Few people really understand the significance and importance of business defined attribute fields in software design and operation generally and in Integrated Business Information Systems and ERP generally. This document headlines the reasons why your organization should invest in developing a really high quality set of Attribute Fields and populating them with really high quality structured data.
1. Attributes are the way we accurately model the real world
Attributes are the way we model the real world. They can be as simple as a male / female gender classification and as complex as a huge product classification for a mining operation.
2. Strategic Attributes are often less tangible
Strategic Attributes are often less tangible, a client, in the business of marketing and selling Golf Clubs identified the sound that a Driver (a type of club) makes as an important characteristic in buyers fashion driven purchase decisions – buy clubs that sound the same as the club used by the world champion. These items are often tacit and it can require strategically skilled facilitation to identify them and populate the associated lists.
3. User defined Attribute fields cost very little to add at the configuration stage
When user defined attribute fields are added to a logical entity while the system is being configured the time cost of specifying and adding them is small relative to the total cost of the system investment. Many times it also takes only a few minutes of the appropriate (executive) time to populate these lists and yet they add huge value. Adding them later can be a very costly matter because of the time taken for testing, updating of working procedures, manuals, training materials, new instructions to staff, changes to stationery and all the time required to go back and classify historical entries when no-one can really remember the exact characteristics.
4. Strategically designed attributes open the door for strategically clever customization
The presence of strategically designed and precision structured and coded attribute lists and master list classifications opens the door for small pieces of strategically clever custom software to add HUGE and lasting strategic (competitive / thrive) value as well as huge operational value and process efficiency. These pieces of software are frequently ONLY possible with really well designed attribute fields and attribute list content and can raise the strategic (competitive / thrive) value of an IBIS / ERP / Other IT investment by a factor of ten or even a hundred by enabling the client organization to do things that would otherwise be impossible.
5. The allocation of values during operational processing costs almost nothing
Once user defined attribute fields have been added, it costs almost nothing to add the few extra values to take-on sheets or screens by senior people who are fully immersed in the business and are aware of the nuances of products, customers, personnel, etc. These are the same people who are generally customers for this information months or years later. To go back and retro-classify the same data when the attributes are no longer top of mind or at your fingertips is generally a more time consuming process but is nevertheless STILL worth doing.
6. The capture of attribute values at take-on time costs almost nothing
Where punch operators are taking on data or data is being supplied by suppliers who can be persuaded to include the attributes in their databases the finger on the keyboard time to capture a few extra attribute values is zero or close to zero and so a wealth of additional information is acquired at almost no operational cost. Even where some digging IS required, creative measures can greatly reduce the acquisition cost.
7. The absence of Strategic Attributes is the biggest single factor in big sub-optimal system investment performance
The absence of strategically aligned and focussed attribute data, as well as operationally relevant attribute data – “every possible attribute you can think of” is the biggest single reason why executives cannot get answers to their questions from their ERP and other Integrated Business Information System (IBIS) investments. The cost of adding these items later is much greater but IS still warranted in terms of the savings that follow such an enhancement of a piece of software and its configuration.
8. The JAR&A approach to strategic attribute definition and population is unique
I have been developing and using such attribute tables since 1987 and have seen some dramatic improvements in strategic AND operational efficiency and effectiveness as a result. I regard these fields as absolutely essential for any business systems investment and have very diverse experience with regard to the identification and population of these fields.
I hope that this provides some information to stimulate your interest in custom attribute fields and look forward to the opportunity to develop such fields for your organization J
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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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There is a large body of white papers, articles and other content produced by Dr James Robertson available on this website
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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
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
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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
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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
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ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results
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