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New Enhancements to SAP

Well, recently I found that SAP is still making some small tweaks to the core ECC system. Now, it’s not gonna change the way you do business (and it won’t put me out of business 🙂 ). But it is nice to see that small enhancements are still occurring.
Note:
2111087 – Counting entries in ALV grids
2081776 – IW38 additional functions: Cancel TECO and “do not execute”
2062605 – Enable shop papers of PM order to be printed before order is released
2115977 – Create order as a follow on order
2084957 – Mass change of maintenance plans/maintenance item
2076874 – Make it possible to change notification type
2026771 – BADI for CU Bundling logic
2128110 – Inactivation of Notification Codes
2121573 – Redesign of BAPIs in PM/CS

Now, I have yet to implement any of these notes, but I will be checking out the last note for sure, just to make sure it has no impact on what I’ve been doing. Regardless, if you’re looking for some new functionality, take a look at these notes. You might find something you can use.
Thanks for reading,

Minnesota ASUG – October 29, 2015

Well, for any of my friends back in MN, I’ll be back in town again soon. I’ll be a sponsor at the Minnesota ASUG on 10/29/2015.
In keeping with the small show theme, I’m upping my game to the next level. So if any of you are available, stop by and check out the booth. We’d love to see you.
Thanks for reading and can’t wait to see you,

Small shows vs. Big shows

Well, after looking at my budget for this past year so far, I’m realizing it’s time to make some changes. After talking with my cohort Jeff, he was dumbfounded when I showed him just how much it cost me to be a vendor at ASUG/SAPPHIRE this past year. Especially when you take into account just how few leads I got out of the show. So, we’ve been talking about taking a new approach. Focus on the small shows like regional ASUG meetings, and small focus group type meetings, etc.
Now like everything, there’s a trade off. Many companies only send the decision makers to big shows, or only send one or two people to the regional shows, if anyone. So the attendance is certainly smaller, and quite possible that our target audience won’t ever be at these shows. On the flip side, you never know who might show up. So if we could at least get some peers to see what we have, it’s still a victory to help get us in the door. As I’m learning, you never know who might become your champion, and just because you attend the big shows, doesn’t mean anyone will see you there.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you attend the little shows? do you ever pay any attention to the sponsors?
Thanks for reading,

Product vs. Brand. A new Twist

You know how so many time you hear something, but don’t understand, think it doesn’t apply, or just ignore it. Then you hear the same thing again a week, a month, a year later, and suddenly it sinks in. In one of the many audio programs I’ve been listening to, I heard a new perspective that finally made sense to me. A business guru named Michael Gerber started talking about the difference between a product and a brand. After listening to his perspective, it gave me some thing new to think about. Here’s what he said.

A product is anything that your customer doesn’t currently own, has no experience with, or maybe doesn’t even know it exists.

A Brand is something your customer already buys, but you may just be another vendor in the space.

Now the implications of this, while subtle, have big impacts for someone like me. I discovered that I have a product. My apps don’t really exist in the market. While there might be similar things, they aren’t in my area, and as I’ve discovered, most people have no clue there might be something like I do. This helps me put a new perspective on my marketing. It means that most of my marketing (85% or so) needs to focus on education. Education on the the problem my software solves, education that solutions exist, etc… I knew this from other people, but hearing it in terms like this helps solidify it in my brain. thought I’d share it with you.

Thanks for reading,

Fun with Domain Names

My friend Jeff recently made me realize just how bad my domains are 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, plenty of people have found me, but mostly because of the content I’ve produced. Recently, Jeff asked me if there was any other email he could use, because javellinsolutions.com is really a lot to type (especially if you’re on a smart phone). Paperstreetenterprises.com is really no better.

Well, thanks Jeff, I now have a few new ways to find me. One of which will really be the new primary driver to get to everthing.

GoJaveLLin.com

Nice, easy, and a lot less typing. You can also find me at:

JaveLLin.net

Not as flashy, but again, a lot less typing 🙂 Don’t know I’m going to worry about Paperstreetenterprises for now. but if anyone out there has a good suggestion, let me know and I might consider it.

Thanks for reading,

Do you have separation anxiety from your business?

Well, our new dog may have taught be something about myself this past weekend. I was solo with the new doggy, who by the way has MASSIVE separation anxiety. Well, being the type of person that likes my space, spending time with a dog no more than 5 feet from me at all times started to wear on me. What I did realize is that I might have separation anxiety from my business. It may not require medication :), but when I start to look at myself, I realize that in one form or another, I’m always thinking about my business. In the shower, I’m looking for inspiration to hit me. In the car, I’m listening to audio programs to help me promote, market, sell, or whatever I think I need in my business. When I head to sleep, I find myself stressed about how much money I’ve spent in the business, and wonder how long I can keep it running.
So what in your life gives you separation anxiety? do you have a small business, maybe it’s money, maybe it’s cars, politics, or how your sports team is doing. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. You really need to identify whatever it is in your life that you can’t seem to get away from. In my case, I need to make a conscious effort to remember one thing…

I have a business, but I am not my business.

In my case, I’m working so hard, that I need to make sure I don’t tie my self worth to the business.
I hope you don’t have the same issue I do… but if you do, remember, don’t let it run your life…
Thanks for reading,

How much time do your technicians waste entering data?

