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Systems Integration and Data Conversion (SIDC)

Blue Lotus SIDC specializes in helping those who are tasked with integrating two disparate systems or moving data between two incompatible IT systems. As noted in Jeffrey Bolden’s book, Project Shaping: The Blue Lotus Guide to Avoiding the Misconnections that Cause System Integration and Data Conversion Failures, and as stated in InfoWorld:

System integration failures are a $500 billion dollar-a-year leak to American productivity, a hidden tax on business. Eighty percent of all SIDC projects reach their due dates over budget, unfinished, and/or lacking crucial features.

To help you avoid financial and technological pitfalls like these, Blue Lotus SIDC developed three guiding models that offer a broader vision of your project—tracking; its past, present, AND future circumstances:

  1. BLITSC (Blue Lotus IT Spending Cycle) gives insight to the technological life cycle of your project by looking at its past, which helps you anticipate where to look for a system’s functionalities in advance. This allows the project group to know in advance who needs to be involved in what roles as well as effective estimation of the cost for system and data interconnections.
  2. BLSDiP (Blue Lotus Semiotic Distance Prism), which helps you assess your present system, lets you know when to aim for an architecture, a correct conceptual design, that compensates for complex integration, or when integration is likely to go smoothly as planned.
  3. BLoGDyM (Blue Lotus Group Dynamics Model) reveals, through a forward-looking approach, the group dynamics that can cause a project-management methodology to succeed in one company and fail spectacularly in others. This insight allows our clients to build teams that work effectively together.

Our three models influence how we provide all of our services. System integrations fail because of three primary causes:

  1. Wrong scope. The system has additional (or different) uses than those the IT group has been tasked with: unaccounted-for subsystems, unaccounted-for data, and/or unaccounted-for business processes.
  2. Wrong design. Components will not work together in practice as easily as the Project Shapers expected during the initial design phase.
  3. Wrong dynamics. The integration team does not work together effectively, characterized by scapegoating and passive aggressive indifference to the success of the project.

These failures happen during the first four months of a project’s life. The BLITSC, BLSDiP and BLoGDyM respectively prevent those three causes of failure.

Automated and Real-Time Legacy Data Migration

Blue Lotus SIDC has extensive experience with data formats, included obscure legacy formats and tool vendors, which can allow for data conversions that are complete and cost effective. A typical data migration effort calls for:

  • Systems analysis and system design. Blue Lotus SIDC is an architecturally led company. Our project management approach is analysis heavy, anticipating points of failure to bypass or compensate for them.
  • Code refactoring. Blue Lotus SIDC has experience in a variety of languages and paradigms including paradigms / languages outside the mainstream. We can handle refactoring of difficult or complex code. We can effectively and cheaply deconstruct code, simplify it and restructure it for your new environment.
  • Programming. Blue Lotus SIDC has excellent in-house development capabilities, a tremendously diverse network of onshore consultants and a specialization in paring companies with a good fit offshore.
  • Training. Some Blue Lotus SIDC architects have been involved in formal education and training programs, we can apply this experience to your projects.

Mobile Application Design

Migration to wireless platforms can compromise application performance. We specialize in re-engineering your applications to work throughout your wired and wireless network structures. Blue Lotus SIDC will create middleware to “re-factor” your database servers in order to improve wireless reliability and turnaround times. By re-engineering your applications, they will work smoothly across all networks – be it VPN, Cloud-based, or WiFi – while maintaining core application assumptions.

Risk Management

Manage and distribute risk across your entire enterprise while preserving and stabilizing the business processes encoded in your IT infrastructure. Blue Lotus SIDC specializes in giving executive management an unbiased, outside assessment of personnel and processes-oriented risks. We put measures in place to manage interfaces of legacy and new technologies. At the beginning phase, before deployment, we will provide:

  1. A comprehensive report of our strategy for guiding your decision and suggested approaches to risk management
  2. An on-site assessment, followed by ongoing supervision*

(*includes free support long-term)

Technology Acquisition/Investment

Blue Lotus SIDC approaches hardware purchases with the same care your HR staff applies for new hires. Our architects can manage risks associated with new technology acquisition by helping you deploy new tools and technologies within your existing infrastructure in ways that maximize their effectiveness, while minimizing disruption. For those companies without an internal IT department, Blue Lotus SIDC’s architects can guide you through purchasing with the the same care as an internal IT department.

