- FUNCTIONALITY: The business is likely to have changed. New types of business may have been added, the business may be much larger or smaller, and different personnel may have different preferences.
- MANAGEMENT INFORMATION: Reporting may not be fulfilling the business needs, especially for use on mobile devices
- EFFICIENCY: Different software may provide different functions for more efficient processing
- REMOTE ACCESS: Cloud-based software and hosting options have advanced significantly in recent years, and may provide a more practical solution where access is required from multiple locations
- SUPPORT: Problems with the effectiveness of support
- COST-EFFECTIVENESS: Suitable software solutions may be much cheaper than the existing solution, especially if support costs are currently expensive
A thorough review of requirements is needed. Even if internal staff have the skills, they rarely have the time. Camwells can provide both.
As an example, we helped an AIM-listed business review their accounting and order processing systems prior to a large anticipated increase in sales of a new product. We found that:
- The accounting modules were basically sound
- But the order processing modules had few other users, and the support company did not understand these modules. As a result there were major problems with the support service.
- Sales reporting was a major issue, for which no clear solution was available
- Whilst most requirements were fairly standard, the new product was a fuel additive that involved Fuel Duty. This meant special requirements for sales invoicing and tracking duty.
- We compiled a User Requirements Specification to cover all the key business requirements, including reporting, special requirements and core requirements. Nothing important can be assumed to be available in alternative software.
- This document was issued to potential suppliers as a "Request for Proposal", including the incumbent supplier, alternative suppliers of the existing software, and suppliers of alternative software
- This was followed by discussions and software demonstrations with short-listed contenders
- A visit to the incumbent supplier made it clear they were not interested or capable of providing a suitable support service, and so were ruled out.
- A final choice needed to be made between a better supplier of the existing software, or making a change. Both required a significant investment.
- Whilst there were pros and cons, a decision was made to change systems. There was concern about longevity of the existing order processing modules given their low usage, and the alternative system was generally easier to use.
- In slightly different circumstances the existing system would have been retained.
If you would also find such an assessment useful, do call Chris Challis on 07836 774439.