Scheer joy: Mapping a way to success

“Change is automatic,” goes the saying, “progress is not.”

As the City of Calgary’s “change management” team will readily affirm – real progress comes when you know what you want to change, the way you want to change it, and why. The lesson is: before implementing any software solution, to know what you want to change, the way you want to change it, and why.Text

The team recently used “process modeling” technology from IDS Scheer to identify just that, and to successfully complete the rollout of a time and attendance-management system.

The system went live on Jan 1.

In Miami this week at Processworld, the annual conference of the German business process management (BPM) vendor’s North American subsidiary, city representatives provided a blow-by-blow account of how use of “process modeling” made the implementation go smooth as silk.

The city’s new system is based on Peoplesoft’s (now Oracle) Human Capital Management suite.

Of course, even prior to the latest “attendance” project, the city was familiar with process modeling as well as IDS Scheer’s products.

The company’s Aris tool had already proven its worth before, according to Wendy Nadon, a business process consultant with the city.

She cited the example of how the process modeling with Aris was used very effectively in a previous instance, and saved the city a great deal of trouble.

She said there was a push in the city, to automate the cheque- generation process, based on the assumption that non-automation was causing problems.

Nadon said by modeling the process with Aris, the city discovered the portion of the process targeted for automation only accounted for three per cent of the cost of the process. The problem lay elsewhere.

“If we had just automated…without looking at what was really being done, we would have actually made the situation much worse,” said Nadon. “We went back and found the reason these cheques were being generated didn’t make sense.”

She said the lesson is: before implementing any software solution, to know what you want to change, the way you want to change it, and why.

And that approach was effectively applied by Stephanie Logan to the time-management system’s redesign.

The city’s change management team lead said another key was getting buy-in from each of the managers whose business processes would be affected by the new system, and having them formally sign-off on the proposed model and changes before implementation began.

Logan said the city’s 31 different business units are very siloed, with many of them appearing like businesses in themselves. There were also 16 separate collective bargaining agreements to contend with, making for a challenging situation.

“All of the business rules from our collective agreements had to be automated [within] the new system and we didn’t realize how much work that was going to take out of our redesign,” said Logan. “If we hadn’t done process modeling upfront we wouldn’t have identified these problems until late in the game.”

Rather than modify the technology to fit the existing business processes, Logan said as much as possible the processes themselves were modified to keep the implementation “as vanilla” as possible.

All through the year and a half design, development and implementation process, Logan said the Aris modeling tool provided a solid foundation for decision making, communications and training. Showing a manager a model of the proposed process changes made it much easier to get their approval, she said.

“The process model provided us with a blueprint for the changes [we wanted to make],” said Logan. “A lot of times, when we were six to eight months into implementation, we would forget why we were doing something, and we would go back to the process model and say ‘ah, that’s why.'”

Calgary-based IDS Scheer partner, Kogawa Consulting, helped the city through the modeling and training process. Don King, a principal with Kogawa, said when going through any process change exercise people are going to be leery about what it will mean for them, whether it’s a unionized or a non-unionized environment. “It’s important to remember that behind the process models there are people, and they need to be brought on board.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
As an assistant editor at IT World Canada, Jeff Jedras contributes primarily to CDN and, covering the reseller channel and the small and medium-sized business space.

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