How Do You Implement a Public Sector Enterprise System? One Bite at a Time.

One of the keys to designing and implementing large enterprise software systems is to put together a project plan that addresses the “big picture,” but breaks down the implementation steps into a series of “bite-size” projects that provide immediate benefit.

Let’s look at the implementation of an enterprise addressing repository as an example. Most everybody would agree that managing the same information in multiple applications by multiple people is a bad idea. Yet if you look at a local government, classically each department has been on their own managing the information that they need in order to do the work of their individual department (certainly including addressing).

This becomes a huge impediment to change in that the problem is so large that it becomes hard to even begin a project. Without apologies to my vegetarian friends, an old adage comes into play: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The extension of this to the IT world is to “design big” but break projects down on the basis of clearly defined “manageable” steps that provide immediate benefit. Going back to the enterprise repository approach that I mentioned earlier, the goal of establishing the county-wide enterprise repository may be noble, but you’ve still got the issue of how to get there.

One approach is to identify a key department or application and focus the energy on integrating the repository with their business processes, resulting in a manageable set of tasks, a solid proof of concept, and immediate benefit to that department by increasing efficiency and improving data. Once success is found, then you can begin to build upon this by tackling other components of the implementation.

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