The Connection Between Six Sigma and CRM

Six Sigma is an industrial business strategy directed at improving the quality of process outputs by eliminating errors and system variables. The end objective is to achieve a state where 99.99966% of events are likely to be defect free. This would yield a statistical rating of Sigma 6 hence the name.

The process itself is thankfully more user-friendly. It presents a model for evaluating and improving customer relationships based on data provided by an automated customer relations management (CRM) system. However in the nature of human interaction we doubt the 99.99966% is practically achievable.

Six Sigma Fundamentals

The basic tenets of the business doctrine and the features that set off are generally accepted to be the following:

  1. Continuous improvement is essential for success
  1. Business processes can be measured and improved
  1. Top down commitment is fundamental to sustained improvement
  1. Claims of progress must be quantifiable and yield financial benefits
  1. Management must lead with enthusiasm and passion
  1. Verifiable data is a non-negotiable (no guessing)

Steps Towards the Goal

The five basic steps in Six Sigma are define the system, measure key aspects, analyse the relevant data, improve the method, and control the process to sustain improvements. There are a number of variations to this DMAIC model, however it serves the purpose of this article. To create a bridge across to customer relationships management let us assume our CRM data has thrown out a report that average service times in our fast food chicken outlets are as follows.

<2 Minutes3 to 8 Minutes9 to 10 Minutes>10 Minutes
45%30%20%5%
Table: Servicing Tickets in Chippy?s Chicken Caf?s

Using DMAIC to unravel the reasons behind this might proceed as follows

  • Define the system in order to understand the process. How are customers prioritised up front, and does the back of store follow suit?
  • Break the system up into manageable process chunks. How long should each take on average? Where are bottlenecks most likely to occur?
  • Analyse the ticket servicing data by store, by time of day, by time of week and by season. Does the type of food ordered have a bearing?
  • Examine all these variables carefully. Should there for example be separate queues for fast and slower orders, are there some recipes needing rejigging
  • Set a goal of 90% of tickets serviced within 8 minutes. Monitor progress carefully. Relate this to individual store profitability. Provide recognition.

Conclusion

A symbiotic relation between CRM and a process improvement system can provide a powerful vehicle for evidencing customer care and providing feedback through measurable results. Denizon has contributed to many strategically important systems.?

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Why Spreadsheets can send the Pillars of Solvency II Crashing Down


Solvency II is now fast approaching and while it may provide added protection to policy holders, its impact on the insurance industry is not all a bed of roses. Expect insurance companies to restructure, increase manpower, and raise spending on actuarial operations and risk management initiatives. Those that cannot, will have to go. But what have spreadsheets got to do with all these?

Well, spreadsheets aren’t really the main casts in this blockbuster of a regulatory exercise but they certainly have a significant supporting role to play. Pillar I of Solvency II, which calls for improved supervision on internal control, risk management, and corporate governance, and Pillar II, which tackles supervisory reporting and public disclosure of financial and other relevant information, both affect systems that have high-reliance on spreadsheets.

A little background about spreadsheets might help.

Who needs an IT solution when you can have spreadsheets?

Everyone in any organisation just love spreadsheets; from the office clerk to the CEO. Because they’re so easy to use (not to mention they’re a staple in office computers), people employ them for processing numbers and as an all-around tool for planning, forecasting, reporting, complex modelling, market data analysis, and so on. They make such tasks faster and easier. Really?

You probably haven’t heard of spreadsheet hell

Unfortunately, spreadsheets do have certain shortcomings. Due to their inherent structure and lack of controls, it is so easy to commit simple errors like an accidental copy paste, an omission of a negative sign, an incorrect data input, or an unintentional deletion. Such shortcomings may seem harmless until your shareholders discover a multi-million discrepancy in your financial report.

And because spreadsheet errors can go undetected for a long time, they are constant targets of fraudsters. In other words, spreadsheets are high risk applications.

Solvency II Impact on Spreadsheet-based Financial and IT Systems

Regulations like Solvency II, are aimed at reducing risks to manageable levels. Basically, Solvency II is a risk-based system wherein a company?s capital requirements will depend on its measured riskiness. If companies want to avoid facing onerous capital requirements, they have to comply.

The three pillars of Solvency II have to be in place. Now, since spreadsheets (also known as User Developed Applications or UDAs) are high-risk applications with weak control features and prone to produce inaccurate reports, companies will have a lot of work to do to establish Pillars II and III.

There are at least 8 articles that impact spreadsheets in the directive. Article 82, for example, which requires firms to ensure a high level of data quality and accuracy, strikes at the very core of spreadsheets? weakness.

A whitepaper by Raymond Panko entitled ?Spreadsheets and Sarbanes-Oxley: Regulations, Risks, and Control Frameworks? mentioned that 94% of audited real world operational spreadsheets that were included in his study were found to have errors and that an average of 5.2% of all cells in the audited spreadsheets had errors.

Furthermore, many articles in the directive call for the enforcement of better documentation. This is one thing that’s very tedious and almost unrealistic to do with spreadsheets because just about anyone uses them. Besides, with different ‘versions? of the same data existing in different workstations throughout the organisation, it would be extremely difficult to keep track of them all.

