Business systems integration and consultancy module


It has been my premise that an instruction in UK University follows every bit much classical criterions as possible. Nevertheless, David Finnegan ‘s Business Systems Integration and Consultancy faculty has shattered that myth in my head wholly in a one month clip.

Systems integrating for me was known more as a proficient tool before the faculty. The tool that, in its purest instance, implies the coincident handiness of all needed informations and information ( Condie, 2009 ) , unifies company ‘s information systems and databases to better the procedure flow ( Mendoza et al. , 2006 ) . However the BSIC faculty allowed me to overview other issues in Systems Integration Strategy ( SIS ) development on pattern and to cognize its singularity for every organisation, every bit good its relation to company ‘s civilization.

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That was achieved by a alone instance survey attack in which the whole class group was split into 8 squads, each squad representing a Consultancy Firm whose undertaking was to give an expertness for the CRM system integrating for fanciful client – “Aluxtel” Telecommunication Company specialising on Pay-TV and broadband services to UK clients.

The fact that the CRM was chosen as concern system is non inadvertent. CRM is frequently considered as the most efficient information engineering that can be used in concern and its successful execution and use can take knowledge-based organisations to farther success in 21 century ( Finnegan and Willcocks 2007 ) .

Request for Information ( RFI )

Before start of the undertaking we had to put up the house, take the CEO and allocate functions within a company. The name was accepted as “Intech Consulting Group” ( ICG ) after my proposal, whereas the “project organisational structure” was selected as the most suited construction for consultancy companies to form people to work on peculiar undertakings ( Schwalbe, 2004 ) . I chose the place of Project Manager. Schwalbe suggests that undertaking directors must take squads by supplying vision, deputing undertakings, making an energetic and positive environment apart from being competent in engineering, skilled in organisation and teamwork. I had some work experience in implementing concern applications and all those accomplishments were disputing for me to obtain. That place besides attracted me by an chance to pass on with clients in meetings.

The Request for Information ( RFI ) was received after that. This papers revealed the current state of affairs of client and demands for the companies offering for a trade. We were besides expected to present our company by a little presentation.

The RFI caused uncertainness, but it besides encouraged to happen replies ourselves. The mission of consultancy expertness, for case, was ill-defined for me, as RFI revealed that CRM system had already been in development by another seller. However, Schwalbe ( 2004 ) says that information engineering undertakings are frequently developed as a series of undertakings, e.g. a separate undertaking of placing and measuring possible schemes by engaging a consultancy house on the planning stage.

Press Release was another beginning of information on that phase. It contained senior troughs ‘ personal attitude to their jobs and outlooks for forthcoming CRM system. It was highly helpful to cognize more about the political frame of the company ( Schwalbe, 2004 ) and to look into organisational civilization of the client company from a cognition sharing position. Harmonizing to Finnegan and Willcocks ( 2007 ) “sub-culture” can be defined as “set of apprehensions or significances shared by a group of people [ in peculiar state of affairs sing current concern challenges and future function of CRM system ] ” . Writers besides underline the destructive function of civilization spread between IT and concern professionals within the administration. However it was evident from the imperativeness release for me that CIO of Aluxtel was competent specializer and had a distinguishable power in administration and there was a common apprehension of the demand of integrating among senior directors, although with little differences in outlooks. It seemed to me like there was a struggle between Gross saless and Marketing sections, but interactions between different sub-cultures frequently can bring forth struggles and the nucleus thought here was to direct such dialogues in a originative class in order to derive positive influence on the public presentation. ( Finnegan, Willcocks 2007 ) .

Request for Proposal ( RFP )

On the following phase we were requested to show more specified solution within the response to bespeak for proposal ( RFP ) . Due to a deficiency of academic literature on that subject, RFP was identified via on-line beginnings as an invitation for providers to subject aproposalon a specificcommodityorservice. It was found out to be a common tool in concern pattern, particularly in command procedures. By and large, RFP enables to convey construction to the procurance determination and allows the hazards and benefits to be identified clearly ( Wheaton, 2008 ) .

