03 Wholesale Chemical Distribution Company – JD Edwards and Big Brand Implementer

Eighteen month JD Edwards implementation by big brand Consulting firm.  After five months of live operation warehouse output was still extremely slow and delivery promise was being consistently broken to just-in-time manufacturing clients.  The client was starting to lose their biggest customers.

Within five days established that the configuration was fundamentally flawed and that none of the consultants could explain why it was the way it was or what was required to rectify the problem.

Advised the CEO to return to previous system for business survival reasons and initiated discussion with previous service provider.  Client returned to previous system in five weeks and six months later referred to the decision as “the best decision we ever took”.

Report

REVIEW OF BUSINESS SYSTEMS
STATUS AT CLIENTCOMPANY03

A limited scope investigation was undertaken into the status of Business Information Systems at ClientCompany03.

Following are the findings of the investigation:

1. ALLEGATION OF NEGLIGENCE - POTENTIAL CLAIM FOR DAMAGES
There appears to be a basis to allege negligence against BigBrandImplementer03 with a view to claiming damages in terms of unbudgeted costs and loss of profits resulting from business disruption.

2. BUDGET CONSTRAINTS, POLICIES, APPROACH, IMPLEMENTATION
It appears that the budget was tighter than would have permitted a viable outcome and that there were other decisions and actions on behalf of ClientCompany03 which exacerbated the situation.  Includes decision to implement JDE "the same as ERP03".

3. SOURCE CODE FOR COMPACT
It is likely that ClientCompany03 can gain access to the ERP03 source code, either in terms of a letter that apparently exists or, if necessary, by legal action.  The originator of ERP03 is available to provide support for at least two years and possibly for five years.  This could potentially be extended.

4. WAREHOUSE -- CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The current state of the implementation of J D Edwards in the ClientCompany03 Inland Warehouse appears to be cause for significant concern.  It seems that there may be basic configuration issues as well as implementation issues that may require a substantial effort and investment to resolve.  This component is CENTRAL to the situation given the strategic driver of excellence in customer service which is largely attained through very short response times between time of order and time of delivery.

5. HIGH COST OF COMPLETION OF JDE IMPLEMENTATION
It appears that the additional cost to complete the implementation of JDE countrywide will amount to between £100,000 and £500,000 by end 2004.  This assumes an implementation which is consciously and actively designed to minimize further business disruption.

6. COST OF REVERTING TO ERP03 AND ENHANCING
It seems likely that ClientCompany03 could revert Inland to ERP03 and undertake modifications to improve overall efficiency for a cost of between £50,000 and £150,000 by end 2004.  Planning, data conversion, change management, etc for a minimum impact change back must not be under estimated.

7. OTHER - UPGRADE IN-HOUSE CAPABILITY
Need for a more comprehensive in-house capability - undertake an H.R. investigation.  Larger operating budget for I.T.


FURTHER INFORMATION
More details regarding the above factors is contained in Appendix 2.


RECOMMENDATION
The relative merits of ClientCompany03 completing the implementation of JDE countrywide versus reverting the Inland Division to ERP03 have been evaluated as set out in Appendix 1.  Based on this evaluation it is concluded that ClientCompany03 should revert the Inland Division to ERP03 and that JDE should be abandoned.  This is determined on the basis of weighted scoring in terms of critical factors for adjudicating the decision.

The move back to ERP03 in Inland should take place within a carefully managed project plan which addresses all necessary measures to minimize business disruption.  This may cost as much as £50,000.


NEXT STEPS
Following a decision to revert to ERP03 the following steps are recommended:

a. Negotiate a two year or five year support contract with regard to ERP03 with a longer term horizon of ten years if possible.

b. Establish a multi-disciplinary team to plan the return to ERP03 in Inland with minimum business disruption.

c. Contract a resource with excellent knowledge of ERP03 full time from Supplier03 for the duration of the project (2 to 4 months?).

d. Systematically plan and execute the necessary measures to move back to ERP03 at best possible speed within constraints of risk containment in terms of business impact.

e. Contract other resources.  Including secondment of staff from other divisions if necessary to relieve pressure and ensure project is well resourced.

f. Carefully designed and implemented communication program with staff and customers.

Yours faithfully


Dr JAMES ROBERTSON PrEng
JAMES A ROBERTSON AND ASSOCIATES
Achieving effective, sustainable competitive advantage and profitable, decisive corporate operation through effective application of I.T. and Strategy


APPENDIX A
EVALUATION OF RELATIVE MERITS
ERP03  AND J D EDWARDS



The relative merits off ClientCompany03 continuing the implementation of J D Edwards (JDE) or reverting to ERP03 were evaluated against the following criteria (relative importance in brackets as weight out of 100%):

1. SATISFY STRATEGIC DRIVER - CYCLE TIME (40%)
How well does each solution satisfy the strategic driver of excellence in customer service through consistently low order - delivery cycle times within the context of a low margin business?  
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 8/10; JDE = 3/10: Forecast: ERP03 9/10; JDE = 7/10

ERP03 has been developed using ClientCompany03 as a benchmark.  JDE remains a generic package no matter how finely it is tuned.

2. LOW ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATING COST (12%)
How well does each solution offer low overall establishment and operating costs within the context of a low margin business?
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 9/10; JDE = 2/10: Forecast: ERP03 8/10; JDE = 5/10

ERP03 is in full operation in much of ClientCompany03 and is well known in Inland.  JDE has US$ denominated costs and corporate professional service fees whereas ERP03 has Rand denominated costs and small entrepreneur professional service fees.

