Panagiotis Leontios

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Ανάλυση Συστημάτων βάσει Διαδικασιών – Process Oriented System Analysis

In Business, Engineering, IT on 20/05/2016 at 12:56 pm

DFD-Coad-and-Yourdon-Object-Oriented-Analysis-modelΗ δομημένη ανάλυση (και ο σχεδιασμός που έπεται), υπακούει στην αρχιτεκτονική έννοια «η φόρμα (form) ακολουθεί πάντα τη λειτουργία (function)». Οι  λειτουργίες ενός Πληροφοριακού Συστήματος (ΠΣ), είναι οι διαδικασίες που μετατρέπουν ή μετασχηματίζουν (transform) δεδομένα εφαρμογών. Ως εκ τούτου, στην δομημένη ανάλυση, δίνουμε έμφαση στις διαδικασίες (processes) και στις ροές δεδομένων (data flows), από και προς αυτές τις διαδικασίες.

Η δομημένη ανάλυση βασίζεται στην θεωρία συστημάτων, η οποία προϋποθέτει ότι τα εισερχόμενα δεδομένα (inputs) τροφοδοτούν τις διαδικασίες, προκειμένου αυτές να παράγουν εξερχόμενα δεδομένα (outputs). Για να συμπληρώσουμε το μοντέλο συστημάτων (παρακάτω σχήμα 1), θα πρέπει να υπάρχει και κάποιο είδος ανατροφοδότησης (feedback), προκειμένου να εξαλειφθεί η εντροπία του συστήματος, δηλαδή να εξασφαλίσουμε το σύστημα από έκπτωση.

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Σχήμα 1 (Μοντέλο Συστημάτων)

Για να αναλύσουμε εννοιολογικά σύνθετα συστήματα όπως τα πληροφοριακά, αναλύουμε τμήματά τους μεμονωμένα. Μπορούμε δηλαδή να εξετάσουμε τα εισερχόμενα, εξερχόμενα και τις διαδικασίες ξεχωριστά και, μετά, όλα αυτά, να τα ολοκληρώσουμε για να παράγουμε ένα ενοποιημένο σύστημα. Καθώς οι διαδικασίες των συστημάτων γίνονται ολοένα πολυπλοκότερες, συνεχίζοντας με την ίδια μέθοδο, μελετάμε τμήματα των διαδικασιών αυτών και κατόπιν τα ολοκληρώνουμε. Τα τμήματα αυτά των διαδικασιών θα πρέπει να είναι αυτάρκη, μικρά συστήματα. Αυτά τα μικρότερα συστήματα αποτελούν μια ιεραρχία συστατικών συστημάτων (system components hierarchy), τέτοια ώστε, ένα συστατικό σε οποιοδήποτε επίπεδο να είναι από μόνο του ένα σύστημα με συστατικά. Κάθε σύστημα, ανεξαρτήτως επιπέδου στο οποίο βρίσκεται, έχει τα δικά του εισερχόμενα, εξερχόμενα και τις δικές του διαδικασίες και ανατροφοδότηση. Στο χαμηλότερο επίπεδο της ιεραρχίας είναι τα στοιχειώδη ή τερματικά συστατικά, τα οποία δεν μπορούν να διαιρεθούν περισσότερο και διατηρούν τα χαρακτηριστικά του συστήματός τους.

[…]

Η συνέχεια του άρθρου Process Oriented System Analysis περιλαμβάνει:

  • Τις Βασικές Αρχές της Σχεδίασης
  • Τις δραστηριότητες της Δομημένης Ανάλυσης
  • Την ανάπτυξη Διαγράμματος Περιβάλλοντος
  • Την ανάπτυξη Διαγράμματος Ροής Δεδομένων, και
  • Την ανάπτυξη Λεξικού Δεδομένων

Digital and Social Media Marketing – The importance of ongoing monitoring (part VI)

