Publications


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Approval Essentials

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A guide formed from everything we’ve learned about this commonly used process.

Acceptance, agreement, consensus, and authorization; approval has a lot of meanings and each team and task has unique needs and goals. Most situations, however, require an effective, efficient and repeatable process to obtain, inform, document and perform approvals. The end goal of approval is to provide a standard workflow; conserve resources like time, money, or assets; and to comply with regulation and/or control processes.

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5 Steps to a Better Service Desk

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Service desks; We love them when they help us. And we love to complain about them when they don’t.

“Too slow to answer.” “Too slow to fix my problem.” “Not personable enough.” “Not knowledgeable enough.” The truth is, whether we’re internal or external customers, we have high expectations of service desk personnel. We are often already frustrated (if not totally exasperated) when initiating contact. We have been forced to seek answers or problem resolution and we want our request handled as quickly as possible—a reflection of having become a real-time society with real-time expectations.

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How Enterprise Request Management Improves Process Efficiency While Reducing Security Risks

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How Enterprise Request Management Improves Process Efficiency While Reducing Security Risks

Enterprise request management (ERM) is a service delivery strategy that combines a single intuitive Web portal with a workflow automation software engine to automate and accelerate fulfillment processes across an enterprise. Customers (internal or external) can request any type of service, resource, or equipment, as well as check on the status of pending requests, from a single point of entry.

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How Kinetic Data Products Support Enterprise Request Management

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ERM offers a more efficient and effective model for managing service request business processes than common function-specific approaches.

Enterprise request management (ERM) is a business efficiency strategy that combines an intuitive Web portal interface with integrated business process automation to improve delivery of business services and ensure first-time fulfillment.

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How IT Pros can be Business Heroes

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While being born on the planet Krypton or getting bitten by a radioactive spider aren't realistic, here are three practical ways IT pros can become heroes to the business.

Though IT groups are sometimes criticized for being disconnected from or out of sync with the business (sales, marketing, finance, etc.), IT professionals—like their colleagues in other functional areas—want to be heroes to the organization. No employee or group wants to be seen as a roadblock to business or operational progress. Quite the contrary, most would like to display the agility to leap over financial or technological obstacles; the speed to accelerate cumbersome manual processes; even the foresight to anticipate needs and solve problems before they happen.

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Enterprise Request Management- How to Get Started

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Though the scope of ERM is broad, implementation needn’t be excessively difficult, expensive, time-consuming or disruptive to operations.

With ERM, a single Web-based request portal replaces manual processes, and disparate departmental online request form front-ends. An automated task management “backbone” application then manages approvals, scheduling, and fulfillment by securely communicating with and between existing departmental software platforms used by IT, HR, finance, operations, facilities and other areas.

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The Technology Behind Enterprise Request Management

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ERM offers a model for managing service request business processes that’s superior to the traditional siloed approach.

Conventional request management systems have often been criticized for forcing service requestors to negotiate a labyrinth of processes based on the preferences and convenience of each internal service organization—not those of their customers.

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Implement Enterprise Request Management in Five Straightforward Steps

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A new approach to service request management is gaining ground in companies around the globe.

The Enterprise Request Management, or ERM, framework is finding favor with organizations because it allows them to take an incremental and evolutionary approach to centralizing and modifying business processes and service requests across the company. ERM operates across the three levels of IT service catalog maturity identified by Forrester Research, from Level one (organizations focused on delivering IT services to consumers through a standard set of choices and/or requests) through Level three (service catalog acting as a service broker).

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Enterprise Request Management- An Overview

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World class service delivery today means a relentless focus on customer centricity delighting internal and/or external service consumers in the fastest, easiest and most economical manner possible.

Enterprise Request Management, or ERM, is a strategy that offers fully integrated, cloud-based business process automation delivered in a customer-centric user interface, while employing an integrated back-end delivery model. The goal of an ERM strategy is to allow business service providers to meet enterprise service delivery requirements for shared-service environments in a scalable, cost-effective manner.

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7 Steps to a Better Team Portal

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How to build portals that delight teams and their peers

Team portals are any published material that help customers understand your capabilities, team performance and sets expectations. In these ways, portals serve both you and your peers. This content can take many forms. From a simple poster in the team area all the way up to a digital experience; portals serve to facilitate collaboration and meet demand to provide value. Since portals can take many forms, they have different effectiveness, and impact on revenue, cost savings, scalability, governance etc. However, these goals will not be reached by adding a portal alone. They also require teams that can operate faster, be innovative and operate more effectively than competition.

