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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chaos Theory: The Uncontrollable Factor in the Development of Management Systems

Failures in project management systems can be superficially explained by anything from a lack of project detail to managerial conflicts. However, this failure often has deeper roots. Until we begin to recognize this uncontrollable factor it will be difficult to master the implementation of any management system. This factor is known as the "Chaos Theory" or simply "chaos". Chaos Theory could be considered a core management theory for the 21st century. According to Wheatley (1992) when management tries to control chaos by "shoehorning" it into a specific structure, an organization is bound to fail. Controlling chaos this rigidly is actually limiting information gathering (Stuart, 1995) and creating the illusion of management. According to McNamara (1999), Chaos Theory recognizes that events are rarely controlled. As systems such as those in management grow in complexity, the more they become volatile or susceptible to cataclysmic events.

One way to plan for such chaos is through "contingency management". Contingency management is having an alternative plan to fall back on when chaos strikes, allowing for critical internal processes to continue and meet the desired outcome. Most managers do not see contingency management as a necessary step, because it takes time. In a world where efficiency and timeliness is key, this step is often the first to be overlooked. Until management recognizes the importance of contingency management and allows it to be fully implemented, chaos will continue to hinder the progress and efficiency of management systems.

DEFINING AND ESTIMATING CHAOS

The more general name for the field is complexity theory, where chaos is a particular mode of behavior (Rosenhead, 1998). Chaos theory explains that the behavior in turbulent systems quickly becomes disordered (Wikipedia, 2005). Chaos theory acknowledges that management systems break down. It recognizes that decisions need to be made even in the absence of all intended information (Herz, 2001). Complete order, while the ideal, will always be the one unaccounted for variable--part of our human nature. Similar to accidents, chaos is like a release of energy in an uncontrolled way (Blockley, 1998).

Project management systems are considered dynamic systems, similar to those in nature, which means they change over time and are hard to predict. Even though they are changing, there is usually an underlying predictability that can be identified. This is where chaotic behavior comes into play. Behavior in systems can be placed into two zones, one, the stable zone, where the system, if disturbed, returns to its initial state and two, the zone of instability where some small activity leads to further divergence (Rosenhead, 1998).

CALCULATING CHAOS

Chaos is immeasurable because of its level of randomness and unpredictability. Gabriel (1996) states that looking for sufficient equations to enable one to 'manage' such chaos is part of a futile and wish-fulfilling quest. However there are some researchers that believe calculating chaos is possible. While chaos in the business world mimics that in nature, unlike chaos in nature, there are measurable ways for project managers to try and calculate the degree to which chaos will affect their project. The following formula can help to calculate project constraints:

Dynamics = D + a*P + b*R + c*D*P + d*P*R + e*R*D + f*D*P*R

Where D=directives, P=prerequisites, R=resources and a & f are constraints.

However Bertelsen and Koskela (2003) postulate that aside from estimating the size of the chaos (small to extra large), a system is too complicated to predict its function and response to a given problem.

WHY IS BUSINESS SO CHAOTIC?

The pace of today's businesses and technological innovations have quickened to an impossible pace. Sometimes project timelines need to be written before all tasks and resources have been completely identified, which puts a project behind schedule before it has begun. This increasingly fast-paced system is "a breeding ground" for a chaotic management system (Yoke, 2003).

This breeding ground is creating a complexity explosion, which is affecting the way project managers need to manage. Undertaking a management system project is more than a weeklong project--many last for years or longer. As conditions are constantly changing, goals and objectives need to also be flexible to change. Goals and objectives are necessary, however, flexibility is key in order to ensure positive long-term results of a project.

HOW TO MANAGE CHAOS

The first line of defense in order to manage chaos is a good management team and an even better project manager. According to Bertelsen & Koskela (2003) an organization can manage its chaos by seeking out the factors that are easiest to change. An organization should then handle a projects dynamics and stress in the face of uncertainties. Finally, a manager should both always have a contingency plan and be able to keep track of critical factors and issue warnings. By turning an organization into a "learning organization" successful management of chaos is more likely (Bertelsen & Koskela, 2003).

Systems are so dynamically complex and highly sensitive to conditions that any link between cause and effect can set off a ripple effect rendering its future deliverable unpredictable. Technologies, timelines, scope, costs, personnel, are constantly changing within an organization and management must be adaptable. The same holds true for project managers. If they are not given the flexibility to adapt to chaos then management systems will fail. Project managers need to be seen as venture capitalists: always searching for new ideas.

