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Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX IT
Videos and presentation below
Discussion of basic principles including:
-- Engineers do NOT design bridges to stand up
-- Strategy is the essence of the business and how it thrives
-- What is NOT an engineering approach
-- Passionate about ERP and IT success
-- Talk about failure in order to PREVENT failure
-- Importance of Taxonomies and Precision Configuration can raise the bar from traditional 10/10 to 23/10 or more
-- Strategic Customization can raise the bar to 33/10 -- drops a typical ERP implementation to 1/10 on the new scale
-- Well implemented ERP should serve for 20 years or more
-- Substandard (sloppy) configuration is a major cause of ERP investment under performance
-- IT and ERP are NOT moving so fast you cannot keep up
-- Mundane technology used strategically can be used to create GREAT value
-- 70% of IT and ERP projects fail outright
-- 19 out of 20 ERP implementations do NOT deliver what was promised
-- The factors causing IT and ERP failure
-- Mythology 30%;
-- Lack of executive custody 19%;
-- Lack of strategic architecture and strategic alignment 15%;
-- Sloppy configuration, lack of data engineering and taxonomies 14%;
-- Soft issues and change impacts 12%;
-- Lack of an engineering approach and lack of precision 6%;
-- Technology Issues 3%
-- Chart of accounts -- spaghetti codes
-- Maintenance nightmare
-- Business at risk
-- Logical hierarchical code structures (taxonomies)
-- Examples of failed companies and lost customers
-- When a business loses customers as a consequence of a weak ERP implementation the ERP has become more expensive than the organization can afford
-- The Critical Factors for success
-- Executive custody 22%
-- Effective change facilitation 20%
-- Strategic architecture and alignment 19%
-- Data engineering and precision configuration 17%
-- Engineering approach 14%
-- Business integration, training, process optimization 6%
-- Technology 2%
-- Simulate the REAL world
-- Formal and rigorous laboratory
-- Executive custody is 50% leadership
Download Why your ERP is not delivering and how to fix it -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download Why your ERP is not delivering and how to fix it -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
View more presentations from James Robertson
Annual Knowledge Management & Intranets Conference 2009
A discussion of the importance of Precision Configuration as a vital component of unlocking the full value of business information system investments as part of a Knowledge Management culture
Download Knowledge Management -- pdf Slides in Adobe pdf format
IT Governance Conference -- 25 November 2009
Considerations with regard to governance of information technology and business systems taking account of the abstractness of information technology solutions
Download Explore a strategic approach to corporate planning management and governance -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download Explore a strategic approach to corporate planning management and governance -- pdf Slides in Adobe pdf format
Strategic Management Conference -- 28 September 2010
A rigorous (engineering approach) to strategic planning using critical issues based analysis techniques and structured gap analysis techniques to develop a comprehensive and rigorous multi-year plan that is measurable and actionable and traceable back to the original analysis in order to produced high value outcomes, requires effective strategic facilitation
Download Strategic Analysis and Design -- An Engineering Approach to Strategic Planning -- pdf Slides in Adobe pdf format
Strategic Management Conference -- 29 September 2010
The application of ERP and IT generally in strategic applications, how to configure systems from a strategic perspective and how to manage them from a strategic perspective
Download ERP and IT in Strategic Management -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download ERP and IT in Strategic Management -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
Improve IT 2010
The single biggest "hard" factor in the under performance of business information systems relates to what I call "sloppy configuration", this presentation outlines a concept that I call "precision configuration" and explains how it can make a huge difference to business information system value delivery
Download Precision Configuration IT's Orphan Child -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download Precision Configuration IT's Orphan Child -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
Maintenance, Engineering Services and Technology Management Conference -- 2 June 2010
A discussion of the factors that give rise to general business improvement success drawing on my experience with business information system and ERP projects
Download Critical factors for Strategic Business Improvement Success --Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download Critical factors for Strategic Business Improvement Success --Slides in Adobe pdf format
Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa -- August 2010
A case study of an ERP system implemented with a strong strategic focus, precision configuration and custom software in order to create a significant competitive resource that resulted in significant long term business advantage
Download A Strategic ERP Investment -- African Sales Company Case Study -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download A Strategic ERP Investment -- African Sales Company Case Study -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
IT Web BPM Summit 2012 -- April 2012
Discussion of why the current focus on Business Process Mapping is seriously misplaced and is leading to major inefficiencies and negative project outcomes in the business information systems industry -- concludes that "Business Process Obsession is killing ERP"
Business Process – over rated and over stated NOT the real opportunity
Dr James Robertson PrEng
In recent years we have been barraged with talk about "business process" and business process is touted in ways that suggest that it is the most important thing in ERP implementations
Many years ago the systems we now call "ERP" were called "Management Information Systems" yet today that is not a frequently used term
Well firstly, because Management Information frequently does not happen, a survey by Gartner a few years ago suggested that "most organizations are not making better decisions than they did five years ago". In my own experience executives are frustrated because they cannot get the management information they need from their massively costly investments in ERP, BI, etc. Recently the CEO of a very large corporation in Johannesburg rated his executive information systems at 3 out of 10 (0 = non-existent) and told me he would rate them at 1 out of 10 if it were not for the fact that he had excellent staff who provided him with the information he needed.
Examination of his big brand ERP revealed that it was configured in such a way that electronic summarization of key measurements was technically impossible and that human intervention was unavoidable. His dilemma is widespread and was summed up by the Financial Mail some years ago when they reported "19 out of 20 ERP implementations do NOT deliver what was promised".
Then, of course, there is the dilemma of other surveys that report high levels of satisfaction with ERP – why?
The bottom line is simple – if you put in an ERP expecting it to improve management and executive information and decision support you have almost certainly been frustrated and disappointed BUT, if you put it in to manage workflows you may well be reasonably satisfied, even if it has cost much more than expected.