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Separating Chaos for Service Delivery Flexibility

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How to improve customer experience and fulfillment consistency

Today’s internal business users are more demanding than ever. They see the intuitive set of online tools used at home, and expect that same level of customer experience in the workplace. It makes sense. Easy access to information is what they need to get their job done quickly and effectively without any hurdles to request services or report issues that get in their way. Anything outside of what employees are paid to do is a distraction that not only affects job satisfaction, but reduces productivity and the overall profitability of the company as a whole.

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Four Vital Components for IT Project Success

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These four elements are crucial and common in all successful IT projects.

Although IT projects (and other types of business projects) may end up failing for a variety of causes, the four elements described here are crucial and common in all successful projects. Both experience and research have demonstrated that incorporating all of these ingredients significantly increases the odds of success, while the lack of even one dramatically ups the risk of project failure.

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4 Reasons Smart Service Providers Build Storefronts

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How to drive down costs, innovate and stay consistent.

As customers, our expectations for a “great” experience are conditioned by how we consume services and shop for products in our everyday lives. Today, great service experience is de ned by the customer having simpli ed access to key o erings where contextually relevant value-add services are bundled into a solution to meet their needs. As an infrastructure service provider, how can you keep up with all of this?

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Provisioning Virtual Private Clouds in 45 seconds

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Many companies are moving their servers to cloud-based providers like Amazon Web Services, Azure, and others. The promise of the cloud is fast and cheap infrastructure, but that needs also be balanced with security and control.

A customer recently asked us to create a way to provision a Virtual Private Cloud that included their business rules—something they've struggled with using other tooling. There isn't a single API to achieve this, but a series of calls that need to be strung together in a proper sequence. After building out the process in the Kinetic Task workflow automation engine, the entire process now takes, from request submission through having a server up and running in Amazon's infrastructure: 45 SECONDS.

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Using Service Catalogs to Run a Business

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Leveraging a service catalog delivers can benefit almost every part of an organization.

The most important element of an actionable service catalog is the division of service requests into finite tasks that can be completed in short time frames. Excessive service catalog complexity frustrates users, who will eventually attempt to circumvent the service catalog process and submit requests through informal channels, making service measurement and improvement virtually impossible.

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Process Efficiencies with Kinetic Request

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An executive view of the benefits and financial impact of enterprise request management

Implementing an effective ERM strategy results in significant cost savings. Large organizations have hundreds of services and processes with areas for improvement. Each service that is automated will not only become more efficient from a cost perspective, but also provide a better experience for customers.

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Did you know... Better collaboration is scientifically proven to prevent balding!

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Poor IT project collaboration causes baldness. That's right, poor collaboration makes you bald! Where's the scientific proof, you ask? Well - here it is.

Baldness can be caused by stress. Stress is created when communication breakdowns result in poor visibility for project stakeholders, reducing confidence in project success. But setting up projects for more effective cross-organizational collaboration will reap significant benefit to all those involved in the project. Also - it may save your hair.

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Do You Love Your Technology Vendors?

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Love usually isn't the first word business professionals associate with their organization's technology vendors. But it's not too high a standard.

Some vendors you may feel loyal to, or even be an advocate for. But...love? That's a strong word. A very high standard. Though not an unreasonable one. And it should be the goal of every vendor you work with to earn that level of affection. Here are eight questions to ask yourself and your team about your suppliers, to determine if they are worthy of being held very dear.

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Global company profits from enterprise request management upgrade

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Schneider Electric has upgraded and expanded its enterprise request management (ERM) system with software from Kinetic Data to improve service management for its 170,000 employees in 134 countries.

The global supplier of business and residential energy products and services had a sound foundation for ERM, but needed to upgrade its front-end request portal to reflect the company’s changing needs and growth. Benefits of the service portal update at Schneider Electric include an 80% reduction in request submission time and a 38% shift from phone to Web portal requests saving $1.4 million in service management costs.

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Queens Library benefits from ERM system

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Queens Library, with nearly 1,000 employees serving 2.3 million customers from 62 locations, chose Kinetic Request and Kinetic Task to improve its strained service catalog.

Queens Library in New York has replaced its service catalog with an enterprise request management (ERM) solution from Kinetic Data. Devi Seerattan, service request systems manager for the library, said the previous system was crumbling under the strain of trying to support users. We faced a serious cost for customization and, even then, would have settled for a cumbersome process. After looking at Kinetic Data, the decision to make the move was easy.