Most management systems set forth a detailed plan and than proceed to follow it. According to McNamara the best way to do this is to work backwards through the system of an organization. This will help to show which processes will produce the right output and what inputs are required to conduct those processes (McNamara, 1999). A good project manager is one who realizes that plans often need to change in order to accommodate a changing situation. By following contingency plans, good managers can avoid such mishaps as scope creep and cost overruns.
There are different tools that project managers can use to help manage the chaos and successfully manage complicated systems. According to the Numbers Group some such tools are:

1. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) - breaks the product to be developed or produced by hardware, software, support, or service element and relates the scope to each.
Example of WBS

2. Program Evaluation and Review (PERT) - a model, which helps the project manager define the critical path using, randomized tasks
Example of Pert Chart

3. Implementation Schedule (GANTT) - graphical representation of the duration of tasks against the progression of time.

Example of Gantt Chart

4. Enneagram - originally a tool for personality mapping, can find order in chaos by identifying underlying patterns in an organization. The map allows project managers to predict certain outcomes, which results in more reliable management systems. The Enneagram provides a structured view with which to see the order in between chaos (Fowlke & Fowlke, 1997).
Example of an Enneagram

CONCLUSION

A good project manager is one who can adapt to a changing environment as well as allow individuals to manage their own areas of expertise. This business trend is seen in forward thinking companies in the 21st century, and is also known as "managing by objectives" or "empowering knowledge workers". Unfortunately, in most companies this value paradigm is missed because management is focused on the financials rather than on renewing and developing knowledge (Stuart, 1995).

The project manager's main function is to recognize employees' strengths and to empower his group to work individually, both in a team and as individuals. The new project manager needs to be forward thinking and to have the ability to be flexible, creative, and able to respond to events quickly (Yolk 2003). Organizations need to embrace disorder and look to the edge of chaos (Stuart, 1995). Perhaps this empowerment of both individuals and teams as a whole, in conjunction with managements' ability to stay nimble in the face of a dramatically changing environment, will allow organizations to better manage the challenge of chaos in the 21st century.

Retail Operations - Effective Branch Manager Support and Guidance

Performance and behaviour management is by far the most difficult aspect of any manager's job and the reluctance to 'grasp the nettle' when performance or behaviour issues emerge is certainly a concern in many organisations. But at the end of the day that is what managers are paid to do and not doing so will certainly affect service, team morale, sales and ultimately the bottom line.

Why does this reluctance exist, why do so many mangers back away from confrontation? The problems and challenges that need to be overcome are many and the common reasons and 'excuses' for not doing so are as follows:

It is Risky - There is a worry in the back of the manager's mind that discussions could turn into heated arguments and that they may open themselves up for harassment or bullying accusations. There is also a concern that team moral and motivation may be damaged by tackling an under-performer and that the team may even turn against the manager.

It is Complicated and Difficult- Performance and behaviour management is not straight forward, it is very seldom clear cut or black and white. It is 'grey area' stuff and often involves opinions, perceptions and subjectivity. As managers feel they cannot quantify and then justify their concerns clearly enough they do not attempt to do so.

It is Hard Work and Time Consuming - Many managers feel they do not have the time to sort out under-performers and that it is low on the priority list. "It is not worth the hassle" is a common comment to be heard.

Denial - Many managers are either blind to the fact that a person is under-performing or behaving unacceptably or they do not see it is a serious enough issue to address. There are even managers who believe that it is not their job to tackle performance and behaviour issues and that some day, someone will come along and do it for them.

Many of the aforementioned points tend to be excuses rather than reasons but there are a number of more important points that need to be taken into consideration:

Lack of Training - No new manager has any previous experience of performance and behaviour issues when they move into a manager role for the first time. New managers often inherit performance or behaviour issues from the previous manager and yet are not given relevant training for tackling these issues from the onset. Giving managers basic employment law training and the company procedures to read is not the 'practical' training they need and is certainly insufficient on its own. All managers need a thorough grounding in the use of the performance management tools and practice in their use. Job specs, probationary periods, reviews, counselling sessions, appraisals and the disciplinary procedures are all useful performance and behaviour tools when used correctly and at the right time. Yet this vital training is not made on someone's appointment, often it is made later in their careers when much damage has been done.

Courage and Confidence - Doing something risky, difficult and complicated requires both courage and confidence. Unfortunately many branch managers lack both. Even if managers are given the knowledge and skill to tackle performance or behaviour issues, they will not do so without these essential qualities.

The problems and challenges are undoubtedly great and many may see the issue as un-resolvable however there is someone available to branch managers who can help them overcome many of the problems and challenges and that someone is their boss the Area Manager.

