Smooth Go-Lives Don’t Happen by Accident

Managing risk has always been part of a CIO’s job, but as business systems have become more elaborate and interconnected, that burden has grown. Many technical leaders are under intense pressure to provide the latest business system capabilities while still using legacy technology. Maintaining this equipment beyond its end of life is a resource and risk intensive balancing act:

  • Outdated technology may expose the organisation to security vulnerabilities and system outages.
  •  Tribal knowledge of modifications is lost over time as people move on to new roles and jobs.
  •  The system becomes such a complex ‘house of cards’ that it reaches a tipping point and incremental changes are no longer an option.

As the technical debt builds, CIOs have no other choice but to embark on a digital transformation, whether they are ready to or not, and hope that the system migration they’ve undertaken won’t fail badly and negatively impact the business.

“Quite often, implementing new technology comes with unforeseen and disastrous consequences,” says Ken Lockhart, Vice President of Business Transformation and Sales at Flintfox. “The challenge is to keep people, processes and technology up to date and optimised without slowing down the business.”

As a former CIO, Lockhart is all too familiar with the balancing act that comes with this C-level position. He’s delivered cloud solutions since the early 2000s and has helped countless companies navigate the shark-infested waters of technical evolution. He joined the Flintfox team in 2013 as a consultant whose role was to define and implement Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solutions. He then returned to the company in 2018 as a permanent part of the team.

Lockhart knows what it is like to have a consultancy partner throw technically skilled but inexperienced people at a project and how CIOs frequently have to step in to stop projects going off the rails. So, when he took over the Flintfox team, he applied everything he had learned during his 35-year career and dozens of successful go-lives to make Flintfox the reliable partner with which he had always wanted to engage.

Flintfox’s business transformation team has turned the execution of a smooth go-live into a science. Because every company’s journey is different, the team leverages its collective experience to provide flexible solutions. Each member has had enough time in the trenches to predict issues well before they become problems and is committed to end-to-end testing. They ensure processes can be executed flawlessly which eliminates the risk of go-live problems.

This blend of expertise, experience and common sense has made Flintfox one of Microsoft’s Strategic Global Independent Software Vendors (GISV).

Four Critical Elements of Lockhart’s Approach

  1. Multifaceted Consulting Team
    The Flintfox business transformation team comprises 30 highly skilled, functional and technical consultants who have diverse expertise and business acumen. On average, these consultants have 15 years of experience, translating into a reliable and seasoned approach to every aspect of a project.
  2. An Ability to Solidly Understand Business Operations
    Success depends on a practical and realistic approach to determining the optimal processes and the technology to implement them. The Flintfox business transformation program ensures the people, processes and technology are aligned to meet the client’s business needs.
  3. Incorporate Formal Change Management Techniques

    “We assess the organisation’s readiness and all the types of help they really need to execute the project at a strategic, tactical and operational level,” said Lockhart.

    Incorporating change management into an implementation project greatly improves the results in terms of how well the business needs and budget are met.
  4. Taking the Risk Out of Go-live

It’s simple; knowing that you have the right processes defined and knowing that your people can execute them ensures go-live will be a great day for the company. This involves pinpointing and analysing the organisation’s most critical processes, training the users effectively and then testing the processes end-to-end.

“We focus on getting the processes that account for 99 per cent of the business right before pulling the trigger,” said Lockhart. “This way, if there ever is an issue, it is on the fringe.”

At Flintfox, we believe that CIOs should be able to turn to like-minded senior consultants to help mitigate technological risk across business applications, facilitate the smooth migration of systems to new platforms and provide their users with the competitive edge they need to win in their industries.