Basically the new CRM system execution was the response to Aluxtel ‘s end to get by with rapid market growing without diminishing gross. On the one manus new CRM system had to be integrated with broad scope of services via phone calls and straight through set-top box, supplying convenient ordination and safe payment procedures ( integrating with on-line payment system ) ; guaranting handiness of support ( delivery/installation ) ; all this avoiding exchanging between 2 different databases ( Television and Broadband ) . On the other manus the new system ‘s purpose was to interrupt the nexus between subscriber Numberss and Gross saless staff every bit good as set uping effectual communicating between sections.

Apparently from above we were expected to look at systems integrating scheme from a “wider perspective” , so it was clear that the solution must cover all distinguishable countries of organisational alteration such as procedures, engineering and people.

By having a undertaking we were largely concentrated on proficient issues for call Centres optimisation. At first sight it seemed like the solution should be focused on call Centres merely. We spent much clip and attempt for depicting the procedure via block diagram which considered all types of client behaviour, offering the client to utilize extra proficient solutions as IVR and on-line web portal ( see Appendix 1 ) .

However that “over-concentrating” on call-centre issues caused uncertainties because, in my sentiment, it was nor the cardinal point of integrating. Following Finnegan ‘s and Willcocks ‘ ( 2007 ) illustration of UKCC, traveling the focal point from a system integrating attack towards “call-answering” can be unsafe on early phases of system design. I said it to my group and as a consequence, we decided to divide undertakings among group members to do a research on other integrating issues such as organisational restructuring and human facets.

CRM procedure map

My undertaking was to develop a model to depict the CRM system. The Case Study of Electronic Prescription Service ( Finnegan and Currie, 2008 ) , peculiarly the EPS procedure map, was used as a tool. The given attack makes it possible to depict the forthcoming processes, involved in CRM system, at both the human and proficient degrees. Apparently from the model ( see Appendix 3 ) , I tried to bespeak an interdepartmental communicating within the CRM system, positioning all procedure participants ( client and each section ) harmonizing to their front-office and back-office functions in the system. The tools for communicating between participants were presented in perpendicular sequence, whereas the minutess caused by those activities inside the CRM system were described in the “Electronic Messaging” degree, likewise to EPS. As with our model we tried to demo all procedures involved in CRM system, it resulted to troubles in bespeaking perceptual experiences, impacts and drivers for every stakeholder. Hence, it would be better, to my head, to make separate model for each concern procedure to use all its advantages.

Undertaking lineation

It was obvious that proposal must include non merely the recommendations but besides a feasible agenda for its execution. As a undertaking director I was involved in undertaking construction development. Undertaking Timeline was based on models from Project Management Body of Knowledge ( the PMBOK Guide, 2000 ) , which is described in Kathy Schwalbe ‘s “Information Technology Project Management” book. It should be mentioned that our Project Timeline was extremely appreciated by P. Leigh in the feedback to RFP.

We proposed to execute the undertaking within 5 stages: induction, planning, put to deathing, commanding, and shutting.

However, holding made a deeper research, I have found out that these qualify non the undertaking stages but project direction procedure groups. In fact, the undertaking life rhythm consists of 4 stages: construct, development, execution and close-out. Each of these stages ideally should dwell of enterprise, planning, executive and controlling activities. If I were to make that portion of solution once more, I would suggest the coiling attack depicting each phase in footings of those activities. I would besides increase clip for induction and planning at least to 5 hebdomads, as research suggests disbursement at least 20 per centum of undertaking clip on those stages ( Schwalbe, 2004 ) .

