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Systems Studies 
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A project oriented service, typically conducted only by senior personnel, for the purpose of planning, designing or evaluating IT systems, plans, projects and departments.  This service is typically requested by corporate headquarters or regional management charged with responsibility of the IT function.  Systems Studies now also include documentation services and reviews rendered in connection with compliance to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Systems Studies include Quality Assurance (QA) Review services where one of our principals participate at pre-defined points throughout the lifecycle of an IT project or a collection of IT projects.  This Quality Assurance role precludes us from accepting a more meaningful role on the project, as it would affect our objectivity and independence.  QA reviews are available on a "one off basis", i.e. a fixed $5,000 per review or they may be bundled into a longer term or on retainer basis, thus reducing their effective individual cost.  We normally perform QA reviews for IT projects, where our IT expertise is most beneficial, however we have been engaged to review general business process from a streamlining and improvement perspective thus yielding our assessment of its compliance with corporate policies, practices, and procedures.

System Studies often span multiple locations, departments and functional areas, and address corporate  strategic items. These corporate wide studies include the following services: Systems Planning (Strategic, Long Term and Tactical), Systems Architecture Planning, eCommerce Strategy and Initiatives, System Integration and Migration Planning, ASP/Service Bureau Selection, Cost Reduction Study, Security Effectiveness Reviews, Policy & Procedures Compliance Reviews.

Systems Studies include the following internal assessment studies: IT Effectiveness Review, IT Resource Organization & Skills Assessment, IT Operational and CAPEX Budget Analysis, Systems Development Methodology and Best Practices Review, Control & Planning Assessment, Third Party Reviews of Critical Projects, Third Party Review of IT Departments.  IT Effectiveness Reviews can encompass any one or more of the following areas: Security Policies, Procedures & Systems; Organizational Standards, Metrics and Best Practices;  Training Programs & Skills Assessments; Other as required by client focus.

Systems Studies Key Benefits

  • Planning studies provide the company with a road map to use as a guide.  They ensure that the company's IT direction will be consistent with the company's business plans.  They effectively communicate the direction of the company to all employees, vendors and customers.  This increased level of understanding allows all company employees to operate and act in a manner consistent with the overall objectives.  These actions make a company more effective and in better control, and allow it to more wisely spend their IT dollars.

  • Self assessment studies allow a company's IT department to remain sharply honed in good as well as difficult economic times.  The inquisitive third party review of current practices, scheduled major efforts, expenditures, budgets, organization, staffing composition and staffing alternatives, result in a collection of self improvements, efficiencies and cost savings.

  • Quality assurance reviews provide the input of objective experienced professionals at key project points.  Their input is not required for subject matter purposes, as the company or the vendor typically have those skills.  Their input is required as a balancing force to maintain a logical and pragmatic sense of perspective in the project.   As this role precludes any further involvement, you can be assured that the required objectivity and independence is present.  This role prevents those expensive disasters where an IT project finds itself adrift without guidance or worse yet in a run away costly situation.  Investing up to 1% of a project's budget toward impartial quality assurance reviews is a wise investment.  Using a firm of senior professionals such as ours to perform those reviews is a wise choice.


Systems Studies Approach

Systems Studies have a wide scope and their approach varies based upon the nature and objective of the study.   We use our methodology, industry and academic resources, and prior engagements as a guide to develop the proper approach for each study, as the details for each study can be quite different.  All of our studies have the following approach elements in common: 

  • Conducted only by the principals and very senior consultants.

  • Conducted by a small focused team.

  • Relatively quick and not expensive.  QA reviews are priced on a fixed cost basis.

Some Systems Studies are performed on a strictly private & confidential basis.

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Last modified: November 09, 2010