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Suggested Terms & Objectives - Systems Selection


The overall objectives, of a typical selection assignment, are to select suitable computer systems to enable:

  • client, contract, and other key information to be kept up to date and accessible with the minimum of effort;
  • management decisions to be made quickly based on accurate and timely information;
  • the level of service offered to clients to be of a uniformly high quality.

Tasks to be Undertaken

Accordingly, the tasks which we believe should be undertaken are as follows:-

a) we would interview senior and key members of staff to identify the information which they need to undertake their work, how that is provided at the moment, and what might be beneficial in the future. We then produce a summary of the requirements. This document would be circulated for correction or agreement;

b) with the summary as a basis, produce a statement of requirements specifying the functions which each computer-based system will have to perform and the volume of data which it will have to process;

c) discuss the statement of requirements with the interviewees to correct any mis-interpretations, and then with management to agree a final version, and discuss the likely financial, time and personnel implications of a system suitable for these requirements;

d) identify a number of potential suppliers;

Note - if the number of potential suppliers is high, we may introduce an extra step of asking a larger number to submit outline proposals, only a few pages long, which we would then use to slim the number invited to submit full proposals down to between 6 and 8.

e) with the statement of requirements as a basis, invite tenders from the selected potential suppliers;

f) evaluate the tenders, identify any omissions and produce comparisons of the proposals;

g) agree a short list of, ideally, three suppliers who would be invited to:-

  • visit you and discuss your requirements,
  • arrange demonstrations of their proposed systems probably both at their own premises and those of one of their existing clients,
  • revise their proposal, if appropriate;

h) review the short-listed suppliers, after they have revised their proposals, and, in discussions with the board / management committee, agree a final choice;

i) advise on items which should be included in the contract, although not on the adequacy of the legal wording;

j) agree, with the supplier and yourselves a summary implementation plan, setting out the timescale and resources required to bring both manual and computer systems into use. This will identify where training is required and any gaps in skills or resources, which may need to be filled by recruitment.

Effort involved

The amount of effort is, usually estimated to be, approximately, as follows: -

- interviewing staff - 4 days (up to 15 people);

- preparing summary - 1 day;

- re-interviews / correction - 1 day;

- preparing statement of requirements - 4 to 5 days;

- reviewing and agreeing the statement of requirements with the committee - 0.5 day;

- identifying potential suppliers and inviting them to tender - 1 to 2 days;

- liaising with suppliers during the tender process - about 2 days;

- evaluating proposals - around 3 to 4 days;

- discussing and agreeing short-list - 1 day;

- liaison with suppliers during visit period - 1 day;

- evaluating revised proposals - 1 day;

- agreeing final choice - 1 day;

- reviewing contract - 1 day;

- discussing the implementation schedule - 1 day;

giving a total of 22 to 26 days, say 20 to 28 allowing for unexpected circumstances.

Further effort will be required for attending at demonstrations, probably around 6 days, and, subsequently, for any help during implementation.

Sometimes it is possible to divide the work with a client analyst / IT manager. This normally has the effect of reducing the consultant effort by about one-third but increasing the total workload by 15 to 20%.