In Business, IT on 05/05/2016 at 11:16 am

ongoing monitoring#1 | Introduction

In this last chapter we are going to talk about the importance of monitoring and learning from your engagements. It is not surprising and it still does happen that businesses will go out to social media networks, spend a lot of money and at the end of the process have no idea whether they have been successful, or seen any benefit or actually any return on their investment. Campaigns do not work in isolation. Campaigns do need to be a part of a plan and that plan should necessitate that you learn from and reflect upon what information you can take from your buyer persona in relation to your content. All of your social media networks of significance provide feedback; provide data that can be used to improve, to modify and to change direction if necessary for a campaign. They can also be used to compare with others and they can also be used to understand what the buyer persona is responding to. All of this means that it is worth time and effort to analyze the data that is available to you possibly right now. There is a lot of data out there and ultimately it is the understanding of what social networks provide to you and being able to understand from the social networks what you need to do next.

The biggest focus of social media marketing is that we promote our solution online and we reach out consumer online. That is why this strategy is very important for us because we can analyze social marketing campaigns which we can order and assign to our team members and then we can analyze the effectiveness, the return on investment even with the smallest budget to reach the targeted people that we want and it is important to use those channels which work best.

A weekly meeting in the office is a good practice to make sure that you are reviewing activity quite regularly, it is important to review things quite a lot. In a new campaign that goes live you should tend to log in to new statistics every day but you can see a more full effect especially on overall traffic levels or organic search levels on a more longer term basis so you can have key statistics that you can pull from your online tools across the business on weekly basis and have that catch up in your marketing meeting which allows you to make decisions on whether you continue to invest in certain areas or invest in something new, and try something else because something is dropping off. I would say weekly is a good standpoint to have from a monitoring and evaluating point of view.

Monitoring is definitely an ongoing process. We could be having monthly reports for this process. First of all you could be asking from different departments responding from social media, reporting from websites, reporting from the campaign, from the planners’ part that is, and you could also have one project manager analyzing data and trying to find results from different platforms. One negative of digital advertising platforms is that they are not a lot of synergies between them. There are huge competitors like Facebook and Google so they are not allowing third parties to connect figures. What you have to do is take the results of different platforms and try to translate them in one report coming from you so that there is no golden rule or platform taking all in one and this is the worst thing online. When it is a PPC campaign you should do it every day, for SEO on a weekly basis and for content it is every hour because you have to see how competitors and funs are responding, and especially if you are using social media for customer service, you have to be there.

See the rest of the article, including the following contents:

#2 | Understanding of social capital

#3 | Accessing data in Google Analytics

#4 | Accessing data from Facebook

#5 | Accessing Data from Twitter

#6 | Using spreadsheets to analyze and populate reports

#7 | Learning from digital results

#8 | PPC reports

Digital and Social Media Marketing – Choosing the right digital profiles (part V)

In Business, IT on 11/04/2016 at 9:48 am

digital profile#1 | Introduction

We have already introduced the concept of the Buyer Persona (BP) and with the concept of our digital platform, we are really talking about the range of social media that we may already be familiar with and those that may come along in the future and those that we are less familiar with. All serve the same purpose for different BPs. What we are dealing with is different technologies, different purposes for these platforms and in those platforms different actions that are performed and are an opportunity to present to the BP.

Obviously, you have heard of Facebook, Tweeter, Snapchat and a range of others. All of which you might have experienced in some way. All these give an opportunity to reach out to the audience, to reach out to different BPs and to actually contact them in a way that is meaningful for them, meaningful for your brand and meaningful for the product. We are going to look at some of these in detail and look at what can be done to actually maximize the benefit of focusing the right BP to the right platform.

So we go about researching the right digital profiles for the right digital audiences by firstly having an understanding of the different sites, areas and platforms that exist and what they can offer for us. For example, LinkedIn is very different from Facebook and also very different from Twitter in terms of what it can offer, in terms of the right type of candidate for our business. We would speak to the websites themselves, look at the different offerings that they are able to give to us so that we can have an understanding of the type of candidate that would exist on those different areas.

You think that Facebook is better for ages 25-40; you think that search is better for ages 35+ but you only think. In digital you can measure. Sometimes you can see conversions coming from nowhere. So you have to see, test and revise.

