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When it’s Time to Cut the Crap

Lingua Franca was invited to a company that delivered B2B and B2C services and worked as a contractor for two major companies, accounting for 85 % of their sales. We all know what happens when you are in that situation: large clients want detailed reports and analysis to monitor the performance of the services and a  lot of time and effort goes into communication with these clients. This company has a drive for ever increasing efficiency because margins are thin when dealing with large customers. As a result, the ICT landscape is a stack of improvisations, shortcuts, simple and cheap but not very durable solutions and a data architecture that looks like a train wreck.

Resource management in a service company is of strategic importance. Therefore, after over five years in business, this 1.000+ FTE organisation is finally implementing a resource management piece of software, part of an ERP suite. And in one and the same brief, they informed Lingua Franca that they will choose a financial application from another vendor, which strengthened  the impression of a loose cannon at the architecture board.

Imagine a discussion between Lingua Franca and this potential client that goes like this:

General Manager: Can you do an Enterprise Architecture audit in a week?

Lingua Franca: That depends on the complexity of your organisation; You just told me you are part of a Group of companies, you operate four business units and your applications are a catalogue of what the market has to offer with Excel sheets and Access databases to provide the glue between off-the-shelf software, bespoke development and online applications from business service providers. So, I am afraid I’ll need an intake process of a few days to make a proper estimate.

Group Enterprise Architect: I thought the scope was to assess the introduction of the new resource management system and its opportunities for a sound data architecture “ab ovo”?

General manager: Nope, I want a full Enterprise Architecture assessment, preferably in one week's time.

Dilbert cartoon bij Scott Adams
David Ogilvy already said it decades ago: "Why keep a dog and bark yourself?"

Lingua Franca: The only thing we can do in one week is to assess the present resource management architecture (for want of a worse description), analyse the gap between the "as is" and the "to be" application, and propose a data migration plan for an analytical solution to retain the link with historical data and a data migration plan for the active dossiers to the new application.

Lingua Franca has a quick scan available, which is a checklist the client needs to fill in upon which our experts indicate one or more improvement areas. This is more of an introduction to our approach to architecture than a complete assessment, out of the blue.

Needless to say, the general manager is still looking for a consulting firm that can help him to chase his dreams.

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