We Are Now A ‘Certified Minority Owned Business Enterprise’!


New MMSDC Logo.png

At Cogent Integrated Business Solutions Inc., we’ve always been proud about being a minority owned enterprise, and about showcasing our diversity wherever we go. After being in business for more than 10 years, we are very excited to share the news that Cogent has been certified as a Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) by MMSDC, as of December 2016.

This certification definitely encourages us to expand our efforts in sharing our diversity, by establishing ourselves as partners with organizations committed to working with businesses like us, in order to benefit from our services. This certification also supports our efforts to expand employment opportunities and job security, to other minorities as well.

As an IT services provider, offering consultative and results-driven solutions in SAP technologies, as well as providing employee productivity/ engagement and smart enterprise mobility products; getting this certification is an accomplishment for Cogent. We hope to enter, expand and deliver our technological offerings to the city and state governments, and educational institutions. We are very confident that the public and not-for-profit organizations will benefit tremendously through our capabilities.

Affiliation with MMSDC is surely a great start for Cogent as this allows hundreds of corporations access us through the council. Also, in conjunction with this certification; Cogent has already initiated the process to get certified with Michigan’s HUB program, by becoming a member of the Small Business Association. These certifications will not only open doors for us to enter the public domain; but, as an established  SAP consulting and mobile product development company, we can now successfully deliver our solutions and services to a variety of clients and industries across Michigan, and continue to ensure we deliver the highest levels of service that will benefit the community as a whole.

On behalf of the Cogent team, here is a shout out to all the organizations out there open to collaborating with us, that, ‘we guarantee we will make you feel as happy, satisfied, and proud working with us; just like we feel about our products and services!’

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Busy? Maybe. Boring? Never. This is how we roll at COGENT!!

By Sabita Reddy

Consultants

Whether it is to waking up to a melodious alarm go off on your nightstand or to the polite greetings of the front desk staff of the hotel you are at..

May be the day just kickstarts with a meeting at the client’s or maybe you are just waiting to get off that red eye…

Not a day in the life of our SAP consultants goes by without having to juggle between different time zones, prioritize tasks for the day from their to-do lists, get frenzied about rewriting that report while making sure the kids get dropped off to their schools on time, make every effort to understand a possibly dysfunctional environment while seated at the new client’s office meeting, or review a report for the fourth time as the deliverables of the project are due in a few hours.

Such busy schedules and short timescales may seem to create the notion that this work is meant for those very few – who like to live the nomadic life. However, there are the others who have consciously chosen this arena and who also fall under the ‘consultant’ category, just because they have the opportunity to work in their pajamas sitting on that favorite recliner, or as they tuck their kid for a nap.

Being a consultant can be hard, but the flexible timing and working hours in this line of business means that the consultants are responsible for the time at work and also for the time they enjoy. If working hard, being busy, and wanting to have a ton of variety in your professional life, is a pursuit…then this job is certainly for you.

At Cogent, our SAP experts admit to enjoying every single day at their job. As they work on game-changing projects for various leading companies, they say they gain an in-depth knowledge of a different industry with every new project, and are challenged to do things differently every single time, to meet each client’s expectations. They love being dragged and made to jump out of their current routine tasks and lay hands on other on-going projects with their team-mates. Most exciting of all is that they feel lucky to socialize with people from different countries, cultures and disciplines. In the midst of all this chaos, they actually find time for some pleasure too. They enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mt. Rainier in the Northwest, and the blue skies and white sandy shores in Miami. They waste no time pretending to be Irish at the St. Paddy’s day parade in Chicago, or to just sit back and relish the flavors of the southern-style deep-pit barbecue while in Texas. At the end of their projects, our consultants are just eagerly looking forward to their next adventure that Cogent has for them.

Our troopers add that their ‘not-so-glamorous-work’ (realistically speaking), has turned out to be a fun and a challenging one instead. Being able to lean onto some great mentors at any given time of the day (who are ready to answer their call regardless of which time zone they are in), and being able to get the best staff support and incentive system at Cogent, they claim to take away a very unique experience that has continuously enriched and enhanced their professional and personal pursuits like no other company.

In simple yet true sense, Cogenters are busy exploring the best of all worlds, and Cogent promises to keep it that way for them!

