The Real Issues in Business Information Systems: Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration

Strategic alignment, the alignment of system concept and solution architecture with the strategic essence of the organization, why it exists and how it thrives, such that the systems enable management and staff to do the right things well as determined by the customers of the organization together with the need for Precision Configuration the very exact development of data content to model the business, are discussed in this section


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The Real Issues in Business Information Systems: Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration


Links to previous articles at the end of this article

The first article in this thread summarized the seven factors that cause failure, as well as the seven critical factors for success with regard to Business Information System implementation.  The second article   discussed the specific role of Mythology and Lack of Executive custody in system procurement and implementation failure.

These factors are vital to understanding situations such as those that have recently occurred at BMW and Bridgestone , and numerous other companies around the world.

They are also vital to understanding why the business systems industry is, in large measure, going in the wrong direction.  There is significant evidence that the business systems implementation industry is getting better and better at doing the wrong things.

This article presents the next two factors that cause implementation failure in more detail.  These factors are Lack of Strategic Alignment and Lack of Precision Configuration.

The percentages assigned are roughly indicative of the relative frequency of these factors in causing sub-optimal and failed outcomes:

3. Lack of effective strategic alignment and strategic solution architecture -- 16%

The series of articles on "Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems" discusses in depth the importance of strategy, defined as "the essence of the business and how it thrives" in specifying, configuring, customizing and commissioning business information systems.  The failure to address these issues is a major factor in sub-optimal and failed business information system implementations.

The major components of this factor are:

3.1. Lack of strategic definition

Failure to accurately define the essence of the business and how it thrives.  Without this definition seriously inappropriate decisions can be taken, decisions that can compromise or seriously damage the organization.  The strategic definition must be robustly communicated to all parties on the systems implementation project, and used as a basis for selecting the implementation firm and software.  Refer the recent article on Strategic Essence as the point of departure  for business systems projects.

Definition and management of the Strategic Essence relative to your systems is equally relevant in the day to day management of those systems -- if neglected the operation of your system will, over time, degrade relative to the strategic essence of the organization.

3.2. Lack of a strategic advisor

This point is addressed in the previous article on Executive Custody .  A highly strategically literate and very experienced strategic advisor to the executive sponsor, who is entirely aligned with the client organization, is an absolute requirement.  Without such a person on the team, real success, defined as "a high value outcome that enables the organization to thrive", (thrive in turn defined as "grow steadily and profitably on a sustainable basis", is unlikely.   This person is a strategic solution architect and NOT a project manager.

3.3. Failure to engineer strategic essence into solutions

It is one thing to define the strategic essence.  It is another thing to actively and constructively engineer it into the project and the solution.  By " engineer" I mean systematically, intentionally, precisely, methodically, reliably, ... This engineering approach should be central to the procurement, the contracting, the discovery, the customization, the configuration, the acceptance testing, the laboratory testing, the commissioning and the operation -- that is, every single aspect of the system.  The entire approach advocated in this article thread, and all three companion article threads, are components of this strategic engineering approach to business systems implementation and operation.

3.4. Failure to select software and implementers on the basis of strategic essence

A major factor in the business systems failures that I encounter is that procurement fails to focus on the strategic essence of the organization.  Failure to ensure that the software supports the strategic essence gives rise to many problems.  Software designed in such a way that it cuts across or weakens the strategic essence, is a major cause of failures.  Appointment of an implementation firm which cuts across the strategic essence, does not understand it, or obstructs it, is an even bigger problem.

3.5. Failure to configure strategically

An outworking of several of the previous points is failure to configure strategically.  The configuration of a piece of software is the fundamental determinant of system performance.  Well configured software will align closely with the business and help the business to soar.  Badly configured software will generate geared inefficiencies and, in the worst case, cripple the organization.

Strategic configuration ranges from the simplest validation lists such as the "Credit Note Reason codes" example given previously in the thread on Strategically Enhancing Business Systems, through to the Product Catalogue, Chart of Accounts and other large and complex listings.  Refer to the thread on "Strategically Enriching your Business Information System"  for an in-depth discussion of Precision Configuration.

3.6. Lack of strategic attributes

As a specific element of the previous point, also addressed in "Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems" , the addition of strategic attributes to every master file is one of the most important practical steps to unlocking strategic decision support information.

Comprehensive provision of strategic attributes, correctly facilitated and correctly populated and coded, opens the door for "answers to the questions we have NOT yet thought to ask" and, in association with this, dramatically increases the opportunity for "strategically clever" custom development, which can add huge competitive and operational value to the organization.  This aspect is almost NEVER catered for in traditional system implementations and constitutes a substantial opportunity for most organizations.  Precision Configuration is discussed in more detail below.

