Posted on

AI Can’t Craft Your Killer Business Roadmap Timeline (Just Yet)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing many aspects of business, but there are still some tasks where human expertise reigns supreme. One such area? Crafting impactful timelines for presentations, especially those crucial business presentations.

While AI has made strides in data analysis and presentation creation, a compelling business timeline requires more than just facts and dates. Here’s why AI isn’t quite ready to replace your design team when it comes to timelines:

  • Understanding Context: A great business timeline isn’t just a dry list of events. It tells a story, highlighting key milestones and their impact. AI may struggle to grasp the nuances of your specific business goals and audience, making it difficult to tailor the timeline for maximum impact.
  • Visual Storytelling: A well-designed timeline uses visuals to enhance the narrative. Charts, icons, and color-coding can make complex information digestible. While AI can generate basic visuals, it may lack the creative spark to truly capture your audience’s attention.
  • Tailoring the Message: Business presentations cater to different audiences. A presentation for investors might emphasize financial milestones, while one for internal teams might focus on product development. AI might struggle to adapt the timeline’s content and presentation style to resonate with the specific audience.
  • Human Touch and Refinement: The best presentations often involve a back-and-forth between presenter and designer. Human designers can translate feedback and revise the timeline to better suit the speaker’s needs. AI, while constantly learning, currently lacks this level of iterative refinement.

The AI Advantage: A Powerful Ally

This isn’t to say AI has no role to play. AI can be a powerful tool in creating timelines. Here’s how:

  • Data Gathering: AI can scour vast amounts of data to identify key milestones and dates. This saves you time and ensures you haven’t missed any crucial events.
  • Template Selection: AI can suggest pre-designed timeline templates based on your industry or presentation type. This gives you a solid foundation to build upon.
  • Content Curation: AI can help gather relevant text snippets and data points to populate your timeline.

The Takeaway: Collaboration is Key

While AI can’t replace the human touch when it comes to crafting impactful business timelines, it can be a valuable asset. The future likely lies in collaboration: AI powering the data analysis and groundwork, while human designers add the creative spark and strategic storytelling necessary to hold your audience captive.

So, don’t ditch your designer just yet. But keep an eye on AI – it’s a powerful tool that will continue to evolve, potentially becoming a stronger partner in building those winning business presentations.

Whilst you are waiting for AI to catch up, why not start here

Posted on

MoSCoW. The method not the place.

MoSCoW is an acronym which stands for Must, Should, Could and Will not. This is a method used on new projects which enables all stakeholders to agree what is really important.

Must haves need to be completed before the launch of the product or service.

Should have need to be mostly completed.

Could haves will have some completed before launch.

Will nots will have none completed.

Should I bother using it? It is quite a common approach and therefore projects teams are familiar with it. The main benefits are that in a sea of requirements its easy to see which are the most important. It also really helps focussing project time especially when scope creep starts in anger.

Any limitations?

Some. Whilst having all the Musts completed is easy, there is not always an agreement on how many Shoulds or Coulds need to be. Will nots is easy for day one launch although whether these features are dropped forever or parked for another day is not always clear.

So why are the o’s so small and what do they stand for?

They stand for absolutely nothing. It’s just that without them MSCW is quite hard to say.

I don’t suppose you have one for sale do you?

Never thought you’d ask.

Posted on

Breaking into Lloyd’s of London

At over 330 years old, Lloyd’s is the most recognisable insurance institution in the world. Specialising in non-standard risks others cannot or will not insure it is something of a world renown institution.

It is also necessarily a complex market place, steeped in history yet embracing the future. For example Lloyd’s works on a 3 year cycle – the time it took ships to circumnavigate the globe. It also can place Cyber insurance at a range of insurers.

The individual syndicates who make up the market place are always looking to evolve. As a result change programmes with innovation are a constant theme.

But how to translate complex projects to investors and boards who need to see everything on a single page?

One of consultants was approached with this very challenge, one which we were more than happy to oblige with. Step forward our Product Delivery Roadmap now part of a board pack in the Lloyd’s building.

Posted on

“Now I understand why you need procurement”

Commodity Dashboard

One of our fathers had just been watching the UK news . The UK transport minister had just seen a £33 million out of court settlement to Euro Star because a tender process had gone a tad wrong.