Guidance, Coaching and Support
The area manger is the only person who can guide, coach and support branch managers in the addressing of performance or behaviour issues. They can un-complicate the issues and help managers build a strong case for presenting to an employee. The area manager can also help the manager minimise the risk of harassment or bullying claims by ensuring the correct procedures are being used and that the managers say the right things in the correct way.

More importantly a good area manager will 'encourage' and give the manager much needed confidence. The area manager is the only one who can do this but unfortunately in many instances this is not happening and by not doing so area managers are unconsciously (or consciously) influencing a reluctance to tackle performance or behaviour issues within their branches.

Why is this happening?

Asking for support and guidance - Many branch managers are certainly reluctant to approach their area manager when they experience performance or behaviour issues within the team. If the matter falls into the gross misconduct category then managers will contact the area manager (and HR function) in the first instance. But for 'grey area' performance or behaviour matters they tend to keep the issues to themselves.
The reasons for this are as follows:

Many branch managers feel:

* The area manager may see it as a trivial matter and not important enough to bring to their attention.

* That seeking advice and guidance will be seen in a negative way by the area manager.

* The area manager will go into fault finding mode rather than helping find solutions.

* The area manager may start questioning the branch manager's ability to do the job.

Many managers have in the past gone to their area mangers for advice and support on team performance issues but received such a negative, unhelpful reply that many were put off from ever doing so again, even when they changed to a different area manager.

There is also a feeling that area managers themselves do not know what to do either. "Bring me solutions not problems" is a common comment heard by branch managers when they have taken a 'people' issue to their area manager.

Offering support and guidance

It is a fact that very few area managers actively encourage branch managers to talk about their 'people' issues or are prepared to probe below the surface to identify possible performance or behaviour problems that may be affecting the business. There are many examples where area managers have placed managers in 'problem' branches without preparing them for the issues they will face or helped or supported them once they have taken up the position. Basically they throw them to the wolves and then leave them to get on with it.

Another common issue is when the assistant manager of the branch is turned down for the manager position. Very few area managers are competent in explaining why an individual was not appointed and give excuses rather than valid reasons. This results in the new manager having to experience considerable hostility and resentment from not only their deputy but from many of the team also.

Why do many area managers not offer support or guidance or dig below the surface looking for performance issues? There are a number of reasons for this.

Unconscious Competence

There is a saying that "Good Management will result in good people staying and not-so-good people either improving or leaving. Where as Bad Management will result in good people leaving and not-so-good people staying and possibly getting even worse".

During their time as branch managers, many area managers did not experience risky, difficult or complicated people issues. If they did, they often resolved them unconsciously. They just acted as good managers should, which resulted in the issues being resolved quickly. Ask any manager who is competent in performance or behaviour management "how do you do it or what do you do?" and you will probably receive a shrug of the shoulders and a comment like "I don't know specifically, I just do it" (Unconscious Competence)

Unconscious competence is not acceptable at area management level as a key requirement of the job is to coach and train branch managers in performance management. Area managers can only fulfil this critical function if they know exactly what is to be done and how to do it. (Conscious competence)

Conscious Incompetence

Unfortunately there are area managers in existence who 'know' they are not personally competent in dealing with performance and behaviour issues and will go to great lengths not to expose this weakness to others. (Conscious incompetence) These area managers tend to encourage branch managers to not make waves, maintaining the status quo and to tolerate rather than develop. They certainly do not dig below the surface in a branch seeking 'people' issues that may be affecting the business.

One of the most disappointing comments I heard from a seasoned area manager when asked why he was not supporting his managers was "I am not allowed to get involved as I am the next step of the appeal process".

A good measure of an area manager's competence is to look at the performance and behaviour of the area manager's branch manager team. It is pretty certain that if they cannot coach and encourage branch mangers in the tackling of performance and behaviour issues then you can be sure they themselves are not tackling branch manager performance or behaviour issues.

Possible Solutions

If a retail organisation needs to tackle performance or behaviour issues at branch levels, I believe they need to develop the skills and competence of performance management at area management level first as area managers alone have the authority and are the biggest influence on branch manager effectiveness.

Unconscious competent area managers need to become consciously competent so they can not only develop others but also develop themselves further. Conscious incompetent area managers need to admit that they are not effective in performance or behaviour management and be prepared to learn and develop the necessary skills. If they are not prepared to do so then they themselves need to be performance managed by the company. After all, Executives cannot demand that branch managers tackle performance and behaviour issues one moment and then not do so themselves when they need to. That isn't leading by example

The Importance of Project Closeout and Review in Project Management.