We are just not a staffing company, but a family filled with knowledge, fun, security and stability.

Come, Grow with us!

Rebranding Cogent

Dear Reader,

This is a personal story. 

2005-2007.

It has been almost 9 years, since the original founders of Cogent got together through a series of web conferences, phone calls and in person meetings, to design an identity for Cogent. Prior to this exercise in 2007, the same group had gotten together in 2005, when the idea of a new entity we were going to found was beginning to take shape.
“What should we name this company as?”
“What should the name symbolize?”
“What are our core values?”
“How does the name align with our core values?”
These were some of the many questions we had to brainstorm and all startup entrepreneurs go through this.  We finally arrived at the name Cogent. We had actually created a worksheet of sorts that explained why the name Cogent and what it means to us.
The Integrated Business Solutions part was an afterthought, more to distinguish our brand from a couple of other “Cogent” brands in the marketplace then (though they had/have nothing to do with what we do). Thus, we became Cogent IBS.

Since operating a business involves having a logo, which almost becomes your identity, we quickly bought a predesigned logo, which none of the founders had any creative inputs on. Because we wanted to become operational immediately, we had to do this. In other words, we didn’t have time for our creativity to drive us. It was a small scale operation – so the logo was mostly visible only on our then minimalistic website along with letter pads. envelopes and checks, whose volume was not very high. We didn’t do a whole lot of marketing. So that logo didn’t mean much in terms of how we personalized it for ourselves.

In 2007, when we shifted gears and started to execute all the ideas, that we had originally planned for, when the vision for Cogent was built in 2005, we realized that  it was time to have a logo that truly symbolized us – What Cogent stands for.

So, our current logo, that we all so dearly love, was a result of many weeks of brainstorming and many days of creative excitement. All the founders were involved in picking the logo & it was one of the most creatively satisfying experiences all of us had together at that time. The logo we have now, symbolizes what Cogent stands for and for our core values. This was our first rebranding exercise and as part of this exercise, we launched a swanky looking, comprehensive website.

2012-2013.

Then sometime around 2012-2013, when the marketplace started changing rapidly and with the advent of social media, etc. we were trying to keep pace with our slightly outdated technology that was used for our website. The early adopters that Cogent has always been with technological tools we need for internal operation, sales & marketing, we decided to jump on the modern web design bandwagon right then. This really was our second big rebranding exercise. Our core values had not changed and hence we decided to keep our logo in tact, however our vision had changed direction a bit, what with our newly launched mobility practice. We were no longer just a Services company, but now have become a Products company as well. So, we decided to build a brand new website which aligned with our modified vision for Cogent. And I think, that rebranding helped us quite a bit to stay above the noise in the marketplace among our competitors.

2015.

A few months ago, during a family trip, when I shared with my son our plans to potentially rebrand Cogent in the near future and how this time, we may consider a new logo – a new identity so to speak, his immediate question was “Why?”. Growing up in a entrepreneurial family where the father, the founder of Cogent lives & breathes Cogent all day, it is natural that a certain sense of pride and a certain sense of ownership spills over to the children of the family. (This sense of ownership, by no means, is a sense of entitlement – Just have to emphasize that here.) My kids are no exception and they completely love everything about Cogent – by which I mean the people I get to work with at Cogent, the events we organize, the general feeling of all things Cogent and most importantly the logo. The current logo is no doubt one of the most attractive logos – for the colors and for the rainbow like appeal it has for children.

I could notice a sense of sadness in him, almost not wanting to let go of the old identity. And, I could completely understand that, for I had/have the same feelings, only that much more in proportion because I had originally been involved with the design of that logo. In the process of trying to explain him clearly why we wanted to do this, I was also able build my own case in my mind, a bit clearly. Why are we doing this?

The reasons, as I explain here are very simple.

1) With our changing focus in the last few years, we not only want to turn a new leaf in how we do our business, but also in how customers perceive us. For example, we have a new line of mobile & cloud solutions – Coobo, Tuux and now Cabaana. When it comes to professional services, even though we are very much an SAP focused company, our focus has become very niche. Personas/Fiori, SCM and HANA are the areas that we want to be known for besides our traditional strengths. To take a page out of SAP’s marketing playbook, we want to Run Simple. All of the above mean, we need to tell a new story now.

