Rich Con

Topics: Project management, Management, Risk management Pages: 6 (1464 words) Published: October 25, 2011
Case Analysis – Rich-Con Steel

Question 1: What went wrong?

What went wrong for Rich-Con Steel was an unsuccessful effort to launch a new IT system. Marty Sawyer, the new president of Rich-Con Steel wanted to change its legacy system to a new IT system that would automate order management, have the capability to analyze trend and would be cheaper to maintain. However, the implementation did not go smooth and this played havoc in Rich-Con Steel’s operations. The reason that the implementation did not go flawlessly, can be root caused to several factors. Some of these factors will be briefly explained here. a. Lack of delegation of responsibilities: Rich-Con Steel’s current strategic approach to IT is in “Turnaround Mode” (Nolan, McFarlan). This mode is characterized by the implementation of a significant IT project within an organization. According to Noland and McFarland, It is essential that board supervision is provided when in turnaround mode. Marty Sawyer did not have the expertise or time to solely handle this effort. She spent copious amounts of time researching and implementing the new system as her business suffered from the absence of a leader during a time of significant change in the company. As a president of a company, Marty should have concentrated on overall management of the company and lead it to meets its strategic goals. Instead, she became intimately involved in integrating the new IT system which demanded more than 75% of her time which she did not plan for. If Sawyer had appointed a board with IT expertise as well as individuals with industry and process expertise, she could have been moderately involved with the project with more time to spend on the operations of the company. Deliverables from this IT team would then be from selection of an IT system based on Rich-Con’s need to flawless implementation of the system and then follow through its effectiveness for a period of time to make sure it is working properly for all conditions. b. Lack of Fit-Gap Analysis: The business requirements were not defined to the vendor. The vendor did not care to understand the structure of the company, or the IT systems that Rich-Con already has in place. They were not familiar with the knowledge and expertise of the staff and the expectations of the customers. Marty and Rich-Con opted for an “off-the-shelf” software package to implement in their organization. The selection process of the new IT system was based on some factors true for metal industries and some generic questions posed by Marty. By doing so, Rich-Con failed to recognize the incompatibility risk of the replacement IT system. c. Omitting test phases and pilot launch prior to mass deployment of the new IT system: Any big change implementation should go through several testing phases with progressive maturity of features. Rich-Con failed to work with their vendor to customize the new system and test it out at multiple phases. They also did not go through a pilot launch phase to pick up a portion of its operations, rather than forcing the whole operations into this new system all at once. With test phases and pilot launch, employees would have gotten the opportunity to test out the system, offer important feedback which would have resulted in minimal disruption to overall operations, should something go wrong. d. Insufficient training for transition to the new system: Marty Sawyer relied on the vendor to train her employees to learn the new IT system. There was no incentive for the employees to learn this system since they did not understand how their jobs would change once the new system was in place. The vendor did a very poor job in offering training since they took a push vs. pull method to offer help. They waited to be asked questions on features and usage rather than establishing a standard implementation methodology and guide the customer through that. The frustration of Marty showed in her comment, “We had...
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