Daily Archives: October 16, 2012

Federalist No. 15

In Federalist No. 15, Hamilton returns to the helm to address the insufficiency of the present confederation to preserve the union; a topic he will take up in the next few essays. He does so very astutely in the questions that he asks. Consider the following:

Have we valuable territories and important posts in the possession of a foreign power which, by express
stipulations, ought long since to have been surrendered?

These are still retained, to the prejudice of our interests, not less than
of our rights.

Are we in a condition to resent or to repel the aggression?
We have neither troops, nor treasury, nor

Are we even in a condition to remonstrate with dignity?
The just imputations on our own faith, in respect to
the same treaty, ought first to be removed.

Are we entitled by nature and compact to a free participation in the navigation of
the Mississippi?

Spain excludes us from it.

Is public credit an indispensable resource in time of public danger?
We seem to
have abandoned its cause as desperate and irretrievable.

Is commerce of importance to national wealth?
Ours is at the lowest
point of declension.

Is respectability in the eyes of foreign powers a safeguard against foreign encroachments?
The imbecility
of our government even forbids them to treat with us. Our ambassadors abroad are the mere pageants of mimic sovereignty.

Is a violent and unnatural decrease in the value of land a symptom of national distress?
The price of improved land in most
parts of the country is much lower than can be accounted for by the quantity of waste land at market, and can only be fully
explained by that want of private and public confidence, which are so alarmingly prevalent among all ranks, and which have
a direct tendency to depreciate property of every kind.

Is private credit the friend and patron of industry?
That most useful
kind which relates to borrowing and lending is reduced within the narrowest limits, and this still more from an opinion of
insecurity than from the scarcity of money.

In other words, the current confederacy of the time could not:

  • secure the valuable territories and foreign posts that would be the right of the Union
  • repel an aggression by a foreign empire
  • remonstrate with dignity
  • freely navigate the Mississippi
  • secure the public credit required for a strong nation
  • engage in free and unrestricted commerce
  • gain sufficient respectability in the eyes of foreign powers to prevent unwanted encroachments
  • etc.

In other words, given the lack of power, resources, and population within each of the separate loose confederacies, neither on its own could hope to preserve the union against an attack thereon.
That’s why Hamilton implores us to make a firm stand for our safety, our tranquillity, our dignity, our reputation and at last break the fatal charm which has too long seduced us from the paths of felicity and prosperity.

How advanced are your Shared Services?

Especially if you’re not a global 3000 working with a BoB (Best of Breed) Shared Services Advisory firm?

A recent article over on the Shared Services Link describes Six Trends that define the Shared Services age today. In particular, it notes that:

  • Shared Services Continue to Move Up the Value Chain
    The argument is that much of the finance function has been outsourced, the dynamic of staff in an SSO is changing (as teams no longer crunch and enter data) but instead judge and advise, and the model works.
  • Business services rather than finance services
    The argument is that we’ve moved on to business functions like HR, IT, and Procurement and this provides the organization with greater value.
  • Outsources gain share, but slowly
    Since 2007, there have been 850 major finance multi-process outsourcing deals.
  • Shared services find better ways to work in a multi-ERP environment
    They have adopted middleware technology to integrate the systems.
  • Data is evolving into insight
    Now that we’ve moved beyond process consolidation and off-shoring, we can focus on BI (Business Intelligence).
  • A new breed of being — the global process owner
    We have created end-to-end process guardians who oversee the global implementation of a process.

And while I believe this is true for the 850 multi-nationals that entered into big shared-services deals with “tier 1” shared service providers, for mid-size companies just jumping on the bandwagon, are they as lucky? Yes, the technology and processes will be there in the providers, but in order to take advantage of it, it often requires considerable restructuring and change management on the part of the company. Sometimes so much so that the leading organizations, uninterested in what will be a losing engagement during the learning curve, may inadvertently scare these organizations away to “tier 2” providers that mainly focus on process standardization and data consolidation and haven’t advanced to the third wave of BI and expert consulting. So if you’re not in the big leagues, have you yet to catch sight of the third wave?