fudgenudgesludge

Fudge, Nudge and Sludge – 3 ways companies manipulate you!

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Nudge, Sludge and Fudge

Three techniques used to manipulate people to increase profits and reduce costs, and some notes on how you can use it ethically.

The first two, Nudge and Sludge are based on Choice Architecture, a discipline originally described by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. This is a mechanism for designing environments and processes to get to people to behave in a specific way. The third is more complex and much older.

Nudge.

Think bright yellow buttons creating a visual and tactile line down a platform. Aside from the value to sight impaired commuters, it also “nudges” all users to stand away from the edge of the platform. It also makes people aware of the floor, reducing the incidents of accidents and falls from slipping. Or a fly painted on the wall of a urinal, guiding users to aim better, and not spill or splash.

One famous example is where some countries set the law so that citizens are automatically enrolled as organ donors, and need to actively opt out to not have their organs on a donor list. The idea behind a nudge is to make it the path of least resistance, the easy option. We do it because its simpler than the alternatives.

Ethical: Making a safer choice easier. Unethical: Candy, toys at checkout for pester purchases

Sludge.

Sludge on the other hand is the opposite. Making something difficult or painful to guide people away from that action. Think of small spikes on railings to deter skateboarders, or deliberately uncomfortable public seating to reduce loitering.

Removing or burying contact numbers in hard to find places, making calling tedious with long wait times and untrained operators. Long winded repeated on-hold messages pushing you back to the website.

Ethical: Traffic calming measures. Unethical: Hiding poor business practices behind layers of deceit.

Fudge.

Fudge is where the details are changed of obfuscated to appear like one thing but is actually another.

Think about shrinkflation, the removal of 2 biscuits from the package to improve the volume to dollar ratio and thus the margin.

Or the use of your own behavior against you where you are in the habit of checking the price of a 1kg block of cheese to buy it at the lowest price, only to find at home (after how many purchase?) the 750gm block has been cut to a similar shape and replaced the 1kg. The price seems cheaper than usual, and you think you got a bargain until some math tells you the opposite is true. Or the product packaged in prime number portions so you can’t divide them across your family. Later the 1kg block is reintroduced as “Jumbo” or the prime number packaging changed to non-prime number portions and called “Family pack”.

Ethical: 10% tolerance in speeding fines. Unethical: Any time you use it for stealing.

At Triatin we can help you with Augmented BI to define and implement ethical choice architecture. Helping reduce the decision requirements of your team reduces decision fatigue and results in more optimal outcomes, while also guiding them away from “quick win” scenarios that put your companies ethics into question. For us decision support is not just about converting data to meaning, it is also about ensuring the best perspective as aligned with your corporate strategy and risk profiles. Call us to hear more about a highly competitive, low risk way to better understand your data. It’s what we do.

Hard a starboard!

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https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2019/mar/01/russian-cargo-ship-crashes-into-bridge-in-south-korea-video

Decision making is almost always time bound, where a failure to act in time equals a sub-optimal outcome in the immediate future. And timeous decisions rely on one critical thing. Timeous understanding of appropriate data.

At Triatin we call that the “Aha” moment. We understand the reason for your investment in your data systems. We understand the need for your data quality to be as high as possible. And we understand the criticality of the timeous availability of the right data.

That’s why, at Triatin we don’t just send a single consultant to “help out”. We back them up with a team, a team that is multiskilled, that knows the work you need done and that can support the on-site consultant at any time they need it.

We develop knowledge systems to ensure the right information is made available at the right time to the right users.

We support existing business intelligence installations in #SAP, #MSBI and #Tableau with a team backed skilled consultant.

We replicate our client’s environments at our offices to test, confirm and develop working solutions for them.

We develop training on client environments, custom tailored to the client’s user base and time constraints to guarantee the best and most efficient use of the technologies.

We project manage all our work in detail, allowing our clients to monitor the burn rate of their spend, assess the value of the results and even understand the complexities and potential business process enhancements in their engagement model.

With our unique open pricing approach, our clients can expect a budgeted project plan, with detailed steps and time frames, resourced, costed and simplified every time they need something done. Whether it’s a yearlong support desk arrangement, or a 5-day report migration project.

Call us. Before you realize “Aha. I am going to crash my business into a bridge.”

