Blog: Are you ready? Operational Readiness

Are you ready? Operational Readiness

Are you ready?

The world has been changing radically in the last few years. There has been huge growth and interest in automation to protect our supply chains and deal with the reality of labor shortages experienced across the metals supply chain. Depending on the size and complexity of the automation project that you are considering, it is important to ask yourself the following question: “Are you ready?”.

In large Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Management (EPCM) projects there is an often-forgotten discipline called Operational Readiness. The goal of Operational Readiness is to ensure the recipient of a Project or System is ready to take ownership of the project or system and operate it as it was designed. The reason we need operational readiness is to address the question of “Are you ready?”. While many projects focus on the Business Requirements, Functional Specifications, and delivering on that, the operational readiness function will look at the as-is state for the following:

  • People
  • Processes and Operations
  • Organization Structure
  • Facilities
  • Technology Infrastructure and Culture

We then assess the recipient to determine if all these aspects are ready for the future state and the change that is coming?

When should we perform Operational Readiness?

A truly successful operational readiness process should be continuous throughout the life of a project, including prior to the project. The following diagram outlines some of the key phases in the project life cycle and the typical areas of assessment for operational readiness, or as we would call it “Automation Readiness”:

Automation Readiness

The items which should be addressed and re-assessed both before and throughout the project lifecycle are:

  • What is in place for people, processes, and technology?
  • What is not in place for the future state for people, processes, and technology?
  • What actions are needed to fill the gap between the as-is state and the future state?

The earlier in the project lifecycle these questions are raised to all stakeholders, the more comprehensive subsequent action items will be to ensure automation readiness.

Operational Readiness – What to Evaluate?

It will also allow you to realistically assess the full ROI on the proposed project and by doing so more accurately assess its success. It is important to recognize that while many of these things may be physical in nature, such as:

  • Do we have the correct systems in place to be able to provide the automation environment the jobs require? Now is not the time to be scheduling in Excel.
  • Do we have the correct network in place to facilitate the necessary communications to ensure high uptime in the automation environment?
  • How will we access the automation areas for maintenance of key equipment?

They can be developmental such as:

  • What standard operating procedures will have to change within an automated environment?
  • What skillsets will I need on my IT and Maintenance teams that is different from today?

Or, and just as importantly, but often overlooked, they can be cultural in nature, such as:

  • Are the teams and stakeholders ready for change?
  • Do they understand the need for change?
  • How does this work within our corporate culture and what are the impacts?

Once these steps and their respective resources and schedules are developed, they become part of the updated project plan as the project proceeds.

Operational Readiness Tools

There are many tools which can help you prepare for an assessment these include but are not limited to:

  • Are you ready? Pre-Assess —provides a readiness overview and helps determine what key elements are in place and which are not. All change requirements should be noted, specifications developed, key persons and new roles and responsibilities should be defined, the end state defined, and a communication plan established across all stakeholders.
  • Are you ready? An Implementation Checklist—this should create a broken-down list of tasks which are required to move from the current to the future state for the implementation to be successful and supported across people, processes and technology.
  • Are you ready? Risk Assessment and Mitigation Process—plan out a risk assessment that identifies all the potential risks and issues that could derail the automation project and determine the mitigation steps. Remember that often this will include physical aspects but can also be developmental and cultural.

It is important not only to put these things together and execute on them, but with change it is important to communicate this to all stakeholders which are impacted by the change. When combined with a good communication platform these tools and lists can highlight the impact and effort required to ensure a successful implementation.


The key to an effective operational readiness program is to identify that change has many impacts and that the earlier those impacts are considered and the change process worked through the more successful the implementation will be. If you are considering an automation project, now is the time to ask – are you ready? Want to know the answer, call us today and we will help you work through people, process and technology!

To learn more about TELIA Automation, click here.

To discuss whether you are ready for an TELIA project, contact us today!

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