Major system replacement projects continue to suffer an unacceptably high failure rate. Some fail completely whilst others are completed in an unsatisfactory manner, failing to deliver the anticipated benefits or overrunning their budget or planned timescales. There are many reasons for this. Often it is because most companies do this job infrequently and do not have up-to-date skills or experience to acquire systems in a low risk fashion.
This process is designed to take risk away from the system acquisition process and put the client in a strong position as a buyer. A key aspect of risk reduction, and an area where many such projects flounder, is in definiing, and communicating to suppliers, the key business issues that must be supported by the new system. [click here for a case study that describes the experience of one international business] It is this clear definition of need that avoids ambiguity and ensures that your requirements are understood by the supplier.
Is this relevant to me?
A casual approach to system selection can give rise to a number of common problems. Some of these arise during the selection process (introducing additional cost and delay) whilst others, more seriously, only come to light during implementation, often leading to a failure to achieve the project’s original objectives. These problems can include:
- inability to clearly differentiate between the various systems being considered
- failure to identify potentially relevant suppliers
- inability to motivate suppliers to work with you during the selection phase
- inability of the chosen software to deal with the unique requirements of your business
- significant unexpected cost for bespoke developments and/or tedious work-arounds to address functional shortcomings
- overrun of budget and timescales
- failure to be implemented at all
If you have experienced these problems in the past, or you are currently contemplating a major investment in information systems hardware and/or software, then this service is relevant to you.
What is involved?
The key is the identification and clear articulation of business needs in a language and terminology that has meaning both internally and to external suppliers.
An experienced consultant can quickly and concisely identify the key features of a client’s business that will differentiate the potential software solutions and set the agenda for the system evaluation.
Helping clients to identify the most appropriate solutions from the wide range on offer is an important next step in which the knowledge of the consultant can add significant value.
Once a number of potential suppliers have been identified the clear articulation of needs facilitates effective comparison of the competing solutions in a balanced and meaningful way, leading to a mature and safe conclusion.
- the process lowers risk by ensuring clarity of understanding. Whilst this is beneficial during the buying phase it has further benefits right throughout the implementation and on-going relationship with the chosen supplier
- increased likelihood of acquiring an appropriate system with a long life expectancy
- an easier implementation can be expected if the system is highly appropriate to the key needs
- an auditable process, the client has a clear view of how the decision to chose a particular system was reached
The process of buying and implementing new systems can be lengthy and expensive. This cost-effective process reduces risk, truncates timescales and puts you in the position of a strong buyer in the market.