Moneyball – The drive for using Statistics… Can the same idea improve Domino?

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I just finished reading the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Moneyball tells the story of the Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane and his approach to putting a ball team together. Saddled with the problem of having no money, Billy breaks conventional wisdom and begins to put a ball team together using undervalued players with certain characteristics.

Using new statistical data he finds that offense is better then defense.  So he now starts looking at people who have better offense numbers.  He finds that a player with a higher on base percentage is better than a player who hits home runs.  Stealing is bad since it is a gamble, walking is good since it loads the bases. etc…   So in the end he is able to pick up players at a fraction of the cost and puts out a more “efficient” baseball team.     I read the book due to a couple of articles written by Bob Lefsetz.

On a side note, Bob Lefsetz puts out a newsletter about the entertainment industry that is highly informative and an absolute must read.

Moneyball isn’t really about baseball.    The book is really about finding more efficient ways of running a business.  Billy Beane is saddled with a complex problem..  With little money how do I put out a competitive team?   Billy did it by breaking with conventional wisdom.   Use statistics and not gut instinct.  Don’t pick a player because he looks good and he runs fast, pick a player because he strikes out less then other people and he is on base more often.  Once teams realized how good players were, they became overpriced he sold them.  Used draft picks to pick up better players.  Or mined the minor leagues to get undervalued diamonds that nobody realized they had and were willing to get rid of them.

That’s not much different from any business.  ‘With little money how do I sell more product and provide better service?’ Okay, how can we apply what Billy did it in baseball, to everyday business.  Using statistical data and breaking with the norm we can run a company better.  The use of statistical data in everyday business can change where we spend are time and money.  For example how would you better measure office efficiency.  How do you add the other things that people do in an office which may effect their visual efficiency (what we see as there everyday job) and there hidden talents (ie: mentoring, coaching, etc..) that may come across as a water cooler discussion.  Okay, I’m going to leave that one for another day.

The past year we’ve been seeing a lot of activity around the migration away from Domino.  But is a migration really the solution that companies should be making or are they primarily making it because it’s what the media is saying.  We all know that Microsoft plays the marketing game far better than IBM.   So there’s a lot of false information that people use to make this costly decision.  A lot of it is based on false personal opinion.  How many of us have heard employees say “I hate notes”.   What executives should be doing is making this decision based on factual information.

Rivit developed the Domino Reality check as away of helping people make a decision one way or the other.   If you are on the fence the reality check provide you the data and cost of a migration and it provides you data as to how make the migration work…

If you take that data and decide to stay you now have the information that tells you how to make your domino environment more efficient.  How can I reduce network overhead, How can I reduce the number of servers, How can I get rid of applications that are no longer in use. etc…

If you decide to migrate you now know the cost of doing it.  How much mail am I dealing with, Who are my most active users, How should I architect by target platform to manage the load.  And more importantly it provide you the cost of migrating your applications.  ie:  Which applications are being used? How complex are the applications? Which applications are duplicated? How much code is shared across the applications? How many applications will break if I take a do nothing approach and migrate mail and not the applications? What is the cost of moving these apps to sharepoint, force.com, or something else?

So like Billy Beane we can make far better decisions, and run our business better by starting with the facts first.

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