Leading Global Manufacturer Procurement Business Requirements for System Build of Big Data Analytics Tool
Throughout the 2014-2015 fiscal overlap one of the world’s leading manufacturers in rubber based products for multiple applications was beginning to feel the effects of compound challenges in their ability to manage and digest procurement decisions. With daily intake of mass quantities of data ranging from shifting prices of raw materials to currency value transitions to ever-changing shipping costs and methods, the procurement team was constantly sorting spreadsheets and managing data sources to develop any kind of analysis. They were looking for a tool to help mitigate and automate much of this manual and ad-hoc process.
As the tool the company needed did not yet exist in any form outside of manually manipulated spreadsheets, no true Current State processes existed from which to map initial requirements. Any processes that did exist for data collection and manipulation would be, by fact of the project goal, eliminated and automated. Thus, the driving force for Current State work was the analysis of desired reports and outcomes, focusing on the decisions that needed to be made.
With 1.5 FTE from Capital V working with between 2 and 3 SMEs (subject matter experts) at a given time, the team decided its end goal—a series of BRDs (Business Requirement Documents) and report glossaries with which to inform the organizations internal software developers. Though Current State modeling would be abbreviated, it would still have some form and function in the project, though the heavy lifting was done during the from-scratch Future State design.
Current State Modeling
The Capital V lead consultant assigned to the work focused efforts on several items. First, we modeled what information was needed, consumed, produced, and edited by the procurement team. Building full information and data model sets, we were able to track the flow of information and the source system of record and storage during our later process flow development. Secondly, the team focused what processes used this information, what discreet business activities needed to occur in order for those processes to be successfully completed, and what decisions paths occurred during these processes. To have an initial idea of how to design system permissions, the team then modeled an org chart and assigned responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed roles (RACI) to all individuals involved in a process.
Future State Modeling
Much of the Future State modeling initiatives revolved around the processes necessary to produce the reports that team leads and supervisors needed for their day to day decision making for procurement needs. The Capital V consultant led Q&As based on how, when, and why SMEs would use the information contained on the reports in questions. During Future State analysis, the team focused on the goals of automating as much of the Current State as possible, eliminated manual activities that were, in the past, necessary for data collection and analysis. The team replaced those activities with system responsible tasks that could be completed with the real-time absorption of procurement data.
Directly from the electronic model set, Capital V was able to auto generate a series of 7 Business Requirements Documents that would ultimately be passed on to fully inform the internal software developers. All discreet business requirements to include what activities needed to be completed, by whom, and with which information were completely defined in those BRDs as well as through a series of visual process flows. Capital V also produced a set of both visual and textual glossaries for all the reports that would be generated by the new system. This information included Future State report names, inclusive information (process inputs and outputs), as well as all information attributes to fully record what values of the given information was pertinent to a given report.
Via Capital V’s systematic and scientific method in process and data capture, the ultimate result was a successful system build. In gathering feedback from our client, and specifically their developers, we found that all information needed for the system build was collected, organized, and delivered as agreed. The resulting system was a functional big-data tool that automated out much of a previously manual process of getting to the information needed to make important company decisions.
As two of our key functions at Capital V are process mapping and business requirements collection, we felt right in our wheel-house when completing work on this project. The client was desperate to free up their staff from manual and tedious activities that would be better suited to some level of automation. Our results were what we promised, a thorough and complete examination of process to provide accurate and gap-free requirements to perform a flawless system build.