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What we learn with pleasure, we never forget – an experience by Kostadin Solakov, Executive Study Tour participant

By Wednesday February 1st, 2017Announcements

I would like to sum up my experience with the Study Tour to Canada offered by Macedonia2025 through few key points:

Goals. Back in May last year when I applied for Macedonia2025’s Executive education scholarship my main goal was to get guidance on how to build up business case for our products and get the shareholder’s buy-in by showcasing the value that our solution is adding to their enterprise and to get formal training on enterprise analysis activities that I’m already responsible for as part of my daily job. The “Certificate in Strategic Enterprise Analysis and Consulting Skills” covered all these areas (and more) and after obtaining “TOGAF 9 – Certified Enterprise Architect” credential looked like good step in my professional development.

Experience. It would be understatement to say that the course syllabus and contents met my expectations. The unique mix of skillset that both instructors had enabled them to deliver the theoretical side of the topics but also to give solid practical examples how they have leveraged the tools we discussed about in real life customer facing scenarios.

The 5-day course curriculum covered all aspects of Enterprise Analysis project from project commencement through structured analysis, solution brainstorming and modelling activities, to presenting tangible and actionable deliverables backed up with profitable business case and feasible implementation strategy based on industry best practices and proven models.

And probably the best part of this course was the case study which we worked on throughout the course. Starting from day 1 we were grouped in two teams and given “real life” customer engagement for Enterprise Analysis activity. The goal was to leverage the tools and techniques we picked up along the way and come up with “way forward” proposal for our customer. Kudos to both instructors that tried to make this experience as realistic as possible by introducing role-playing interviews as well as last minute changes in stakeholder’s expectations and project goals. The exercise ended with team presentation when we got valuable feedback from both the instructors as well as the other participants.

My “aha” moments. Throughout the course many useful tools and techniques were covered and as many mind opening discussions happened. However, I would highlight the following 2 topics that I found most useful – on top of what my initial goals were:

  • Enterprise Gap Analysis. From my work experience as ERP implementation consultant I can confidently say that almost in every medium or big size project we document the current “as-is” and future “to-be” processes. Then we do Gap analysis of the “to-be” processes against the solution and identify the missing portions or gaps. With this exercise, we’ll make sure that the solution complies with the requirements given in the “to-be” processes. However, something that (almost) always is forgotten is analysis whether the organization has capabilities to support the new system. Our instructors presented set of tools that can be used to mitigate this risk and make sure our customers do not end up with state of the art system but no headcount or skillset to support it.
  • Enterprise Change Management. Another related and way too often overlooked area during project implementation and most of the time the main reason why the new system/process/structure does not blend with organization’s business processes and is one of the culprits for project failure. Good portion of the course covered tools and techniques that help consultants identify the project benefits and risks as well as formulate the message that will help manage the resistance towards change.

Thank you. At the end I would like to thank Macedonia 2025 for this amazing opportunity that was given to me to participate in this course. The takeaways from it are helping me to deliver better service and advance in my career. As much as I’m recommending this course to other professionals, I would highly recommend for this topic to be included in some of the activities planned by the organization. The content of this course is something that is not practiced by IT companies in Macedonia although selling solutions that are aligned with customers’ strategy and deliver clearly defined and measurable business value is the key to success in the competitive IT world.

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