Binary fountain white paper (final version may 2010)


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Binary fountain white paper (final version may 2010)

  1. 1. Ottawa, Canada 2010 Accessing Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive and Effective Enterprise Decision- Making White Paper A Knowledge Leadership Publication By Procurement Insights Author Jon Hansen
  2. 2. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Table of Contents Executive Summary: The Branches of Intelligence............................................................ 3 “Defining Emergence” ........................................................................................................ 5 The whole is more than the sum of its parts ....................................................................... 6 Myopic (in)Visibility .......................................................................................................... 8 "We are in the Intelligence Business" ................................................................................. 9 The branches of a solid tree .............................................................................................. 10 Case Reference: The Commonwealth of Virginia ............................................................ 11 Diversity Expenditure Tracking ........................................................................................ 13 Closing Summary: An intelligence company first? .......................................................... 16 About Binary Fountain ..................................................................................................... 18 About the Author .............................................................................................................. 19 APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................... 21 2
  3. 3. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Executive Summary: The Branches of Intelligence Innovative new technology coupled with the recent economic downturn and political climate has given rise to new pressures for both the public and private sectors to create greater transparency and accountability with regard to contractual compliance, public engagement, costs and profits, and operational efficiency. To best achieve these goals will require smart, timely and data-driven decisions. Nowhere is this need more keenly felt than in government, where economic development around Diversity businesses, overall contractual compliance and the right decisions can mean all the difference between policy and execution. With limited budgets and staff size, there’s little margin for error. One of the things that I found most interesting about Binary Fountain is that while diversified in the areas in which they are proficient at addressing, there was a core or central competency from which these capabilities sprang. In essence, and like the proverbial tree with its multiple branches, Binary Fountain's trunk if you will is its intuitive dashboard intelligence technology that provides 360 degree real-time visibility on an enterprise's diverse operations. Therefore, and regardless of whether you are verifying expenditures under a supplier diversity initiative, quantifying program compliance at the departmental level, attendance and graduation rates across diverse and disparate school districts or establishing a social collaboration portal, the Binary Fountain backbone provides non-confined or siloed intelligence. In short, Binary Fountain recognizes that the "emergent elements" of the enterprise as a whole, whether weak or strong in their connection, are ultimately part of the collective business' "intelligence" and as result are not limited to a specific functional area such as spend alone. This might be to some a subtle distinction, but it is nonetheless critical to the kind of complete visibility that is necessary to both identify and respond to the at times contradictory operational elements of an enterprise. 3
  4. 4. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Think of it this way, in a recent episode of a new television series called Undercover Boss on CBS, the head of Waste Management visited various operations across the country as a new employee. No one at each of the locations he visited, knew that he was in fact the head of the entire organization, not even his new bosses. To everyone, he was just another 9 to 5 Joe trying to make a living. Besides the obvious opportunity for humorous moments, such as when one of his bosses told him that "he didn't have what it takes to be a Waste Management employee," the most compelling aspects of his time undercover within his own company was the fact that he saw first-hand, the impact of his decisions on the practical, everyday operations of his company. The revelations were not only limited to his own policymaking at head office. One regional manager took it upon himself to institute a policy at the local level whereby the company would dock from their paycheque, 2 minutes for every 1 minute that an employee was late punching in. He was suffice to say, shocked and even dismayed at what he discovered. This of course leads to the obvious question, does management really understand the implications of their decisions throughout the entire enterprise? A question of even greater significance is simply this, if you do not have full and "broad" visibility into your enterprise how do you know if you are staying on track? How can you fix something if you are not even aware of it being broken? It is this collective and collaborative view that Binary Fountain brings to its clients. 4
  5. 5. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making “Defining Emergence” “the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems.” Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, School of Business Adelphi University 1999 5