The digital communication channel that many companies use with their customers is Facebook because it is the primary social media in the country, maybe Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest because their target group is mainly women for instance and YouTube because they are probably trying to get a younger set of customers. They also usually have email marketing in which they set out their weekly newsletters to registered clients and Google+ and Google Maps which give their clients more information for easily finding them.

Read the rest of the article, which covers the following topics:

#2 | Facebook

#3 | YouTube

#4 | Twitter

#5 | LinkedIn

#6 | PPC optimization

#7 | What makes content go viral?

#8 | How to create viral content?

 

Digital and Social Media Marketing – How Campaigns fit into Organization Strategy (part IV)

In Business, IT on 16/03/2016 at 12:59 pm

organizational strategy#1 | Introduction

There are four different strategies that might be useful for an organization to consider when it comes to digital:

  • The first strategic decision is whether you are going into a digital approach at all. This will involve resourcing and providing content in that area. In terms of marketing some of the key areas that you’ll be focusing on is understanding the customers and trying to see how the consumer interacts via social media, search engines, emails or any other touch points with the organization and then feeding that information into developing of products and services and ultimately what you can search there is how people interact with you.
  • The second aspect for you to try to look into is the sales strategy; this will also help you identify the key influences in your area and then work with them to develop your products and services.
  • The third strategy is operational where social media can be used for internal organizational documents and content creation and,
  • The fourth is the customer service through which people can provide you with inquires using social media.

Campaigns fit into our overall strategy by understanding and relating to and complimenting what we are doing as a business and by looking at the business plan and what the focus for the actual business is at that point in time. For example, if we open another office in a different location then we will have a digital marketing campaign and strategy that looks and focuses on the promotion our business within that particular area. It may also relate to a new product or a new service that we release. So, again, if we recently started to recruit in the film and production sector so we had a lot of digital marketing activity that root together and revolved together around the film industry and production industry, that opened up new social media channel for us to trial. It opened up new key words on search engines for us to optimize against and therefore all that came from the business decision and business plan to either open an office in a new location or to actually focus on recruiting on a new sector. That filters down in the business in terms of the staff that you hire, in terms of the marketing activity that you undergo, in terms of analysis and monitoring the responses that come from these different locations and sectors to ensure that you are deploying activity correctly across all of the new different areas of the business. So digital marketing is just another part of that to make sure that it works properly and produces and turns into a viable commercial channel.

See the rest of the article, covering also the remaining following areas:

#2 | Company business plan example

#3 | Key elements of campaign management – Gantt chart

#4 | Risk Management

#5 | Digital project management tools and techniques

#6 | Project plan monitoring and review

#7 | Marketing automation

#8 | PCC campaign planning

Digital and Social Media Marketing – Buyer Persona Development (part III)

In Business on 27/01/2016 at 11:06 am

6a0133f3a4072c970b01b7c7b1a954970b-550wi#1 | Introduction

Before we start creating content for digital images, video, text, sound – we have to think who this content is targeted at – and this is where we have a concept of something that’s called a “buyer persona.”

A Buyer Persona (BP) is a fictional individual who is developed by an organization based on the organization’s researched profile of its typical customer. Not necessarily transacting but certainly “buying into your content”.

Persona Name
• Personal Details
o Background
o Job/Hobby details (B2C) or key job responsibilities (B2B)
o Role in purchase process, how are decisions made
• Communication mix
o Main sources of information (where personas do their research)
o Preferred content medium (how do they like to absorb content)
o Marketing message (messaging speaking directly to this persona)
• Goals and main points
o Goals
o Challenges/pain points, emotions accompanying those challenges (e.g. issues facing during day-today business that you product and services are helping to solve)
• Personal attributes
o Quotes (bring personas to life with actual quotes gathered during interviews)
o Objections (anticipate any objections from BP during purchase process and when on web site, what sections are they interested in)

Read on the rest of the article, covering areas such as:

#2 | The importance of understanding who the target audience is and how search and social help to develop this understanding

