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A graduate engineer with BSc and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering who has devoted the last 24 years to developing innovative and robust methods of achieving high strategic value high durability business information system procurement, configuration, commissioning and remediation that meets and exceeds executive expectations. Special competencies in Strategic planning, business system problem diagnosis and business system (ERP+) implementation.
Particular emphasis on seeking to bring the disciplines of Engineering to the Integrated Business Information Systems (IBIS = ERP+) industry. By analogy this translates to “if you appoint an engineer to design a bridge you get the bridge you asked for and it stands up long term and meets all your expectations” which is more than can be said for most Business System investments.
James has recently moved to London, UK from South Africa and is in the process of establishing himself in the UK market. British Citizen with all necessary registrations in place. Willing to travel anywhere in Europe, USA or elsewhere as required.
Mature Executive Advisory and Discovery Capability
Peer level interaction with executives, effective executive engagement, executive advisory with regard to strategy implementation and Integrated Business Information Systems (IBIS = ERP, etc), discovering strategic definition and requirements, translating between executives and technologists, unpacking, documenting and specifying the integrated strategic view of the business from the Chief Executive down. Trusted advisor who can assist executives to raise the bar in terms of competitive capability.
Business System Non-Performance Diagnostics and Remediation Prescription
Concise diagnosis of reasons for non-performance of business improvement and system implementation projects and investments through to concise, practical, understandable and actionable prescription of holistic treatment needed to remediate the situation.
Strategic Planning to Engineering Standards that Delivers Results
Facilitation of strategic analysis and strategic plan design using highly structured methods and supporting tools based on the work of Professor Malcolm McDonald of Cranfield School of Management. Results in a strategic plan to engineering standards against a holistic integrated view of the business as a tightly knit operational and strategic entity. Includes detailed resource plans taking account of the critical constraint imposed by executive availability. These critical issues method can be used for a one day workshop and frequently drives out new perspectives, better decisions and breaks deadlocks. Linked through to insight with regard to psychology, change and other soft issues resulting in comprehensive and holistic multi-year rolling strategic plans.
Tough Business Services and System Procurement to Engineering Standards
Comprehensive facilitation of business professional service and integrated business information system procurement activities to engineering standards. Approach is directed at achieving high reliability enforceable contracts that minimize client risk and maximize outcome success. Large body of standard documentation and method takes account of over 27 years of procurement experience.
Strategic Program and Project Leadership that Gets Things Done to High Standards
Strategic project and program leadership directed at ensuring that project outcomes support the essence of the business and how it thrives and work reliably and sustainably. Deliver high value business improvement targets to tight budgets and high standards coupled to the previous point. Strong insight into the factors that cause strategic project and business system project failure and the critical factors for success. He has written a book on the subject and run courses on this subject since 2003 so principles are deeply understood.
Integrated Strategic System Configuration that Enhances Competitiveness
Pioneering thought leadership with regard to concepts, principles, standards and methods relating to the Precision Configuration of Integrated Business Information Systems (any and ALL business computer systems) to engineering standards that unlock the full potential of the host systems and raise the strategic information value delivery and capability of the business systems by a factor of 100 or more. Move your business from teams of accountants working with spreadsheets for weeks to produce suspect results to touch of a button executive and board level reporting. Unlock the latent potential of information systems so they deliver on the original sales promises. Specialized tools and methods relating to highly structured enterprise level charts of accounts that comprehensively model the business at both the strategic and operational levels.
Strategic Software Architecture to Support Competitive Advantage
Conceptualization, specification, oversight of construction and testing and commissioning of limited scope high value software to unlock competitive value from operational business systems in support of the previous point.
Very wide high level general business knowledge coupled to strong analytical ability and deep strategic intuition and insight underpinned by key areas of deep expertise create a platform for delivering high value, high impact inputs to clients across a wide spectrum of additional areas to those mentioned above. This unique portfolio of knowledge and experience enables James to engage effectively with any organization independent of industry and with regard to any business information system, irrespective of brand through a solid high level understanding of the fundamentals of how organizations work at the strategic (fundamental / essential) level and how systems work and how this is translated into operational actions.
