Looking to build out a business applications roadmap? So are many of our Systematic Community members

That’s why we had Mark Cassidy, former ERP Director at Gilead and current Financial Systems Director at Proofpoint, discuss his process for building out roadmaps at large enterprises during a recent Meetup and at our Biz Systems Magic Conference. 

To get a detailed recap of Mark’s process, you can visit this page. Otherwise, you can read on to get 5 takeaways from Mark’s presentation during the conference.

1. Find Your Dependencies 

You may be planning a multi-year roadmap with several game-changing initiatives. 

Before you start executing it, make sure to step back and look at the order in which you’re planning your projects. 

At one organization Cassidy worked for, they decided to complete their shared services implementation before they did their ERP rollout. Here’s why according to Cassidy: 

“It allows us to minimize training and standardize processes in our european shared service center instead of spreading out all responsibilities for the ERP system over 15 or 20 different countries.”

Questions to take back to your team: 
If we get one project done first will it help the others roll out more smoothly? If so, which is it? 

2 Gather Business Requirements From the Bottom Up 

You’ll want senior leadership to guide your roadmapping initiatives and prioritization, but it’s still important to gather requirements from actual day-to-day business users. 

You can use input from senior leadership to weigh which business requirements are most important, but a bottom-up approach can help you better understand where the actual pain points are.

Additionally, Cassidy explained that getting feedback from business users will help them know that you’re actually listening to them and taking their requirements into account. 

Questions to take back to your team:
How do we collect requirements? Do our business users get to provide input?

3. Factor in the Cost of Hiring 

When you build out your shiny new roadmap with everything you want, you may need to step back and look at the constraints.

One of these constraints can be the cost of hiring employees with certain skills. 

Cassidy explained that if there are gaps in your resources and in your employees’ skill sets, you may just have to take on outside help. 

What’s important here is to factor that outsourcing into your project budget and possible constraints.  

Questions to bring back to your team:
Which of the projects on the roadmap do we need outside help on? Have we factored that into our budget?

4. Separate Your Run and Build Budgets 

In his presentation, Cassidy also encouraged attendees to separate run budgets* from roadmapping budgets. 

*Run budgets support several activities the business needs to execute on in order to stay afloat, such as infrastructure support, sales support, etc. 

In order to do this, Cassidy explained that your senior leadership and colleagues in IT need to educate the business on these essential activities and differentiate them from your roadmap. 

Questions to take back to your team:
Have we taken note of the essential processes? Are any competing with the budget for our roadmap?

5. Create a Plan to Keep the Roadmap Alive 

Once you’ve created the roadmap, the real question is how you keep it relevant. As Cassidy puts it, “Nobody wants to build a roadmap and stick it in a drawer.”

He went on to explain that many of the organizations he’s worked for have come up with different methodologies for refreshing the roadmap information on a regular basis. 

Additionally, he stressed the importance of keeping the information visible so that you can continue to see the interconnectivity and the importance of different capabilities across the organization.

Question to bring back to your team:
What is our plan for refreshing the roadmap as time goes on and things change? Should we implement a framework?

These 5 best practices are just the tip of the iceberg. You can see what else Cassidy discussed at Biz Systems Magic by watching his whole presentation here.

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.