Engineered Systems Ltd

Programme and Project Management by Ed Johnston

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Landline +44(0)1727 8561112

Business Systems Consultancy

Having implemented many systems in different organisations, Engineered Systems can provide insight into not just the job of implementing technology but how businesses can get good value from their substantial investments

What Is Systems Consultancy

In its simplest form, it is providing advice and guidance on getting best benefit from technology investment.

However, describing it that way gives a false impression that this is all about technology while in fact it is about business benefit realisation.

I have seen many excellent technical solutions being implemented and only a fraction of the benefit being realised as the organisation expects the system to do all the work for them. In fact the business is always the thing that has to change and develop, to make best use of the new tools available in order to get the optimum result.

Clearly there are other, worse outcomes where simply the wrong or inadequate systems are put in place and then the business has a bigger issue to face.

Systems Consultancy must look at the target business and find the right systems for it. It must then ensure the business takes the opportunities of using that new tool and getting the absolute maximum return from it. This must all be achieved without distracting the business from its primary line of business so for instance, a sales team remains focused on their sales, not on feeding systems with interesting data.


First the business opportunity must be identified and analysed.

Some opportunities come and hit you in the face, for instance regulation, capacity, acquisition and other drivers can require immediate attention. Others creep up on a business like system obsolescence and organic growth.

The most interesting opportunities are often the most difficult to spot, especially in a business that is not focused on IT. These are the technology enabled opportunities for new business or growth. For instance how the ever growing Mobile marketplace will affect your business. This is where the Systems Consultant can really add value, revealing an opportunity that might otherwise remain untapped or ensuring that such opportunities are pursued with a practical knowledge rather than unjustified optimism.

Once the opportunity (or bluntly the necessity) for change is identified, the interesting work can begin of matching a solution with the challenge. During this stage of work, fresh eyes can be brought onto the business with experience of technology and associated business change. The overall scope and scale of the opportunity, risks, costs and impact can be assessed and a few options drawn up with outline business case.

Depending on the scale, this can be taken further to product or supplier selection and more detailed analysis in order to get a more accurate picture of what the new world will look like.


This is where we get down to brass tacks. While a lot of the above can be considered preparation or speculative, the Design stage is where theory is turned into practical reality and a few more resources are used to get there.

Again, Design often implies that there is a technology systems design to be done. Of course there is, but the other element is organisational design: what people, skills and management structure you need to work with the new systems and develop the opportunity.

Organisation change is often a threat to those affected, so great care and careful consideration must be made to understand the current capabilities so they can be best used in the new organisation and to carefully plan the transition from one to the other.


Here we are into the realm of Project Management in which the Systems Consultant has a vital role to play in guiding and shaping the project, as well as ensuring it remains within the overall business case originally proposed at the earlier stages of the engagement.

Inevitably as the implementation proceeds new issues and items of detail will arise, some of which will impact the original solution. The systems consultant will ensure that these do not affect the overall business case and outcomes by working closely with both Business and Project teams.


And finally, the solutions and organisation is all in place and working. Well things never quite go to plan and foresight is never quite perfect, so an on-going brief to monitor performance in production is essential, both to ensure the benefits are realised and to develop any new opportunities that arise as a consequence of the original engagement.