I look forward to being of assistance to you.
Please email me on James@James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com for more information
Consultant, advisor, facilitator
James Robertson is a Management Consultant, Executive Advisor and Strategic Facilitator with over 24 years’ experience in the field of the high value strategic application of business information software systems (including ERP) in business.
James brings to his work very diverse experience including four years in investment economics and financial modeling including development of a highly differentiated software solution that enabled the business to double in size in twelve months because it could do things no other firm could do at the time. During this time James was regularly involved in consulting to clients at the Vice President level in major international banks and investment houses and therefore has been comfortable in the executive suite and conversant with the matters important to executives throughout his career.
Software design and development
During this period James had to develop a significant amount of software using very new Personal Computer technology. Consequently he undertook considerable study in the fields of software design and database design and wrote a number of quite sophisticated pieces of software. He also had to learn the workings of computers at a hardware level in some depth. Accordingly he has a very solid first principles understanding of computer technology and software. As a consequence he is able to communicate effectively with technical people, understand software issues, design and test software and also hold informed high level opinions with regard to other technology.
Executive level translator between business and technologists
The combination of these two knowledge and experience sets – executive level understanding coupled to first principles understanding of business system software technology enables James to play a unique role in translating business requirements into software and system requirements. This allows him to serve as an accomplished translator between the business and the people responsible for the technology. It also allows him to conceptualize and specify highly effective software enhancements in support of business objectives.
Formal engineering practice
James spent a further four years in the formal practice of Engineering achieving certification as a Professional Engineer (South Africa), which status he continues to hold as a statement of his commitment to engineering excellence. Having been involved in Mine Design James brings a unique perspective to the concept of “Data Mining”.
ERP design, construction and commissioning
During these four years he partially architected and project managed a new fully integrated Business Information System (ERP) that went on to become a leading niche specialty product. He has been involved in the implementation of ERP and other business information systems ever since (26 years).
Robust understanding of data and information
His Engineering training and PhD research have also given him a robust understanding of data acquisition and analysis with regard to complex multi-dimensional and multi-variable information sets.
Military command and leadership
Concurrent with the above James commanded an Engineer Regiment in the South African Citizen Force (part time army) and was fully qualified up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During his term he led a major re-branding exercise that took his regiment from being a poorly regarded rear echelon support unit to becoming one of the foremost peace keeping units and setting a new world record for assault river crossings. Accordingly he is well versed in the challenges of managing, leading and motivating medium sized organizations and understands the demands of corporate management from a firsthand perspective. He also received formal training in mobile warfare “quick attack” appreciation and planning which has stood him in good stead in developing critical issue methods that allow him to quickly and accurately assess the real issues in any business systems situation.
During the period up to 1989 James was also exposed to diverse other techniques including formal approaches to information classification and cataloging which have also equipped him to bring highly innovative thinking to the integrated business information systems arena see http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Configure.aspx and associated pages relating to the principles of Precision Configuration.
Sophisticated strategic Charts of Accounts
This has also given rise to pioneering work with regard to the design and construction of highly sophisticated strategically orientated precision Charts of Accounts for medium to large organizations see http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Configure/CubicBusinessModel.aspx
Diverse client and system experience
Since embarking on his independent consulting career in 1989 James has consulted to an extremely diverse range of corporate and government clients with regard to a wide diversity of in-house, custom and brand name systems, including many of the big brand ERP’s and has developed unique high value techniques. This diverse experience enabled James to quickly and effectively interpolate lessons learned with other types of client and systems to new clients and systems thereby enabling him to quickly conceptualize high value solutions that are not confined by the limitations of narrower experience sets.
