Are We There Yet?

magic-cube-cube-puzzle-play-54101tl,dr; flexibility. From buying a new app to acquiring a company, your ability to integrate can make or break returns.

When your doctor prescribes medicine there are many questions. A patient might ask “How long until it kicks in?”

This applies to business decisions as well. Adopt a new system and executives begin to ask “When will realize value?” Start shipping a new product line and investors wonder “When will profits emerge?”

How do we answer these questions with accuracy and speed? One thing acquisitive companies do is compare books. Take a look at the finances. Look at the details of operation expenses, profits and capital expenditures. This gives you a great deal of insight about the hard facts of a business.

There are many other aspects aside from finance though. How do new products get more clarity on when profits will emerge? Unique funding tools like kickstarter have shed light on this. Why not get people signed up to buy before or during design? Have you asked people if they would buy your product? Will they? How will you tell them when it’s ready?

What if you took the kickstarter model to heart?

How will employees know when a new system will be available? When will their jobs get easier or more streamlined? Have you asked for their input?

Kickstarter has a ton of value beyond just crowdfunding. It’s a way to communicate, survey and set expectations. These functions are critical during times of flux and change.

Knowing where our teams, systems and colleagues are within a transition empowers speed.

We’re building your next kickstarter and can’t wait to share it with you. You can also try it out for yourself here.

To learn how our software empowers organizations to architect for fast integration, read our stuff on preparing to realize the value of BIG change.


In the beginning…

tl,dr: all business processes start somewhere, whether data, event or request driven. That simple goal is the starting point of request process improvement.

I just need to collect people’s email addresses to get started.

I get into a lot of solution conversations with my friends. This is consulting 101, but there’s more on the line when I’m personally invested in this person.

There are other challenges too, when it’s personal there’s usually a cost prohibitive budget, a.k.a. no cash on hand.

So when someone asked me how to collect information and “get started” a lightbulb went off!

All processes start somewhere.

pexels-photo-28554It appears that almost all business processes come down to a click. An order. A bit. A byte. SOMETHING; whether it be data or a request, something triggers a business response.

Can we then assume that the best software gets this?

When I asked this, I re-asked it a couple times before I realized this was the value IT was providing. Particularly when it refers to Enterprise Architecture.

The decisions you make about the puzzle you are composing with technology investments influences your ability to react to information and events.

Which is why good architects and business analysts ask difficult questions about APIs and Integration points.

Can you send an example of the JSON?

It’s why great application developers know the details of how to alert and register events. As well as how to extract and parse event and alert information in a meaningful way.

How do you start a process? Is it as easy as filling in a request form? Do you click a button? Is it complex or simple? Why?

Participants in our second virtual hackathon have been challenged to start a business process. Create a simple registration application. Start capturing those email addresses and start the business process you need to start now.

For more information about how we feel about business processes check out this simple process flow, subscribe to our blog or check out who we are!

The 3 Best Focal Points of Request Management

Today I had someone ask for advice. “What would you tell a new Request Process Owner?” Although results will vary, here is some generic advice.

The goal of Request Management is to deliver goods and services to those that need them. This sounds simple, but we’re talking about people; so it’s not simple.

First, you have more than one person you serve. You support and defend the people ordering, selling and fulfilling goods and services. Each will have an idea of what that means. If you can get them all to agree, you should consider a career in politics.


Make sure people know where to order things. This might be the biggest challenge. And there are several related goals.

It’s a lot easier to tell people where to go when you have one place for people to order things. So, a secondary goal is making sure everything that can be ordered is in that one place. This might be impossible, so do your best. Partnering with Business Analysts and other key people will help you achieve clarity. It will also help you understand the history and technical limitations.

The “one place” to order things should be in neutral territory. If not, you will face opposing goals and risk their influence.

Improving that “one place” is another related goal. How easy is it to find the right goods and services? Is it easy to order them? When you want to change an item description, can you? Flexibility is an advantage, dependence is your foe.

Keep a small marketing and sales campaign targeted at both new and experienced people. Let them know what new things they can order. Take their feedback on the catalog and listen to them. Driving demand and traffic to your portal will keep authority and adoption high.

Next, consider the people selling and delivering those goods and services. Are they enabled to manage their own items? Do they like the automation or task assignments? Are the alerts and information they need working well? Keep them focused on smooth delivery and using the central portal.

Finally, providing an excellent customer experience will reward you with loyal fans. These fans will tell their friends and coworkers about their experience. This makes your sales and marketing efforts much easier and amplifies your reach.


Consider request management to be a supply chain. Going further upstream to your vendors may be an easy way to find savings in effort or cost. Say the headphones you provide are $100. Can you get better ones at the same price? Can your vendor get you a better price?

This is usually a great opportunity for automation and cost savings. Say for instance that every laptop you buy ships alone. Is there cost savings in shipping them all at once? How do you manage stock? Licensing?

There are a lot of partnerships in this function, keep your partners close.


Let’s stick with headphones. When someone requests them, what happens? Does Sally order them from Amazon? If so, do they get delivered to the person that ordered them? Does Sally get them first?

These are the details of request management that are often the hardest to impact. Getting Sally to change her process is not going to be simple. If you make it automated she may even feel her job is danger. Always focus on value. Using your customers’ feedback will be instrumental in designing and impacting these details.

Just like selling, fulfillment is a chain of events that you can analyze. Improvements are always there, the questions of cost, expectations and experience still apply.