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Want to Get More Work Done? Teach Employees How to Fish

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As consumer technology has expanded and more tech-savvy employees enter the workforce, workers are frequently buying or building their own technology solutions. The problem, too often, is that IT and business users aren't on the same page.

IT is perceived as moving too slowly, or not providing the right tools, so business users work around IT instead of in collaboration with the group—a phenomenon commonly referred to as shadow IT. Unfortunately, shadow IT isn't simply akin to fishing without a license. Frequently, it's more like fishing out of season, in the wrong place, using the wrong tackle. And without a life jacket.

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Evolution Or Revolution- Where Is Technology At Today?

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Change is a constant in IT. But every once in a while, a development so fundamental and profound occurs that it reorients the profession. Are we in the midst of one of these today?

Changes this significant tend to come along roughly once per generation- transistors in 1953, Ethernet in 1973, the first commercial Web browser (Mosaic) in 1993, and today with the consumerization of IT? Are the changes happening in IT today simply evolutionary, or is this a new era? A number of perspectives indicate the latter may be more true.

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Shift Left into the Fast Lane with Self-Service 2.0

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Within service management, the prevailing method is still Self-Service 1.0, which focuses on knowledge management, IT-centric help desks and IT service management (ITSM) systems. This has got to change, and it is.

The pace of change is dizzying and the consumerization of IT is forcing profound changes in how organizations deliver IT services. First it was sharing corporate data using cloud services like Dropbox and SugarSync, then it was BYOD integration. Now, it’s the Amazon effect—features like package tracking, product reviews, and same-day deliveries. Fundamentally, all of these lead back to the customer experience, and they all infuse new complexities in consumer marketplaces as well as spill over into how organizations serve increasingly technology-savvy customers. Similarly, the workforce is changing fast. Younger-generation workers are filling the payrolls. These digital natives who expect an app for everything have different ideas about what constitutes good service. Underlying these presumptions is technology, access to information, and generally, an expectation of immediacy.

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Here's a Switch- A Way to Benefit Employees and Save Money

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Outside of work, employees are accustomed to ordering things via easy, user-friendly consumer interfaces like that of Amazon.com. But the experience they have at the office, in requesting the products and services they need to do their jobs, is frequently much different.

Great companies are built by hiring and retaining smart employees with a passion for what they do. But in a competitive marketplace for talent, employees expect more than just a desk and paycheck. Upgrading the work environment and doing more for employees usually has costs- pay, benefits, facilities, and perks. How about an enhancement that saves money for a change and makes employees more productive? Implementing an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy can do just that. ERM combines a single intuitive portal for requesting any type of shared service or resource with automated back-end approval, scheduling, and fulfillment processes.

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Four Ways to Optimize the New Employee Onboarding Process

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An organized onboarding process makes life better for both the organization and the new employee. Yet at many companies, provisioning new hires is little more than a laptop and a building pass.

New employees are the lifeblood of every organization. Beyond natural turnover, at some point in any enterprise it's impossible to grow without adding people. Implementing an organized onboarding process makes life better for both the organization and the new employee, at what is often a very stressful time. Enterprises want to get new employees settled in, up to speed, and contributing productively as quickly as possible. Employees want to get started on their jobs with minimal wait time and chaos. And yet, at many companies, provisioning new hires is a haphazard affair, often amounting to little more than handing out a laptop and a building pass, according to the Wall Street Journal. It's not just about IT; a comprehensive onboarding plan encompasses the entire employee onboarding process.

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How Small Companies Can Win in the Big Leagues

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The adage big companies buy from big companies no longer holds. Web services and other enhancements in interoperability have opened up that playing field.

Enterprise buyers are no longer tied to large single-vendor technology stacks. Granted, there are still reasons large enterprises prefer to do business with large vendors in some instances: breadth of product offerings, depth of support and/or (perceived) business stability. Big companies today buy not so much from other big companies as from companies that are visionary, fast, smart, innovative, and authentic. The environment has never been better for small companies to sell to large enterprises. Here's what small companies need to do to be successful in this environement—and what savvy buyers in large enterprises are looking for.

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Bootstrapping Using Services, Scaling Using Content Marketing

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Kinetic Data president John Sundberg talks about the company's early days, customers, team building, content marketing, and growth strategies in this seven-part intervew.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some background. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised and in what kind of circumstances? John Sundberg: I’m currently in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is where our office is. I’ve been in Minnesota all of my life. My dad taught positive attitude and sales training and indirectly, I’ve had that positive attitude all my life. After I graduated from college with a Mathematics degree, I worked at 3M and saw what the big company world was like. Lots of great things happen in big companies, but the way that I thought of things and the way I approach things is more than what one company could handle. The way I thought was much more generic than what any one company would think.

