Posts

I was out over the Thanksgiving weekend doing some shopping. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Quite frankly, my attitude needed an adjustment. Instead of enjoying the hustle and bustle of people out doing their thing, the company of my wife, or the beautiful, crisp, November weather, I complained to myself about why we were there. I’m certain my body language was poor and even more certain that I had the Grinch’s puss on my face.

And then we walked into an old country store and I saw a rustic framed quote from Charles Swindoll:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Wow! These were powerful words and they showed up for me to see, just in time. I’m certain my day would have degraded into something terrible and probably would have ended with a spat with my wife by the end.

Instead, I took charge of my attitude and changed my entire day.

I realized just how right Swindoll is. Every single day we have a choice. Happiness is a choice. Embrace a positive attitude and start the day differently than maybe what feels natural in that moment (like staying in your bad mood & being a Grinch through the holiday season).

As we head into the holiday season, there is no better time to choose your attitude. The stress will mount each day both in your personal and professional life as the year comes to an end. Recognize that life is going to happen, and we can’t stop it. Just reflect on what Chuck Swindoll teaches in his quote, 90% of life is HOW WE REACT. Let life happen, and make the conscious decision to be positive in reaction.

Choose a great attitude starting today & let’s finish the year strong!

I bet a lot of you don’t know why we call ourselves 9DOTS. This is especially relevant because we are changing that. 9DOTS is making sure that everyone accesses our website knows who we are and what we do. Additionally, 9DOTS made some changes that started THIS MONTH. As a matter of fact we will continue to make changes going forward because we love to listen to our clients, we think outside the Box, and we solve problems.

Starting June 1st 9DOTS’ social media presence is stronger, customer support improved, and finally a maintenance bulletin is on the website. As a company, we say we are “Decidedly Different.” For example, 9DOTS chooses not to be a vendor but most of all seek partnership. We are always straight forward, yet offer a hint of sarcasm. We are completely transparent in responses and due to our personality. 9DOTS recognized that the website seemed jumbled, blogs posted few and far between, and social media slacked. We are problem solvers, and that means we solve even our OWN problems.

Did you know 9DOTS is named after the answer to a puzzle?  The Nine Dots Puzzle poses the challenge to connect nine dots using four straight lines or less. Don’t lift the pencil from the paper! Challenge yourself and start below.

9DOTS puzzle solve problems9DOTS  encourages unconventional thinking to generate decidedly different business intelligence strategies. We don’t just hand out software and tell companies to be on their way! Yes, 9DOTS uses Business Analytics to solve problems, but it’s the way we think that makes us stand out from the rest. There is a box filled with Business Intelligence companies. Creativity, dedication and 9DOTS sit outside of that box.

Some people start to solve the puzzle by drawing the pencil in a box shape.  If that is you, then you aren’t the only one! The ANSWER though, is to think OUTSIDE of the box shape. Try to solve it! The answer is below. 9DOTS puzzle solution solve problems

 

To know more about how 9DOTS can solve your problems,  contact us  & Follow us below on FB, Twitter or LinkedIN to stay up to date on all of our info!

 

businessman-with-binoculars-44303560-resized-600In blog posts, our LinkedIn Groups, on Facebook, we tend to throw the words “data” & “insight” around like they are one in the same. I know, I know, last week we talked about “Excel” vs. “spreadsheets” this week it’s “data” & “insight.” Has 9DOTS Thinking Outside the Box blog suddenly become a long-winded vocabulary lesson!? I promise you the answer is no, AND I am going to keep it short. The difference between the words “data” and “insight” are just as important as last weeks post (found here), if not more important, because we ALL use the words as synonyms–even previous 9DOTS blogs!

To keep it short & sweet:

  • Data = unprocessed facts, in no organized fashion, from multiple different sources
  • Insight = actionable knowledge that comes from data

This may seem like something small and insignificant, but it is critical to identify the difference. You see, that while it is great to have tons of data, you may not have all of the information or knowledge you really need to gain competitive advantage. How many products did you sell last month? You probably know that number off the top of your head! But why? Why did you sell (or not sell) that amount? What will you accomplish as a business next month, in 6 months, based on the data & numbers you have from last year? Is that change in marketing that you made working positively?

With the right analytics, data can be pulled together from different sources, be organized and help you gain knowledge you didn’t even realize you could have about your organization. Many businesses use data to drive actions and decisions, but if information gives you actionable insight you are much closer to finding value. Turning data into INSIGHT creates the narrative you need to tell your story. As long as you have the correct tools to do so, you will see drastically less unorganized numbers and much more actionable knowledge and information.

bowieCHANGESTurn and face the strange. Now, maybe David Bowie could change the way he looked at the drop of a hat without a care in the world, but for CEOs of any sized organization, it’s just not that easy to make a change. But like the “Changes” lyrics say, we can’t stop time. If every day you are worrying about the effect of environmental changes, interest rate shifts, customer behavior contradictions, supply issues, and any other unpredictable factors, it’s probably time to make a change. CEOs have a lot on their plate, which means so do their employees. Maybe last year and the years before, you just couldn’t adapt fast enough. That is why you implement a forecasting solution that does the worrying for you.

