Why kick off meetings are needed?

I have recently been struggling with a new project because of lacking proper kick off meeting. It’s usually a case when it’s explained with no time or other reason. This will actually make project a lot delayed, because kick off meeting is the most important event in planning phase.

Basically kick off meeting is not only for the project. I just read an interesting story from Sapphire Now in Orlando in which SAP Leonardo SVP Mike Flannagan explains about block chain, artificial intelligent, IoT and other top discussion for digital enterprise. SAP has offered over ten years also for customers a lab experience for design thinking. It’s an approach which brings together people from different departments to innovate something new.

As of kick off meeting agenda, it’s important all teams and responsible persons are invited. It means people who would not normally work together are in same place. If you can, take top level chief executives to start and discuss with floor level. It will for sure shake opinions and let both learn from others. If you can have other activities for example design thinking session 2-3 hours during the kick off day, it can solve some open topics from the project scope.

Why we actually have projects running if there’s no time for kick off meeting? In my opinion this project may not have possibility to succeed. If you’re not able to have a meeting with all teams, sponsors and stakeholders you’re less likely to get help from others later. That may not escalate, but is your project small in scope, not strategic aligned or other ways less important than any other? These are good questions.

I have experience of smaller and bigger design thinking workshops. They are useful to find both problems and solutions with people unknown to each other. It’s more like in startups every day, but in traditional companies not happens. To become a digital enterprise new strategy, methodologies and approaches are demanded. Take a look in successful companies and projects and adapt the best. It’s that easy.

Enterprise, to be Data-driven or Insights-driven

Recently I have read many articles about big data, company data importance, digital era and instructions how to get there. As a former data team leader, analytics architect and current big data company employee, I can find meaning for this discussion. However, one could ask is the data alone important?

I found another idea to simplify, digitize and get real strategic point of view from SAP article for insight-driven mid-size companies. The basic idea is that there is single-source of information, insights, you can base all the decisions in your company. It also needs agile and flexible data management, analytics services, company-wide approach and tools which are able to analyze your data. When I studied knowledge management at university, we didn’t use the term insights but weak signals. Actually anybody or any enterprise can use weak signals as a sensor to make better decision.

How about digital era, digital company or data-driven articles? One example is from Accenture labs and this one also includes some studies behind. They actually want to go through different maturity levels first. In the beginning enterprise is ad-hoc driven, like reacting and doing someway something, then organizing, like interested about data, thirdly tactical, where starts some activities to go correct directions, after that critical, like there starts to be structures and well-defined applications and final level is industrial which makes data the differentiator from others. Each of the levels have own characteristics. These can be in categories: 1. Strategy and governance, 2. Architecture, 3. Development, 4. Regulation and ethics or 5. User support. In the publication there are different actions each level of maturity can be taken.

There are much more articles to read about digitalization, data and enterprise strategies. For example this one. For myself being digital is native, being dependent on data natural and becoming insights-driven target. For each and every enterprise the strategy, methods and practices are key components to first understand current status, then create plans and finally become a game-changer. For the strategies studies you don’t need to invent a wheel again, make an easy SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) about environment, enterprise and beyond and have a short workshop with your team. Later, when more is studied and found, you start to collect data and show it in a matrix or more advanced Balanced Scorecard. These two tools can be part of each and every journey, but main thing is to understand what’s behind the numbers, what they can tell and which decision should be made.

Combining geo-spatial data and business transactions to create more valuable customer experience

I have worked last three years in a company helping telecom operators to make more value for their VIP customers and optimize their operations and networks. It was refreshing to read how actually one of the biggest business system and software providers, SAP SE, is co-working with ESRI to use geo-spatial data, link it into business data and using machine learning to create applications which will  enhance customer value and experience. The complete story can be read here.

The product I’m working with is mostly related to call traces, transactions and information system collects from network vendors’ RAN (Radio Access Network) sources.  Typically these systems have pretty direct impact to network performance and they can help geo-locate each and every customer 24/7, each and every day. For sure especially in case something unexpected happens like connection problem, this data becomes more useful to react fast, almost real-time. Another typical use case is linking the most valuable customers into other data, which can help in planning better offerings and reduce churn.

For the value perspective, the more you can link the geo-located data into business transactions, the more reports and analytics you can do according to collected traces. For myself analytics opens up completely new perspective: how to re-use already existing data, big data. As long as you can see high interest in SAP platform, especially S/4 HANA it tells directly these topics are on top of any high level director, company strategies and future missions.