The penny had dropped; a career in procurement was suddenly vindicated as the consequences of not doing a proper job was being broadcast to the nation.

It is actually quite difficult to present the issues which led to the pay out seem true rather than made up, as they are so farcical. It was a near £14 million pound contract awarded to Seabourne Freight to move medical supplies, by sea, that had a couple of snags;

  • The firm had no real trading history
  • And had not ran a ferry service before
  • Its terms and conditions referred to website food orders
  • And they had no ships

And so they found legal action on their door step from Euro Star over the was the contract was awarded.

Now we are sure that there were reasons why the 4 points above were ignored/overlooked (there must be right?) but the point remains that even on lesser oversights, running a procurement process properly is actually quite important.

Even our dads know this now.

Running a procurement project? Have a look here

Posted on

GDPR – Boring but important

By the 25th May 2018 GDPR comes in to force and it affects anyone who trades with anyone within the EU.

Within the UK there are now thousands of experts in the field, guiding companies through the process of readiness, changing contractual terms for their suppliers (and increasing limits of liability for breaches if uncapped liability not an option) and generally keeping compliance departments really really busy.

Potential fines are HUGE (4% of global turnover) and will fund regulators so expect there to be fines. The biggest risk to individual companies however is the claimant solicitors all ready in the wings to take on cases where people feel their data has been breached. Seriously, just do a google search and see how many domain names have already been registered in anticipation.

We would outline the details of the forthcoming legislation and a handy guide of what to do, how and when. But it’s not straight forward and it’s probably best to hear it from those managing it, such as the ICO in the UK.

What have we done?

Whilst reviewing the legislation as a whole got dull quickly, how it affected us (we are ever so slightly narcissistic) did not and we’ve held a number of compliance meetings over the past 6 months. The outcome of which can be summarised as follows in terms of how we have interpreted the act and what we have done about it.

Privacy by design

This is a phrase oft repeated when discussing the act but it really is pertinent. We have reviewed every single one of our processes (that was a fun week) from searching on our site to making a purchase and have ensured that this principle is upheld EVERY SINGLE TIME.

What this means in real words;

  • We only use the data you supply when making a purchase to process your purchase
  • It is has NEVER been used for anything else and never will be
  • We don’t auto-sign you up for anything.
  • Anything you do sign up for (news letter, creating an account) is strictly opt-in only
  • We have never sold or passed on data, we’re not about to start

Actually, this was the easy bit for us – we didn’t really need to do or change anything, just map it all out. We’ve also never had adverts or banners on the site so that was another area we didn’t have to consider.

Retention of Data

The act is quite clear in that records should only be held as long as they need to be, and to be fair this has not changed from the current legislation in the Data Protection Act.

We do retain purchase records because we are often contacted by customers who have changed PC’s or lost their template and ask us to resend it, sometimes many years after the purchase date.

Because we actually like helping folk out we’ve been more than happy to do this at no charge but after much internal debate we’ve concluded that we need to auto delete purchase records after a suitable period. Presently we are fixed on retention for 60 days and have already deleted thousands of records ahead of May.

In real terms this means we will happily carry on helping folk out who have lost a template purchased a few years ago, we just won’t be able to find the purchase record so it will be imperative that you retain your invoice.

We’ll issue a further update ahead of May, but rest assured we are taking the whole GDPR thing ever so seriously.

Posted on

Business Documents hit the stage

One of us was let lose this month and found himself in front of 300 sleepy post-lunch sets of eyes staring blankly back at him. Of course, the content up on the stage screen was grossly over-engineered as our intrepid speaker could not shake the thought that by representing Business Docs in a public arena, the slides had BETTER be good!

For what it is worth, here are a few tips we can offer for getting up on stage and trying to stop a room full of people boo or fall asleep.

  1. Remember who your audience is
  2. Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them it, then remind them what you just told them
  3. Humans seem to work better with 3 things be it sections, content or ideas
  4. Memorise your lines, practice your lines, learn the flow
  5. Know your next slide so you can transform effortlessly from one to another
  6. If you even bother with slides – some of the best speakers use few
  7. Don’t be so rigid with your presentation that you can’t flex a little with the mood in the room
  8. Don’t sell your own product – sell your presentation
  9. Make it feel like you wrote it for that audience
  10. Remember that they are more scared of you than you are of them*

*That might be dogs