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Implementing a global resource management system

Whilst implementing a resource management system for a team or small department is quite straightforward, the complexities and challenges rise exponentially when implementing a global resource management system. This post looks as these challenges and draws on Innate’s 25 years of experience to explain how they can be met.

The starting point for implementing a global resource management is usually a mix of regional based systems, often based on spreadsheets. These will have evolved separately and, whilst there will be common data elements, the differences will often outweigh their similarities.

Before attempting a global roll out of any system, there must be high level agreement on the key business process and the roles and responsibilities of those involved, covering:

  • Demand management. Assessing the resource impact of new projects as they get close to confirmation.
  • Resource Allocation. Agreeing the steps required for the resource request and approval cycle. There must be effective collaboration between project and resource managers if individual projects are not to suffer
  • Project performance measurement. Getting early warning of unacceptable performance in time for corrective action to be taken.

Agreeing the global system requirements

Comprehensive requirements gathering, review and agreement will simplify the system roll out. These should be agreed in detail beforehand, but recognise that some regions may not realise the implications of what they sign up to and will need to review and adjust as they go; a more Agile approach. A phased regional roll out therefore makes sense, so that other regions can learn from the early adopter’s experience.

Lift and drop the preferred regional system

With detailed system requirements agreed it should be easier to get consensus on which regional system is the best starting point. Some system enhancements to support a global operation will be inevitable, such. regionalisation, more comprehensive data access controls and multi-national reporting, etc.

The sequential roll out can then commence, as a relatively simple lift and drop of the enhanced, pre-configured regional system.

Management of a global system

Successful administration of a global system requires the following to be in place:

  • Regional system support staff, probably trained by those who have administered the source regional system and with some system supplier input.
  • A system Steering Group, chaired by a senior manager. Important regional issues should be escalated to the Steering Group, which should have high level communication with the system supplier.
  • Implement a Continuous Improvement program. Set up a managed services agreement with the system supplier, beyond the usual system support and hosting services, so that small changes can be quickly dealt with.

The potential benefits

Implementing a global resource management system this way will, over time, enable the multinational organisation to realise some important benefits, allowing the projects and wider business to:

  • Compile resourcing data from all projects, giving valuable insight into how effectively their project resources are being used.
  • Create templates to simplify the resourcing of projects.
  • Improve their ability to forecast resource requirements in the future, preventing skills gaps appearing in the project pipeline.
  • Use historical data and benchmarks to generate suggested team profiles, allowing bids to be priced more accurately.
Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
Posted in resource management

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