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Solution design ensures project success

A talk with Markus Stollberger
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Successful accomplishment of projects in the software industry is often like walking a tightrope. Customer requirements, resources and expectations must be brought into line with technical and organizational possibilities. The project implementation strategy can make the difference between success and failure. The increasing complexity in modern industry requires extensive expert knowledge and sophisticated concepts for the successful realization of software projects.

With almost 30 years of experience in the industry, we are very aware of this challenge, and therefore we concentrate on the ideal coordination of our project approach with the customer life cycle. An important step here is the division into phases that are closely linked and build on each other. Regular status checks and cross-checks are designed to ensure the maximum degree of goal fulfillment and, if necessary, to identify any necessary change request.

 

The architecture design phase

Markus Stollberger is Head of Solution Design and was also mainly responsible for establishing his new department. He describes the overall task in the design phase as follows: “I like to compare this to the work of an architect building a new house. First, you must specify the requirements and wishes of the customer and incorporate your own experience into the development process. Concepts and solutions are developed together with the customer. Even before the next construction phase begins or our consulting team continues to advance the project, the solution designers are responsible for a complete plan ready for implementation!

In simple terms, the declared goal is to design the customer’s house in such a way that he knows what it will look like and what he must do himself, and he also gets a realistic estimate of the required budget and timeline. “Understandably, our users want to know in early project phases what expenses they will face. For us, it is important to recognize early on what project volume is to be achieved in which areas. The architecture design phase delivers this information reliably and precisely,” continues Stollberger.

 

First comes the feasibility study

Before the Solution Design Team can begin its work, it depends on important information from the sales consultants. In a feasibility analysis, the sales consultants evaluate the feasibility of the requirements together with the customer, and already in close coordination with Project and Solution Design. This important information is the basis for further work on the project. Especially in this phase, the customer is also required to provide important data and information (e.g., in the form of a specification sheet) that is necessary for the advancement of the digitalization project.

Based on the information received, the solution designers view the entire system environment at the customer’s site (including external links such as suppliers, customers, …) and link these with the existing solutions in cronetwork. This creates a view that serves as a starting point for ALL further project steps. Here it is clearly defined which tasks cronetwork MES will cover and which not. Special attention is also paid to continuous documentation of the individual phases.

Markus Stollberger: “The comparison of business processes and the performance of cronetwork MES creates a clear picture and tells us how we can best integrate our solutions into the customer’s business processes. Our team consists exclusively of experienced colleagues who can make the best use of their project experience here.”

 

A uniform language with many positive effects

Markus Stollberger sees another important effect of the solution design phase: “Customers are in contact with a large number of potential suppliers, especially in the software selection process. The conglomerate of information, terminology and product representations becomes accordingly colorful. This can further complicate communication within the project. We ensure that a uniform, understandable language is spoken.

 

Seeing is believing

Now that all information has been collected and consolidated, the overall interplay between business processes and software products is clear, and the degree of coverage of the standard solution is known, the ‘big picture’ is created on this basis in the form of a rough specification. At the end of the solution design phase, this specification is handed over to the employees responsible for the respective modules. In the detailed specification phase, they work together with the customer to refine and finally implement the project. Here, too, the progress of the project is subject to constant monitoring regarding the achievement of objectives, in order to detect any changes as soon as possible and to take countermeasures if necessary.

In addition to the rough requirements specification, we can create a software prototype that visualizes the theoretical and written contents and shows the customer a realistic picture of the future solution. This prototype can either be based on “demo data” or be created with real data from the customer’s ongoing operations. Since seeing is believing, users can familiarize themselves with the solution. In this way, expectations can be queried again and, if necessary, adapted in order to avoid dead ends. The prototype is also ideal for internal project marketing purposes.

Markus Stollberger concludes: “Our experience has shown that the interaction between the rough requirements specification and the prototype is the best way to match customer requirements with our solutions.”

The comparison of business processes and the performance of cronetwork MES creates a clear picture and tells us how we can best integrate our solutions into the customer’s business processes.

Successful accomplishment of projects in the software industry is often like walking a tightrope. Customer requirements, resources and expectations must be brought into line with technical and organizational possibilities.