Quantifying the Promise of End User Maintenance

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10 September 2010
Michael Fitzgerald

One of the frequently referenced benefits of transitioning to a modern automation platform is the ability to have some amount of system maintenance moved out of programming areas.In some organizations, this means having business analysts make changes to systems; in others, end users in business units perform selected modifications.Lower cost and shorter cycle times are claimed as the advantages of this approach.

However, it has always been difficult to quantify this opportunity. During a recent consulting project, we discovered a technique that helped clarify such a benefit.

The client was a large insurer with multiple divisions.The unit in which we were working used a forty year legacy administration system.In a sister operation, a modern, rules-based system performed a similar function.We asked a business analyst who worked with the modern system to review the current outstanding work list of the legacy system and make a determination which items would be handled without programming assistance in the more modern system.After reviewing 70 items, he determined that 28% of them could be accomplished without involving programming resources.

While this is not a controlled experiment, nor a statistically relevant sample, it did allow the client to more effectively gauge the opportunity.It allowed us to have a much more meaningful discussion of a future state since we could reference actual work items and outline how they might be accomplished differently.

If your team is looking for a way to quantify the promise of end user maintenance, search across your organization and to see if existing experience with modern solutions in other parts of the company can contribute a focused and meaningful perspective.

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