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TxM 047 Section 5.2 Benefits of developing group wide Precision strategic master taxonomies and data attributes to JAR&A standards
Created by James on 7/4/2013 11:03:09 AM

The following are conceptually the major benefits of implementing group-wide master taxonomies to the standards of precision, structure and discipline that I advocate.

Relative value is expressed in percentage out of total value delivery from the complete solution through the different factors – total for all factors is 100% -- these numbers are indicative based on my observations over the years and will vary from organization to organization.

In presenting these benefits it is perhaps important to note that my benchmark is the first commercial business computer solution I ever developed which enabled the client to double their turnover in twelve months because they could do things that competitors many times larger could not do by making better investment decisions.

1.       Strategic executive view of the data – 2%

All data is sorted and grouped in a manner that makes most sense from a strategic executive perspective of the organization.

Hierarchical taxonomies sorted from most strategic (essence of the business / thrive) information at the top of the taxonomy down to the most routine at the bottom with ease of drill down that reflects the strategic perspective on the business ensures that all users of the data share the same strategic view of the strategic priorities of the business.

If these taxonomies are deployed in operational software then these priorities are communicate throughout the organization simply by use of the software.  In principle, however, it is recommended that these taxonomies should FIRST be deployed in a tailored data warehouse.

The remainder of this document assumes that taxonomies are first deployed at the data warehouse level.

These benefits are material, but they are NOT where the true return on investment lies.

2.       Presentation of detail, roll-up and drill down are logical, intuitive and fast – 4%

Hierarchical logic and supporting code schemes make presentation of detail and roll-up to summary logical, intuitive, flexible and fast.

The strong hierarchy design principles ensure that there are generally between five and ten items at any level in the hierarchy which facilitates ease of use, speed of interpretation and speed of drill down.  These design principles recognize the cognitive span of the human mind and take account of the psychology of decision making.

The code scheme and hierarchy design rules that I apply ensure that the drill down capability of all reporting and analysis tools operates at peak performance, in some cases orders of magnitude improvement in ease of report construction with associated reductions in development and maintenance costs result provided that developers understand the logic and conventions and work with them.

3.       Operational reporting and system operation is streamlined and operational efficiencies result – 6%

Because the raw data is so highly structured and classified operational reporting and system operation is streamlined and operational efficiencies result provided that reports etc are designed to work WITH the taxonomies.

An extension of the previous point in terms of delivery of value.

4.       Emphasis on content precision improves data quality – 8%

Emphasis on content precision improves data quality throughout the organization with resultant low-key second order efficiency and presentation gains – reports, etc are neater and more accurate.

This is an overall cultural benefit that I did not anticipate but was lifted out as a key element by a client a few years ago.

5.       Data-warehouse mapping is greatly simplified resulting in a much higher level of report and model reliability and sustainability – 10%

If the precision strategic taxonomies are introduced between the ERP / Business Information System layer and the data warehouse / business intelligence layer ETL (extract, transform, load) is simplified and a much higher level of report and model reliability and sustainability is achieved.

If the taxonomies are introduced in the ERP the ETL in the Data Warehouse is massively simplified.

Providing highly structured strategic business logic in the input mappings to the data warehouse with either scenario opens the door for massive improvements in effectiveness and efficiency in the business intelligence layer – this is where the real benefits are delivered.

Implementing the taxonomies in the operational software must go hand-in-hand with a comprehensive re-implementation or new implementation of the business information systems and I am increasingly seeing that this should only happen once there is a comprehensive solution in the data warehouse space.  Refinement of code schemes in the operational software will be necessary during data warehouse design and construction.

The points that follow assume that the taxonomies are implemented in a clean, green fields data warehouse instance built from scratch to maximize the effective exploitation of the taxonomies.

6.       Enables greatly improved due diligence and ease of integration of acquisitions – 12%

This approach makes it possible to rapidly map data from potential acquisition targets during due diligence in order to evaluate performance using standard reports and models in use for the rest of the Group.

This same capability opens the door for greatly accelerated integration of acquisitions into Group standard analysis reports and models.

This is a spin-off benefit that may not be that material in your organization, however, if you are considering acquisitions this benefit alone could more than pay for the entire investment.

The key benefit of this approach is that because you have the tools to quickly and easily map source data to the new highly structured taxonomies you can then easily apply standard reports to the mapped data and produce comparative analysis of the target firms' financials and other data using exactly the same reports and models you use for the rest of the Group.

Effectively what this does is it enables you to analyse the target as though it was already part of the Group and get a good feel for its real performance using your own metrics.

