or LinkedIn here uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/
As readers of the blog are aware, I get involved with a lot of housing organisations across the whole of the UK in projects to improve systems and sometimes procure alternatives. It's a very expensive business and in many ways confusion can be avoided early on by asking the right questions.
I struggle to understand why very professional organisations often procure new application software & solutions to business needs, often just from a short bullet pointed list. Have you or one of your internal business teams done that? I bet they have!
Particularly where the purchase is under OJEU limits and can be accommodated by a teams, rather than an ICT budget, it appears to happen. Good examples are internal intranets, tenant internet portals, ASB & complaint solutions, service charge/factoring calculations and small mobile working solutions.
To do it properly, the detail needs to be trawled over, never the most interesting job. One there's never a stampede for , in my experience. I have completed many detailed requirements for clients where they realised they would get a quicker more quality result by paying an expert to get involved. This is a particularly good time for me doing these, as the fine weather is coming up and I can sit in the garden doing most of the donkey work. Sounds of birds twittering and frogs bouncing by, help alleviate a lot of the boredom.
Clients going alone make a mixture of mistakes, including allowing suppliers come in and do unstructured demos, to asking them for a 'pro-forma' list of requirements they could ask. The latter almost certainly will result in purchase of said product. Not that strange really, but does to add much to the clients understanding of how it will satisfy their needs.
Its common sense (I guess), but you should always ask suppliers to show how their product will satisfy different areas of your needs. A scenario reflecting real life needs, problems & processes and how they can be satisfied is essential.
Another essential ask is "Who is live currently with this proposed product"? Then, "can I have a reference contact at each I can speak with please"? I have sat through many demos where impressive lists of customer logos are displayed and I know from past experience that most have this lots finance system, not this module being proposed. It's not quite a lie, but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth either.
Integration with what you need integration with, is another key ask. Never be satisfied with "well we haven't found anything we haven't been able to integrate to yet", as any evidence whatsoever. In my book, "Fail to ask" is the same as "Asking to fail".
Related Post: OJEU has recently changed, are you ready?
You can link with me on LinkedIn here - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy It would be great to connect !
The Smiths - Ask.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
PS As usual, if there are subjects you might like me to tackle on this blog, or you could benefit from any of our services please get in touch and let me know!
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