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The current business environment demands that all businesses review their strategy and tactics

If your organization is NOT thriving and does NOT have clear analysis of the current economic environment together with clear plans as to how to recover then you need to look at your strategic plans as well as at your analysis of the immediate situation and your associated tactical plans.  Either way our Checklist "The 7 Critical Components of a Strategic Plan " is just what you need to point you in the right direction.  If you want to get directly to the point, we are also offering our Webinar “Strategy:  What IS it?  HOW to develop Actionable Plans” usual price of $47 but as a special today at no charge.

My methods equip you to do this

The fundamental definition of Strategy is "The Essence of the Organization and HOW it Thrives" -- in order for your organization to thrive you need to understand the Strategic Essence of the organization and then formulate your plans in order to achieve a Thrive outcome.  Our methods will equip you to do this in the current economic situation.  This is absolutely relevant to the current economy, once you have a clear analysis of the competitive and economic environment in which your organization is now operating THEN you can plan effectively to recover as quickly as possible.

My promise is to assist clients to thrive

Professor Malcolm McDonald states that Strategy is "Doing the Right Things" viewed from the Customers perspective and "Tactics are doing Things Right" also viewed from the Customers perspective.  He goes on to say that "if you do the Right Things Well your organization will THRIVE".  Here at James A Robertson and Associated we are focussed on assisting clients to do the right things well and thereby THRIVE.  Our methods and Tools are eminently well suited to planning recovery in the current economy.

Over the 30 years of my career in Strategic Management Consulting, I have learned that many CEO's do themselves an injustice by omitting key issues in their Strategic and Tactical Planning and I have developed Tools and methods to assist them with this.

Use my checklist to evaluate your planning methods or watch the webinar for detailed understanding

As a result, I created a Strategic Planning Checklist to assist you to evaluate your planning methods and have also recorded a webinar. . 

Engineering, military tactics, economics and executive consulting

My approach is a synthesis of my training as a Graduate Professional Engineer schooled in rigorous solutions and plans that work, coupled with training and experience as a Military Commander to quickly assimilate key information and make quality life or death decisions.  I have substantial grounding in economics which ensures my methods are geared to producing high value outcomes.  30 years experience as a Strategic Management Consultant working at the Executive level ensures that the solution I am offering is practical and relevant in the executive suite!

Case Study – Global Crop Seed Developer “the experience was transformative”

“Dr Robertson led my team through the StratSnap critical-issues workshop, we reached consensus on a set of 7 key performance areas with weights and scores.  The KPAs became a benchmark for measuring progress and held for 5 years with minor annual adjustments.  My unit was transformed into a customer-oriented service organization.  A high value outcome.” Mr Paul Leigh, Business IT Lead.

I'm pleased to provide you with a copy of my checklist today so that you can see what is REALLY required for a successful THRIVE outcome.  Please click here to obtain a copy of "The 7 Critical Components of a Strategic Plan "  and click here to link through to the Webinar “Strategy: What IS it? HOW to develop actionable plans.”

Warm regards,

 

Dr James A Robertson

Articles by James A Robertson and Associates

SNw 010 I.T. CAN add value
Created by James on 6/13/2013 2:00:00 PM


Currently there is much scepticism about I.T. and much frustration with the steady stream of Information Technology projects that fail to deliver material value or which fail outright

Is this the way I.T. investments must always be?

Not at all, there IS substantial opportunity out there, but business must define that opportunity and manage the technology and the technologists

 

Recap

In previous newsletters I have explored the high level of information technology failure, examined this information technology failure as an indicator of corporate governance under performance and in general looked at aspects of information technology that may be viewed as casting a negative light on I.T.

In other issues I have explored strategy and examined the determination, planning and execution of strategy and suggested that the fundamental definition of strategy is "why the organization exists and how it thrives".

In this issue of StratNews I would like to make the point that information technology investments appropriately conceptualized, designed and executed can generate substantial value for the organization making the investment.  I will also explore what is required to achieve this.

