Thursday, February 24, 2011

Driving Success: The incredible Power of Company-Wide Goal Alignment

I recently read the above article from Success Factors (
 This specific article is about the relationship between companywide strategy
goals and individual employee goals.

Empower your employees, make sure that they understand what his/her goals are
and align them towards the company goals and the results should be Employees
performing up to their full potential.

 The top three business benefits of clearly setting and Aligning
goals across your Company:

1. Increased Operating Margings
2. Quicker Execution of Company strategy
3. Reduced Employee Turnover
"A recent Gallup Poll
turnover showed that Companies with large numbers of dissatisfied workers
experience greater absenteeism and lower productivity - As well as 51% higher
Employee turnover rate"

Setting Effective Goals for your Employees and your

To be effective, goals must serve both the needs of the Company as well as
those of the Employees. Goals should be aligned with short and
long-term business strategies. These goals should be clear, objective,
understandabe  attainable  and measurable otherwise they will be prompt to

To achieve "Goal Alignement" strategic business objectives accross the
Company at all levels should be clearly identified and this exercise should be
done from top to bottom. It is almost impossible to create a set of
aligned Departmental goals or a Departmental long term strategy unless there is
a clear strategic objective dictated from higher levels of Management.

S.M.A.R.T Goals: Intelligent by Design
S.M.A.R.T. goals have been found to be a very effective method of motivating
employees to perform at peak levels.

A S.M.A.R.T. Goal must be specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant
and  Timely

I have been thinking about this topic while putting together a document for
my CFO about the state of the It Department its past and his future. (Believe it
or not I have been already almost 7 months at Whitsons Culinary Group).

While thinking about what should be IT Department Long and short-term goals
and how to align the specific roles and goals of the IT Team, it made me realize
how important it is to spend time in designing goals for your Team members that
are S.M.A.R.T.  and aligned with Company and Department goals.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Be prepared – The key for Migration to Windows 7

Recently I was doing some research for a Windows 7 Migration Project. (The Migration will occur from Windows XP) and found a great Gartner research article titled: Prepare for Windows 7 in 3 phases.

The article key findings are as follows:

  • Most Organizations will require between 12 to 18 months to achieve optimal preparation for a Windows 7 migration.
  • Organizations that have tested or prepared for Vista could complete the preparation process in 12 months.

The Chart below shows the 3 different stages of the Migration according to Gartner


It is important, on the SMB space that companies that are still on the XP Platform to start looking into their migration strategies, Microsoft will end support of the XP platform by April of 2004, and most of the application vendors may also end application support to their applications even earlier than that.
Make sure that you keep the following key issues in perspective

  • Create a Committee to outline the Project and the project timelines , and select a user base for your pilots that would represent different business areas, level of knowledge, geographies, etc . This will guarantee a smooth implementation phase.
  • Create a detailed Inventory of your assets: hardware, software and processes.
  • Make sure that your IT staff is properly trained on the new system capabilities and features and also on the new management capabilities that Windows brings to the table. Check the Microsoft springboard series at , there is a wealth of information and tools on different Windows 7 migrations key issues like:
            • Deployment and Automation
            • Application Compatibility
            • Pilots
            • Application virtualization and much more.
  • Establish a Testing program
  • Go over your licensing schemas not only for the OS but also for the Applications.
  • Make sure that you have buy-in from your user base, instead of pushing down the update.
  • Keep communication at all times with your users during the pilot phase

Adjusting Gartner’s Migration procedures to your own environments will help you better strategize and plan your Windows 7 migration.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Looking inside the IT help desk

It is well known that to have a healthy IT Organization, one of the most important aspects or at least one of the most visible ones is the IT Help Desk. The IT Help Desk is the windows to the outside world and your Organization will be measured in a larger fashion by the way your IT Help Desk performs.

The proper functioning of the IT Help Desk function is very well explained under frameworks such as ITIL and MOF. On this post I will mention some of the leading indicators that can be maintained to shed some light into the daily functioning of the Help Desk. (For more information visit the KPI Library).

  • First Call resolution rate
  • Percentage of first-tier resolution of help desk requests
  • Average number of calls/help desk request per technician
  • Percentage of closed request
  • Percentage of overdue requests
  • Percentage of escalated requests
  • Percentage of reopened requests
  • And many more

Note: A given time period is needed to measure these KPIs

By monitoring these indicators closely you will be able to better manage your help desk and be in a position to fix any issues that you might have, have an effective Help Desk and keep your customers satisfied.

Also, surveys are much recommended to get the user perspective as to what is the level of service that you are providing, and whether your level of support matches the expected level.
You can measure the Service Level Effectiveness as recommended by Gartner Business Value Model BVM as follows:

Service-Level Effectiveness = Surveyed users with >=90% satisfaction/Total No of surveyed users.

Your goal is to keep this indicator closest to a 100%.

Remember, it doesn't matter how well your Back end infrastructure and systems is running if you have problems with your Help Desk. The perception will always be that IT is not doing a good job. By measuring the above indicators, you will have a day-to-day view of the help desk operations and will be able to adjust accordingly instead of waiting until you perform a Survey to realize that something is not working as intended.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The role of the IT assessment

Often times technology organizations are out of sync with their business counterparts; in fact numerous studies have shown that the perception on IT has a different meaning according to the angle that it's viewed:
From the IT point of view, we always hear that they work really hard and are not being appreciated enough, not enough funds to invest in the right technologies, etc.
From the business point of view, the conversation is always around the fact there is a lot of money being spent, but the return on investment is not really clear.

