Tuesday, 26 August, 2014

Ten Guidelines for taking effective interviews

Here are ten guidelines that I follow for taking interviews. You may find them useful.
  1. Dress as per your company policy.
  2. Introduce yourself and greet the candidate with a handshake and a friendly smile.
  3. Make candidate comfortable and at ease before you begin with your questions. 
  4. Show respect and treat the candidate as your customer.
  5. Use a friendly tone of voice. 
  6. Listen more and let the candidate do most of the talking.
  7. Do not take mobile calls during the interview.
  8. Do not engage in arguments with the candidate.
  9. Do not offer right answers or feedback for improvement.
  10. End on positive note, regardless of the outcome.

Sunday, 24 August, 2014

Differentiators for IT Services Providers from the perspective of Enterprise IT Buyer

As Enterprise IT Buyer, how can you differentiate IT service providers? I propose Solutions, Automation and Scale (SAS) can help here. If a IT service provider is a pure-play service provider without any solutions built based on its past experience then its service offering reduces to professional services. Nothing wrong about it. But a service provider with ready solutions can help reduce time-to-market for IT buyers. Similarly, IT service providers that use automation for delivery of its services can provide lower time-to-market for IT buyers. Last but not least is the scale parameter. While big IT service providers would bring more predictability and stability for its services, small companies would be more responsive and agile than their larger counterparts. I have seen IT buyers choosing large companies for providing IT services for core and/or mission critical components of business but choose small companies for building innovative or even experimental IT solutions.

You may wonder why I have not included cost as a differentiating factor. Yes, cost plays an important role in selection of a vendor but let it happen once you short-list few (say three) vendors based on SAS criteria. Then you can get the best value for money by choosing one of them on the basis of price that they would offer.

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

One Day Course on Business Basics

I was recently requested to design one day course on business basics. I thought of designing it as a collection of 10 questions (with answers!). Here are these 10 questions:
  1. Which are different forms of a business organization?
  2. How a company is typically organized?
  3. What do managers do?
  4. What does accounting and finance department do in a company?
  5. What is meant by operations in a company?
  6. What does sales and marketing department do in a company?
  7. What kind of work human resources department do in a company?
  8. How information systems are built and managed in a company?
  9. What is the role of Board of Directors (BoD)?
  10. Question(s) that you wish to ask

Please give your feedback on choice of these questions. Will they be sufficient to know the business basics? If not then which questions should be added? Can they be discussed in one day (6 hours)? If not then which questions should be dropped?

Sunday, 29 June, 2014

c2b2 fifth and final module:Strategic Management

Let me share 20 questions for fifth and final module of c2b2: Strategic Management.
  1. What are types of market structure?
  2. How does money flow between business organizations and households?
  3. Which are key economic indicators?
  4. How fiscal and monetary policies affect economy?
  5. How economy affects business onrganizations?
  6. Which non-economic factors affect business organizations?
  7. How Porter’s Five Forces model can be used for industry analysis?
  8. What is SWOT analysis?
  9. How Ansoff’s matrix can be used for formulating marketing strategy?
  10. What is meant by vision, mission and objectives of an organization?
  11. What is competitive advantage?
  12. What is meant by value chain?
  13. What is meant by experience curve?
  14. Which are the generic business strategies?
  15. How balanced scorecard can be used for business performance management?
  16. How BCG matrix is used for formulating corporate strategy?
  17. How GE-McKinsey matrix can be used for formulating corporate strategy?
  18. What are components of a business plan for a startup venture?
  19. How is strategy implemented in an organization?
  20. How strategy execution can be evaluated and controlled?

Sunday, 22 June, 2014

c2b2 fourth module: Manager's Toolbox

Here comes 20 questions for fourth module of c2b2: Manager's Toolbox.
  1. How to summarize raw data?
  2. How charts can be used effectively?
  3. How to prepare for a business presentation?
  4. How to design a business presentation?
  5. How to deliver a business presentation?
  6. How to use plus-minus-interesting (PMI) technique for decision making?
  7. How to use decision matrix for decision making?
  8. How to use decision tree for decision making?
  9. Which are principles of quality management?
  10. Which are seven basic tools for quality management?
  11. What is meant by SMARTER objectives?
  12. How to manage time?
  13. How to do active listening?
  14. How to give feedback?
  15. How to receive feedback?
  16. How to prepare for win-win negotiation?
  17. Which netiquette you must know?
  18. How to use situational leadership?
  19. What are the sources of power in an organization?
  20. How a change can be managed in an organization?
Next post will have 20 questions for last module of c2b2.

Sunday, 15 June, 2014

c2b2 third module: Money Matters

Let me share 20 questions for third module of c2b2: Money Matters.

