FC Data Logistics (Part 1 of Ω)  

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Data Logistics (Part 1 of Ω)

I want to talk a bit about the industry space I work in and try to break it down without resorting too much to the dross of marketing-speak or, even worse, consulting speak(!*!).

My company does “solutions delivery” and we do it primarily via internet software. “Solutions delivery” is consultant-speak for saying that we build tools which solve a problem. In our case it means building tools to improve the way people and companies communicate. “Tools”, by the way, actually means internet software.

The conversation has a couple of aspects to it. The first aspect is explaining the business problems and talking about the various industries which face the problems. The second aspect is the solutions. i.e. how can the problems be solved?

Almost all companies today must collaborate with other companies in order to do business. To manage this collaboration companies create business processes which define how they will work together (sometimes they even put in place contracts to enshrine these processes). Something important to note here is that when I say “companies put in place business processes”, I’m really talking about the people in those companies. Some group of people in one company agrees on a business process with some different group of people in another company. Sometimes this even happens many times between different sets of groups in the same two companies – trying to solve the same business problem over and over again. Mostly, these processes are defined ad-hoc and include a variety of paper-based and unstructured ways to communicate. Now, I hate to be the one to bring it up… But we all know people aren’t perfect.

And so… Inevitably, a lot of the processes are inefficient or in some cases totally broken.

Inefficient communication means ambiguous information. Ambiguous information can mean confusion… speculation… misunderstanding… disagreement… bad decisions.
Remember that on a field of war disinformation is the art of achieving all of the above except on purpose – and can result in a significant advantage when used against your enemies. Some examples of these “advantages” are missed deadlines, missing data or, even worse, wrong data, litigation, and reparations (fancy word… means someone screwed up and you’re gonna have to pay up – trust me my sister is a lawyer). Basically, all of this makes the “cost of doing business”™ go up.

Ask any finance director and he will gladly tell you that the cost of doing business should definitely be going down and not up. So (ergo and reductio ad absurdum), there is a clear need for solutions to standardize the way that companies work together, to improve communication, and to make the cost of doing business go down. In a macroeconomic sense, what we do contributes to the increase of that mysterious measure called “productivity growth”. This is all well and good of course – but let’s leave the macroeconomics to the Greenspans of the future and focus on how companies (that means people don’t forget) make money down here at ground-level.

So in consulting speak we might say that at the ground level (in a microeconomic sense that is) our solutions can be shown to result in clear cost-savings and productivity improvements and this, in return, has a clear economic value. Hot heaving hellions.

That means if your business is all about how well you communicate with other businesses (not least your customers – but also your suppliers and your business partners and even your own employees) – then solutions that improve how well you communicate will actually help you make even more money than you do now. That will mean you can give everyone another raise, issue a dividend to the shareholders and donate part of your profits to save the sea otters. Or whatever it is you see fit to do that is.

Now… you might be saying, “No nattering neenaws Nathan… Everybody knows all of this. Not least Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, IBM, BEA, Sage, etc etc ad infinitum. You certainly do go on. What can anybody else not in the tech titan stratosphere bring to the proverbial table?”

Fair question. And let me just take a moment to note how much I enjoy having such an intelligent and engaged reader as you, dear citizen of the blogsphere. I promise that, if elected, I will answer this question and many more which you did not even know you wanted answered in parts II, III, IV…Ω of this post, coming up as soon as I get an hour or two to spare.


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