3. RELIABILITY (20%)
How reliable is each solution in terms of expected up time, support, etc?
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 9/10; JDE = 5/10: Forecast: ERP03 9/10; JDE = 7/10

JDE software is dependent on long distance support for bug fixes which can occur as evidenced by the debtors patch problem experienced after starting operation.  ERP03 is well established in ClientCompany03.

4. WORLD CLASS SOFTWARE (2%)
Is the software solution world class, is it acknowledged as such?
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 3/10; JDE = 9/10: Forecast: ERP03 3/10; JDE = 9/10

JDE certainly meets all generally accepted criteria to be regarded as world class.  However, it is considered that goodness of fit to the ClientCompany03 business is more important.

5. WINDOWS SOFTWARE (1%)
Is the software Windows based?
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 0/10; JDE = 10/10: Forecast: ERP03 0/10; JDE = 10/10

JDE is fully Windows based even to the point of apparently not supporting mouse free operation - this is regarded by the writer as a weakness.

6. QUALITY OF DATABASE, OPERATING SYSTEM AND HARDWARE PLATFORM (5%)
Is the technology platform on which the software solution resides of high quality?
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 9/10; JDE = 9/10: Forecast: ERP03 9/10; JDE = 9/10

Both systems run on effectively the same platform.  The technology investment made for JDE can be used for ERP03 and will result in very significantly improved operating performance for ERP03.

7. EASE OF USE AND IMPLEMENTATION (20%)
How easy is the software for existing ClientCompany03 users to use; includes ease of implementation in remaining regions.
Rating -- Current: ERP03 = 9/10; JDE = 1/10: Forecast: ERP03 9/10; JDE = 7/10

It is likely that even with considerable tuning for ClientCompany03 JDE will still be more complex for new users to learn.


WEIGHTED SCORE RESULTS
Current: ERP03 = 9.8; JDE = 3.7; Forecast: ERP03 = 10.3; JDE = 7.5.  ERP03 rates 265% stronger than JDE on Current and 137% Stronger on Forecast.

In considering these ratings it is important to note that ERP03 has been in use at ClientCompany03 for approximately 15 years and that much of ERP03 was developed in close consultation with ClientCompany03.  ERP03 is therefore an excellent fit.


CONCLUSION
While JDE can certainly be made to work effectively and efficiently within ClientCompany03 the writer is unable to build a case for the rest of ClientCompany03 to change to JDE taking account of cost and business disruption and accordingly recommends that ClientCompany03 Inland reverts to ERP03.


APPENDIX B
FURTHER REMARKS ON FINDINGS



1. ALLEGATION OF NEGLIGENCE - POTENTIAL CLAIM FOR DAMAGES
This finding should be considered in the context of the actions by BigBrandImplementer03 (BBI03) in purchasing ERP03, discontinuing the product and effectively forcing ClientCompany03 to change their software.

It is the writer's opinion that the courts would have found against BBI03 had ClientCompany03 taken measures to oppose this action by BBI03.

The nett effect is that ClientCompany03 were pressurized into changing to JDE and then received professional support which it seems reasonable to regard as incompetent and / or negligent at a level that would warrant ClientCompany03 claiming substantial damages.

2. BUDGET CONSTRAINTS, POLICIES, APPROACH, IMPLEMENTATION
No further comment considered necessary.

3. SOURCE CODE FOR COMPACT
BBI03 have apparently acknowledged that ClientCompany03 are entitled to the source code for ERP03.

Supplier03, the originator of ERP03, has indicated that he is available to support ERP03 for two years and that subject to commercially acceptable terms with ClientCompany03 and other users he would entertain support for five years.

It is the writers opinion that if ClientCompany03 invest a portion of the total estimated cost to convert to JDE in a long term contractual relationship with Supplier03 and his associates it should be possible to secure a longer term of support.

In principle, provided a few other major users choose to remain with ERP03 long term there is no reason to expect that support will ever be terminated.

4. WAREHOUSE -- CAUSE FOR CONCERN
If ClientCompany03 are to remain with JDE then any action to optimize the operation of JDE should only take place after a comprehensive evaluation of exactly what the issues are.  This should be accompanied by a laboratory evaluation of possible courses of action to ensure that whatever  changes are made do, in fact, produce an overall reduction in cycle time in conjunction with high levels of stability, reliability, etc.

In the event of ClientCompany03 choosing to revert Inland to ERP03 the above recommendation also applies to JDE for the short term until ClientCompany03 Inland is ready to move back to ERP03.

This aspect of business operations is so critical and so sensitive that all actions with respect to JDE in this area should be meticulously analyzed and tested before implementation.

5. HIGH COST OF COMPLETION OF JDE IMPLEMENTATION
This cost estimate is based on a course of action directed at ensuring that the implementation of JDE in all regions is as smooth as possible and is accompanied by the absolute minimum business disruption.  It is strongly recommended that whatever expenditure is necessary to ensure efficient and effective implementation of JDE in each division is properly planned and budgeted.  This implementation should take account of any operational differences that may exist in different divisions.

The amount of time and manpower, and therefore cost, that is required to achieve minimum business disruption and maximum business effectiveness during and after implementation is considerably greater than the cost required to simply achieve implementation without taking account of business disruption.

6. COST OF REVERTING TO ERP03 AND ENHANCING
While the cost of reverting could be minimized and a case presented for this being a relatively painless exercise it is the writer's opinion that this is not a viable option.  ClientCompany03 Inland has experienced severe business disruption and all future changes should take place within a framework where the risk of further disruption of the business is consciously and actively minimized.