2) A new identity brings a fresh breath into our lives – i.e. All Cogenters’ lives. The energy, the positivity and the excitement you get with a new identity are different. Sort of like how you feel while driving a new car or wearing a new pair of shoes or new clothes.

3) Most importantly, our audience is changing. As much as we want to continue to provide the best services to all our existing customers and preserve those relationships sanctimoniously , we also have the need to reach out to an entirely new demographic of audience/customers, who have not heard about or of our “brand”. We need to appeal to them in a fresh way without the burden of our old identity, so they could connect better.

I think that’s it. Those really are the three reasons, in my mind, why we need to rebrand.

Srini, Yash and I have been having this discussion for about a couple of months now & the struggle to accept change is universal, I guess. We have worked very hard to build a case for this rebranding exercise and we are more than convinced that this is something that we have to do. And we have to do this in 2016. We all have a sentimental attachment to the current logo. No doubt about that. And there is really nothing that we don’t like in it. But, perhaps it is time to move on. Just because.

2016.

Now, the good news. After several weeks of creative brainstorming, we have finally picked our new logo.

  • The new logo will be simple and easy to remember.
  • Unlike the current logo, the new logo will have very little going on in it – In other words, a very simple logo.
  • We expect the viewer to immediately grasp the identity & register it in his/her mind, as opposed to the current logo, which has so many things going on in it. The colors, the arcs, the tagline, etc. – which may make it a little hard for viewers to register all the moving elements together at the same time in their minds.
  • In the age of quick information and in the age of information overload we live in, anything you can do to capture the audience quickly, is the need of the hour. We are sure our new logo will do that.

We will be launching a new website too as part of this rebranding exercise.

Srini, Yash and I are very excited about this rebranding exercise. We certainly believe that this will turn a new leaf in Cogent’s history.

After all, the middle C in our 3C principle is Creativity. What’s creativity without constantly reinventing ourselves? 

Get ready for a brand new Cogent! Together, we will enjoy the new ride.

-Ganpy.

 

Happy New Year 2012

Welcome 2012! Happy New Year to all.

What a year 2011 turned out to be for Cogent!

2011 is now our second best growth year so far. We would like to thank all Cogenters, their families, our business partners & general well-wishers all around the globe for making 2011 a successful year.

Here is looking forward to keeping up the momentum in 2012 as well.

Cheers!

Ganpy.

SAP Event Management: OnStar® for Your Supply Chain

Be everywhere in your supply chain? With SAP Event Management, be where you need to be.

What are you planning tomorrow… shipments, deliveries, receipts, production of a certain high-demand product, truck breakdown, train derailment, warehouse equipment failure, a computer disaster that prevents delivery processing and stacks up carriers’ vehicles? … the former, most certainly; the latter, probably not.

In October, 2000, I had the opportunity to support SAP’s introduction of Supply Chain Event Management (SCEM) at Sapphire. Our demo scenario was a truck carrying a load of goods; we had a telephone connected to the SCEM system. The truck broke down and the demonstrator, playing the role of the truck driver, phoned the connection, advising that he would be delayed by two hours while the truck was repaired. The expected time of arrival of the delivery was updated by the delay time enabling the planners to adjust accordingly.

SCEM is essentially a “track and trace” application; a monitor of the completion of any task related to the procurement, production, transportation, and delivery of product. SAP EM (SAP’s implementation of SCEM) is one of the applications that SAP has developed to bridge the gap between planning and execution and, as such, ultimately to support customer service and cost containment.

Strictly speaking, SAP EM – as so many of the subject matter experts continually re-iterate – is not a work flow tool, but a monitoring tool for exceptions and status changes. As such, it will not automatically fix a critical situation, like firemen arriving to put out a fire. But it will help to locate the fire. It is the person who dials 911 to report the fire so that the responders can go into action.

It’s not the jack that you use to fix a flat tire – or even the spare tire itself; it’s more like a dashboard warning indicator that the tire is underinflated and going flat so that you can take steps to avoid a road side flat.