To eliminate that perception, business goals and objectives have to be aligned with underlying technology solutions. IT real value is to provide solutions that will help the organization reach those goals and objectives. It is important for IT Managers to understand that to be effective the focus must be on business and not in technology.

There are a lot of mechanisms like IT governance or steering committees, architecture frameworks, etc. that work really well for large companies to provide that business-IT alignment, smaller companies with lesser resources can also perform the same tasks by conducting IT assessments.

Conducting an IT assessment focus on two very important issues:

  • Identify business needs
  • Determine whether or not IT in its presence state can deliver those business goals

By carrying out these assessments, you will have an idea of what your issues are and will be able to formulate strategies to address your critical and more strategic needs.



Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to measure an Organization’s knowledge

On an earlier post I was arguing about the importance of collective intelligence for any Organization, in this post I will go over two different KPIs from the Gartner's Business value Model – BVM

According to Gartner:

The Employee Training Index shows the commitment of the organization to invest in its employees as the changing demands of its customers require new knowledge and skills.

The skills Inventory Index show the ability of the organization to fulfill its employee skill needs in order to complete its business activities. Outsourced business activities are not considered part of these skill requirements.

Knowledge management and the management of collective intelligence are significant factors in determining business value. Attracting and keeping superior talent will require the evidence of commitment on the part of the organization. The measurement of this indicator in coordination with other business indicators will bring deep insights about the influence of collective intelligence in the overall success of the Organization.

Employee Training Index=Total training days/Amt of Emp * 225

The Skills inventory index is an indication of the organizations ability to move into new lines of business. It is measures as

Skills Inventory index=Total skills filled by existing employees /Total number of skills needed

With the help of these two indicators any Organization should be able to measure their collective intelligence and its influence in business value generation. The question that still remains is how to leverage this asset? That will be the theme of a new post.

Keep tuned.

Metrics, HR and the value of measurement

On my previous blog titled: Why technology is important to save HR costs and affect the bottom line I tried to explain the importance of metrics in the HR function to better position a company in the recruitment process.
I am not by any means an HR technologist, the reason of my interest is that at a previous place I worked for, it was announced that the Company goal was to grow their revenue up to 1.2 billion dollars in the next 5 years, and I wondered back then how a goal like this would trickle down to the different business departments like Human Resources, IT, Cost, Estimating, etc. It would seem to me that to achieve a goal such as this, all stakeholders should have a clear understanding exactly what would be the way to get there.

It is understood that you will find the measure of the success of any business by looking at financial indicators, but these are trailing indicators, the history after the facts. In the other hand performance key indicators are leading indicators, they will help you better position yourself for the task ahead, and by effectively measuring what is going on any business department will be able to position themselves to achieve the goal ahead. Remember: You cannot manage what you don't measure

For example If the company goal is to hire 50 new employees a year with a delta of 20% increase a year for the next 5 years, and the hiring process is occurring at a 40% recruitment effectiveness index (look at the chart below), it will means that the time to hire and the total recruitment cost must be decreased to reach the company's recruitment goals to be able to achieve the forecasted growth. Obviously like I mentioned earlier, HR is just one indicator in the mix, there are many other stakeholders in the mix.

The Recruitment effectiveness index (REI) is measured as follows (as per Gartner's Business value Model (BVM))

ART = 1-(Time to hire/365) – Average relative recruitment time
ARC = 1-(Total recruitment cost/1st year compensation) – Average relative recruitment cost

To conclude, it is important that analytics are included as part of any decision making process.
By measuring you will arrive to better decisions


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why technology is important to save HR costs and affect the bottom line

When working in fast growing Companies, where growth depends highly on the quantity and quality of new hires needed, it is paramount that HR processes are automated. Without these technology solutions Human Resources will be contributing to increased opex costs instead of working with a highest efficiency to targeted goal of growth.

It has been proved that Organizations that have introduced technology solutions for key HR areas like the ones shown below will improve the bottom line.

  • Talent Management
  • Staffing
  • Compensation
  • Performance Management

Solutions like Self Service, HR-oriented help desk solutions, HR data warehousing and other will definitely help achieve better results.HR Managers will bring more value to their Organizations by conducting business cases and cost justifications for the introduction of these technologies.
There are a few approaches that HR managers use to determine the value of HR technologies:

  1. Process savings
  2. Headcount changes
  3. Metrics
  4. Other
All these approaches are well documented on HR literature. I will try to focus on metrics

There are very important metrics available for the HR function that any HR Manager should follow in order to properly align HR goals with the overall business goals. As I stated at the beginning of this post for fast growing companies HR Managers should understand what the right mix of personnel and automated processes is required to:
Deliver the right amount of talent, with the right quality in the right time.

Some of these Metrics are:

  1. Cost metrics
    1. HR Cost per employee
    2. HR admin labor cost per employee

  2. Headcount metrics*
    1. HR Admin ration
    2. Payroll admin ratio
    3. Staffing headcount ratio
    4. Other HR functions ratio per total employee count

  3. Cycle Time
    1. Time to hire (in days)
    2. Time to complete transfer or solution
    3. Time to complete salary action
These metrics are not difficult to collect and should be part of the HR department business dashboard, only them HR should be able to proactively determine whether it's positioned to achieve the company's business goals.

I will follow up this post with other very important HR metrics like

  • Recruitment Effectiveness Index
  • Skills Inventory Index
  • Employee Training Index
  • HR Total Cost matrix
Stay tuned.