Are Target Operating Models strategic compasses?

The short answer is they usually are, because every organisation needs a road-map of where they are going. Target operating models can be complex documents with illustrative details including project management structures, special tools, implementation procedures and management metrics. They can also be simple statements, as for example Winston Churchill?s promise that ?we shall fight them on the beaches, on the landing grounds and in the fields? which gave Britain the strategic direction it needed.

Many initiatives unfortunately fail because managers are ?too busy? to bottom on what their target operating model should say, or simply don’t believe in paperwork. As a result, promising initiatives may blunder off course or die a slow death without them really noticing. We cannot manage what we cannot measure, which is where the management metrics fit in. One of my favourite quotes is ?if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there? which is what the Cheshire Cat said to Alice in Wonderland when she got lost.

The author blundered through life without a plan because there was no one else with his particular brand of imagination. The current business climate is different because everybody is trying to ramp up, and investors want to know exactly what is going to happen to their money and by when. Hence a target operating model can be indispensable throughout a change or product cycle.

The benefits of having a measurable operations / technology plan can produce powerfully tangible results if the organisation follows through on it. Built-in metrics with milestones are powerful tool for management, and, when they map through to the company financial plan almost irreplaceable as cash-flow forecasters.

Other benefits may include:

  • Shorter times to market and greater agility when launching new ideas
  • Reduced investor risk through a predictable process that’s readily monitored
  • A stable operating environment where there is consensus on direction
  • Greater likelihood of delivering on time and leading to repeat orders
  • A more cost-effective process, with less risk of loss of quality and money

Although it dates back a few years the Wills UK and Ireland Retail model still provides an excellent benchmark of a target operating plan that worked. The strategic goals were exceptionally clear, and they brought in a proven project manager to help them drive the program forward.

We have delivered advanced business management services to many of our clients, and believe you will find our personalised approach time-efficient and effective too.

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Vendor Selection

When shopping for an IT solution for your enterprise, there are two things you should scrutinise: the product (or service) itself and its vendor. Many times, companies overlook the importance of the latter, giving the reason that “it’s only the product we need”.

Wrong.

What about after-sales technical support and training? Ok, so you have an in-house team with the required competency for that IT solution in question… not that I believe it’s reasonable basis to pass up on the expertise that the vendor can provide. How about upgrades, patches, and documentation?

Still unperturbed? Here’s one factor that you may not have started to consider – What happens to your product if the vendor goes bankrupt or gets swallowed by a merger and acquisition? Surely, you no longer believe this is far from possible, do you?

But how are you supposed to know the financial stability of each vendor or whether it is an acquisition target? Well, you can either conduct your own research or you can leave that up to us. Part of our job includes not only establishing linkages in the industry but also being in-the-know on such relevant information.

Evaluation of Business Needs

You can’t separate vendor selection from the process of choosing the desired IT tool. That’s why our vendor selection services starts by defining exactly what your business needs are.

Once we’ve pinned down your needs, we can then narrow down the list of possible IT solutions. Only then can we proceed with the main vendor selection process.

Have you ever been caught in a situation wherein you thought you knew what you wanted, only to end up realising it’s not what you were looking for after all? We’re here to make sure you don’t get caught in that kind of situation when choosing an enterprise-class IT solution.

With the TCO (total cost of ownership) of such solutions typically running up to hundreds of thousands of euros, you can’t afford to arrive at what you really want by way of trial and error.

These are the things you stand to benefit the moment we start working with you:

  • Thorough assessment of your IT needs. We’ll consult the people in your organisation who’ll be affected the most in order to obtain a clear picture of what your specific needs really are. Most IT solution purchases are made with very little consultation that, after installation, many of the end users don’t benefit at all.
  • Minimal interruption during assessment. As with all our other services, we see to it that the interruptions we make are absolutely necessary. So the moment we start with our work, you can still continue with yours.
  • Insightful suggestions of the required IT solution. You still know your business better. So even after we’ve gone through the assessment and given our recommendations, the decision as to what IT tool should be pursued will still be up to you. The difference now is, you’ll be making a decision based on expertly gathered information put forward in an insightful proposal.

Request and Evaluation of Vendor Proposals

With so many IT solutions companies mushrooming, it is becoming more difficult to keep track of them, their specialities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Companies selling best-of-breed products may be relatively easy to spot. But there are also other attributes that are equally important but not as well publicised. For instance, which companies offer better quality management philosophies? Which companies have strategic visions running parallel to yours? Which of them possess implementation capabilities that can cater to your rapidly growing IT requirements?

Vendors who answer positively to these queries need to be given the appropriate importance in the selection process. We see to it that these and other relevant attributes are factored into our scorecards and evaluation processes.

These are the things you can look forward to when you grant us the opportunity to serve you.

  • Experience is a vital item in our vendor selection criteria. Our vast knowledge of the reliable players in the industry will lead you to experienced vendors who can hit the ground running from day one and continue with the same vigour onward.
  • We can help you draw positive response for each of your Request For Proposals (RFPs) or Request For Information (RFIs). Did you expect these vendors to be enthusiastic in sending out proposals each time you asked them to? Think again. You’ll have to persuade them first of your sincerity to become a potential customer. With our help, your RFPs will make preferred vendors see “opportunity” written all over.
  • No need to go “Eany, meeny, miny, moe”. Deciding which vendors should move up in the selection process can take up a lot of time if you don’t know which criterion should be given more weight. Our scorecards are designed to collect the most relevant information and to generate results that will help you decide on these matters at a glance.

