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Planning the replacement of software systems.


The need for increased flexibility.

Increased integration, greater employee productivity, improve customer service.

Consult your staff throughout the selection process.

Verify that line staff has line and budget responsibility.



1.  Establish objectives.

Have a clear idea of priorities, before contacting suppliers.  Priorities may change as the project unfolds and learning proceeds.


How does your current package hinder customer service.

How does your current package impede integration.

Are other systems within the organization going to be upgraded or replaced.

Who's going to use the package and how.

What degree of independent from the supplier is required.

What degree of customization is required.

Must the package fit the existing hardware and software environment.

What improvement would you like to see from your old package.

2.  Identify potential suppliers.

Suggestions from contacts, visits to trade shows, attendances seminars, directories in the trade and professional press, consultants.

3.  Create a short list of potential packages.

Try to match the sizing capability of the package with the size of your organization or department.

4.  Send out invitations to bid.

Study each package in detail, substantiate claims, verify meet specific functional needs.


The package.

How old, is it modular, are modules easy-to-use, can data exchange easily, integrate easily, how often is it upgraded, how many users can it support, how many installations are there, can you visit other sites, what problems have others had.

What are capital and start-up costs.



Supplier length of operating.

Is the supplier financially sound.

Can the supplier support all modules.

What is the annual cost of maintenance.

Do you get value for your money.

Type of support offered, onsite, telephone, web.

How much support is given prior to migration.

How much work is left to the customer.

How is the help desk organized.



Does the supplier offer training as part of the money.

Is pre-conversion training available.

Can you rent a machine to train in advance.



What is the size of the migration team.

What are the skills of the suppliers migration staff.

Is the conversion process proven?

How many migrations has the supplier performed.

Can you have a trial data conversion.

Have you plan for contingency issues.


6.  Examine the contract terms.

Look carefully at the responsibilities and liabilities of the supplier and question terms that may be open to misinterpretation.

Check that the final cost cover all aspects of the purchase, including items like delivery and training.

7.  Plan for implementation.

Running trial data conversion.

Plan for a period of parallel running.

Received training by all.

Choosing the timing carefully.

Managing modifications to the package.

8.  Manage the people side.

Who is monitoring issues.

Who is checking the issues.

Who is coordinating the issues.


Summary.  The do's.

Set up a team of users and consult widely.

Remember the importance of forward thinking.

Check out unsubstantiated claims.

Be wary of too much customization.

See the products of at least four or five suppliers before choosing.

Visits sites of the packages which are up and running.

Build in adequate contingency time.


Summary.  The don'ts.

Focused too much on your current application.

Let the supplier alter your logic.

Take what the supplier says for granted.

Assumptions about the supplier and their methods.

Don'ts skip apparently minor details.


Thought starters.

How old is your current package.

How much customization does your current package included.

How often is your old package upgraded.

How good is your current support.


End of data.




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