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Clinton Jones

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Top Stories by Clinton Jones

Business process outsourcing (BPO) of shared services centers (SSC) is not really something new, but lately BPOs and SSCs have become particularly popular as discussion topics in large organizations with complex and simple business processes. In reality, the BPO function is nothing more than the contracting of specific business tasks, typically back office business tasks, to a 3rd party service provider. Companies like a payroll bureau and recruitment agencies have been effectively performing these kinds of services for decades. In the late 1990's improvements in computing technology, the internet and global communications allowed an explosion in outsourced customer services centers. This in turn led to an increased focus in businesses not just looking at the BPO function but also in the breaking down of traditional organizational processing silos and the creation ... (more)

Three Steps to Awesome Form Design

Two articles that I read recently, by Jakob Nielsen and by John Brinkman, got me thinking that it was probably time to revisit the very topical subject of form design. In the world of SAP, it comes as no surprise that people want to retain the rich functionality of the ERP system but get away with doing less in terms of data entry or at the very least spend less time entering data. Technologists will conjure up an infinite number of ways for you to achieve your business objectives and the web, mobile or form enablement of some of the entry and extract methods people want to use to... (more)

The Automation Paradox

A recent article appeared in the IEEE spectrum on "the automation paradox" which was reflected with the question by Steven Cherry of "Would we be safer overall if we just accept a few deaths due to software?" The concept is a little funny in my mind, since for many years it seems like a lot of the software that I have worked with always carried a EULA that stated something like "...IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE ... (more)

Quit Your Addiction to Pushing Paper

We're fortunate enough to have three kinds of waste collections in our area: regular trash, garden refuse and recycling. For those that have always had this kind of facility available, this doesn't seem particularly extraordinary. In fact, in some parts of the world, waste can involve as many as a dozen different categories or more. You can in fact spend a lot of effort and time sorting your waste to make sure that you are disposing of trash in a most efficient way. The reason I brought this up is that a recent visitor to my house commented on the fact that it was amazing how mu... (more)

Don’t Let Your Fixed Assets Sink Your Business

One of my professors used to always tell his students a story about a company that he performed a work study at and discovered an elderly gentleman, let's call him "Thomas Bean",  who produced colorful graphs every month on the performance of a business-related resource or asset. I don't recall the specifics of the work, but I do remember that these graphs were meticulously produced every month, manually, and that they involved bar charts, pie charts and tables of data. The gentleman was relegated to some back office in the planning department. During the study, Mr. Bean was in... (more)