3.7. Lack of strategically intelligent information

The absence of strategic alignment culminates in strategically inept solutions that add little value, or destroy huge value, because they lack the ability to deliver strategically intelligent information.  The resolution of all the above issues can lift the value delivery of a business system by as much as several orders of magnitude, and create a strategic resource that dramatically facilitates the competitiveness, profitability and, where desired, growth of the organization.  All of this is associated with a thriving organization which is doing the right things well (McDonald) .

The lack of some or all the above items results in solutions that at best do NOT add value and at worst destroy value, to the point of putting the organization out of business.  I offer comprehensive services to assist clients to resolve all the above items.

4. Lack of Precision Configuration -- 14%

A major distinction between the average business information system and the average engineering design is that engineering systems are designed literally to the last nut and bolt.

Business systems are generally configured to inexact tolerances with limited or no strategic insight by mid-level personnel on both the implementer and client side, who have no grasp of the fact that the precision of the configuration of a system can result in variations of at least a factor of 100 in level of value and performance delivered.  Process obsession, discussed in the previous article in this thread , is a factor that gets massively in the way of precision configuration much of the time.

The following major factors contribute to failure in terms of Lack of Precision Configuration:

4.1. Failure to recognize Precision Configuration as THE most fundamental factor

On completion of a business systems implementation two tangible components remain apart from the hardware and software -- the system configuration in terms of settings, validation lists and Master Data, together with the knowledge and experience or lack thereof in the heads of the personnel of the organization, together with whatever training materials are left behind.

Given that people move on and forget and training materials are seldom used, it becomes apparent that the configuration is THE most important factor in terms of the final deliverable.  The configuration determines how the software behaves, how data is captured and classified, how queries are structured and answered, etc.  Every aspect of the use of the software is at some level determined by the configuration.

A badly designed Chart of Accounts can be a management accounting and even operational accounting nightmare, that can get in the way of sound business decisions and drive audit costs through the roof.  A strategically designed Chart of Accounts implemented with a code scheme that I refer to as "The Cubic Business Model"  delivers standards of excellence that will raise business decision making to a new level, reduce admin headcount and generally reduce audit costs.

4.2. Failure to engage with and facilitate executives effectively

The previous article discussed the issue of "Lack of Executive Custody"  and explained why Executive Custody and engagement with the Chief Executive and the rest of the Top Team is vital.

One of the many areas of the implementation impacted by inadequate Executive Custody is configuration.  It is NOT possible to design and implement a comprehensive business system solution without significant executive level involvement.

Only executives can determine the attributes of customers, products, etc that are important to them from a strategic analysis perspective.  Only executives can determine if the content and the classification scheme will align with their reporting and analysis requirements.

Certainly you can leave these things to mid-level members of your staff and mid-level consultants, but you will then get a mid-level view of what is important and you should NOT be surprised if you are NOT able to get the information you need to make high value business decisions, the syndrome reported by Gartner .

See the video on Executive Custody  for more information on Executive involvement.  The art is to engage sufficiently with executive team members to get the structure right and then engage with less senior personnel to flesh out the content, returning regularly to the executives to vet and refine the design.

4.3. Failure to engage a strategic level advisor with expertise in configuration

In order for this level of executive engagement to happen, a strategic executive level facilitator with a deep understanding of business, business systems and the classification of information is a vital component of the project team.  As discussed above and in the previous article .

This is NOT a technology position; it is a strategic business information management advisory position.  The right advisor will assist executives to quickly lift out the critical elements in terms of attributes required, content of attribute lists, structure and classification of attribute lists, implementation, design of custom software to exploit the resulting data and production of high quality strategic level reports and analytics.  A very diverse experience set and maturity is called for.

4.4. Failure to accurately model the REAL world in the attributes

A fundamental requirement for successful Precision Configuration is that when, after days of hard work, the team produce a set of validation lists, Chart of Accounts, Product Classification, Customer Classification, Employee Classification, Asset Classification, etc executives, stakeholders and staff can look at them and say "YES, THAT is my organization".

Until the configuration / validation / classification data accurately models the organization, the system is of limited value as a strategic resource.  Once the hard work has been done to examine and analyse the full complexity of the organization and develop classification schemes that fit, you have then taken the first critical steps in the journey to unlocking the full potential of your business systems investment.

4.5. Failure to develop comprehensive highly structured content

The content of the lists must address all reasonable growth and expansion going forward as well as everything that has occurred in the past and which might realistically occur again.