#3 | Planning integration of search and social media

#4 | Keyword research for Buyer Persona

#5 | Social media channels for Buyer Persona

#6 | Develop keyword plan for a campaign

#7 | PPC keyword vs organic keyword plan

#8 | Develop social media editorial calendar

Digital and Social Media Marketing – Selecting Channels (part II)

In Business, IT on 14/12/2015 at 1:02 pm

digitalmarketing#1 | Understanding the different nature of digital channels

 

In the modern internet era, with the introduction of the www most marketing activities happen on the internet using channels such as:

 

  • Search Engines (SE)
  • Social Media
  • Websites
  • E-mail
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing

In countries with high internet penetration, the internet offers increasingly important marketing communication and digital media form an integral and regular part of it.

The different digital marketing channels will be examined according to the following characteristics:

  1. Geographic
  2. Demographic
  3. Digital fit

in order to determine the most effective channels based upon the “buyer persona” -BP; a fictional individual developed based on one organization’s researched profile of its typical customer.

All above channels will be examined, plus the pay channels. Also, consideration of community focused engagement through these channels will be given.

Channels depend on the client and the project. Based on our business objectives, we should research our BP’s preferences for media use before we invest into development of a message. Once the channels are identified, they are used to convey different content for meeting different business objectives; we should differentiate for instance between awareness and sales.

See the rest of the article, and engage with the following areas:

#2 | Search Engines – national differences

#3 | Social Media – national differences

#4 | Email marketing and how it can be used

#5 | Affiliate marketing and how it can be used

#6 | Mobile marketing and how it can be used

#7 | Paid channels overview – search and social

#8 | Community focused engagement

Digital and Social Media Marketing Introduced (part I)

In Business, IT on 10/12/2015 at 11:38 am

strategy#1 | Digital Marketing is a Strategic Decision

 

Strategy is basically an organization’s sense of purpose (as stated precisely by its mission). Its three elements are:

  • Analysis: where are we now?
  • Development: where do we want to be?
  • Implementation: how to get there?

Strategic Planning is an organization’s process of defining its long-term direction and the plan for prioritizing its resources in order to implement a strategy.

Digital Marketing (DM) is:

  • Α strategic decision increasingly adopted by many organizations for the engagement of their audiences; this holds regardless size or type of organizations.
  • About using digital media in order to understand the audiences and what they need.
  • Core and key in tracking branding, accountability of investment and ROI.
  • To be expected to produce tangible results after one year of investing into it which is considered to be a reasonable period of time for such an investment.

In the full article you can see the rest four (4) points related to Digital and Social Media Marketing:

#2 | SWOT analysis and SMART objectives serve DM Strategic Planning

#3 | Identifying our Position within Digital Business Ecosystem

#4 | Consumer’s Journey to On Line Purchase

#5 | Digitizing Old Terms

 

Η Διαχείριση Διαδικασιών (BPM) ως Όχημα Αλλαγής

In Business on 16/06/2015 at 1:28 pm

bpm-flowchart Η Διαχείριση Επιχειρηματικών Διαδικασιών (Business Process management -BPM), αποτελεί τον σύγχρονο δρόμο προς την Επιχειρηματική Αριστεία (Business Excellence) και διέπεται από δέκα (10) βασικές αρχές.

Η κατανόηση και η συμπόρευση με αυτές τις αρχές, μπορούν να επιλύσουν πολλές πραγματικά «σκληρές» διαφωνίες αναφορικά με διαδικασίες management ανάμεσα σε managers και υπεύθυνους υλοποίησης. Χωρίς αυτές τις αρχές, οι διάφορες ομάδες μπορούν εύκολα να χαθούν και να αποπροσανατολιστούν από το σκοπό του «ταξιδιού» τους.