The well known English phrase "last but not least" could not better describe how important the project closeout phase is. Being the very last part of the project life-cycle it is often ignored even by large organizations, especially when they operate in multi-project environments. They tend to jump from one project to another and rush into finishing each project because time is pressing and resources are costly. Then projects keep failing and organizations take no corrective actions, simply because they do not have the time to think about what went wrong and what should be fixed next time. Lessons learned can be discussed at project reviews as part of the closeout phase. Closure also deals with the final details of the project and provides a normal ending for all procedures, including the delivery of the final product. This paper identifies the reasons that closeout is neglected, analyzes the best practices that could enhance its position within the business environment and suggest additional steps for a complete project closeout through continuous improvement.

Project managers often know when to finish a projects but they forget how to do it. They are so eager to complete a project that they hardly miss the completion indicators. "Ideally, the project ends when the project goal has been achieved and is ready to hand over to customer" (Wellace et. al, 2004, p156). In times of big booms and bubbles, senior management could order the immediate termination of costly projects. A characteristic example of that is Bangkok's over investment in construction of sky-scrapers, where most of them left abandoned without finishing the last floors due to enormous costs (Tvede, 2001, p267). Projects heavily attached to time can be terminated before normal finishing point if they miss a critical deadline, such as an invitation to tender. Kerzner (2001, p594) adds some behavioural reasons for early termination such as "poor morale, human relations or labour productivity". The violent nature of early termination is also known as 'killing a project' because it "involves serious career and economic consequences" (Futrel, Shafer D & Shafer L, 2002, 1078). Killing a project can be a difficult decision since emotional issues create pride within an organization and a fear of being viewed as quitters blurs managerial decisions (Heerkens, 2002, p229).

Recognition

The most direct reason that Project Closeout phase is neglected is lack of resources, time and budget. Even though most of project-based organizations have a review process formally planned, most of the times "given the pressure of work, project team member found themselves being assigned to new projects as soon as a current project is completed" (Newell, 2004). Moreover, the senior management often considers the cost of project closeout unnecessary. Sowards (2005) implies this added cost as an effort "in planning, holding and documenting effective post project reviews". He draws a parallel between reviews and investments because both require a start-up expenditure but they can also pay dividends in the future.

Human nature avoids accountability for serious defects. Therefore, members of project teams and especially the project manager who has the overall responsibility, will unsurprisingly avoid such a critique of their work if they can. As Kerzner (2001, p110) observe, "documenting successes is easy. Documenting mistakes is more troublesome because people do not want their names attached to mistakes for fear of retribution". Thomset (2002, p260) compares project reviews with the 'witch hunts' saying that they can be "one of the most political and cynical of all organizational practices where the victims (the project manager and the team) are blamed by senior management". While he identifies top management as the main responsible party for a failure, Murray (2001) suggest that the project manager "must accept ultimate responsibility, regardless of the factors involved". A fair-minded stance on these different viewpoints would evoke that the purpose of the project review is not to find a scapegoat but to learn from the mistakes. After all, "the only true project failures are those from which nothing is learned" (Kerzner, 2004, p303).

Analysis

When the project is finished, the closeout phase must be implemented as planned. "A general rule is that project closing should take no more than 2% of the total effort required for the project" (Crawford, 2002, p163). The project management literature has many different sets of actions for the last phase of the project life cycle. Maylor (2005, p345) groups the necessary activities into a six step procedure, which can differ depending on the size and the scope of the project:

1. Completion

First of all, the project manager must ensure the project is 100% complete. Young (2003, p256) noticed that in the closeout phase "it is quite common to find a number of outstanding minor tasks from early key stages still unfinished. They are not critical and have not impeded progress, yet they must be completed". Furthermore, some projects need continuing service and support even after they are finished, such as IT projects. While it is helpful when this demand is part of the original statement of requirements, it is often part of the contract closeout. Rosenau and Githens (2005, p300) suggest that "the contractor should view continuing service and support as an opportunity and not merely as an obligation" since they can both learn from each other by exchanging ideas.

2. Documentation
Mooz et. al (2003, p160) defines documentation as "any text or pictorial information that describe project deliverables". The importance of documentation is emphasized by Pinkerton (2003, p329) who notes that "it is imperative that everything learned during the project, from conception through initial operations, should be captured and become an asset". A detailed documentation will allow future changes to be made without extraordinary effort since all the aspects of the project are written down. Documentation is the key for well-organized change of the project owner, i.e. for a new investor that takes over the project after it is finished. Lecky-Thompson (2005, p26) makes a distinction between the documentation requirements of the internal and the external clients since the external party usually needs the documents for audit purposes only. Despite the uninteresting nature of documenting historical data, the person responsible for this task must engage actively with his assignment.

