NEXT SUB-SECTION: Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different >>>
Recap Part 1
1. "Strategy" widely abused and seldom understood
If one reads the context of every place that the word "strategy" occurs, one must conclude that there is no single, coherent, consistent, congruent definition of the word (see previous issue).
When it comes to business software (including ERP) I am not sure that I have ever seen the word "strategy" used correctly.
2. The essence of the organization and how it thrives
What is "strategy"?
Following much research I concluded that "strategy is the essence of the organization and how it thrives" (see previous article). If you do it right the organization will thrive (Malcolm McDonald). Strategic essence is unique to every organization.
3. Underpin and enhance the essence
It is not always that simple but failing to ensure alignment at the level of the strategic essence will always give rise to problems, and alignment with the strategic essence will always greatly improve the probability of a successful outcome. There are additional factors but that is for another day.
As mentioned above, an essential element of strategic essence
is differentiation -- that which enables the organization to compete and
Without differentiation we do not have
customers. When an organization cripples that which differentiates
it, it loses customers. When it enhances it, refines it, takes it to
the next level, customers flock through its doors.
An example: a stalled project, ERP plus Warehouse Management
System. Customer was also involved in Brand Management for a
range of global brands and, in fact, its ability to manage and enhance
those brands, was the reason it was successful. Yes, it was good
at distribution but that was not the essence. The stalled project totally ignored brand management and focused on the warehouse.
I developed a Product Classification for the ERP that focussed
on the brands, right down to what we called
the "brand line", the specific component of the brand that groups distinct
elements of what you find on the retailers shelf. I
then designed some software to use the intelligence in the
Product Classification to facilitate new product take-on so that the Master
Data was highly intelligent and of the highest possible quality.
I also added a range of
customer specific custom strategic attributes to the
Product Master File that uniquely classified the
products in accordance with the way my client and their
customers viewed the products from a marketing
then specified a further piece of custom software that
provided functionality to auto-generate marketing
projects into the Projects module of the ERP based on
the Product Classification (i.e. the Brand
The client now had a
project per brand line coded in such a way that they
rolled up per brand and supplier with a budget and
actual cost bin per brand line, per month across 29
marketing cost lines.
Overnight the client went
from massive manual analysis in clumsy and unreliable
spreadsheets with double punching to a comprehensive
suite of brand management reports that NONE of their
competitors were able to match anywhere on the
couple of years their turnover was up significantly and they won one of
the most prestigious brands in the world away from their competitors;
because they could do something their competitors could NOT do.
Read case study.
At this point the cost of the project became insignificant relative to the improved turnover and profitability that resulted -- they could do more, better and with the same headcount!
That is the power of strategic essence.
Yes, there were months of grunt work using specialized techniques to make it all work, but if you start out on the wrong road it is all fruitless; and most business systems projects do start off on the wrong road!
The absence of understanding of these factors is what makes most business system and ERP projects frustrating to executives.
Understanding and applying strategic essence is the great opportunity for any organization embarking on a business systems project today. It is also the opportunity
for any organization whose systems and operating
procedures are slowing it down and getting in its
way. Small adjustments relating to some of the points raised above can give rise to a very substantial improvement.
Introduce strategic essence thinking and methods into everything that you do, refocus your efforts and your investment and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.
5. The essence IS different
6. The essence should be comprehensively communicated
7. The essence should be the point of departure for every project
8. Enhancing the essence should be the focus of every project
9. One size fits all cannot work
I hope that I have challenged you to think differently about your organization and its systems.
I would welcome the opportunity to assist your organization to put any
and all of the principles discussed in this article into practice to
assist your organization to thrive.
The above is an extract from a much more detailed article, please email me if you would like a copy of the full article.
a short duration light touch intervention through a series of one hour interviews
with your management team to assist you to lift out the essence of your
organization. Please email me should you require information. I
also offer a comprehensive strategic planning service to engineering
Dr James A Robertson, PrEng
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:
A rigorous (engineering approach) to strategic planning using critical issues based analysis techniques and structured gap analysis techniques to develop a comprehensive and rigorous multi-year plan that is measurable and actionable and traceable back to the original analysis in order to produced high value outcomes, requires effective strategic facilitation
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
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
CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement
No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes
Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™
The Pulse Measurement Workflow
The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement
Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations
What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?
Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years
Sample Pulse Measurement Reports
Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems
Strategic Essence: Overview
Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined
Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation
Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different
Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure
Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence
Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?
Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment
Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual
A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting
Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works
Robust Business Systems Procurement
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