  6. 6. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making The whole is more than the sum of its parts The above saying has been attributed to a number of individuals including Aristotle (Metaphysics), Max Wertheimer (Gestalt theory) and even R. Buckminster Fuller in "Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking." Who actually coined the original phrase is not as relevant as its meaning, a meaning that took on an added dimension when Kurt Koffka critiqued that "summing up is a meaningless procedure, whereas the whole-part relationship is meaningful." In essence, Koffka clarified that "more than does not mean that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts but that it is more than merely the sum of its parts. Wanting to avoid making this paper into a philosophical text versus providing insight into the collective intelligence aspects of the Binary Fountain offering, I point to these definitions as a starting point for creating context. Simply put, you cannot achieve a collective outcome in business, without having a clear understanding of the individual elements or factors that contributes to the "big picture." Take Indirect Material Spend such as spare parts (also referred to as Maintenance, Repair and Operations or MRO parts) as an example. You can effectively identify and utilize suppliers who offer quality parts. However, if regional courier pick-up has a cut-off time that does not correspond with delivery requirements what is the end result? The part will not get there in time to meet the Service Level Agreement or "SLA." Extending beyond the realms of spend and supplier management, intelligence in areas such as technician expertise or ordering tendencies are also critical elements that also have a significant impact on SLAs. In the case of the New York City Transit Authority, a practice known as "sandbagging" resulted in both delivery delays and/or increased costs that negatively impacted both the organizations service performance and balance sheet. 6
  7. 7. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Technicians were instructed to place orders for any required spare parts at the end of each service call. A policy that required each technician to have a minimum of 5 or 6 calls per day, meant that there were individually valid yet collectively ineffective metrics in place. Faced with having to maintain a minimum number of daily site visits, rather than consume precious time accessing, searching and then ordering the required parts after each call, technicians would instead hit their appointed site visit target ad wait until the end of the day to place their part orders. Because MRO spare parts are not subject to a manufacturer's suggested price, but are instead procured on an "as required" basis, the price between the same part ordered at 10:00 AM is usually much lower than when it is ordered at or after 3:00 PM. In fact the difference can be as much as 1,000% higher (if not more). Given that the policies for site visits and financial performance were managed and therefore created by two different areas within the NYCTA hierarchy, addressing spend without technician ordering proclivities is a meaningless exercise. It is therefore this collective view or intelligence that identifies the unique operational elements within an enterprise that provides the visibility that is necessary to address individual departmental needs in the context of a collaborative best result outcome. What this means is that the impetus for establishing a minimum number of service site visits per day is understood and quantified relative to its impact on other related areas of the business such as the price and delivery of service parts. The link or relational aspects between disparate yet complimentary elements are what Goldstein referred to as "common characteristics." To be more precise, common characteristics according to the Goldstein are defined as follows: 1) radical novelty (features not previously observed in systems); 2) coherence or correlation (meaning integrated wholes that maintain themselves over some period of time); 3) A global or macro "level" (i.e. there is some property of "wholeness"); 4) it is the product of a dynamical process (it evolves); and 5) it is "ostensive" (it can be perceived). 7
  8. 8. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Identifying, understanding and addressing these common characteristics through a collective lens is at the heart of the Binary Fountain's core intelligence architecture, which is not confined to proficiency in a single area of an enterprises operations. Myopic (in)Visibility The Binary Fountain collective lens is the most distinguishable aspect of the company's offering in that it provides a "brand continuity" that is not immediately recognized when you visit the website. In fact, and quite the contrary, when you first land on the website you are hit with several flash points including: • Improving Education Through Dashboard Data Solutions • Driving Performance And Operational Excellence • Spend Management And Analytics • Providing Insight To Government Decision Makers As you drill down deeper into the company's offerings by clicking on the "Products and Solutions" tab you are then introduced to what on the surface appears to be a jack of all trades, master of none offering that includes: • DiversityView • SchoolView • Collaboration Portal • Commodity Trading ERP System Unless you are familiar with a Metaprise platform, or are working within an organization in which the traditional functional silos between different departments are dissolving into an emerging collaborative enterprise-wide view, chances are your focus will be partitioned into a single or segmented product offering. 8
