How to Survive the Accenture Challenge

The Accenture Challenge, the most stressful week of the first semester for most CICS students.  The Challenge is a week long case study, teams get the challenge on Monday and have until Friday morning to complete the case.  The major twist is that on Thursday night there is a change to the challenge, something that makes people rethink how they completed the case.  Tensions run high as this Challenge involves 5 total team members and little to no sleep.  This post will shine some light on how to succeed and make it through the Accenture Challenge.

Starting out the Challenge teams get the RFP (Request For Proposal) this outlines what the organization wants from each team.  The RFP will be very convoluted and teams must analyze the RFP to break down what they think the organization needs.  After each member of the team has read the RFP try and break the team into their varying roles.  It’s important to have a manager that knows most aspects of the RFP this will make the sections of the RFP transition seamlessly when it is time to present the solution.

Tuesday and Wednesday are dedicated to completing the case. In a perfect world going into Thursday night’s class the case would be almost done except for the twist that occurs on Thursday night.  Try and have the proposal mostly done by the time Thursday night comes around.

When Thursday night rolls around be prepared to work all night.  If the teams solution is not affected very much by the twist in the challenge then clean it up a little and start focusing on the presentation.   The presentation is just as important as the proposal.  Focus on what the RFP actually wants for instance this years Challenge was focused on guest’s satisfaction with a cruise ship.  Make sure that the teams presentation is catered to the main focus of the RFP.

When it comes to the presentation the judges are going to try and fluster each team, throwing them off guard with all sorts of questions they are not usually keen on answering.  Practicing these questions beforehand is an essential task because the questions that teams would think never would be asked will be.  Overall the case needs to be complete, think about every little aspect of the case and try and reflect that to the judges.

This is a learning experience and it should be treated as one.  This is a tough project but it helps build everyone as professionals.  At the end of the day the case is worth 10% of ICS 601 grade and should be treated like an academic project.  If you are a winner of the Challenge do not let winning get to your head, you’ll never be the smartest in the room and once you realize that you can begin to learn.  Good luck and go get ’em!

Adapting to the Information Renaissance

The information renaissance, the change in the way information is exchanged and handled, is happening in today’s world.  Change is inevitable but there are ways organizations and people can adapt more easily to it.  Understanding what is actually going on can help people adjust more quickly to changes.  This post is dedicated to helping people and organizations adjust to the information renaissance. 

This information renaissance is not the only renaissance that has happened before so there are ways to compare the information renaissance to others.  The first thing that can be noticed in the information renaissance is the way information moves.  Today there are so many different types of network that allow people and organizations to collaborate and transmit data from so many different sources.  Social networks allow people to transfer information to hundreds/thousands of people.  Information networks that connect businesses and homes together as one allowing for the seamless transfer of data.  These methods of data transfer are changing constantly and organizations that adapt the quickest are often the most successful.  There are two main focuses that lead to better adaptation of the information renaissance.

The first focus is to lead by example.  Focus on succeeding as a person and radiate that success to the business organization and to the colleagues of the business when they see success they’ll want to succeed just as much.  The second focus is to be confident that the solutions that have been changed and created are the best, trust these solutions.  Fighting change is not good for anyone people or business so really trusting these systems and solutions is essential.

The information renaissance is upon us and the only way to make the best of it is to adapt.  This can be done by doing it by leading by example and to be confident with the system, its there for a reason.  This post was inspired by another colleagues article which will be linked below.

Leadership for the Information Renaissance: Clarity, Challenges, Opportunity:

http://www.academia.edu/181775/Leadership_for_the_Information_Renaissance_Clarity_Challenges_Opportunity

Plagiarism in the Life of a Professional

Plagiarism in the professional world as a scientist is not taken lightly.  Everything that a scientist does ends in a report of some kind.  How authentic would a scientist be if it was known that the scientist plagiarized his/her work and then submitted it for the whole world to see? It would be terrible and could potentially ruin the reputation of the scientist as well as the outlet in which the report was sent out.  This is why plagiarism has to be taken very seriously in the professional world.