To this end the existing classifications and existing transaction data serve as a "brainstorm list", NO more.  Do NOT let "the history" drag you down, start with a clean sheet of paper.  Once you have developed the high level structure of a particular list, inspect the existing data to ensure that nothing has been overlooked.  Then work systematically to validate this conclusion.

Ultimately it will be necessary to tick the new list against the old list and existing transactions in order to ensure that the final list is comprehensive.  But do NOT allow the configuration of the existing system to dictate the configuration of the new system -- it may be comfortable for the staff but it is NOT what is required.  If you are going to carry the old configuration and Master Data forward, why are you buying a new system?

4.6. Failure to develop hierarchies that respect cognitive span

In every case it is vital to develop hierarchies where there is any significant amount of detail.

In developing hierarchies, or taxonomies -- structured lists that take account of the fundamentals of the business -- it is vital to recognize cognitive span, the ability of the human mind to quickly and accurately scan information and interpret it.

The average cognitive span of human beings is seven plus or minus two.  People with limited education generally have limited cognitive span and will find a list of more than five items difficult to quickly and accurately engage with and make a selection.  People with higher education generally have a higher cognitive span but nine or, at a stretch ten, items in a component of a hierarchy is the maximum that they will easily engage with.  I offer a critical issues facilitation service to lift out the critical issues based on recognition of cognitive span, see the offer at the end of this document.

The relevance of cognitive span is that once all lists are structured with five to ten items at any level of the list, operators move more rapidly and more accurately to the correct classification value, reports are easy to write and the data is easily summarized in ways that support effective use of presentation techniques, ranging from pie charts to line graphs and on to sophisticated multi-dimensional models and advanced statistical techniques.  When these summaries are presented, people with insight into the data will almost instantly interpret the graph or tabular data, leading to further questions and analysis and, in due course, high value decisions.

Very few organizations achieve the level of structure and logic that I am describing here with the result that their business information systems constantly deliver sub-standard information that in turn results in less than optimal decision making and costly rework in spreadsheets.

4.7. Lack of semantic precision -- "sloppy" wording

Once the logic of the list has been developed the exact wording is also vital.  I recommend the use of indents in the descriptions to make the logic more visible, and this should be coupled to careful use of words, the use of carefully thought out abbreviations including the use of mnemonic prefixes and suffixes, to reflect the details of the hierarchy.  See the thread on Strategically Enriching your business systems for some examples.

Sloppy wording which sees "Factory" as an expense AND an asset is typical of the semantic issues that give rise to problems.  "Factory" in a badly structured Chart of Accounts will see one operator posting expense type transactions to the account, while another posts asset type transactions to the same account.  Potentially serious business damage and, at least, dramatically increased audit costs result.  Not to mention the loss of any meaningful management information.

This is but one of many factors that result in managers NOT trusting "the system" and maintaining their own records and spreadsheets on the side.

4.8. Failure to employ codes that accurately mirror the logic of the list

Human beings only understand explicit language; computers only understand bits and bytes.  Thus it is vital to develop lists that respect cognitive span, are carefully and accurately worded, that use indents to make the hierarchy of the taxonomy visible, etc.  However, this ONLY takes care of the needs of the human users of the system.  The computer has need of bit and byte patterns that it can recognize -- alpha, numeric or alpha-numeric codes carefully thought out so that the pattern the computer sees in the code data EXACTLY mirrors the logic of the list.

With thoughtful use of coding conventions software can draw substantial apparent intelligence from the data.  The data is NOT in fact intelligent, it is the code scheme and its associated rules and conventions that allows simple software to sometimes do very impressive things.

There is a fairly widespread myth, particularly prevalent relating to "Web based" applications, that structured lists and codes are obsolete.  This is simply NOT so, a well-structured list allows users to quickly and accurately select the right item and the code provides a correspondingly structured pattern for the computer.  If the hierarchy is accurately modelled, queries become much easier, and much more powerful queries become possible.  A well designed code is also relatively easy to remember and so operators post faster and more accurately by knowing the codes for the most common items on a Pareto basis (80:20).

Some also suggest that "Google" type searches replace the need for structured data and analytics.  Again this is NOT so, unstructured searches are fine for finding information in unstructured data in an unstructured way, this does NOT produce structured numeric data that is capable of even relatively simple graphical analysis, let alone the use of more complex methods.

Failure to fully grasp and apply these principles is a major factor contributing to why executives cannot get the answers they want to new questions when they want them.  In fact, many executives cannot even get the answers to OLD questions when they want them.  Not without excessive costs in terms of mid-level personnel undertaking the analysis in spreadsheets and often with the assistance of costly consultants.

