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Pulse Measurements regularly save clients millions and greatly enhance the effectiveness of ERP and other systems
If you have the slightest unease about your current systems you will find a Pulse Measurement well worthwhile
If you are significantly dissatisfied with your systems and particularly if you are experiencing BUSINESS TRAUMA, a Pulse Measurement is a MUST HAVE item -- in as little as one day you can gain fresh insights into your systems and what is needed to turn adverse situations around
A Pulse Measurement is also relevant as a HEALTH CHECK on your project or IT Department or system should you simply want an independent Professional Opinion as to how you can improve the effectiveness of your system or Department
AND we offer a NO CHARGE guarantee if you are NOT satisfied with the intervention one third of the way into the agreed schedule subject to the required executive participation
Click here to email us now to discuss your requirements and obtain a proposal without obligation
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
Mr Anthony Lee, Managing Director and Shareholder of Transport Holdings discusses his experience of the Pulse Measurement Services provided to him by Dr James Robertson. Anthony can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
"... after 18 months we still did not have a solution ... they kept blaming us ... after engaging Dr James within 48 hours we had got our head around what the issues were ... totally inappropriate solution ... we knew what the way forward ... for the first time in 18 months there was clarity of vision regarding what had to be done"
Similar benefits are available to your organization
Click here to email us now to discuss your requirements and obtain a proposal without obligation
We are so confident that you will derive exceptional value from this intervention that we offer a guarantee such that if at the end of the first day of the investigation you are NOT confident that you are obtaining value for money you will have the right to terminate the investigation and ONLY pay travel, accommodation and subsistence outside of London
For one day investigations you can make this call at the end of the day, in other words, if you commission a one day Pulse Measurement and at the end of that day you are not satisfied you will not have to pay for the consultation
We are confident that you will NOT need to do this
Can you afford NOT to commission a Pulse Measurement?
I make some quite strong claims for the Pulse Measurement™, this document seeks to answer some questions that potential customers might have:
1. A reliable diagnosis in such a short time!?
How can you claim to deliver a reliable diagnosis in such a short space of time? – We have been battling with this problem for months / years?
Answer: The simple answer is that I have been doing diagnostic Pulse Measurements™ since 1990 and I have done this a very large number of times. So, in the same way as when you consult a Medical Doctor I listen for key words that point to the diagnosis and I have such diverse experience of these matters that this points me to the treatment most of the time
2. But this is REALLY complex!
I still don’t get it, this is MUCH more complex than the average medical condition – it involves all sorts of systems and people!
Answer: The methods I use are based on my engineering training and experience which includes a wide repertoire of problem solving and diagnostic techniques which I use instinctively to lead me to an accurate diagnosis and recommended treatment in a short space of time
3. But so quickly?
But engineers are systematic and methodical and painstaking – how can you produce a reliably result so quickly?!
Answer: Well, YES, there IS another dimension
I was a Regimental Commander with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in our Citizen Force Army (National Guard) and I received in-depth training in methods of Tactical Appreciation (Combat Analysis) at Brigade level (5,000 men of all disciplines) in the context of high speed mobile warfare
This taught me rapid critical issue analysis techniques which enable me to sift through large amounts of information and zoom in on the essence of the situation that point to action very quickly
4. But you know little about our industry and nothing about our business?
Answer: That is true but if you read my book, “The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success” or attend one of my briefings or courses you will find that nearly all the factors that give rise to failure of ERP and IT projects relate to psychology, method, strategy, governance, etc which are largely the same no matter what industry, business or technology I am investigating.
