The WHY and HOW of
A novel approach to aid and direct technology investment and implementation decision-making.
Built on PhD research and proven in practice, PATRIAS™ provides a systematic and replicable methodology for anticipating impact on business performance, operational flexibility and the people in your operation, enhancing the traditional product feature and cost approach.
The observed need for a new approach to investment and implementation decision-making
My PhD study was formed from an initial observation that there seemed to exist no standardised approach to assessing the impact of an intelligent automation system on the organisation and its supply chain, leading to poorly informed investment and implementation decision-making.
The industry that I focussed my research on was that of television content production and the intelligent automation systems considered included media asset management systems and media logistics platforms. The methodology developed though can be generally applied to any industry sector and the intelligent automation systems within them.
I observed that when each organisation is considering investing in an intelligent automation system it forms a team, often with a combination of internal personnel and contracted-in expertise. This team typically develops its own approach to product identification, selection and implementation, built on the experiences of the team members and practices previously adopted in the organisation. They capture the features their operational teams need and develop a tendering process. Request for Information (RFI) documents are sometimes used to collect current product data from some selected manufacturers and a Request for Proposal (RFP) document is built based on a wish list of 'must have' and 'nice to have' features. With proposals received, a home-grown formula is then typically applied to select a product that best balances technical compliance with the commercial fit, often in ways that may potentially exclude the best fit product for their needs.
Once an intelligent automation system is selected, I've observed that highly subjective decisions are made on how best to deploy it, often based on which operational team or executive is shouting the loudest. Projects are sometimes implemented by third-party systems integrators as a 'rack and stack' approach, with no understanding or consideration of the optimal order for delivery to best meet the needs of the client organisation. Software licenses are often bought on day one that may not be needed until months or years into the live operation. Business processes (or 'workflows') are designed and implemented to solve local issues with little consideration for the optimal supply chain performance.
Specifically, I have observed insufficient consideration, if any, of the impact that the intelligent automation system will have on the organisation's bottom line (the time and cost to produce and bring products to market), systematically capturing and prioritising pain point resolution (the issues that the operators have in their daily operation) or readiness to adapt to future needs (operational flexibility, agility and resilience). I'm not saying that I haven't seen these subjects being considered when forming the RFP or project implementation plan, just that I have not seen a systematic and replicable approach that provides the coverage, accuracy and currency of data for informed and timely decision-making.
This leads to my conclusion: Most organisations are not achieving the optimal return on their investment in intelligent automation systems. Without a systematic and replicable approach that considers the impact that such as system will have on their business performance, operational flexibility and people, I propose that poorly informed investment and implementation decisions are being made that sometimes result in the best product not being selected and nearly always product implementation does not optimally target and order deliverables to achieve the best return on investment in the shortest timescale in accordance with the specific organisation's needs.
As an integral part of my PhD, I interviewed many industry executives and expert practitioners who confirmed and validated the above observations and conclusion. There is clearly a need for a standardised and replicable approach to aid executives in their investment and implementation decision-making. To be clear, the need is not to replace the current product selection and implementation process - that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Rather it is to enhance the product feature and pricing assessment with additional consideration of the product impact on the business performance, operational flexibility and people.
A new enhanced approach developed through practice-led PhD research
The PATRIAS™ methodology is a systematic, and replicable approach to provide cost-effective and timely information to decision-makers on the anticipated impact that an intelligent automation system will have on their organisation's business performance, operational flexibility, and people. It consists of seven highly integrated techniques (described on a separate page) that can be delivered in a cost-effective and timely manner either as a standalone service or integrated within an organisation's decision-making team and process.
I developed the PATRIAS™ methodology as a PhD study at London Metropolitan University, under the supervision of Dr Milan Todorovic and Professor Hassan Kazemian. The following text provides an overview of the development process:
Academic Foundation - I performed an integrative literature review on multiple bodies of academic studies with each PATRIAS™ technique built on a different field of academic study. I identified and analysed classic studies and the latest thinking in each area, concluding that while existing work informed my study, none fully met my quality, practice and method needs to anticipate the impact that an intelligent automation system would have on a manufacturing supply chain. It was this demonstrable gap in the current body of knowledge that my PhD aimed to help fill.
With a solid foundation in academic classic models and latest thinking, I developed each technique and the overall PATRIAS™ methodology using cycles of research, analysis, literature review and technique development to the novel 'EXPLORE' sequence of data sources:
Enterprise - I reviewed the practices adopted in multiple industry sectors for each technique area, identifying best practice and new ideas. In some cases, I observed that industry practitioners had adopted the approaches developed and studied in academia. In other cases, new approaches had been developed.
Xperience - I reflected on my own experiences over my 30-years in industry, covering both practices that I've directly observed others perform and my own practices. This included experience in business process modelling as part of RFP responses and return on investment engagements as part of my business development roles.
Practitioners - I interviewed expert practitioners that had extensive experience in applying their own versions of each technique. This included understanding their techniques and their application, and the lessons they've learned. This wealth of hands-on experience was invaluable to my development of a practically viable solution.
Lead - From the findings of the academic literature review and the above three data sources, I developed and applied in practice-led research the first generation of the PATRIAS™ methodology. Simplified versions of each of the seven techniques were applied in several media organisations to aid their executive decision-making.
Optimise - Reflecting on the application of the first generation PATRIAS™ methodology, and performing a further academic literature review, I developed and applied the second generation of each technique and applied them to five departments that form part of the television content production supply chain of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's television.
Ratify - In multiple rounds of interviews and online questions I developed the PATRIAS™ methodology with a panel of industry executives representing manufacturers, industry bodies, systems integrators and media organisations. This included presenting the second-generation PATRIAS™ methodology.
Establish - Bringing all of the above together, including the input from the above panel of executives, I developed the third generation PATRIAS™ methodology and applied it to the fourteen departments that formed the full television content supply production chain at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
From my reflections on the application of the third-generation PATRIAS™ methodology and some further literature review, I produced the final version of each technique that was presented in my PhD thesis and is now offered as a service to provide executives with cost-effective and timely information to aid their intelligent automation system investment and implementation decision-making.