4.9. Failure to manage data quality on an ongoing basis

Having developed high quality configuration data in the form of validation lists, classification lists and overall master data, it is in the nature of things that without proper quality control the quality of the data will degrade.  It is therefore vital that a senior manager be made personally responsible for data quality, specifically relating to the quality of keyboard and mouse input at the time transactions are captured.  This has a lot to do with human discipline and little or nothing to do with technology.

High quality data will make your systems, reports and models fly -- poor quality data will drag your systems and your organization down.

4.10. Failure to exploit the Precision Configuration with clever software

Another myth is that business should never customize or custom develop software.  This is roughly equivalent to saying that once you have purchased a factory you may not make any custom improvements to it and the machines it contains for whatever reason.

One of the significant opportunities that results from Precision Configuration is the opportunity to design and develop small but clever pieces of add-on software that enable the organization to do things that add significant value, but that the standard software cannot do.  See the case study on my website for more information .

4.11. Failure to develop comprehensive reports and Business Intelligence models

Finally, it does not help to have high quality data if one does not have high quality, flexible and comprehensive reports and Business Intelligence models that exploit the wealth of information that you now have available in your data.

One of the substantial benefits of Precision Configuration is that reports are easier to create and there is more diverse information to report on.  Further, because the data content architecture is robust and stable, it is viable to invest time and money in developing advanced reports and analytics that exploit the intelligence that now exists in the data.  Every project should have a material budget for this component.

The above discussion outlines the factors that are necessary for a high value Precision Configuration solution.  The thread on "Strategically Enriching your business systems"  provides more information on the HOW of doing this.  Absence of the above radically cripples massive investments and prevents them adding the value that is expected.

To follow

5. Failure to address soft issues, business engagement and change impacts -- 12%

6. Lack of an Engineering Approach -- 6%

7. Technology Issues – sub-optimal or defective software, hardware, network, etc -- 3%

 

The Critical Factors for Success

1. Effective Executive Custody -- 25%

2. Effective Strategic definition and alignment – the Essence of the business -- 22%

3. Effective engineering solution design and implementation approach -- 17%

4. Effective Precision Configuration -- 16%

5. Effective Business Simulation Laboratory operation -- 12%

6. Effective business integration, training, change facilitation, process specification -- 6%

7. Reliable technology -- 2%

Conclusion

If you address all the above together with the other factors causing failure and the Critical Factors for success, and you treat your major investment as one of the most far reaching projects your business is likely to ever undertake, and therefore invest the appropriate level of executive time properly facilitated, you will find that application of these principles will have a huge beneficial impact.

I offer advisory services with regard to the application of these principles, and would be delighted to discuss how I might be of assistance to your business.  I also offer a light touch diagnostic service that I call a "Pulse Measurement" to diagnose the root cause of problems and how to fix them for both operational systems and projects that are not meeting expectations.  

Yours faithfully,


Dr James Robertson PrEng

James A Robertson and Associates Limited
Assisting clients to thrive through effective and efficient application of Business Information Systems

Seeking to serve the Almighty Creator in all things

Previous articles:

Strategic Essence -- The Missing Link in Business Information Systems

A discussion of how strategic essence should inform all business improvement projects and particularly business information system projects.  This thread is intended to discuss the analysis of strategy, the planning of strategy and feeding strategy through into business system specifications and the management of projects.  Articles to date include:

Summary
1: Strategy Defined
2: Differentiation
3: The Essence IS Different
4: Essence is the Point of Departure
Determining Strategic Essence

The Real Issues in Business Information Systems

A discussion as to why business information system (and other business improvement projects) fail to deliver on expectations or fail outright, together with discussion of the critical factors that must be taken into account in order to achieve successful outcomes.  This thread is intended to progressively discuss more hands-on specifics of achieving high value outcomes and builds on the Strategic Essence series.  Articles to date include:

1: Introduction
2: The Real Issues -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody

Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems

Discussion of practical specific measures that can be taken in order to greatly improve the information yield of business information systems at both the operational and executive strategic level.  A number of simple steps that can be taken immediately and more complex measures that can be taken over time.  This thread is intended to discuss increasing business system and data warehouse value yield using techniques that lead to significantly improved business intelligence capability, including support for the ability to"obtain answers to questions we had not previously thought to ask".  This builds on the content in the Strategic Essence and Real Issues threads.  Articles to date include:

1: Introduction
2: Principles of Data Engineering

Robust Business Information Systems Procurement

In order to fully apply the methods and principles discussed in the threads above with regard to new systems it is vital that a robust and effective approach to procurement is applied.  This requires a tough procurement approach directed at achieving a tough business outcomes orientated project that ensures a high value outcome.  This thread discusses the components of such a procurement approach, including the individual documents and processes that make up the approach.  Thereafter the components will be discussed in more detail.  Articles to date include:

