System Selection - Platt & Hill Limited
Platt & Hill Limited, an independent company, specialising in the manufacture of products primarily for the furniture trade, commissioned us to select a replacement for their existing ERP system.More Info

IT Strategy & Systems Selection - Ferranti Technologies Limited
Ferranti Technologies Limited, a world-class supplier of electronic, electrical and electro-mechanical equipment, commissioned us to undertake an IT Strategy Study, followed by a Systems Selection.More Info

IT Strategy - a Stately Home
This 18th Century stately home is now run by a Trust. We were commissioned to produce an IT Strategy to enable evolution from a series of separate systems to an integrated suite of systems.More Info

Selection of Software Developer - Dyson Insulations Limited
Dyson Insulations Limited, which specialises in cavity wall and roof insulation, and home heating systems, commissioned us to select a software developer to develop new applications systems.More Info

Selecting ERP and other Application Computer Systems

This is first page of the sub-web covering Selecting ERP, and other Application, Computer Systems. To go to the web-site home page, please click Home.

Most companies need to change their computer systems from time to time. Making mistakes in this process can prove extremely costly and this is not helped by the wide choice on the market. Our consultants have undertaken many computer selections and are aware of the pitfalls. They are also experienced at helping clients who have encountered problems both during a selection and subsequently.

The range of systems, which we have selected, is very wide. Currently, ERP /MIS systems are the most common, but payroll and personnel systems crop up regularly and other systems selected have covered a diverse range, from Computer Aided Design to Stock Exchange Market-Making.

The Stages of a Computer Selection

There are many stages to undertaking a successful selection. These are summarized below, with more detailed information available by following the links. Before you start, you need to consider:

Thereafter, the stages are:

  • Strategic Study. Usually only undertaken by companies with diverse requirements, this looks at the Business Requirements of the company, usually based on a Corporate Strategy, or Business Plan, discusses the options open to the company, and recommends a particular strategy, not hardware or software, which is appropriate to the company;
  • Specification of Requirements. This looks at the business requirements in some detail and produces a document setting them out in business terms, but asking the sort of questions which a computer supplier will need to answer. The Statement of Requirements document can easily be converted into an Invitation to Tender by addition of a section on questions which must be answered in the proposal. More details on preparing this document, and selected examples of parts of the document are available in producing the Specification of Requirements;
  • Selecting Potential Suppliers. The choice of potential suppliers is huge. As an example, a recent selection identified more than 30 suitable ERP systems, out of many more, for a mid-range manufacturing company, in the U. K. The company, or its consultants, must identify suitable potential suppliers, from this huge range, and invite proposals from them. It will also be necessary to answer questions from the suppliers, but we do not normally encourage them to visit you at this stage, as this could take up a lot of your time and effort. For more information, see choosing potential suppliers;
  • Evaluating Tenders. This is where you compare apples and oranges and try to eliminate the lemons. The evaluation should compare each proposal with the ITT, identify which items are standard, which require modification, or additional software, and which the system cannot provide. It should also identify the cost implications, so that an expensive modification can be discussed. The evaluation should also identify which points have not been answered - this can be a way of a supplier avoiding having to admit that they cannot provide that feature - so that the answers can be determined and reasonable comparisons made. For more information, see the tendering process and evaluation of tenders;
  • Agreeing a short list. This requires a decision at a reasonably high management level. Ideally, three suppliers should be selected who can provide a close fit at a reasonable price;
  • Inviting the suppliers to meet you. At this point, the suppliers should be invited to visit you, and find out as much as possible about your organisation. This means that they will need access to key individuals for short periods of time. They should be reminded that the objective is to enable them to provide focussed, relevant demonstrations, and more accurate proposals. This is not the time for a sales pitch - that comes later;
  • Attending Demonstrations. The suppliers should arrange, and key users should attend, demonstrations of short-listed systems to ensure that the system can deliver what is required. This may require multiple demonstrations from any one supplier. The organisation should then be ready to decide on the choice of supplier;
  • Reviewing Contracts. Computer Contracts are notoriously one-sided. considerable experience of reviewing these contracts and recommending the changes that should be made to produce a balanced contract. e would, however, recommend that the precise legal wording is then reviewed by a solicitor, with good knowledge of commercial contracts - only a few have good IT knowledge. For more information, see contract review;
  • Implementation. In this phase, somebody with considerable experience of supervising the implementation of Computer Systems should ensure that both supplier and purchaser perform the tasks required to achieve success. For more information, see implementation planning.
  • Typical Terms of Reference for us undertaking this type of project can be found at Suggested Terms of Reference.

Other areas of advice

In addition, there are certain other areas of advice, relating to IT systems, where we can help, and which may arise before, during, or after the selection process. These include:

  • Resolving Conflict;
  • Part-Time Management;
  • IT 'Guru’;
  • Contingency and Disaster Planning;
  • Computer Effectiveness;
  • Staff Appraisal;
  • Recruitment;
  • IT Awareness.

These, and other areas, are discussed briefly, in Other Areas where we can Help.

Summary and Conclusions

We hope that you found this information informative. If, after reading this, there are questions, which you wish to discuss with us, please do not hesitate to contact us. We do not charge, unless the workload involved becomes significant and, even then, we would wish to agree the basis for charging, in advance.