7. OTHER - UPGRADE IN-HOUSE CAPABILITY
It must be recognized that bringing in additional manpower without activities to keep them productively occupied will be counter productive.  A suitable mix of permanent staff and part time contracted personnel should be assembled in order to provide ClientCompany03 with a robust, sustainable, reliable in-house capability.

This should take place within the context of proposals to HoldingCompany03 in terms of overall management of Business Information Systems.



Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

Std 002 Standards for Custom Software Specification

A set of outline standards for the specification of custom software
SNw 057 Business System Failure – HOW do you recognize it?

Many executives and managers do NOT know how to recognize business systems failure.  They have failed systems right at their finger tips, gauged by the standards advocated on this website, BUT they do NOT realize that they are at some level failures and, because they do NOT recognize failure they do NOT recognize either the need OR the opportunity to DO something about it
Std 021 Procurement: 12 Information required from Third Party Software Suppliers

In some cases bidders may need information from third party software suppliers who are providing services or information to the client, this document provides basic information for this purpose

Sample Pulse Measurement Report for Fleet Management Client -- ClientCompany28 -- Health of Microsoft AX Project and Implementer28 Professional Services

 
Project had been running for three years and cost millions with NO deliverable with seriously toxic relationships throughout the Project Team

Clear evidence of implementer incompetence and possibly dishonesty, range of key measures prescribed to turn the situation around

Implementer was the IT consulting arm of one of the "Big 4" accounting firms

 

 Report

A Pulse Measurement investigation into the health of the Microsoft AX Project and associated services from Implementer28 was undertaken for ClientCompany28 from 14 to 19 March 2012.

 

This report summarizes headline level findings and recommended actions.

 

All recommendations should be regarded as provisional and might be refined in the event of further information coming to light but are regarded as a reliable headline level result.

 

Findings

Following are the headline findings, percentages at the end of headings give an indication of the relative importance of each point in making my recommendations.

 

1.       Toxic project psychology and low visibility of deliverables – 7%
The level of conflicting opinions encountered during this Pulse Measurement was in the upper 10% of what I have encountered in doing dozens of Pulse Measurements

There is a lot of finger pointing, Implementer28 are blaming ClientCompany28, ClientCompany28 are blaming Implementer28, Implementer28’s people are blaming their management, ClientCompany28’s people are blaming their management.  There are people who were only prepared to express opinions subject to explicit assurance of confidentiality.

A significant number of reports of people in tears, people swearing and shouting, planning to resign or resigned, etc

The psychology of the project in many areas is very toxic although there were some suggestions that there were improvements as a result of recent developments

Very difficult to get real clarity with regard to what was going on, had to dig for sight of deliverables, reports of work trashed and redone repeatedly, etc

Ratings of likelihood of a successful outcome ranging from 0 (trash immediately) to 6 or 7, several people thought the project should be aborted

I have given this point a relatively low rating because it is my opinion that while these are real issues they are the symptoms of the issues addressed below

2.       Lack of a clear strategic project definition – 22%
The thing that stands out about this project is the complete lack of a clear definition of the project goals, divergent opinions as to the essence of the business and the project, etc

There is no visible document that clearly and concisely sets out the goals of the project, the Essence of ClientCompany28’s business, what the final deliverable will be and how to get there

The bottom line is that the project is rudderless and drifting with no coherent view of what is being achieved and how it is to be achieved

It appears that Implementer28 do not see such a definition as important and have never made any attempt to obtain clarity – Implementer28CEO thinks he knows what is required but his definition is drastically at odds with what I was consistently told by ClientCompany28 management – this seems to evidence a level of arrogance or disinterest which is cause for concern

My understanding of the Essence of ClientCompany28’s business as seen by ClientCompany28 Executives and Management is “financial services – we want to be the leading provider of leasing solutions through the use of highly automated and highly advanced financial service software systems”

The goal of the project from ClientCompany28’s side is “Internet banking on steroids – fully interactive computer applications on the customers desk that allows them to tailor a vehicle lease, get a quote and authorize the quote and then allow ClientCompany28 to process that order through to delivery with minimum human intervention, includes allowing suppliers to pay themselves”

On a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 = we do not need computers and 10 = we are completely dependent on computers as in financial services and banking, ClientCompany28 management see their goal for this project as being to move them to a 9 or 10 and see themselves as already being at a fairly advanced level.  Implementer28CEO on the other hand sees ClientCompany28 as currently a 4 with the initial aim of the project being a 6 with possibly an 8 in due course but does NOT see this as a critical requirement

Implementer28CEO does not see 10 as necessary or achievable

Implementer28CEO’s description of the project and its goals is flowery sales speak and lacks precision and clarity

The biggest single reason this project is in difficulty is a lack of a clear, consistent and cogent statement of the goals of the project coupled with a substantial gap between Implementer28’s interpretation of the requirement and the actual requirement as stipulated consistently by ClientCompany28 Executives and Managers – it is my view that it is the responsibility of Implementer28 to make sure that they accurately understand the goals of their client

There are references to head-count reduction goals which, in my experience, are likely to be difficult to deliver on – head count reduction is the natural consequence of a well configured, well implemented ERP well operated and is a spin-off.  Making head-count reduction a goal introduces negative psychology and results in people trying to figure out how to reduce head-count rather than now to implement the system optimally

3.       Development project NOT an ERP project, AX is an inefficient development environment – 15%
As a direct outworking of the previous point, ClientCompany28’s requirement is for a highly tailored solution geared to delivering the highly intelligent customer interface and all supporting services necessary to create the competitive position outlined above

