier now with the constant tax law changes, but nonetheless, it is a systematic approach to comparing the cost variables and economic benefits of each option.  The end result of the analysis will hopefully provide a clear choice that shows one option with a superior return on investment.

Believe it or not, this type of analysis is helpful in the document management world as well.  It’s called the repair or replace quandary.  We find that a high percentage of companies that completed a scanning project, or inherited the end product of one, found that the work was poor quality.  This makes it difficult and frustrating for users to find important information.  Does it make more sense to repair the damage or just start over?

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