Vendor Management

Once a technology has been acquired and the contract signed, quite a bit of oversight is still required to make the new acquisition come into your existing ecosystem smoothly. Blue Lotus SIDC’s architects can manage this process and use their focus on system integration to provide fixes where needed.

Operational Assessment

Blue Lotus SIDC understands that businesses evolve organically and, as they grow, new problems can emerge. We can help you cast a wide eye for how best to provide technological solutions and maintain your soft costs, reduce your hard costs, and free up resources to apply towards healthy risks. It has been long understood that outsiders can see process inefficiencies that people immersed in the system have become acclimated to. We do both value network and social network analysis as part of our application of the classic MAMO (Model, Automate, Optimize, Manage) BPM framework.

Project Management

The goal of all project managers should be to break through the bottlenecks that induce failure. We can support your in-house PM in finding solutions and banishing bottlenecks, or a Blue Lotus SIDC architect can take over any aspect of the project from any level and all aspects of project management: planning, implementation, monitoring, and training. Using Blue Lotus SIDC models, we can create conditions in which success is a positive experience for every person involved with the project. The DBLMA (Diamond / Blue Lotus Meeting Approach, pronounced “double ma”) creates strong project groups capable of working together. The benefits of a strong project group go well beyond the initial phases of the project, and last through the life of the project.

DBMLA ensures the requirements are both comprehensive and properly pruned. Diamond Meetings uncover the cause behind disagreements. When project groups are not cohesive, members are looking to “win the requirements” (or they are trying to advance their own requirements). Each one is advancing their own requirements as much as possible, while aiming to cut or diminish everyone else’s requirements. In a project group where members are cohesive, they are looking out for each other’s interests and thinking about the ultimate success of the project. Stakeholders balance their respective requirements and reflect on the collective needs of the entire project. This balance is what formal processes aim to achieve. Formal processes without the DBLMA often only achieve written requirements that can win sign off but do not fully reflect the underlying business concerns. The DBLMA approach achieves the goal of the Team Players for unselfish requirements from stakeholders, and achieves the goal of Fellows for utilitarian requirements from stakeholders.

Because of the use of the DBLMA, the people who are knowledgeable enough about the system who could produce a good design remain invested enough before and during the build phase so that they realize the good design. Channels of communication that would have closed absent the DBLMA remain open to programmers during the build phase. When mistakes are found in the design, or requirements need to change, there is honest quick communication throughout the entire project group.

Because of the DBLMA, test plans are not pro-forma exercises designed to satisfy a set of formal requirements. Rather, test plans are deeply thought out, including the joint concerns of the developers as well as externals, like regulators. The project group is well positioned to handle testing failures and so politically it becomes easier for Quality Assurance to engage in aggressive testing. As testing reaches its conclusion, the project group is able to achieve broad consensus driven by rational discussions about which failures are acceptable in a production environment, and which failures are not.

Good communication from all stakeholders helps at every stage in the project. All project management methodologies presume that these conversations are taking place. BLoGDyM/DBLMA is the key to getting them, not just wanting them. The DBLMA is our core recommendation for mixed project groups.

Our other techniques help as well. The BLITSC helps to create a budget and scope in alignment with the project goals, the BLSDiP creates a high-level design in alignment with the project goals, and the BLoGDyM/DBMLA creates a project-group that is able to work together effectively to implement the design and achieve the scope within the budget.

Staffing: Hiring IT Personnel, Creating Departments and Outsourcing

Finding good employees for an IT department may be daunting for HR people not versed in IT. Blue Lotus SIDC has the right connections to help you staff your internal IT department with optimal talent. Just as we use architects for project management, we use architects who understand your technological needs for interviewing and assessing the workforce. We can also consult with you in the planning and structuring of your IT department’s budget, salaries, hardware, competencies, and personnel in ways that optimize delivery of business results.

If you need to send some of the work off shore, we can establish permanent off shore groups unified with your current employees. There are companies that focus on off shoring. But integration is rare. Blue Louts is one of the few consulting firms with experience in integrating off shore teams into on shore teams.

Post-Merger/Acquisition Coaching

Conflicts among IT departments in the aftermath of a merger or acquisition can generate serious problems that go beyond forced optimism. Following our proprietary methodology, Blue Lotus SIDC can walk your IT department through an explanation of why they are getting frustrated with one another, and techniques to overcome this frustration, enabling the groups to work together smoothly and meet the difficult challenges posed by merging systems. In the end, you will have a unified team dedicated to the full realization of your business goals.

Please contact us for a free consultation.