I have also evaluated an extremely diverse range of businesses over the years so I am able to easily and rapidly interpolate and extrapolate from these other experiences. My line of inquiry also enables me to understand the essence of your business very quickly and very accurately
5. And you know nothing about our system?
Answer: In some cases that may be true but I have experience of a very diverse range of systems so, to the extent that I may not have had exposure to your particular system or combination of systems, I am able to rapidly interpolate and extrapolate from my very diverse systems experience
I also have a very solid fundamental first principles understanding of how computer software and hardware work and this enables me to quickly understand the fundamentals of any particular technology. I have been using computers since 1973
6. How will we know your findings and recommendations are reliable and actionable?
Answer: Most of the time my findings are very much practical common sense such that often I simply authoritatively confirm your gut feel and explain it in simple to understand terms such that you will KNOW that I am correct – frequently my findings are just blinding glimpses of the obvious
Knowing what to DO with the finding is of course a separate issue
7. What if we need guidance in implementing your recommendations?
Answer: I provide comprehensive high level advisory services to guide you through the implementation of my recommendations at whatever level of involvement you require and I have a portfolio of specialist associates whom I can call on where specialist expertise is required
Where required I am available to take over the leadership of a project on in order to achieve the required outcome
I hope my answers to these questions have helped you to better understand how the Pulse Measurement™ works
The Pulse Measurement REALLY IS that effective and THAT TIME AND COST EFFICIENT
Isn't it time to take the Pulse of YOUR SYSTEM today?
When clients are considering undertaking a Pulse Measurement I am frequently asked questions like “how much experience do you have with regard to xxx” (xxx = name of ERP or specialized module) or “how much experience do you have with the yyy industry” (yyy = name of industry)
When a client is experiencing problems with their business systems the technically correct answer to both questions is “that is the WRONG question because the brand of software and the industry generally have little or nothing to do with the diagnosis of the problem because the factors causing the failure or sub-optimal outcomes and the Factors for Success relate to business system implementation principles and people and NOT software or industry”
The Origin of “The Factors”
Based on my experience of investigating failed and sub-optimal Business Information System projects since 1990 I analyzed my findings in 2003 and derived a set of “Factors for Information Technology Investment Failure” and “The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success”. Based on this analysis I developed a two day course which I still run today. Based on this course I wrote a book called “The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success” which is available on request
Since then I have taught these principles on a regular basis in numerous courses and conference presentations and applied them in my ongoing consulting work with the consequence that I have robustly confirmed the universality of the principles and greatly extended my understanding of how they work and how to correct the negative impacts of the factors causing failure and how to effectively manage and apply the factors for success. In the process I have progressively refined the definition and rating of the factors and gained very substantial knowledge and experience in diagnosing them, treating the conditions they identify and applying them in managing projects to achieve high value business outcomes
The factors that cause failure – defined in the context of the dictum “engineers do NOT design bridges to stand up, they design them NOT to fall down” – see the home page – in other words the factors that need to be identified and engineered out of the solution are as follows:
7.Technology Issues – sub-optimal or defective software, hardware, network, etc
These factors are NOT necessarily all present in a failed or sub-optimal installation but, in my experience, at least one of them is always present – the factors have been proven to be universal and comprehensive
It will be apparent from the above statistics that technology is very seldom the cause of the problem and, for that reason, the question with regard to experience with regard to a particular brand of technology is, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant
This approach of drawing on decades of experience within the context of a highly structured experientially based classification allows me to very quickly diagnose the root cause or causes of the problem AND very quickly prescribe the appropriate treatment – over the years I have developed a deep understanding of all the above factors and, most importantly, the measures necessary to remediate the factors causing failure and action the factors for success
As a corollary to the previous point a successful implementation is one in which ALL the above factors are engineered and managed out of the situation
Thus a successful outcome is achieved by managing the negative Factors Causing Failure OUT of the situation and managing the positive Factors for Success INTO the situation
The Critical Factors for Success are as follows:
The average contribution of these factors to successful high value outcomes that strongly support strategic goals, as encountered in my experience, are shown graphically as follows:
This light touch experience (or expertise) based approach enables rapid diagnosis of problems and necessary treatments and is the reason why a Pulse Measurement can be successfully undertaken in between one and ten days depending on the scale of the organization and the nature of the problem
Tap into our highly effective light touch "expertise based" approach to quickly and accurately identify the root causes of your Business Information System and ERP problems and define the actions necessary to turn the situation around and achieve a HIGH VALUE outcome
The exact duration of a Pulse Measurement is determined by the size of the client, the nature of the problem and the level of detail that the client requests in the investigation
The following are reasonably reliable indicative estimates of the on-site time required to undertake a Pulse Measurement including initial briefing by the Chief Executive, preparation of a short letter report and discussion of that report with the CEO and other Executives and Managers nominated by the CEO -- the goal is to provide a short, sharp high impact diagnostic -- refer to other modules on this page to understand why we claim Dr Robertson can produce such a high impact result in such a short period of time
In most cases the CEO or Sponsoring Executive will receive a good indication of the direction the investigation is taking by the end of the first or, at most, the second day allowing you to curtail the investigation if you consider you have met your objectives
Obtain a MUCH BETTER result in a FRACTION OF THE TIME and at a FRACTION OF THE COST of more conventional approaches and potentially save millions, unlock massive value and equip and empower executives to obtain the EXPECTED RETURN ON INVESTMENT on your Business System and ERP investments
Do you have concerns about your I.T. function or about a specific project?