3. Project Systems Closure
All project systems must close down at the closeout phase. This includes the financial systems, i.e. all payments must be completed to external suppliers or providers and all work orders must terminate (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2004, p13). "In closing project files, the project manager should bring records up to date and make sure all original documents are in the project files and at one location" (Arora, 1995). Maylor (2005, 347) suggest that "a formal notice of closure should be issued to inform other staff and support systems that there are no further activities to be carried out or charges to be made". As a result, unnecessary charges can be avoided by unauthorized expenditure and clients will understand that they can not receive additional services at no cost.

4. Project Reviews
The project review comes usually comes after all the project systems are closed. It is a bridge that connects two projects that come one after another. Project reviews transfer not only tangible knowledge such as numerical data of cost and time but also the tacit knowledge which is hard to document. 'Know-how' and more important 'know-why' are passed on to future projects in order to eliminate the need for project managers to 'invent the wheel' from scratch every time they start a new project. The reuse of existing tools and experience can be expanded to different project teams of the same organization in order to enhance project results (Bucero, 2005). Reviews have a holistic nature which investigate the impact of the project on the environment as a whole. Audits can also be helpful but they are focused on the internal of the organization. Planning the reviews should include the appropriate time and place for the workshops and most important the people that will be invited. Choosing the right people for the review will enhance the value of the meeting and help the learning process while having an objective critique not only by the team members but also from a neutral external auditor. The outcome of this review should be a final report which will be presented to the senior management and the project sponsor. Whitten (2003) also notices that "often just preparing a review presentation forces a project team to think through and solve many of the problems publicly exposing the state of their work".

5. Disband the project team

Before reallocating the staff amongst other resources, closeout phase provides an excellent opportunity to assess the effort, the commitment and the results of each team member individually. Extra-ordinary performance should be complemented in public and symbolic rewards could be granted for innovation and creativity (Gannon, 1994). This process can be vital for team satisfaction and can improve commitment for future projects (Reed, 2001). Reviewing a project can be in the form of a reflective process, as illustrated in the next figure, where project managers "record and critically reflect upon their own work with the aim of improving their management skills and performance" (Loo, 2002). It can also be applied in problematic project teams in order to identify the roots of possible conflicts and bring them into an open discussion.

Ignoring the established point of view of disbanding the project team as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary overheads, Meredith and Mandel (2003, p660) imply that it's best to wait as much as you can for two main reasons. First it helps to minimize the frustration that might generate a team member's reassignment with unfavourable prospects. Second it keeps the interest and the professionalism of the team members high as it is common ground that during the closing stages, some slacking is likely to appear.

6. Stakeholder satisfaction

PMI's PMBoK (2004, p102) defines that "actions and activities are necessary to confirm that the project has met all the sponsor, customer and other stakeholders' requirements". Such actions can be a final presentation of the project review which includes all the important information that should be published to the stakeholders. This information can include a timeline showing the progress of the project from the beginning until the end, the milestones that were met or missed, the problems encountered and a brief financial presentation. A well prepared presentation which is focused on the strong aspects of the projects can cover some flaws from the stakeholders and make a failure look like an unexpected success.

Next Steps

Even when the client accepts the delivery of the final product or service with a formal sign-off (Dvir, 2005), the closeout phase should not be seen as an effort to get rid of a project. Instead, the key issue in this phase is "finding follow-up business development potential from the project deliverable" (Barkley & Saylor, 2001, p214). Thus, the project can produce valuable customer partnerships that will expand the business opportunities of the organization. Being the last phase, the project closeout plays a crucial role in sponsor satisfaction since it is a common ground that the last impression is the one that eventually stays in people's mind.

Continuous improvement is a notion that we often hear the last decade and review workshops should be involved in it. The idea behind this theory is that companies have to find new ways to sustain their competitive advantage in order to be amongst the market leaders. To do so, they must have a well-structured approach to organizational learning which in project-based corporations is materialized in the project review. Garratt (1987 in Kempster, 2005) highlighted the significance of organizational learning saying that "it is not a luxury, it is how organizations discover their future". Linking organizational learning with Kerzner's (2001, p111) five factors for continuous improvement we can a define a structured approach for understanding projects.

