Thursday, 12 July 2018 07:25

Case Study - Gap Analysis - Off the shelf product implementation

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Project Background

The project that has been referenced in the case study was a complex multimillion dollar solution in the financial services industry that was successfully implemented.

The goal of the project was to replace the legacy system that was used for the core banking services as well as the online banking services with an off the shelf product that was built on better technology.

Objective

The objective of this case study is to emphasize on the key task ‘gap analysis’ and the value add it provides to off the shelf product implementations.

Problem

  1. Like most of the IT projects, lack of documentation on the legacy online banking solution made the analysis harder, requirements had to be identified by reverse engineering.
  2. Since the ‘to-be’ product was an off the shelf solution, there were limitations on customising the functionality.
  3. The stakeholders were from various business units within the organization with different work priorities.
  4. It was assumed that the chosen product matches all the required functionality of the existing solution and gap analysis was not recognized as a required task before project planning to agree on timelines.

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Solution Approach

  1. Meticulously compare the new product offering with the existing solution and identify the gaps. i.e. functionality that will no longer be available in the new solution/functionality that will be different in the new system.
  2. Identified and logged all the gaps in a ‘gaps register’. There were approximately 800 plus gaps identified.
  3. Each gap was analyzed for the following
    1. Does this have an impact on the customer either in terms of user experience or reduced functionality or any other? If yes, how many customers will be impacted and what will be the communication strategy.
    2. Is there a security/compliance issue? If yes, then what is the mitigation plan.
    3. If an existing functionality is not available in the to-be solution, assess the business need for the technical solution and raise a change request to get the changes done or identify if there a process workaround.
    4. Prioritise each gap based on the remedial steps identified and track the progress.
    5. Does the solution to address the gap require staff training?
  4. Recurring workshops were scheduled to
  5. Regularly track the gaps identified
  6. To keep the key business stakeholders informed about the gaps
  7. Agree on the action plan for each gap.
  8. To prioritize the actions for implementation.

Pro’s

  1. Project Owner & key stakeholders were extremely happy with the gap analysis process as the gaps register provided them with full visibility and had an audit log of all the decisions made and why they were made.
  2. Avoided a lot of potential post-implementation complaints and issues.

Con’s

  1. Time-consuming activity which was not planned or expected in the project.
  2. Required lot of extra effort and persuasion with stakeholders and project management office to do the right thing.
  3. Incurred additional costs for the changes to be implemented.
  4. Additional effort was included in the project schedule, though not attributing to huge delays.

Lessons Learnt

  • To avoid surprises, for off the shelf product implementations, once the product is shortlisted, perform detailed gap analysis early in the project to scope requirements and effort estimation.

Success Factor

  • The gap analysis activity contributed majorly not only to the success of the project but also helped me (business solutions analyst on the project) get a lot of recognition within the organization.
  • The gaps register, and the process involved in the analysis proved to be a value-add as it was referenced as a template to analyze and prioritize new features for future projects and enhancements.
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Chitra Manoj

Chitra Manoj, CBAP is passionate Senior Business Analyst with over 14 years of experience in the financial services domain. Chitra has been involved in the end to end implementation of complex projects. Visit Chitra's linked in profile at http://linkedin.com/in/chitra-manoj-cbap-a6994b1

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