Technology Group International Shares

By: Thomas Cutler

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Technology Group International is a proven technology leader delivering Tier 1 application software functionality at a price performance level that can be readily accepted by organizations of all sizes. Specializing in software systems for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies, TGI's integrated Enterprise Series software suite is a complete business process management solution.

According to vice-president Rebecca Gill, "When engaging in a software selection project, it is a good policy to learn from the mistakes of others. It is one of the easiest ways to prevent potential issues resulting during the selection process. Whether you confer with seasoned IT professionals, a trusted CPA, or an outside consultant, the time invested in the research will be well spent. This practice will not only save the team time, it will help maintain the project's budget and thus save money. And in addition to the potential time and cost reductions, it will help alleviate potential frustration and provide a higher level of credibility for the software selection team. "

The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" holds true even in searching for and purchasing new business software. Although TGI itself has not undergone the software selection search, we have worked with a large amount of companies and consultants over the last thirteen years and we have witnessed many falter as they move forward in the selection process. So much so, that a list of lessons learned is easily compiled and presented below.

1. Understand the significance of the endeavor at hand and set realistic expectations for the project team.
2. Meet with key decision makers at the onset of the project to ensure the team understands the corporation's strategic plans.
3. Chose an executive champion and utilize the resource wisely.
4. Chose the right project manager to lead the software selection and implementation team.
5. Chose the best team members for the project.
6. Establish a realistic and obtainable project budget by understanding all of the system costs.
7. Establish realistic project expectations for the organization and remember that no software package can cure a decade of corporate problems.
8. Carefully evaluate tangible and intangible project benefits. Calculate a realistic return on investment (ROI) based on those deliverables.
9. Prepare a solid business case which is backed by an accurate ROI analysis.
10. Understand your organization's business processes before defining the new system's requirements.
11. Listen to the everyday system users, regardless of their level in the organization.
12. Go through a solid and complete functional needs analysis.
13. Chose a software supplier for the right reasons.
14. Prepare and force suppliers to follow a demonstration script. Don't be sold! Keep score of the team's reaction to the demonstrations.
15. Don't buy more than you need, simply because of the vendor's name.
16. Perform supplier reference checks.
17. Ensure the software solution is easy to maintain and enhance.
18. Understand the significance of change management to your company.
19. Communicate progress regularly to the whole organization.
20. Understand the true value of integration.
21. Look for a technical and business partner in the potential software suppliers. Look beyond the software package and evaluate the whole organization behind the software.
22. Make a decision.
23. Utilize the software supplier's expertise and resources.
24. Spend money on training.
25. Limit customizations and the project's scope. Use the 80/20 rule.
26. Identify customizations at the right time, which is after training and initial testing.
27. Clean your data prior to migration.
28. Perform a system pilot, regardless of time constraints.
29. Expect a temporary reduction in employee efficiencies.
30. Understand the project is not over at the system's go live date.


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