Enabling 6.5 Billion dollars of innovation at major Chemical Company


Over the years the client had developed multiple reporting mechanisms for capital and innovation projects that mirrored the complexity of a company, operating in over 90 countries with 21 subsidiaries. As so eloquently put by a finance director "tell me what decision you’re going to make, and I will give you the data you need!" The amount of manual data manipulation needed on a monthly basis was exhausting.

A solution would need to be:

  1. Evergreen – allowing for data to be updated when the project managers needed to
  2. Have granular security.
  3. Allow for regular reporting to executive functions
  4. Be Flexible enough for a corporation that needed to adapt to changing marketplaces
  5. Adhere to strict export-control regulations

Our Solution

IC2020 aka "Innovation and Choices" is a memory resident, flexible web application that allows for the curation of data across all the entire enterprise. Developed in C#.net the application tracks EVERYTHING that happens to a project, from birth to completion, allowing for complex analysis of questions, such as

"Don’t tell me how things look today, show me how things have changed from the last time you told me". And "This project is now part of another portfolio, has been renamed and now has another 7 sub-projects, can you compare it to the last Quarter?" The answer is YES.

Security is granular, and except for "special projects" a person has access to their node on the organization tree, and everything below it. That way administrators in each business unit can administer their own branches.

We built an innovative "Snapshot" capability that allows for data to be selected and sectioned off for management reporting, and then kept evergreen so that management summaries are consistent and yet the teams can continue dynamically working.

As we had such a geographically and technically diverse user community, we generated a "user experience" score that measured actual time for a user's transaction. By splitting the time into system, networking and browser load times we can diagnose trouble rapidly.

Key Learnings

  1. Waterfall Project Management works best for establishing underlying technology. We had been working for 6 months before our client team got to see anything. During this time, we built the Database and Business Logic layers
  2. Over 20, time-bound sprints we built out the user functionality. Every two weeks our testers would have new functionality to validate and our developers would have another week to complete feedback from the previous cycle. As we developed more trust in each other, sprints became easier to plan and execute for everyone.
  3. Getting architecture right is key to such an endeavor. After the first major release we were able to work primarily on the user experience, second on any updates to logic needed and only sporadically on the data access layers. This saved significant client time
Stewart Belsham

Stewart Belsham is an IT entrepreneur with over 20 years experience consulting for both large and small corporations. He is the founder of Symbiosys, a 20 person consulting practice which has been offering technology services since 2002. More recently, he is a founder of Ramessys which is a digital rights management firm helping corporations protect proprietary data. He is passionate about building thriving, productive and inclusive teams of professionals.

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