Member Since: 27th Nov 2002
I have 30+ years experience in the world of IT related finance. 10 of those years were spent as a partner in a Britsh firm of Chartered Accountants with a tax and IT remit. The remainder of my time was spent in a variety of industries including construction, steel fabrication, build to order manufacture and light engineering in progressively senior finance related roles. During that time, I was seconded to a team of Delloitte & Touche consultants working on costing systems for discrete manufacture. As partner, I had a small portfolio of high wealth clients, those with international interests or those with especially complex affairs. The experience supplemented what I had learned from working in industry and introduced me to the entertainment and hospitality, multi-store retail, professional services and healthcare industries. I specialised in providing business development, advisory, M&A and offshore tax services. I retired in 1993. In the same year, I went to university and wrote occasional reviews and opinions about accounting software. I completed my degree in 1996 and left the UK in 1997 to live in France. In September, 2004 along with partner Jude, cat and dog moved to Spain. We’re now esconced in Alcaudete, in the north of Andalucia. Today, I advise software developers about how they need to develop for customer needs and the requirement to understand the narrative in customer satisfaction. I help developers shape strategy and product, write the occasional piece for AccountingWEB and other blogs. I advise professional practitioners on their marketing strategies in a connected world. My main work comes through writing this blog, which concentrates on innovation for professional accountants with a strong leaning towards the technologies that drive client value. I am a strong believer in culture driven change management tied to business process. At ZDnet I comment on the enterprise issues that software companies don’t usually discuss. I am part of the editorial team for SAP CSR wiki, am an SAP Mentor and contribute blog posts to the SAP SDN and BPX communities. I was voted a Top Contributor in 2009 on the SAP Community Network. Since 2007 I have been an advisor to ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales) on their community building strategy and am a lead contributor to ICAEW’s IT Counts technology community. During 2008, I led the marketing and promotional efforts of the ESME team – a microblogging for enterprise project presented to some 12,000 IT practitioners in Las Vegas, Berlin and Bangalore – which is now part of the Apache Foundation Incubator Group. I assist individuals in positioning these types of service within an enterprise business process context. In 2006 I was named as researcher in The Power to Predict, a book about business optimisation in the 21st century. The book was authored by Vivek Ranadive, CEO of TIBCO. I have a long history of working with TIBCO and it was an honor to be part of that team. I hold no shareholdings in any of the companies that I discuss, neither do I hold any postions of management. I do however provide occasional consulting services to some of the companies. I’m a walking, talking example of a remote worker living in (not on) the Internet, working occasional crazy hours, having a wonderful time and occasionally being paid for having fun. My degree is in psychology and sociology, having achieved a first awarded by Leeds University. I also studied philosophy as a minor subject and still believe in the Scientific Method, Popper, and Kuhn. I believe the degree taught me how to clearly organise thoughts, write to word length, conduct thorough, yet balanced analysis and appreciate there are many shades of grey in any discussion. I still need to make greater use of ’spellcheck’ though I’m a lot better since I invested in a new pair of corrective spectacles. :) I can be contacted at: email: dahowlett [AT]gmail[dot]com blog: http://www.accmanpro.com
21st Jul 2021
I remember when I put Gary Turner's name up for the Xero job on Hamish Edwards' request. It was a case of ‘Are you interested?’ to which he shot back: ‘Hell yeah!’
He intuitively understood the central role that the profession plays and quickly developed the ‘What’s in it for me?’ factor that allowed Xero to position itself as an enabler of professional innovation. It allowed the development of a new class of accountant, differentiated by service in fresh ways not seen before.
The key trick he pulled off though was to match both the professional requirements with the needs of small business users at the same time.
He really did make a dent in the universe. A remarkable achievement in a market dominated by Sage. It’s a legacy that will be hard to follow.
23rd Oct 2014
Misses the point
....KPMG is leveraging technology to deliver a service it could not otherwise deliver. It has worked out the delivery model both in market and cost terms
23rd Oct 2014
Those who ignore this move do so at their peril.
From everything I know, KPMG has even very careful in the way it crafts this offering and of course it will target selectively. BUT...the notion that we've seen it all before, who will pay etc are poor arguments.
