‘Tis the Season


This time of year is always cause for reflection - on what we are thankful for and what lies ahead in the upcoming year.  In doing so, we recognize that not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and we think about how we can help our fellow neighbors.  The Charities Committee at Nicus is no exception so they coordinated a volunteer event in Salem, VA at Feeding America – Southwest Virginia (FASW). https://www.faswva.org/

This highly respected organization collects food from local donations and redistributes to people in the Southwest area of Virginia who have an inadequate food supply.   According to the FASW website, “more than 60,000 pounds of food is rescued at FASW in Quality Assurance alone” and one of their largest donators is Kroger grocery stores who often donates food that is no longer sellable due to superficial imperfections like dented packaging.  Truckloads of non-perishable food come into the warehouse each week and volunteers sort, check, and box up to send to those in need.  Nicus employees were excited to help with this cause.

After a brief introduction, Nicus employees, with game faces on and an eagerness to help, were quickly put to work inspecting, cleaning, and sorting superficially damaged goods. Along a 30’ long table, an assembly line of out-bound boxes was set-up and filled with dented cans and slightly crumbled boxes.  This sorting task, performed by Nicus staff, allowed for future volunteers to further inspect and distribute to needy families in the local area.

I encourage you to check out the link for this worthy organization and consider donating time or money to your local food bank.  Everyone wins when we help those in need – this time of year or any time of year!  Have a wonderful and safe holiday season! 

Did Someone Say Project Financials?


SURPRISE!  It’s pop quiz time:

  • Do you ever wonder if there’s a better way to report on the current and future state of your Organization’s various projects?
  • Have you ever felt frustrated by not being able to see project forecasts in a standard, comparable format?
  • Ever feel that the financial data that exists within your time tracking tool is incomplete or doesn’t provide the appropriate “accounting” views that Finance professionals need for budgeting, forecasting and analysis?
  • Is it difficult for your Organization to consolidate project-level financial data because the information resides in multiple systems? all decentralized?
  • Do you ever lose sleep at night worrying about the lack of controls and security around the Excel files on your shared drive containing critical actual and forecast project data?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above questions, Nicus has a solution for you!  Run – don’t walk – to your nearest IT Finance Advisor and ask him/her about the new M-PWR portal.  Nicus Software is excited to announce the addition of the Project Financials portal that joined the existing best-in-class family of M-PWR portals:  Planning, Cost Modeling, Bill of IT, and Application TCO. 

The new Project Financials portal allows Organizations to forecast, analyze, and track spend related to projects across the Enterprise.  

Key benefits of the Project Financials portal include:

  • Defends the IT budget and communicates the unique economic drivers of each project.
  • Creates strong tracking and accountability for project spend.
  • Shifts the perception of IT by providing visibility on project that reconciles to the general ledger.

Key features and capabilities include:

  • Consolidated Project View & Outlook (for CapEx & OpEx)
  • Project Properties & Details (Non-Labor/Labor & Cap/Non-Cap)
  • Cost Dashboards for Sponsors, Portfolios, Project Managers
  • PPM Interfaces
  • Compare & Versioning
  • Project level security
  • Robust standardized reporting

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Top 6 Things I Learned From an Escape Room


Despite what the title might suggest, I’m not talking about a place to hide from your boss or other stress in the IT finance world.  Instead, escape rooms are one of the hottest trends in the country.  According to Wikipedia, an escape room is a “physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.”  Players must work together to solve problems with the goal of escaping a locked room within sixty minutes. 

Nicus Software recently sponsored an escape room event.  After reminiscing about the event, it occurred to me the ingredients for success in an escape room are the same as those for success in every other facet of our lives, including implementing a successful IT Financial Management program. 