While reading about SAP’s and ESRI’s co-operation, it became clear that similar data sources my current work involves in would be very useful to also these use cases. For example in emergency situation let’s say earthquake the location of subscribers would be very useful for societies, government officials, to be able to connect and evacuate more accurately and faster. Also, in case of less harmful situation if you can use weather-related data together with subscriber data, marketing or offerings for existing customers will become more reasonable.

There are other products as well in the company which I work. Those are used for classifying customer segments and making advertising more reasonable and effective with real-time bidding. Together with geo-spatial data, business data and marketing knowledge, it's a powerful enhancement for existing systems and their data. Of course there are always privacy concerns if data isn’t used respectful. No wonder, many companies are hesitated to use customer-related geo-located data directly for actions in individual person level. It’s more common to make data aggregation, probably some machine learning knowledge or AI functionalities and same data is no longer individual person level, but in a usable structure, still useful.

As a conclusion to my mind there are many, many existing systems, analytics and combinations which will help in the future. Not all solutions are related to marketing or business, but can even affect to our user or customer experience when applications help to change every day experiences. The big question is how much we are ready to pay more for better experiences or do we only expect to get more value with less price.

Success starts from happiness

I have always known it begins with good balance between work and personal life to have great outcomes and live happy. It also means you need to have things in your life which help you to keep fit like exercise routines, healthy food or even avoid harmful habits like sleep late on weekend and work early on weekdays. I found suddenly Michael Neill's book You can have what you want from a book store and after finishing it I believe it can make a difference how you believe in yourself, others and life.


Michael Neill says he's more a couch, not giving you right or wrong steps but more like helping his clients to find out by themselves. This book is a collection of his advice, experiences and some practical exercises for example in concentration or even how to plan your savings or time. The name itself sounds a bit selfish when you first see it, but actually we do need to think ourselves (selfish) and push ourselves into limits time to time to success.


People often make excuses why they do what they do or not do what they should. Michael says every person is an expert of himself and the key is to recognize your own behavior, maybe analyze a bit and make life-long changes when things doesn't seem to work. Happiness is not something what you want, but something you need in order to be happy. If you decide every day this will be the best day of my life it helps to make it a wow day. Vice versa if you begin your day with misery, I'm sure your day will be bad. It's important time to time take an outlook of your current life, maybe have your own dinner or drinks out, go for a coffee just by yourself or having long weekend in amazing island. The thing is also have your plan for current year, month or week and be able to adapt it when it's needed. If you put yourself the target, you are the one who also controls the changes. Actually in management level we are also able to put targets for others in work but to my mind good manager can easily see if target is too high and is able to change it a bit to make other person's work better. In Asia we usually talk about pushing others to do things, but actually it doesn't work if other one is pushing back hard. However is it really so often need to push too much to get results? In my opinion sometimes it's needed but it's better approach to give time for guys to re-think by themselves (not always) or ask good questions to make them feel happy. Happy people make happy results.


The book is easy to read. It has clear structures and language is easy to understand. There nine obsctacles in which advice is given: 1. information, 2. skills, 3. belief, 4. wellbeing, 5. other people, 6. motivation, 7. time, 8. money and 9. fear. From my experience it's better to read it completely, maybe later go back but if there's one specific area where you are facing a problem, you can start with that. Questions which may help to classify your current situation could be: is your problem in knowing what to do (information), are you missing capabilities to do something (skills), are you not sure is it possible to do (belief), are you tired (wellbeing), is there someone who's hindering your success (other people), don't you care about your next big life change (motivation), are you lacking time (time), is your financial situation bad (money) or do you scare something may happen (fear). It would be easy for me to pick up skills because I think we always need to learn how to do new things or money because is there ever enough it. It's fair to admit we always want more money or indepence, maybe we would like to be self-employed.


In analyzing there was one example how we were taught by our parents when we were really small. Parents actually try to teach by telling you should not do this or should do that in order to get their love or just attention. Actually smaller kids care about that the most because they are not yet ready to be independent or capably to take responsibility of themselves completely. To my mind it often comes later when we realize that actually your parents will always love you, but they may feel slightly disappointed time to time or easily try to fix their previous bad experiences by telling you how to avoid it to happen to you. Also when we get older we come less and less dependent on