What is a technician hired to do? It used to be, they were paid to fix things, install things, or diagnose issues. In today’s world of “Big Data”, half the job of a technician is now about entering data, filling in fields, signing paperwork, recording items, materials, hours, etc… How many hours a day do you think your service technicians spend entering data?
It should be pretty obvious, but if your technicians are entering data, they aren’t fixing things, they aren’t traveling to the next client, and they sure as hell aren’t doing what they do best. So what’s with all the data? can they just skip it? haven’t someone else enter in all the info? The answer is no… Only the technician knows what they did. Any every minute after they did it, makes the data less accurate. Let’s say you have the option of having your employees enter in their hours daily, or weekly. If go opt for the weekly option, you know expect a technician to remember what jobs they worked on and for how long. And they need to remember it for up to 5 days. Do you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? what about 5 days ago? Do you really think anyone remembers things perfectly accurately after 2, 3, or 5 days? If you really to know how much time is spent on each job, you need to enter it in daily… or better yet, as soon as work is done on that job for the day.
So what can you do about it? You need to be entering in data, and in fact the organization is asking for more details every week. They want accounting indicators, they want what tasks you performed… if they weren’t originally scheduled, you need to add them. They want codes, and tasks, and who knows what else. You already burn 15 minutes a day, maybe more, just entering data. This is each technician. Four technicians means you lost an hour of repair time a day. Most shops I’ve ever visited can’t afford to lose an hour a day (most likely, it’s a lot more than that).
How many hours are willing to lose a day entering data?
Thanks for reading,

Harrison Bergeron, worth a watch

While I don’t watch nearly as many movies as I used to, but on the recommendation of a podcast, I watched the movie Harrison Bergeron. Now, you’ll find it interesting that this movie isn’t available on Amazon, Netflix, or even anywhere for sale. It’s unusual that I even talk about movies in my blog, but this movie was rather striking. Now, it was done in 1995, and the special effects were pretty humorous. It’s based on a short story by Kurt Vonnegut.
It’s a rather scary tale, mostly because it paints the picture of the path we are heading down. The premise is that everyone is not created equal, but it’s the government’s job to make everyone equal. That means everyone is average. Smart people are dumbed down, dumb people are brought up. One of the lines (and I’m paraphrasing here), has a teacher talking about history, they talk about the period after the cold war as “The Great Recession”. Why was it different than any other recession? because it never ended. Due to technology, not as many jobs were needed, leading to mass unemployment, and ultimately the third civil war.
Does that sound familiar? think of the hype of putting electronic kiosks into fast food restaurants. Is that technology replacing unskilled labor? isn’t that exactly what is happening in our world? Well, if you happen to have 90 minutes to spare, check out YouTube, it’s the only place to find this movie.
Thanks for reading,

How to work ON your business…

Yesterday I talked about working IN your business vs. ON your business. I started to explain that all of us are guilty of working IN the business. So… how do you work ON your business? Especially, if you’re small and have no choice but to work IN your business. How can you do both?
Well, I struggle with this myself, but everything worth doing well, requires you to do it poorly at first. So let me tell what I have learned. If you have to work in your business, you better be designing a repeatable system to perform that job. Why? because if you don’t make a system, how can you ever hand the job over to someone else so you can go back to doing your CEO duties, instead of making sales calls?
Like so many of us, I find myself a technician, playing business. But the more I play, the better I get. The idea of a repeatable process in everything we do, is far from simple. Just stop to think about everything you do in a day that is for your business. Do you pack boxes? call vendors? hire contracts? engineer a product? or answer customer calls? All the power of a business lies in having a process for each step you do. Why is that so important?
You can’t count on having good people at every position. You often can’t count on having good people at any position. So, make the job trainable, make it repeatable, make it easy. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you can get great talent, strive to keep it. But let’s face it, you won’t have those people at every position. And if you do, it is only a matter of time before you lose them. Good people can rarely be kept forever. The only way to combat that is create a position that almost anyone can do.

you ready to start working ON your business? Then documenting what you do? It won’t be the final draft. It will still evolve and get better over time… but everything starts somewhere.
Thanks for reading,

Are you working ON your business or IN your business?

It’s funny, how much difference one letter can make. In vs. On… but as I’m learning, it makes all the difference. Now if you’re like me, this subtle difference might not be brutally obvious at first. Being a small business person, as I am, I find myself guilty of always being busy. Busy, Busy, Busy… doing it, doing it, doing it… But when I really stop to look at it, what was I doing? Well, I was working IN the business. I was being a developer, I was making calls, sending emails, balancing the checkbook, paying invoices… notice the common denominator of all those tasks??? they are all about 5 levels down the chain (or more) from being the president, CEO, or whatever you call yourself in your business.
Now, don’t get me wrong, when you are a small business owner, you often have no choice, for a while. When you have no revenue coming in, you often have no choice but do all the jobs. But as you start to grow, if you continue doing this jobs because you’re good at it, or it’s easy… well, then you’re just another employee in your business. And who is left to direct things???
Another interesting concept to all of this is the idea of tension. Now, if you have ever worked in sales, marketing or engineering, you’ve felt the tension. Sales starts making promises that operations has to live up to. Engineering doesn’t evolve fast enough for marketing, and so on… That healthy tension keeps business striving upwards. Well, what happens when engineering, marketing and finance are all you??? how can there be any tension? how can you push another group, when you are the other group?

So… what does it mean then to work ON your business???