Are you debating whether to replace your existing financial and operational systems with a new E.R.P.?
Are you concerned that your company is not keeping pace with I.T. or is going in the wrong direction?
Do you have an E.R.P. or I.T. project that is stalled?
Are you wondering where you can obtain an independent third party opinion?
An I.T. pulse measurement by Dr James Robertson may be just what you need.
WHAT IS AN I.T. PULSE MEASUREMENT?
Dr Robertson's pulse measurement is a structured, interview based investigation into a problem that YOU define.
The pulse measurement comprises:
1) One on one interviews with your executive team.
2) One on one interviews with key business users of I.T. at various levels as appropriate to the focus of the investigation.
3) Interviews with I.T. staff and service providers coupled with review of critical systems as appropriate to the focus of the investigation.
4) A structured analysis resulting in a concise structured report based on the factors discussed in Dr Robertson's book "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success".
This analysis identifies and prioritizes the "Critical Findings" and recommends prioritized "Critical Actions" arising from the investigation. This is accompanied by a concise evaluation of the problem under investigation in terms of the criteria presented in the book.
5) Optionally the report may be followed with a formal presentation or briefing to your executive team and possibly other audiences.
6) Optionally Dr Robertson offers a critical issues workshop process to formulate specific response to the findings, such as definition of critical business requirements for a system (new or existing).
7) Optionally Dr Robertson offers advisory services with regard to implementation of his recommendations. This can comprise ad-hoc consultation or scheduled consultation which can take place on a retainer basis if that is appropriate to your requirements.
The I.T. pulse measurement has been developed to give a concise assessment of the health of your I.T. or other organizational issue through a limited scope, limited cost professional intervention that will give you greatly improved understanding of the problem in question and how to resolve it.
The findings are presented in a practical, no nonsense, manner that cuts to the chase in terms of the action required.
The pulse measurement is tailored to your exact requirements and will typically require from one to ten days of Dr Robertson's time giving a cost effective, high value, high impact diagnostic intervention.
"The lights have just gone on" -- exclamation by Executive Director of a client organization at the end of the second day of a pulse measurement when Dr Robertson provided a summing up of the investigation to that point and diagnosed the root cause of a project that was nine months behind schedule.
Over the years Dr Robertson has conducted dozens of pulse measurements for organizations of all types and sizes with regard to the full diversity of business systems, ERP’s, etc.
Out comes have included turning around a decision of a client executive to scrap a system based on a one day investigation, turning around a failing four hundred million Pound Sterling project with a one day visit to London, identifying a fundamental defect in an implementation that was in the process of putting a client organization out of business and equipping the chief executive to take a new direction. There have been many other cases of IT departments turned around and major expenditure prevented
It is not uncommon for an IT pulse measurement to save a client millions and sometimes even tens of millions and sometimes even AVERT BUSINESS DISASTER
Ineffective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can impact significantly on a business. To the relief of many a decision maker, one local service provider has introduced an offering that its developers say is able to accurately provide insight into problems and possible solutions.