By extension, immediately the acquisition has taken place these same mappings can be used to start reporting on the new member of the portfolio to the same standards of the rest of the group from month one.

This obviously assumes your acquisition is in the same business as the rest of the companies in the group.  If you are a bank and purchase a fleet of fishing trawlers there will be challenges – you will have to extend your existing taxonomies to accommodate the new business area first...

7.       Greatly improved sophistication of management reports improves operational and tactical (things right) decision support dramatically – 18%

Because of the highly structured logic of the data much more sophisticated management reports and graphs become readily achievable giving a quantum improvement in sustainable management information which greatly improves the quality of operational and tactical decision support.

At this point the investment really starts to pay for itself by enabling the capability to build robust reports and analysis tools that evaluate whether the business is doing things right.

A significant investment is required over and above the development and deployment of the taxonomies in order to develop reports to the same standards of precision and excellence that are inherent in the taxonomy approach which I advocate.

Once this investment has been made it becomes orders of magnitude faster and cheaper to produce reports and undertake more complex analysis which in most organizations would be impossible with the sort of data that is in general existence.

In order to understand this point it is important to note that I am coming from a perspective of practical experience in the application of really sophisticated graphical and statistical techniques which are seldom understood by people in the IT or management space and which few people know how to apply.

These techniques, if appropriately applied, open the door to a much more meaningful and much deeper understanding of the business, trends, relationships, sensitivities, correlations, etc than is possible with the data that is typically found in business information systems.

This is the point at which the concept of a dashboard as a range of precision instruments taking precision measurements starts to become really valid.

8.       Enables advanced sophisticated analytical models with greatly improved support for strategic (right things) decision making – 40%

This in turn makes it possible to construct sophisticated economic and other analytical models and use sophisticated analytical techniques which greatly improve the quality of strategic decision support information which facilitate decisions that enable the business to do the right things well (thrive).

This is where a quantum level of return on investment results IF executives exploit the resources created in order to make better competitive decisions.

This builds on the previous point but extends it into advanced economic and other models which permit the executive team to really manage the future long term direction of the business and supports them with the information they need in order to achieve exceptionally high value business decisions.

One high quality business decision that results in a high value sustainable business investment or divestment decision will pay for the investment in technology and services with geared multiples that cannot be realistically quantified.

The real value of an executive lies in the strategic decisions they make and the real value of what is being proposed here lies in the ability of the information infrastructure that is created to support such high value decisions.

The true value of your organization being able to make much better decisions than its competitors cannot be quantified in currency terms – it could be the difference between being the target of a take-over as opposed to being the acquiring firm in a take-over.

In moving into this dimension it must be stressed that it is necessary to bring in information that is not contained in the operational business information systems.  This would include soft information and there are robust techniques which, if implemented to the same standards of rigour, precision and taxonomy design will provide all sorts of possibilities in terms of analysis and decision support.

I would like to stress that all the above harnesses existing technology to its full potential – this is NOT a technology solution.

For years people have been trying to develop technology that compensates for mediocre or poor data quality.

The approach advocated here is different, this approach treats the problem at its root and provides exceptional structure from a strategic business perspective together with logical conventions that make the technology perform at exceptional levels.

This is the next frontier of business information – it is the next major opportunity – organizations which seize this opportunity will definitely gain an advantage over their competitors.

Achieving these benefits today is NOT trivial, there are lessons to be learned and software tools to be developed.  I have been doing the basic things described here for about 24 years but it is only in the last few years that I have realized that most people are not aware of this opportunity and that what I do is radically different to standard practice.

It is only in the last two years that we have started to develop software to facilitate and support what is described above.  The full magnitude of benefits cannot be accomplished without specialised software tools to assist with the development and maintenance of code schemes.  We have an overall concept design for the entire software solution and are in development of the software at this time.

In summary the final benefit of this investment is that strategic business information is provided in such a way that the factors that give rise to the phenomenon of 19 out of 20 businesses being dissatisfied with their ERP / business systems investment are overcome and the organization moves from the realms reported by Gartner of not making better decisions despite huge investments to a space of exceptional decision support.

This investment has the potential to equip executives with the resources that will allow them to make strategic decisions at a far more reliable and far more sophisticated level than competitors thereby opening the way for greatly enhances strategic competitiveness and therefore profitability.

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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.

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If you are having problems with your systems, your project or your IT Department, call The Business Systems Specialist

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

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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!

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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.

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.

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Table of Contents


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


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