Our Ratings Approach

At BizzHacks, we are fascinated by the idea that small changes (Hacks) can make big improvements to enterprises.  These Hacks come in many forms, and we don’t limit our scope; if eating Omega 3 fatty acids improves enterprise performance – and perhaps it does – then it’s a Hack worth considering!

When we review a Hack, we (generally) give it a rating.  Our ratings boxes are a subjective summary about how we feel about a Hack.  They look something like the box on the right.

What These Ratings Mean

Accessibility:  This is our view of how hard it is to understand a Hack.  For software, this is vastly improved by being open source, or having a try-before-you-buy policy, or if a small scale pilot is feasible.  Clarity in a supplier’s sales material is helpful too.  In reality, some subjects are just hard to understand for us – they’re not in our field of expertise – so these subjects will inevitably suffer on this rating.  That’s life.  The more accessible the Hack, the easier it will be to get buy-in to implement. Remember these are subjective ratings!

In a Nutshell…

This Hack allows you to yer de yer.

Access to Benefits:★★¼☆☆ 
Implementation Cost:★★★★★ 
Potential Impact:★★★★★ 
BizzHacks Overall Rating:★★★★☆ 

April 2012.  More about our ratings.

Access To Benefits:  If a Hack provides a high rate of return, and has a small initial cost of implementation, then the business case is easier to build – and the implementation programme can become self-financing quickly.  Such a Hack would have a high rating for access to its benefits.

Implementation Cost:  This is the cost to acquire the wherewithal to implement a Hack in a Notional Enterprise (read on) – licenses, supplies, and support infrastructure, for instance – and if it needs to be widely used in an enterprise, this will multiply-up with the users (depending on licensing terms etc.). It also includes the cost of an effective change programme required to make good use of the Hack.  Small effective change programmes are good, big change programmes are bad.  (A change programme is all the activities that drive the adoption of the Hack, and the realisation of benefits from it.)

Potential Impact:  What is the scale of improvement that we might expect in our Notional Enterprise?  The more stars, the bigger the miracle.  (Did we say this was a subjective system?)

Universality:  A measure of how broadly can this Hack be applied across industry to achieve these putative impacts.

BizzHacks Overall Rating:  Just what it says.  It’s not an aggregate or average score though, because we may be considering factors that aren’t included in the other ratings.

The Notional Enterprise

The ratings are based on our Notional Enterprise, which is drawn from our consulting experience – it’s big and complex, with many moving parts.  It’s international.  It’s got processes, functions, divisions, business units, goals, controls and governance.  It also has complex competitive/co-operative relationships with other Notional Enterprises.  Most people know the CEO’s name, but it’s a one-way relationship for almost all of them.  There are perhaps 10,000 of these organisations in the world.


So now that you know that the ratings are subjective…you also need to know that they’re going to be inconsistent.  Over time our expectations will change.  The background to our assessments will change.  We’re probably not going to go back and fix scores – the world is changing too fast!   We’re human – we will change too!  Let’s enjoy this journey.

Some Hacks Go Off!

It’s true, we probably would have recommended e-mail as a gloriously wonderful Hack back in 1996. But these days many would say it’s the worst thing to happen to business since the typewriter.  We also love to hate it – it’s not clear we could do without it.  The point is there are some Hacks that look like a good idea, but we grow to dislike.  Sorry, we don’t make the rules either!

Some Hacks are only wonderful until everyone else has them…some improve because everyone else has them.  So we are writing from the present, about the near future…and we can probably have a jolly good laugh about what we though at some point…that’s the reason for the date in the ratings box!