Whenever we design any metric in Excel which requires input from different people then there are always chances that people enter wrong or inconsistent information which eventually result in lot of data massaging to get the data into correct format.

To prevent users entering incorrect or inconsistent information, data validation is a great tool in excel. As the name suggests, it provide users a conditional mechanism by applying the rule on the cells where the data need to be entered.

Let’s explore this with couple of examples.

1. Allowing cells to only accept the text values –

a) Select the range on which you want to apply the validation

b) Goto Data -> Validation -> Allow -> Custom

c) Under formula enter =istext(A1:A10)  … given that your range is A1 to A10 where you need to apply the validation.

d) Lastly press OK


2. Allowing cells to accept only limited no. of characters –

a) Select the cell range on which you want to apply the validation

b) Goto Data->Validation->Allow->Custom

c) Under formula enter =len(A1:A10)<6  …this will allow less than 6 characters in range A1 to A10.

d) Press Ok


3) Entering only unique values in a cell range

a) Select the cell where validation is required

b) Goto Data->Validation->Allow->Custom

c) Under formula enter =countif($A$1:$A$10,A1)=1

d) Press Ok

e) Copy the validated cell and paste it into the cells below where you need the unique below.

Note: In this formula we used $ sign to freeze the range where we want to apply the validation because when we copy the validated cell and paste it to the cell below and if the $ is not applied on range then the range will change and the validation will not produce the accurate results. Try do it by both freezing and not freezing the range.


For so many years while working with couple of major banking conglomerates, I’ve been hearing about “think out of the box”. And I was like – OK – but how. How do I need to think outside of box and what exactly it takes to think outside of box? Because in many one on one meeting and specially at the time of appraisal, whenever I got average rating I’ve always been given with the example “Boss – You really need to think outside of box to get good rating” and I’m stuck with real dilemma what the hack is this outside of box thinking. And I’ve given with couple of example which are:

You introduced something new which has completely changed the way of doing the work

You saved thousands of dollars by streamlining and improving the processes


This is what I thought after hearing all their examples but after sometime I thought that the above examples are really need out of the box thinking because in today’s scenarios the work are so much established and have lot of stakeholders that when you implement one change it affects many people and processes.

So the real question is how to put all these examples in such a framework which can help to get the real time benefits to both the employee and the employer. Well I would talk only about the employee side because that’s where the interest is and below are my experiences while figuring out the framework for this:-

  1. Understanding the business and its relevant processes.
  2. Not just doing our specific work but knowing how the work is affecting the work of other peoples.
  3. Creating and discussing the holistic view of business with its stakeholders.
  4. Consistent thinking of implementing new technological solution to take the business one step up.
  5. To figure out the solution of a problem it’s important to spend maximum time (I suggest 70%) to understand the problem because it will result in effective and long term solution of the problem.
  6. Listen the business and care for the business and its stakeholders.
  7. Last but not the least is to understand all the insider dimensions of box to think out of the box.

These are some of the dimensions that I’ve figured out during my stint and it helped me a lot whenever I was given with new problems and business challenges. They have helped me to become more and more detail oriented so that whenever I’m designing a solution for a new problem, I’ve all its aspects and their relevant magnitude in my mind which will impact the stakeholders with a specific frequency.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

One of the questions asked by many of the Individuals like us when we compare ourself with other people who are more successful, famous and happy. I asked this questions to many individuals who are my friends, my friend’s friend and read some related article therefore come to an interesting conclusion.

What happen with luckier people is that they spot the opportunities very quickly compare to the ordinary people. People who tend to have bad luck cannot see those opportunities because of their miserable life-cycle.

I still remember an article which was published sometime back in Times of India and was related to the research done by a scientist on people behaviour in 1950 s or so. This researcher gave some news paper to the bunch of people and told them to inform him what they see in the news paper after reading it. interesting part was that in all the news paper the researcher gave an advertisement of an offer stating that “Tell this offer to the researcher and get $50”. It was a big advt. covering almost half part of the paper. He tried this experiment with different people and after collecting the people’s findings from the newspaper, he made the conclusion that there were some people who reported that advt. and other good news to the researcher on the other hand some people didn’t find that advt. in paper and reported some other bad news published in the paper. Therefore he divided the people into two categories accordingly and figured about their background etc. He found that people who reported the advt. and other good news were said more luckier by their friends and relatives. And the people who reverted the researcher with the bad news were living a miserable life and said unluckier by their friends and relatives.

