Dr James Robertson
The principal or fundamental components of Precision Configuration are:
1. Software settings
The basic software configuration settings that cause the software to behave in potentially very different ways and which can turn on or turn off large chunks of functionality or simply change small defaults or micro detail.
2. Cubic Business Model™ in the General Ledger
The Cubic Business Model™ in the General Ledger is the component of Precision Configuration that will be common to every implementation where full Precision Configuration is applied.
The full multi-dimensional cube logic must be carried through absolutely consistently into the Assets Module, the Human Resources Module, the Production Module, etc, etc.
3. Asset classification
Asset classification occurs in most installations, the classification here must correlate with the summary headings in the Chart of Accounts, the plant classification logic in the Fixed and Mobile Plant modules, the spares classifications in the Product / Material / Item master files, etc.
Typically there are some challenges in harmonizing the hierarchy and coding of assets across all the other modules that reference assets in some fashion.
4. Product / Material / Item classification / catalogue
The Product Master / Material Master / Item Master master files contain by far the largest and most complex taxonomy in any ERP installation in the form of a catalogue. The logic of this catalogue can be very different depending on the nature of the business such as mining, manufacturing, distribution, services, etc.
In order to achieve a high value precision configuration it is vital that this element receives considerable attention – in many cases this will be by far the most time consuming and onerous taxonomy to develop and the one that can have the biggest impact on the effective or non-effective operation of the ERP.
5. Classification of Personnel
The classification of personnel, not just in terms of employment categorization and grades but also in terms of knowledge and experience (competence) classifications is generally overlooked and under estimated in terms of its ability to add value to the business, for this reason this aspect is generally hacked and gets in the way of adding value.
A comprehensive precision configuration should address all facets of Human Resource categorization and particularly competence classification.
6. Other specific classifications
All ERP systems contain other classifications such as the Customer Class, Supplier Class, etc and in industry specialist modules like the Mine Resource Management module, specialist manufacturing module, advanced warehouse management module, etc there will be any number of classifications, drop down lists, etc.
These must all be carefully analysed and structured in a comprehensive Precision Configuration.
7. Unique attributes on Products and other classification master data
A special aspect of Precision Configuration that is little understood is the development of client specific attributes as user defined fields on the master tables, particularly on tables such as the Product Master, Customer Master, etc.
These attribute lists can be quite detailed but in many cases can have a limited number of values but they describe, for example the product, more precisely relative to the operation of the specific client business under consideration.
It is vital to engage with executives, managers and staff in the client organization in order to understand ALL the possible attributes that apply.
It costs very little to add these user defined fields and it costs very little to acquire the extra data and maintain that data in the average organization but these custom fields can make the difference between an ERP or other system implementation that can answer obscure little asked questions and one that cannot.
Clever use of these attributes also allows small clever custom functionality to be added to the configuration that allows the values of these customs attribute fields to be used to drive data acquisition logic and data processing logic.
A significant investment in this area is particularly important and typically falls into the category of items that form part of the 20% of the effort that will deliver 80% of the investment value.
8. General record level attribute settings
Every record of every master file contains some number of standard attribute and other settings and values. The standard fields on a large international ERP Item Master or Materials master file can run to hundreds of fields ranging from item mass through to general ledger integration account codes.
With a well-designed hierarchical Item / Materials / Product catalogue it is possible to build custom functionality that will add considerable intelligence onto the maintenance of these master file records and the addition of records which will result in the entire operation of the system becoming more effective and efficient with benefits rippling through to the business, sometimes in dramatic ways.
This precision in turn opens the door for other bits of limited scope clever customization to add considerable value, even to the point of creating a framework to create pseudo integration between two otherwise completely unrelated modules like modelling the product logic in the projects module so that product marketing costs can be managed using the project module in a way that it seems that the projects module is a seamless extension of the product master.
In one case this type of pseudo integration opened the door for a client organization to grow their business by 25% by gaining the distribution and marketing account of a major international manufacturer because they were able to do things in terms of brand management that no one else could do.
9. Other configuration settings
This last category includes the vast array of other configuration at the operational level including things like workflow / business process automation, bill of materials, etc, etc.
Note that many of the above items are frequently configured and set by business staff at an operational level who do not have a strategic view and who see retention of comfort with legacy data as first priority. These personnel are frequently facilitated by mid-level or even junior implementer staff who does not really understand the business or the software. Both of these are completely the WRONG things to do.
The high level design of these taxonomies should be developed by an executive level facilitator working closely with the executives of the business and even the full detail of these lists should be reviewed and approved by these same executives and executive level facilitator.
I hope that this catalogue of the different components of Precision Configuration facilitates a better understanding of the full complexity of the concept.
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Business Systems NOT delivering?
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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.
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:
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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
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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
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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
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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
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