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For ERP LN feature pack upgrade, what method of install are you using?
Installation Wizard into existing VRC
Installation Wizard into new VRC
Manual into existing VRC
Manual into new VRC
Total votes: 45

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Old 2nd December 2002, 21:16
Eddie Monster's Avatar
Eddie Monster Eddie Monster is offline
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Baan: Baan IVc4 - DB: MS SQL Server 2008 R2 - OS: MS Server 2008 R2
Information System Development

I was just wondering what processes people have developed in their companies to manage programing requests or modifications to their systems throughout their company? Who has the right to say no to a request??? How do you handle requests and filter out 'best practices' to be used throughout the company.

We are a smaller company 500-600 employees and we get requests for new sessions and system functions all the time. I came from a Finance background so I have some idea of the affects some of these requests have on the rest of the company, but the rest of our IT department may not. Consequently we (as a department) have developed mini-information systems for each of our 6 manufacturing divisions (ome of which are very similar to each other).

How do you control this? How do you evaluate a request before you take action? What type of approval processes are in your organization to take a request and develop it so that you are not just doing the will of one manager, but making a better system for your organization?

We have an on-line tailoring request, but there are no real controls. Someone puts in a request, someone gets assigned to program it. There are no real checks and balances to see what other systems it may affect...
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Old 2nd December 2002, 21:48
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mark_h mark_h is offline
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Location: Kentucky, USA
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Baan: Baan 4C4 A&D1 - DB: Oracle - OS: Sun Solaris
Thumbs up Good Request...

I have been wondering how we could have something that is workable for my company. So hopefully others will answer this with something that I could take to our management team.

We have 3 sites in 3 states and one Baan production company. Only 2 of the manufacturing plants have some commonality in product lines. Also each of the three sites uses the software differently. For example - one site back flushes all parts, one plant does a combination, and one plant does not use back flushing. There are other more dramatic and troublesome differences and philosophies.

With that back ground here is what we attempt to do. We have "process" teams that meet in their functional areas(or role - shop floor, bom, purchasing, etc) to decide if changes and sessions should be approved and developed. Each process team has one "IS/IT/IR"(whatever our acronym is for the day) representative on it. Now there are only 4 Baan coders in the company(all at my site), so we work on 4 of the teams. The other teams have function IT people on them - so they do not really know the coding side. These teams meet once a month. Then there is the big process team which contains 1 team lead from all the little process teams. This team is concerned with cross functional requests and processes. They also meet about monthly.

It works about as well as I am describing it. For example a user at my site requests a report HEADING change from P.O to P.O#. Then it is suppose to go to the purchasing process team to approve, but this report is also used by the shop floor management. So then it has to go to the big process team. As you can see a simple request could take months and still be rejected by someone somewhere. So depending on which team and it's team members on what gets approved.

So that is what we do - I think this is at opposite end of what you all do.

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Old 3rd December 2002, 00:57
JamesV JamesV is offline
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Baan: Baan IV/5 - DB: Oracle 7/8/8i,Informix, SQL Server, UDB - OS: AIX, HP-UX, Tru64, Solaris, NT/2000
In my former life as an IT manager we used the following process:

1. We had a business systems analysis group that was part of IT where we had functional experts whose job it was to evaluate the business processes and recommend changes either to the business unit or to the IT technical group. These people sat in process meetings with the users.

2. We would have meetings with representatives from the business analysts and software engineers. We would then review the reports for functional improvement and the break/fix requests from the help desk.

3. We will prioritize the development activities. After several years in this process we knew that 46% of our total development hours was for break/fix support and the remainder was new development. We made sure that we fit into this guideline for each developer and would then commit to a remediation/development schedule which was published to the business units.

4. The business units could reprioritize their own requests. If they had two projects that each took fifty hours and one that took ten that was lower on the list, THEY made the decision to decrease the priority on one of them to get the ten hour project in place. They had control so they did not feel out of the loop.

5. By communicating the timeline and not allowing the reactive support to overwhelm the developers we were able to establish some very high customer satisfaction and predictable delivery schedules. It took a few years to get there, but it was worth the effort.

The key to this was having the functional knowledge inside of IT so that broad decisions could be recommended to the business people instead of having the business units decide the IT priorities. In my mind this is like asking the residents of a city to decide what roads should be improved. Most of the time they say the ones they use -- but without a knowledge of engineering and land use, they may not make the most effective decisions and the decisions they make will take too long. For the same reasons cities use professional engineers for the infrastructure, businesses should use IT professionals.

Now the weakness of this approach is that in centralizing this process users are distanced from the IT function and have less of a sense of ownership. The way I worked on this one was to have an IS oversight group that met quarterly to review the budget and major project initiatives. This usually helped as the business units could escalate their issues to the appropriate steering committee member. And if IT could justify why they were not doing something that was requested, then the senior exec form that business unit would communicate this down in their organization.

Finally, on an annual basis IT objectives were tied to corporate objectives. Our budget was based upon firm corporate goals. Then if the development schedule had to shift I could ask, "what corporate goal will be defered to pay for this new initiative?". It was then up to the business unit managers to negotiate the change for IT. This way all major system initiatives were tied to corporate strategic or tactical objectives.

I then had a consultant come in annually to see what we might be missing from an IT perspective that we should be looking at.

It took a while to get there -- about six years but in the end it was definitely worthwhile and both IT and the business were happier.

I could go on and on and on, but enough boring business process stuff -- back to the fun tech details...

-- Jim
Jim VanderMey
VP of Technical Operations
Open Systems Technologies
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
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