Therefore after reading this article I made a conclusion that people who tend to have more luck than others are basically opportunistic in nature and always ready to spot the opportunity as soon as it is  available to them on the other hand people who are said  not lucky, basically cannot see the opportunity early and that’s why they miss it

I’m not sure how far it is good to go with this research and article but I read some general rules to become luckier which are:

1. We should take our failure in a positive way so that next time we come with a better way.

2. We should read humourous book, see comedy movies and do humourous talk because humor nourish our mind to think more.

3. Obviously YOGA as I read it almost everywhere that to have a good body and mind, do YOGA everyday.

4. Balance your mind in such a way that 97% of your thoughts are positive and 3% are negative.

5. Try to be punctual and do the task at their right time.

6. Try to create your own innovative way of doing the things instead of following already defined techniques.

So far I can think of only these things which I read experience and see in my life. Like the MANTRA of my life I also can give you one advise

“Never run behind the targets but create your own”

Guess the word

There is a word in this puzzle and rules are that the word can start from anywhere and it can either be clockwise and anitclock wise.

Please leave your answer and time it took to solve the puzzle in the comments. 

Word Puzzle

An information management capability is a particular kind of ability available to accomplish the management of information. For example, a data storage capability is the ability to manage the storage of information. It outline the capabilities of various information management components and place them into an overall framework. Some examples of capabilities it outline are: governance, security, data modeling, common business language, and storage.



Dashboarding is a tool that is used at several level of management for making informed decision. In its early days it used to be a static one where mangement need to go through many pages or links to view different information at different level of granularity. But now a days the technology has reached such a level that now you can create such cutting edge Dashboarding solution which can accomodate both the views i.e. at a very high level and the same dashboard can be drilled down to present the low level or reason behind a particular high level chart or Key Performance Indicator.

Below is my experience and thought process (with example) which helped me while creating a daynamic dashboard for Senior and Middle management.

In just one sentence dashboard can be said as “The overall summary of the Business or Program in one page with all required data points for decision-making”. Dashboards are basically combination of various metrics and analytical charts that are related to overall business and program which a particular company is running. One of the important feature of dashboard is the high level filter or filters that are related to almost every datapoint in the dashboard so that everyone from the senior management can see their required information in just one page. That’s why it has become very important to decide at the planning stage that what are the critical data points that we need to select for the dashboard and are related to the high level filters.

Example: There is an IT Vendor “True Soft” who is providing the Software Services to A, B, C & D companies. Now senior management of True Soft wants to have a metric or dashboard in place which can show the entire summary of their program with their clients. So for the designing of the dashboard we really need to see that what is the high level filter we should use and what are the critical data points that can be used in the dashboard. Now because senior management of True Soft wants to see the summary of their Program with clients A, B, C, & D that’s why it is very simple that high level filter would be on A, B, C & D but there would be another filter which would be showing the information for all the companies and can be named as “total summary” or “overall summary” for true soft. the filter can be combo box, or list box or 5 buttons etc. so that you can quickly select any one single company or all the companies and see their program. Now the next step is that what are all the critical data points. So for an IT vendor below are couple of data points which are critical:

1. Revenue: One of the hot favourite data point for senior management as they really want to see that from where the maximum revenue is coming so that they can better positioned themselves to ensure consistent revenue from that company and even more. And can work with the client which is generating least revenue.

2. Service Satisfaction Score: This is the score that come from a survey which they roll out to companies where they are providing the services. By this they can very quickly work on the pain points that they have with particular company and ensure the quality service delivery for that company. It can also help the True Soft to assess or analyze why the satisfaction scores are different for the different companies and in this way it will help them to understand the problems more clearly that are inside the True Soft and implement the best practices from where the scores are good.

3. Defect Delivery Rate: It is also uniform for all the companies and help then assess where the defect delivery rate is high so that they can improve on that area.

4. Attrition: This can help them assess the attrition that they will have with different companies.

5. Staffing: It will help them assess how quickly they are completing the staffing request for the companies where they are providing the services.

And there can be some other data points which one can create or use according to their needs and requirements. But what I’ve seen is that in a dashboard normally there should be 5 or less than 5 data points which are very critical in most of the business or programs that one can see clearly for the decision-making. In my view using the facts and figures for more than 5 data points will actually confuse the end-user and make him unable to take the quality decision. But situations or requirements can be differ so at the end, it really depends on what your business requirement is.

So it is not a rule of thumb that you really need to use 5 or less than 5 critical data points. And there can be 6 or 7 critical data points that are important for one’s decision-making but the best practice from my point of view is to show maximum up to 5 critical data points in your dashboard.

