Process Modernization

Robert Blackwell, Chairman, Killerspin/EKI-Digital

From BizCast HQ

A technology industry leader with a career spanning nearly 30 years, Robert Blackwell Jr. has cultivated Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI) into a leading management and technology consulting firm well-known for its ability to respond to complex business challenges with efficient, intelligent and innovative solutions. Today he oversees the company, which currently employs more than 100 technology and business consulting experts.

Starting at IBM in 1981, Blackwell began his long career in building innovative systems that improve business operations. With a keen passion for entrepreneurship, he then went on to found several Chicago-based companies, including Urban Fishing Development, Bytewise International and Blackwell Consulting Services. A former professional table tennis player, Blackwell also founded Killerspin, the leading table tennis equipment, apparel and promotion company.

Blackwell is currently an active member of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE), Executive’s Club of Chicago and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and in 2010 was selected as Chair of the Business Development Committee of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Blackwell also services on the board of several civic organizations including After School Matters, The Belle Center in Chicago and Autism Speaks.

By |June 19th, 2017|Execution Excellence, Information Management, Information Transformation, Process Modernization, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on Robert Blackwell, Chairman, Killerspin/EKI-Digital|

EKI Invests in Cloud Mine Consulting, Expands Salesforce and Digital Marketing Footprint

EKI Digital is pleased to announce we have invested in Cloud Mine Consulting, a leading and digital marketing professional services firm.   Headquartered in El Segundo, CA, Cloud Mine Consulting assists enterprises of all sizes in developing, customizing, and deploying custom applications on to strategically grow their businesses.  Cloud Mine Consulting is made up of consultants who have both deep technical and programming experience as well an MBA or other proven business management experience.

“We are incredibly optimistic about our investment in Cloud Mine,” said Robert Blackwell, Jr., founder and CEO of EKI Digital. “We expect the combination of EKI Digital’s agile, business-first approach to integrate seamlessly with Cloud Mine’s deeply specialized team.  Cloud Mine’s success in the private and public sectors matches perfectly with EKI Digital’s diverse client base, which includes the City of Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, and several notable private-sector companies.   Together, EKI Digital and Cloud Mine Consulting will establish a new level of excellence in exploiting the many benefits to be gained from technology.”

“We are thrilled about EKI Digital’s investment in our company,” said Jason Sun, Co-Founder and CRM Architect at Cloud Mine Consulting.  “EKI Digital’s proven leadership in Lean Digital businesses, their technical depth and their incredible reputation for excellence complement our knowledge and help position us to do greater things faster than we ever could have imagined.“

“When we founded Cloud Mine Consulting, we wanted to make waves with our unique consulting model of talented people with blended business and technology backgrounds,” said Adam Zuckerman, Co-Founder at Cloud Mine Consulting.  “And with EKI Digital, we’ll be making those waves bigger and sooner.”

For more information on Cloud Mine Consulting, visit their website:

By |February 1st, 2017|Execution Excellence, Information Management, Information Transformation, Process Modernization, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on EKI Invests in Cloud Mine Consulting, Expands Salesforce and Digital Marketing Footprint|

The Importance of Having Agile IT Systems

About 20 years ago, IT faced a dilemma: the Internet was still in its infancy and IT was a growing field. That might have been good for college graduates, but it was not good news for business owners. IT was in a category all of its own and it was a rough transition for some. Businesses saw the need for a robust IT department, but could not afford it. IT was in a unique category in that it was not revenue producing. In other words, the IT department of any small business did not contribute to their bottom line. It cost businesses money instead, making it difficult to justify the expense. The people in those IT departments were always applying to the executive boards and owners of the companies for newer equipment and better solutions. The biggest problem was cost. Most of the time, the cost could not be justified. This left many firms in the dark; they had to make do with what they had, which made them less competitive as time went on.
By |January 12th, 2016|Information Transformation, Process Modernization, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on The Importance of Having Agile IT Systems|

