September 28, 2014
When a Company hires retired, aged, workers, the news spread across business and popular information channels.
Because HR departments, Board members, recruiters, commonly believe that a younger workers offers more “opportunities” for the Company.
This is based on a common perception of the shape that the age/opportunity curve has:
After the peak, reached between 30 and 40 years, the opportunity offered by a worker decreases (and its cost increases). So, the marginal utility of hiring such worker decreases.
This approach doesn’t take into account the shift introduced by the evolution of the wealth/social landscape occurred in the last years. Why business and recruiters are missing this point? Mainly because they have been trained by aged teachers, or by teachers replicating concepts and behaviors that are linked to a previous situation.
It’s known that social systems have the tendency to maintain their established order, and this is valid also for the ecosystem of labour market.
I believe that the real opportunity curve is different:
The green curve shows a flattened tendency over the years. This means:
A) younger workers offer an higher opportunity value, earlier,
B) older workers retain their opportunity value for a longer period, and the slope of the decline is less.
Remember that I am talking about “hiring opportunity”, not about “retaining opportunity”.
September 21, 2014
When a Company is relying too much on direct, vertical interaction, among functions or divisions, and the Head, conflicts multiplies.
Vertical interaction, according to Ackoff and Gharajedaghi, is typical of an uni-minded organization, where peripheral, or vertical, units, are supposed to execute the directions from the Head, with a limited amount of “local” flexibility.
In the real world, this often means that the Head loses touch with the reality of the field, as each vertical unit repprts a filtered view of the business status.
Furthermore, competionion develops among internal lines, diverting the energy devoted to competing in the market, towards internal struggles.
In the traditional management wisdom, this is often positive, as increases strength of each vertical unit, creates a self-controlling mechanism, and promotes natural selection: weaks are eliminated.
In the wide and wild market of the globalized world this is no more true.
Internal competition destroys value, through two mechanisms:
– limited deployment of competency,
Internal competitors seeks the goal of damaging other internal competitors, creating the conditions that make their competitors’ performance worse.
A good top management should be aware of the increasing level of internal competition, putting in place mechanisms that turns this energy in value for the Company.
The easiest way is to give rewards to “promoted results”: if your competitor/collegue reaches a result thanks to your support, you receive a bonus, and his bonus will be higher if he acknoweldge this.
Such an approach puahes teamworking, and lowers the collaboration barriers across certical organizational structures.
The result is an increase in competitive strength, for the Company, in the marketplace.
October 9, 2011
During the last two years, in my company, we have started a series of projects to enhance our SAP ECC platform, in the direction of business integration across the software modules.
This happened because we have spotted some limits in the architecture of this ERP system. SAP is a well-integrated software suite, in his main areas (Financial, Logistics, Sales, Real Estate, HR, etc.) it offers a bulk set of functions, that cover the typical business processes in a very wide set of industries. So, where are these limits?
I will try to suggest some ideas and discussion topics across the posts of this blog.
My company operates in the Construction and Real Estate industry. Our business processes start from the acquisition and development of lands, until the sale of residential properties or the management of commercial properties that are leased out. SAP ECC was installed in late 2005, replacing a previous Italian ERP solution. Initially, SAP was not a successful project. Since 2008, we have started a complete re-engineering of SAP implementation, changing the design from a module/office centric design to a business-centric design.
Let’s start now from a small development that we are carrying on now: cash management by an economic business perspective.
We have a very basic configuration of the CM module: bank and cash accounts, customers and suppliers accounts, are classified according to categories that are relevant for our business. With these settings, we are able to perform a basic analysis of financial flows; this is important, because our business relies heavily on the financial supplies from banks, and our finance dept. needs to monitor the cash levels versus the financial planning.
Unfortunately, the simple analysis of bank accounts doesn’t allow us to understand how the sources and destinations of liquidity have influenced their balances. So we need to drill down this analysis across our business units, and across the development projects that are active.
A good perspective of our business is given by the Profit Center hierarchy: it is roughly divided in the following areas:
- commercial real estate
- residential real estate
- property development
- operating expenses
- corporate finance
Each area is divided according to the management perspective of the underlying business: residential real estate, as an example, is detailed at building level; several buildings are grouped together according to the land on which they are built.
We are simply building a set of reports that allows our financial analysts to separate incoming and outgoing cash flows according to the building, building part, or single controlling-relevant business element that originates the costs or incomes from which the income or payment comes.
The key of those reports is a function that, given a cash management relevant posting, goes back to the invoice or other FI document, with a controlling destination, that is paid or collected.
I will discuss in some following posts why this solution fits our needs. The point now is the importance to link one area of the ECC system – Controlling – with another area – cash flows analysis, giving the financial analyst a perspective that is the same shared by the financial planners, the production manager, etc.
October 12, 2006
I am playing with an excellent platform for knowledge acquisition and architecting: Protégé from stanford.edu.
My main interest is the creation of OWL knowledgebases, and the application of Description Logic. The KISS project is maybe my greatest effort in this area.
Protégé is an excellent system for the knowledge engineer, but it is not easy to extract fragment of your ontology in a “user friendly” presentation format. I guessed that a tool like Velocity, from the Apache Foundation, would be a great help, as it allows to create e “template” of your required output, and then fill it at runtime with the java objects from the OWL API.
So I written a simple plugin for Protégé, integrating the OWL API and Velocity. The plugin is open source, you can access it from its website.
Yes.. more samples can help people without specific programming skills. In the past monts I was really busy, having now the responsibility for two functions; I will do my best to providemore documentation. However, remember that Velocity, the tool at the core of the plugin, was intended primarily as a programming tool; it is based on the Java(TM) object model, so, a non-programmer, will find it a little bit tricky.