It appears that Implementer28 only fully realized that this was primarily a development project about six months ago and have since been resourcing accordingly

As far as I can determine Implementer28 are primarily a ERP configuration service provider and NOT a development house.  They have had to acquire development resources but still have to learn how to manage such resources (fundamentally different management to configuration) and the massive gap in strategic understanding referred to above will hinder this

It is important to understand that from a fundamental first principles consideration of ClientCompany28’s objective, as set out above, this was NEVER an ERP project, it has always been a development project

It appears that either Implementer28 totally failed to comprehend this in their initial presales negotiations or chose to ignore it and try to shoe-horn ClientCompany28 into AX no matter what the cost

Estimates of the level of custom development on this project run to as high as 75% but not lower than 30%.  There is NO question that this is a major custom development project and that Implementer28 grossly failed to recognize this and run the project accordingly

Further indications are that AX is a complex, cumbersome and highly inefficient development environment, one ClientCompany28 technical staff member referred to it as “horrible” – I do not have independent verification of this but repeatedly observed that it was very difficult to get clarity on what is being developed and that there is considerable jargon on the part of Implementer28 personnel

It should be noted that the development of an “Internet banking on steroids” solution for ClientCompany28 requires a front end customer interface that Is extremely lean, highly efficient (fast), robust, error free, etc – inherently this implies the use of high performance technology which as far as I can determine is NOT what AX offers.  There appear to be strong reasons to suggest that the customer interface should NOT be developed using the approach currently proposed

Coupled to this there is a fundamental issue in that the solution should be designed top down with the customer interface as the starting point – determine what is required in the customer interface and then build the rest of the customization to deliver this.  In this case there is no attempt to design and build in this manner

There appears to be a basis to circumscribe the extent of development undertaken in AX versus what might be undertaken using other technology

It appears that AxAddOn28 may only provide a 15% fit according to some interpretations and is therefore an inappropriate technology choice – at that level of fit it would be better to redesign from scratch.  Xxx appears to know of alternative technology which is allegedly a better fit

Changing from AX 2009 to 2012 mid-stream seems questionable given that there was so much custom development required – there is the paradox that many of the reasons why Informix has been rejected as a future platform are manifesting in the AX environment – e.g. massive upgrade effort – it is estimated that the move from 2009 to 2012 has delayed the project by 9 months, this is roughly the length of time it would have taken to port the current FourGen / Informix Xxx solution to the Xxx database platform which would allegedly have remediated the technical constraints on Xxx (note that Informix is owned by IBM)

4.       Implementer28 have failed to provide necessary professional guidance – 14%
From consideration of the previous points it will be apparent that I am of the opinion that Implementer28 have failed miserably to provide the required level of professional guidance and thought leadership with the result that a year to two years of time, hundreds of thousands of Pounds and tens of thousands of hours have been sub-optimally employed if not totally wasted

It seems that Implementer28 have spent three years without a robust clearly understood definition of the project goals – I would expect to see carefully designed posters setting out the project goals and main design elements, I asked close to ten people for the strategic concept document that allegedly exists but at the time of writing have not received a copy

Implementer28 have spent at least two years treating the project as an AX ERP configuration project when fundamentally it is a development project and AX is not necessarily then the most appropriate technology platform – by all means use AX as the ERP but that does NOT necessitate that high performance customer facing software has to be developed within the AX context and if AX is inhibiting development to the extent that some people seem to suggest then AX needs to be reconsidered

Implementer28 appear to have shifted considerable responsibility for the design of the solution to ClientCompany28 people with ClientCompany28 staff being taken out of production for very considerable periods of time to undertake documentation and workshops that appear to be outside their scope of knowledge and experience and producing mountains of theoretical documentation.  At this stage I have not been convincingly shown that these documents are resulting in a concrete and robust deliverable

It is my opinion that Implementer28 should have facilitated workshops with groups of ClientCompany28 people and that Implementer28 personnel should have produced the documentation in close cooperation with the development personnel in order to ensure robust specifications.  The basic process should entail:

- Walkthroughs of current way of doing things
- Outline by ClientCompany28 management of the future desired state
- Workshops with user populations, with Implementer28 analysts AND developers present
- Implementer28 analyst personnel produce documentation in consultation with business and developers
- Review draft specification in workshop setting with business users and developers
- Refine
- Review and refine again
- Adopt

It appears that the process that has ACTUALLY been followed is:
- Pull ClientCompany28 personnel out of the business
- Leave them to draft all sorts of documents they really do not understand
- Workshop in some way
- Present to management and get an explosion because management were not consulted at the start

As far as I can see Implementer28’s way of working is fundamentally flawed from a systems engineering perspective, it appears to be defective even from the perspective of limited tailoring of standard AX components in that it seems to be fundamentally a bottom-up approach

The ClientCompany28 team for the most part appear to be dedicated, loyal, passionate and trying really hard but from what I can see the defective Implementer28 approach has set them up for failure

It does not appear to occur to the Implementer28 consultants that if they are repeatedly doing weeks of work and being told by ClientCompany28 management that the results they are producing fail to meet business requirements that there is something wrong with the way Implementer28 are doing things rather than blaming ClientCompany28 – UNLESS ClientCompany28 have been consistently interfering with the work of the Implementer28 consultants and giving them direction and then not take responsibility for the outcome

It is firmly my opinion that a client engages the services of an external professional services firm like Implementer28 on the basis that they expect that firm to provide comprehensive guidance, thought leadership, strategic architectural guidance, etc – this appears to be consistently lacking in the services that Implementer28 have supplied

