Software Selection - 101 Tips (and more) for Professionals

Table of Contents

The contents of the “Software Selection – 101 Tips (and more) for Professionals” guide are listed below. The numbers in the brackets show the number of key advice suggestions. Each of which has many points, hints and tips.

Overview - of the software selection process.

Reducing the costs - (18) - How to reduce costs across the whole project.

ROI and obtaining board approval - (8) - Realistic project ROI’s, hard and soft benefits, feasibility study, project proposal and key people to be involved.

Creating a project plan for the software selection process - (9) - Project plan key points, time scales, critical paths, resourcing, risks, project management tools and ongoing monitoring.

Dealing with dirty tricks - (5) - Possible tricks, their impact, reasons and potential ways to deal with them.

Specifying requirements - (8) - Different ways to specify requirements, who should be involved, responsibilities, key steps. Plus warning signs for the selection going off-track.

Identifying software vendors and issuing RFI’s - (8) - Where to search for potential vendors, creating and evaluating an initial list of potential vendors. Plus contacting vendors, things to check and issuing RFI’s.

RFI / RFP components - (7) - project overview, organisation background, outline requirements (for RFI/RFP), detailed requirements (for RFP), information requested from vendors and covering letter. RFI and RFP covered jointly as both documents have similar structures.

Initial software review - (5) - of software and vendor details, analysis, costs and identifying short lists.

RFI / RFP evaluation - (5) - using points scoring and evaluation matrix - reviewing and analysing RFI / RFP responses, scorecards, other factors to consider, comparison / evaluation matrix. RFI and RFP covered jointly as both have similar tasks.

Attending software demonstrations - (10) - types of demonstration, when and where to meet, time scales, who should attend, objectives and other items to cover. Plus things to consider after a demonstration.

Refining your new system design thoughts - (2) - Review / refine system design, items to check, agree and document the changes.

Issuing RFP’s and analysing the results - (5) - determining how formal the process should be, preparing and issuing RFP’s. Receiving, reviewing and analysing the responses.

Further investigations, prototyping and testing - (16) - software queries and outstanding items to investigate. Building prototypes and testing them. Plus checking all other technical areas eg software usability, hardware, network, database and operating system, system performance and sizing. Vendor services to check include implementation assistance, user training, support and maintenance. Business areas to check include vendor expertise and reputation, contract, quoted prices and project costs.

Detailed software demonstrations and discussions with vendors - (7) - objectives, who to see, when and where to meet, who to attend, durations, what to cover.

Reference site visits - (7) - objectives, choosing who to visit, organising the visit, and during and after the visit. Plus potential questions to ask.

Pulling it all together and making the decision - (8) - pulling all details together, clarifying outstanding issues and evaluating options. Negotiate the service level agreement and contract. Prepare a proposal report, make the decision and communicate the result to vendors and employees.

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