Οι δέκα αρχές της διαχείρισης διαδικασιών είναι:

 

  1. Οι επιχειρηματικές αλλαγές πρέπει να βασίζονται στην απόδοση.
  2. Οι επιχειρηματικές αλλαγές πρέπει να βασίζονται στους ενδιαφερόμενους (για την επιχείρηση).
  3. Οι αποφάσεις για τις επιχειρηματικές αλλαγές πρέπει να μπορούν να ανιχνεύονται μέσα στα κριτήρια των ενδιαφερομένων.
  4. Η επιχείρηση πρέπει να ακολουθεί τις γραμμές των επιχειρηματικών διαδικασιών για τον συγχρονισμό της αλλαγής.
  5. Οι επιχειρηματικές διαδικασίες πρέπει να διαχειρίζονται ολιστικά.
  6. Οι πρωτοβουλίες ανανέωσης διαδικασιών πρέπει να εμπνέουν τη διανομή της ατεκμηρίωτης γνώσης.
  7. Οι πρωτοβουλίες ανανέωσης διαδικασιών πρέπει να ενεργοποιούνται από πάνω προς τα κάτω.
  8. Οι πρωτοβουλίες ανανέωσης διαδικασιών πρέπει να υλοποιούνται μέσω μιας επαναληπτικής, χρονικά προσδιορισμένης προσέγγισης.
  9. Οι επιχειρηματικές αλλαγές έχουν να κάνουν ουσιαστικά μόνο με τους ανθρώπους.
  10. Η επιχειρηματική αλλαγή είναι ένα ταξίδι, όχι ένας προορισμός.

Στη συνέχεια του άρθρου μπορείτε να δείτε αναλυτικά κάθε μία και το πως επηρεάζει την επιχείρησή σας.

10 Ways to Motivate Anyone

In Business on 09/06/2015 at 5:05 pm

motivationAn often question is about how one keeps employees inspired and productive. It’s an essential question since companies today must accomplish more, with fewer people. The most successful start-ups must be lean, nimble, and fierce.

In a nutshell, you should hire bright, energetic, innovative employees. Then offer them the right incentives -the ones that will impact their personal brain and personality types- to keep them mentally and emotionally invested in doing their best.

It’s impossible to talk about motivation without mentioning Drive, a book by best-selling author Daniel Pink. (His TED lecture was turned into a fabulous video.) Pink notes that people perform best when they are given autonomy, opportunity for mastery, and the belief that their task is meaningful. He says money is not the best motivator, and that employees want to be “players, not pawns.”

Pink believes Google’s “20% time,” in which employees may spend one day a week on whatever they want is a shining example of how allowing intrinsically-based motivations (a sense of accomplishment or purpose) can flourish. Personal endeavors from “20% time” resulted in Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense. Long before Google–back in 1948–3M instituted the “15% solution” or “dream time,” which yielded both Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes.

There’s no question that intrinsic motivation is essential. However, maybe someone could not agree with Pink that all extrinsic motivation (raises, bonuses, commissions, awards, titles, flex time, and other perks) is harmful. A skillful entrepreneur keeps employees motivated with a combination of both.

That said, there is no cookie-cutter approach to motivating your people. What inspires one person may leave the next cold. When you understand an employee’s thinking and behavioral preferences, you’ll be able to maximize his or her enthusiasm. This will help you get your workforce aligned and moving in the same direction, you’ll see incredible returns. The 10 ways to motivate anyone follow.

Read on “10 Ways to Motivate Anyone“.

BPM vs. ERP

In Business on 19/05/2015 at 4:46 pm

versusThe following questions are still valid in contemporary businesses:

  • How does BPM compare with ERP?
  • Does BPM compete with ERP, does it replace ERP, or can it co-exist with ERP?
  • What is the value of BPM to me?
  • Which should I do first?

Let’s start by defining the two “opponents”:

ERP (Enterprise Resource Management):  In simplified terms, I see ERP as a way to integrate the data layer of different processes (e.g. AP/AR, Payroll, Order Entry) within larger processes (e.g., Financials, HR, SCM). Although workflow is an embedded part of any ERP system, it is not intended to support enterprise processes. The workflow itself is functionally-driven (e.g., materials management) vs process-driven, where the process can potentially span many different functions (e.g., requisitioning, recruiting). The value ERP provides is an integrated system and single view into customer data. The data is updated on demand. Customers expect ERP to support their processes, but often they have to change their process to match ERP best practices. As a result, ERP software and implementation costs are significant.

