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Over the course of the last seven years, I created over 300 posts for my blog. These posts were written sporadically. Some years, I wrote over 100. This year, I’ve written maybe two.

But as I focus my business on “helping social service agencies maximize revenue and results with data,” I find myself answering the same set of questions. Some questions are strategic, (“How do we become more data driven?”).… Read More

An article in Politico caught my attention recently. It was about the Health Homes program and some of its problems.

For those of you not familiar with this program, here’s a brief explanation from the article:

Health homes are not brick-and-mortar buildings. They are a concept based on the idea that if several providers work together to coordinate care for the most expensive Medicaid patients, they can provide better care at a lower cost.

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Several of my clients are New York-based social service agencies. As such, much of their income depends on Medicaid reimbursement. The problems they face are two fold: First, they need to make sure staff members document client work in a way it can be billed. That’s important, but it’s not something I deal with.

Second, they need to figure out how much they’re billing and collecting—and where the differences lie.… Read More

I once ran a 30-person team that did nothing but software implementations. Happily, software implementations haven’t been my bread and butter for some time. (It’s a lot of effort and stress). But I had a good track record in this area, and I have some proven ideas about how things should be done. Most of it boils down to one key rule: One hour of entry on the system is worth 20 hours of talking in a conference room. (Although your mileage may vary.) Even with the many failed projects in the ERP world, many consultants and their hapless customers don’t get this. They spend countless hours creating detailed documentation and process flows without getting anyone on the system. And when they finally do get people on the system, the results aren't pretty. Nine months of PowerPoint. Three months of panic. Not good. Two Examples A couple of current projects I'm involved with as IT...

I wrote a while ago about being less of a jerk. And I think I’ve been making progress (although you’d have to ask my team). But this week, I lost it. I raised my voice. I yelled at the project lead of a consulting team I was working with. It was only for a moment. It felt good. And it got the results I wanted. But that's not how I like to operate. But why then why am I #sorrynotsorry? To help you understand, here’s my (admittedly biased) take on the situation: For several weeks, I’ve been pushing the PM's team to get certain things to the client. It wasn't going well. And this week, the team promised something and failed to deliver it. But that wasn’t the reason I yelled. When I spoke to the PM, he used weasel words to try and explain his way out of it, instead of...

The term "mid-market" is rather vague. We know GM isn't mid-market. And we know the local corner pizza store isn't either. But everything in between is a bit muddy. At Red Three, we work primarily with mid-market companies. But what do we mean by that? While we often set a revenue range of between 50 and 500 million, other parameters provide a better indication of whether we're a good fit for your company. We’re a Good Fit for Your BI Project When...

Many of my client engagements start with a fixed price or not-to-exceed estimate. And often, as people come to trust us, we'll work within a specified monthly budget without estimating each individual project or request. That said, I've learned from experience that a few rules must be in place for fixed pricing and not-to-exceed estimates to work. (And, in fact, most of these rules apply whether you're hiring an outside consultant or trying to get an in house project completed.) 1. Don’t Ask for Estimates for Every Little Thing Estimation isn't an art or science. It’s simply an exercise in statistics. As I’ve posted previously, an average report takes around two days to write. At the same time, any given report can take between one and five days. The more reports (or interfaces, or spreadsheets) included in one project, the more “reversion to the mean” will apply and the better the estimate will...

Balance sheets and sub-ledgers get out of whack sometimes. And although I’ve written about how to keep your ERP system on track, alas and alack, not everyone in the world reads my blog. And besides, sometimes the ERP system was coming off the rails well before you arrived on the scene. So what to do? Certainly, this has happened to me multiple times in my career. Twenty years ago, I spent a whole day proving to a client's controller that their GL problem started well before my AP system came into play. (We're talking only $2M on a $10M number, but who’s counting.) When I finally proved my point, the controller shrugged, “Yeah, we’ve had a problem for a while, but I thought you might find something.” ARGH! How Will You Know When a Number Makes Sense? Even today, with pivot tables and million row Excel sheets, people still follow my 20-year old example...

In a multi-generational, multi-cultural office, secret Santa gets awkward pretty quickly. And as for those guys with the drunken, “I love you man!” at the office holiday party, the less said the better. But still, it’s the holidays. So it’s important to foster a spirit of generosity as well as a resolve to do better in the coming year. So to facilitate the crossing of the Finance department/IT department divide (a regular topic of ours as business intelligence consultants), here are suggestions for what Finance folks should get their developers this year. (And watch for our follow up post on what developers should get Finance.) 1. Software Training for Yourself Why is software training for yourself the BEST gift you can get your IT department? Because other than the few, the proud and the (slightly) deranged at the help desk, no one wants to answer the same question over and over again. They’d...