There are some VERY GOOD PEOPLE on the Implementer28 team but the high level leadership is lacking and there are rumbles that the top management of Implementer28 have refused to listen to the consultants on many occasions and made sales promises to ClientCompany28 that the consultants knew were false and that they could not deliver on

It does appear that Implementer28 are course correcting, Xxx and a number of his people appear to be highly competent and Xxx appears to be competent but they are operating within a defective governance framework from Implementer28 management and at this stage seem likely to produce more of the same unless the fundamental strategic definition issues outlined above are fully addressed

I have not been able to understand why moving to an “Agile” methodology is going to fix the problem when huge amounts of work have been done and it appears that the basic content of the work is defective

Certain Implementer28 consultants come across as very cocky and confident to the point of being arrogant without necessarily being able to demonstrate delivery

There is a massive deficit in terms of high level strategic guidance with regard to the design of the overall solution and, at this stage, while I think that the development team MAY be capable of delivering technically they need much clearer strategic direction and I am not sure that Implementer28 management have the knowledge and experience to run a project of this nature or else they are stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that there is something that they are doing which is fundamentally getting in the way of the core objectives of the project

There also appears to be a lack of Governance clarity on the Implementer28 team in terms of who is guiding the project overall

Fundamentally ClientCompany28 have very substantial and very valid reasons to deal very severely with Implementer28 – this having been said, the fact is that ClientCompany28 have made a huge investment in getting to know the AX environment and development platform and build relationships with the Implementer28 team and Implementer28 have made a commensurately huge investment in getting to understand ClientCompany28’s business and build relationships with ClientCompany28’s people – it is NOT in the interests of ClientCompany28 to terminate Implementer28 at this point BUT a major change in the way the relationship is managed is going to be vital

5.       ITManager28 is stretched excessively – 10%
It seems that ITManager28 is excessively stretched and that she has stepped up to the plate in various areas which have resulted in this situation

It is recommended that actions are taken to assist ITManager28 to focus on her core areas of real high value knowledge and experience relative to achieving the project outcome and provide resources to ensure that other activities are delegated to others – I understand that some recruitment measures are in place but would recommend that the exact specification of the human resources required be carefully evaluated in the light of this report before personnel are appointed or contracted

6.       ClientCompany28 need a very experienced and very senior project leader /  director – 12%
From ClientCompany28’s side it seems to me that the biggest gap if for a very senior, very experienced project leader / project director, not necessarily full time, to come in and take over the running of the project from the client perspective, someone who can engage in tough negotiations with the service provider, negotiate in terms of project scope on a peer level with executives, give strategic solution guidance, etc 

This is a role that I sometimes play, ClientCompany28CEO has asked me for a separate proposal in this context

7.       Outsourcing of the development of core strategic capability is not advisable – 2%
Given the very ambitious vision of ClientCompany28 and the core strategic capability that it is desired to develop I am not entirely comfortable with an external third party developing the elements of the software that are critically strategic, that is the software to sit on customers desks

I realize that it is late in the day to change the current contractual arrangements but I would suggest that the current arrangements are reviewed – it is vital that the core software development capability for core strategic value should be tightly held by ClientCompany28 and NOT be out in the market to be sold off to the highest bidder

Undertaking key elements of this development in-house should be carefully considered

8.       Fundamental database design and business intelligence design can start immediately – 8%
I strongly recommend a drastic rethink of the way the solution is being designed

The fundamental logical entities that make up the customer user interface and the  major building blocks of the solution, that is vehicles, accessories, customers, lease terms, etc, etc are well known and will not change – there is no reason a robust entity relationship map of fundamental data elements cannot be developed immediately

This document will then form the basis of:

-  Database design for the customer user interface
-  Design for the data warehouse and  Business Intelligence solution loading out of Xxx as an interim solution if required

The fundamental database design is a function of the business NOT AX, there needs to be linkage back into AX in some cases but if the view that up to 60% or more of the total solution will be custom developed then constraining this development because of the existence of AX must be questioned.

9.       Quality of validation data is average to poor requires critical attention – 6%
Quality of validation data is average to poor, the new Chart of Accounts seems fair but could be improved but other lists like the Accessory code require significant investment:



There is no logic in the above list on which software intelligence can be built

A well designed hierarchical list should replace this

Similar comments apply elsewhere

Note that a poorly configured ERP leads to all sorts of operational inefficiencies and increased operating costs – precision configuration is a critical requirement to achieving the goals set for this project and I have seen very little evidence of precision configuration – thus, while this point has a relatively low weight it is nevertheless critical once the other issues have been addressed

10.   Remediating and strengthening Xxx should be investigated further – 4%
The possibility of falling back to Xxx was explored

There ARE apparently interface issues with the Informix Database that are inhibitors to change but further research in this field may be warranted

Conversion to the Xxx database would open up the database but is estimated to take two senior developers twelve months and does carry risks.  Once this was done ClientCompany28 would be able to use a diversity of development technology to enhance the Xxx solution long term

Note that it would be necessary to pay premium salaries for key developers but it is likely that these salaries will NOT be any more than are required for AX developers

There does appear to be a basis to conclude that the decision to trash Xxx was not necessarily the best decision given the real strategic priorities, it is almost certain that if ClientCompany28 had remained with Xxx, converted the database and run a tight project in lines with past experience that a new customer interface would have been deployed and fully operational at least a year ago

The above findings point to a number of areas of uncertainty that require further investigation in order to arrive at a robust way forward.  Proposed actions are discussed in the next section of this report

