Multinational Software Company Business Requirements for Information Technology
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In 2011, a large multi-national software company published a major initiative with the goal of overhauling the business processes and technical facilitation involved in incenting their employees, in both sales and performance. In their current conditions, all parties involved reported difficulties, constraints, and major issues—including losses in the millions due to both human and technical errors. Those responsible for incenting employees suggested they were ‘burned-out’ and bogged down with a plethora of manual processes.
The purpose of this initiative was to support the client in defining their current state business processes while identifying issues and metrics therein, all in support of then defining the most optimal future state requirements for use in FY2013. The client knew their current process to be riddled with errors, redundancies, and inconsistencies. Furthermore, they wanted technology to support, enable, and (most importantly) automate the plan strategy.
The customer selected a team of their own employees to participate as SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to work with us and thus incorporate the BML methodology to elicit and synthesize the knowledge of the current state business process and capture current state issues. Several of the employees were trained as BML business modelers; this allowed for more efficient work during the customer-suggested aggressive project schedule. We and the SMEs then engaged in future state sessions to develop business requirements that tracked to the high priority issues captured during current state sessions.
We utilized our project planning framework to define the project effort, which included project activities, deliverables, responsibilities and resource estimates to achieve the project purpose. The customer maintained control over the project schedule, partly because of tight SME availability. In such, our maintained flexibility and a level of dynamic expectation in deliverables.
Current State Business Modeling
Our modeling specialists facilitated work-sessions with the SMEs to build the current state business models. There was direct, face-to-face time spent with SMEs to solely investigate and prioritize current state issues. We leveraged the SMEs to gather detailed and telling metrics for the high priority issues. Upon the customer’s request, we were able to auto-generate an issues report for detailed analysis during future state sessions.
Future State Business Modeling
Armed with issues, opportunities, and validated (to the fullest extent that the project scheduled enabled) current state business models, we facilitated work-sessions which clearly defined the new environment for incenting internal field and services employees. The automation of many of the current processes helps ensure that new employees are paid on-time and accurately while eliminating back-end work involving tedious calculations and manual payment processing.
Post future state modeling, our team delivered several business requirements documents (BRDs) which broke down each business process flow into individual business requirements or “Atoms”. From each Atom, the customer will produce IT requirements enabling the project’s goal to become a reality. Detail in the BRDs included specific business rules and supporting activities necessary to be performed to accomplish a specific business purpose. This metadata, which was displayed in the BRD as Supplemental Information, could be leveraged by the engineers and process owners to gain full understanding in moving forward with the plan strategy. We also delivered a PDF model image package, several detailed reports, and finally a polished future state model.
A total of 21 high priority issues were identified and their business impact recorded during current state modeling. The high priority issues were addressed during future state sessions and the SMEs altered their environment to prevent the issues from re-occurring. The key results equal the prevention of duplicate or overstated incentive compensation payments estimated to save the company ~$18M as well as 1300 manual processing hours annually. Other future state changes include the creation of a new role, business activities being assigned accountable oversight, and a revised naming convention of business information.
Our models and approach provided this large multi-national organization with a means of optimizing and automating much of their employee incentives processes and technical usability. Moreover, the models’ useful life did not end with the conclusion of this initiative. The customer took ownership of the models after the project and is currently leveraging them as a starting point to capture current state and future state requirements for a much larger incentive payment initiative.