This approach can be implemented in the closeout phase, with systematic reviews for each of the above factors. Doing so, project closure could receive the attention it deserves and be a truly powerful method for continuous improvement within an organization. Finally, project closeout phase should be linked with PMI's Organizational Project Management Maturity (OPM3) model where the lessons learned from one project are extremely valuable to other projects of the same program in order to achieve the highest project management maturity height.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Revenue Management Is A Sign Of Success


Nitty-gritty of Revenue Management

Revenue management first noticed and accepted by the airline industry. Many travel and hospitality companies have been focused to the "adapt or perish" hymn while moving towards revenue management. Today, revenue management processes and systems are implemented in number of industries, including manufacturing, advertising, energy, hi-tech, telecommunications, car rental, cruise line, railroad and retail. In the future, companies that ignore revenue management will be at a serious disadvantage.

Actually, revenue management is the concept of adopting the number of implementation of emerging and changing business strategy to revenue management, where you can generate additional revenue from 3% to 8 % and it resulting in possible profit increment of 50% to 100%.

Revenue Management is the application of exercised strategy that estimates consumer behavior at the micromarket level and make the most of product availability and price to maximize revenue growth. Revenue Management is about optimizes revenue from offered business.

Revenue Management is a solid management science that utilizes statistical and mathematical concepts, based on operations research and management science methodology and tools in changing marketing environment to provide information to:

. Precisely review prospecting consumer behavior under dynamically changing market environment
. Establish the most effective way to price and assign inventory to reach and every prospecting consumer, each and every day, formulate real-time modification as market conditions change, with the consumer in real-time
. Convey this information immediately to distribution and sale outlets which deal with the consumer in real-time
. Work as a decision-support reserve for marketing and operational purpose, containing but not restricted to: pricing, product development, advertising, sales, scheduling, distribution, human resource utilization and capacity planning.

Businesses worldwide are going under remarkable pressure by having giant capital investments occupied to their capacity/resources up to bottom line and to optimizing and recovered revenues from their fragile capacity, products and/or services. So, what can be done to execute RM effectively is very important.

How to reduce the execution pains and optimize the benefits?

In fast changing supply and demand circumstances, how do you handle your resources and price your products and services? The challenges are find out the following:

. How do you predict requirement for distinct products and services?

. How do you assign and set aside the capacity/resources for high revenue/profit customers and products?

. How do you optimize capacity employing as well as revenue realization?

. How do you rework capacity/resource allocations set up on demand on a customary basis to optimize revenues?

. How do you maximize overbooking to lessen service failures costs?

. How do you distinguish product arrangement to maximize revenues?

. How do you chase surplus capacity and propose discounts at the right time to speed up demand without mitigate revenues.

. At what time you change capacity/resources to compete long-term supply and demand?

Adopting the right method of revenue management

From a CEO's point of view, revenue management is serious as it allows companies to successfully direct the challenges of supply, demand and other issues. Revenue management is a course of action and method brings in to order a company, provides it a strategic benefit over the competition by allows the company to sell the "right product to the right customer, at the right price, at the right time." Revenue management strategies stable the tradeoffs amid revenues, capacity utilization and service failures. Revenue management has been shown in many purposes to offer strategic, competitive and financial rewards.

Revenue management systems and processes can provide marvelous strategic return. By implementing revenue management systems and processes, American Airlines observed more than a billion dollars in incremental annual revenues after airline deregulation.

Though RM concept is very simple but execution of revenue management systems has kept very difficult. The availability of current RM system are either in-house or vendor-related and are very costly and time intensive to put into practice and very complex to use in which they upset the processes and people during and after execution.

Unluckily, revenue management execution and applicability have not been focused appropriately and stay behind with two of the biggest obstruction for companies to entirely assign to and profit from such systems. Many users of current systems have objection about the "black box" method used in applying compound revenue management prediction and maximization models. There are many revenue management models available like hybrid class of revenue management, advanced pros revenue management system, Navitaire's Revenue Management System, Portal's Revenue Management System etc to achieve the additional revenue and are vary depending upon the industry in which it is applied. Before implementing a revenue management system any organization must study whether the methods can be useful in their business and the necessity in which, it can push further to develop.

Reducing the Execution Pain

So how do you reduce the pain related with revenue management execution and applicability? Here are some implications:

Open Systems (Internet, Intranet or LAN client/server platform): Companies should force collectively made to order Internet / Wireless application standards, protocols and platforms. By applying software and using open standards investment in IT infrastructure, it can be maintained and comprehended for long periods of time. Revenue management software should harmonize a company's accessible investment in the infrastructure. By leveraging accessible software/hardware/networking infrastructure, companies can reducing the cost of execution and prevent training or failure costs.

Framework flexibility: Components-based and completely integrated revenue management software solutions should be chosen and it should available with existing database and Web/application servers of software built on a flexible framework and can be easily integrated. To apply revenue management systems it should avoid monolithic proprietary systems that propose very little flexibility for ad-hoc decision support or future improvement and software that does not combine with the bequest systems well.