User Training issues

In our undertaking construction we considered alleged “Pre-production environment” in CRM system execution procedure. The nucleus thought was to set about First Training session to supply decreased figure of end-users possibility to cognize more about CRM system and utilize them as “experts” during existent deployment. The analogy can be found in instance when super-users of UKCC and IE.COM were trained foremost and so used as trainers to develop the remainder of end-users. Generally it is a common attack in user preparation, nevertheless it besides contains hazards in instance if the system in its initial phase creates misgiving and that misgiving can be passed on to other users ( Finnegan, Willcocks 2007 ) .

Project Team Structure

It was decided to make 3 degrees of direction control in the CRM system execution scheme ( for inside informations see Appendix 2 ) each degree represented by both ICG and Aluxtel sides.

Schwalbe ( 2004 ) argues that due to the complexness of IT undertakings it is highly of import to reexamine its position at each stage “keeping undertakings on path and finding if they should be continued, redirected or terminated” . Her illustration of Huntington Bancshares Company, where the Steering Committee was successfully implemented in Web site redesign undertaking can back up our attack.

Although this attack ensures proper control of the undertaking, it can do jobs in footings of cognition sharing facets. Finnegan and Willcocks ( 2007 ) depicting the CRM system execution in the IE.COM argue that “the commanding and supervising function of direction merely led to the constitution of “employee under-obligation” types of psychological contracts” . Critically measuring our solution I see that we did non propose any solution to avoid constitution of such sort of relationships within our Project Team and to supply involvement particularly for end-users of the system.

Data Migration Strategy

In the RFP development I was responsible for the informations migration scheme every bit good. Aluxtel ‘s imperativeness release showed a hapless informations quality in bequest system as a job which is, evidently, common for bulk of CRM execution undertakings today ( Gentle 2002 ) . After confer withing with other group members we decided to execute a information migration within a shadow database. I found out that such program ( see Appemdix 4 ) is known as “Parallel Running Implementation” when information is loaded onto the new system but the Legacy Data Stores continue to run until the informations satisfies all the demands of quality ( Morris, 2006 ) . However, harmonizing to Morris, if we truly wanted to follow the criterions, we should hold besides considered a disengagement program to acquire enterprise into place it was prior to the informations migration to forestall any failures during the procedure.

Client besides demanded an expertness for informations cleansing attack. My work involved measuring both in-house and outsourcing attacks for manual informations cleansing. I found out that outsourcing can be non suited in this peculiar instance. Gentle ( 2007 ) offers non to look at the CRM undertaking as a “one-time proficient attempt you can outsource” . He suggests constructing up an in-house squad to include lasting staff to guarantee cognition is retained and CRM undertaking can turn utilizing the same people. Other writers ( Beulen et al. , 2006 ) argue that despite increasing flexibleness of the staff and leting them to concentrate on their nucleus competences, outsourcing attack, as research shows, involves uncomparable higher costs, which was a cardinal ground to urge Aluxtel to organize an in-house squad.

Experience of Meetings with the client

Another portion of my work included take parting in meetings with clients, which is undoubtedly critical portion of any IT undertaking. Finnegan and Willcocks ( 2007 ) see interviews with stakeholders as an of import portion of initial research for the undertaking peculiarly to “uncover implicit in motives, beliefs, attitudes and feelings on a topic” .

As a Undertaking Manager I participated in 2 meetings with the client. Meetings were held, to my head, in highly formal manner. David Finnegan warned us that we have to act as professionals, affecting clients and set uping psychological contacts every bit good. As English is non my first linguistic communication, I had jobs of proper apprehension of clients and proper informing my co-workers. For illustration, in instance of our recommendation to shut Milton Keynes office, I merely did non understand decently that it was a central office of a company. The better solution in such instance might hold been an audio tape of interviews as some writers propose ( Finnegan, Willcocks 2007 ) .

“What to ask” was another job on interviews. I did non do any research on that and used my general cognition and even intuition. The job was cased, in my sentiment, by a deficiency of experience. However, as I found out subsequently, we could besides utilize a usher for interviews from Finnegan ‘s and Willcock ‘s book ( 2007, appendices ) .

