Allegient Blog

Visio 2013: Top 10 Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Lindsey LaBerge | July 21, 2014

As the Marketing Manager at Allegient, my experience as a Business Analyst isn’t the typical career path. In a previous job, I helped model processes for revenue management at a major airline. At that time our business process modeling consisted of hand drawn notes, sent offshore to be transformed into diagrams in Powerpoint. Imagine our confusion when these slides were provided with no key and no definitions for the shapes being used. I knew there was some serious room for improvement.

A year after joining Allegient, I sat down with our Business Solutions Manager, Louise Hughes to develop a marketing piece. We reviewed my projects that reflected some experience in the realm of process modeling. Like many at Allegient, my skills for this service area were discovered somewhat accidentally, but utilized for the benefit of our client (link to a culture blog). This discovery led to three months of business analysis work with her group.

Throughout that experience, I had the pleasure of working with Jason DePasquale, a Senior Business Analyst here at Allegient. He provided the oversight that helped align our diagrams with the approved standards within BPMN 2.0.  BPMN 2.0 is a standard process modeling notation that everyone can understand. From this experience, I have come away with 10 Tips & Tricks for Visio that may prove valuable for the new learner as well as the experienced Visio pro. 

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Salesforce Vs. Dynamics: A Comparative Look at a New Partnership

Posted by Andy Brockett | July 17, 2014

When Microsoft announced their partnership with Salesforce.com a month ago, many of their partners were left scratching their heads. I’ll be honest: I cringed when hearing the news. Why would Microsoft freely solve their top competitor’s biggest shortcoming (namely, Salesforce’s poor integration with Microsoft Office)? This sudden shift from foe to friend seemed so counterintuitive and so debilitating to Microsoft. Salesforce, I thought at the time, now had all the necessary tools it needed to overtake Microsoft Dynamics and become the only competitive CRM product on the market.

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Deductive and Inductive Problem Solving

Posted by Khurram Chaudhry | July 14, 2014

There are two primary approaches to deal with any problem, deductive and inductive problem solving. There are clear trade offs between the two. While the inductive approach is more thorough, potentially leading to useful insights and a broader systematic perspective, it has the potential of wasting time and often ends up hard to justify.

On the contrary, the deductive approach is much less likely to collect data that you don’t need and help you reach a solution much faster.

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Five Reasons to Attend a SharePoint Saturday

Posted by Kelli Ellis | July 11, 2014

SharePoint Saturdays (SPS) are free one-day events that are put on around the globe by volunteers in each location.  Though they are available throughout the world, there are often many here in the United States that are close enough to drive to – or fly to if you're so inclined. Chicago will be hosting its own Sharepoint Saturday, originally scheduled for July 19th, now rescheduled for September 6th (http://www.spsevents.org/city/Chicago/Chicago2014/). Here are a few reasons to attend:

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Impacting the Customer Experience Through Web Personalization

Posted by Alex Bulman | July 8, 2014

Just recently I was browsing the web and came across an article discussing Amazon’s recent patent on anticipatory shipping. Yep, you heard me correctly: Anticipatory Shipping. Through the use of predictive analysis, Amazon is ready to package a product and postmark it with your address before you click ‘purchase item.’

Seems risky, right? What if they make a mistake and send me something I had no intention of ordering? Does that mean free stuff for me? Well yes, it does—but Amazon isn’t worried about it. For one, a customer that receives something for free isn’t likely to file a complaint. On the contrary, an occasional ‘gift’ from Amazon will only increase customer loyalty. More importantly though, Amazon is confident that their predictions will significantly limit the possibility of that ever happening.

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Predictive Index, What's In It For Me?

Posted by Josh Burkhead | July 3, 2014

“In Summary, Josh is an intense, results-oriented person, whose drive and sense of urgency are tempered and disciplined by his strong concern for the accuracy and quality of the details of any work for which he is responsible. His approach to any work he does will be based on thorough analysis and detailed knowledge of all pertinent facts."

Now I’m a little freaked out. This went on for 2 ½ pages covering everything from my strongest behaviors, to management style, influencing style, management strategies and more. In my case, the report was spot-on.

