National Retail Company Gap Analysis and Business Requirements for System Build
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Headed into 2015, a large retail parent company, owners of a chain of gym and spas, planned for expansion of their business via new facilities and possible proprietary operations software. With the desire to perform thorough due diligence, the company made the decision to first complete a gap analysis between their current leased software (in terms of capability) and their desired current state business processes. Their goal was to then use the results of such an analysis to make a build or buy or enhance decision, allowing those results to best inform them of the probable and possible costs, time considerations, and more.
The desired outcome of the initial statement of work was the achievement of all the necessary information to include issues, opportunities, and future state change desires to properly inform the aforementioned build, buy, or enhance decision. Obstacles to the proper and complete collection of this information included varying levels of software implementation at various facilities, the necessity to collect data from dozens of subject matter experts across three time zones, and both incomplete and inconsistent current state processes that saw no consolidation or agreement among the different locations and facilities.
With three internal “Super-SMEs”, Capital V was able to engage the client with 1.5 to 2.5 FTE (depending on the particular phase or effort), to follow a POEM strategy to completing the work. POEM (Plan, Organize, Execute, Monitor). To plan the work, the team used BML (Business Modeling Language) methodology as a framework. First engaging Capital V to complete document conversion of all existing and varying documents, then planning a schedule of sessions and travel to engage all pertinent SMEs across the organization. For the organization phase, we constructed a context model of 9 important system modules for which to model the business needs. We then aligned the meeting schedules to the context module to plan validation sessions. With tight schedule requirements and the need for Subject Matter Experts to also attend to their day jobs, we left the primary PM duties with the client and maintained flexibility on our end to adjust, often hopping from one portion or leg of the model to another within a day.
Current State Modeling
Our senior consultant lead hosted facilitated work sessions starting with the context modeling and developing exponentially from there. The current state process modeling focused on processes that had some level of touch point with their current state and faulty system. What started as approximately 250 discreet business activities based on the only current state documentation that existed, became over 1500 activities that had previously been undocumented. The client immediately noticed the importance of these endeavors when one of the most important SMEs announced her retirement. We were quick to model her expertise before her departure. While modeling the current state processes and validating their accuracy, we collected mass quantities of metadata for a gap analysis to include current system issues, opportunities for system and process improvement, and desired future state changes.
Stage 1 Deliverables
Post current state and gap analysis work, Capital V produced a number of deliverables for the client. These included but were not limited to: Fully validated visual process models for current state, retained both as images and produced into visual and textual SOPs, extensive reports including a gap analysis report to include CS issues, and a cost analysis worksheet with which the client was enabled to adequately come to decision to build or buy a new software, or to request an enhancement from their current provider.
Future State Modeling
After giving the matter thought and with thorough and complete current state deliverables to inform such an important decision, the client selected to move forward with a system build. Having proprietary software for their expansion would dramatically cut future costs. Because our deliverables become reusable and starting points for new efforts, they didn’t have to start from scratch. Capital V was able to use the CS models already develop and model for noted changes in future state. To develop complete future state process flows and business requirements, the team focused validation sessions on process improvements, actors responsible, accountable, consulted and informed by the processes, process inputs and outputs, and any time consideration or physical location rules. With those complete pictures, the team developed visual models for each of these dimensions, validated them with involved SMEs, and completed a full front to end picture of the future system needs.
Stage 2 Deliverables
Directly from the electronic model set, Capital V was able to auto generate a series of 13 Business Requirements Documents, the business and its needs having expanded from the original nine modules. Each BRD focused one major leg of the model, examples including CRM, Scheduling, Point of Sales, and more. We also delivered model images exported to excel for their internal audits, a series of reports including what issues were addressed and remedied from CS, and full glossaries of all actors, informational inputs and outputs, and actors and system touch points.
Over 400 issues and opportunities with the initial system were identified, allowing the customer to calculate over a million dollars in system enhancement requests. Scoping a build with a partner of Capital V, they discovered it would be only slightly more expensive, and far more economical over time, to build their own system to fit their operational needs. Through adherence to our strict methodology, we were able to reduce the original 1500+ discreet business activities to about 1100, despite the addition of many new modules. Ultimately this was accomplished by elimination of redundant activities, a goal of paperless processes, and other strategies. Each process was assigned accountable and responsible roles and the client was left with each of their operational processes fully defined and cataloged to better serve a flexible and ever changing work force.
Our approach allowed our client to first make an educated decision about what to do about their current state software problem for their retail spaces in the gym and spa industry. Because of the recyclability of our deliverables and modeling tools and methods, we were able to pick up the future state effort the same day as their final decision to design a new system. Creating complete future state requirements allowed them to be fully and properly prepared to shop for development shops for a tool that one day will serve. We will engage with the client on a continued need basis should there be need for business requirement updates and/or in a waterfall approach to their SDLC.