Execution of Phase: Revenue management includes composite estimation and maximization models. When executing such systems today, benefits cannot be completely grasped until all models are entirely incorporated. This could get cost of millions of dollars and more time. Companies should evade ideas that need two to three years and multi-million dollars. A phased approach that gives entry to essential revenue management metrics should be adopted. Although optimization models will be required to maximize supply and demand or maximize resource allotment, the real emphasis in first phase should be to make out and collect the precise data, obtain users comfortable with RM metrics, and apply and make small adjustment of forecasting models until adequate historical data is pull together. This will reducing predicting fault and set up self-assurance in predicting models to lead better RM applicability. Maximizing models should be executing in second phase or soon after. Revenue management systems and processes should address business problems and give activity that generates a path for maximization twelve months after implementing first phase.

Front-End Platform (as opposed to back-end transaction processing platform): In general extremely automated and closely integrated with reservation or transaction systems of companies executes revenue management system at a large. The systems are operating in the back-end and compel extremely practiced analysts to control and manage this method. An easy to use front-end to the compound revenue
management system can develop analyst productivity and get better results. Revenue management systems should agree to users to make what-if analysis to study the influence of parameter or input changes on the prediction and maximization model yield. It should be in such a manner it create any type of ad hoc report as users reflect and analyze.

Time & Cost: Cost of revenue management systems is generally $1 million to $3 million and takes more than two years to put into practice. Companies should look at low-cost, high-value substitute and choose solutions with lessen inadequacies in designing, developing and executing revenue management software. By offering resources to high-priority matter and functionality and by claiming on reducing avoidable functionality and consulting actions, costs and execution time can be considerably lessen.

Demand forecasting and pricing: Demand forecasting is the key tool from which all other revenue management subject goes around. While implementing revenue management systems some times an Achilles heel appears so CEOs should look to demand forecasting and consider that point too. Without precise demand forecasting there will be no optimization of resource provision to products/customers completed. It also include the question, what prices should be specified to which customers through which channels for all products? (Including group, corporate, incentive, Internet.). For example, various demand forecasting methods are used in revenue management in cargo industry are, booking profiles, moving average models, exponential smoothing models (with seasonality and/or trend effects), causal (regression) models, auto-regressive time series models, kalman filters, neural nets, adaptive forecasting models etc.

Automation of Revenue Management:

Automating the method to take out, transform and load data into revenue management data warehouse, run statistical and mathematical models on a periodic basis, and provide easy interfaces to execute the operation are necessary for considerably improve analyst productivity and business performance.

Inventory Control and Sales Management:

The sales strength is also a user of information from a revenue management system. Whether it is computerize inventory control or relationship-based sales, companies recognize noteworthy progress in revenues if appropriate RM ideology is incorporated at all sales levels. The buy-in from sales management and cooperation in set up procedure to pursue RM techniques and in generating corresponding incentives plan is serious for long-term success.

Apart from the above the following points and analytical procedures are also to be considered.

The Revenue Management Lifecycle

Revenue management is a lifecycle of course of action to create, confine, and accumulate revenue for each customer. It has become a significant element of the enterprise. The Revenue management lifecycle also covers a continuing process of examines, appraise, and maximize each phase of the lifecycle.

Revenue Capture

Revenue capture optimizes market share by means of rival pricing models and flexible balance and credit control to allow any service for any subscriber.

Revenue Analysis

On the total revenue management lifecycle revenue analysis is considered and to recognize the revenue relationships with customers and partners it builds up satisfaction. Revenue analysis guarantees all transactions are carrying out with the fullest viable control, integrity, and completeness. It gives real-time verification, reporting, analysis, and control of all procedures and actions which assist optimize revenue and minimize loss linked with fraud and revenue leakage.

Profits of implementing Revenue Management and its future

Companies that want to accomplish something, not just to survive, must put into practice strategic technologies that permit them to constantly alter to vibrant and real-time supply and demand circumstances. Although airlines initiate and exhibit revenue management, it is showing to be a very efficient cutthroat tool in many industries. Unlike other technology vogue, revenue management is extremely rooted in management science and information technology and above all, brings discipline to an organization.

Today, many manufacturers and service providers are facing the problems of revenue generation due to intense competition, margins are shrinking more and more, customer loyalty is spoiling gradually and segregation is critical. More than ever before, industry toppers require reacting rapidly to varying market conditions and shifting customer necessities. To meet these threats, global leaders are heavily shifting

towards revenue management solutions that facilitate them to increase an in depth understanding of the services that customer's value and how they can be brought for maximum profit.

