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Mariza Silva

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Published on: 27 Jun 2016 by marizasilva

Axia Consultants - Critical Success Factors

For selecting a new
system

 

* An actively engaged
project sponsor

 

A
board level director / executive who fully supports, is actively involved with
and champions the project. Ideally this would be the CEO. IT Director support
is required, but this is not enough. It should at least be the head of the
relevant department eg Finance Director / CFO for a new accounting system, HR
Director for a new HR system. Selecting a new system without a Project Sponsor
will not only fail, but most likely not even start.

 

* Clear objectives for
the system selection

 

These
include defining a vision for the new system, the objectives to be achieved,
the scope of the project and hence, the parameters, tasks, project plan for the
selection process.

 

* A solid business case
for the project

 

These
days, almost all system projects require a good business case prior to
commencement or system selection. Whilst at a high or summarized level, the
essential components include:

 

·        
an
outline of the project, what is being proposed and why

·        
a
positive ROI (Return on Investment) and a quick investment payback

·        
a
summary of costs (direct and indirect), benefits (tangible and intangible) and
an outline budget for the overall project

·        
an
overview of how the new system will be implemented, key dates, departments,
people involved, resourcing, outline implementation project plan, project risks
and their mitigation

·        
a
budget available for the system selection eg for external purchases, consultancy
and internal resources

 

* Users driving the
project

 

Driving
the project forward is more than just user involvement – the users need to
actively lead and be totally involved with the system selection. They should be
willing to accept the need for change, not just to the system, but also to
operational procedures / processes. And whilst IT is also heavily involved, it
should be in more of a supporting role, rather than the driving role. After
all, the system is for the users - who are responsible for the business need /
business case.

 

* Committed resources
and experienced project management

 

An
experienced project manager should manage the system selection process. All
resources should have the skills, commitment and time available to carry out
the selection tasks. There should be no conflict with their existing workloads,
critical business dates / deadlines, etc. If
there are insufficient internal resources with the right skills and
availability, bring in external resources. They could either work on the
selection process, or free up staff, who in turn, may work on the system
selection.

 

* Focus on the business
requirements

 

The
establishment of business requirements under pins the project. It is the
‘foundation block’ for selecting the right system, implementing and achieving
the desired business benefits.

 

* A sensible time scale
for the system selection process

 

Too
rushed and corners will be cut, not enough thought given to business
requirements and potentially good solutions missed. But too long and the
selection process becomes too drawn out, confusing and difficult to make head
way. A balance has to be struck - which varies from one organisation to another
– so that there is sufficient time for all the software selection activities to be
completed.

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