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Essential BYOD Stats And Facts

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Interest among employees in BYOD surged in early 2012, catching many organisations and their IT teams off guard. Today, most organizations have greatly matured in their approach to BYOD.

Initial resistance quickly morphed into a scramble to develop policies and practices that accommodated employee device preferences while keeping corporate information and applications (at least somewhat) secure. Now, nearly three years later, research from HDI reveals that though organisations have matured in how they address BYOD, both the level and nature of readiness and management of BYOD varies widely. Usefully, the report quantifies those readiness levels and offers helpful insights for both support and business leaders. Here are three key trends detailed in the findings.

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How to Cut Service Costs and Delight Users with Enterprise Request Management (Infographic)

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ERM accelerates service delivery and reduces costs by extending self-service across the enterprise, for any type of request. Here's how.

Enterprise Request Management (ERM) is a business-efficiency strategy that’s a holistic approach to centralizing and automating business processes and service requests. ERM helps to ensure first-time fulfillment, which means lower costs and happier internal and/or external customers. ERM not only reduces service delivery time and costs, but also delights customers by giving them a single, simple web-based interface for requesting services. This infographic explains how ERM works, why it’s important, and how to calculate the cost savings. Feel free to re-use or share.

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Movers and Shakers- Kelly Heikkila, Kinetic Data

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Kelly Heikkila is helping to strengthen customer focus in his return to Kinetic Data as vice president of products.

Kelly Heikkila has rejoined Kinetic Data, a St. Paul-based enterprise management software system developer, after it acquired his company, Minneapolis-based Coderow, which developed mobile and desktop Web applications and hardware-connected mobile applications. Heikkila worked at Kinetic as director of product development for eight years before leaving on good terms with Kinetic Data President John Sundberg to launch Coderow in 2008. The companies have been collaborating since 2010 on product development. Their efforts included Kinetic Info, software that supports existing Kinetic Data products and that received best-new-product recognition last year from a user group.

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Software firm Kinetic Data buys Twin Cities app developer

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Business-software firm Kinetic Data has acquired :coderow, a developer of Web and mobile applications.

St. Paul-based Kinetic makes enterprise request management software. The technology makes it easier for companies to manage a task that involves multiple software systems. The deal will allow Kinetic to offer more mobile applications, Kinetic President John Sundberg said. Also, Minneapolis-based :coderow has experience developing apps for consumers, and businesses increasingly want their software to have a consumer feel, he said. Consumerization of IT is a trend and we’re going to be well positioned for that.

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St. Paul's Kinetic Data keeps business processes moving

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Kinetic Data looks to add smaller companies as customers of its business process automation software.

Hundreds of big corporations are using Kinetic Data software to automate business processes, from ordering computers for new employees to handling consumer contacts. Now the St. Paul company is concocting a version for small and midsize companies. CEO and co-founder John Sundberg hopes the move will drive growth for Kinetic Data while raising awareness of what he has termed enterprise request management, or ERM.

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Easy ITIL: Getting to Done

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Although the concept of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) has been around for twenty-five years, many organizations are just beginning to think about it.

Although the concept of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) has been around for twenty-five years, many organizations are just beginning to think about it. Thanks to our British peers across the pond, we have the benefit of their experience and hindsight to aid our own adoption of ITIL best practices. Amazingly, when I Googled Easy ITIL it returned 1,690,000 results. After reading them all (well, quite a few at least), I still wouldn’t describe ITIL as easy. On the other hand, you’re probably already using some combination of ITIL processes intuitively, especially if your service desk is operating reasonably well.

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Leveraging Service Catalogs Throughout the Enterprise

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Successful service catalogs meet the needs of users who are looking for a simple way to order services.

Business service requests have always been made, in one form or another. Every service group in an organization gets requests from its internal and/or external customers. Whether it’s a newly hired employee requesting a workstation assignment, a sales person requesting marketing materials, or an external customer with a support request, an organization needs to fulfill those requests as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. That's where an effective business service catalog is crucial.

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Meant to Move

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Kinetic Data helps companies accelerate business-software tasks

John Sundberg, president of Kinetic Data, said it has thrived because of a focus on a key software platform used by big companies. When John Sundberg decided to leave 3M Co. and pursue a career as an entrepreneur, he wasn't going to let anything stand in the way of his dreams -- even an announcement that his wife was pregnant with their first child. That was nine years ago. Now Sundberg has four children, and one fully grown company, by the name of Kinetic Data Inc.