Specialists in IT Strategy and ERP.

February, 2009

This month's features.

Be a Keeper. Personal Strategies for Tough Times. This month we shift gears bit, taking a more "personal" approach to success. IT is on the firing line along with the rest of the business as organizations scramble to re-prioritize and re-adjust their sights. Our lead article focuses on being a "KEEPER" one of those resources that your organization will consider valuable in these times. And in our TIPS column, John Pellegrino talks about juggling project priorities "When the going gets tough.

Beginning this month, we are launching a guest column to spotlight our Strategic Partners and Associates. We kick this off with an introduction to Crystal Reports from Mark Edwards of DataReport Consulting. Mark and his firm provide Business Intelligence and Reporting Solutions to a growing number of Innovative clients. We welcome your comments on this new feature!


Be a keeper. Personal Strategies for Tough Times. By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Always On, Always There. Itís impossible to ignore what is going on in the world right now Ė on both a personal and a professional level. One of the characteristics of the digital, global world is that most of us are always on, always connected, and our personal/work lives just sort of seamlessly get entwined.

I have noticed a real spillover effect in the business world. Many people we work with are distracted, clearly feeling uncomfortable, and this worry is affecting their performance. Uncertainty, doubt and a steady stream of complex, difficult to understand news has made it difficult for them to perform to their full potential.

As trusted advisors I am finding more and more people approaching me asking for advice about how to position themselves for the future, worried about losing their job.

How do I become a Keeper?

The key question to ask is not what to do if you lose your job, itís How do I make sure I donít lose my job? Right now, more than ever, embracing change is critical. Companies are organizations, they have collective DNA, they have personalities. And right now, companies are re-evaluating every project, every plan, and every expenditure. They may not go about this in a way that makes sense to you. Thatís really not the issue.

Help bring about change - don't fight it.

Now more than ever, you need to be one of the people in your organization capable of bringing about change. This is not easy. But letís identify a few key aspects.

    1) Change yourself. Break some of your bad habits. If youíre known for being cranky Ė nowís the time to shake that. If youíre known for always raising your hand to question any new policy or procedure Ė nowís the time to start raising your hand to second the motion.

    2) Support the people tasked with evaluating and making changes. Itís inevitable. They need help. They may act like they have all the answers, but they donít. The faster that organizations can react and respond to change, the more successful they will be, and the more secure they and their people will be.

    3) Take on at least one important new initiative related to what is changing. It could be related to a new product launch, a re-branding.

    4) Work at the grass roots level. A lot of how people get labeled has to do with personal interactions as opposed to interactions in large groups and meetings. A lot of the work needed to drive change through an organization is best done one on one. Take the time and take the lead on speaking with those few naysayers. Even if they don't fully embrace the changes, speaking with them may encourage them to limit their negativity, and this is crucial to the rest of the organization.

Management, like government, doesnít have all the answers. If you can only turn in one direction, then you will be sure to be left behind when the ship changes direction. Focus your energy on what needs to get done.

Energy wasted on being judgmental, criticizing and lamenting why and how they are changing and who is effecting the change Ė is 100 % wasted and unproductive. Now is the time to put that aside and step to the front of the pack.

Changing times require changeable people. Those who are viewed as flexible, adaptable and supportive of change are the KEEPERS.


Tip of the Month

When the Going Gets Tough!
By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

We have all been bombarded with the news that we are in a serious economic recession. We have seen significant layoffs, buyout plans, and stimulus packages. Many companies are postponing major projects, both within and outside the IT realm. So, as a CIO or IT director or manager, what can you do to keep your staff employed, busy and motivated? I offer a few suggestions below.

Redeploy your resources. When I was an internal IT director I always seemed to have a backlog of smaller tasks that never made it up to the top of the priority list. Maybe these were helpful to only a small portion of the organization or they did not have a major impact on the company. Take some of your normal ďprojectĒ resources and put them to work on these tasks.

Reevaluate your projects. Some projects are thought not needed due to an upcoming project and therefore have left your radar screen. But now that the upcoming project has been postponed you may want to resurrect a smaller project. For example, you may decide that upgrading your current ERP system is needed now that the replacement ERP system project has been postponed.

Document (or re-document). If you donít have any documentation for a mission critical system or you have not kept it up to date now is a good time to put some people on this job. This can be either IT internal documentation and/or user guides. This has the added benefit of giving you an opportunity to coach some people on a valuable business skill.


Business Intelligence and Reporting. An Introduction to Crystal Reports.
By Mark Edwards, Principal, DataReport Consulting. Mark can be reached at 908-565-6059 or contact@datareportconsulting.com.

In this column from one of Innovative IT's Strategic Business Partners, Mark provides an introduction to Crystal Reports.

What is Crystal Reports? Crystal Reports is the most widely utilized Windows based report design application. The current version is CRYSTAL REPORTS 2008, which equates to Version 12. Itís been around a long time. I began specializing in Crystal in the late 90's, so this year marks my 10th year using this tool for varied and creative reporting. Many people are not aware that SAP acquired Crystal Reports when it acquired Business Objects last year. Users can look forward to increased investment in Crystal in the years ahead.

The Standard. Crystal is the de facto standard for reporting for virtually every major ERP application. And as such, the Report Designer feature comes bundled with many applications including Great Plains, Sage Adonix X3 and SAP (before Crystal Reports was acquired by SAP) in order to give end users the ability to modify the stock reports that came with those applications as well as create new reports.

Reports are crucial to ERP satisfaction. When surveyed about their satisfaction with ERP systems, users typically point to ease of use and reporting as key factors. This should be no surprise. Report design involves skill and business knowledge in such areas as Purchasing, Sales, and Operations. DataReport brings to the table the extensive Business Knowledge that is critical to meeting and exceeding client needs for Reporting and Business Intelligence.

More to come. OK then. Thatís your initial overview on Crystal Reports. Next time weíll look a bit at the inner workings of Crystal Reports. We'll also be providing Crystal Tips for those of you involved in creating your own reports. Throw us your most difficult challenges!


Word Scramble Time.
The de facto standard for corporate reporting and Business Intelligence. (2 words).
_ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Answer to last month's word scramble.

ď The process of dramatically improving the way an organization works." (TRANSFORMATION)


A Look Ahead To Next Month

We continue our look at ERP benefits and values. Stay tuned!!  

We want your feedback. Contact us

Innovative IT Consulting, LLC
(631) 549-1685