Interview, Negotiation, and Monitoring

As soon as you start getting positive response to your Request For Proposals, the interview process should be next. It’s at this point that vendors can present and highlight their strengths while we try to glean as much information of their true capabilities as well as their dedication to the project.

Some companies can provide proof-of-concepts and we may require them as part of the interview process. This will not only give us a better idea as with regards to their product’s capabilities, but also to their level of expertise on the solution in question.

  • We’ll help you set up the interview process and organise the evaluation committee. Members of the committee will typically include representatives from each department that will be affected by the new technology, which we would have already identified during our Evaluation of Business Needs.
  • Since our scorecards are designed to expedite the filtering and selection process, you may eventually be able to choose the finalists yourself. However, in the event that two or more vendors turn out evenly matched, we’ll help you identify the better company.
  • We’re very familiar with the price ranges of various IT solutions, including the effects on price of certain variables. As such, we can tell you whether a product’s price tag is justified or not.
  • Our exceptional familiarity on both the IT industry and the entire negotiation processes itself will give you the edge when it’s time for us to haggle for the best bang for the buck.
  • After the contract is awarded, we’ll even be on hand to monitor whether deliverables are handed over and milestones are achieved as promised.
IT Systems Implementation

Are you ready to find out how your newly accepted IT system fares in the real world? Although a rigorous Acceptance testing process can spot a wide spectrum of flaws in a newly constructed IT system, there is no way it can identify all possible defects. The moment the IT system is delivered into the hands of actual end users and other stakeholders, it is effectively stepping out of a controlled and secure environment.

Thus, it is during this phase wherein issues having direct impact on the business can arise.

It is our duty to ensure that the Systems Implementation phase is carried out as thoroughly, professionally, and efficiently as possible.

Thoroughly, because we need to include all relevant data and other deliverables, eliminate hard-to-detect miscalculated results, and substantially reduce the probability of business and mission critical issues popping up in the future;

Professionally, because it is the best way to address the sensitive process of turning over a new system to users who have gotten used to the old one;

And efficiently, because we want to minimise the duration over which all stakeholders have to adapt to the new system and allow them to move on to the process of growing the business.

Preparation

Louis Pasteur once said, “Luck favours the mind that is prepared.”

While we certainly won’t leave anything to chance, we do put substantial weight on the Preparation stage of Systems Implementation. We’re so confident with the strategies we employ in Preparation, that we can assure you of an utterly seamless Deployment and Transition phase.

By this we mean that issues that may arise during Deployment and Transition will be handled smoothly and efficiently because your people will know exactly what to do.

Here’s how we will prepare your organisation for Deployment:

  • Identify all key players for the Systems Implementation phase and orient them on their specific roles. We’ll make sure they know what possible hitches may come their way and how to deal with them.
  • Identify all end users and their corresponding functions, then assign appropriate access rights.
  • Draw multi-layered contingency plans to capture and address each possible concern that may crop up during Deployment.
  • Prepare a systematic step-by-step procedure and checklist for the entire Deployment stage. Both of them should have been copied from a similar procedure and checklist used in the Acceptance testing phase.
  • Make all stakeholders understand the conditions required before Deployment can commence.
  • Set the appropriate environment so that all stakeholders know what to expect and when to expect them the moment Deployment commences.
  • Prepare Technical Services and Technical Support personnel for the gruelling mission ahead.
  • Make sure all communication processes are well coordinated so that everyone affected will know who to contact and how to get in touch with them when a problem arises.
  • Plan and schedule training sessions so that they can be conducted “just in time”. Training sessions conducted way ahead of Deployment are often useless because the trainees tend to forget about what they learned when the time comes to apply them. Similarly, training sessions conducted way after Deployment also become useless because trainees are seldom able to internalise instructions delivered during crash courses.

Deployment

There are two sets of issues to keep an eye on during Deployment:

  1. Issues directly related to the technology itself, e.g. application functionality and data integrity, and
  2. Issues emanating from the end users, i.e., their unwillingness to use the new system. One reason may be because they find the interface and procedures too confusing. Another would be due to other inconveniences that come with adapting to a new set of procedures.

Despite all the meticulous scrutiny employed during Acceptance testing, there are just some problems that are made obvious only during Deployment. Issues belonging to the first set are dealt with easily because of the plans and procedures we put in place during the Preparation stage. As an added measure, our team will be on hand to make sure contingency plans are executed accordingly.

While the second set of issues is often neglected by many IT consultancy companies, we choose to meet it head on.

We fully understand that end users are most sensitive to the major changes that accompany a new system. It is precisely for this reason why our training activities during Deployment are designed not only to educate them but also to make them fully appreciate the necessity of both the new system and the familiarisation phase they will need to go through.

The faster we can bring your end users to accept the new system, the faster they can refocus on your company’s business objectives.