  9. 9. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making "We are in the Intelligence Business" The true strength of the Binary Fountain value proposition has little to do with the above referenced individual products or solutions. The reason of course is that while they are amongst the most effective tools in terms of addressing specific intelligence requirements within a diverse enterprise, they are in reality representative of an expanding palette of insight of a bigger client picture. Think of it this way, how many of you would naturally or at least on first brush equate attendance and graduation rates with spending? How many calculate regional economic impact with diversity policy development, implementation and management? The key point is that these seemingly unrelated areas of a business are in fact connected and therefore do share common characteristics. Like the waiter or waitress who states that I cannot help you sir because you are not sitting at my table, doesn't contemplate the patron's overall experience and the impact it has on the restaurant as a whole, there is no such thing as a local or isolated consequence. Or to put it another way, it may very well not be their table, but if the customer is not satisfied they won't return. Do this enough times, and you will have no customers to serve. In this context, how relevant is the issue as to whether or not it is or is not the server's table. This is the very same principle that is at work in every business . . . identifying, understanding and effectively managing the various parts of an organization to achieve a sustainable enterprise-wide best result outcome. To respond to this requirement a vendor has to also look beyond the confines of a particular area of practice or market segment. Technological innovation then plays a role as the core capability of the vendor has to be both at once consistent and adaptable. 9
  10. 10. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Binary Fountains methodology and intelligence platform (re the trunk), is technological advanced to ensure adaptability while simultaneously ensuring the correlating stability of its various solutions (re the branches). It is through this lens that you should view the current offerings, for which an overview is provided in the following section. The branches of a solid tree As indicated in the Executive Summary, and through its innovative "dashboard" technology, the Binary Fountain portfolio of solutions is at once comprehensive as well as strategic with regard to how it integrates the critical areas of an organization's disparate operational data. In essence, by providing operational and spending business intelligence (BI) to improve transparency, accountability, compliance, outcomes and collaboration, Binary Fountain delivers actionable intelligence at the exact point in time when it is needed the most . . . at the transaction level. The following is a brief outline of the Binary Fountain portfolio. DiversityView: Transparency and monitoring into the diversity utilization among governmental agencies is a daunting task, especially when spending data is scattered across multiple sources including contractors, educational institutes, P-card transactions, external credit cards, etc. Binary Fountain's dashboard application allows government agencies to integrate, track and monitor diversity spending and utilization throughout the enterprise including: • Insight into small and disadvantaged business utilization spending data • Enterprise-level planned vs. actual performance against defined outcomes 10
  11. 11. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making • Easily understandable, visual snapshots of agency/project/business/functional performance • Reporting of performance over time to identify trends and drive process improvements • Drill down from the enterprise to agency level to review performance trends • Program transparency to the leadership, public, internal departments and agencies The DiversityView Dashboard provides public, agency-user, and administrator views, allowing all stakeholders to easily access and track diversity utilization information and trends. Case Reference: The Commonwealth of Virginia In a December 8th, 2009 Procurement Insights post titled "SWaM: A Transformation in Mindset from an Adjunct Undertaking to an Economic Necessity (Report on Virginia Forum 2008), I had made reference to the fact that the Commonwealth's Small, Women and Minority-Owned program (or SWaM) in terms of its ability to provide a "broader view of a complex policy" distinguished itself as a model to be emulated. 11
  12. 12. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making In an excerpt from the above referenced article I wrote the following: "Rather than taking a narrowly defined, traditional view of “targeted” engagement, SWaM is unencumbered by the well-intentioned but inherently flawed set-aside programs of the past. Recognizing the increasing importance of strong regionalized domestic clusters, Virginia believes that through active and strategic engagement, SWaM organizations will gain both the revenue and core competencies to compete on the global stage. What this means is that the Commonwealth has effectively united the two halves of the same circle under one cohesive policy to the benefit of all. Specifically, Virginia has leveraged the core competencies of a CABiNET- type cluster, and developed policies based on merit instead of entitlement. As a result, the Commonwealth has for all intents and purposes been able to “fund” the development of a “generic” cluster in much the same way that the government of New Brunswick has funded the development of the AMMG cluster. The financial impact of SWaM is of course immeasurable (although converting data to tangible and contextual significance is essential for quantifying the degree of impact). This means that this is a program that has bridged the previously contradictory chasm of being the right thing to do to being the smart thing to do. It also means that SWaM is a program worth championing as well as emulating." What is interesting to note is that while I was only examining the program from the standpoint of policy effectiveness, I did not realize at the time that the Binary Fountain solution played a significant role in the SWaM program's success. In particular the company's Diversity View Dashboard. 12
