Optimum Output was on the road again this fall, with Tejas and Andrew in Wisconsin for WorkWise Vision 2018.

Here’s a short update of what we did and what we learned.

Learning 1. Being authentically customer centric matters.

The WorkWise biennial customer conference in Milwaukee was again a model of how to engage with customers. As a long term partner of WorkWise, we’ve observed that their customer focus is the secret sauce of why their business thrives.

Attendees get a lot of value with specialized workshops around both ERP and CRM. …

Many have heard of the phenomenon known as The Amazon Effect. If you haven’t, here is an excellent definition:

“The impact the digital marketplace has on the traditional business model regarding consumer expectations and the new competitive landscape.”

Amazon is big, and has a track record of disruption. In establishing itself as the dominant player in e-commerce, Amazon simultaneously upended the world of retail. It has entered the market in products ranging from from e-readers to educational toys. At Optimum Output we use Amazon Web Servers for our cloud application, The BPR. Heck, this blog post is probably hosted on an AWS platform!(Hmmm…

I had the chance to visit plenty of Optimum Output’s customers on a scenic roadshow during November, from the West, to the Mid-West, all the way to the East Coast!

Here are some things I learned along the way.

First stop was GJ pipe — a large pipe and irrigation distributor and a new BPR adopter. Spending time with a new customer is always valuable for us because fresh eyes see things that we don’t. This often results in new ideas for our product.

Two great days were spent with the team supporting their BPR implementation. Coffee was drunk. Many Jimmy John’s were eaten. And by the end of the workshop, we had a solid BPR foundation structure in place and a roll-out plan for the wider organization. …

The compelling business case for sustainability

At times it can be difficult to have a common-sense discussion about the relationship between business and the natural environment. The discourse (maybe argument is a better word) tends to be highly charged, and the opposing camps seem to have lost the ability to listen to each other.

The polarization has gotten to the point that either you’re a job-destroying tree-hugger detached from economic reality, or a planet-plunderer, devastating the environment without a thought to anything except the bottom line. You can be pro-environment, or pro-business, but apparently not both.

Well, we kinda need both…..

This state of affairs is self-defeating and turns off reasonable people of all backgrounds. So I have a proposal: For the next few minutes, let’s hit the mute button on the politics. Without the background noise, we can start to have a sensible discussion. …

Don’t fear Automation; Embrace your own Creativity.

I’m going to start this post with an assertion that might be controversial.

We must take for granted that machines, computers and artificial intelligence are going to play an ever-increasing role in our lives and certainly in our work.

As a millennial, one of my all time favorite movies is The Matrix. I love the radical vision of an epic clash between humans and machines. In reality, though, I’m not a big fan of a future where the value of a human being is reduced to being a living battery, while the machines reign supreme! …

3 Ways to find a solution that fits your current business challenge

Do those words from the ancient Chinese philosopher provoke in you that knowing smile, that feeling of familiarity?

We see this often in the workplace. We’ve all been witness to (and sometimes architects of) well-intentioned solutions that just don’t fit the challenge at hand. It could be a fix that’s over-engineered or ridiculously expensive, an idea with strong risks of collateral damage, or worst of all, a solution that just doesn’t solve the original problem.

Wise words…

Why is this the case? It seems odd, since generally everyone in the organization wants improvement. Employees want to minimize the mundane, and work smarter. Managers want efficiency and improved output. Investors want better returns. We all want to solve the problems we face. (If you don’t…..well……

“Scientists may have sophisticated laboratories, but never forget ‘Eureka’ was inspired in a bathtub.” — Toba Beta

People love new ideas. We are obsessed with invention. Invention broadens our concept of what is possible and generally make our lives easier.

Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone in 1876, and revolutionized communication. The Wright Brothers designed, built and flew the first powered aircraft in 1903, proving to the world that humans could fly. Steve Jobs developed the iPod. Stan Lee created Spider-man and the Avengers. It’s hard to overstate the impact these inventions have had on our world. These inventors and their ideas captured our imagination. …

Andrew Sloan

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