This book provides both selection criteria and a process in which to apply them. It's based on the author's R2ISC method. This method stands for Requirements (current and future), Implementability, Supportability and Cost. Both the criteria and the process are provided in detail and in a step-by-step approach, which has the following benefits:
(1) Ensures that the major selection factors are thoroughly examined.
(2) Reduces cost and technical risks by examining those aspects of the selection.
(3) Addresses the alignment of requirements to business needs, which is often overlooked when IT is entrusted to perform selections (the main failure I've observed is that IT gets too caught up in technical details and features without looking at the way packages support business requirements - this book's approach will prevent that from happening if followed).
Criteria in more detail are:
- Current requirements: how well does the package being evaluated map to current
- Future requirements: can the package being evaluated be modified to support future business needs (which you will need to forecast).
- Implementability: what is required to implement the package (how well does it fit into your existing technical environment and strategic technology plan)
- Supportability: How much training is required? Are special skills needed that need to be hired or contracted? Are there impacts to existing systems, processes and workload?
- Cost: TCO - total cost of ownership. What will ongoing support, including vendor contracts, cost. This is where the real surprises emerge because the initial costs of a package are but a fraction of the true cost.
The R2ISC process is straightforward and looks deceptively easy at a high level. It consists of the following Set the Goal (rate each package under evaluation against the R2ISC criteria), Narrow the Field (the short list), Select the Winner and Sign the Contract. The last step is the one that is fraught with peril and can undo the best evaluation if the contract is improperly negotiated. The book gives excellent pointers.
If you are faced with software selection this book will give you a clear set of criteria and a process. Be aware that the approach looks easier on paper than it is in practice. This is not a criticism of the book or the approach, both of which are excellent, but a warning that the process takes hard work and due diligence - two ingredients that no book can provide.
on May 18, 2001
Nathan Hollander is an excellant author of this great guide to software package evaluation & selection. It is great for those new to the computer world and also for those entrenched in the computer sciences. This guide is easy to follow and with its great detail allows the reader to understand the R2Isc method. Personally, I use this book as a guide and quick refference as well as recomending it to my students. Hollander is gold with this, his third guide, and I recomend the use of this book to anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of computers.
on June 13, 2001
Excellent book for both an IT professional or business manager. Presents a well planned methodology and rating method for selecting a software package. Includes plenty of examples. Also includes project planning for the selection process, RFP essentials, contract negotiations, workshops, scripted demos,...
Book has some editing problems but they are minor compared to the overall content of the book.