 

Product Showcase – Business Intelligence Helpdesk

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Feature:

An annual project plan including the following tasks:-

  • Weekly, Monthly and Bi-annual support log reviews.
  • Monthly analysis of redundant reports and user logins.
  • Quarterly training on site or remote from one of our Business Intelligence trainers.
  • Monthly Business Analysis sessions with key stakeholders to ensure they are getting what they need from BI.
  • Spare capacity on the desk allocated to inhouse BAU development and enhancement tasks.
  • A Team based approach ensures a highly skilled backup team so your dedicated consultant is never without options.
  • The same team includes a ready to run backup consultant in the event yours is indisposed.
  • A clear and readable burn rate report highlighting high cost issues, progress and recommendations for enhancement.
  • A simple, easy to understand Service Level agreement.
  • Based in Australia, in your city 

Function:

To ensure the ongoing and consistent support and maintenance of the end to end – data load to business insight – decision support capability of your business.

Benefit:

Lower cost of ownership, peace of mind and guaranteed rapid turnaround, while keeping your knowledge service and decision support leading edge.


Costs? 

Support is billed monthly in advance and requires a three month rolling commitment. 

1+ day per week @A$900 a day (8-12 hrs max per week) A$3,900 per month.
2+days per week @A$850 a day (16-20 hrs max per week) A$7,366 per month.
3+ day per week @A$750 a day (24-30 hrs max per week) A$9,750 per month.
4+days per week @A$650 a day (32-40 hrs max per week) A$11,266 per month.
5+days per week @A$550 a day (40-52 hrs max per week) A11,916 per month.

Managed through Project Management, with complete reports detailing spend, recommendations, detailed logs, open issues and problems.
Terms and conditions apply

#reporting #support #businessintelligence #powerbi #tableau #sqlserver #oracle #businessobjects #crystalreports

NOTE: You pay for one consultant but they are supported by a team. the rate for the consultant is a junior rate, however they are trained and have experience from seconding other consultants for a significant period already. We will notify you when its time to change your consultant and the replacement will have worked alongside the incumbent for a significant time before they take over, at no extra cost to you. 

Want Tomorrows P&L or Balance Sheet Today?

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No not selling you anything dodgy here, but have a think. Imagine of you could get tomorrows Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss statement today? How about the whole of the next year? Next 2 years? Watch how the incoming and outgoings are likely to play out in advance with a high degree of accuracy? It is not only possible, its actually not that complicated!

Lets take a look at the basics first. You have a number of accounts and expenses that you know are not going to change significantly and a number of clients who you can expect revenue from. Using Augmented Basic Business Intelligence Engine we load the numbers for the last number of years and using predictive algorithms to calculate likely increases in things like CPI, rent or wage expectations we tweak these numbers to bring them into a close approximation of the “if nothing changes” state.

That’s not the end though. Influence tables allow us to further adjust the numbers based on a potential change – either up or down. Expect a drought to squeeze supply? Chose the influence and severity to see the impact. Expect a glut? Same deal. Influence tables can be created based on personal experience or reading augmented data from historical market movement. Looking at acquiring a competitor? Influence tables could adjust the revenue and costs to reflect the integration value.

the most important thing to know though, is that the fundamentals are actually already in your hands. Your business has been running until now and will need to operate in largely the same way for a little while to come. Perhaps before you make significant changes, a little augmented BI could guide to to the best date and time to do so.

 

Time to Upgrade to BusinessObjects 4.3?

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At Triatin we have been upgrading BusinessObjects for our clients for over 14 years, in fact some of us have been involved with the technology since it was 16bit based in the last century!

We have predefined project templates that allow us to quickly assess and quantify your site, and using our skilled team of dedicated experts we can quickly get you on to the latest platfoShare Nowrm.

With enhancements to the BI Spaces interface now based in Fiori, as well has heaps of new features and fixes on data integration, 64bit compatibility, database connections and formulas, it is a whole new look Business Intelligence solution.

Contact us for a quick rundown of what preparation you may need or review the link below, and let us help you bring your BusinessObjects installation back to the latest version.

 

 

https://help.sap.com/viewer/product/SAP_BUSINESSOBJECTS_BUSINESS_INTELLIGENCE_PLATFORM/4.3/en-US

 

Upgrade UNV to UNX? SQL Server? SSIS? Windows?

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Is it time to do that upgrade to UNX? SQL Server? Windows? SSIS? All of the above? If its got you a little worried, perhaps the following story will help you decide.

One of our key products is end to end Business Intelligence support, where we “own” the ongoing support, maintenance and upgrade of the BI stack. One client, the local offices of a global media distribution company, is one of our MS SQL, SAP Business Objects stack with some MS Power Platform and Tableau customers. Over the course of the last year, we delivered the following projects :-

1. Upgraded their MS SQL platform from 2014 to 2017.
2. Upgrade their BusinessObjects platform from 4.1 to 4.2.
3. Converted their SSIS ETL system from file to server and to project based.
4. Upgraded their Windows platform.
5. Migrated their reports to UNX from UNV.
6. Developed a Management Toolsuite to ensure consistent management of the environment.
7. Enhanced the performance through addition of aggregated tables and datamarts.
8. Developed a complete financial planning and analytics system that integrates three different source businesses financial data.