Because of spreadsheets you now need an IT solution

It is clear that, with the growing number of regulations and the mounting complexity of tasks needed for compliance, spreadsheets no longer belong in this era. What you need is a server-based solution that allows for seamless collaboration, data reliability, data consistency, increased security, automatic consolidation, and all the other features that make regulation compliance more doable.

One important ingredient for achieving Solvency II compliance is sound data risk management. Sad to say, the ubiquitous spreadsheet will only expose your data to more risks.

More Spreadsheet Blogs


Spreadsheet Risks in Banks


Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets – obstacles to compliance in the Healthcare Industry


How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence


Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment


Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework


Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations


Spreadsheet Risk Issues


Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back


Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

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2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 7, 8 & 9 – Sign-Off, Compliance & Appeals

This is the final chapter in our series of short posts summarising the quite complex ESOS guidelines (click on ?Comply with ESOS? to see the details). This one addresses the legalities to follow to complete your report – and how to appeal if you are not happy with any of the Environment Agency?s decisions.

  1. Director Sign-Off

This is by no means an easy ride. Confirmation of the work at individual or lead assessor level locks the company into the penalty cycle in the event there are significant irregularities. By signing off the assessment, the board level director(s) # agree that they have

  • Reviewed the enterprise?s ESOS recommendations
  • Believe the enterprise is within the scope of the scheme
  • Believe the enterprise is compliant with the scheme
  • Believe the information provided is correct

Having an internal assessor requires a second board-level signature.

  1. Compliance

You report compliance on the internet. This is free and you can do it at any time within the deadline. You can dip in and out of the process as many times as you wish, but must use the link in the receipting email. While this is something a board member must do, there is no reason why the lead assessor should not complete the basics. The online compliance notification addresses the following topics:

  • The ESOS contact person in the enterprise
  • Any aggregation / dis-aggregation during the period
  • The names and contact details of the lead assessor
  • The proportion of energy consumption per compliance route

The Environment Agency will acknowledge receipt. This does not constitute acceptance. You should keep the ESOS evidence pack in a safe place with at least one backup elsewhere.

  1. Compliance & Enforcement Issues

In the event the Environment Agency decides your enterprise has not met ESOS requirements, it may either (a) issue a compliance notice with instructions, or (b) apply one of the following civil penalties:

  • A fine of up to ?5,000 for failure to maintain records
  • A fine of up to ?50,000 for failure to undertake an energy audit
  • A fine of up to ?50,000 for a false or misleading statement

Any enterprise has the right of appeal against government decisions. In the case of ESOS, this is via:

  • The First-Tier Tribunal if your enterprise is England, Wales or off-shore based
  • The Scottish Minister if your enterprise is based in Scotland
  • The Planning Commission if your enterprise is Northern Ireland-based

The notice you appeal against will supply details of the appeal steps to take.

This blog and its companion chapters concerning the ESOS Guidelines as amended 2015 are with compliments of ecoVaro. We are the people who break ESOS data into manageable chunks of information, so that board-level directors have greater confidence in what they sign.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

About a quarter of the world’s population use the Internet. That’s approximately 1.7 billion people. How many will come to your site the moment it launches? Zero.

It will take some time before the search engines are able to index your site and allow the possibility of driving some visitor traffic there. But even when your site does get indexed, that’s no assurance people will even have the chance of finding it.

So unless you apply SEO, your chances of improving those traffic numbers from zilch would nearly be zilch too. Traffic is a fundamental prerequisite in eCommerce. Before any store, virtual or otherwise, can ever hope to make a sale, the first step is to get noticed by the potential customer.

Our SEO specialists can drive your pages to the top of search results so that potential customers can see results leading to your site first.

Depending on the product or service you’re offering, getting to be ranked high on the search engines can be extremely labour-intensive. Basically, it’s the kind of job you’d rather not keep in-house but its the kind of job our team would be happy to take charge on.

Different products and services have different SEO requirements. We won’t recommend an SEO package if we think it will only translate to unnecessary spending.

These are the essentials of our SEO packages:

  • Targeted keywords and keyphrases. We’ll conduct extensive research on your product line and your product competitors to get hold of the best targeted keywords and keyphrases. If your competitors missed any important keyphrases, we’ll find those as well.
  • Strategically planted backlinks. We’ll concentrate our backlinking efforts on relevant backlinks to achieve top search engine rankings. As an added bonus, relevant backlinks drive in traffic that really matter as this is made up of visitors with the highest potential of turning into buyers.
  • On-site SEO. Certain issues arising from the mere makeup of most eCommerce websites are making on-site SEO tweaking more challenging. In fact, not all SEO consultants cater to these specific problems. Our specialists, on the other hand, pay special attention to issues regarding pagination resulting in keyword cannibalisation, product pages, landing page optimisation and the like.
  • Selection of SEO packages. While you’re still starting out, you may want to try our basic packages first. Then once you see traffic pouring in and revenues begin to build up, you can up the ante by upgrading to our premium packages.

Other services you might be interested in:

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