Planning business processes gives a road map that works backward from customer requirements through production and inventory planning to procurement and supplier management. The goal of planning is to balance demand and supply, to “have the right product in the right place at the right time,” throughout the supply chain, and to do so in minimums of time and cost. In today’s supply chain many of the partners are geographically located far outside our borders, but they still play a major part in the supply chain balancing act. Receiving information on the events that they perform is a critical part of the puzzle that enables full visibility into what’s happening in your dispersed supply chain.

Planning is, like a roadmap, static; a snapshot of circumstances at one point in time. Actually getting the product to the right place at the right time is the execution part of the process. What happens when – en route – there is a road block, a detour, a traffic jam, a flat tire, or any of a number of other hazards that is unexpectedly encountered? Now, for our personal vehicles, there are OnStar® and similar products for automatic notification and contact for emergency services, vehicle diagnostics, and directions. Some of these products can transmit speed and location alerts on vehicles while another family member is behind the wheel.

But, what can we do about our businesses?

SAP EM adds a new dimension to the concept of planning: planning for the un-planned or anticipating what can interrupt completion of the plan. Good planning takes historical performance into account; it includes, for example, in forecasting, the mean average deviation of past forecasts compared to the actual demand. But

    a) It is still a backward looking method taking past performance into account to plan the future. As we all know from the disclaimer: past performance is not indicative of future returns. And
    b) Best practices imply continuous improvement, so replenishment reliability should be constantly improving Plan B – safety stock levels – should take this improvement trend into account, but will still always lag and will not be reflected in the near term..

The old adage, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” applies here. Not many businesses in this age of modern management theories and techniques fail to plan but, in my own personal experience, most businesses fail to prepare. Anticipation of obstacles, unreliability, undependability, and disappointment is typically not part of planning, and so it is a failure to prepare. And having a “Plan B” is not adequate preparation if we don’t know we need it until after the fact.

Besides, how much are companies prepared to invest in Plan B’s – especially in today’s environment of Lean Business Practices? With today’s systems technology, for example, a purchase order is scheduled to arrive not only on a particular date, but at a specific time of day – down to the second. It is scheduled to arrive then, but are we prepared to make a delivery promise to our customer based on the schedule information? If we can’t rely on it, then we’re essentially passing our uncertainty along to our customer.

SAP EM provides the ability to anticipate breakdowns in the supply chain, elevate them in near real time (if and when they occur), and act in time to recover from them.

The gaps between planning and execution include failures, breakdowns, and delays in

          •    Customer order volumes and processing
          •    Production,
          •    Delivery schedules from suppliers,
          •    Shipping and transportation,
          •    Storage and material handling,
          •    Systems failures and integration points,
          •    Communication – loss or miss-handling of documents in processing.,

Both ends of the supply chain – customer delivery and supplier delivery are affected by transportation delays. Every product today is highly transportation dependent.

And in every supply chain, links break. It’s inevitable. SAP EM can track expected completion of every task linking suppliers and customers, as well as internal tasks relating to production, material handling, storage, and data processing.

But wait – like they say in the TV infomercials – there’s more! SAP EM can continue to add value long after supply chain processes are completed. It is tightly integrated with Business Warehouse (BW, SAP’s information warehousing, intelligence, and reporting system). SAP EM can push data to BW so that tough questions can be asked and answered – questions like

          •    How well did our supply chain perform?
          •    Which partners are not performing at their agreed service levels?
          •    Where are breakdowns in our processes occurring?
          •    Did the change we made in our process last month have a positive – or any – effect?
          •    What’s our order processing cycle time?
          •    What percentage of orders went through without incident?

We all love it when a plan comes together, but – often – making a plan “come together” requires the ability to improvise, modify, adapt, and overcome when it begins to fall apart. And the ability to overcome depends on being alert to delays and breakdowns in a timely enough fashion to react and recover.

At Sapphire, 2000, I felt that SAP EM was cool; since then, I have come to feel that it’s something that no supply chain should be without.

And it’s still cool.

HRT 2010

With not much going in in this blog page, the past few weeks, I find it is only appropriate that we make one more announcement if you haven’t read the newsletters.

HRT 2010 is here and once again, Cogent will be participating in this event along with Ingentis. Our booth number is 1041.

If you have any HR technology or process related questions, do stop by. We will be showcasing the new versions of org.manager (org charting tool) and easy.pes (the assessment center software tool)

Cheers!

Ganpy.