22 August, 2007

Using INSPIREDelivery! to achieve Operational Excellence – The Phases

INSPIREDelivery! allows the full audit of all end-to-end systems, processes, technology implementations and the people who operate/support them. By utilising INSPIREDelivery! to the full, it is possible to rapidly achieve operational excellence and then ensure that it is incrementally improved and sustained.

The phases are as follows:

Phase 1 -Fact Finding

This is comprised of two parallel activities:

1a) Matrix Mark-up
In this activity, the INSPIREDelivery! matrix is used to objectively understand and capture the means by which every operational task is undertaken. It is modular in its construction and acts as an effective way of capturing the technologies, systems, processes and people involved in every single atomic task across the entire organisation. Furthermore, because it captures how things are really done, it starts to highlight areas that may require further consideration and areas where no clearly defined methodology exists. The modularity also means that aspects which aren’t relevant or are completely missing can be skipped if necessary.

1b) Workshops
In conjunction with the Matrix Mark-up workshops and interviews take place with Management and staff in each area to understand and flesh-out the data captured within the Matrix “skeleton”. Anecdotal evidence is then used to illustrate and further understand areas where issues have been highlighted and the size, scale, cost, impact and dependencies of the issues in question can be understood in greater detail.

Phase 2 – Analysis and Modelling

This comprises two sequential activities:

Once the initial fact finding is complete and detailed gap analysis has been undertaken, the symptoms and root causes of issues within the business will be understood. Some further follow-up may be necessary, but it should be possible at this stage to identify the following:
· Functional shortfalls in systems
· Data mismatches
· Misalignments between people, processes, systems, suppliers, etc.
· Inappropriate KPI-driven behaviours
· System/Technology functional or integration issues
· Dependencies and knock-on problems
· Bottle-necks
· Training and Governance issues
· Organisational hierarchy and political issues
The combination of the Matrix and workshops helps construct accurate “three-dimensional” models of activities and dependencies within the organisation.
It is usually possible at this stage to identify the approximate or relative financial impact(s) of the issues identified, thereby deriving an estimated cost to the business of these operational short-falls and the output is an initial report to the project Sponsor(s).

The initial objective of Modelling is understand the flow of work and information within the organisation and be able to more accurately visualise and therefore understand the obstacles, bottle-necks and short-falls, their root causes and their true operational impacts.

From this, it is usually possible to identify areas where “quick wins” may be possible that will save time and/or money. This often has a significant impact in itself, freeing up resources in a potentially cost-neutral way for more complex tasks that need to be tackled subsequently.

Having created the end-to-end model, the task of prioritising issues into potential areas for action is done using a combination of pre-agreed criteria, which might include:
· Business impact (current –ve or future +ve)
· Financial impact (current –ve or future +ve)
· Strategic objectives
· Complexity of solution
· Cost of solution
· Time to resolve
· Customer satisfaction
· Staff morale
· Competitive advantage

Phase 3 – Reporting

Once this objective scoring exercise has been completed, a report is produced, delivered and presented (usually to the Board), which details the findings and the high-level recommendations, with best-guess estimates of the impacts and the opportunities, with any caveats and any “serious health warnings”.

The client then has a clearly prioritised set of issues with accompanying notes on the impacts and key risks and issues. In the next phase this forms the basis of a roadmap for the transformation of their business, with estimates of the costs, timescales and impacts that the activities will have.

INSPIREDelivery! is also extremely effective for removing the ambiguities that are created by vested interests and internal politics. Thereby delivering levels of transparency and accountability across even the most complex organisations, where there are multiple divisions/departments/business units all running their own systems, processes and agendas. This means that the results presented in the Report are impartially delivered based on what’s best for the organisation, and, whilst potentially highlighting any associated risks that have been identified, it does not take account of any vested interests or politics.

Phase 4 – Roadmap Construction

After agreement of the Report at Board level, the next phase is the construction of a detailed implementation plan for the transformation. This will potentially include any new Governance structures that are required to ensure that the Transformation itself has the best possible chances of success.

