Posted on Leave a comment

Dynamic Status Dials – to communicate project status with RAG on a single page.

Sydney at Night – Zoomed in.

Communicating a large amount of information on any project into a simple,  easier to read and digest format is always something of a challenge. The trick is to focus on the key areas and “zoom” in on them.

We have read a fair bit of conventional wisdom which states that creating the ideal dashboard template should be kept simple (we agree) and that attempting to replicate the most traditional of dashboards in that of a car is to be avoided as it is not necessary. This struck a chord with us as we fundamentally disagreed – after all, cars display the most complex of information in a format which is universally accepted and which in spite of digital advances has remained largely the same using dials with redder bits akin to a RAG status.

So we started to build one and soon understood the reason behind conventional wisdom – making a car dashboard which is fully automated, pleasant on the eye and useful to those looking at it is really quite difficult! Being that difficult is our middle name (well it is documents but you get the gist) we would not take really quite difficult as an answer so persevered and finally late one night we had done it.

You can see our status template with dynamic dials here.

…in all of its 3-colour glory!

We are quite proud of it, but as ever, feedback is always welcome. As an added incentive, the first 5 people who can e-mail us with “How hard could it be” in the title will get a free version to give it a test drive.

Our Status Templates

Posted on Leave a comment

How to effectively compare companies, products, services or even people.

Let’s consider the picture above for a brief moment. We know that each vehicle here is going to be a different make, model, specification and colour, but from our initial view point all we can see is a very similar array of vehicles. Asked to chose the best one for any particular purpose (other than maybe size), we are going to have to use guess work and it will be a lot more luck than judgement if we get it right.

The snow which so confuses the issue here is like a marketing campaign or a very good sales person; unless you get beneath the outer layer, you can only judge on what you see. We tend to view this as an issue in the world of procurement from a sense of buying poor goods or services from a very good sales force, but over the years we have found that increasingly it can translate as missing a superb offering because of an inexperienced way of selling.

Running full blown RFI’s will always get to the core of an offering and on a large spend or critical piece of outsourcing this has to be the way forward unless you have an intimate market knowledge. If you don’t and it’s a crowded market, the question is how do you devise your short-list first? For every tender you issue, someone is going to have to score it, and if you really want to be focussing your energies on evaluating the cream rather than working through the, well, not so creamy.

To that end, we at BDUK have always employed a short-listing comparison tool to whittle down the market to a more suitable and manageable number of companies to then approach.

Not only does this make our life’s simpler, but we have learnt the hard way that to run a short-list tender with the short-list leaves us wide open when a friend of the board has a company doing exactly what we are buying and we not only did not include them, but have nothing in the way of justification as to why.

Self preservation. It should be our company motto.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to look good at work (from a business rather than image perspective!)

We have been on some management courses over the last few months and having let the dust settle (thus avoiding the immediate post course evangelicalism which irks even the most tolerant mind) we have come to the conclusion that we have actually learnt a great deal and that it is relevant. And useful. And in some cases actually surprising!

1. Niche is good, no matter what your niche is. So long as there is a market.

Progressive Corp is an insurance company which focusses on all the types of people the other firms avoid like the plague.

So, know your market. REALLY know your market and show that you know it through market analysis tools. Such as Porters Five Forces or PEST.

2.  Synergies are not always actually a good idea. Most companies have traditionally thought they are, but the world has changed.

It is more demanding and quite simply it is a tough market out there; focus on what you are good at, world class at, and do it.

This means that backwards or reverse integration is not the answer. Outsourcing is. Unless you are world class at it. (You get the gist). Japanese car manufacturers realised very early on that they were not as good as the electronic companies at making stereos, so they did not try and complete, they just struck up a deal. Get good at finding who in the market can deliver what you need for you, via procurement channels. Or have a look here.

3. IGNORE your customer.  Yep, you read that right. Ignore them. Not on everything, of course, answer the phone, respond to e-mail and help them.

But think what would have happened if Steve Jobs had asked the mobile phone using public what they wanted from a phone and then given it to them? It would not have been anywhere near the i-phone by a long, long way. He didn’t ask, he gave them something they hadn’t even dreamed of yet.

4. Customise your output in what ever you do. Make it fit the needs of what you are doing not the other way around.

These are the highlights, there was a lot more!

If anything has struck you, contact us. If point 4 has struck a chord and you want to talk about how our content could be modified to fit your needs, PLEASE contact us. We shan’t follow our own advice concerning point 3!

Posted on Leave a comment

Document templates by professionals

For a while now, I’ve been discussing this project with friends.
We’re all in different businesses – Media, Procurement, Insurance, Web Projects, government etc – but we all had the same experience with document templates.

Every niche of business has changing needs, and working people develop custom document templates to save them time.

There are a lot of websites providing standard boilerplate HR and Legal templates, but what about more specialist areas?

Usually you need to pay for consultants, or struggle along as best you can

In most cases when a business requires a niche service, they need to shell out large fees for consultants, or struggle through as best they can using research, blood, sweat and tears.

Niche business templates, by professionals

This website will be providing a growing set of niche business templates, and selection of business categories which have been developed by professionals who are experts in the areas in question.

What Business Best Practice is appropriate?

We have organised our document templates by Category, and also into business-focussed Business Best Practices to help you find the best selection of templates to suit your needs.