The Use of a ‘Model Office’ for ERM Implementation

By Carl Weise posted 06-04-2010 13:49


The Model Office approach to implementing an ERM system provides an opportunity to refine the ERM system before it is made widely available to large numbers of users.

It takes place in a specially-created physical location separate from day-to-day business activities.  It is a more controlled environment in which development, prototyping and refinement of the functionality of the ERM system, the revised business processes, the user interfaces and the training materials can be undertaken most effectively and with low risk to the business.

A Model Office is used to develop, test, improve and finalize all aspects of the new ERM system before moving towards implementation.

A Model Office may be seen as an ‘extra cost’, but it is very effective if the ERM requirements include the development of new business procedures and ways of working and the final environment is likely to be better-tuned to the organization’s requirements.

There are, of course, costs involved. While creating a Model Office is likely to incur costs, it may well save money and time later, as the subsequent implementation of the system is likely to run more smoothly and identify fewer problems needing solutions.

Several benefits arise from adopting the Model Office approach.  It provides an opportunity for: technical evaluation of the system (proving its functionality and suitability for helping users and their involvement with records); finalizing the system configuration, functionality, and the details of the user interface.

It provides an opportunity for users to test the environment and provide feedback on its ease of use and any difficulties or problems encountered, so that the implementation team can refine the user interface (and associated training materials and ways of working) and finalize the configuration and the functionality of the environment.

With a Model Office, it will often be possible to examine more options and assess alternative approaches to meeting business needs – especially if they are somewhat complex in some areas.

You can also use the Model Office to develop training materials, including screenshots and click-by-click instructions where necessary.

Overall, the key reasons for having a Model Office as part of an ERM implementation program are:

First, to minimize rework that otherwise would need to happen in the next stage.  It should be clear that it is highly advantageous to identify the need for rework, or reconfiguration, as early as possible, not least so as to minimize annoyance among what will always be a larger group of users in subsequent stages.

The second key reason for having a Model Office is to promote goodwill among the other users across the organization for the subsequent stages of the ERM program and how the organization will operate once the ERM system has been fully implemented.

I remember being impressed by a student who worked for a financial services business in New York.  During the class, his company was running three separate model offices.  I’m sure they paid off for that firm.

What are your thoughts?

What is your experience with Model Offices?

Have they proven to be successful in your organization?

#ECM #ERM #ElectronicRecordsManagement