The technology is an enabler of disruption and KPMG is highly motivated to make this work. The fact they are throwing a considerable chunk of change at this tells you plenty about where this goes.
In the meantime, I offer 10 takeaways for this.
24th Sep 2014
There are others out there
Just to add a wee bit to the Adaptive yap - yes, it is probably fair to say aimed at larger businesses but there is no reason why a well seasoned Excel jock couldn't 'adapt' (sic) to their own needs for say templating client groups and using Excel as a data pump for robust forecasting.
Elsewhere, I am seeing firms like Anaplan, Tidemark, Qlik, Tableau, Pentaho and Good Data alll offer modest cost tools that allow for different ways to represent data from Excel that help clients get better insights and understanding. Not for the very small business but certainly usable for the upper end of the SME market.
Still - I guess Sage has now ceded the market to Excel. Bonkers.
To John's point about Sage endeavouring to make 50 better - well - I tend to go 'duh?' I really don't understand why Sage continues on this path. I've said consistently over something like 8 years now that you can't expect to compete in 21st century if you try put lipstick on a pig.
There are so many core issues with 50 they could have solved all their problems by starting off with a blank sheet of paper and re-imagined accounting. The fact they continue with this approach coupled with what we've seen with Xero and others speaks volumes.
Oh well. another rusty nail in a disintegrating coffin. Such a pity that users are the losers as well at a time when the profession needs more not less real help.
21st Sep 2014
Sage may be sunsetting but Adaptive is rocking along
Really sad to see this - I remember Winforecast in its early iteration when I was still in practice. It was a professional accountant's wet dream. In other news, I recently met with Adaptive in the Bay Area - they're growing like topsy with great customer stories to back up their marketing.
The really sad part about this is that Sage had it to crush "spreadsheet hell' - now we step back 20 years.
23rd Apr 2014
Lack of understanding on the topic
Anonymised data is relatively easy to create. That's what survey data does every day of the week.
We were doing it 25 years ago based upon analysis of our portfolio. Very useful in things like investigations but also useful in benchmarking clients' performance.
31st Aug 2012
Focus on the things that matter
70% of corporate data is redundant. It is difficult for many businesses to know whether they can rely on their existing data. That needs solving 1st before anyone starts thinking BIg Data.
Even in those businesses where people are considering this topic, Facebook is NOT generally a topic of serious strategic discussion, even among the top brands, except as a peripheral activity. Look at how brands have walked away from FB the last year. re: Twitter - yes, there is a degree of sentiment analysis going on but it rarely impacts overall performance. Check what happened with BP and its stock price over time.
Now - will those things change? Sure. But in any data analysis strategy, the 1st thing you need do is focus upon the things that matter now.
FWIW - I have seen no reduction in the amount of spam I receive since the popularisation of FB etc. If anything, it is getting worse. When I run the analysis on companies that are said to be deep into this stuff I can find no direct correlation between performance and their use of such techniques. Not yet anyway. And that includes the likes of P&G, Kimberly-Clark and Burberry.
Remember that Deloitte pimps these services so you should take what they say with a sack of salt.
Oh - and before I forget. Remember how Ratner single handedly nearly killed his company? He didn't need the internet, just ill thought through remarks that got mass media attention. That's STILL the way that many big shifts occur.
30th Aug 2012
Your due diligence?
If you are using a terminal server then you're not using the cloud as I understand the term. That's not uncommon as every vendor and his dog talk about a cloud strategy when they should really say: 'We've hitched our wagon to cloud - whatever that means.'
Whomever did your due diligence should be taken outside and given a good slap. If the combination of available network bandwidth, network performance and software performance problems were not identified in the pre-contract stage then they've not done their job correctly.
As I sometimes say: 'Marry in haste, repent at leisure.'
30th Aug 2012
Are you kidding me or did you overdose on vendor/analyst kool-aid?
Before ANYONE starts yapping about Big Data, it wouldn't be a bad idea if we got Little Data sorted out first.
On your ROI/TCO points, I can sum up from a convo this week: "If you're looking at TCO as a starting point for cloud then you're really looking at the wrong metrics. While important, TCO has almost nothing to do with business transformation impact."
1st Aug 2012
Oh yes it is...far different that is...
...you'll see why when (if) you turn up.