1: Introduction
2: Bill of Services, Laboratory, Go-live Certificate, etc




Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

Sem 04 7 Steps to FIX your ERP

A new element recently added to a number of existing seminars and presentations outlining seven practical measures that can be taken to FIX your ERP or other business information system
Cnf 091 Business Process -- Over Rated and Over Stated

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"
Std 027 COBOL – old software CAN be retained (with reference to Bridgestone)

Many organizations replace COBOL systems because they have been told they are obsolete, this article dispels that myth

Dr James A Robertson PrEng

Business Systems NOT delivering?

Call the Business Systems Specialist

Dr. James Robinson

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
James@James-A-Robertson-and-Associates.com

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

Click here to read more about the Engineering Approach

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.

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Book -- The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success

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:


Random Selection of Articles by Dr James Robertson

Cnf 046 Insourcing -- Restructuring the IT Department for Better Business Focus and Increased Effectiveness --Armscor Case Study

Case study of a strategic planning project undertaken to develop a customer service focused IT Strategy for the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, the project used strategic marketing concepts to research business user, business requirements and concerns and convert these into a strategic action plan that was measurable and actionable thereby strengthening the position of the IT Department as a partner with the business
Cnf 018 Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Management System

A small, rapidly designed and built loss management software solution with accompanying Precision Configuration built and deployed in a matter of a month delivered very substantial strategic management information value together with unexpected dramatic efficiencies
Std 028 Why Regular Communication between the Project Leader and the CEO is Vital

A business information systems project that extends across the full ambit of the organization is almost certainly the most difficult and most challenging project that any organization can undertake.  This MUST be driven by the CEO as custodian and supported by a highly experienced and very mature Project Leader.  These two people must communicate constantly and effectively in order to ensure that they remain aligned to give the CEO the solution that is required

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Articles by James A Robertson and Associates

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procurement timeline      professional speaker      Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa      profitability      programming languages are for the programmer      project facilitation      project leader      project leader -- CEO communication      project leadership      project management      project management IT project management      projects      prove it works      PSASA      psychology      psychometrics      public conferences      public presentations      public speaking      Pulse Measurement      quality      REAL issues in Business Information Systems      REAL value      recognizing failure      redaction      reduced audit costs      reduced head count      reference documents      Reg Barry      regulatory body      relationship Almighty      relationship orientated      remediation of existing systems      Rennies Group      reports      reports not reliable      request for proposal      requirements specification      results orientated      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Led      standards      strategic      strategic advisory      strategic alignment      strategic analysis      strategic analysis and design      strategic business improvement      strategic custom development      strategic definition      strategic discovery      strategic driver      strategic engineered precision configuration      strategic engineered precision taxonomies      strategic essence      strategic financial information      strategic gap analysis      strategic governance      strategic information      strategic management      strategic management information      strategic plan      strategic planning      strategic project leader      strategic snapshots      strategic software      strategic solution architect advisory      strategic solution architect leadership      strategic solution architecture      strategically designed chart of accounts      strategy      strategy defined      strategy focused planning      Strategy Snapshot Toolset      StratGap      StratSnap      strengthen differentiators      structured analysis      structured chart of accounts      substantial management information      succeed by engineering against failure      success      successful deployment      survive      system knowledge and experience      table of contents      tailored presentations      take notes      taxonomies      taxonomy      taxonomy software      technology      technology failure      technology issues      technology management      tender document pack      tender pack      tender pack table of contents      test data      testing      The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success      the Critical Factors for Success      the essence of the business      the essence of the business and how it thrives      the essence of the organization and how it thrives      the factors causing failure      the first hour      The REAL Issues in Business Information System success      third party suppliers      third world countries      thrive      time      tipping point      tough certificates      tough contract management      tough contracts      tough procurement      tough terms      training      training material      treatment code      understanding of data      understanding the engineering approach      Uniface      unlocking value      use different languages for new components      V3 Consulting Engineers      validation data      value      versus process      video      webinars      weighted factors      what is executive custody      what is strategy      what is the essence of this organization and how does it thrive      what to do      where is IT going      why executive custody is required      why the organization exists and how it thrives      why your business information system is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it      why your ERP is NOT delivering and how to fix it      workflow      writer     

Table of Contents

Home

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

Reference Articles

List of Articles

Article Catalogue

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

Pulse Measurement

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

Strategy

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

Procurement Documents

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 1 -- Introduction

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?

IT Effectiveness

Organizing Outlook

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

Other Seminars

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