One other important point is that we should always leave some space for the user to make a comment in your dashboard about a particular metric or about any other figure that you have putted there that is effecting the business so that other users can also se his/her comments and can make good discussion around it, which will help them to truly utilize the dashboard at the max.



Next Gen Competency

Next Gen Competency Definition

IT Business Integration

–Leverages understanding of how the company makes money to drive IT business opportunities and strategies.

–Possesses the ability to analyze the financial impact of IT and its affect on growing revenues & reducing expenses.

–Articulates the value of technology in a way that is relevant and resonates with business leaders

–Translates business requirements into technical solutions that drive value.

–Creates an environment of more transparency.

–Possesses an external view to technology trends in the industry and applies that view in the Company

–Understands and leverages financial concepts like TCOA to bridge technology and the business.

–Influences business direction/solutions with a technology lens with the goal to be at the table influencing strategy.

–Uses a technological perspective to influence business strategy and organizational direction.




–Identifies ways to manage and leverage company data and information to drive business results.

–Ensures a focus with Information Management Architecture on defining data in a consistent way to impact revenue streams, managing risk,  and cost savings.

–Defines and drives architectures that reduces complexity while maximizing business value.

–Leverages standards while meeting complex business requirements. 

–Ensures the maximizing of Company’s assets to deliver technology through strategic architectures.

–Aligns business functionality / requirements to technical capabilities.

–Aligns people, processes, and technology to achieve business goals in order to reduce cost, risk, and maximize investment return.

–Integrates business strategies, information management, and technology strategies to achieve both local and enterprise-wide objectives.



Risk Management /
Operational Excellence

–Understands and predicts the likelihood of a given threat-source (internal or external) exercising a particular potential vulnerability and the resulting impact of that adverse event on (or within) the organization.

–Acts in the face of uncertainty.

–Tries new things with confidence despite ambiguity and the potential for adverse outcomes.

–Takes a reasonable chance based upon an estimated probability of success



Manages Change

Applies project knowledge, skills, tools and techniques needed to meet the project requirements.

–Balances and controls competing priorities of work activities, as well as those of the product or service being produced, over the lifetime of a project. 

–Possesses fundamental change management skills that drive a project to adoption and governance



Business Process Management/ Analysis

–Understands business objectives, and the current business environment and challenges. 

–Understands and analyzes current business processes.

–Designs and documents new target process(es).

–Drives adoption of new process(es).

–Builds governance structures to create sustainable change.





–Ensures focus is on continuous improvement to existing processes, products, and services to drive short term gains to position for long term growth.–Views business problems, processes, talent and technology from a new perspective to transform or drive increased business value.

–Creates technical and ultimately business competitive advantage through new solutions (people, process, tools). 

–Looks beyond the horizon and identifies a solution to a problem before it happens or plans to optimize an opportunity (e.g., Keep The Change).



Business Partner
Relationship Management

–Develops strong interpersonal alliances at appropriate levels, both within and outside the organization.

–Leverages key business relationships across the organization. 

–Leverages relationships to create followership and adoption. 

–Utilizes diversity and global inclusion to create the best solutions.  

–Is widely known as a strategic thought leader and trusted advisor.



Strategic Planning               

–Uncovers hidden opportunities to create value through improved processes and competitive advantage.

–Creates strategies that align with Business. 

–Identifies internal and external forces that impact the organization to ensure ongoing viability of strategies. 

–Modifies strategies as necessary to meet changing dynamics. 

–Recommends improved processes (e.g., competitive advantage, organization-industry alignment and future state, etc.).



Strategic Partner and Supplier Management

–Identifies qualified vendors.

–Analyzes expenditures.

–Influences and understands contracts.

–Partners with supply chain.

–Establishes and maintains a meaningful working relationship with key vendors characterized by mutual respect, trust, and a shared understanding of what is valued.

–Evolves vendor relationships into strategic partnerships and builds a transparent relationship where success is mutually defined.



Global Perspective

–Maintains current knowledge of national and international policies and economic, political, and social trends that affect the Company and its customers. 

–Understands the need to be equally effective across a diverse set of national cultures. 

–Considers the impact of decisions and actions to global business partners, customers and vendors.

–Respects and leverages cross cultural perspectives. Uses tools & technology to enhance effectiveness in the global arena.  

–Demonstrates functional Depth and can effectively apply knowledge across the Enterprise with great breadth.