There are many motives for a professional to plagiarize all of them are completely unethical and can never be justified fully.  The most common reason for plagiarizing is the conveniency.  People think that they are clever enough to be able to get away with plagiarism and can fool people who read their material.  They either do not want to spend them time fully researching a topic or do not care enough to do the research; so what is the next best thing? Plagiarism.  They steal other people’s work and post it as their own.  Most people do get caught when they attempt to plagiarize someone else’s work.

In today’s world there are a ton of different ways to scan an article and determine if it was plagiarized or not.  This is how most academic establishments find out who the plagiarizers are. As technology progresses more and more, plagiarism will become less of an issue. Professionals will see that needs to be authentic because if its not it will be found out and repercussions will be had.

Business Collaboration using Web 2.0

Web 2.0 started with Instant Messaging (IM), the ability to send messages to people from a computer, much similar to texting between phones.  This technology has been out for more than 20 years and jump started web 2.0 in the process.  Being able to dynamically chat with whoever they wanted was a capability that everyone wanted and used, and now it is used in businesses today. Businesses are now starting to use collaboration software in their business environments now whether it is a laptop, a computer, or a phone giving them the ability to collaborate in ways that were not possible 20 years ago.

Programs like Salesforce, Sharepoint, and Office 365 are used by enterprises today to enhance productivity and collaboration between employees.  One of the main functions of these programs is IM.  IM is the more simple version to email.  Sending another employee a message about a project or a meeting can help increase productivity because the conversation can flow more naturally than through email.

Another good thing about collaboration software is the ability to easily talk between employees and share files with people.  Before these programs existed businesses would rely on file servers and email to send data to each other and to talk amongst themselves.  Now however, these collaboration softwares allow users to talk instantly with each other all on a single platform.  Having all of these service packaged into one product has allowed businesses to increase productivity extremely.

Overall business is always changing and the best ways of doing things is constantly evolving.  Business collaboration is one of those ever changing concepts. Having an efficient and effective business helps the business produce better outputs and in the end makes the business more money.

Sharepoint: https://products.office.com/en-us/sharepoint/collaboration

Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/products/sales-cloud/features/sales-collaboration-software/

Office 365: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/explore-office-365-for-business

CICS Elevator Speech

CICS, Center for Information and Communication Sciences, is an accelerated graduate program attempting to bridge business and technology in the workplace.  Students come from all parts of the world in order to join this program; 95%+ of graduates have a job by the time they leave the program, an amazing feat that other programs are not able to conquer.  Many of its candidates go and work for fortune 1000 companies such as IBM, ATT, Accenture, Cisco, and many others.  CICS has a formula that no other program like it can seem to copy, thus the outstanding success.  There are three key components to this formula are our Social Learning Program (SSLP), the variety of the teachers, and the biggest component; the alumni.

The first component is the Social Learning Program, this is a program that all CICS candidates are encouraged to be apart of.  This program is a way for students and faculty to actually get to know each other outside of work and school.  Faculty members often hold “socials” on weekends or evenings and invite CICS students to come out and socialize and build those ever important social networks.

The second component is the variety of the faculty; this is a hard component to describe but a student that has been through the program or is going through the program will be able to see this right away.  Faculty are from all walks of life and each has a different skill set compared to the other.  This combination molds CICS students perfectly giving them the ability to thrive after the program.

Finally the last component that makes CICS so great is its alumni base.  The alumni are very supportive of the program more so than any other program I’ve ever seen.  The alumni giving support to the center mostly through their time but also giving money occasionally allows CICS students the ability to see the outside workplace without being in it yet.

CICS is a 11 month intense graduate program merging business and technology together.  This program will be the most intensive thing a student has ever done it their life.  This is not a warning message saying not go through the program but a reminder that this program will test you but also give you some of the best friends of your life and the best jump start to your career.

Ball State CICS: http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/cics