Diagnostic “Pulse Measurement” investigations
One of his core competencies is the ability to quickly, within one to ten days, depending on the size of the client organization, diagnose the core issues as to why a business information system investment is failing to deliver and prescribe the measures necessary to remediate the situation. In the past 24 years James has undertaken dozens of these investigations. http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Pulse.aspx
Understanding of the “soft issues”
Over the years James has gained substantial insight into the psychology of management decision making, the psychology of change and other “soft issues” and has also developed significant communication skills. This, together with his broad general knowledge and headline strategic understanding of all major facets of business, enables him to offer an extremely well rounded and strategically insightful service to clients.
Project leadership and project management
James has been designing and building things and leading and managing projects from an early age and has developed highly effective techniques for leading and managing business system implementation projects. http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Guide.aspx
From the outset James realized that the strategic alignment of business information systems and support for strategic executive decision making were the most fundamental requirements for any business information system investment. He also discovered that there was a general lack of robust strategic analysis and design (strategic planning) methods coupled to a lack of clear understanding of the term strategy. He set about investigating available definitions and methods and was particularly impressed with the definitions and methods of Professor Malcolm McDonald some core elements of which form the basis of his view of strategy.
Assisting clients to thrive
The core principle of strategy being “doing the right things” and tactics being “doing things right” such that if an organization “does the right things well”, defined by McDonald is the basis of James’ corporate logo and underpins concepts such as facilitating executive level “thrive decisions”. This has also led James to define strategy as “the essence of the business and how it thrives”. Malcolm’s concepts of the journey of strategic change have also framed James’ approach to strategic business improvement.
Robust strategic planning
Based on techniques used by McDonald James has developed a robust “engineering” approach to strategic analysis and design (strategic planning), together with some custom developed software he has a highly effective approach to facilitating strategic analysis of a corporate situation and, from this, developing a systematic time schedule and resource plan for projects and activities to close the strategic gaps determined in the workshops. This can then be worked through to Key Performance Indicators. This method can also be used for other plans. http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Strategy.aspx
The Critical Factors for business information system implementation success
About ten years ago James undertook an in-depth analysis of the information that he had gathered to that point and synthesized the seven factors that cause business information system failure and the seven critical factors for business information system success. http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/ERPSuccess.aspx Based on this he wrote a book and developed a series of courses and executive briefings.
Robust, tough business information system procurement
James came to understand early on that a robust contract and tough contractual conditions were a vital first step in any major business information software system procurement. Over the years he has progressively developed a substantial suite of documentation and method that is directed and facilitating a robust procurement process modeled on the approach used in the construction industry. This approach ensures that accountability for the outcome rests with the implementation firm, that risk is fairly apportioned and that client interests are fully safeguarded see http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Procure.aspx Using these techniques James recently completed a project where almost the entire cost of a three-fold budget overrun was carried by the implementer with only limited extra cost to the client.
Presentations and Articles – writing and speaking
Because James has undertaken so much applied research and original thinking he has also given many conference presentations and written many articles and papers, some are listed at http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Articles.aspx Because he has spoken at so many conferences he has developed public speaking techniques that enable him to present difficult subjects in ways that make them easy to understand.
Business simulation laboratory ensures business system implementation success
Applying his very detailed experience with regard to building and operating a complex engineering laboratory geared to simulating the real world James has developed robust methods relating to what he terms “the business simulation laboratory” in which every facet of the installation is simulated in order to ensure that the system will work reliably in practice thereby preventing the disastrous “go live” experiences of many organizations http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Laboratory.aspx
Comprehensive business information systems advisory service
This spectrum of knowledge and experience knit together within the context of robust, high quality engineering training under the guidance of leading engineers has given rise to a situation in which James Robertson is able to offer clients an exceptionally differentiated high value service with regard to achieving real value from business information systems.
