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Factors affecting system selection outcomes

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THERE are many key factors that affect system selection outcomes, according to SystemSelectOnline.com . The first one is the problem of not setting clear objectives.

The real objective is to ultimately add value to the organisation, not implement a new system. Setting clear objectives and boundaries for the system selection project is important to:

* Manage the scope to these objectives;

* Be able to articulate these objectives to stakeholders;

* Revisit the objectives throughout the project to ensure they are still valid.

The second is having no business case.

Enterprise systems are by nature expensive and complex and are an investment. Any investment requires a return. Return on investment for new systems, can be measured in a number of ways. Some examples below include:

* Improving customer service resulting in increased revenues;

* The ability to handle more customers resulting in increased revenues;

* The ability to sell more product to customers resulting in increased revenues;

* Getting process efficiencies resulting in reduced time and effort for staff;

* Getting staff development resulting in retention of staff and reduced recruiting effort and cost;

* Reducing cost through efficiencies resulting from reduced staffing requirements and the associated cost;

* Accessing better reporting resulting in improved decision making and performance;

* Improving cash flow management, resulting in reduced working capital requirements;

* Compliance with reporting or other regulatory requirements resulting in reduced compliance risk and the related penalties;

* Remaining competitive, giving the organisation the right to stay in business.

New technology will affect the larger organisation and is seldom the silver bullet initially thought.

Poorly selected and implemented systems can affect profitability and ultimately the survival of the organisation. In addition, poorly conducted system selections generally attract unwanted attention in the form of auditors, post implementation reviews and uncomfortable questions from senior management or the Board.

Consider the various stakeholders in an organisation and their respective potential involvement in this project. Ensure their buy-in to the project and manage their expectations, for both the system selection and ultimately the system implementation.

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