Hans van Nes's blog

Performance, Risk & Compliance: different currencies or three sides of a coin?

3-sides of a coin

Talking to a lot of different parties in the world of audit, performance management and governance, I'm surprised about the isolated approach to these topics most are still taken. Specialist solutions for things like KPI-dashboards, Basel-III compliancy and  general ledger analyzers are being offered in abundance. For me the three elements can't be seen in isolation and thus investments in this area should focus on combined solutions.


10 Elements of Management Coaching 3.0

The world in your eyes

I'm a member of a network of "50-Plus" professionals, focusing on translating our experience into formats that relate to today's business needs. A group member asked me about my vision on coaching senior management and how this differs from what is generally offered today. My observations on coaching today and tomorrow.


Solution Broker: The Cloud Edition

Mirror in the cloud

Some months ago I contemplated about the often asked question: "What are you doing at the moment?". Consequently I summarized my activities as being that of a solution broker: offering a possible solution to an opportunity or for a problem. But what about the format of offering this brokerage? Traditional per hour paid business consultant? Or are there more effective ways of offering solutions?


Inverted KPI: minimize process exceptions (Addendum)

Stop exceptions

While talking to people about the blog on minimizing process exceptions, there was a general recognition of the usefulness of this approach. Examples of process exceptions and their impact on the business were easy enough understood. But one additional element was touched that needs to be discussed separately: the analysis of false positives.


Inverted KPI: minimize process exceptions

Expectations vs Exceptions

Over the years in many blogs we addressed the need for simple and transparent KPI's that follow closely the organizations objectives. Almost always the actual measure is based upon the actual achieving (of a percentage) of the set business goal. But there is an inverted option to get to this: the minimization of process exceptions. And with maybe an even better result.


My role: solution broker

Neural nodes

If you haven't seen somebody for some time, the logical question you get asked is: "And what are you doing at the moment?". Normally I will give some examples of what I'm doing or involved with. But since I seem to do quite some things in parallel it gets quite messy, letting to a response that I seem to be "quite busy" and often enough killing the conversation. So time to address this differently. As of now I'm an Information Broker!

Looking back for the last few years and analyzing how I used my time, a few keywords seem to come back:


CFO choice: internal controls or business process monitoring

Monitor your state of health

Our business IT landscape is becoming more complex by the day. Partly because of new technologies and ongoing systems integration but more so due to governance legislation and accountability rules. The CFO is in an awkward position here: the need to know as quickly as possible what went good and wrong versus the reality of delayed aggregated reporting.


Waves of change in IT: what’s behind the Cloud?

Riding the waves

For his strategic planning and innovation charter, a CIO has to look 5 years ahead. Crushed between uncertain future demand of the own organization and the need for (far reaching) decisions today, a strategic outlook on IT may help. Although this is not an insurance policy, at least it gives the CIO the much needed option to be pro-active. But what predictions to follow?


A CIO without an innovation charter?


Reading a press coverage of a survey amongst 2000 CIO's worldwide by Harvey Nash made me almost choke in my coffee. One of the outcomes was that CIO's fear that the lack of ICT innovation will lead to declining market share of their company. Well this is in line with what I've been advocating for years. What really disturbed me is that a very large portion of the CIO's admit to have no charter or even influence to innovate.

In short a CIO in order to be able to add value for a company must have:


Why working in ICT is not attractive for the next generation - Solutions

Dream and reality

In a previous blog a gave my analysis of the reasons why starting a study and career in ICT is not attractive for today’s students.  Now is is time to address potential solutions to resolve this problem.

As with most issues, it is about  addressing both facts and perception to create an attractive “product”. So we need to change the actual topics that are offered in studies, the description and content of the job as well as the image around working in ICT.

Study ideas


Why working in ICT is not attractive for the next generation


Facts and fiction around ICT sourcing have been over the years a regular topic in my blogs. My predictions on shortage of good ICT resources as well. Even during the deepest point of the 2009/2010 crisis. But I think that the structural shortage is even bigger than I thought.


The Law of Unintended Consequences

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 14/04/2011 - 10:43

Sometimes it takes a stroke of lightning to see the bigger picture. I had this experience when I read about yet a next bunch of failures with large IT projects. Over the years in many of my blogs I commented on how isolated measures in optimizing processes or organizations miss their intended target or even backfire. Only integral decisions, based upon looking at total process chains or business transactions, will work. What I missed was the governing law behind it: the Law of Unintended Consequences.


Management Survival Guide: choosing IT sourcing providers

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 30/03/2011 - 13:53

Whom to select to source your IT services demands? The free agent or the international renowned big name? One off delivery or preferred supplier?

Managers are busy enough running the business, leaving ample time for in depth analysis. Specialist resources can be employed to do this. But in the end it is you who needs to decide. Our compact 3x3 reflections can help you to make better decisions.

Performance, not price


Reason number 1 for project failure: poor specs

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 17/03/2011 - 16:22

I was raised in an IT World where we focused on specifying the business needs before we started to develop. We prided ourselves being Information Engineers: translating business requirements into structured specs which even allowed for automatic code generation. Maybe at bit laborious at the outset, but in the end kicking out what the organization wanted. Current studies show that the biggest reason for failing projects are wrong or incomplete specs. So where did we lose paying attention to specs? My top-3 of causes.