Process Velocity

Process velocity measures the speed (time) of the process. The faster the pace, the greater the value can be created. The faster the process; the faster the process converts cash outflow to cash inflow. The time value of money concept says money received today is better than money received in the future. Some processes have much greater urgency for increasing their velocity than other processes, but they are all connected…

Process Velocity Infograph

By |October 27th, 2015|Process Modernization|Comments Off on Process Velocity|

Mobile Devices in Business Process Automation

Technology has made vast developments in the last several decades. These advancements have impacted the business world profoundly. Digital technology in particular has become a key element within every successful business. Processes that were previously carried out by hand by staff can now be automated. The impact of automated technology has caused a shift in the way we manage business, possibly resulting in lower operating costs across multiple departments. Despite these great improvements businesses should still be continually focused on driving growth and building for the future.

With a focus on driving growth, mobile devices have become key players in today’s market. Mobile devices allow employees access to data outside of the office. They can edit and input data from anywhere without having to wait for their return to the office. This allows for the most accurate and up to date information for everyone’s accessibility.

When evaluating the options of mobile devices there are many elements to take into consideration. It’s important to be flexible and have the ability to manage data from anywhere. Also remember that mobile devices are often less expensive than laptops and PCs and going mobile can reduce your need for office space as more employees are able to work in the field and at home. These cost savings are most definitely something to consider. Additionally, going mobile allows employees an easier way to communicate with one another. This can boost productivity profoundly.

Keep in mind that apps can be managed by simply downloading them from the app store or another outlet. This means that going mobile doesn’t necessarily require an IT team. You will want to be sure that the mobile devices you select are appropriate for their purpose; [...]

By |August 27th, 2015|Process Modernization|Comments Off on Mobile Devices in Business Process Automation|

Secrets of Understanding Where Innovation Comes From

It’s no question that innovation keeps companies and products alive. Unfortunately in many of today’s marketing and product development departments, the scope of innovation has been limited. How many companies hire someone for the Head of Innovation role and expect them to deliver increased sales every year solely through new products?

Innovation should be integral to everyone’s role in the company from the entry-level employee to the President and CEO.

The reason? Innovation does not just come packaged as a product. It may come as a new way to implement a system or a new technique in accounting. Innovation takes your old ways of doing something, evolves them and makes them better for business.

Great leaders in successful companies realize that innovation is not limited to the Head of Innovation role. They nurture innovation wherever it sprouts so it can be encouraged across the entire organization.

Tools to Realize More Innovation

The 16 Types of Innovation model may be common sense but is it common practice in your organization? There are many more ways to be innovative and successful than just rehashing a product or releasing a new limited addition version.

When a business is faced with a new challenge, it must not limit its scope of innovation but adopt a full-business approach that looks for opportunities to grow across the entire organization.

Growth comes from consistent attention on the right innovative ideas. Use these 16 innovation types as a lens to can generate truly innovative solutions:

• Product Innovation
• Service Innovation
• Value Proposition Innovation
• Resource /Asset Utilization Innovation
• Channel Innovation
• Launch Innovation
• Brand Innovation
• Pricing Innovation
• Differentiating Innovation
• Customer Innovation
• Design Innovation
• Experience Innovation
• Partner Network Innovation
• Business Model Innovation
• Marketing Innovation
• Core Technology Innovation

The CPG Innovation Case Study

Determined to [...]

5 Key Components To Transform Business Processes Poster

The good news is that while companies continue to struggle, many are realizing that they need to find better ways to manage these processes. Once leaders and managers within a company define end-to-end processes, they identify opportunities for improvement, measure performances and identify improvement targets, and then look for rapid process-centric business application development technologies that can automate and speed up processes.

The platform used to build these business-process applications must have five key components for it to be successful. EKI-Digital leverages these components to realize the full potential of business process improvements. If you would like to learn more about this service please contact us at

5 Key Components To Transform Business Processes Poster

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    Realize the Full Potential of Your Continuous Improvement Initiative

Realize the Full Potential of Your Continuous Improvement Initiative

Businesses want to improve – that’s a fact. Every business has the goal of becoming bigger, better, and serving its clients in an improved manner. Some businesses do this through short-term projects; however, another option is the “continuous improvement initiative”. According to Joseph Paris [ ], this aspect of growing a business comes down to two things: leadership, and the actual process of the initiative.

