Mzn 002 Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business Created by James on 6/14/2013 2:15:25 PM
Ineffective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can impact significantly on a business. To the relief of many a decision maker, one local service provider has introduced an offering that its developers say is able to accurately provide insight into problems and possible solutions.
The service is called a Pulse Measurement and is an interview-based diagnostic intervention which is the brainchild of Dr. James Robertson, an author and recognised voice within the IT and ERP market.
Dr Robertson runs James A Robertson and Associates (JAR&A), an established service provider within strategic application of business information systems.
The company believes that the Pulse Measurement service is making a critical difference to decision makers that struggle to derive value from ERP and cannot decipher where the problem lies.
The service involves Dr Robertson asking a limited number of well-tested strategic questions that are designed to gain insight into a business and its system problems in the shortest possible time.
Dr Robertson works on the basis of sixty minute one-on-one interviews starting with the CEO then the rest of the Executive team, followed by managers responsible for the systems and then staff operating the systems and technical staff, consultants, implementers, etc.
The system is concurrently inspected and data, source code, manuals and other operational elements are inspected and interrogated as necessary.
Only those whose input is directly relevant to the stated problem are interviewed, others will be drawn in as required.
During the interviews Dr Robertson constantly weighs up the information provided against his diverse experience of conducting Pulse Measurements for over twenty years and involvement in the commercial application of computers for over thirty years.
“With this context and the catalogue of factors causing failure and factors required for successful outcomes, we are to very rapidly arrive at a diagnosis of the cause or causes of the problem or problems,” says Dr. Robertson.
This provides a basis for further questions during the high level interviews and defines the line of inquiry as his investigation drills down to the operational side of system operation.
"Using this technique I frequently have a good idea of the cause of the problem by the time I leave the chief executive’s office and, in most cases, I know pretty nearly exactly what to look for in the technical evaluation by halfway through the first day", he continues.
Why commission a Pulse Measurement
Most clients approach Dr Robertson to undertake a Pulse Measurement because executive management is frustrated with their ERP or other IT investment.
Typical drivers for an investigation include:
· We have had this system for ten years, should we be changing to something newer?;
· We have spent millions on this system and I still cannot get the information I want – what is wrong? – did we buy the wrong system?
· I keep being told that we should have another brand of ERP, how do I know if this is correct?
· The cost of running this system keeps climbing, what do I do?
· I am just #@*&^%$#@ frustrated with this thing, I am just about ready to go back to a manual system!
The Pulse Measurement is geared to answering all these questions and any other of similar ilk within a period of one to ten days - depending on the size of the organization and the complexity and severity of the problem.
According to Dr. Robertson the basic implication of this approach is that managers are able to gain impartial objective, expert opinion on the health of their ERP within a few days at a very affordable cost.
He makes it clear that James A Robertson and Associates and this service is independent of all software vendors and implementers and will ‘tell it like it is’ as required.
"My default position is to retain and leverage the existing investment in software and service provider relationships but there are times when radical change IS justified" says Dr. Robertson. “For a modest investment you can obtain clarity on the REAL ISSUES with regard to your ERP operation, a clear understanding of what is required to remediate the situation, the reassurance that things are not as bad as they seem to be (or maybe worse) and, potentially, savings of millions of Rands.”
"In some cases a Pulse Measurement is all that is required for management to take appropriate decisions and bring things under control", he adds.
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- A diagnosis of the headline causes and recommended treatment actions is frequently made in as little as one to two days.
- A comprehensive high level analysis of the extent of the problem and outline of the proposed solution can follow in a comparably short time.
- All findings are explained in language that makes sense to executives using easy to understand metaphors to drive home the point.
- A presentation to EXCO is an optional add-on drawing on a portfolio of slides built up over twenty plus years.
- The Pulse Measurement is geared to give Excecutives sufficient insight into the issues that they can take charge of and start taking informed BUSINESS decisions about.
- Outcomes can range from some simple organizational actions to a recommendation to trash the system as a matter of urgency. In one case where a disastrous implementation was in the process of trashing the company because of failure to meet customer service level promises they rolled back to the previous system in five weeks! Countering this, another client was able to get another eight years life out of a system that they were on the point of trashing before the Pulse Measurement.