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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondNormally, in any IS/ICT implementation, we work with consultants. This is necessary as the buyer and the seller of an IS/ICT are never on the same page. The buyer wants some problem sorted out. At the same time, the seller is offering the features of the information system. The two do not comprehend each other's issues. The consultants translates between them, trying to have them match the IS/ICT features with what is needed to solve the problem. In order to achieve this, the consultant needs to accomplish a few things. The primary role of the consultant is to understand what the users need. This is not easy, as the users cannot know what they need, unless, of course, they are IS/ICT specialists.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 secondsThis requires the consultant to understand the real life processes of the organisation, not as they are described on the paper, but how they actually work in reality. This involves understanding the access levels, which means to understand who can see change use which data. This will often be different depending on who you ask. The consultants will also have to realise what can and what cannot be computerised in that organisation. They also need to realise what are those situations when the real world processes should be changed to feed the information system, rather than the other way around.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 secondsWhen the consultant has achieved this understanding and convinced the users about what will be done and how, the consultant sets the parameters and the user interfaces. This usually takes most of the time, but it is the least complex part of their work. Once ready, the users need to accept the final product. Perhaps, the trickiest thing is to plan the testing and the migration to the new IS/ICT, as the users can always invent conditions you would not expect, and thus trigger's states that you did not think of, including in your state transition diagram. Finally, the consultants educate the users. More precisely, they educate the system administrators and the so called key users who will become the instructors of the other users.

Consultants: Always in the spotlight!

Normally in any IS/ICT implementation we work with consultants. This is necessary as the buyer and the seller of an IS/ICT are never on the same page. The buyer wants some problems sorted out while the seller is offering the features of the IS. The two do not comprehend one another’s issues. The consultant translates between them.

What I describe in this step originates from me sitting for a week with consultants watching what they were doing (without interfering). Later on, it was refined as I have worked together with implementation consultants. The first thing you notice when your SAP or Oracle consultants arrive is that they are rich. They wear luxurious clothes, watches, jewellery and have the most expensive laptops and other gadgets. This first impression is important, as it builds trust: if such a successful company is paying them so much money, they must be worth it. My first impression was that I could train a monkey to do the parameter setting that these guys were doing – this was only my first impression, and it could not have been more wrong. The trick is not the parameter setting as that is the easy part. The difficult part is what I explain in this video.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Information and Technology Today

University of Strathclyde

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