 

Appropriate, well implemented information technology applications can add substantial value

Appropriate, well conceived, well designed and well implemented information technology solutions can add substantial value.

In order to achieve such an outcome it is vital that the investment is made for the right reasons.

Investing in new information technology in reaction to advertising hype or as a fashion response is NOT an appropriate driver for new investment.

A clear and pragmatic view of a business opportunity that will deliver value and which requires the support of some component of information technology IS the only driver that will deliver value.

Value is a human characteristic generated by human beings and assessed by other human beings.  Without the involvement of human beings nothing has value.

Used by a properly trained and equipped medical practitioner a stethoscope can be instrumental in saving a life.  Without an appropriately trained person to use it, a stethoscope is of no value no matter how ill the patient.  So it is with all technology, from a simple nail to the most complex space equipment, without a human being to use the technology in a way that other human beings experience as value adding, technology has NO value.

In other words, the most important requirement for an information technology investment to generate measureable value is that key people in the organization define this value and define how the technology will facilitate unlocking it as a first step. 

 

Sometimes I.T. can add dramatic value

Sometimes information technology can add dramatic value.

My benchmark for value delivery is the first I.T. project that I undertook in a commercial setting in the early 1980's.

The software solution was designed, developed and deployed in about four months.

In the first year of operation the business was able to double its turnover by taking on major new clients because it was able to offer a service that was not available from competitors.  The solution delivered a material economic contribution to the business for nearly a decade.

The key to this success?

An insightful realization on the part of the chief executive that there was something that computer technology could deliver that would be valuable to customers and solid alignment of the solution with the strategic driver of the business.

The technology has matured and the opportunity has long since reached a level of commoditization such that every player in that particular market segment can, today, do far more than was undertaken then.  But the key consideration is that very substantial value was unlocked by creative use of a piece of technology that is tiny by current standards.

I have been involved in other projects that have also generated substantial value and so in every engagement I seek to identify what the critical piece of strategic thinking is that will unlock the true value of the investment (what will contribute to the organization thriving).

 

I.T. solutions can be delivered successfully

The above mentioned example is one of many successful I.T. projects that I have experienced.

A larger project involved the bespoke development of a comprehensive business information system for a particular service industry.  The software developed in that project subsequently went on to become a successful product which is today in its second major generation in use by over 70 commercial organizations in South Africa in the industry concerned and currently being marketed around the world.

Getting to this point required huge energy and time investment by many people over a number of years in order to create a solution that could be used effectively in support of day to day business operations.

Executive custody on behalf of the managing director of the company that commissioned the original project was key to achieving success as was a clear understanding of what would assist the organization to use the technology.

 

I.T. solutions can be delivered economically and in realistic time frames

These and other experiences indicate that with clear strategic alignment and robust executive custody it is possible to deliver I.T. solutions economically and in realistic time frames.

In order to achieve time and cost objectives it is vital that project scope is ruthlessly contained by focus on the core strategic driver for the investment and that there is clear focus on the core strategic drivers of the organization -- why the organization exists and how it thrives.

A close knit team energetically lead by an empowered and enthusiastic business executive is a vital requirement of success.

This does NOT require huge amounts of executive involvement, executive custody is an intuitive state of mind not a grind.  Custody requires a clear executive vision of the desired future business state and the manner in which this will deliver value and then clear uncompromising leadership.

Technology specialists who demonstrate a clear understanding of the strategic drivers of the organization are a vital further requirement for a successful outcome.

 

Doing it right is cheaper than doing it wrong

I regularly encounter people who do not think that they have time to do the right things in order to make I.T. projects succeed.  Somehow there seems to be a widespread belief that it is possible to undertake a project without clear strategic definition and without clear executive custody and the project will succeed anyway.

This attitude is a major contributor to the 70% of I.T. projects that fail outright and the further 20% that fail to deliver on the orginal business expectation.

As with everything else which involves time and money, once the effort has been inappropriately expended the resultant non-delivery cannot be simply wished away.  It may be easier to hide an I.T. project failure but it is more difficult to turn a failed project into a successful outcome than it is with something that is more visible and more tangible.

