For selecting a new system

1. An actively engaged project sponsor

A board level director /executive who fully support, is actively involved with and championsthe project. Ideally this would be the CEO. IT Director Support is required,but this is not enough. It should at least be the head of the relevantdepartment eg Finance Director / CFO for a new accounting system, HR Directorfor a new HR system. Selecting a new system without a Project Sponsor will notonly fail, but most likely not even start.

2. Clear objectives for the system selection

These include defining a visionfor the new system, the objectives to be achieved, the scope of the project andhence, the parameters, tasks, project plan for the selection process.

3. A solid business case for the project

These days, almost all systemprojects require a good business case prior to commencement or systemselection. Whilst at a high or summarized level, the essential componentsinclude:

·        an outline of the project, what is beingproposed and why

·        a positive ROI (Return on Investment) and aquick investment payback

·        a summary of costs (direct and indirect),benefits (tangible and intangible) and an outline budget for the overallproject

·        an overview of how the new system will beimplemented, key dates, departments, people involved, resourcing, outlineimplementation project plan, project risks and their mitigation

·        a budget available for the system selection egfor external purchases, consultancy and internal resources

4. Users driving the project

Driving the project forward ismore than just user involvement – the users need to actively lead and betotally involved with the system selection. They should be willing to acceptthe need for change, not just to the system, but also to operational procedures/ processes. And whilst IT is also heavily involved, it should be in more of asupporting role, rather than the driving role. After all, the system is for theusers - who are responsible for the business need / business case.

5. Committed resources and experienced project management

An experienced project managershould manage the system selection process. All resources should have theskills, commitment and time available to carry out the selection tasks. Thereshould be no conflict with their existing workloads, critical business dates /deadlines, etc. If there are insufficient internal resources with the rightskills and availability, bring in external resources. They could either work onthe selection process, or free up staff, who in turn, may work on the systemselection.

6. Focus on the business requirements

The establishment of businessrequirements under pins the project. It is the ‘foundation block’ for selectingthe right system, implementing and achieving the desired business benefits.

7. A sensible time scale for the system selection process

Too rushed and corners will becut, not enough thought given to business requirements and potentially goodsolutions missed. But too long and the selection process becomes too drawn out,confusing and difficult to make head way. A balance has to be struck - whichvaries from one organization to another – so that there is sufficient time forall the software selection activities to be completed.