Methods and Tools
We use a variety of tools, but thirty years of high-level troubleshooting in a broad range of industries is the skill that directs the tool. Our philosophy is to look at the whole picture, including reasonable life cycle return on investment, to help our clients drive rational decisions that optimize their resources at all times. In short, we help our clients really see for the first time the nature and true cost of their major problems, the available options to resolve them and the return on investment when they are resolved.
While our methods and technologies work in all industries, we have more experience in the power production and transmission, broadband and connectivity, petrochemical, education, civil engineering, defense and construction industries. We don hard hats to work in the mud, and pencil protectors to work in the data room. Our Business Technology Integration practice is a particular application of the $10 elephant metaphor to management information systems. Our Happy Schools and BPI for School Districts practices are specific applications of modern technology to educational infrastructure.
The tools and skills we offer will help any client, in a wide variety of services and industries, but like many firms, we have some specialized practice areas that reflect things we are passionate about. Read more about our specialties …
Quality Assurance Due Diligence and Implementation
A due diligence analysis examines how well an existing QA program is working. We can also organize and carry out implementation of a new program, or implementation of QA program changes suggested by the due diligence analysis. As an internal audit, the due diligence analysis can be used to prepare for external certification and/or to determine the return-on-investment of the QA program and how much it is contributing to bottom line profits. When requested by a third party, typically a funding source or insurance company, the due diligence analysis is an important component of overall risk analysis. We perform due diligence on programs certified to any standard, from Baldrige to all varieties of ISO. Our due diligence analysis can encompass any generally applied QA technique (Six Sigma, Lean, etc.) as well as industry-specific techniques (such as Agile, SCRUM, CMMI, etc. for software development). The analysis assesses both the robustness of implementation of a particular technique and the degree to which the application of each individual technique is integrated into an organization-wide systemic QA program.
Independent Program and Project Analyses
is what we call a first-sweep, enterprise-wide process review. Following a quality assurance audit protocol, the IPPA examines the effectiveness of procedures in use and evaluates the effectiveness of a process and the quality of the output — quite simply, it inventories what is working and what is not. An IPPA typically looks at a limited set of critical procedures selected in collaboration with the client, based on known problems or critical needs. It focuses on processes and not specific individuals or outputs. The findings and recommendations describe what was found, suggest change alternatives that might improve effectiveness or productivity and estimate the savings to be captured. (See a sample.)
Business Process Audits and Business Process Improvement
are multi-step sequential tasks. A business process audit follows a quality assurance audit protocol to catalog, analyze and map top-level processes and critical procedures. We evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of a process through a structured methodology that helps identify redundancies, re-work loops, manual processes that could be automated, and any other inefficiencies that are consuming resources without adding value. Audit and design services in this area include business process mapping, modeling and engineering/re-engineering at strategic, tactical or implementation level, with any desired degree of granularity, as well as change management and quality program assessment/development services.
Total business process improvement solutions may include process re-engineering as well as implementation of appropriate and cost-effective technologies designed and calculated to promote your unique business model and produce real results in the real world — with integrated metrics to verify those results are actually occurring. Our strong preference is for web-based tools: any device equipped to browse the internet can access information. In addition to using our own technology tools for both the investigation and the solution, we follow the principles of both systems and usability engineering in everything we do.
is a natural case for a specialized application of IDEAS’ integrated multi-dimensional parametric models. The most common cause of cost and schedule over-runs is miscommunication. Making the virtual project accessible in 3-d simulation to all parties ensures there are no surprises; integrating additional dimensions such as project management and cost accounting into the 3-d model makes it easy to see real time status of critical tasks and the impact on schedule and costs. We have analysts with backgrounds in many industries and can apply our project management techniques to everything from construction project management to software development project management.
include complete analytic and reporting services to determine and document a project’s viability. We can provide needs analysis as well as technical, operational and marketing feasibility analyses. Parametric models are used to illustrate the findings and allow rapid what-ifs. (See a sample.)
are an essential part of the evaluation process for major decisions that allows decision-makers to spot problems before they arise to ensure effective project management and implementation. Our analyses include risk analysis and management planning, contingency and disaster recovery planning, quality assurance and fiscal impact reporting.
Financing Lender Services
include Project Management/Construction Project Management representing either owners or the financial institution providing the capital in due diligence management or oversight of large construction projects. Systems integration is applied to project management to ensure transparency of information so that all parties can avoid unpleasant surprises.
Forensic Project or Systems Analyses
is most often thought of in the context of preparing evidence for use in a court of law, but the technique of investigating failure to identify its causes is also extraordinarily useful for process improvement. IDEAS’ technology tools are used to identify the cause(s) of failure (physical, process or budget) with a view to improving future performance and identifying the optimal remediation technologies and methods.
is a systematic approach to ensuring a process or product will be attractive and useful to the intended user when completed. May be applied internal process re-engineering to ensure rapid and effective adoption leads to the intended improvements in efficiency. Includes functionality requirements collection and definition, user analysis, systems architecture, prototyping or pilot program launch. (Outside of the software development industry, this is often called user interface engineering/design.) more …
A holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the design of technologies, processes, products or structures that proceeds from concept to production to operation through a structured development process, integrating business objectives and technical expertise to develop quality solutions that meet user needs. more …
Parametric Multi-Dimensional Modeling
is a dynamic engineering and design technology that provides enormous efficiencies in engineering development through the interface between a set of rules and a virtual 3D representation of structures or environments that permits data re-use; pre-production simulation for validation of design objectives, projected ROI and adherence to constraints; and post-production monitoring and ROI verification.