Cause 1: the rise and fall of CASE-tools


Office productivity: stop interruptions

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 04/03/2011 - 13:07

In my blog Social Media: the perfect production killers, trigger by an announcement of a CEO, I mocked with his idea of replacing email in the office by social media solutions. Apart from the interesting resulting polemics I read, it made me think more general about the many reason why productivity in most offices is so low. Let's start with my personal Top-3 of productivity killers.


Social Media: the perfect production killers

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 14/02/2011 - 22:50

No, I'm not a new media dinosaur. I use the internet heavily, think LinkedIn is a really useful business tool, I love my iPad and are generally seen as a "gadget man". Thus why a blog with this title? Well because I think we're heading for a another dotcom breakdown: the hashcom hype.


Sustainable process improvement: Organization 3.0 required

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 31/01/2011 - 16:40

Ever wondered why are a lot of process improvement projects never make their ROI or are only successful for a short period? I was discussing this topic with Dan French, owner of Consider Solutions, a company delivering Governance, Compliancy and Risk solutions. Dan commented that CFO's often complain about the adoption of GRC elements by the business and together we concluded that this is the same CIO's encounter around IT elements.


Enterprise software licensing: simple?

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 18/01/2011 - 13:09

I have been in the enterprise software license business for quite some time and I always found pricing and licensing the most time consuming element in doing business. Designing the right pricing model can take for ages and probably the next opportunity will require a tailor made solutions anyway. Via our Solution Brokers activities we have encountered the most creative and complex variants of licensing you can think of. Did we get more practical about this over the years?


KPI's Revisited: Part 4 Actionable Dashboards

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 06/01/2011 - 18:07

After the introduction of Key Business Indicators as the basis for performance based measuring systems in Part 1, we looked at the application for the CIO and in not for profit environments in the subsequent parts. In this last part of the series we look at the best way to implement and act upon KBI’s.


KPI’s Revisited: Part 3 KBI’s in not-for-profit environments

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 22/12/2010 - 12:56

It is a myth that using Key Performance Indicators does not work for not-for-profit operations. But it is remarkable how few not-for-profit operations use metrics to judge and manage their own performance, let alone sensible ones. Especially when we apply the rationale behind Key Business Indicators, it is clear that for every organization these controls can serve a purpose in making sure that your organizations outputs meets what your “customers" want.


KPI’s Revisited: Part 2 Key Business Indicators and the CIO

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 06/12/2010 - 18:56

In Part 1 the concept of Key Business Indicators as a stronger format for performance based measuring systems has been introduced. Using transparent indicators to show actual performance against key business requirements, this is practical solution for groups in an organization working on the same specific business goal. But how to apply this for a CIO?


KPI’s Revisited: Part 1 Key Business Indicators

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 26/11/2010 - 18:28

I was asked to produce a presentation on my ideas around KPI’s in general and how these should work for CIO’s. Having written a number of blogs around this topic over time, it was a trigger to re-collect my thoughts and add some new elements. In Part 1 I want to introduce a more business focused notion towards KPI’s.


Good companies are like good wine

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 11/11/2010 - 11:13

Selecting, importing and drinking wine is one of my hobbies. Visiting numerous wine fairs during the last decade gave me a fair inside in why some wine makers are better than others. Enjoying a glass of good wine gave me the insight that there are many parallels between good companies and good wine.


Human Resource Management: admin function or business asset?

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 02/11/2010 - 12:37

The (also by me) predicted shift from unemployment to resource shortage is starting to materialize in some areas, notably also in IT. As an important element of this, a bunch of articles and polemics have been published on the topic of how bad organizations seem to manage knowledge. This raise the question: what is HRM doing?


Project management methodologies: a second life?

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 14/10/2010 - 09:22

People who have worked with me know that I believe in the value of methodologies but at the same time never stop explaining that a wrong used methodology in the hands of mediocre people will lead to a disaster (but certainly a good documented one...). Since most IT-projects still fail, the “project experts” now found their own new explanation: there is no ideal method....


Pragmatic communication and implementation tips on change

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 02/10/2010 - 20:12

I was reading a nice book called “Communicatie en Implementatie”, co-authored by my friend Lambert Pater (ISBN 9789047301479). If you understand Dutch you should read it because it gives you 50 pragmatic tips on how to implement change. Although you probably have heard most of the tips in other formats or context, it is a nice “wiki” for any manager involved with change.


Is news about public IT-companies more important than from private ones?

Photo at blog from webmaster - 30/09/2010 - 11:15

Reading the various IT-news feeds, I noticed a distinct difference in the frequency, amount and content of articles and newsflashes between public and private companies. Is this logical?


Your Instant Personal Business Coach

Photo at blog from webmaster - 17/09/2010 - 11:47

Our model of a subscription based Personal Business Coach has generated quite a lot of interest. But it also resulted in a question for yet another type of coaching: the on demand coach. Are you interested in instant access to such a personal business coach?


The general manager: a dying breed

Photo at blog from webmaster - 21/09/2010 - 13:14

I read an interesting article on Piet Hein de Sonnaville, a well known director of a tier 1 interim management company, who concluded after a study that the interim general manager is disappearing rapidly. Due to the ever growing demand for project managers, the traditional more generic breed of managers is dying out. Being a member of this species myself, I compared his observations with mine.


The IT-department in 2020

Photo at blog from webmaster - 30/09/2010 - 11:18

I was invited to the WCIT conference in Amsterdam last week. I attended a panel discussion with CIO's of public and private organizations. Although the theme for the congress was all about change and innovation, I got rather depressed with the poor comments most of the panel members made. The closing question was by far the most interesting: How will your It-department look in 10 years from now?



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