Software Selection


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Software Selection

  1. 1. Julian Griffiths Principal Consultant 7/15/2008
  2. 2. The Process <ul><li>The process described here is recommended when it is a significant project in terms of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the affect on the business </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In many cases a simplified approach can be adopted. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider using a consultant for complex purchases. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  3. 3. 1. Specification <ul><li>Produce a system specification document to be agreed internally before external distribution. </li></ul><ul><li>Outline your business strategy and vision. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider likely future scenarios. </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight your current systems weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the need for change and list key requirements </li></ul>7/15/2008
  4. 4. 2. Prepare a Request for Information (RFI) <ul><li>An extension of your approved specification document to be distributed to potential software solution providers to include: </li></ul><ul><li>Specifications as above </li></ul><ul><li>Platform and database requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Estimates for capacity & transaction volumes </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed timescales and milestones </li></ul><ul><li>Decision making process </li></ul><ul><li>Budgets </li></ul><ul><li>Response process </li></ul>7/15/2008
  5. 5. RFI Document <ul><li>This document will form the basis of your relationship with potential vendors. Once stage three starts you will have indicated your interest to suppliers so it should contain the ‘rules of engagement’ in the response process. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  6. 6. 3. Identify Potential Vendors <ul><li>Investigate industry specific software vendors. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out which software your competition uses. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for advice from professional bodies. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit exhibitions and conferences. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask IT consultants. </li></ul><ul><li>Search the Web and publications. </li></ul><ul><li>Read white papers. </li></ul><ul><li>Attend seminars and briefings. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  7. 7. 4. Distribute the RFI <ul><li>Limit the number of vendors to ~10. </li></ul><ul><li>Enforce the rules of engagement and try to avoid meetings with vendors until responses are reviewed. </li></ul><ul><li>Appoint a ‘gatekeeper’ to manage the potential barrage of calls. </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify the response process </li></ul>7/15/2008
  8. 8. 5. Evaluate the responses <ul><li>This is the vendors first and sometimes only opportunity to impress you and make it to a shortlist. </li></ul><ul><li>The vendor should have put a reasonable amount of time into reviewing your RFI and responding to your issues with a relevant solution. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the vendors to keep it to a reasonable length and send product literature separately. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  9. 9. Evaluate the responses <ul><li>Review the company profile to ensure that you are confident that the company are able to support your organisation. </li></ul><ul><li>Be alert to empty sales waffle. </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm stability of small vendors. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure relevant references and case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Do not accept ‘references available on request’ as you have asked them to be included as part of your evaluation process. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  10. 10. Evaluate the responses <ul><li>Ensure a full cost estimate is included with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial software licence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual software licence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual maintenance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultancy (with detailed breakdown). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customisation. </li></ul></ul>7/15/2008
  11. 11. 6. Draw up a Short List for Demonstrations <ul><li>Try to limit to ~4 vendors. </li></ul><ul><li>Meet with vendors before. demonstrations so they can understand the company and its operations. </li></ul><ul><li>Produce an agenda. </li></ul><ul><li>Control the demonstration. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that it focuses on the key issues that you want to address. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide dummy sample data as appropriate. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  12. 12. 7. Product / Vendor Demonstrations <ul><li>Schedule enough time. Consider complexity of software. Allow for questions and answers. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that all decision makers for the process are available for all presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Formalise the selection team from key process owners and directors. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  13. 13. Product / Vendor Demonstrations <ul><li>Do not delegate attendance to someone else at presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Control the meeting to ensure that all items are covered. </li></ul><ul><li>A good salesperson will also ensure that any issues raised are covered at the end of the meeting or in a follow up session. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for a short follow up session before selecting preferred vendor if required. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  14. 14. 8. Take up References <ul><li>Ensure the references are in the same industry with a similar number of users. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure the reference has been live long enough to properly exercise the system. </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain multiple contacts e.g.: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior/expert users. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT Manager. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your equivalent </li></ul></ul>7/15/2008
  15. 15. Take up References <ul><li>Prepare questions in advance & cover issues that are important to you. </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of project management and consultants. </li></ul><ul><li>Was the project implemented on time? </li></ul><ul><li>Was data migration successful and to what level of detail. </li></ul><ul><li>How have upgrades affected the system? </li></ul><ul><li>Are support calls answered in good time? </li></ul><ul><li>Call the references. Calls are usually open and honest and a lot of information can be gleaned. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  16. 16. 9. Choose a preferred Vendor <ul><li>Consider everything. </li></ul><ul><li>Initial proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up sessions. </li></ul><ul><li>References. </li></ul><ul><li>Involve all members of selection team. </li></ul><ul><li>Be immune to personalities. Evaluate the software and the company as a whole, not just the sales team. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  17. 17. 10. Arrange a follow up meeting <ul><li>Time should be spent with key process owners in detailed workshop sessions to investigate installation, deployment & use processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Involve as appropriate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>board members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>managers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technical/administrators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>day to day users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Document as much as possible in sufficient detail. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  18. 18. 11. Consider wider implications <ul><li>Can your infrastructure support the new software? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Server, storage, backup and network capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will staff need training? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is the software compatible with existing systems? </li></ul>7/15/2008
  19. 19. 12. Obtain a Final Proposal <ul><li>Your preferred vendor will now have a detailed understanding and be prepared to present a final proposal to include: </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed software module and user requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>Consultancy. </li></ul><ul><li>Customisation. </li></ul><ul><li>Updated proposed project plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Identified resources. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  20. 20. 13. Negotiation <ul><li>The vendor will expect a negotiation and will have established their baseline. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to give something for discounts. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Press release. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acting as a reference site. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider leasing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many leasing companies work with software vendors and offer good rates and sometimes no payment until going live. </li></ul>7/15/2008
  21. 21. 14. Implementation <ul><li>That’s another presentation </li></ul>7/15/2008