  1. How accounting information is processed?
  2. Which are key accounting principles?
  3. What is accrual accounting?
  4. What is depreciation in accounting?
  5. Why profit is not equal to cash?
  6. What information does profit and loss statement provide?
  7. What information does balance sheet provide?
  8. What information does cash flow statement provide?
  9. How profitability of different companies can be compared?
  10. How managerial decisions impact financial statements?
  11. Which are the sources for raising finance for long-term needs?
  12. Which are the sources for raising finance for short-term needs?
  13. In which ways cost can be classified?
  14. How cost can be managed effectively?
  15. How is revenue budgeting is used in a company?
  16. What is capital budgeting process?
  17. Which are the prominent methods for calculating return on investment?
  18. What is working capital?
  19. What is cash conversion cycle?
  20. How to improve working capital management?
In next post, I will share 20 questions for fourth module viz. Manager's Toolbox.

Wednesday, 11 June, 2014

c2b2 second module: Marketing Concepts

In this post, let me share 20 questions for second module viz. Marketing Concepts:
  1. What is marketing?
  2. What is 4Ps and 4Cs of marketing?
  3. Which are seven Ps of services marketing?
  4. What is marketing research?
  5. What is a marketing process?
  6. How consumer market can be segmented?
  7. How business market can be segmented?
  8. What are different ways for targeting market segments?
  9. Why positioning is important?
  10. What is product life cycle?
  11. How products can be differentiated?
  12. What is meant by brand equity?
  13. How multiple brands can be managed by a company?
  14. How the price of a product can be set?
  15. How the price of a product can be adapted?
  16. What are different ways by which products can be distributed?
  17. What is 5 Ms of advertising?
  18. How sales of product can be promoted?
  19. What are different kinds of sales people?
  20. What are the steps in a typical sales process?
In next post, I will share 20 questions for next module.

Sunday, 25 May, 2014

c2b2 First Module: Business Organization

In last post, I mentioned that I will be redesigning Crash Course in Business Basics (c2b2) to contain following five modules:
  1. Business Organization
  2. Marketing
  3. Money Matters
  4. Manager's Toolbox
  5. Strategic Management
Each of these modules will contain 20 questions, answers of which will be recorded as slideshow with voice-over. In this post, let me share 20 questions for first module: Business Organization:

1.    Which are different forms of a business organization?
2.    Which are key business functions?
1.    What does finance department do?
2.    What does accounting department do?
3.    What is meant by operations in a company?
4.    What do sales people do?
5.    How does marketing differ from sales?
6.    What is the role of human resources department?
7.    Which are key support functions?
8.    What do managers do?
9.    How do functions and skills differ with levels of management?
10. What is the role of Board of Directors (BoD)?
11. Is management an art or science?
12. In how many different ways a company can be structured?
13. What could be the rationale for choosing an organization structure over another?
14. What is an organizational culture?
15. Can organizational culture be managed?
16. How employees are recruited in an organization?
17. Which are the ways in which employees can be trained and developed?
18. Which are different ways by which employees can motivated?
19. Which are different types of information systems that are used by a company?
20. How information systems are built and managed?
I will share 20 questions for next module in next post.

Sunday, 27 April, 2014

Crash Course in Business Basics (c2b2)

Few years back, I designed a four-days training program, then called Micro-MBA for delivering it to my colleagues at L&T Infotech, Mumbai. My colleague, Sharvari, helped in designing this program and also delivered some sessions. We received encouraging feedback that time. I repeated this course last time at Chennai and again received good feedback from participants.

I always wanted to conduct this program more number of times. But its length of four days not only discourages participation by busy working professionals but also it makes difficult for me to find these many free days consecutively. This constraint prompted me to think whether this program can be conducted online.

For last several months, I am reading about online learning and I have got convinced that blended learning is a way to go. Yes, some learning content can be delivered online but some learning methods such as case study discussion or group discussion requires classroom sessions. So I have now started redesigning this program.

As a first step, I am redesigning this course to be delivered in 24 hours. Out of 24 hours, classroom sessions will run for 14 hours as seven sessions of two hours each. Rest 10 hours will be delivered as videos (slideshow with voice over). I have divided the course curriculum in five parts - Business Organization, Marketing, Money Matters, Manager's Toolbox and Strategic Management. Each part will have 20 clips, thus online component of this course will have 100 clips of around 6 minutes each. Each clip will answer one question. So one can get answers to 100 questions by watching these clips. Each part also has two discussion points that will be covered during five classroom sessions of two hours each. Final two classroom sessions of two hours each will be used for case study discussion.

As I will work on preparing 100 questions, I will share them on this blog. Once I start recording clips for these questions, I will start uploading them on YouTube. I plan to eventually host the list of questions with videos on single public web page. I hope to receive feedback on my work so that it can be refined further.

I am thinking of naming this course as Crash Course in Business Basics (c2b2). I hope nobody is holding trademark on this name. I plan to release my this work under appropriate Creative Commons License.

Monday, 3 March, 2014

Key Takeaways from CSI Convention - IT2020

On 28th February 2014, I attended second day of two-day CSI Convention called as IT2020 . I am sharing below my key takeaways which could be of use to some of you:
  • Senior IT executives from Essar Group, KPIT and M&M presented cloud success stories. Incidentally, all of them use hybrid cloud approach; all of them have got SAP ERP implementation on private cloud and other non-critical applications on Microsoft Azure.
  • The legal framework for offering and using cloud services is very much in place in India.  
  • Cloud would be most suitable for startups and SMEs but may not be fully adoptable by established large companies.