Jun 28, 2008

Setting the Scene - Part 4 - Business Process

It can be quite amazing to see how many different ways people can think of do the same thing, we are, after all, a naturally creative species. This is truely evident in our new organization when we look at how things actually get done and the differences between the original organizations.

Business processes will always evolve over time and are impacted by many factors both internally and externally, such as:
  • Management Strategy (or lack thereof)
  • Management Reporting Requirements
  • External Report Requirements
  • Business Systems Utilised (or lack thereof)
  • Personal Innovation
  • Legislative Change
  • Technology Change
  • Business Growth

As we set out on our journey to provide a new information system platform, we find (as is often the case) that we first must address what the business does and how it does it. In many areas we find four ways of performing the same task.

In a perfect world, those of us who are custodians of the techology would be approached by the business with detailed plan, strategy, anaylsis and documentation on how they wish to proceed forward and we would say "Great, here's your system, have fun and let us know if you get stuck". In reality however, we find ourselves having to be catalyst for business process change before we can even start thinking about our system.

On a side note: We have actually been approached previously by a business unit who had their hearts set on a particual business system. When we started going down the project planning path and looked at the business case we were told "The system does everything that we want it to". Great! Couldn't be happier, until we asked "..so what is that exactly" and were told in all seriousness "Everything that it does". This logic will make you dizzy if you think about it too hard... But I digress.

Our destination information system has modules that cater for the majority of critical civic functions which means a wide and varied reach across the organization. Some business units are quite pro-active in their process change where as others may have other priorities or focus. This variation in attitude toward business processes forces our project to change from a straight data migration to a much larger business transformation project.

Project Impact:

Project Planning
Planning needs to expand overall scope incorporate products for business process transformation. These products dramatically increase the time required to complete the project as compared to a straight data migration project. It also increases the size of the project resource pool by now creating process workgroups.

Staff Morale
With this being a merger situation, there is resistance to change as many people fear they will lose the process that they have worked so hard to build and refine. The project needs to focus strongly on personal change management issues.

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