£bn FTSE company.
Creativity & psychology wins back trust and makes system work
Business problems - new £M IT system fails to work & users mistrust IT
The company had built a new tailor-made e-commerce system to get tight cost control over its commodity supplies. However during system testing the users found the new system was impractical and would never work due to rounding errors - because small discrepancies are tolerated when taking delivery of bulk physical commodities. Unfortunately the IT department had built an "accurate" system which calculated values to the nearest penny. However obtaining very accurate weights and densities during delivery was not possible in practice. Consequently the users had rejected the new system and asked their IT department to conduct a business study and come up with a solution within 6 months. After 3 months work, the business study had made no progress. Management had a dilemma - could they salvage the new system or should they scrap it and admit they have wasted £M on a failed IT system.
Our solution - rebuild trust, creative thinking workshop and “tolerance amount”
We were asked to complete the study on time and within budget and find a creative solution. Naturally when we arrived, we found there was considerable tension and mistrust between the user and IT departments. So we used our psychological and communication skills to rebuild trust between the users and the IT departments. We nurtured the project team and rebuilt relationships around a common aim of finding a novel solution. We performed a quick business health-check and suggested an adjustable "tolerance amount" could be added or subtracted from the supplier’s invoice total. This meant the "failed" system could be saved. Next we ran creative thinking workshops and together the team came up with another ten IT improvements. These ten options were individually costed by the IT department, while the users estimated the financial benefits of each. The users decided the first three options gave the optimum payback and the approval for the modification was agreed.
Winning results - IT system and reputations saved. Highest user rating achieved.
We finished the study within 3 months and within the original budget. The study helped the IT department to recover its reputation and the system scored one of the highest user satisfaction ratings ever in the post-project audit.