Another point that Finnegan and Willcocks ( 2007 ) describe in their book is a paradox of major systems execution: “the chance of IT execution success depends on engagement of both higher organisational degree directors and end-users to a project” . However during those meetings we had ne’er met end-users of the client company. In my sentiment, in existent life undertaking such communicating might hold increased efficiency of execution.

To sum up, attending of several senior-management representatives on meetings ( such as Gross saless, Selling, HR managers, CIO ) and their common involvement and apprehension of forthcoming CRM system, in my sentiment, by and large revealed a “mutual high-obligations” type of psychological contracts between them ( Finnegan, Willcocks 2007 ) .

Presentation of a concluding offer

Our squad performed the concluding presentation on a high degree, as eventually we occupied 2nd topographic point out of 8 squads, which I think is really good consequence. However, our presentation contained some weak points. Gary Herrington, Chief Superintendent of West Midland Police, who was a justice, asked inquiries sing hazard direction issues in our attack to warrant the cost and, to my head, we did non give full reply.

Indeed, CRM system execution contains hazard factors which can increase the concluding cost of the undertaking significantly ( we estimated our cost for ?500.000 “including all hazards and expenses” as we thought ) . Gentle ( 2007 ) says that most CRM undertakings are underfunded because, for case, stakeholders earnestly underestimate the measure of informations beginnings for migration and correspondence quality. That can do informations migration procedure a separate undertaking with its ain rights, increasing the clip to execute and disbursals on confer withing and cleaning the information. Author says that confer withing costs can besides increase when there is no cross-functional understanding on business-processes.

Lessons learned from the faculty

Critically measuring my experience in the faculty now, I can place lessons learned from it.

Obviously, I expected instructors to steer us more on the SIS. However the methodological analysis was based chiefly on self-research. Indeed, in the existent on the job conditions you are ne’er provided with bit-by-bit instructions or theoretical stuff how to run your concern. Many things are traveling to be based on your self-contribution to research, willing to happen better solution and win the command.

I have gained valuable experience by taking the place of Project Manager. Although I did non develop all the undertaking construction merely by myself, the co-operation and sharing thoughts with other group members provided an chance for me to cognize more on that subject.

It was interesting to rethink my old experience in IT linking it with the Systems Integration theory, particularly from the cognition sharing position.

Finally, that attack gave me an chance to experience a working “atmosphere” of consultancy which is, in my experience, a existent value of the faculty.


Beulen, E. , Ribbers, P. , and Roos, J. ( 2006 ) Pull offing IT outsourcing. London: Routledge.

Condie, J. ( 2009 ) . Understanding engineering integrating. [ Online ] . ( URL hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . Journal of Financial Planning, September/October 2009. ( Assessed on 21 November 2009 ) .

Finnegan, D. and Willcocks, L. ( 2007 ) Implementing CRM: From Technology to Knowledge. Chichester: Wiley.

Finnegan, D. and Currie, W.L. ( 2008 ) A Centrist Approach to Introducing ICT in Healthcare: Policies, Practices and Pitfalls. Journal of Cases on Information Technology.Vol. 10, Iss. 4.

Gentle, M. ( 2002 ) . The CRM undertaking direction enchiridion. Building realistic outlooks and pull offing hazards. London: Kogan Page.

Mendoza, L. E. , Perez, M. , and Griman, A. ( 2006 ) . Critical success factors for pull offing systems integrating. [ Online ] . ( URL hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . Information Systems Management, Spring 2006. ( Assessed on 21 November 2009 ) .

Morris, J. ( 2006 ) . Practical information migration. Chippenham: BCS.

Schwalbe, K. ( 2004 ) . Information engineering undertaking direction. 3rd ed. , Boston: Course Technology.

Wheaton, G. (2008)Request for Proposal[Online]. (URL (Assessed on 21November 2009).

Wheaton, G. (2008)Request for Proposal[Online]. (URL (Assessed on 21November 2009).


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