The service is called a Pulse Measurement and is an interview-based diagnostic intervention which is the brainchild of Dr. James Robertson, an author and recognised voice within the IT and ERP market.
Dr Robertson runs James A Robertson and Associates (JAR&A), an established service provider within strategic application of business information systems.
The company believes that the Pulse Measurement service is making a critical difference to decision makers that struggle to derive value from ERP and cannot decipher where the problem lies.
The service involves Dr Robertson asking a limited number of well-tested strategic questions that are designed to gain insight into a business and its system problems in the shortest possible time.
Dr Robertson works on the basis of sixty minute one-on-one interviews starting with the CEO then the rest of the Executive team, followed by managers responsible for the systems and then staff operating the systems and technical staff, consultants, implementers, etc.
The system is concurrently inspected and data, source code, manuals and other operational elements are inspected and interrogated as necessary.
Only those whose input is directly relevant to the stated problem are interviewed, others will be drawn in as required.
During the interviews Dr Robertson constantly weighs up the information provided against his diverse experience of conducting Pulse Measurements for over twenty years and involvement in the commercial application of computers for over thirty years.
“With this context and the catalogue of factors causing failure and factors required for successful outcomes, we are to very rapidly arrive at a diagnosis of the cause or causes of the problem or problems,” says Dr. Robertson.
This provides a basis for further questions during the high level interviews and defines the line of inquiry as his investigation drills down to the operational side of system operation.
"Using this technique I frequently have a good idea of the cause of the problem by the time I leave the chief executive’s office and, in most cases, I know pretty nearly exactly what to look for in the technical evaluation by halfway through the first day", he continues.
Why commission a Pulse Measurement?
Most clients approach Dr Robertson to undertake a Pulse Measurement because executive management is frustrated with their ERP or other IT investment.
Typical drivers for an investigation include:
• We have had this system for ten years, should we be changing to something newer?
• We have spent millions on this system and I still cannot get the information I want – what is wrong? – did we buy the wrong system?
• I keep being told that we should have another brand of ERP, how do I know if this is correct?
• The cost of running this system keeps climbing, what do I do?
• I am just #@*&^%$#@ frustrated with this thing, I am about ready to go back to a manual system!
The Pulse Measurement is geared to answering all these questions and any other of similar ilk within a period of one to ten days - depending on the size of the organization and the complexity and severity of the problem.
According to Dr. Robertson the basic implication of this approach is that managers are able to gain impartial objective, expert opinion on the health of their ERP within a few days at a very affordable cost.
He makes it clear that James A Robertson and Associates and this service is independent of all software vendors and implementers and will ‘tell it like it is’ as required.
"My default position is to retain and leverage the existing investment in software and service provider relationships but there are times when radical change IS justified" says Dr. Robertson. “For a modest investment you can obtain clarity on the REAL ISSUES with regard to your ERP operation, a clear understanding of what is required to remediate the situation, the reassurance that things are not as bad as they seem to be (or maybe worse) and, potentially, savings of millions”
In some cases a Pulse Measurement is all that is required for management to take appropriate decisions and bring things under control
Following are some examples of Pulse Measurements and their outcomes.
Since the method and the findings relate to business principles, governance, psychology and related issues and since the fundamental technologies involve occur globally I have complete confidence that the method will be entirely relevant to your organization.
Frequently on completion of a Pulse Measurement clients are comfortable to action my recommendations themselves, sometimes they engage me to assist further. In some cases my findings are highly unpopular with certain parties and it is politically expedient for clients to disengage from me.
These examples have been selected from projects over the last 24 years across diverse industries in order to give an indication of typical situations and outcomes:
1. Transport Holdings – see material on webiste
Development project not delivering over eighteen month period.
In two days diagnosed completely inappropriate technology solution and lack of competence on the part of developers and enabled Chief Executive to see the way forward – see interview on the Pulse Measurement page of the website.
