The CIO’s Nightmare – Part 1

Posted on January 8, 2010


The Value of Enterprise Systems – Targeting an improved performance, businesses continue to spend an incredible amount of money and effort to implement large scale Enterprise Systems. But after few years the expected benefits are not always present and the situation is getting worst. CIOs need then not only to justify but also to fix the problem.

Finding a way to quickly assess where we stand and how the sitation can be improved according to changing conditions is becoming the CIO’s Nightmare. Here is a process, I developped to make us dream again.

The approach suggests to:

  1. Assess the usage and current stance of an Enterprise Systems
  2. Modelize the different scenario and define strategies
  3. Develop a proper action plan

Assessing the usage and current stance of an Enterprise System (ERP, CRM, PLM, etc…) is done thru a couple of dimensions:

  1. Is the company “in control” of its system?
  2. How efficient is the operation in using its system?

This analysis can be performed by critical processes, and operations with the following structure:


Sustainability: (From 1 To 4)

From (1): This process relies on few critical personals who if leaving could endanger its stability

To (4): This process is fully documented, robust and new comers can be easily trained

Ownership: (From 1 To 4)

From (1): Subject matter experts are holding separate registeries of information to perform appropriate analysis due to the lack of trust and understanding of current system capability.

To (4): Master data are constinuously up to date and knowledge to update and adjust their configuration is fully documented and owned by the organization.

Decision Making (From 1 To 4)

From (1): Key analysis are performed outside the system which does not offer the foundation for a consistent reconciliation of information.

To (4): Key analysis are performed within the sytem itself which offers a complete an efficent set of reports to manage the entire process and make sound decisions.


Integration (From 1 To 4)

From (1): Multiple entries of the same information is enterred thru the process, leading to mistake and loss of productivity.

To (4): The information is keyed once and flows down to the entire process.

Automation (From 1 To 4)

From (1): Important waste is spent on the lack of automation and integration between the different steps is persistent in the process; and/or the automation is poorly managed and is a source of additional work.

To (4): All the automated functionalities available in the system for this process are exploited, and the systems offers resilient processing.

Digitalization (From 1 To 4)

From (1): Important volume of paper (or Excel/Word) based form are in use in this process, and lead to important filing and archiving activity. Research on history is a complex task.

To (4): A full leverage of digital information is performed accross the process, and is fully integrated within the system. Use of paper is progressively removed accross the organization.

This questionnaire should be complemented by a standard technical evaluation focusing on Cost, Usage and Risks which are becoming standards nowadays and that will not be covered here.

We have all witnessed dysfunctioning systems that are hindering the full development of a business. Despite the investment in a recognized and tested Enterprise System, the company does not seem to reap the expected benefits. Incomplete implementation, lack of training, people leaving, process and organizational changes, poor data ownership are potential reasons amongst others for this failure.

A common approach is to send back consultants to fix the issue. When several sites are concerned it will represent another important investment that the company might have difficulty to accept. Before engaging such money, this simple assessment (cumulated with a technical assessment) could help you to develop a proper roadmap to get back on track.

Stay tune for the second part related to modelization and strategies.

I will be happy to receive your comments on the quality of this questionnaire and for the value of all make it better.