Projects like these are not to be taken lightly. This client has one of the highest security requirements in the industry, where just accessing a server needs specialist equipment, three factor authentication and is monitored at multiple layers. Over 300 reports across 12 universes distributed to hundreds of users with access to over 10 years worth of transactional data that is in the 100’s of millions of records, the installation is not insignificant. The data represents multiple organizations and different source systems and calendars and is very complex, integrating SAP data with third party data into a single data warehouse.

After the dust settled we received the following from the client:- “I ran all of my reports this morning which meant amending the parameters of each and they only took minutes. The (one) report returns 3.9m rows and took no more than 10 minutes to arrive in my Outlook inbox. The old UNV Versions took considerably longer and at times it was difficult to schedule them as the query prompt would take ages to appear or not at all. These reports and my new comparative report show that the upgrade to UNX was worth the effort.”

The above compliment came from one of the most technically complex financial users. This user is one where if they raise a ticket with support, you can be sure that all basic and intermediate level options are exhausted, plus a heap of advanced ones. The solution will not be obvious. They are also responsible for a major area of business, working in a senior finance role. That is why this is such a great response.

6 mistakes companies make when looking for Decision Support

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  1. Believe the hype.

Examples: Visualisation Tools vendors that ‘demonstrate’ how their tool will solve all your problems but never really show you the data wrangling requirement to get those flashy graphs to work. Or how you can distribute insight cheaply. Or how to make it truly dynamic. Or what access to it would cost for a large userbase.

  1. Listen to Buzzwords.

Examples: Machine Learning. Story telling. Artificial Intelligence. Extract Load Transform. Visualisation. Data lakes. Data swamps. Big data. Data Science. Data Engineering. Again while there are many valuable elements that fit these terms in a healthy Business Intelligence strategy, many are probably not needed or wanted for most fo your decision support requirements.

  1. Skip the Business Analysts (or misunderstand the role)

Examples: No proper discussion with business groups on what they require. No determination on the companies first and most critical Decision Support need. No analysis of the existing system for design flaws, redundancy and aging, and systematic and technical decay of business rules implemented in crisis.

  1. Big bang approach.

Examples: Expect the project to run start to finish and deliver everyone’s needs. Common to this is forgetting how long a complete project would take and how much the business through market pressures could change in this time. Also larger consulting companies promote big bang approaches because the paperwork alone keeps them in cream for years.

  1. Rigid thinking/ acceptance of rigid thinking.

Examples: Not building in organic growth and shrinkage mechanisms in the data core. Not considering the management tools needed to keep the system fresh and adjusted to needs. Thinking the data warehouse will be the same for the next 20 years.

  1. ERP blindness (lazy thinking, risk averse thinking)

Examples: Assuming an ERP will do everything the vendor promises, including Business Intelligence. Assuming the ERP will perform all the functions of the business as you need. Forgetting that having the same ERP as competitors means you lose competitive flexibility.

Try a different approach.

  1. Start with understanding your business users, the coalface departments. Define the role data plays in their work. Look for the lowest hanging fruit, what decision support capabilities wins you the most market value.
  2. Load only the data that knowledge thread requires, staged, transformed, and data marted to meet your users immediate needs. Select the tool they will find most appropriate.
  3. Add the next most important need, scaling the data warehouse core tables horizontally while adding a new DataMart vertically.
  4. Keep going with connecting source systems to business user needs based on your original model as defined by the business and horizontally scaling the data warehouse.

The advantage of this approach is numerous, but the biggest is the saving ion time and money. You get reports in days and weeks, not months. You get a core operational data store that is aligned to source and user needs simultaneously. You get an organically managed data system that allows you to kick source systems to touch and replace them with minimal disruption.

We should know. We have being doing this for 15 years. Through a global financial crisis, a recession and a pandemic.

Women Festival

International Women’s Day

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International Woman’s Day was yesterday which was also a public holiday in Victoria Australia, where we at Triatin have our head office. This is a good time to reflect on how well we do at promoting equality in the workplace, but first a shout out to the great women past and present that have made and still make Triatin successful over the last 14 years. Here is the analysis.

Triatin is 60% female, and our leadership team is 80% female. Our highest paid team members are women. Our lead data scientist is female, our operations director is female, our staff morale lead is female and our financial controller is female.

Our teams are diverse, over the years hailing from China, Thailand, South Africa, Australia, India, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Germany, The UK, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russia, France, Turkey, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Nepal, Bangalore, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Israel and more. Some have disabilities. Some come from poor backgrounds and some from wealth.