  13. 13. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Diversity Expenditure Tracking The Commonwealth’s economic development and diversity program required a diversity expenditure tracking and monitoring solution to meet the Governor’s aggressive Small, Women and Minority (SWaM) utilization goal. Binary Fountain’s DiveristyView Dashboard solution was implemented in 2006. The result was an increase in diversity business utilization from 15% to 42% within 24 months. As a means of creating a point of reference or context relative to the effectiveness of Virginia’s decision to go with the Diversity View Dashboard, in 2004 Virginia spent less than 12% of its $ 11 Billion discretionary spending with SWaM vendors. Approximately one and a half years later, the Commonwealth processed almost 40% of its discretionary spending with SWaM vendors; 5.49% with minority-owned businesses, 4.13% with Women-owned businesses and 29.18% with small businesses. In 2009, there was a 40% increase over the previous year in terms of the number of SWaM vendors that were certified, resulting in a corresponding 70% increase in contracting dollars spent with certified small, women and minority-owned businesses. Besides demonstrating the effectiveness of the overall program, by increasing procurement opportunities with SWaM businesses, leads to the creation of more jobs, fair practices, and overall increased economic development. SchoolView: The SchoolView dashboard application provides real-time access to critical business intelligence across disparate schools, systems and processes. 13
  14. 14. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making The epitome of a flexible platform for compiling and integrating data from multiple systems, SchoolView allows for the quick analysis of factors that impact and effect school performance including: • Actionable spending information about day-to-day performance in real-time, thereby enabling the administrative leadership and others to pro-actively guide business performance, set targets, review financial transactions, and address emerging problems before they arise. • The Direction of spending according to source, vendors, objects, function, and programs that track spending patterns and outcomes of KPIs. This allows the user to compare spending across different schools and evaluate spending patterns, outcomes and trends. • Multi-view access which allows different types of users to view relevant subsets of data with trends and charts from high-level graphs to the atomic values. • The correlation of spend data to create school profiles that will assist in planning, defining outcome driven benchmarks, trend analysis, performance targets, school evaluation, accountability, and knowledge-based collaboration. Collaboration Portal: The portal facilitates enterprise collaboration between employees, partners, and clients through the "fusing" of intelligence into a truly collective view that ultimately achieves shared or mutual best result outcomes. Binary Fountain allows you to build Communities Portal - the most innovative technologies to let you do everything from web publishing, to building and intranet, to simply getting the right documents and applications to the right people efficiently or sharing contents, calendars and events through the Social Collaboration solution - the best of social networking and content management and package it into one neat solution. Whether you're in the same room or in different hemispheres, our solution can revolutionize the way you work. 14
  15. 15. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making (Note: my latest book "The Unsociable Business of Social Networks And Why The So Act Social Network Will Change The World" discusses at great length the conversational platform within the framework of what David Cushing referred to as "communities of purpose." As it stands at the time of this paper's release, Binary Fountain is the only vendor that has in place a platform or portal to facilitate meaningful collaboration. This is essential to effectively engaging, informing and mobilizing positive action within an enterprise.) Community Trading ERP System: An Internet based innovative order processing, inventory management, and reporting system that is specifically designed for commodities brokers, merchants, converters, traders, distributors, and recycling plants to operate more competitively in today's market. The Software as a Service "SaaS" application provides an end-to-end solution that organizes and controls every aspect of Commodities business from order management, operations, supply-chain and logistics, to documentation, accounting and business intelligence reporting. It enables your back-office to work more effectively, helps improve customer service, empowers your sales team to monitor trends, and manage true order profitability. All while providing the financial control you need from any internet connected device. The business performance measurement module ties individual performance to overall strategy with key performance indicators and Monitor performance measurement using dashboards, reports, and alerts. 15
  16. 16. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Closing Summary: An intelligence company first? Having written more than 700 articles, white papers, reports and now two books (with a third due for release later this year), my primary focus has been on creating the points of context or reference that leads to increased understanding. To do this however, there has to be an intrinsic value to the product or service being offered that extends well beyond merely creating colorful or entertaining text. When I first considered writing this white paper, I must admit that I saw Binary Fountain in a much different light than I do today. To begin, terminology such as Business Intelligence (BI), Spend Intelligence and Spend Management are bantered around with such increasing frequency that their true meanings for all intents and purposes are often lost. In essence, they have become punch lines or buzz terminology that rather than differentiates, lumps vendors into a pale shade of market indifference. In short, if everyone is in the BI game why should a prospective client deal with Company A versus dealing with Company B, who happens to be an organization with whom they at least have an established rapport. Based upon extensive research and an R&D background in solution development that was funded by the Government of Canada, I have been fortunate to have gained an added perspective which may very well help to answer that question. What this added perspective means is that I can identify unique trends and solution subtleties that when properly understood and presented, creates a compelling reason for decision-makers and influencers to want to learn more. 16