Subsequently assisted client with procurement and implementation.
2. Perfume Marketing and Distribution Company
ERP and warehouse solution stalled for several months.
In less than a week diagnosed inappropriate implementer project staffing, management and approach including a dishonest bid.
Subsequently assisted client to turn the project around and bring to completion in five months delivering substantial strategic value. Client is highly profitable today.
3. Wholesale Chemical Distribution Company – JD Edwards and big brand implementer
Eighteen month JD Edwards implementation by big brand Consulting firm. After five months of live operation warehouse output was still extremely slow and delivery promise was being consistently broken to just-in-time manufacturing clients. The client was starting to lose their biggest customers.
Within five days established that the configuration was fundamentally flawed and that none of the consultants could explain why it was the way it was or what was required to rectify the problem.
Advised the CEO to return to previous system for business strategic reasons and initiated discussion with previous service provider. Client returned to previous system in five weeks and six months later referred to the decision as “the best decision we ever took”.
4. International Gold Mining Company – SAP R3
Non-functional SAP R3 Implementation including Projects, Plant and Materials across two continents.
In a week established that that the configuration was so deficient that re-implementation was the only option and showed executives why this was so.
Client decided to re-implement but out of consideration for shareholder opinion went with big brand implementer contrary to my recommendations. Client is now in Business Rescue having closed one mine because costs ran out of control. Shareholders have lost their investment. I am confident that if they had followed my approach they would be profitable today.
5. Large Construction Company – SAP R3
Full house SAP R3 implementation using a team of free-lance consultants that was going way over budget and deadline with massive demands on time from in-house personnel.
In a few days established that the external Project Manager was incompetent and that entire project approach was inappropriate. Recommended a revised approach.
6. Warehousing and Distribution Company
Procurement including ERP and warehouse solution stalled with Management unable to make a buying decision.
In a few days established that the definition of the requirement was fundamentally flawed, that the adjudication criteria were inappropriate (the defining requirement was the Warehouse solution and not the ERP) and that both of the offers were unsuitable.
Subsequently facilitated a rigorous expedited procurement process where the final decision was between Sage X3 and SAP R/3 with EWM with Red Prairie as an alternative warehouse solution. Client finally opted for Sage X3 and Red Prairie because there was only one EWM implementation in the region and it was immature and rocky at that stage and there was an in-house relationship with the Sage X3 implementers (I advised in favour of SAP with Red Prairie).
7. Major Mining House– major user of SAP R3
Overall health check on the IT Department with particular emphasis on highly ineffective management reporting – a team of Chartered Accountants spending three weeks a month producing the Board Pack in Excel.
In two weeks found major governance issues with regard to IT across the entire Group globally and major weaknesses with regard to the SAP configuration, particularly in the Materials Master and including problems in the SAP Business Data Warehouse implementation. Subsequently assisted on a number of fronts.
8. Fertilizer Manufacturer – BPCS
High levels of Executive frustration with incumbent BPCS ERP and associated custom development. Strong sentiment to scrap the software even though it had only been recently implemented anew. Implementation included Warehouse Management and Manufacturing.
In one week established that the software was a strategically poor fit to the business and that the custom development outside the software was necessary but was seriously complicated as a consequence of an unwise “zero customization in the software” policy that had seriously complicated fitting the solution to the software. Also found that the bad attitude at the management level was in part due to an extremely toxic attitude on the part of the IT Manager and partly due to extremely bad communication between the technical team and management.
In a further two weeks undertook a comprehensive audit of what was required to remediate the system and submitted a second report.
Facilitated a decision in which the CEO took personal charge of the system and issued a formal policy decision that the system would not be changed and that all staff were required to “make it work”. Assisted management in a decision to replace the IT Manager.
Also facilitated a discussion with the software providers where the client locked out of upgrades and secured the right to the source code and a five year support contract on the existing software with the right to renew. This was accomplished on the basis of “The Right to Maintain and Repair”. The system lasted for another eight years until the business replaced the system in their time and to meet their requirements.
