General discussion


Selection advice

By Choppit ·
For the last 12 months I've been working on a project to replace the SAP R/3 installation that's been crippling our business for the last 6 years. I've recorded and analysed the existing business processes and identified key areas for improvement. I've reduced the list of 7 contending systems to 4 which fit the business need (to varying degrees). I've hosted several Q&A sessions and demos between suppliers and our departmental managers and now it's coming up to crunch time. In a few days time we'll be shortlisting and in 2 weeks a system needs to be selected. I've weighted and graded the functionality of each system and (functionally) there appears to be a clear 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. The departmental managers have their own favorites (based on their own needs) and the Managing Director has his favorite based on familiarity. I've made it clear to the board that I will support any final decision made. How should the final selection be carried out?

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Process is backwards

by stress junkie In reply to Selection advice

It seems to me that the whole selection process has been done backwards. The people who are going to use the software should have done the research and presented you with a short list. You would then evaluate the system requirements of each and rate each of the candidates by the amount of effort that would be required to implement each. Then the managers make the final decision.

SAP, as you know, is a very complicated highly integrated system. Evaluating the replacement is best done by a business analyst. It makes no more sense to ask a computer system administrator to select a replacement for SAP than it would be to ask a baggage handler what model of new aircraft an airline should buy.

As I said, the only part of the process that you should have been asked to play in this process would be to list the system requirements and other implementation considerations each of a short list of candidates would require. In my opinion a computer support person does not typically have the knowledge to select complicated business software. It doesn't make any sense to me.

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Why me?

by Choppit In reply to Process is backwards

Under different circumstances you'd probably be right. SAP was selected and implemented by an 'outsider' who had no loyalty to the company and this has been regretted by the board ever since. The big difference here is that I've been with the company for 18 years, know the staff, customers, processes, issues, history etc. I've managed most of the departments at some time or other and implemented many of the business processes. The last 6 months have been spent collecting and documenting information from the people who do the job.

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Sorry to say this

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Why me?

But when it doesn't work perfectly for everyone which it doesn't have a hope in hell of doing you'll know who will wear the blame?

For any SAP installation I'd leave it to the Business Adviser and Management and then set about cleaning up the mess after wards that way I would not constantly be bearing the brunt of the complaints about the system.

Do you realize that any complaints will adversely reflect on you no matter what?

Col ]:)

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Fully aware

by Choppit In reply to Sorry to say this

I'm fully aware that it won't work perfectly for everyone but I'm looking for a 95% fit as opposed to the 25% fit that SAP currently gives us. And yes, I expect any complaints to be directed at me, I wouldn't want it any other way. I suspect that I work for a much smaller organisation than many of you guys as we now only have 35 employees.

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It just seemed to me ...

by stress junkie In reply to Why me?

... that the management was trying to dodge a bullet by getting you to choose the software. You know who will be blamed for any shortcomings in the replacement software. Plus, you have other issues more directly related to IT to look after such as security, disaster recovery, and just keeping up with developments in the field.

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by Choppit In reply to It just seemed to me ...

I won't be making the final decision, the management team (which I'm part of) will. What I'm unsure of is how that decision (or more specifically, agreement) will be reached.

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There is still room for managers to choose.

by stress junkie In reply to Decision

If you give your opinion to all of the managers involved in the decision and give them a chance to think about it you could then hold a couple of meetings with everyone attending. All of the managers would hear what all of the other managers would say. Eventually a decision would be made. I think that it can be done if all of the managers are in the same room at the same time.

The trick at that point is to make the decision process stop. I once worked at a place that had to change hardware. Every week we would have a meeting about this issue. Every week the lead manager would start the meeting by saying "Let's rethink this whole situation." Eventually that manager was fired, and rightly so. We would never had moved past the decision phase of the project if he had remained in charge.

Again, though, the responsibility for making these things happen is with the managers. Try to find a diplomatic way of saying that your role is strictly advisory and that it is THEIR responsibility to see that this project is completed.

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by Choppit In reply to There is still room for m ...

The shortlisting meeting today went well. The group easily came to a decision as to which 2 systems to shortlist based on business fit. I now find myself in exactly the position that I suspected I would be (and hence the original post).

The management team has voted in favour of a Linux Server, MySQL based system accessed via terminal/thin client. The MD has voted in favour of a Windows Server, SQL based thick client solution.

I have stated that in my opinion either solution will be a good fit and I will run with whatever decision the team makes.

The MD has agreed that the Linux solution is functionally as good, if not better than the Windows solution. I then asked him why he appeared to be dead set against the Linux solution and this is basically what he said;

1) Because the solution has no GUI, it looks old, if it looks old then it must be old, if it is old it will soon be obsolete......

2) Linux is based on Unix, and Unix is old........

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