Applications Software Selection

The Importance of Software Selection

Next to your investment in hardware, the purchase of software  is one of the most important decisions you will make.  Select the right software and you will have tools to manage today's business environment, and support business needs in the future.  Select the wrong software and you will not realize the full ROI from this investment.

Our Approach to Software Selection

At The Systems Workshop we believe a successful software selection process includes the following Critical Success Factors:
  • The selection process must have a business focus:  How well do the candidate software packages satisfy the functionality required in the business today, and expectations for the future.
  • Strong user involvement:  Your user community knows the business, and the strengths and weaknesses of your current systems.   Involving users in the selection process will not only insure the right software is selected, it will also facilitate the implementation as the users have had a "buy in" to the process.
  • Start with a blank slate:  In the end, your current software may prove to be the best fit for the business.  However, the selection process should start with a blank slate and examine all appropriate software alternatives.  Let the best software win!
  • Executive Champion:  During the course of the selection and implementation of the software package there are bound to be issues that require decisions by the organization's executive team.  A member of this team needs to be appointed "project champion" to facilitate resolution of these issues at the executive level.

Functionality Matrix - Heart of the Selection Process

The heart of the software selection process is developing a Functionality Matrix.  These matrices identify functionality required in each area of the business, and the weight users assign to the importance of each function.  The Matrices are used when evaluating the candidate software packages to insure that an "apples-to-apples" comparison is made.

To "kick start" the process, The Software Workshop has a number of baseline Functionality Matrices for key operating areas in your organization, including  Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing, Finance and Human Resources.  We start the selection process by fine-tuning these baseline matrices to fit your organization's specific needs. 

How we can help

The Systems Workshop offers a range of software selection services.  This includes:
  • Identifying the core business needs
  • Developing a detailed requirements definition
  • Preparing the Functionality Matrices
  • Preparing a Request for Information/Request for Proposal
  • Identifying potential software vendors
  • Participating in the evaluation process, including vendor demonstrations and due diligence
  • Managing the implementation

We can help with each of these steps, or just a few - the client selects the level of involvement depending on business needs, budget and available resources.

The Role of Business Process Re-engineering

Selecting a new software package presents an opportunity to change current business processes to take advantage of the functionality the software provides.  Many packages incorporate "best practice" methodologies in how they deliver functionality.  Part of the implementation process should critically examine current business processes to see if they are still appropriate in light of the new software functionality, and recommend how the processes should change to take advantage of them.  The Systems Workshop can use an interactive "Brown Paper" Process to facilitate the review process.

Our Experience

The Systems Workshop has experience in selecting and implementing the following applications:
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Manufacturing, including Inventory Control, Production Planning and Shop Floor Reporting
  • Distribution
  • Finance
  • Human Resources

Selecting the right software will insure you have the best tools for today's business environment - and tomorrow's.
Software selection must have a strong business focus.
Involve users at every step of the selection process.
Functionality Matrices can insure candidate software packages are evaluated on an "apples-to-apples" basis.
Successful software selection projects have multiple phases   including requirements definition, preparation of the RFP, vendor demonstrations and selection.
Implementing a new applications package presents an opportunity for "business re-engineering" to take advantage of the "best practices" the software supports.
A senior member of the executive team should be appointed "project champion" to help resolve any management issues related to the software selection and implementation.

Case Study - Global HR Software Selection

"Fast Track" Consulting

Contact Us for more information 


March 2008

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