Each year, organizations face the daunting challenge of changing the core software that operates processes relied upon to run their business. In some cases, it may be a whole new system. In others, it could be a key component of their operations that needs enhanced automation.
Decisions may entail custom coding vs. purchased systems, internal development vs. 3rd party vendors, ERP vs. “best of breed”, etc… Whatever the scenario, it is helpful to have a defined methodology and independent guidance to help ensure that the choice is made in a controlled and deliberate manner.
Our methodology has assisted many organizations over the years to help Define, Design, Evaluate and Select new applications as follows:
Define: Goals & Objectives, Processes & Systems & Resources
- Develop project plan with proposed timeline, critical phases, outcomes and deliverables including prioritized goals, timing constraints and deadlines to be achieved.
- Determine current processes, critical data flows and constraints within scope, documenting supporting applications, hardware and topology to be impacted.
- Establish a project team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities including the preliminary budget.
Design: “Current” & “Future” State, Gap Analysis, Detailed Requirements
- Determine the organization’s current environment and the systems that support it as well as developing a list of future requirements for the new system.
- Based on “gaps” between the current and future state, overall direction for the new system’s design and features develop.
- The requirements should be specific enough to qualify what new system must do to meet the needs of the organization being ranked and prioritized.
Evaluate: RFP/Quote, Testing Criteria, Demonstration
- Solicit valid software alternatives and vendors with a goal that the more standardized the required criteria, the better the ability to compare responses.
- Create test script(s) for specifics to be demonstrated not allowing vendors to drive the evaluation process.
- From a narrow list of qualified prospects, make sure all critical features and needs are demonstrated by vendor.
Select: Vendor Ranking , Final Offer, Decision
- Score vendor responses and demonstrations to meeting your requirements, deploying a metric-based approach to bring subjectivity of this process to a more objective outcome.
- Calculate the total cost of ownership to create a fair comparison between products leading to vendor/solution selection and finalized decision.
- Develop required contractual documentation to ensure vendor’s solution is documented within contracts to match requirements, establishing “proof of concept” criteria as required.