Leadership is crucial to the initiative mainly because of its effect on employees, when employees first enter the company, they are usually enthusiastic and inspired; they are there because they want to be there, which is how they got hired in the first place. However, too often they are left directionless because of leadership that is simply not present; furthermore, they are heaped with expectations about company improvement and high-priority projects.

The solution to this is leadership, because ultimately this will have the greatest impact on employees and therefore on the initiative. Leadership has several aspects:

– Moving forward: Leaders focus on the future. Although they may make mistakes, ultimately it is all about moving towards the overall goal of the company, and maintaining the vision that the organization is hoping to achieve.

– Respecting the employees: Leaders recognize that the employees are the backbone of the entire initiative. Leaders admit their mistakes instead of shuffling them off onto someone else; they also provide plenty of opportunities for mentorship and growth for those under them.

– Patience and drive: A true leader will have the patience to work with employees that are struggling to start out, but will also have the drive to help them understand their full potential, as well as to move towards [...]

Process Driven Organizations-The Ultimate Approach

What is a Process Driven Organization?

A process driven organization is as it sounds, focused on process. This means that the organization sharpens their process, working to become extremely efficient while maintaining value. This allows for operational growth, efficiency, and organizational knowledge. Many major companies have made the evolution from people driven organizations to process driven organizations given the numerous benefits achieved from focus on process.

Making the Shift from People Driven to Process Driven

People driven organizations are structured differently than process driven. People driven organizations depend on the input from individuals; entrepreneurs, managers, stake holders, etc. This method of operation can often limit efficiency, as progress is dependent on individual decision-making. The same is not true in a process driven organization. A process driven organization is set up so that the operation can run regardless of individual decision-making. The show will go on as long as the process is maintained. In order to make the shift from people driven to process driven, an organization needs to begin implementing some of the following process driven principles.

Process Driven Principles:


The knowledge of a process driven organization is rooted in the end-to-end business system, not in the people employed there. This shift allows the organization to continuously scan the environment to update practices to ensure efficiency in every business process. Improvement is continuous. Training is seamless as employees simply jump into a process with little variation.


Process driven organizations do not find themselves constrained with time as people driven organizations often do. The process driven system is expandable; if additional labor hours are required, the process driven organization hires additional employees and trains them on the process. In this instance, [...]

Leveraging Business Architecture: Why It’s Important

Business architecture has become an increasingly important concept in the world of management. Different than the concept of business requirements, business architecture serves to further define, and build a corporation’s structure so that it can be leveraged throughout the management cycle. In a competitive environment where driving improvement is paramount, business architecture can help businesses reduce risk and costs.

The ideal approach is a customer-focused organization. A customer-centered organization is committed to identifying and achieving the goals of the customer. The customer includes consumers as well as stakeholders. The customer-focused approach promotes consumer retention, greater customer satisfaction and provides business with the opportunity to maximize investments. A business architecture approach can be used to build a customer focused organization. When the business architecture blue print defines a customer focused organization, when challenges arise they are met with this goal in mind.

Essentially, business architecture provides a map of the organization, outlining the purpose of the business while lining up its objectives and demands. This provides the opportunity to define strategies and service delivery. Business architecture blue prints aid executives in planning, decision-making and meeting challenges. Additionally the blue prints are useful to strategic planning teams, project managers, and portfolio managers.

Business architecture is used to align business requirements, connecting the organization’s structure and goals with the business requirements set forth. When these two elements align there is greater opportunity to make more informed business decisions, prioritize initiatives, and identify business functions. With a business architecture blue print, analysts are able to gain a better understanding of how the business functions. This provides them with the ability to identify appropriate initiatives and strategies.

The concept of business architecture provides a framework that connects a business’ [...]