A comparison of planned systems implementation with actual implementation relative to business systems
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Brady, Edward T.J.
BA (Hons) Business Information Management
Dublin Business School
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AB of today (May '01) IBM Microelectronics Division in Dublin still receives approximately 10% of their incoming supply from Altis (approximately 400,000 microchips per week). They are still operating through the use of the interim process seen in Fig 2.2. There are teams working in IBM in the background trying to expedite AItis' readiness for the XML changeover. IBM is about to successfully introduce their first supplier within the Microelectronics Supply Chain via XML. The Company is an IBM packaging subcontractor based in Taiwan. The management style of the parent companies (speaking from an IBM employee standpoint) has a lot to answer for in the Altis project. Such quasi-control is not conducive to efficient and effective operational performance. The fact that Aids are a former IBM site does not help. There are deep-rooted IBM habits embedded into the AItis employees. Perhaps this is to do with the fact that most Altis employees are ex-IBMers, and in their eyes all that has changed is the name of the place and the systems that they use. It might have been a wiser move to replace the staff. This paper also highlights that even the biggest computer company in the world, with decades of experience, can make fundamental mistakes in just the same way as the smallest companies. The project is 'working' now using an unreliable manual system. This has a lot to do with luck though. Key Recommendations: A. This project would certainly have yielded results or failure (an answer as to whether it was going to succeed or fail) if it was executed using a predefined project Management framework that incorporated a benefits management unit. Benefits Management is a seriously under-utilized resource, and with a company so large with the resources to include this feature, it was regrettable that an official Benefits Manager didn't get included in the developments. B. There was confusion about who the official authorities were for governing this project. When Dublin is making decisions, about Dublin's involvement in this project and then the US intervene with contradictory recommendations, this does not help matters. The recommendation in this case would be for official communications to come from one source, even if they are not originating there. C. Had this plan been implemented using more effective communications, the problems which occurred may have been eliminated, but would certainly have reduced. An effective communications protocol should be outlined at the beginning of each project. Communication acts to tie together ideas, measurements, feedback, problems etc. Without people sharing data on these subjects, they remain hidden and only become compounded. D. There was distinct lack of measurement in this project. From the weekly measurements of on time deliveries right up to project status generally, none of this was being measured. Only in times of crisis were there fleeting references being made to the lack of measurements being made. Ultimately, if something is not being measured, it cannot be effectively managed. Measurements are critical to success and are a fundamental part of successful business protocol. E. Considering that this section of the supply chain feeds 10% of raw material requirements, the feckless attitude that some senior management gave to the development of this new project could be described as almost criminal. This was most notable at meetings to discuss detailed issues such as those outlined in chapter 3. The use of incentives for involvement in future may spur managers on to act a little more actively. Bonuses should be given on the basis of success of various projects. This was the managers will have skin in the work that they are involved in. So, can be seen from the summary and recommendations, many projects in large organisations, partly due to the size and bureaucratic frameworks involved, are destined for failure if not measured and managed correctly. It is too late to salvage this particular project now. IBM is waiting for Altis declare readiness for the XML gateway. When this occurs, perhaps (and only perhaps) a viable solution can be achieved. But this a Joint Venture and it may be too little too late. Hopefully through reading this research paper, some pointers can be taken on what key steps to follow to avoid problems in Business Systems Implementation.