Executing your digital transformation journey
Setting off on a transformational journey is like going into unknown territory. Any IT project can run into problems. A project can include a hidden landscape of small issues and considerations which are often overlooked in the race for the” big prize”. New possibilities and opportunities may open that were not anticipated at the outset. Lack of anticipation leads to misdirection. People start to change their minds as projects develop, and departments decide to add other elements to their desired outcomes. The result is that scope creeps, risk increases, and costs mount up.
Fortunately, there is a proven way to avoid falling into these traps. At its heart is an adherence to best practices, and the creation of an all-inclusive roadmap. If you follow the proven methodology and make sure you have an experienced partner on 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 beverages, manufacturing, and retail and distribution (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 refine our methodology and approach. We have looked at some of the most robust and proven best practices around to build one exhaustive and solid approach to run client engagements.
Get OnTarget and stay there
Our delivery methodology is called OnTarget, because it anticipates where the problems will arise by focusing on people and delivering value. It enables you to avoid the many turns that lie ahead in the transformation journey.
Projects designed to deliver business-critical solutions do change shape as they develop. They may start in one direction and take a swerve at some point which could require changes in processes and changes to the initially-proposed system architecture. Through iterative demonstration of the solution as it unfolds, OnTarget gives you the flexibility to accommodate new demands, and refine the project pace and phase duration. It empowers you to predict the direction of your project over the long term.
Columbus stays by your side throughout the whole journey - from planning for success, through to making sure it happens, and then develops as your business or requirements change and grow.
The methodology comprises two continuous phases connected to setting the strategy, ensuring alignments and ensuring your solution evolves with your business, and three core project phases which focus on the solution development.
Strategy & Change: building the roadmap and securing value realization
The "Strategy & Change" phase focuses on identifying and refining the optimum outcomes from the project, assessing the impact of change and making sure your people are not only ready for it, but enthusiastic about it. The 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.
Columbus helps 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 the value is to be found
- prioritize the identified initiatives in terms of value delivery
- build the roadmap
- develop a change management strategy
- map user journeys to ensure you always keep people at the heart of the project from planning through to go-live and beyond
The "Strategy & Change" phase 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 benefitting from change. Never file your strategy and change plans away, keep them active and adaptable. We’ll help you do exactly that as we move through the three core project-focused phases—from preparation to readiness and go-live.
Explore: aligning and getting ready
The "Explore" phase is not about starting from a blank page. We work with an end-to-end process approach, to ensure a good system as early as possible, and a good fit to the business needs.
This is about focusing on your readiness to proceed, making sure that every key question has been asked and answered. What processes are you targeting? Fundamental to any proposed change or specified outcome is a thorough understanding of the necessary data that will drive it. We look to the data you have available compared to the data that will be required and then set about filling the 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 requirements gathering
- Distinct description of the business processes that will be supported by the solution and how
- Configuration of a solution baseline
- Demo and prototyping of key processes and components
- Creation of the solution strategy documents
With the essential ‘groundwork’ complete, it is then time to 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
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. In this way we can make sure there is no system misfit 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.
The goal is to create value as early as possible, demonstrating functionality as we progress, and making sure no consideration is left by the wayside:
- Validate and configure best practice processes
- Design and build solution-specific processes as required
- Verify the complete 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 - with users, with their devices, as part of their workflows. This process (or sub-processes) takes us all to the point where we are all confident that we are ready for cut-over and go-live. This is when we also evaluate the skills your team will need, to be able to confidently curate the system into the future, and then we provide the training, and knowledge transfer to make sure they have these skills. We help you prepare for the life in the cloud.
- Training and Skills
- Final verification of the solution and needed data
- Prepare for operations and transition to the ongoing Operation phase
- Go live
Operation: ensuring business continuity
Once up and running, the critical need is to ensure stable and up-to-date solutions. To achieve this, you need to have constant visibility both of issues and of opportunities.
At the Operation phase we ensure that innovation, security, and productivity are placed at the top of the daily agenda, protecting your data, applications, and integrations. The services that we have are designed to always keep you in the best of shape by focusing on:
- Proactive monitoring and operational excellence ensuring 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 based on mapping your business requirements against your IT capabilities and identifying gaps between the two
Predictability drives forward momentum
Predictability is the important thing throughout every phase 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.