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Amazon: A Strategic Approach

Posted by Khurram Chaudhry | June 30, 2014

“Strategy used to be about protecting existing competitive advantage, but not anymore. Today it is about finding the next advantage.” Vijay Govindarajan

Jeff Bezos not only came up with a practical demonstration of this statement but rather pushed it to the limits. He founded a company, Amazon, with its roots in innovation. Initially, Amazon.com positioned itself as “Variety Based Positioning” as it focused on selling books online. As their business model expanded they positioned themselves as “Earth’s most Customer Centric Company”. Amazon spent a considerable effort in developing capabilities around its core competency. i.e., online sales. And coupled this with a considerable effort to build an ecosystem around it to drive a unique experience for its customers.

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The Foundation of Trust

Posted by Kelli Ellis | June 26, 2014

We all know trust is an integral part of doing business successfully. Just check out Amazon, a bookstore, or library and you find that business books on this subject abound. But it is easier said than done. To say we trust one another is one thing, but to truly trust and work together comfortably often eludes people.

So far, after just a few weeks in my new position at Allegient, I am reminded of how fundamentally important this is to me and how important this is to all of our customers. One of the 12 principles listed in The Agile Manifesto (see here for more) is as follows:

“Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support
they need, and trust them to get the job done.”

 

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Culture Defined by Action

Posted by Jimmy Burkhart | June 23, 2014

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” This was a question that stumped me from the moment I realized I was not going to be an NBA basketball player or become President of the United States. While in college I set my sights on consulting because it provides a wide array of opportunities to expand your skillset, work on ever-changing projects, become part of many diverse organizations, and be presented with real world challenges to overcome. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to have an impact.

Throughout my career I have remained committed to consulting for the same reasons. Along the way you start to formulate the type of company you want to work for. By ‘type’ I mean the typical buzz words that define a company such as values, culture, commitment, community involvement, integrity, etc.. All of the buzz words above can apply to your ideal customers; however, a company’s customers are both your traditional consumer AND the internal employees.


Upon day one of joining Allegient a few weeks ago I saw firsthand these buzz words in action for both consumer and employee. This was demonstrated when President Gregg Gallant sat down with the new hires and had an open forum lunch conversation (A Business Plan for Both of Us). Challenging questions were asked and direct answers were given in return. How refreshing!

This was followed up in the coming days with a one on one session with my solution manager and the subject….me. During our session we talked about my interests, and what makes Allegient successful, and ultimately what makes our clients successful. One topic that stood out was “Being Present”. This was clearly demonstrated as I had one-on-one time with a very busy individual who did not once get distracted with the typical culprits (e.g. email, cell phone, double booked meeting, etc.). Just another example of walking the walk.

As I went through my onboarding process I had questions, naturally. Some operational, technical, and execution type of questions but who do I ask? Am I going to be labeled as the “new guy”? Do my questions demonstrate incompetence? What I found is that everyone can answer my questions AND wants to answer my questions. Everyone wants to give you the knowledge and toolset to be successful. People have made time to answer my questions when everyone already has a lot on their plate. The Allegient company culture here is not defined by a statement on a website, but rather defined by action.

Now back to my initial question: What do you want to do? Are you looking for an inclusive environment that challenges you to stretch your skillset? Are you looking for an environment that encourages exploration and gives you the tools to succeed? Are you looking for the opportunity to work with industry-leading clients, making an impact on cutting-edge projects?

This is the place for you.

Connect with us!

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Dysfunctional Reward Systems

Posted by Khurram Chaudhry | June 19, 2014

A taxi driver and minister are waiting in line. St. Peter consults his list and says to the taxi driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

St. Peter next greets the minister saying, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Just a minute,” says the minister. “That man was a taxi driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff while I get a cotton robe and wooden staff. How can this be?”

“Up here, we work by results,” says St. Peter. “While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed.”

Companies in the past few years have spent a lot of time trying to align performance and pay. The general philosophy behind pay for performance model is that more lucrative opportunities for pay would motivate and attract highly qualified individuals to work harder resulting in better results for the company. The main idea is to promote engagement of employees not only rational but emotional and motivational as well. However, it has been observed that the engagement seems to reach a plateau very soon, and that is where the reward system comes in. The idea is to break this barrier by keeping engagement levels high and retaining the top performers.

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