This also means you must balance complexity. Hiring new employees or bringing on new companies are examples of complex requests. Don’t get overwhelmed and leverage your selling, fulfillment and requesting professionals to improve.

I hope this will help you on your journey. What would you add to these suggestions?

How Enterprise Software is like Apple’s new Airpods

tl,dr; one size does NOT fit all and assumptions hurt your bottom line.

If you watched the Apple event today you saw Phil announce a new set of wireless earbuds that connect wirelessly to your iPhone. The wireless technology and use cases are mind blowing. This is innovation.

Shortly after the announcement he did two things:

  1. He claimed they are “comfortable”
  2. He showed four other options of headphones from their subsidiary “Beats”

Anyone who has tried the newer shape of earbuds and experienced discomfort winced when he said “comfortable”. There is no way these will fit me.

On to the Beats headphones – four options “for every type of listening experience.” Great, and actually without those options I would be stuck using a lightning/audio dongle everywhere every time.

So what can we learn from this?

Listen to your users

When you make claims about what your users experience and it doesn’t accurately portray their emotions these claims are distancing and destroy or harm your relationship with customers. Actively listening and engaging regularly is not only important to your customers, but also to your profits.

Don’t force people to adapt unwillingly

Extend features to support the diversity of your customers and users. Making them do things “your way” creates discomfort, displeasure and may even stop people from adopting or changing in the ways you want or need them to.

Okay, why?

To learn more about how employee and customer disengagement hurts your bottom line read our piece “Surviving the Chaos

Designing Great Forms

I posted an example last week of a form I encountered that really stuck out to me. It really shocked me how good it was.


Can you spot what stood out to me?

There are standard good things about this form:

  1. A graphical representation of where I am in the process
  2. Simple entry fields with clear field name
  3. A submission button that is clear

Yeah, yeah… it’s a form. I expect all those things.

What struck me about this form was that it didn’t care about me! It was asking for my child’s name, not mine. The credit card holder.

So what Matt?

So what? That’s my daughter! She means the world to me. No surprise there either.

So why is this so good?

Later in the process, as I’m discovering their services and receiving communications this form gives them an edge. They now have the power to influence my experience in a way you couldn’t without my daughter’s name.

Matt, did Lucy like the kit we sent?

We’ll be sending Lucy’s next kit this week!

This subtle data gives this company the ability to reach me emotionally EVERY time they want to interact with me. They know something their competitors do not; my daughter’s name.

A well designed form is easy to use and has a good entry experience. A truly great form does all that, and empowers business processes to be exceptional.

What can you change in your forms to delight your customers later?

Are you able to test your theories?

If you want the flexibility to build great experiences, empower employees and customers while improving business outcomes you should really check out Kinetic Data today. Don’t want to check out another company in your free time? Send your app dev pros to our developer site, or email us and we’ll check you out instead!

When Systems of Record should be used as Systems of Engagement

TL,DR; Never. Ever. Not even then.

Systems of record are designed to be used by trained professionals using industry terms, metrics and data.

Why on earth would try to open the door to untrained professionals? And if you’re training each employee to use a system of record, aren’t you wasting money and time?

There are tons of examples of this everywhere you look.

Can you imagine diagnosing your car? How about towing it in? Do you even have the right equipment?

Will your interpretation of the diagnosis be accurate?

Stop making non IT users use your IT system, and stop training each and every employee how to use the new HR system.

Spend the time and effort to build an interface that doesn’t require training, and then us modern tech to integrate with all the things.

Enabled employees require little training and focus on what they are great at.

Want to read more? We have a 7 page white paper(pdf link) that goes into great detail on this subject. Or you can an IT focused, shortened version here, or just go and try our software that is designed for this specific purpose.

Your Next ITSM Tool Should be Neither

TL,DR; decouple IT operations from customer service and development. Then realize the incredible savings and benefits thereof.

The term “ITSM” has always bugged me, and I think I know why.

The primary customer of ITSM is IT; everything else is lumped into “customer service” and “customer experience”.

ITSM_WikiEven Wikipedia says there are too many “fluff words” and that ITSM has an unclear definition.

But in IT, we know better. We understand what we’re talking about when we say Service Management. It’s a standard way of operating so we don’t fail.

So why would any business person buy Service Management?

To keep the lights on.

“But that’s what we hired you for! We don’t care what you call it. We don’t want to buy it, we want you to DO IT!”

Then I’ll need $1.5m every three years to replace my tools, redesign processes and…

Wait, $1.5m? Don’t you remember when last year we were managing changes via email? Don’t you remember the spreadsheets of Assets? Why $1.5m?

Technology has become complex and our colleagues want to reduce risk. Some also want to understand the value and depreciation of assets. ITSM is just IT Operations Management + Customer Service.

DING DING DING DING DING DING – we have a winner! Here’s your $1.5 million. But why every three years?

Think of ITSM tools like a car lease. Three years comes along, and it’s time for a fresh smelling one, the latest one with all the bells and whistles.

Do the bells and whistles keep the lights on?


Then why keep upgrading and rebuilding your operations empire?

The tools and practices that surround Service Management change, and they change often.  Have you considered who benefits from that change?

Consider separating your systems of operation from your systems of service. It gives you the freedom to change platforms without impacting your customers.

The impact of this is far greater than you realize. We believe in building systems of engagement separate from systems of record. To understand the nature of this problem:


systems-of-recordDoes this image describe your problem? If so, you’ll be interested in understanding our approach to enterprise software. Read more here, or just call us directly: 1-651-556-1030