Business Strategy: How to Evaluate New Software Systems for Your Organization
Missed Part I of This Series? You can find Part I of this two-part series here.
Taking the time to step back and evaluate your company’s publishing software can be challenging enough in the midst of the daily grind, but once you become aware that real problems exist, the bigger challenge can be figuring out how to successfully address them. Part I of this article explored “the decision phase”—or, how to recognize the need for a new system and the triggers that alert you to that situation. In this second installment, you will learn ways to analyze, select and determine the success factors key to the process.
The Analysis Phase: Evaluate Your Business Needs Against the Existing Environment
Once you conclude that a deficiency exists within your information framework, the next step is the analysis phase. A software study should be launched as a major initiative with three likely outcomes:
• A decision may be reached to move forward on all or part of the recommendations of the study team;
• The study provides useful information for re-engineering internal processes that the business feels will take care of the information deficiencies;
• The study is completed, and no action is taken.
Step 1. Get senior management buy-in.
The first step in the analysis phase is to make sure there is senior management buy-in and that an executive “sponsor” is selected. He or she must then put together a study team comprised of representatives of key departments. Each team member can gather information from the end users in his/her department as to which applications are working well for them and which are not. Multi-departmental study teams that meet regularly during the analysis phase often come to a new understanding of their individual functionalities as they see the repercussions of their functions across departmental lines. They also gain a broader understanding of other departments’ needs and the impact of those needs on their own.