BUT there is a challenge here
Some years ago I was taken to task by a client who insisted on putting process before executive information and who insisted on speaking about "the strategic process" – when I tried to point out the points above it was to no avail.
If we take the word "process" to be synonymous with "workflow" then there is NO such thing as the "strategic process" – unless discussions and decisions are to be classed as workflow.
The REAL problem facing business today is to get value out of their massive ERP and BI investments in a way that supports high value decision making.
This is entirely achievable, a method that I term "Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies" (SEPT) leading to "Precision Configuration" opens the door to major overhauls of your ERP, Data Warehouse or Business Intelligence investment in order to support high value decision support information delivery.
This is by far the biggest opportunity facing business today in the information technology space and I will be talking more about this in my presentation to the BPM Summit with examples of what causes the problem and what is required to fix it.
Download Business Process -- Over Rated and Over Stated -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download Business Process -- Over Rated and Over Stated -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
Download Business Process -- Over Rated and Over Stated -- Summary in Microsoft Word docx format
BPM Summit 2013
1. Overview of the business – marketing and brand management
African Sales Company is a moderate sized family owned business that imports and distributes fragrances, perfumes and related products. They also provide a brand management service to their suppliers and distribute fine fragrances and luxury cosmetic brands like Dior, Givenchy, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and others to retail vendors like Edgars, Foschini, Truworths, Stuttafords, Woolworths, Dis-Chem and others. ASCO does this with prescribed service levels aiming at 98% fill rates and three day delivery times from receipt of EDI orders to goods being available at retail points.
In order to understand the business it is vital to understand the close juxtaposition of brand management and distribution.
2. The challenge – overview of the situation before the investment
The challenge that gave rise to this project was an old customized software suite that had grown with the business on a tight budget. The accounting with regard to brand related costs was handled by more than 20,000 accounts in the General Ledger. Other aspects of Brand Management were manual. Tracking costs and reporting on many brands to multiple Suppliers was a major challenge.
3. The opportunity – implementing a new ERP and Warehouse System taking a strategic view
A point was reached where a new system was required and an integrated suite of ERP and Warehouse Management System was purchased. Initially a comprehensive workflow (process) analysis was undertaken but the project stalled. The project was then restarted with a strong strategic and precision configuration focus with tight project management and successfully brought to completion – the process maps were left on the shelf.
During the project it was identified that areas of the business that would benefit from a new approach – particularly relating to brand management expense allocation and a custom solution was conceptualized, designed, built and implemented in order to maximize the effectiveness of brand management.
4. The solution – highly structured Product Class, integration with Projects Module, custom software
The total strategic solution comprised:
a. The Brand Hierarchy – a highly structured Product Classification of all products linking from Suppliers down to individual Brand Lines – this created a high value logical information platform that underpins every aspect of brand and business management;
b. A selection of fundamental highly structured custom product attributes that have opened up diverse strategic intelligence and analytical opportunities;
c. Intelligent Product Master maintenance that draws on the intelligence in the Brand Hierarchy and attribute lists to ensure that default values are cascaded down the hierarchy so that new product take-on generates high quality intelligent data that impacts every aspect of system operation and management information;
d. Rule based automated creation of Marketing projects linked directly to the brand hierarchy coupled to a highly structured cost taxonomy provided a comprehensive framework for Brand Management information. This custom functionality, based on knowledge of the codes, opens the door for convenient and powerful marketing planning, cost analysis and reporting;
e. All of these components taken together have created a holistic and integrated intelligent information platform that has resulted in the business now having a much stronger analytical focus, capability and culture.
5. The outcome – greatly improved brand management and other capabilities supporting profitable growth and competitiveness
Taken together this capability improved expense allocation accuracy, allowed detailed ROI analyses, increased competitiveness through informed allocation of resources, facilitated growth and stimulated profitability in significant measure through the investment in strategic precision configuration and associated custom development. This capability assisted ASCO to grow significantly, take on new accounts and reach a point where a new distribution centre became a business necessity such that a new warehouse is currently in the design phase.
Associated with this capability has been the development of a highly analytical culture which has positioned ASCO as an industry leader in the management of information and therefore Brand Management in its specialized category.
It should be noted that as a consequence of the development of these capabilities there have been further changes to practices and ways of working (processes) which have flowed organically from the original analysis and decision making capabilities.
Download ASCO Case Study -- Creating Competitive Advantage -- Priebatsch and Robertson -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download ASCO Case Study -- Creating Competitive Advantage -- Priebatsch and Robertson -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
Download ASCO Case Study -- Creating Competitive Advantage -- Priebatsch and Robertson -- Article in Adobe pdf format
Listen to live recording of: ASCO Case Study -- Creating Competitive Advantage -- Priebatsch and Robertson -- Audio in mp3 format
IT Web BPM Summit 2013
A strategic design focused approach to strategic business improvement using a critical issues approach that addresses the weaknesses of conventional methods and brings engineering rigour to the field of strategic business improvement
Download Adopting a focused approach to strategic business improvement -- Presentation in Power Point pptx format
Download Adopting a focused approach to strategic business improvement -- Slides in Adobe pdf format
Download Adopting a focused approach to strategic business improvement -- Article in Adobe pdf format
Listen to live recording of: Adopting a focused approach to strategic business improvement -- Audio in mp3 format
There is a more detailed version of this document at the end of this page for larger projects with a more detailed procurement process
Business Systems NOT delivering?
Call the Business Systems Specialist
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
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
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.
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:
Click here to send us an email subscribing to our free newsletter -- all articles posted by James Robertson will be emailed to you
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.
You can contact us on
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
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
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
List of Articles
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
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
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 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?
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
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