In work, just as in your every day life, uncertainty and risk just happen. And when these things do happen, you want to adapt your business and accommodate the variables quickly and painlessly. With an automated and streamlined forecasting process, you make adjustments frequently and utilize the past few years of stress by applying them to your future in order to make positive changes.

17% of businesses suffered financial loss in 2015 due to poor spreadsheets, and 78% of businesses say their key financial decisions are supported by spreadsheets. It is not worth the jumbled numbers, and stress of change, if it is also hindering your processes and holding you back from becoming a more profitable organization. Time is not going to stop, so take a take a page out of Bowie’s book and make some changes.

 

Speaking of changes: 9DOTS has been making some changes to its website & content, check them out here & look around!

2015 is coming to an end, and so has your budgeting season.  If you have been reading along, or even if you haven’t, here are a few facts we learned through different surveys and research throughout the year.

A study by Grant Thorton, LLP shows that only 36% of businesses use scenarios and “what-if” analyses to re-check possible outcomes of a strategy.

A study by F1F showed that, out of 1,200 senior managers surveyed yielded stastics like “17% of large businesses suffered financial loss due to poor spreadsheets, and 78% say that key financial decisions are supported by spreadsheets.”

Companies spend weeks or even months completing the annual budgeting process, because it is so important. But too many companies fail to supplement the annual budget with planning activities that could strengthen performance management, gain competitive advantage, and of course drive profit!

Read our white paper to figure out how NOT to be a statistic in 2016, and instead stay ahead of the competition. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.38.35 AM

 

PI_Jan15_art3PwC has posted their findings from their 2015 Annual Law Firms’ Survey. Through interviewing the Top 100 firms, they have discovered that a top priority for the future of law firms is to focus on pricing and profitability.

Firms are continuing to invest in business improvement programs. The focus of these programs for Top 10 firms is to drive profitability and enhance support services, whilst firms outside of the Top 10 continue to feel pressure to reduce costs to remain competitive. “A growing number of firms have identified the problem and the solution. Pricing capability and sophistication at a firm-wide and individual partner level is being harnessed and for those firms it is having a swift and significant impact.”

It all falls back into the main idea that communicating and understanding your clients is what leads to a successful law firm. A one-size-fits-all process is no longer the most useful. It results in unhappy clients, and a less profitable law firm. “This depth of understanding the client is a critical precursor to being bale to create and articulate to the client an effective pricing strategy or methodology on a particular matter.”

Providing partners with the right tools and methodology for pricing decisions is also considered key. The article discussing the study mentions that pricing improvement has a very quick ROI. “The PwC report found that even IT projects whose objective is improvement of matter pricing, have an average ROI timescale of only four months.” A lack of correct pricing tools “results in what most firms regard as an unacceptable level of what the report referred to as Unplanned Fee Income Write-offs.”

But, the good news is there is a problem AND a solution. With the right tools, they write-offs are significantly reduced. “Pricing capability and sophistication at a firm-wide and individual partner level is being harnessed and for hose firms it is having a swift and significant impact.”

spreadsheet-hell

 

Traditional spreadsheet practice for Planning, Forecasting and Reporting is falling by the wayside. Microsoft Excel is powerful, but for the exponential data your organization has it’s power is just not enough. Strengthen your organization by understanding the ways that tiresome, stressful spreadsheet use can actually hold your company back.

 

  1. Spreadsheets are very susceptible to human error: Incorrect numbers and calculations not only cause a domino effect of mistakes throughout, but they cause speculation of your credibility. When you rely heavily on spreadsheet use, these mistakes can be detrimental. Today, your usual workday and work environment is fast paced. There is no time for error when entering your spreadsheet numbers, but it takes TOO much time to
    stress over every detail to ensure perfection. You need information in real-time. With a business intelligence solution that still uses the familiarity of excel, but eliminates the chance for mistakes you will be leaps and bounds above the competition that still uses spreadsheets, and you have an even smarter way to analyze your data.
  2. Heavy reliance on spreadsheets does not give you the ability to forecast as often, and be as advantageous, as you can: With a business intelligence forecasting solution, you won’t start a budget from scratch. Your organization could continuously forecast at least 18-24 periods forward, and months of crunching numbers can be consolidated to days or even hours. Real-time information and rolling forecasts means your business can focus on today, tomorrow and even manage the future.
  3. It’s challenging to add a dashboarding tool to your processes: But dashboards are actually a great, easy way to analyze data. It’s nearly impossible to view and understand multiple spreadsheets at one glance. With a dashboard, you can see charts and graphs that make all of those spreadsheets make sense. Eliminating the time you’d spend to understand cells of spreadsheets, and adding time to your regular work day.

Eliminate heavy spreadsheet use and empower your business.