9. Steel Product Manufacturing Company – (Baan / Infor)
Very poor operating performance and information gaps and distrust of information at the Executive and Senior Management level with Baan as long established ERP including Warehousing and Manufacturing management.
In a week established that the problems resulted from extremely poor system configuration and overly lean system operation and support and enabled management to see what was required to rectify the problems. Provided further guidance.
10. Construction Company
Three different operating divisions running three different systems, one an in-house developed legacy green screen AS/4-- system, one an off the shelf industry specific ERP and Construction Management system and the third a new in-house developed application. Goal was to select one system for the entire business.
In a week established that the in-house development was badly conceptualized, badly executed and should be terminated and that the off the shelf system was basically suitable for all three divisions. Proposed a rigorous evaluation process to enable the business to accept these recommendations but the project was shelved owing to a downturn in the economy.
11. Clearing Agents
Called in to investigate a system implementation of an industry specific system from Australia which had been stalled for nine months.
In three days established that there was a total strategic misfit between the software company and the client company in terms of service standards and that fundamental mistakes had been made with the implementation. Enabled the Executive Director to see that the new system was totally inappropriate and then facilitated the selection of a new system with a high level of strategic compatibility between the service provider and the client.
At the end of the second day of the Pulse Measurement when I briefed the sponsoring Executive on my findings to that point he exclaimed “the lights have now gone on, I can see exactly why this is not working”.
12. Risk Management Consulting Company
Called to investigate a stalled development project that had repeatedly missed deadline. Client was facing a contractual deadline with severe penalties if they did not have the software operating three months from the date I was called in.
In two days I established that the developer was incompetent to the level of being fraudulent and that there was nothing to show for the nine month investment. Then assisted the client to bring together a professional team to develop a simple piece of software that on an 80:20 basis enabled the client to meet their contractual deadline with the 20% of functionality that would deliver 80% of the required business functionality. I was responsible for the high level strategic design of the solution and the Precision Configuration.
The solution was so successful that the client achieved major operational efficiencies and dramatic management information gains way beyond expectations as discussed in the Case Study.
13. Primary Healthcare Provider Network
Client had been advised that their character based DOS system had reached the end of its life and should be replaced.
Assisted client to evaluate options, undertook a comprehensive evaluation of alternative systems on an international basis and established that the cost of creating the solution the business said it wanted was not justified.
Then conceptualized and specified a solution to strengthen the existing system and reduce risk associated with the software developer. This was carried out and the system lasted for eight years before it was finally unsuccessfully replaced with SAP R3 and subsequently by another system. Developer was killed in a flying accident six months after commencement of the project but by that time the measures that I had prescribed to improve system maintenance robustness had reached such a level that the impact was limited.
14. Mining Contracting Company– Movex M3
Client was unsure whether Movex M3 system was suitable for their needs and was running without an IT Manager.
In less than a week established that Movex was suitable but needed reimplementation and assisted them to develop the job description of a new IT Manager. Subsequently assisted with the interview, selection and induction process and with other aspects of carrying out my recommendations. Advised on re-implementation but they eventually went with a process focused implementation and did NOT achieve the expected benefits. Highly sub-optimal General Ledger implementation.
15. Public Water Supply Utility Company– JD Edwards
Client was dissatisfied with their existing JD Edwards ERP Solution coupled to Maximo Asset and Maintenance Management.
In three days established that at an operational level the systems were performing well but that there was a major communication and understanding disconnect between the new executive team and operational managers on both the business and system sides.
Established that there was no reason to replace any of the systems but that measures to improve communication and to orientate operational managers with regard to executive information requirements were necessary. Proposed a plan of action.
16. Insurance Broking Group
Client was extremely dissatisfied with their existing custom developed software and was facing a breakdown in relationship with the developers as well as regular system failures.
In three days established that the software was well designed and built and that the developers were highly competent. The technology failures were a consequence of the adamant refusal of the responsible business executive to spend money on new hardware even though the business had doubled in size in the time the hardware had been in use.
