When organizations decide they need a new system to improve productivity and control of any function or process they begin by:
1. Forming a vendor selection team
2. Gathering system functional requirements from users
3. Identifying possible vendors
This approach, (used for decades), results in:
Selecting the largest vendor with the lowest perceived risk.
Selecting systems that meet today’s requirements of one department
Selecting systems that require expensive and extensive customization
Systems that require changes in internal workflows to use hardcoded system rules
Systems that require long and extensive training
Sometimes companies build their own system by using “agile development” strategy to “iterate” system creation with intimate user participation. This approach also leads to disappointing and expensive results.
To avoid these common problems and costs use the following approach:
Make a visual process map of your internal processes that includes process steps, tasks & action items as well as integration requirements to internal and external systems
Require each vendor to demonstrate the process(es) fully automated on their system and show real-time integration to your internal business applications and systems.
Make changes to your process map and ask each vendor to demonstrate how their system accommodates the workflow modification on-the-fly in order to insure that the demonstrated processes are not in fact hardcoded to meet your specific process map.
This approach will ensure that you select the system that is flexible and capable of fully automating your process(es) exactly.
Figure 1 illustrates a public-sector procurement process governed by state law.