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Akili Core Values Series: Performance


By Mark Butler | Business Process & Organizational Change Management

It is my distinct pleasure to have been invited to write a blog on Akili’s core value of Performance.

This core value is stated as follows:

Performance: Failure is simply not an option. Our projects are not judged to be complete until the expectations of each individual client have been met or exceeded.

We often say that no one of the 12 core values is THE most important. It would be a bit like asking, “Which of the four tires on your car is most important?” Or, “Is the engine more important than the transmission, or the transaxle than the steering wheel, or the gas pedal than the brake?”

No. Every key component is mission critical: it all has to work well together in order to ensure the safe and reliable high-performance outcomes you can trust. And so it goes with the delivery of Akili’s consulting services. High performance demands the best of all contributing elements with every day and each client engagement. No exception.

The definition above has two parts that combine to define ultimate performance, or success.

First, “Failure is Not an Option.” Our reputation is our real business card. Our reputation for the delivery of high value adding services is all we have to offer. It is our stock in trade. We simply cannot afford to accept failure: and we won’t. Our CEO Shiek Shah has told us, “In the worst of circumstances, we may not make money, but we will deliver the promised results.”

Our clients do not engage us to maintain the status quo. They engage us to move the dials. Dials do not move unless we make real and meaningful changes in our client’s ability to increase performance. It is a two-way street: high performance on our part, leads to high performance outcomes in our client’s business processes.

The second part of Performance is, “Our projects are not judged to be complete until the expectations of each individual client have been met or exceeded.” Truly improving performance demands shifts along three key dimensions: People, Process, and Technology. We cannot just show up and deposit a “technology solution” on the doorstep, collect a check, and walk away calling it a success.

Performance is not an event, it is a way of life. It has to be a DNA level commitment. It is different from one-hit wonders and more of a lifetime achievement award. High Performance is an outcome, not a driver trait, per se. It is the result of a collection of important factors working in collective harmony and with the added mental expectation that you must perform and you must produce rock-solid results.

For Akili, high performance lies in the quality of our relationships and our ability to quickly assess and diagnose with laser-guided precision the factors that are impeding high performance. It lies in our ability to envision, describe, and collaboratively develop process and technology changes that liberate our client’s genius, enabling permanent performance improvement.

That is what moves the dials.

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How to Navigate SAP BPC’s Changing Solution Roadmap


By Alan Boyer | VP of Professional Services

SAP announced BPC Version 11 for BW4/HANA, the next generation of the Business Planning and Consolidations (BPC) product, on June 15 at the SAPinsider Financials Conference in Amsterdam. This is the first significant update to the standalone version of BPC since 2014.

So, let’s explore a little of what this new version means.

What’s new?

  • When SAP released BW4/HANA last year, one of the glaring omissions was the lack of a planning or consolidations solution. That gap has now been closed as BPC 11 runs on BW4/HANA, providing complete planning and consolidations functionality to SAP’s new enterprise data warehouse platform. BW/4HANA is a very open solution and all methods of bringing data into BW4HANA are, of course, available to get information into BW. Getting master and transactional data from S4 is still very easy, but it is also easy to load data for other non-SAP sources. This diagram provides an overview of the integration approaches available:

  • Tight integration to Analytics Cloud is also a highlight of the new BPC version, including user initiated data synchronization that includes delta loads. Analytics Cloud also supports live connection to BPC for enhanced analytics capabilities. This opens the use of the Predictive capabilities in Cloud Analytics to be used to create forecasts/plans that can be synched to BPC.
  • BPC 11 also provides the ability to enhance the performance of the system even with large sets of data. Fox formulas can now be “pushed down” into HANA to speed execution times.
  • Interface – The homepage and navigation have been redesigned to the latest Fiori standards. Enhancements include the ability to capture favorites, easier navigation between tasks and an enhanced “My Activities” section.
  • Improved Modelling tools in BW4/HANA makes it much easier to create the planning structures for embedded models. Of course, these models can be connected to the BPC admin tools, which allow users the ability to use BPC Admin functions to manage the system.

What happens to other versions of BPC?

The BPC 10.1 NW and the 10.1 MS versions will be supported for some time. However, these versions will receive maintenance only. Enhancements will no longer be delivered for these versions. BPC Optimized for S/4 and BPC for BW4/HANA will be the primary versions of BPC going forward. The chart below depicts the product history and path going forward:

It is important to note that BPC 11 for BW4/HANA is a new legal version. Customers that plan to upgrade to this new version will need to acquire new licenses.

What’s the same?

  • Both standard & embedded are still available in BPC 11.
  • The EPM add-in will still be available and will be the proper interface for standard models. Analysis for Office will be the proper interface for embedded models. (Note that EVDre will no longer be supported in BPC 11).
  • BPC will still provide a single unified platform for Planning and Consolidations.

That gives you a quick preview of what’s coming in BPC 11 on BW4/HANA. Stay tuned for additional information coming soon.

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Akili Core Values Series: Priority


By Sean Granfield | Director of Marketing and Alliances

The foundation of Akili’s 20+ years of success has been our belief in Priority: Our existing clients come first and the expansion of our business will not be pursued to the detriment of service levels to those clients. They are our partners and it is our responsibility to take care of them.

We have been extremely fortunate throughout our company history to hire employees that believe and live this critical core value. Through this expression of loyalty to our customers, Akili has built relationships with individuals and companies that have spanned decades. Against an ever-evolving landscape of technologies, partners, employee makeup and delivery methods, we have always placed current customer needs at the forefront of our business outlook.

This means we will drop everything if the situation involving your customer’s needs calls for it. Do everything necessary to ensure that proper support is given to any client situation that needs resolving. It’s not unheard of for our leadership team to get involved under the right circumstance. This approach of service consistently separates Akili from our competition and has earned us the loyalty of our customers; whether they move within their company or, in many cases, move to new companies.

Underlying the decision to prioritize our use of resources in client relationships versus new sales pursuits or internal initiatives is a conviction that what’s best for our customers is best for our company. Every Akili customer is important and should be appreciated and respected in order to earn their business not only today, but tomorrow and the next. Taking customers for granted or giving them less than top priority is a fast way to lose them.

We believe our customers dictate the business success of Akili. Their needs will always be the top most consideration in every decision-making process. The faster we’re able to solve our client’s problems and respond to their needs in a satisfactory manner, the further ahead of our competition we will be.

It’s simply the foundation of our business.