  17. 17. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Given increasingly demanding schedules in which time is a commodity that is in short supply, the objective of my white papers is to be a reliable indicator of industry developments that warrant the attention of companies looking for clear solutions to complex enterprise problems. In the case of this paper, the amount of time spent in reviewing and analyzing both the tangible and intangible elements of the Binary Fountain organization and solution resulted in what you are reading today. Am I suggesting that Binary Fountain is the one and only BI vendor with whom you should deal. Absolutely not. What I am suggesting is that based on what you have read, and the longstanding principles and methodologies upon which their intuitive Web 2.0 platform is based, they are a vendor that you should seriously consider. 17
  18. 18. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making About Binary Fountain Binary Fountain was founded in 2003 in response to growing demand for Business Intelligence (BI) applications in both public and private sectors. Customers wanted a solution that would organize and orchestrate business processes, automate business methodologies and systems, and delver outcomes to optimize performance. The result was Binary Fountain’s unique Business Performance Management (BPM) framework that unified data integration, workflow management, reporting, analysis and monitoring into one seamless and easy to use tool. The framework is designed to provide a powerful, yet easily configurable, data extraction and integration service to the customer without compromising quality and performance, yielding highly cost effective integration solutions. Binary Fountain's Corporate Headquarters is in Vienna, Virginia. To learn more about Binary Fountain, visit their website at: © Procurement Insights 2008-2009 18
  19. 19. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making About the Author Jon Hansen has studied and written extensively about e-Procurement and the changing face of procurement around the globe. In addition to being a highly acclaimed international speaker, his Procurement Insights Blog reaches 300,000 syndicated subscribers each month worldwide, and is currently available in several languages. He has written more than 700 articles and papers on subjects ranging from supply chain optimization and the utilization of agent-based modeling in the software development process to the evolution of sustainable purchasing practices and the impact of traditional ERP-centric implementation methodologies on the high rate of supply chain initiative failures. Funded by the Government of Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program Mr. Hansen’s work in both identifying the existence of Commodity Characteristics as well as defining and recording their impact on “best value” purchasing practices represented a seminal breakthrough that led to the establishment of new theories surrounding the practical utilization of synchronized platforms in achieving sustainable coordinated savings and overall process efficiencies. Jon is also the host of the highly acclaimed PI Window on Business Show on Blog Talk Radio (BTR). As a BTR Network featured host, Jon has welcomed leaders and bestselling authors from the world of business discussing both timely and thought provoking topics. The PI Window on Business Show airs throughout the week between 12:30 and 1:30 PM EDT. Jon Hansen is also an author of the critically acclaimed book, “Your Show Will Go Live in 5 Seconds (Confessions of a Blog Talk Radio Host), as well as the just released "The Unsociable Business of Social Networks And Why The So Act Social Network Will Change The World.". To obtain copies of the above referenced book, or to inquire about Jon’s availability to speak at your next conference or seminar contact Jennifer Cameron at, or 819-986-8953. 19
  20. 20. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision- Making White Paper Appendices 20
  21. 21. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making APPENDIX A Page 4 (Undercover Boss); larry-odonnell-iii-to-share-his-insights-and-experiences-as-an-undercover- boss/, Radio Interview with Waste Management CEO Larry O'Donnell, PI Window on Business (February, 2010) Pages 5, 7 (Goldstein Defining Emergence);, Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, School of Business Adelphi University 1999, Wikipedia (April, 2010) Page 6 (Aristotle: Metaphysics);, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (original October, 2000 & revised June, 2008) Page 6 (Max Wertheimer: Gestalt theory);, [an address before the Kant Society, Berlin, '7th December, 1924], Erlangen, 1925 (World History Archives, Hartford Web Publishing) Page 6 (R. Buckminster Fuller: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking.);, The Projects of R.W. Gray (Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. 1975, 1979) Pages 11 (Case Reference: The Commonwealth of Virginia); mindset-from-an-adjunct-undertaking-to-an-economic-necessity-report-on- virginia-forum-2008/, SWaM: A Transformation in Mindset from an Adjunct Undertaking to a Economic Necessity (Report on Virginia Forum 2008), Jon Hansen, Procurement Insights Blog (December, 2008) 21
  22. 22. Access to Intelligence and the Power To Act: A Clear View to Proactive & Effective Enterprise Decision-Making Page 15 (So Act Book RE Conversational Marketing); already%28the-unsociable-business-of-social-networking-and-why-the-so- act-social-network-will-change-the-world%29/6502967, What Are You Waiting For? So Act Already! The Unsociable Business of Social Networks And Why The So Act Social Network Will Change The World (PI Social Media Publishing Co. (Lulu) 2010) 22