Quantifying Root Causes behind KPI movements.

Traditional Business Intelligence (BI) tools and capabilities have long had an Achilles’ heel; they only allow us to understand a process through a series of predefined snapshots. Colloquially put, this can be described by the common business phrase “what gets measured gets managed”. Conscious decisions are made on what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and data visualisations are presented for operational or management reporting. Human intuition and experience link the different KPI snapshots and their trends to build a story of what is happening in the process. However, this human intervention increases the risk of ‘confirmation bias’; where data that confirms…


When companies come to market for new software, the term ‘legacy’ is most commonly used to define the current ‘as-is’ system landscape. It infers that the applications denoted as such are up for replacement and their functionalities be superseded by the new solutions being considered. However, the topic of ‘legacy’ often manifests itself during the selection process in a manner of different subtleties. These can have an adverse impact in choosing suitable replacement and ‘futureproof’ software, can increase the time and cost of a selection process, and ultimately add risk to the return on investment (ROI) of a future implementation…


All businesses have fixed and variable costs. The former remains largely constant irrespective of output, whereas the latter will vary, as the name suggests; increasing with increasing output. Businesses with high fixed costs in relation to variable costs are said to be “operationally geared”. This is because once all fixed costs are covered, there is an exponential increase in profits, for every pound of revenue earned, given the lower variable costs per unit of output. This characteristic of certain businesses can lead to impressive profit growth during good economic circumstances, often leading to sharp increases in share price for public…


The most under-appreciated business risk for SMEs is placing disproportionate responsibility with the finance department.

The finance department is a cornerstone of any business. Not least because of statutory accounting requirements but often because they are the custodians of cross-business information and reporting processes. Finance teams usually become the point of data consolidation from multiple subsidiaries. Depending on the business systems available, they also process the extraction and transformation of data between applications for financial and management reporting. On a weekly basis I meet with companies in EMEA having strikingly similar challenges. …


Many companies rightly identify the need to acquire new ERP systems. There are many drivers for change, but common themes are always evident. For example, standardising cross departmental processes or increasing visibility into the organisation, often across multiple legal entities. Yet in my experience of dealing with many businesses across Europe on a weekly basis, it is alarming how many have expectations for software to magically resolve process issues.

I see this most with companies who are growing rapidly and have at the very least separate accounting and operational systems, often these businesses have a many more. In these situations…


Photo by Chris Abney on Unsplash

Given their broad functional scope, ERP / Business accounting platforms sit at the very core of businesses globally. Depending on the type of business, these platforms can cover a wide range of operational and financial processes in a single application. However for some industries, often those with highly complex or niche operational processes, integration of the core business/ accounting platform to other solutions is required. As software consultants or system administrators within companies, we are familiar with the solution requirements or dependencies within the applications/ business platforms we are most familiar with. …


It is of little surprise that business models have become more subscription based. Companies benefit from a recurring revenue stream and greater revenue predictability. Consumers pay for time-bound access to goods and services, avoiding large capital expenditure when compared with buying the same access outright. However, as subscriptions become the dominant model, high customer loyalty and net promoter scores are needed to ensure consistent business growth. Given that customers are paying for access rather than ownership, it is easier to switch to competitive products at the end of contract terms. …


Without a framework, goal setting can often be a ponderous process. Vague thoughts of desired achievements, possibly unconnected and perhaps rushed as internal deadlines loom. In this article I propose a visual framework to set goals, whilst relating this to the learning “S-Curve” proposed by Juan Méndez and Whitney Johnson. In my opinion, relating these two frameworks together produce a powerful tool for accelerated career progression.

The Background:

During our professional careers we undertake numerous roles. As life progresses, we learn and improve our marketable skills to apply for, and undertake, these roles. Each is unique in the challenges it presents, but…

Tom Curtress

A well respected software and business consultant having worked for large international software companies in client facing and management roles.

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