Business Consulting

Client Comment::
Colm has a high bandwidth ... His fast-turnaround with insightful comments ... have proven invaluable in honing our thinking to a razor-sharp edge. I can recommend his services to any firm looking to improve their performance into the future."
Justin Lyon, Chairman

Business undertakings need to be designed!

The process is not unlike that followed by an architect designing a house and supervising its construction, and the benefits are similar. 

A structured design process 

The design process needs a clear definition of requirements, goals and CSFs (critical success factors) to produce sensible results. Sometimes, these requirements have been defined and only need to be gathered and verified. More often, they must be developed in an iterative brain-storming process, where the exact nature and scope of the problem is defined as we go. In addition to the requirements themselves, the metrics neccessary to measure the subsequent implementation success need to be determined.

Using the high-level and low-level definition of the problem scope - together with the understanding gained from the brain-storming process - a variety of options can be developed, analysed and evaluated. The tools and processes I use are those I learnt while studying architecture. The idea is to develop lots of workable and not-so-workable ideas. I use and build models to help in understanding issues and getting the detail right. Models - workflows,  Excel spreadsheets, simulations etc. - allow for a quicker and more cost effective evaluation of options and always serve to enhance understanding of a problem area.

The preferred solution - maybe because it meets the requirements better, or because it is easier / more cost effective to implement - is then designed in detail. In general, this design phase facilitates better and faster implementation, as most issues have been identified "on paper" and suitable options or workarounds developed. For software related projects and solutions, the planning and implementation phases can run hand-in-hand, using techniques such as prototyping, RAD (rapid application development) and iterative development.

But the best design and the best understanding of a problem is of little value on its own. The building, as it were, must be built, the business benefit must be realised. In the IT world we talk about implementation, in process projects we talk of (re-)engineering. Again, we need to understand what it is we are trying to achieve (requirements), and how we will recognise success (metrics). Then we must analyse the route to completion and the steps involved in getting there. Along the way, we have to manage the golden triangle of time, costs and quality. The process is commonly known as Project Management, which is something I've been doing since I first climbed up a scaffolding in 1982!.

I can support, participate in or even drive your business design process, from the initial idea generation, through detailed definition, to successful implementation. Assignments are charged on a Time and Materials (T&M) or on a retainer basis, with daily rates under € 1000. Volume discounts and capped maximum monthly fees can be negotiated on a case by case basis. Use Quick-Mail to start the ball rolling!

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