Information Systems

The Challenge of Planning, Acquiring, Implementing and Managing Information Systems

Today’s competitive businesses deploy Information Systems (IS) in every department to support every business function from the company’s value chain to the back-office. Hardware, software, telecommunications, methods, people, and organization components are all included. Within an ever-increasingly dynamic technological environment, every business must manage its information systems to maximize investments and achieve or maintain a competitive business advantage while ensuring its IS strategy is aligned with its business strategy and vision. Information Systems Management (ISM) is not the business of most companies, so some companies consider engaging outside expert consultants or outsourcing as an alternative to managing all or part of its IS functions and/or operations.

Having the right technology partner that brings the right person (or team of people) with the right skill(s) to the right place at the right time can be an essential component of successful ISM. To us, success is measured by the ability to meet objectives and deliver results. Our extensive IS experience enables us to work with you to develop an overall IS strategy or to assist with a specific IS application selection and implementation project. To ensure that there is a proper transfer of knowledge and skills to your company, we have the six IS service programs specified below that can be selected, combined and/or tailored to provide the necessary approach to providing your company with a world class information system to support business success.

Initially, if not current, perhaps one or more Business Application Systems Effectiveness Assessments need to be performed on one or more of the company’s existing applications to determine their effectiveness in today’s competitive business client. Those that are found lacking need to become part of an overall Strategic Information Systems Planning project which will detail what upgrades are needed to which applications in what order. Using a make vs. buy analysis as part of the planning project, the identified application improvements are either custom designed and built (Application Systems Development and Implementation) and/or software packages are purchased and modified (Application Software Package Evaluation, Purchase, and Implementation) to provide the needed functionality. Finally, any supporting technology (hardware, systems, telecommunications, etc.) and organizational (structure, people, procedures, etc.) modifications and/or acquisitions are completed via Technology Definition, Selection, and Implementation. On the off chance that it has been decided not to have the in-house IS function directly responsible for any part of the infrastructure defined above, then an Outsourcing Review would be undertaken to identify and hire the correct outsourcer(s).

The following are the six IS programs identified above.

Business Application Systems Effectiveness Assessment

  • Application Systems Effectiveness Review
  • Technology Infrastructure Review
  • Data Security Review
  • Disaster Recovery Assessment
  • IT Process, Operations and Organization Review
  • Vendor Agreements Review

Strategic Information Systems Planning

  • Business Vision, Mission, and Strategy Definition
  • IT Strategy Definition to Support Business Strategy
  • High-level Business Process and Data Requirements Definition
  • Business Function and Application Support Identification
  • Software Make vs. Buy
  • Technology Architecture Design
  • Business Case Development
  • Project Ranking and Selection
  • Implementation Planning

Application Systems Development and Implementation

  • Functional Requirements Definition
  • High-level Process Architecture
  • Data Design
  • Software Design
  • Software Development
  • Software and Systems Testing
  • Process Flow Integration
  • Training and Implementation
  • Program and Project Management

Application Software Package Evaluation, Purchase, and Implementation

  • Business Function Requirements Definition
  • RFP Preparation
  • Vendor Proposal Review and Evaluation
  • Application Selection
  • Software Modifications 
  • Systems Testing
  • Process Flow Integration
  • Training and Implementation
  • Program and Project Management

Technology Definition, Selection, and Implementation

  • Technology and Organizational Management
  • Migration Planning and Implementation including:

– Skill Identification

– Training Requirement Determination

– IT Process Redesign

– IT Organization Design and Staff Deployment or Redeployment

Outsourcing Review

  • Strategic and Tactical Development or Validation of the Processing and Support Approach/Solution
  • Outsourced or Repatriated Service Identification
  • Total Cost of Ownership Analysis
  • Effective Service Level Agreements Formulation or Review
  • Vendor Evaluation


The following paragraphs describe two examples of how we put our knowledge and skill to work by leveraging one or more of the above listed six Information Systems programs to the benefit of the businesses we helped.

Example One - Long-term client relationship using: Strategic Information Systems Planning, Application Systems Development and Implementation, and Project Management

Participated in a multi-year professional consulting relationship with a $200 million-plus annual nationwide metals fabricator and distributor. The relationship started with completing a comprehensive multi-year Strategic Information Systems Plan that first identified the strategic direction for all information systems at the company and then developing plans to replace all related hardware, software, and data telecommunications. We assessed make vs. buy decisions on all major application software including order entry, shipping, inventory, purchasing and accounting. That was followed by an assessment of all other applications in the company. Once the software plan was in place, we created a plan to replace the computer hardware and data telecommunications commensurate with the new requirements required by the new software. Once the software, hardware and data telecommunication plans were in place, the IT department itself was assessed and plans made to address its procedures, organization, and staffing.

Once the Strategic Information Systems Plan was completed, the company began to implement the plan and hired us to provide project management and technical assistance necessary to ensure success. Early in that process, it became clear there was a need for a new systems implementation methodology which we were hired to prepare and teach it to the staff as part of the systems implementation. The major software applications along with its supporting computer hardware and data telecommunications were implemented over two-and-a-half years with various implementation readiness assessments performed along the way.

At this point, we were engaged to update the Strategic Information Systems Plan and determine what else may be needed given the changes happening to the business while the implementation was proceeding. The result was the identification of a need for internet-based marketing and sales; the development of which was subsequently undertaken. Upon its completion, about a year later, we were engaged to perform a final Strategic Information Systems Plan.

Result: Over a five-year consulting relationship, the client was able to successfully transform its entire information technology infrastructure including all application software, computer hardware, data telecommunications, procedures, organization, and staffing. The company was now leveraging state-of-the-art technology and practices to help the business improve sales, operational efficiency, and profits.

Example Two - Focused effort to create and subsequently direct a business unit of a top, worldwide management consulting firm: Systems Development, Implementation and Support

Established and led a 30-plus person worldwide business unit that designed and developed a large-scale systems development, implementation, and project management software. In addition, envisioned and hired the organization to install, teach and support it. Support included authoring documentation, developing and delivering education, creating marketing materials and establishing a 12 hours by 5 days worldwide telephone and e-mail customer support center. Combined central staff installation and training with “train the installer/trainer” representatives to fill worldwide demand. Collaborated with corporate attorneys on development of a standard license agreement. Used external and internal marketing, industry influencers and “word of mouth” success stories to generate demand.

Result: Product was developed, implemented, and supported successfully at over 500 sites in 20 countries which enabled over 5000 worldwide users to increase productivity and quality of implementation projects with an annual value over $500 million.

If you would like help assessing, planning, acquiring, implementing and managing your information systems please Contact Us.