Case Studies


Project Background:

A high-tech firm had been through a significant period of growth with its workforce doubling in two years. The original systems used by the business had suffered with this growth and the business owner was under pressure to invest heavily in new systems. Different sections of the company perceived their own needs as priority and the owner was faced with conflicting requirements from these “local” departments. 

The company had a very innovative and customer responsive culture which the owner viewed as key to their success. An additional worry was that more disciplined systems might impact on this culture and that the improved efficiency would come at a high price.

Project Objectives:

PBS was commissioned by the owner with the following brief:

  • Review the current systems within the company
  • Access the individual needs from different sections of the company
  • Outline an implementable plan to move the company on in a practical way from its current position without putting the core culture of the company at risk.

Project Approach:

The PBS approach was based on our concept of how to visualise a business. This consists of viewing it in three dimensions:

  • Value Proposition of the Business. This identifies, in a structured manner, the core value which the business brings to its customer base
  • The Strategic Plan: The real strategy that the company is pursuing to build its business around its value proposition
  • The Business Infrastructure: The basic  infrastructure of the company by which it does its business, e.g. organisational structure, critical processes, people, systems, etc.

All three of these needed to be aligned for a business to function effectively.  Business Information systems are one component of the infrastructure but if not designed in that context can prove very disruptive to a business.

By working through this sequence with the top two layers of the organisation we established a picture of the company. From this we identified where the critical misalignment and inefficiencies existed and how they should be addressed by new systems.

Project Results:

The output was presented back as follows:

  • A future roadmap, in keeping with the company’s purpose and strategy, was developed for their business systems.  This included the minimum requirements needed from each system
  • A staged prioritised implementation plan was developed that was in keeping with the next few years of their strategic plan
  • An outline approach to the effective project management of this work was documented

Through this approach the key concerns of the owner were addressed. Firstly all the individual requests were put in the context of one company plan. Secondly, collective ownership of the plan was assumed by the senior management team. This eased the potential for internal priority conflicts.

The reality of this company’s situation was that it required both new financial and operational systems to meet the changes it encountered as a result of its growth.  Justifications prior to the work had attempted to shoe-horn both into one system but in a way that would have radically altered the way they did business, driven by the “systems” needs and not necessarily the “business” need.

The primary benefit of this work was to put the business systems in context so that they could be viewed as a tool to help the business deliver on its strategy, gain collective ownership for the overall direction of the business and get implementation started in a controlled and structured way that best served the value proposition of the business.