Overall it appears that the project can be stabilized and managed to achieve a successful outcome but some significant changes in approach are called for

Recommended Actions
Following are the recommended actions following on tabling of this report:
1.       Appoint executive level project leader /  director – 28%
ClientCompany28 need an executive level individual, probably part time, to drive this project for them – need considerable systems, project management / leadership experience, architectural ability, etc – this person should lead and guide the execution of all the points below

2.       High level solution design and documentation – 23%
Run a series of workshops at the Executive level to arrive at a robust and comprehensive high level specification of the required business outcome (Internet on steroids) and produce comprehensive documentation down to the level of the individual user interface screens that the customer will interact with

3.       Evaluate sustainability of Xxx – 14%
Undertake further research to establish whether there are alternative solutions to the problems with Informix interfacing in order to make Xxx more viable as a fall-back position

Note that Informix is now owned by IBM so I would expect there to be fairly robust alternative solutions to the problems that were described to me in terms of interfacing

4.       High level walkthrough and more in-depth evaluation of state of AX project – 11%
I had great difficulty getting a real hands-on feel for what is there, some people said almost nothing and others say a considerable amount

The only way to answer this is to get all the key people in a room for a day or two days and have the Implementer28 and ClientCompany28 teams walk us systematically through what has been done in terms of practical demonstration of documents, screens, etc

At the end of this process take a final decision as to whether there really is a case to continue with AX or fall back to Xxx and alternative technology is warranted

5.       More detailed evaluation of Implementer28’s performance – 9%
For the reasons indicated above it is difficult to gauge Implementer28’s performance – as far as I can see I would give them about 2/10 but a few people seemed to point to better performance

The proposed walkthrough above will give a better indication of whether Implementer28 is just offering good sales talk and technical sub-standard work or is able to deliver – note that I think that provided the way in which they are managed is significantly changed there is a reasonable basis to expect that they can deliver provided we prevent loss of further key personnel

I do NOT think that Implementer28 should be terminated unless it is found that there really is nothing of substance to show for the work done so far but I DO think they need to be managed very differently

6.       Project to deliver customer solution as rapidly as possible – 7%
I am reasonably certain that with limited technical adjustments and compromises it should be possible to start designing and developing the software to sit on client desk-tops in the near future, to run against Xxx if necessary initially

7.       Precision configuration (taxonomy) activities – 5%
Precision code tables should be developed – refer my Taxonomy Manual for reference

8.       First principles data warehouse and business intelligence design – 3%
As with the customer interface, the design of the master tables for the Data warehouse should commence soon and not be further delayed and the same with the Business Intelligence design

Conclusion

There appear to be major reasons for dissatisfaction with Implementer28 and reasons for concern with the current project status

 

Measures should be taken that improve team morale, improve focus and build on what it good in the project environment which appears to be significant and improving – we should NOT break what is in the process of getting fixed

Having said this there is a need for appointment of a senior advisory / leader to ClientCompany28 to direct the project, proper definition of high level project goals, more in-depth assessment of the value of the work done to-date and other actions directed at ensuring a high value outcome

 

I am available to assist in whatever way ClientCompany28 require to give effect to these recommendations.



Dr James A Robertson PrEng

The Essence of the Pulse Measurement

A concise high impact investigation that quickly delivers an accurate diagnosis of the cause of system problems in Business Language that makes sense to executives coupled to prescription of practical and actionable treatment

IF you have the SLIGHTEST RESERVATIONS about whether you are obtaining the full value from your Business Systems and ERP investments;

or are in the least bit concerned that your systems are HARMING YOUR ORGANIZATION;

or your project is stalled;

or you want a view on the best way forward;

or you want to embark on procurement of new systems and need high level guidance;

or simply want an independent second opinion on any business systems related matter;

then contact us NOW

The fees are MINIMAL relative to the savings that many clients have experienced

And IF you are NOT fully satisfied with the service after the first day you may terminate the engagement and pay ONLY travel and expenses outside of London

 

For more information visit the main Pulse Measurement page


Click here to email us now to discuss your requirements and obtain a proposal without obligation


Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

Prd 041 Strategic Snapshot Toolset

The StratSnap toolset has been developed over 24 years and owes its conceptual origin to Professor Malcolm MacDonald's Exmar software

It is a very effective Critical Issues based Strategic Analysis tool that has a diversity of uses as discussed on the Strategy page

The spreadsheets are now over ten years old and need a significant refresh and may require tweaking with the latest versions of Excel

For that reason I am giving them away free on a NO warranty basis for you to try out and use as you see fit

I offer comprehensive facilitation using this tool with insight and technique refined over the 24 year period
Std 018 Procurement: 09 Table of Contents of Submission

The Table of Contents of the Tender Submission is prescribed in detail in order to ensure that different bids can be lined up against one another and accurately compared
Sem 03 The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success

Detailed discussion of the factors that cause business information system investment failure and the Critical Factors for investment success -- these factors are vital to understanding the information technology industry generally and particularly to understanding business information systems
SNw 054 What does a HIGH VALUE Business Information System Solution look like -- White Paper

An overview of the attributes of a high value business information systems implementation measured in terms of the business outcome some years after the system has been fully commissioned
Cnf MVw Most Viewed Presentations

The following presentations are those that have been most viewed since posting on Slideshare giving some indication of where the focus of interest lies
Std 012 Procurement: 04 Procurement Timeline and Diary

The procurement timeline is a relatively simple Gantt Chart -- I lay it out in Excel, it is quick and serves the purpose, see the sample attached
The goal of the timeline is to set out the overall timing of the procurement process in sufficient detail that all parties are fully aware of the sequence of events that is planned so that they can schedule accordingly
Cnf 037 The Reasons Why More Than 70% of Corporations are Dissatisfied with their I.T. Investment : How Senior Management can Respond Proactively to Overcome This Syndrome in Their Organizations

The factors causing sub-optimal business information system project outcomes and executive frustration and what is required to overcome these problems

Dr James A Robertson PrEng

Business Systems NOT delivering?

