You know the thing I hate the most is when a consultant tells me “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. This shows that the attitude of adding value to your work program simply does not exist.
Apps are moving to the Cloud, focus is on Business Analytics and your CFO is demanding more for his dollar. All signs of change in the consulting world. Here are 6 changes that you can make as Program Manager that will lower the cost and increase the value of what you do.
1. Local Business Analyst Resource
As you are aware, many issues arise from communication and language barriers and a fundamental difference in project implementation approach.
We understand the need for multi-lingual Business Analysts and the need for a high level of business understanding and consulting skills more than simply technology experts.
Realizing our business benefits is more important than technology changes and our implementation focus should be reflected as such.
Going forward you should separate the functions of business analysis and system configuration. This will increase engagement, remove language barriers, speed up the process, increase the likelihood of success and lower the cost of implementation.
Most consultants today are simply system function setup contractors and we should realize this to be the norm, not the exception. Much has changed and so you need to reflect the important business consulting need in your team above that of simply system configuration.
2. Outsourced technology and economies of scale
The global organization provides us with, in effect, a hosted suite of applications and we reap the benefit of global economies of scale.
We can therefore think of the data center and the majority of the technology experts across the globe as outsourced system configuration and maintenance resources who are engaged to maintain our systems.
Combining these individuals with the local business analyst resources identified above we will have a specialist team, each playing to their strengths in their locations and we will reduce the massive overhead of travel and expense.
3. Rapid Prototype Model and Methodology
One of the key deficiencies identified by clients in accepting solutions earlier is the lack of a test-drive, earlier in the process, to assist in solution refinement which, unless addressed can lead to differences of opinion on the direction of the solution.
In the future, you should use a rapid prototype method to provide an initial view of the application software within weeks of the project start.
Improved engagement and local language “conference room pilots” will ensure that user involvement is high and system acceptance starts early. This also allows us to understand areas of work, risk, change and process focus earlier in the implementation process.
This is a fundamental shift from the waterfall method currently used in many organizations with large complex projects today. We can of course integrate this agile method with the needs of the Internal Audit Team for those projects funded by the global organization.
We must involve internal audit more closely in the process and set a schedule for external audit engagement at the beginning of the project.
Finally, should the user community like the solution at the end of the first prototype session, your plan can be shortened and delivery benefits realized earlier.
Business processes drive everything. A change in business strategy immediately requires a shift in business processes as the organization tries to adjust to the new strategy. Clean, clear documented and flexible process inventory allows for quick shift to new business models.
4. Lowering dependence on specific parts of the process.
In some implementations we have had a high dependence on specific individuals despite the apparent ineffectiveness of their work. This is a risk and a weakness in the overall approach.
With the new approach to resourcing and the separation of the Business Analyst and System Configuration role, we will be able to ensure that we are not dependent on one individual to deliver the piece of work. This will drive up accountability and reduce the cost of specific individuals. In addition we will be able to reduce the number of contractors we assign to critical work areas where possible.
5. Benefit Management
Engaging in a new project is for;
a) removal of risk/cost to the organization/customers or
b) providing business benefit/tools that enhance our revenue/goodwill with our customers.
Outlining these at the beginning of the project and never considering them again is the same as not delivering the project well. All individuals engaged on the project will be measured on delivery of the benefits of the project, not the initial cost of the implementation as is done today, although that is a factor.
6. Shared Knowledge
With the completion of a project, a portion of the knowledge and experienced gained walks out the door.
We will be explicit on future projects regarding the expectations around knowledge management, knowledge retention and the re-usability of that knowledge throughout the organization.
This will enable several benefits such as cost savings, commonality of systems and processes and faster prototype times.
Food for thought and proposals to the CFO
Saturday April 07 2012 – 1025 JST