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How I See IT – The choices paradigm
Author: Allan Bachan, Vice President, ICFSubscribe
How I see IT
The choices paradigm
The pace of technological innovation far exceeds the rate of adoption in the already laggard aviation operations space. In fact, the ‘new’ sophistication of aircraft and engines by OEMs is literally creating the impetus for change and improvement, in some cases forcefully, with operators.
However, there are reasons for this behavioral state.
- No one wants to be a beta client unless there is minor or no business risk. This is a double-edged sword.
- In general, adoption rates must improve in order to minimize risks and realize benefits.
- Beta relationships must exist. Newer products might well be predominantly outside of aviation but they do have the value of being proven. However, such Beta relationships must be symbiotic.
- The original project need is severely diluted, dated, or replaced by the end of the project.
- Given the rate of technological change, governance of any project must acknowledge and embrace related advancements in order to realize success.
- Projects must be structured as part of continuous improvement frameworks.
- A sensitive balance of change management versus scope creep must exist.
- Pick something and stick to it. That is, even if it is considered old or dated when completed, it will still be a delta improvement.
- In some cases, this dimensionally encapsulates the preceding 2.
- This should be part of a ‘brick-by-brick’ strategy and not standalone. In other words, there should always be at least one active project.
- These projects should be well insulated from the internal and external naysayers.
So, into which do you see your organization?
Are you evaluating, selecting, engaged in a project, or did you recently go live? Are you speculating on whether you are making good choices?
Are you firm in your elections and committed to realizing improvements, well insulated from inside and outside noise?
Some may say that the real challenge is “what do I pick?”
There is a plethora of terms being used: Mobile; Paperless; Machine Learning; Virtual Reality; Augmented Reality; Blockchain; Robotics, etc. Moreover, Digital [Transformation]; Big Data; Cloud; Internet of Things, etc. make it even fuzzier.
To add to this, at my last count, there are at least a dozen MRO IT best-of breed, off-the-shelf software systems, more than seven ERP styled packages, and forty or so niche and add-on applications available in the market.
Figure 1: Many available choices for MRO IT
How are you making your choices?
Given the landscape of options, you must be prescriptive of your needs in order to narrow down which systems will work best for your organization. This means that the age-old and traditional RFIs and RFPs to solicit bids must change.
An organization must have a fair definition and understanding of its desired future state before it starts shopping for newer systems.
Systems evaluation and selection is akin to baking a cake, where the recipe represents the ‘how’ and the ingredients represent the ‘what’. The recipe dictates the ingredients to use, not the other way around.
Out of necessity, the future state should be better than the present state; solve all known challenges and constraints, and must be a progressive platform for growth and improvement.
There is also merit in knowing where the focus is, what is trending, and the maturity and capability of emerging and established software products. This will help in filtering the selection to the best and few.
Therefore, as you examine your choices, make sure you equip your program with staff, domain experience, and tools, which secure an understanding of ‘how’ in addition to the ‘what.’ Then, augment that with a well-educated lens of what is available and how they rank.
For now… that is how I see IT.
Allan is a Vice President at ICF with 32 years of industry experience as an Aviation M&E, MRO and Supply Chain solutions and systems domain expert. He is responsible for ICF’s MRO Operations and IT practice and he manages the Aircraft Commerce Consulting relationship with ICF. He specializes in solution blueprinting for MRO, Supply Chain and ancillary IT systems.
His experience includes managing application design, development, and full cycle implementation – from selection to go-live – for strategic clients in the MRO industry using different commercially available MRO IT products. He has also spearheaded many carriers’ M&E and MRO systems solution design, customizations, integrations and implementations including project governance, data migration and change management.
In his career, Allan has fulfilled the following leadership roles:
- MRO IT practice and technical lead for industry leading solutions companies realizing more than 20 go-lives involving at least 8 different systems
- MRO systems Product Principal for a large global IT solutions and systems integration company
- M&E and MRO Solutions Director for a large global aviation software and solutions provider
- Manager of Technical Records, Maintenance Planning and Production Control at a mid-size commercial airline with full MRO