Call the Business Systems Specialist

Dr. James Robinson

Dr James A Robertson -- has been involved in the effective application of Business Information Systems, including but NOT limited to ERP, since 1987 and in the profitable and effective use of computers in Business since 1981.

Drawing on a diversity of experience, including formal military training in Quick Attack techniques at the Regimental Commander level, Dr Robertson has developed highly effective methods of investigating any sub-optimal Business Information Systems situation -- be it an established system or a stalled project or any other source of Executive frustration -- quickly and concisely diagnosing the root cause of the problem and prescribing concise practical actions that Business Executives can effectively act on see the Pulse Measurement page and also the Sample Reports page for redacted real reports.

He has also developed highly effective methods of strategically enriching systems to unlock the full potential of existing investments, see the Precision Configuration page and couples this to architecting small pieces of clever software that harness the full potential of your investment, see the Software page.

If you are having problems with your systems, your project or your IT Department, call The Business Systems Specialist
James@James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com

Business System Failure is RIFE -- we offer insight into why this happens AND WHAT is required to prevent it.

Failure is at epidemic levels with massive damage done to client companies -- if you are NOT aware of the extent of the problem please visit the About Failure page for a catalog of major failures running to billions of Pounds and Dollars.

All evidence indicates that the established players do NOT know how to deliver stable, reliable high value solutions that WORK.

There HAS to be a better way!

This website provides information relating to that way with a large collection of white papers, presentations, standards documents, etc that you can use to start bringing the situation under control

We also offer high level advisory services with regard to the application of the principles advocated on this website

We offer an ENGINEERING APPROACH to addressing these issues

Click here to read more about the Engineering Approach

By Engineering I mean the formal, structured, highly disciplined, highly systematic, highly practical approach that consistently delivers results in ALL areas of human endeavor where formally trained and certified engineers are the ONLY practitioners permitted to operate -- think large buildings, factories, motor vehicles, aircraft -- highly complex systems that work at a level that we take it for granted that they WILL work and where failure is all but unthinkable and, when it happens, attracts immediate public attention and rigorous investigation directed at ensuring that such failures are prevented in the future -- in fact, everything that the management consulting industry that implements complex software systems is NOT

This approach is discussed further on the Engineering Approach page.

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Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

Web 02 Executive Custody -- What IS it and how do you get it?

The Executive Custody of Business Information Systems projects is absolutely critical, this video provides a detailed discussion of why this is so and what measures are necessary to achieve executive custody
Cnf 063 Information Technology -- The Harshest Judge of Governance

Information Technology projects fail frequently and one of the key aspects of failure is a failure of governance with particular emphasis on executive custody, this presentation discusses the importance of executive custody and associated governance in achieving high value business information system project outcomes and also discusses a number of other related factors including strategic alignment
SNw 051 Strategically Enriching your BIS: Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations

Steps in applying these recommendations with regard to precision configuration in terms of a method of working geared to quickly and efficiently developing high quality data content that captures the essence of the organization and creates a platform to help the organization thrive
SNw 049 Strategic Essence: The Missing Link: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure

The strategic essence of the organization should be the point of departure AND the focal point of every business information systems project -- THIS is the component of the business that should be jealously protected, strengthened and enhanced and it is the part of the business that is most vulnerable to bad decisions and botched projects
SNw 044 Robust Procurement: Part 1 -- Introduction

An overview of a robust business information systems procurement method designed to ensure that a robust and enforceable contract is entered into before a project commences

Book -- The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success

In 2003 I undertook an in-depth analysis of all the information and experience that I had gathered with regard to the factors giving rise to Business Information System failure including ERP and general IT and classified this information into a number of categories including "The Factors Causing Failure" and "The Critical Factors for Success" based on this I developed a two day Course "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which is still offered today.

Based on this I wrote the book of the same name, which is available in electronic form here for download:

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Click here to send us an email subscribing to our free newsletter -- all articles posted by James Robertson will be emailed to you

Detailed information about James Robertson on LinkedIn

James has a very detailed profile on LinkedIn should you require further information about him.

You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/DrJamesARobertsonERPDoctor

James has an open networking profile -- click on "Connect" and use email address James@LinkedIn-at-JARA.com.

