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The methodology that ensures success for business-critical solutions


Executing your digital transformation journey

Setting off on a transformational journey is like going into unknown territory. Any IT project can run into problems. Within a project can lie a hidden landscape of small issues and considerations which are often overlooked in the race for the “big prize”. New possibilities and opportunities may emerge that were not initially anticipated. Failure to anticipate such developments leads to misdirection. As projects progress, people may start to change their minds and departments may look to add other elements into their desired outcomes. As a result, the scope begins to creep, risks increase, and costs mount up.

Fortunately, there’s a proven way to avoid falling into these traps. Central to this approach is a commitment to best practices and the development of a comprehensive roadmap. By following this proven methodology and ensuring you have an experienced partner by your side, your journey will be far more fruitful, productive, and successful.
For over 30 years, Columbus has been successfully delivering business-critical solutions for major enterprises in food and beverage, manufacturing, retail and distribution, and life sciences (among other sectors).

"OnTarget" Delivery Methodology brings structure and predictability to your transformational IT projects

This spread of industry types, and the wide range of challenges we have met along the way, has enabled us to summarize our learnings and best practices in our methodology and approach. We’ve looked at some of the most robust and proven best practices to build one comprehensive and solid approach to running client engagements. 

Get OnTarget and stay there

We call our delivery methodology OnTarget because it anticipates potential challenges by prioritizing people and delivering value. It enables you to navigate the twists and turns in a transformation journey, ensuring you stay on course towards your goals. 

Initiatives involving business-critical solutions often change as they develop. They may start in one direction but take a turn along the way, which could require changes in processes and adjustments to the initially proposed system architecture. Through iterative demonstrations of the solution as it unfolds, OnTarget gives you the flexibility to accommodate new demands, refine the project pace, launch new projects in parallel and adjust phase duration. It enables you to predict the long-term direction of your business transformation.

Columbus stays by your side throughout the whole journey - from planning for success to making sure it’s realized and continues to evolve alongside your business as requirements change and grow.

The methodology comprises three critical elements that should be in place for you to succeed in your transformation journey: Define, Execute projects and Evolve.

Define: building the roadmap and securing value realization

In the Define area we translate your business strategy to enterprise architecture and define tangible next steps by offering frameworks and industry insights to align your vision with execution. We focus on identifying and refining the optimum outcomes from the projects in your transformation journey, assessing the impact of change and making sure your people are not only ready for it, but enthusiastic about it. Your organization in its entirety, not just the IT team, must own the project. The more time you spend up-front, the more you will be able to deliver the value you want.

We can help you build your strategy, foresee where problems are most likely to arise, and support you in creating a culture that embraces change readily. Our goal is to help you to:

  • Define your vision and assess where value can be found
  • Prioritize the identified initiatives in terms of value delivery
  • Build the roadmap
  • Navigate organizational change management challenges
  • Map user journeys to ensure you always keep people at the heart of the project from planning through to go-live and beyond

The Define element should not be viewed as a one-off exercise. Every business needs to remain hyper-alert to the rapid changes taking place in a digital, data-driven world. This means having the organizational agility, mindset, and culture of adapting to and benefiting from change. Never file your strategy and change plans away, keep them active and adaptable. We’ll help you do exactly that as we execute multiple projects in parallel to support your operating model and business growth —from preparation to readiness and go-live.

Execute projects:

We are seeing more and more enterprise customers that can’t afford to run just one big project or postpone all other initiatives. To stay competitive, the chances are you’ll need to update your financial operations, launch a new commerce system or develop a master data strategy and execute it efficiently. With the need to manage several projects in parallel, it’s critical to ensure that each initiative aligns with your strategic goals and is delivered efficiently. That’s why we place particular emphasis on ensuring that your projects are executed in an agile and secure manner.  