However it is very important to note, that none of this actually matters. Their gender, ethnicity etc. is coincidental. They are not here as “equality hires” and we are not blowing our horn about the companies gender profile. Nor does their heritage. Or religious affiliation. Or political stance. It would be nice to think our success is borne in our diversity, but that is not the reason.

The reason for our success can be summed up in one word. Competence. We have had many people of all genders work with us over the past, all highly competent people. We don’t see the gender, race, life status, physical ability as important criteria for hiring people. We look merely at competence. Will they be able to deliver the quality of service that our clients expect?

The difference between us and many other companies is that we see past the gender, past the assumptions of competence, past the traditions. We look at partnerships with out team members, we are social enterprise where we share the successes and failures of the business across the board. Our people don’t see gender in each other, they see competent colleagues who they can trust to be fair and supportive.

Try it. Look past the gender. Look past the diversity. You may be surprised at how much happier your teams are. And yes, you will find your gender and diversity profile automatically adjusts to a more balanced, more equitable blend. Just actually put your prejudices aside instead of pretending to.

Hope your International Woman’s Day gave you pause for thought. And your thoughts were as pleasant as ours.

Boardroom

Executive Reporting and Analysis – Automate Boardroom Reporting!

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Executive Shareholder and Public Reporting System

What it is

A Triatin IT Metrics Datamart solution is a complete Executive Information Systems solution, with the ability to serve up dashboards, performance reports, balanced scorecards and even the entire Annual Report pretty much automatically.

How it works

By storing the data as metrics already,  the reports no longer need to calculate the values from the source system. That is done by the load systems, which include capabilities for automated loading for structured data as well as quick easy manual loading through a capture screen.

Metrics are identified by type

  • a currency or a percentage or a volume for example, by period
  • a year to date, month to date or rolling year value for example and by subject
  • a P&L value or a Cash flow Value per business division, subsidiary location or department.

This way any common or uncommon metric can be created and loaded against any business entity; whether its P&L metrics,  Revenue Statement, Performance or even  Sustainability.

Value

The metrics datamart solves a number of persistent issues in so many business settings:-

  • Timely clean EIS reports and data
  • Easy integration with Corporate Websites
  • Retained History of old or changed metrics
  • Quick Generation of Annual Reports
  • Quick generation of balanced scorecards
  • Dashboards Friendly

Technical Details

Using a relational database we load and store each metric at its completed value, against the various distinct business categories and levels.

We assist you  to develop automated load processes for structured data (e.g. accessing your own data systems or spreadsheets) , or  you can also capture, edit and maintain metrics directly in the system through our GUI capture application

We then assist you in developing reports and dashboards using your own  tools like MS Excel.*

Who We Are

Name dropping

Triatin boasts an impressive list of clientele, including some of Australia’s biggest names

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Members Equity Bank, Department of Human Services, Madison Cross, Australian Leisure and Hospitality, Billabong,  Bakers Delight, Pfizer, APHS, ANZ Bank, CGU, Corporate Investigations, Queensland University of Technology, Universal Music , Wesley College.

Data Integration

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Data Integration

an underappreciated discipline

 

Often, we find ourselves heavily focused on one area of Knowledge Systems development and lately it’s been Data Integration. Having just come from assisting a global agribusiness with BusinessObjects Data Services work and now enhancing our internal ABBIE technologies SSIS scripting for new augmentation sources and visualisation tool data preparation, we find some common challenges to all tools.

There are many insights we can share with this, so we will split them into parts over the next weeks, posting more as we can squeeze out the time. This post will start with the one closest to mind, security.

Invariably the security needed to “write” or “create” is not natively available, and needs to be requested more than once. This is because DBA’s often cannot test the level needed by the tool. In an ideal dev environment, all developers have all access to all systems and databases they need, so security becomes a testing consideration.

However, in many organisations, especially outsourced ones, that’s not the case, and Service Request after Service Request must be put through to get the access needed. It’s not uncommon for more than a week to pass before a developer can even start coding.

It’s doubtful the outsource partner minds lots of service requests as each one leads to someone being engaged, but the developer has now got less time and thus needs to find new shortcuts to get his or her code out in time for the test cycle. Shortcuts invariably are more expensive in the long run as they don’t conform to standards as closely, can be filled with coded logic to circumvent slower predefined transforms and often will lack documentation.

The takeaway is not so much for the BODS developer, as you will come across this when you start so it’s not something you can prevent, but for Business Analysts and planners, we suspect in most cases the security requirement for the developer does not feature high on your scheduling agenda.

May we suggest that in all future projects you change that, and you remove a major impediment to a quality, on time result?