The breakdown in relationship was a consequence of extremely toxic behavior originating with the same executive that had almost totally alienated a loyal team of people.
The business executive had a Human Resource and Marketing background and no technical knowledge or experience with the result that he was inappropriately qualified to manage the Business Systems function and was operating out of assertive ignorance. Recommended that the governance of the service provider and the IT function be moved to another executive, that a substantial new investment in hardware should be made urgently and that measures should be taken to restore the relationship with the service provider.
17. High End Leisure Products Retailer
Client was being serviced by a small software development company which had custom developed the software in use. Client was concerned with regard to sustainability of the system and service provider and was considering replacing it.
In three days established that the developers were competent and the software was well developed and managed but that despite dramatic growth the client was paying extremely low fees with the result that the developer could not invest in the software or provide manpower redundancy or better documentation. This was placing the client at serious risk.
Enabled the client to see that they should invest in the product and service provider and undertake a systematic program of action to safeguard the investment. Assisted subsequently.
18. Large Scale Wine Producer
Client was experiencing difficulties with an industry specific package from Australia and wanted to know whether to replace it.
In two days established that the software was technically well suited but that there were issues with the financial viability and integrity of the local representative. Subsequently facilitated a number of discussions with the Australian principles but the relationship had broken down to such a level that the client decided to replace the system anyway.
19. Stationary Products Manufacturer
Seemingly unexplainable errors in financials, stock figures and production figures had caused management to suspect that they were being defrauded by their Financial Manager.
In six hours established that the Financial Manager was honest and was doing her best but that unwise staff appointments, particularly in the warehouse, coupled to lack of training and poor system disciplines were resulting in unreliable data that the Financial Manager had taken upon herself to try and remediate instead of escalating to the owners of the business to take more fundamental measures.
20. Domestic Appliance Importer and Distributor
Client was operating an ERP and Warehouse Management and Fulfillment solution that was based on a product that was in use in a small number of organizations but which had been substantially modified by an in-house team in order to meet business requirements. Client was concerned that the system was at end of life and should be replaced.
In three days established that the software was well maintained and that there were effective disciplines but that there was a major problem in terms of IT reporting to Finance that was forcing the Finance view on the rest of the business and cramping development and support to other parts of the business. The IT Manager had particularly weak business communication skills.
Subsequently facilitated the re-positioning of IT under the Chief Operating Officer, repositioning of IT as Business Systems and provided coaching to the new Head of Business Systems in order to better equip him for his new role.
Client was choking with old and unreliable business systems and office automation hardware that was at end of life and also questioning diverse aspects of its technology portfolio and not sure what direction to take.
In two days advised client to replace hardware on a large scale and to go to the market to replace the existing support service provider with a larger service provider with a more strategic view and capability.
Subsequently provided advisory services with regard to implementation of these recommendations.
22. Government Competitions Agency
Client was looking to raise the bar in terms of their Business Systems capability.
In two days identified the way forward. Subsequently drew up a job description for an IT Manager and assisted in his appointment. Also developed a Strategic Requirements Definition and tender documents for procurement of a new system, facilitated the procurement and advised during the implementation. Managed to hold the service provider to a fixed fee and fixed business outcome even though the Service Provider ended up expending about three times the budgeted time at no extra cost to the client.
23. Major Bank – Oracle
Client was busy with implementation of Oracle suite. Completely separate teams for Finance, Human Resources and Procurement. No congruent integrated view of the information and lack of structure and logic within major classification schemes.
24. Fleet Contracting Company
Client was concerned that existing AS400 based green screen software application was obsolete.
In three days established that the system was robust and sustainable and represented a very substantial investment in leading thinking key staff members. Enabled management to take a quality decision to remain with the system and invest in it.
25. Petroleum Distribution Company
Client was a start-up company and needed to purchase an ERP for their wholesale fuel sales and distribution business.
In three days headlined the requirement and provided role clarity of governance of the Business Systems function. Client subsequently purchased SAP R3.