Explore: Aligning and getting ready

The Explore phase is not about starting from a blank page. Instead, we adopt an end-to-end process approach to establish a robust system as early as possible that’s a good fit for your business needs.
This phase is focused on assessing your readiness to proceed, making sure that every key question has been asked and answered. Fundamental to any proposed change or specified outcome is a thorough understanding of the necessary data that will drive it. We evaluate the data you have available compared to the data that will be required and then begin to fill any gaps.

We work with your key stakeholders to understand and finalize your exact business processes and define the project scope and plan. It may be that you are trying to get more insights from your data, reduce costs, increase productivity, streamline operations, or improve customer experience. Whatever the goals, we will help you clarify them through:

  • Diligent planning
  • Business value-driven scoping, including gathering requirements
  • Distinct description of the business processes that will be supported by the solution and how they'll be executed
  • Configuration of a solution baseline
  • Demo and prototyping of key processes and components
  • Creation of the solution strategy documents

With the essential ‘groundwork’ complete, we proceed to a series of iterations in the Construct phase.

Construct: building the solution

Test-driven approach breaks down the scope into iterations to ensure you see progress in weeks. The possibility to verify business processes in action ensures that we deliver the planned-for outcomes

Test-driven approach breaks down the scope into iterations to ensure you see progress in weeks. The possibility to verify business processes in action ensures that we deliver the planned-for outcomes.

Our Construct phase is characterized by test-driven (agile) approach, breaking down the scope into iterations to ensure you see progress in weeks. Each iteration enables us all (Columbus and you) to evaluate the direction of the transformation and adjust it as appropriate. This approach ensures there is no misunderstanding between how the solution is evolving and the expectations your stakeholders have for it. We can see business processes in action and make sure they will deliver the planned-for outcomes.

Our aim is to create value as early as possible, demonstrating functionality as we progress, and making sure no consideration is left by the wayside. This includes:

  • Validate and configure best practice processes
  • Design and build solution-specific processes as required
  • Verify the entire system and end-to-end processes, including reporting, analytics, and data management

Deploy: ready to launch

The Deploy phase involves testing of the solution in ‘live’ situations, involving users, their devices, and integrating it into their workflows. This process (or sub-processes) leads us to a point where everyone involved is confident in readiness for cut-over and go-live. During this phase, we also evaluate the skills your team will need to confidently manage the system in the future. We provide training and knowledge transfer to make sure they have these skills, helping you prepare for life in the cloud.

Key components of the Deploy phase include:

  • Training and skills development
  • Final verification of the solution and necessary data
  • Prepare for operations and transition to the ongoing Operation phase
  • Go live

    OnTarget Global Design Guidelines_2024_new-1

Evolve: Evolving and stable business-critical solution

Once your solutions or their parts are up and running, it’s critical to maintain them stable and up-to-date to accommodate further innovations and evolving business needs. To achieve this, you need to have constant visibility into both issues and opportunities.

At the Evolve part of our methodology, we ensure innovation, security, and productivity are placed at the top of the daily agenda, protecting your data, applications, and integrations. Our services are designed to keep your operations running smoothly by focusing on:

  • Proactive monitoring and operational excellence to ensure uptime and covering incident management and service requests
  • 24/7/365 service desk support to facilitate seamless user experience and uninterrupted productivity
  • Solution optimization and IT environment management by handling updates in a secure and efficient way
  • Ongoing advisory input tailored to your business requirements and IT capabilities, ensuring your digital platform evolves with your business needs

Predictability drives forward momentum

Predictability is the important thing throughout every component of OnTarget. To a considerable extent, predictability depends on honesty. This is also about consistency and taking the time upfront to make sure your KPIs are rigorously created and linked closely to your mission, vision, and strategy.

Columbus is dedicated to achieving project success for clients and making sure they get the most out of their investment for the long term while delivering ever-improving customer experiences.
We know what works, and we can steer you clear of what doesn’t. With our focus on best practice, our industry expertise and strong team of great professionals, we’ll help you create a better tomorrow.

Klas Åström

Klas Åström

Director Head of Architects

Contact us to learn more about our Delivery Methodology and expertise

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