More information about James Robertson at http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com and http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/About.aspx
James has developed expertise in the following areas:
1. Executive level advisory
a. Strategic advisory services with regard to the effective application of business information systems and IT generally, advising the CEO or other responsible executive or manager;
b. Understanding and documenting the “essence of the business and how it thrives” (strategy) in a manner that can be easily communicated to personnel and stakeholders in order to achieve a high level of strategic alignment;
c. Acting as a translator between executives and managers in the business and technologists;
d. Re-positioning the IT Department as the Business Systems Depart-ment;
e. Requirements definition, job description, recruitment of CIO / Head of Business Systems / IT Manager;
f. Coaching and mentoring of CIO / IT Manager / Head of Business Systems to develop business alignment and related competencies.
2. System diagnostic investigations
a. Short, sharp diagnostic interventions that accurately diagnose the factors giving rise to business information system under-performance and prescribing remedial actions http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Pulse.aspx;
b. In-depth understanding of “The Critical Factors for Success of Business Information Systems” and the factors causing failure – written a book on the subject http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/ERPSuccess.aspx;
c. Detail specification of system remediation measures if required;
d. Facilitation or project management of implementation of recommen-dations;
e. Turnaround of failing or sub-optimal business information systems projects and bringing to completion within tight deadlines.
3. Strategic facilitation
a. Critical issues based strategic analysis technique and toolset – quickly and efficiently analyze the strategic environment using a highly collaborative method involving all members of the top management team http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Strategy.aspx;
b. Critical issues analysis of other situations;
c. Development of detailed measurable and actionable strategic plans;
d. Development of business focused Information Technology Depart-ment strategic plans;
e. Developing strategically aligned key performance indicators.
4. Procurement of business information systems http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Procure.aspx
a. Developing a robust definition of the strategic business requirement;
b. Drafting of comprehensive procurement documents and plans based on existing documents that have been developed over the years;
c. Facilitating the procurement process through to a signed, robust, client-centric contract;
d. Negotiating skills, able to secure competitive prices;
e. Advising with the configuration and implementation of the system.
5. Implementation of business information systems
a. Develop and oversee the “strategic solution architecture” of the entire solution;
b. Lead and facilitate the development of comprehensive system configuration including precision configuration and taxonomies http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Configure.aspx;
c. Conceptualize, specify, test and deploy small pieces of strategically important software in support of, or independent of, the main systems;
d. Project facilitator guiding the project on behalf of the client but in a way that leaves final accountability with the implementation contractor;
e. Alternatively project leader – tough results orientated leadership of the implementation project;
f. Business simulation laboratory to ensure that every aspect of the system is fully tested and proven BEFORE commissioning in the business (“go live”) http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Laboratory.aspx;
g. Understanding of “the soft issues” and how to manage them, including importance of communication and effective change facilitation;
h. Strong hands-on approach based on decades of experience of what really works.
6. Business system configuration
a. Deep understanding of the importance of organizing data and of understanding data;
b. Precision configuration of every table in the entire business information system;
c. Charts of Accounts, individual, group or enterprise http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Configure/ChartofAccounts.aspx;
d. Product catalogs and associated system intelligence to manage master data quality;
e. Office filing schemes and application of these schemes across paper files, email folders and on-disk electronic storage;
f. Critical competence classifications of personnel knowledge and experience;
g. Other classification schemes and other elements of system configuration.
7. Public and in-house briefings and courses
a. Why your ERP is not delivering and how to fix it – half day executive briefing http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Seminars/ERPNOTDelivering.aspx;
b. IT and ERP in Strategic and Competitive Management -- half day executive briefing;
c. Engineered tough Business Information System Procurement – one day master class http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Seminars/ToughERPProcurement.aspx;
d. The Critical Factors for Business Information System Investment Success – two day course http://www.James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com/Seminars/CriticalFactorsITandERPSuccess.aspx.
8. Software design
a. Conceptualization, specification, oversight of development, testing and deployment of small pieces of carefully designed software that add considerable business value;
b. Specification of refinements to existing systems.
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