Contact Us

You can contact us on

Email: James@James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com

LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjamesarobertsonerpdoctor

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.a.robertson.393

Mobile: +44 (0) 776-862-2875

Landline: +44 (0) 207-059-0007

Fax: +44 (0) 844 774 4580

Articles by James A Robertson and Associates

There is a large body of white papers, articles and other content produced by Dr James Robertson available on this website

Please click here to visit the detailed listing of articles

Articles Issued by James A Robertson and Associates -- Article Categories



ArticleTagCloud for Articles Published by James A Robertson and Associates

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procurement timeline      professional speaker      Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa      profitability      programming languages are for the programmer      project facilitation      project leader      project leader -- CEO communication      project leadership      project management      project management IT project management      projects      prove it works      PSASA      psychology      psychometrics      public conferences      public presentations      public speaking      Pulse Measurement      quality      REAL issues in Business Information Systems      REAL value      recognizing failure      redaction      reduced audit costs      reduced head count      reference documents      Reg Barry      regulatory body      relationship Almighty      relationship orientated      remediation of existing systems      Rennies Group      reports      reports not reliable      request for proposal      requirements specification      results orientated      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Led      standards      strategic      strategic advisory      strategic alignment      strategic analysis      strategic analysis and design      strategic business improvement      strategic custom development      strategic definition      strategic discovery      strategic driver      strategic engineered precision configuration      strategic engineered precision taxonomies      strategic essence      strategic financial information      strategic gap analysis      strategic governance      strategic information      strategic management      strategic management information      strategic plan      strategic planning      strategic project leader      strategic snapshots      strategic software      strategic solution architect advisory      strategic solution architect leadership      strategic solution architecture      strategically designed chart of accounts      strategy      strategy defined      strategy focused planning      Strategy Snapshot Toolset      StratGap      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countries      thrive      time      tipping point      tough certificates      tough contract management      tough contracts      tough procurement      tough terms      training      training material      treatment code      understanding of data      understanding the engineering approach      Uniface      unlocking value      use different languages for new components      V3 Consulting Engineers      validation data      value      versus process      video      webinars      weighted factors      what is executive custody      what is strategy      what is the essence of this organization and how does it thrive      what to do      where is IT going      why executive custody is required      why the organization exists and how it thrives      why your business information system is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it      why your ERP is NOT delivering and how to fix it      workflow      writer     

Table of Contents

Home

About Dr James A Robertson PrEng -- The Business Systems Doctor -- and Other Topics

Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures

About the Engineering Approach

James Robertson's Value Add

Attributes of a HIGH VALUE solution

Recognizing Business System Failure

The Critical Human Foundation

Old Software IS Viable

From South Africa

Competencies of Dr James A Robertson PrEng

About Professor Malcolm McDonald

Table of Contents

About my relationship with the Almighty Creator, Yah the Eternally Self-Existing

Comments relating to the Business Systems Industry and other topics

Testimonials and other positive material regarding James Robertson

Reference Articles

List of Articles

Article Catalogue

Achieving High Value Business Information System outcomes

Executive Custody -- What is it and HOW do you get it?

The REAL Issues in Integrated Business Information System Success

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2 -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody

Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration

Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it

IT Project Management

Pulse Measurement

CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement

No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service

Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes

Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™

The Pulse Measurement Workflow

The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement

Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations

What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?

Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business

Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years

Sample Pulse Measurement Reports

Strategy

Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems

Strategic Essence: Overview

Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined

Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation

Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different

Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure

Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence

Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?

Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment

Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual

A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting

Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works

Robust Business Systems Procurement

Part 1 -- Introduction

Part 2 -- Bill of Services, Laboratory, Go-live Certificate, etc

Part 3 -- Executive Engagement, Bid Compliance, Adjudication and other matters

Procurement Documents

Guidance and Advisory Services

The Art of Project Leadership

Why Regular Communication with the CEO is Vital

The Business Simulation Laboratory

Precision Configuration and Strategic Business Information Architecture

Precision Configuration based on Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies

The JAR&A Cubic Business Model

Highly Structured Strategic Chart of Accounts -- a Vital Element of your Corporate Information Arsenal

The Product Catalogue -- an Essential Element of any Precision Configuration

Attributes -- answers to the questions you have NOT yet thought to ask

Case Studies of Notably Successful Projects with high value Precision Configuration

092 Doing things differently and better -- ASCO Case Study 2-- BPM Summit 2013

088 Strategic ERP Invesment -- ASCO Case Study -- Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa

026 Information Architecture and Design of FIS for Rennies Group -- Financial Information Systems Conf

018 CRM Risk Control: Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Mgmt Sys -- Integrated Risk Mgmt Conf

011 V3 Consulting Eng: Benefits of MIS to Professional Practice -- SAICE 15th Ann Conf on Computers in Civil Eng

Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems

Part 1 -- Introduction

Part 2 -- Principles of Data Engineering

Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations

Simple Steps to increase the strategic information value yield from your Business Systems Investment

The Full JAR&A Taxonomy Manual

Part 1: Introduction, Problem Statement, Definitions and Examples

Part 2: Why Use JAR&A, Required Knowledge and Experience, Cubic Business Model and Chart of Accounts and Taxonomy Software

Part 3: How to do it, Case Studies and White Papers and other References

Example General Ledger Manual

Business Process -- Irrelevant, Distracting and Dangerous

The RIGHT Approach

Custom Strategic Software Design and Oversight of Construction

Standards for Custom Software Specification

What IS Software?

IT Effectiveness

Organizing Outlook

Critical Factors for I.T. Success

A Moral and Ethical Dilemma -- Systems that Fail

Case Studies examining Business Information System failures

The BBC Digital Media Initiative Debacle

The Bridgestone -- IBM Conflict

Speaking and Training

Showcase of Conference Presentations

Most Viewed Presentations

Briefings and Seminars

Why your ERP/BIS is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it

ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results

The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success

Other Seminars

Conferences and Public Presentations

Conferences 80 to 99 -- 2009 to Present

Conferences 60 to 79 -- 2005 to 2009

Conferences 40 to 59 -- 1996 to 2005

Conferences 20 to 39 -- 1994 to 1996

Conferences 01 to 19 -- 1989 to 1994

On-Line Seminars (Webinars)

Webinar on Preparing and Presenting Webinars

Contacting James A Robertson and Associates Limited