Sphere Consulting Limited Scl Project Recommendations for Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Sphere Consulting Limited (SCL)

Project Recommendations for Cadastral Veterinary Group Ltd. (CVGL)

Management Summary



Deployment Plan

Recommendation against Direct Changeover

Data Migration



Business Process Redesign Issues

Installation Schedule


Support Needs

ISS Help Desk

Outsourcing the Help Desk

Support Service Levels

Support Service Benefit

Management Summary

This project analysis makes various suggestions and recommendations in regards to the CVGL's implementation of the new information technology systems. Most notably, it recommends that a direct implementation not to be used and for a phased roll-out approach to be implemented instead. This would allow more face time for each of the individual branches in regards to training as well as minimize the possibility that any implementation errors effect the entire operation as opposed to one individual branch.

This report also recommends the development of an extensive and comprehensive training program. Research has shown that this can be considered among the top of a list of best practices and furthermore can serve as the keystone for a successful project deployment. This report also recommends that support functions be developed on a three tier model to ensure that end user questions can be answer by the most efficient and effective source. If a matter goes unresolved by one tier then it can be escalated to the next tier which represents a greater source of technical knowledge.

1. Introduction

1.1. Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to provide insights to the status of the CAVIES and VOLE projects and propose a course of action to see the project to completion. This will cover aspects of the installations as well as the user training and help desk functions. Additionally, it will provide projected time durations and schedules for all of the related tasks.

1.2. Scope

The scope of this project involves first making sure the hardware requirements are sufficient to host the new systems and designing a deployment plan for the systems integration. The deployment plan will consist of the means by which the exchange will occur and the timeframe in which it will be scheduled. The next component of the scope will be the user training and after deployment user support. These steps represent a critical aspect to the scope because of the fact that if the users are not able to successfully utilize the new systems then this could cause disruption in the business processes and thus cost the organization money and inconvenience.

2. Installation

2.1. Deployment Plan

It is recommended that the deployment plan be dependent on a phased roll-out of the new system. This will allow the project installation crews to have some flexibility in the installation process as well as provide opportunities to test various functions in the systems. After the installation of the database server, it is further recommended that this implementation begin with the smallest branch and then progress to the largest to minimize the chance that any operational disruptions occur.

2.2. Recommendation against Direct Changeover

A big-bang or direct changeover is not recommended for this project due to the fact that given the situation it is both unnecessary and somewhat risky. Give the relative limited number of individual operations, the constraint of adding each branch individually is inferior to the possibility that problems could occur in a direct changeover. If each branch is tackled individually however there is little chance that any major disruptions could spread to other branches.

2.3. Data Migration

Data migration of the master data held in the older system into the new system should begin with the master data that can be electronically exported from the previous systems. This migration can be tackled at the same time as the installation process given the expertise needed will already be on-site. The master data that is not held in electronic format or that which is non-exportable will have to be manually entered. This can be accomplished by the end users after the installation phase during operational downtimes. Furthermore, paper records can also be manually imported as needed during client activities.

2.4. Training

Training the end users represents one of the most important aspects of the project because without them the system would be rendered useless. In small-to-medium size enterprises, upgrading of training and skills is one of the keys to growth (OECD 2002); such is the case with CVGL. If the organization is to meet the desired goals that have been stated in the project charter it must not fall short on implementation training for the end users (Fixsen, et al. 2008). A training strategy must enable the organization to function on the new system with minimal interruptions.

One critical success factor that has been identified as being of vital importance in user acceptance is the commitment of senior management to the project (Tan, Cater-Steel and Toleman 2009). Since, in this case, it can be assumed that top management is one of the champions for the project then further best practices should be sought. Another best practice identified is interdepartmental communication. This is relevant to this case because the master data from the old system is dependent upon fragmented systems that make up the previous system. Therefore it makes sense in this case to pair those branches with similar systems into similar training and support groups. For example, the branches that kept paper records for certain types of data could merge together to form a specialized group that would receive individualistic training.

Each branch should have a systems leader that can handle a major bulk of the assistance requests from the individual branches. The systems leaders of the individual branches that have similar types of existing systems should also form sub-groups that can tackle items specific to these types of existing data entry. Questions that are unanswered from the internal system leader should be directed to the help desk which can field more substantial requests.

2.4. Documentation

The available documentation should also serve as an asset to users with general questions. The system user guide should be made available to all employees in each branch and encouragement should be provided with all users to familiarize themselves with the documentation. Also, since the existing systems are so fragmented, a special wiki site could also be created on the organizations main server that could expand on topics not covered in the user manuals. This could tackle more specific issues encountered on various portions of the fragmented systems.

2.5. Business Process Redesign Issues

According to the information provided in the case, the issue of business process redesign will be in the forefront of all challenges faced by the end users. Information technology and business process design are natural allies (Davenport and Short 1990). However, organizational change is an entirely different issue all together. Organizational change is often met with employee resistance at every turn (Dijk and Dick 2009). Thus it is recommended for the both the project manager as well as the senior executives to act as change agents with the existing staff.

2.6. Installation Schedule

3 Support

3.1. Support Needs

Support needs are designed to be addressed one three levels to cover user challenges; which will be further explored in a later section. The end users of this system must have adequate access to support at all times. It is reasonable to suspect that the levels of needed support will be highest at deployment and tapper down from that point.

3.2. ISS Help Desk

With any luck the ISS help desk will not be overwhelmed with support requests. This will depend on the success of the training programs and user acceptance of the new system. However, either way, the help desk will represent an important support role in the project. The project manager will handle leadership in this department and their experience will represent a vital asset in the process given their experience with…

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