December 4. 2013 | Samantha Zanotti
Crowdsourcing: Collective Wisdom or a Multi-Headed Beast?
Amidst a sea of buzzwords, “crowdsourcing” appears to be the new “cloud.” While leveraging the knowledge of the masses appears to be a great use of varied and valuable expertise, when does the search for knowledge shift from a simple brainstorming exercise to an opportunity for inefficient and risky business practice?
The audit and risk services functions benefit greatly from the ability to bounce ideas off of colleagues to better serve the requirements and opportunities of a client. Being in today’s digital world, seeking advice has never been so easy and widespread; however, opening the flood gates of opinion comes at a price. Not only does one need to sift through the good, the bad, and the ugly of advice sought, the time and resources put forward to obtain that golden solution may far outweigh the value obtained. It is important to factor in the resources/time required to benefit from crowdsourcing when determining if it is the best alternative for your particular situation.
The most crucial, and sometimes overlooked, aspect of crowdsourcing is not in weeding out the good advice from the bad, but rather looking at the very nature of the advice sought. Privacy and confidentiality are sometimes blurred in the hopes of being “transparent.” When dealing with crowdsourcing, this notion is no different and sometimes the line can become almost invisible. While brainstorming with colleagues, SMEs and industry professionals does lend itself to obtaining those out-of-the-box ideas, knowing whether or not to even seek that advice is the difference between professional research and a breach of confidentiality. It is vital to look at the nature of the advice sought and ask yourself “How would I feel if my consultant placed these details out for the world to comment?”
All in all, crowdsourcing is a new and innovative vehicle for harnessing the knowledge of industry professionals and leveraging varied degrees of expertise to fit a particular need; however, it is important to ensure that seeking outside opinion does not deter from developing internal practices, providing efficient services and maintaining an appropriate level of professional discretion.
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November 20. 2013 | Ben Brooks
Happy Halloween or Thanksgiving or Holidays or All of the Above?
The holiday season is upon us and as I still yearn for pumpkin-spiced lattés, I started to wonder when did my inner 10-year-old accept that November 1st was now the start of the holiday season? Was it when Starbucks decided that red-clad cups and gingerbread lattés are now available? Maybe it was the fact that my local grocery store had holiday candy on sale next to the Halloween candy.
The mere mention of holiday music last weekend (the 9th of November) was met with a scowl in my household and I understood why. It was an obvious conflict to play “This Christmas,” while eating leftover Halloween candy on a 73-degree day.
I certainly want to blame somebody for robbing me of my old-school love for the full holiday season. It’s natural to want to blame the commercial machine or a busy life, but my inner 10-year-old would agree I should only blame myself. I was once able to appreciate life and understand the precious value of time far more effectively. Thus, this holiday season the onus is on me to once again appreciate my time on this earth as I once did. Especially since adulthood has taught me making the time is requisite to making the memories.
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November 13. 2013 | Joshua Moore
GOLF: More than a "Good Walk Spoiled!"
As fall nears, many people are scurrying to get in one last round of golf before cooler temperatures invade the metropolitan area. To some, golf is just a boring waste of time; however, to me and many others, golf is as Mark Twain called it, “a good walk spoiled.”
The golf course is also an excellent place to network and build relationships with clients and prospects, albeit this business side of the sport is often underestimated. The following are a few findings from a survey, From The Boardroom to the Back Nine: The Importance of Golf in Business (conducted by Guideline Research & Consulting for Starwood Hotels):
• 97% of executives view golf with a business associate as a way to establish a close relationship;
• 92% use golf as a way to make business contacts;
• 67% of respondents say that a person who cheats at golf would probably cheat in business; and
• 59% believe that the way a person plays golf is the way he or she behaves in business.
Being an avid golfer myself, having played competitively and casually, I find the aforementioned to be true. After all, if you allow yourself to spend 4-5 hours with a person on a course during your “good walk spoiled,” odds are you’ll establish an ongoing relationship that could potentially enable future business opportunities.
Although it may be too late in the year to schedule a golf outing with a client or prospect, it’s never too late to pick up the phone, send an email or schedule a lunch. There’s an old adage golfers can relate to: 100% of all putts that don’t get to the hole won’t have a chance to go in. The same analogy can be applied to networking and building or sustaining client relationships; if your best effort is not made to grow relationships or build new ones, business will be slow to develop, if at all.
So, the next time you find yourself attending a conference or a networking event, ask yourself if you’d be willing to spend your “good walk spoiled” with this person.
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November 6. 2013 | Rebecca Kehoe
When Does Unequal Treatment of A Proposal Require a Re-Evaluation and When Does It Not?
DOES: In the case of Sayres & Assocs. Corp., GAO, B-408253, 8/1/13, decision released 9/13/13, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) held that the Navy misevaluated clearly presented information in the protester’s proposal seeking to provide program management, business management and other services. The GAO recommended that the Navy reevaluate the protester's proposal, perform and document a new cost/technical trade-off analysis with the rationale for any tradeoff made and compare it to the awardee’s proposal. What did the Navy do wrong? In GAO’s opinion, the Navy based its award decision on an unreasonable assignment of a significant weakness and the assignment of another weakness that was inconsistent with the terms of the solicitation. GAO further found that these evaluation errors sufficiently prejudiced the protestor to require a re-evaluation of proposals.
DOES NOT: In the case of Archura LLC v. United States, LinkFed. Cl., No. 13-290C, 9/17/13, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC) held that although the Department of Homeland Security treated offerors unequally in an “Information Technology” procurement, the protester was not prejudiced by the error. Why? Because the COFC concluded that the protestor lacked a substantial chance of winning a contract because its proposed price was significantly higher than those proposed by the awardees. Specifically, the protestor’s proposal was 29% higher than the highest-price awardee and 73% more than the average awardee’s price. And yes, price does matter.
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October 30. 2013 | Scott Ashley
This Is My Time
We’re in the heart of the NFL season and no matter what team you root for on Sunday, I can assure you this, you’re wasting your time. When analyzing the time lapsed during a 60-minute NFL game with an average broadcast length of 174 minutes, researchers observed only 11 minutes of actual playing time!
While a staggering statistic, it’s not surprising when understanding where the other time goes.
36 minutes: replays and other highlights
60 minutes: commercials
67 minutes: players standing around
A lot can be said for enjoying the tradition and camaraderie of spending an afternoon getting decked out in your authentic team gear, overeating comfort food and cheering on your team with fellow passionate fans. But in a world where we’re constantly trying to find time in our busy schedules, maybe we can live without the announcers’ generic commentary and the over-analysis of challenged plays.
Do we really need to see more pickup truck and beer commercials, or the network advertising some new crime drama you wouldn’t watch anyway and that will most likely get cancelled by the spring? With limited flexible time, recording the game on DVR and skipping the filler might be a worthwhile venture. This can be said for most television programs, but football is especially egregious with wasted content.
Consider these other potential time wasters/savers. Instead of sitting in rush-hour traffic, why not join a gym close to work and miss the peak commuting hours, avoid road rage and get healthier all in one simple adjustment?! Do we really need to know what our favorite celebrity had for lunch via Twitter or if our college roommate “liked” our pictures from last weekend via Facebook? Am I going to actually wake up at 6:30AM or am I going to hit the snooze button for 45 minutes of interrupted sleep and wasted time? When reflecting on our week, how proud are we for achieving level 96 in Candy Crush Saga? Everybody has responsibilities and their constraints and variables will differ. Hopefully, this will jump-start an internal dialogue for evaluating where we can salvage precious time.
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” – Charles Buxton
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