Here are the top six critical (and analogous) ingredients I learned from being part of a team that successfully completed an Escape Room:

  1. Collaboration – As the old adage says: a team is more than the sum of its parts.  I truly believe every team member has something unique and valuable to contribute.  Our greatest leaders are the ones who can identify and maximize the unique skills each of us brings to the table.
  2. Be fearless – Sometimes we hesitate to share our thoughts and ideas for fear others will judge them as bad or stupid.  Have the courage to share your ideas with others.  Who knows?  Maybe your idea will not work but it might trigger another idea that does work!
  3. Think creatively – When it comes to solving problems, creative thinking is KING!  If solutions to problems were always straight-forward and easy, they would not be problems, right?  Allow your mind to think “outside the box” and to come up with creative solutions.  Creative thinking goes together with having the courage to share your thoughts and ideas.  It is the one-two punch of problem-solving.
  4. Ask for help – Sometimes I can be too stubborn and prideful to ask for help.  However, when you think about it, why is asking for help a sign of weakness or defeat?  Isn’t asking for help often an opportunity to collaborate, leverage each other’s strengths, and share in the success?  I have learned it is often better and more efficient to ask for help from others than to sit on my own and spin my wheels.
  5. Be resilient – As we all know, not every idea is a winner.  However, sometimes you just have to punt or make an educated guess and give that idea a shot.  If it doesn’t work, you can learn from it and try something else.  We learn much more from our failures than we do from our successes.  Do not let failure discourage your and prevent you from trying another solution or idea.
  6. Have fun – Attitude is everything when it comes to challenges and problem-solving.  Train your brain to view them as exciting opportunities to stretch your limits and enjoy learning more about your teammates.  Life is meant to be fun so make sure you are viewing these challenges through that lens.

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2017 Gartner IT Finance, Procurement, and Asset Management Conference


Nicus is a Premier sponsor at the upcoming 2017 Gartner IT Finance, Procurement, and Asset Management Conference (ITFPAM) in Nashville, Tennessee, September 11-13. This event presents a great opportunity to network, learn, and cultivate the skills needed in the ITFPAM disciplines.  Analysts and thought leaders will share best practices to help improve professional development and competencies.

On Monday, September 11, at 2:00 PM Nicus’s own Rob Mischianti will present a solution provider session with a client, who utilizes Nicus M-PWR to improve IT budgeting, increase financial transparency and enhance technology business management.

If you’re in Nashville attending the ITFPAM (http://www.gartner.com/events/na/it-financial-procurement-asset-management), be sure to stop by our booth and attend Rob’s session on Monday. It’s guaranteed to be an informative and enlightening session! 

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Hybrid Cloud


Over the weekend, I was driving through the mountains in Virginia and had the opportunity to stop at various scenic overlooks to view the beautiful mountains at sunset in the horizon.  As an IT Finance professional, I am always in search of relevant analogies between my personal and professional life.  Yesterday, the clouds in the sunset vistas made me think about cloud computing and storage in our industry.  Too literal of an analogy to be provocative?  Maybe, but we all know this is a very hot topic to say the least.

The thought leaders in our industry predict a significant transition from on-premise to cloud-based infrastructure solutions.  With more cloud service providers entering the market, basic economics predicts a significant decrease in pricing of those cloud services.  As tempting as it might be to run out and move everything to the cloud, there are some important things to consider before making this change.  Therefore, many experts believe organizations will eventually land with a combination of traditional on-prem and cloud-based compute and storage solutions over the next 5-10 years. 

We are planning to have a forthcoming series of blog posts on this topic but wanted to introduce one of the biggest factors when deciding how to leverage cloud services.  As Accounting and Finance professionals, we are always concerned about the dollars and cents, right?  Naturally, one of the biggest things to consider are the various facets of cost:

 

100% On-prem

Cloud

Upfront cash flow

Significant cash outlay for hardware, software, and labor to stand up new environment

Minimal upfront costs

Long term cash flow

Internal labor costs to maintain as well as vendor licensing & maintenance costs

Consider rates & charges after year one as they often increase

Utilization

Less flexible as on-prem infrastructure is a sunk cost

More flexibility to adjust capacity for over- or under-utilization

Expense recognition

Generally capitalized and amortized/depreciated over multiple years

Generally expensed to P&L when invoiced by service provider

Cloud migration costs of existing apps/workload

n/a

Re-platforming is labor-intensive and expensive.  Also, FASB has made it more difficult to capitalize costs associated with migration to cloud.

Data transfer costs

n/a

Consider the costs associated with data transfer between apps on-prem & apps in the cloud.

Existing application life cycle

n/a

Consider the stage in app/workload life cycle to ensure the benefits to re-platform exceed the cost to do so.

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