Developing a new IT system, or making a big upgrade to an existing one, is a project management nightmare. Public and private sector auditors repeatedly highlight how difficult it is to come in on time, on budget, and provide the full deliverable suite. Often it isn’t even a trade off between these – none are satisfactorily met. We’ve undertaken more than one independent, post implementation benefits realisation review where we’ve found that productivity went backwards, not forwards, for as long as ten years.
Getting the benefits into the business means doing more than designing a great system. Staff need to use it, and use it well. Even when the main interface is a customer-side app, back office staff still have to interact with the system. So, why do so many organisations ‘flick the switch’ and expect all the lights to come on?
This is not the place to navel-gaze the problem. We want to offer our passionate view about the solution. Call it what you like, but many of our clients call it ‘business integration’. It has a number of components:
- Systems designers optimise screen flows and so on. This is a vital part of process design, but it is not the whole story. We can help teams get themselves organised. Whether it is workflow round the team, who should have a delegated sign off, or even how to arrange the physical office, these things make a difference.
- When the budget over-runs, it is often training that gets cut back. We can help specify and design the process and system training so that it is relevant, timely and effective. Sometimes we write the training and can deliver it, in conjunction with the developers. We’re experienced trainers and process designers. Software developers know their software – we know how people work and how they learn. It is a nice combination.
- Big system project managers are often totally focused on the software development. We can project manage the business integration – marshal the soft skills activities and make sure it all happens.
While planning for business integration should happen early on, it is never too late to start. We’re always happy to discuss where you’re at and see if we can help.