TxM 062 Section 7.6 Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies and Configuration Getting from where you are to where you want to be Created by James on 7/4/2013 2:20:34 PM
So, having read this far you are beginning to think that a SEPT configuration is for you.
How do you get there?
Following are some important milestones you should plan for:
1. Recognize and cost the problem
Before you can go ahead with a SEPT project you need to recognize that your current situation IS in fact a consequence of imprecise and weak configuration.
It is vital that you attach a currency value to the scale of the problem you are experiencing.
Estimate the efficiency and effectiveness losses and direct costs that you are incurring at both an operational and a strategic level, the lost opportunity costs, etc. Chances are these are huge.
It is vital that you do this first otherwise the time and currency cost of the SEPT project will put you off.
If you are brutally frank about what your current sub-optimal situation is costing you you will find the SEPT project HIGHLY COST EFFECTIVE but if you skirt the issues you will jib at paying what it takes to do the job properly.
2. Appoint an executive level expert on SEPT
Before you go any further you need to find an executive level expert in the field of Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies and Configuration – someone who can talk authoritatively at the executive level and who can facilitate authoritatively at that level.
You do not need a lot of this persons time but you do need quality time.
Any corner cutting at this point is highly inadvisable, if you lack strategic insight in the high level design of your taxonomies you will lack that insight throughout the entire solution.
James Robertson is available to assist with this component.
This person may be supported by other staff or you may decide to have him or her train up your staff to do the "leg-work".
3. Appoint an executive level implementation advisor
This may be the same person as the SEPT expert but it also needs to be someone with lots of experience, someone with "grey hair" who can advise fearlessly at the executive level and understands the need for discipline and who can ensure that the project is run effectively.
James Robertson is available to assist with this component.
4. Information audit
Undertake a comprehensive information audit of all your systems to establish all the drop down lists, validation lists, master lists, class lists, etc that occur throughout your organization.
Organize this on a logical entity basis and document exactly what the vendors of the software say the field is supposed to do, what software functionality is linked to the list and what content is in the list at present. The present content is useful as a "brainstorm" list but does not necessarily contain the correct information.
Based on this audit map out the priorities in terms of developing taxonomies on a 20:80 basis – what is the 20% of the SEPT effort that will deliver 80% of the SEPT benefits?
5. Plan the project
Plan the project taking account of the JAR&A Critical Factors for IT Implementation Success and running the project so as to prevent the Critical Factors Causing IT Implementation Failure from kicking in.
It is vital to plan for taxonomies and configuration to lead and process to follow.
6. Purchase taxonomy development, deployment and maintenance software
Precision taxonomies can be developed to a point in spreadsheets if you have someone who really understands the principles and conventions well but in terms of generating and managing precision taxonomies software is vital.
James Robertson and Associates are in the process of developing a suite of taxonomy software which will soon be available for purchase to assist in the entire spectrum of these facilities. Our goal is to give you access to knowledge based software that taps into as much of the knowledge and experience in the head of James Robertson and possible.
7. Develop the high level structure of your new taxonomies
Assisted by the executive level expert mentioned above, develop the high level structure of your taxonomies. This must take place through engagement with your executive team.
Refer to the section on "The power of an executive with a blank sheet of paper" — it is VITAL that you start with a clean sheet and do not attempt to panel beat an existing list – you can always map your old list to your new list subsequently but there is absolutely no point in trying to beat your beaten up information jalopy into a new shape...
8. Develop detailed taxonomies and configuration
Once the high level structure of the taxonomies has been developed more junior personnel, either from your own organization or the service provider can facilitate the development of the full detail of the taxonomies assisted by the SEPT expert referred to above.
9. Deploy in a new instance of your Data Warehouse and in time your ERP
Once the taxonomies have been developed deploy them FIRST in the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) layer of your Data Warehouse in a NEW instance of your Data Warehouse technology with a NEW implementation of your BI tool, or buy a DW and BI tool and start from scratch.
The mapping and transform exercise onto your ERP will be tedious, frustrating and slower than you would like and the debugging will be painful, however, once it is done, provided you are disciplined about maintaining the mappings you will have done the 20% of the work that will unlock 80% of the value of precision taxonomies in your business.
In this process you will have to add some detail to the lists in your ERP and may have to repopulate some lists immediately.
This is where you will unlock much of the value – develop a full suite of simple and advanced management reports, models, analytical tools, etc and start to get insight into the operation of your business.
Later you MAY decide to start trickling the new taxonomies down into your ERP in a very controlled manner recognizing that every change you make WILL break things in the ERP configuration. Provided this is done carefully and systematically these risks can be contained and eventually you will achieve the 20% of the re-implementation of your ERP that will unlock 80% of the benefits of SEPT in the ERP.
In my experience, unless your ERP is terribly badly implemented this approach will give you a more than adequate outcome -- the cost of a full-blown laboratory based implementation is just too great for nearly all organizations.
SEPT offers huge benefits which will far outweigh the time and cost of executing the SEPT project provided you are brutally frank about what your current configuration is really costing you!!
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