Accordingly, it is vital to ensure that the critical foundation elements of a successful project outcome are in place before embarking on any significant investment.

It is also important to realise that in the long run doing things right from the start is cheaper than doing things in an inappropriate way -- the wrong way may seem simpler and cheaper at the time but when no value is delivered or worse still, value is destroyed and the organization damaged or put out of business the real cost is substantial.

With the appropriate approach and appropriate professional team, it is always easier and cheaper to do things right.

 

Doing it wrong is always more expensive than the client organization can afford

As noted above, doing the wrong things can damage or destroy an organization.

At a less dramatic level, the wrong things are always expensive, whether measured in terms of reduced business efficiency, red tape that obstructs or drives away customers or in terms of other inefficiencies.

At some level a failed I.T. project will compromise and damage the organization.

 

Conviction that it can be done

As evidence of my conviction that dramatic success is economically attainable it is important to note that I have spent most of my career seeking ways of undertaking I.T. projects in such a way that clients get it right first time reliably and sustainably.

Critical factors for a successful outcome include effective executive custody and clear and effective strategic alignment.

Executive custody is an attitude on the part of executives in which they take full responsibility for defining and achieving a business outcome that delivers real value.

Strategic alignment is a clear definition of why the organization exists and how it thrives, coupled with a clear definition of the future strategic state of the business that an I.T. investment is intended to support.

Niether of these components require major time or effort, they do require concise, focussed time and effort which is directed at charting the course of the business solution in such a way that it will create sustainable value.

 

Conclusion -- I.T. CAN add value

I hope that the above discussion will assist you to effectively position information technology as a value adding part of your organization.

There is no doubt that there are amazing things that can be done using information technology, yet it requires the business genius of the people who have built the organization to effectively define the role that information technology should play in the organization and then to use the people in the organization to unlock the potential.

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Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

Std 026 Old Software IS Viable

Many business information system projects are motivated on the basis that the existing systems are obsolete.  This article challenges that argument with regard to a significant number of systems and presents information that will enable executives and managers to take a pragmatic view of this debate
Cnf 078 The New South Africa -- Why Engineering Fails

Technology failures are the consequence of human error or negligence, the presentation discusses the fundamental reasons why technology projects fail in the context of the requirements of engineering in the New South Africa
Sem 05 IBIS – The Strategic View of Business Information

A three hour Executive Briefing that outlines the most important aspects of what I advocate with regard to Integrated Business Information Systems, including ERP
Cnf 061 Analysing The Two Most Critical Factors for I. T. Investment Success: Executive Custody and Strategic Solution Architecture

Executive Custody of large integrated business information system projects is one of the critical weaknesses, this presentation discusses some of the key considerations with regard to this and also discusses the importance of strategic alignment and strategic solution architecture in achieving high value solutions

Subscribe to our StratNews newsletter

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

Dr James A Robertson PrEng The ERP Doctor

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.

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:

Connect with 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.

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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


Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

CSt 07 Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures

Failure of Business Information Systems, which incorporates the loose and generally inaccurate term "ERP", is at epidemic levels but many executives are NOT aware of this

This catalogue provides a LIMITED selection of examples, there are many more and many failed projects are just quietly aborted with little or NO public announcement

Many more projects deliver shockingly sub-optimal outcomes

This website presents a diversity of principles, methods and standards and supporting background information to enable you to take control of your systems

We also offer a range of executive level services to help you review your existing systems, course correct and turnaround your sub-optimal projects

Std 015 Procurement: 07 Bid Compliance Checklist

The Bid Compliance Checklist is designed to ensure that bid documents are complete and that bidders comply with prescribed requirements.  Bidder are required to initial each item to confirm compliance and reference to the documents that underpin the specific point where this is applicable
Cnf 078 The New South Africa -- Why Engineering Fails

Technology failures are the consequence of human error or negligence, the presentation discusses the fundamental reasons why technology projects fail in the context of the requirements of engineering in the New South Africa

ArticleTagCloud for Articles Published by James A Robertson and Associates

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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