26. Dairy Products Manufacturer and Distributor -- BPCS
Client was dissatisfied with its BPCS ERP system including Warehousing and fulfillment and also with its IT Department.
In three days established that the system was basically well implemented and operated but that the IT Manager was extremely technology focused and was failing to communicate effectively with the business. Recommended re-positioning the IT Function as a Business Systems Function and moving it from under finance to report directly to the Chief Executive.
Subsequently assisted in drafting a job description for Head of Business Systems and in interviewing and inducting a new appointment from the team of external consultants that was advising the business as Head of Business Systems.
27. Armaments Design and Manufacturing Corporation
Appointed to develop an Information Technology strategic plan and assisted the client to see that the Business actually required a strategic plan that was business aligned. Facilitated the development of this plan.
There are other examples.
Pulse Measurements have almost universally resulted in a shift in client understanding at the Executive or Senior Management level and in new action that would not have occurred otherwise.
There are a number of client and other recommendations with regard to my services and approach on my LinkedIn profile at www.uk.linkedin.com/in/drjamesarobertsonerpdoctor/
Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
A concise high impact investigation that quickly delivers an accurate diagnosis of the cause of system problems in Business Language that makes sense to executives coupled to prescription of practical and actionable treatment
IF you have the SLIGHTEST RESERVATIONS about whether you are obtaining the full value from your Business Systems and ERP investments;
or are in the least bit concerned that your systems are HARMING YOUR ORGANIZATION;
or your project is stalled;
or you want a view on the best way forward;
or you want to embark on procurement of new systems and need high level guidance;
or simply want an independent second opinion on any business systems related matter;
then contact us NOW
The fees are MINIMAL relative to the savings that many clients have experienced
And IF you are NOT fully satisfied with the service after the first day you may terminate the engagement and pay ONLY travel and expenses outside of London
Clear evidence of implementer incompetence and possibly dishonesty, range of key measures prescribed to turn the situation around
Implementer was the IT consulting arm of one of the "Big 4" accounting firms
A Pulse Measurement investigation into the health of the Microsoft AX Project and associated services from Implementer28 was undertaken for ClientCompany28 from 14 to 19 March 2012.
This report summarizes headline level findings and recommended actions.
All recommendations should be regarded as provisional and might be refined in the event of further information coming to light but are regarded as a reliable headline level result.
Following are the headline findings, percentages at the end of headings give an indication of the relative importance of each point in making my recommendations.
There appear to be major reasons for dissatisfaction with Implementer28 and reasons for concern with the current project status
Having said this there is a need for appointment of a senior advisory / leader to ClientCompany28 to direct the project, proper definition of high level project goals, more in-depth assessment of the value of the work done to-date and other actions directed at ensuring a high value outcome
A simple confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement which you can tailor and elaborate on as you see fit and which may vary depending on your legal jurisdiction and your attorney. I recommend that this initial document is kept simple as you want ALL persons attending the initial tender briefings to sign this
You would possibly have a much more comprehensive agreement for your short list bidders and possibly more comprehensive still for your final choice although I personally hold that very detailed documents of this sort tend to be excessive
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
• A diagnosis of the headline causes and recommended treatment actions is frequently made in as little as one to two days.
• A comprehensive high level analysis of the extent of the problem and outline of the proposed solution can follow in a comparably short time.
• All findings are explained in language that makes sense to executives using easy to understand metaphors to drive home the point.
• A presentation to EXCO is an optional add-on drawing on a portfolio of slides built up over twenty plus years.
• The Pulse Measurement is geared to give Executives sufficient insight into the issues that they can take charge of and start taking informed BUSINESS decisions about.
• Outcomes can range from some simple organizational actions to a recommendation to trash the system as a matter of urgency. In one case where a disastrous implementation was in the process of trashing the company because of failure to meet customer service level promises they rolled back to the previous system in five weeks!
Countering this, another client was able to get another eight years life out of a system that they were on the point of trashing before the Pulse Measurement.
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
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