Focus on the Future! But As-Is Still Matters.
Ignore Your Current-State, and You Risk Sending Your Future-State Off Track
By Robert Birdsall, Director SCMO2
Roughly 60% of our clients take the time during project preparation to stress that they don’t want to recreate the past. Rather, they want to focus on the future state. Certainly a reasonable stand, and in many ways it makes sense. But that also means that a high proportion of our clients are creating significant pressure to minimize or even eliminate an evaluation of the current state. Is that such a good idea?
These “greenfield” clients like the idea of ignoring As-Is and process history, focusing only on what is To-Be. We agree that it seems like a good way to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and, on the surface, would appear to save the project money.
Yes, here’s the “but” you’ve been expecting…it means you are placing total trust in the team to not miss key process inputs, outputs and controls in your future-state solution.
Most frequently, we see the outcome of this approach is an exception process that gets overlooked. Occasionally it’s a major requirement that ends up changing the entire course of design. Either way, you’re playing with the risk profile of your project. Reduce the time spent reviewing what you do today, and you increase the chance that there will be assorted flaws in your future-state design. That can have a significant and very measurable outcome on project time, cost and scope. Obviously there needs to be a balance.
Our approach is that the current-state shouldn’t be captured purely for the sake of documenting a starting point. Our Sherpa Methodology stresses the collection of current-state process details as a key risk mitigation step to ensure the most complete set of future-state requirements. More than just a risk management tool, it is actually leveraged as an accelerator where a high degree of organizational and process change is not anticipated.
In truth, there are other benefits as well. Reviewing the As-Is means business team members come in as experts, allowing them to share a single vision of the process and what does or does not work well. It ensures a smooth integration of team members by focusing on the concrete, before you turn to the abstract. It also allows the best practice knowledge that our consultants bring to the table to be tailored for more effective integration into to your existing operational model.
Of course, we materially ignore the As-Is if you don’t (for example) have an existing S&OP process, but otherwise there is quite a bit of inherent value to it. Consider the current- and future-state balance and decide how much risk you want to add to your project. What is the price of any gaps in your solution? Are you prepared to make a course correction when they are discovered?
SCMO2 brings considerable experience and expertise to the table. We believe that you need to understand the big picture to properly balance these types of decisions.