BPM (Business Process Management): In contrast, BPM enables users to create business applications incorporating different people, data and documents, which in turn span multiple divisions, systems and/or data sources. Process function is almost irrelevant. In a structured BPM scenario, workflow activities derive from specific rules (i.e., roles, responsibilities, policies, procedures, deadlines, escalations). In a dynamic BPM scenario, users completely control routing in run-time. The value BPM provides is a platform to create multiple applications that improve productivity (effectiveness, efficiency), greater business agility (traceability, innovation, optimization), and ensured compliance (auditability). Furthermore, process definition components are reusable and changeable.

BPM might compete with and/or replace ERP on smaller scale projects. BPM absolutely compliments ERP by creating a “single view” into processes spanning multiple groups/systems (e.g., customer on-boarding, purchase requests). BPM also covers processes that fall completely outside of ERP systems such as Correspondence Management, Project Management, and Action Tracking.

BPM provides visibility to all process participants across an entire process that spans different functions. Think of BPM as the infamous conveyor belt in an assembly line circa early 20th century. Every worker can see the next item coming and are prepared to perform their assigned task in a timely manner, then it moves to the next worker, etc. ERP can’t provide this view, and that’s why users have to resort to conventional communication like phone calls and emails to check on status of a particular transaction. For example, imagine a transaction that spans few tasks within multiple departments. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. BPM on the other hand, is “pushy” by nature. Once a task is done, BPM pushes it to the next person wherever they are. BPM will ensure compliance with time, resource, business rules, and output levels as pre-defined by the users, which is exactly what ERP lacks and hence the need for BPM to fill that void.

BPM is focused on process deliverables & measurement of how well they’re done. That counts the most vs. ERP which is focused on “how” data is transferred and processed from one step to the other. Data management and integrity are important, but that doesn’t ensure a company’s survival. What ensures it is the ability to maximize use of resources to “accomplish” something, be it a transaction or a process outcome. When was the last time we heard that ERP measures how well a company processes invoices on time or can gauge how much it costs to process one? BPM is all about measurement and performance improvement, and not just feeding of data.

Which comes first? BPM or ERP? For those companies, especially in developing economies, that are in the process of migrating from manual processing, the conventional wisdom calls for moving 1 step up. What is this step? It’s getting used to work according to well-defined processes! BPM, ERP, and any kind of migration is considered a cultural shift in how work gets done. It’s not about automation. It’s all about changing how people work and interact with each other. To soften the impact of ERP system and the complexities most users face while trying to get to grips with it, an intermediate steps is needed. BPM can be considered as that step before an organization gets engaged in a full-blown ERP implementation. It’s fast, clean, relates to what users do every day, and the technology isn’t as intimidating. What can take years trying to implement, can take weeks to get users working systematically. What is often overlooked is the fact that ERP service providers start with mapping processes as a prerequisite. Then the same ERP service providers forget about the users and start engaging in defining systems parameters and fitting the processes into their solution which can take months on end without impacting how users. How about just stopping at mapping these same processes and having users utilize a BPM for few months before engaging them in ERP? The effort won’t be wasted as these processes will be migrated and linked to their relevant ERP modules.

Is there an additional cost to going BPM first then ERP? Sure. On the technology level companies will have to invest in BPM. However, on the services side, all the effort spent on building BPM won’t be replicated when migrating to ERP, if done right. Regardless of the additional cost, BPM pays for itself as it has a proven ROI. Additionally, the cost of softening the impact of migrating to an ERP system is worth the extra investment in BPM.

Lastly, building on the last two points, often ERP implementations are derailed due to trying to fit processes to pre-defined ERP system parameters. More than often, the users will have to change the way they work to fit a certain ERP template. On the other hand, changing processes and how a certain process functions at the BPM level is a breeze. It takes a short time. How short? Literally minutes! Try to make perform the same changes at the ERP level. Time and cost are often major constraints with the added costs associated with upgrading a customized ERP solution.

Original post by Sami Sultan.

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