Here’s what we’ll do to guarantee the smoothest Deployment process you’ve ever experienced.

  • Employ the procedure and checklist formulated during the Preparation stage.
  • Ensure all end users are well acquainted with any additional tasks they would need to perform (e.g. filling up manual logs).
  • Assess which legacy systems can still be used alongside the new technology and which ones have to be retired.
  • Supervise the installation and optimal configuration of all supporting hardware and software to make sure the likelihood of errors originating from them are brought to near-zero levels.
  • Supervise the installation and optimal configuration of the products themselves.
  • Carry out data migration tasks if necessary.
  • Organise and oversee parallel runs to check for data and report inconsistencies.
  • Conduct training sessions in a professional and well-timed manner to eliminate end-users’ feelings of agitation and to take advantage of memory absorption and retention duration as with regards to their assigned duties and responsibilities.

Transition

Do you often feel uneasy whenever the reins to a newly purchased IT system are handed over to you? Perhaps there are some issues that you feel haven’t been fully settled but, at the same time, find it too late to back out, having already invested so much time and resources.

Alright, so maybe the thought of “backing up” never crossed your mind. However, the concern of being “not yet ready” is raised by many organisations towards the tail end of most Deployment stages. This usually drags the Deployment stage into a never-ending process.

Our team of highly experienced specialists will make sure you reach this point with utmost confidence to proceed on your own.

To wrap up our comprehensive IT Systems Implementation offering, we’ll take charge of the following:

  • Verify that all deliverables, including training materials and other technical documentation, are accomplished and expected outcomes are realised.
  • Make sure all technical documentation are placed in a secure and accessible location.
  • Institute best practices to ensure the IT system becomes fully utilised and to reduce its exposure to avoidable risks.
  • Establish open communication lines with the Technical Support team to enable quick resolution of issues.
  • Ensure complete knowledge transfer has been fully achieved so that your people will spend less time calling Technical Support and more on operations contributory to business growth.
5 Ways To Grow Your Business | How Field Service Management Software Helps

Building up any business is already hard, more so when it involves providing field services.

A field service business owner has to manage the usual tasks, like scheduling jobs efficiently or inventory checks, and you have to do it while your employees are scattered about on various locations.

It’s the reason FieldElite was created, to provide companies with a much better way to manage and monitor their field workers.

Aside from effective management for your workforce on the move, field service management software can also help your business grow.

5 Ways Using Field Service Management Software Grows Your Business

1. Management Integration

You replace manual field service processes. If your business also uses other management apps, like CRM, payroll, industry-specific software, etc., make sure to integrate them with your chosen field service management software.?

Make those software work side-by-side with your field service management app to achieve streamlined business management.

Integration also removes the possibility of duplicate input on the regular system used and your field service management software, maximising your efficiency and business growth.

2. Improved Tracking

Utilising a field service management software gives you better tracking of every aspect of your field service business.

  • Track your inventory numbers in real-time ? know exactly how much stock is on hand for parts, and when it’s time to order more
  • Constant updates on Key Performance Indicators ? ensure your business is running smoothly
  • First-time fix rates tracking ? avoid wrong rate application
  • Monitor your technician?s performance ? ensuring quality work, in turn, profit.

Grow your business by having improved tracking on meaningful data and analytics produced from your field service management software.

3. Cost Cutting

Cutting costs can improve your bottom line and a lot of businesses turn to laying off technicians to cut costs. With a field service management software, there?s no need to go this route.

You cut costs through no manual processes needing to be completed. No need to hire back-office staff to field service calls or produce paperwork orders.

Your field service software should have all your automated needs met for efficient field job management.

An example of cost-cutting using field service app:

Track how much your technicians drive and find alternate routes for them to take.

  • Reduce gas expenses
  • Reduce repair bills for the truck
  • Finding better alternate routes can give more time to get to more jobs
  • Increased efficiency for the field technician

4.? Mobile Adaptability

Field service companies are focusing on mobility to grow their business. With a field service management software, technicians have on hand the tools and information needed to complete their job.

Field technicians can utilise the following field service software features:

  • Limit how much time they spend completing administrative work with the automated work-order management
  • Complete checklists on their mobile device and follow step-by-step instructions
  • Check service history
  • Close job orders/calls, collect signatures and start the invoice process

With a mobile app, technicians can complete a call faster, increasing the number of job order scheduled each day, giving additional revenue and that helps to grow your business.

5. Automation

What good is a field service management software without automated features??

Automation, in any industry, is an important factor in managing and growing your business.

Here are some examples of automation features and tools that your software needs in field service:

  • Create and convert quotations into work orders
  • Schedule/Reschedule jobs
  • Accept jobs in the field
  • Convert jobs into invoices
  • Preventative maintenance service
  • Customer updates
  • Automated job reports

Business Growth with your Field Service Management Software

Field service management software is growing businesses through automation, tracking and workflow management.

Your operation can run smarter and more efficiently, all while empowering your field technicians to do their job smoothly.

If you haven’t turned to a field service management software yet, you’re missing out on chances to grow your business.

Check out FieldElite to help grow your field service business today!

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