Because creating revenue and optimizing profit are greatest in mind for service providers, they should depend on revenue management solutions to allow them to react to new market opportunities and squeeze the competition by attracting the customer, introducing new services, and in the end driving value to the bottom line. End-to-end management of customer revenue across offerings, channels and geographies are achieved only through revenue management.

The future of revenue management was aptly explained in The Wall Street Journal as follows: "Re-engineering has run its course. You manage your quality totally. Where do you turn for future gains? Perhaps to the marketplace, with 'revenue management.'... Now with computing costs plunging, revenue management is poised to explode."

Top 10 Management Problems in the 20th Century


The 20th century enterprise does not manage business reality! Business reality is defined by two entities:

- Results: The specific economic outputs from the totality of the business

- Performance Solutions: The invested capital specifically utilized to produce specific results

The enterprise must organize and manage results and performance solutions in order to organize and manage business reality.

The failure of the 20th century enterprise to organize and manage business reality creates unsolvable management, business, and performance problems. The 20th century enterprise defines both the performance solutions utilized and the results produced as performance. This flawed definition prevents management of business reality. So, instead, we contrive various other methods as overlays on the business and manage entities like departments, jobs, positions, functions, and processes.

We continue to overlay new methods and write thousands of books, but we have never solved the top 10 management problems in the 20th century enterprise.

1. Reorganizations: We have never organized the business. Instead, we organize people, positions, power, and politics and overlay rigid contrived organization structures on the business. The business must adjust to the organization. Business change makes it more difficult to adjust, until there is a major upheaval called the reorganization. We then contrive another arbitrary organization and repeat the cycle.

2. Accounting and Financial Management: Historically, the enterprise needed to protect cash and so set up cash and accrual accounting and financial management. Accounting and financial management retain this legacy and, consequently, prevent modern records management and comprehensive capital management. Accounting prevents financial records on costs, value created, and comprehensive capital worth. Financial management concentrates on easy-to-manage cash and financial investments and prevents management of high-worth capital that is "administered" or is labeled as "intangible assets".

3. Investment Analysis and Capital Development: The enterprise is unable to itemize and plan the benefits of capital development investments, and is unable to manage development of benefits and return on investments. Investment benefits are contrived estimates that cannot be managed. There is no management responsibility for the utilization of developed performance solutions, to ensure the return.

4. Administration: Administration performs functions, rather than producing results, and prevents proper capital management. The enterprise invests in capital that ends up being administered, rather than managed for beneficial utilization, continuing improvement, and a high return on the investment.

5. Performance Management: Performance is defined to include not only the actions of performing, but also the results produced. This means that performance and the results produced are mixed together as key performance indicators and in the various performance management methods employed. This definition of performance prevents the 20th century enterprise from managing business reality.

6. Business Complexity: Every new method, re-engineered process, implemented system, chart of accounts, etc. is an overlay on the business and adds to business complexity. Contrived entities are managed preventing understanding of business reality. New results and performance are added but are not managed as an enterprise whole, for improvement or removal when not needed.

7. Information Technology: Information systems and solutions are managed as technology. IT covers strategy, planning, business application, technology, and architecture management. This prevents one integrated enterprise strategy and integrated business capital and support. The diverse capital requires many capabilities to manage, creating the CIO problem. Applications are managed as technology rather than as business solutions, and business change ends up in the technical backlog.

8. Change Management: We need change management because we mismanage change. We do not manage the business, human, and management capital to be changed and utilized for benefit. Change is through disruptive projects, rather than as part of the routine. Change management services address symptoms and do not solve fundamental problems.

9. Corporate Governance: We try to solve corporate governance problems from the governance side by strengthening the problems in accounting, auditing, and compliance reporting. This is futile. The problem can only be eliminated from the corporate side, by organizing and managing business reality.

10. Alignment: Many methods have been developed and many books have been written on aligning strategy with the business, information systems with the business process, outsourced processes and internal processes, tangible assets and intangible assets, etc. This also is futile. We cannot align solutions with solutions. We can only align solutions with their input and output results.

These and other unsolvable management problems are discussed in detail at www.businesschangeforum.com These problems can never be solved by overlaying more contrived 20th century methods, or by reading books on improving the 20th century enterprise. All 20th century methods are now obsolete.

The enterprise must be redefined as a 21st century enterprise that is organized to utilize capital in performance to produce value in results. Result-performance Management (R-pM) provides the means to build the 21st century enterprise, and leave all 20th century management problems behind.