The Roadmap is constructed in close co-operation with key stakeholders within the organisation, ensuring their buy-in and support and giving an opportunity for them to help shape the activities and outcomes within their areas, against the high-level objectives agreed with the Board.

This process starts with a high-level Gantt Chart exercise, which is then fleshed out into detailed projects and work-packages within the overall Programme Framework and agreed timescales and budgets.

Phase 5 – Programme Delivery

The key activities and objectives at this stage are to communicate with key stakeholders to create buy-in and ownership, agree the high-level plan and associated resourcing and ensure true accountability within every area of the organisation and this must be driven and supported top-down. This is likely to be done through a number of information sessions for staff and more detailed workshops for Managers and key stakeholders, who then communicate onwards to their teams.

Following this preparatory stage, the focus moves to the Delivery stage and achieving the quick wins to reinforce buy-in, a sense of ownership and a feeling of shared success. The quick wins should also help to release resources from fire-fighting tasks and make them available for the more intensive activities to follow. The more complex and challenging aspects of the Transformation Programme are then undertaken according to agreed priorities within logical work packages or projects.

The use of a suite of appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs), such as:
· Time to market (for products/services),
· Time to resolution (faults and issues),
· Sales cycle length,
· Provision/supply cycle times
· Customer satisfaction,
· Customer loyalty/churn
· Average revenue per customer,
· Staff retention,
· Job satisfaction, etc.

should rapidly provide evidence of the effectiveness of each completed activity and further reinforce the sense of achievement amongst the project teams and their colleagues and this aspect needs to be monitored rigorously to provide prompt feedback into the organisation and measure/report on success through tangible and meaningful measures.

More information on each Phase will follow in future articles......

Introduction to INSPIREDelivery!


As organisations grow and change, their systems and processes rarely evolve to keep pace. This means that people are often forced to manually compensate for short-falls in systems and processes that occur as a result. Equally, when new systems and technology are implemented, this is rarely done in a way that is sympathetic to the existing people and processes, which means that a misalignment occurs and fall-out is again dealt with by manual intervention.

Likewise, mergers / acquisitions and disposals create similar problems as organisations are consumed or otherwise forced to change in terms of systems, technology, culture, processes, etc. The advent of financial governance measures, such as Basel and Sarbanes Oxley have also impacted aspects of businesses as they rush to be compliant without addressing the consequential impacts within their organisations.

Organisational transformation is therefore a critical and complex problem, whether it be forced change – “Revolution”, or natural change “Evolution” and it’s one that is commonly misunderstood and often badly managed simply because the hidden complexities, dependencies and impacts only manifest themselves fully long after the implementation and/or change has finished.


INSPIREDelivery! is a comprehensive approach to auditing systems, processes, technology and people to determine areas of weakness. By understanding what is wrong and why - root cause analysis, not just identifying the symptoms, it is possible to move rapidly towards operational excellence, addressing the true priorities in the process and freeing up resources from fire-fighting to concentrate on making Change happen for the right reasons.

The INSPIREDelivery! Methodology has been in continual developed over a number of years of real-world applied use within a variety of organisations and applications, including Transformation, Change, Project Rescue and Programme Management. The underlying principls are tried and tested and are used widely in complex environments such as telecommunications and it has proven itself invaluable as a framework against which to benchmark existing systems, technology, processes and people against a set of best practice measures.

It offers the ability to rapidly and objectively analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of a business in terms of all the key aspects and activities that will ultimately dictate degrees of success or failure and the competitiveness of an organisation in a global economy.

The INSPIREDelivery! framework covers every critical task throughout the entire business lifecycle, from initial product development and marketing activities, through the sales process and collection of money, ending with after-sales service. However, the true power is in the ability to rapidly understand the interdependencies between people, processes and systems.

INSPIREDelivery! - The 5 Phases

  • Phase 1 – Fact Finding in two parallel activities Matrix mark-up and Workshops
  • Phase 2 – Analysis and Modelling
  • Phase 3 – Reporting
  • Phase 4 – Construction of Roadmap
  • Phase 5 – Programme Delivery

Each of these is described in greater detail in subsequent articles.......