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Off-The-Shelf IT Solutions

A practitioner's guide to selection and procurement

Martin Tate (author)

UK Price: £34.99 

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ISBN: 9781780172583
Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 170 x 244
Number of pages: 288
Publication date: 17 MAR 2015
Publisher: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Despite the sophistication of modern off-the-shelf IT products, most organisations find they don't get the benefits they expected. This practical book presents a proven decision-making process to help IT and business managers select the off-the-shelf software product that best fits the needs of their organisation, whether in the commercial or public sector. Offering a structured approach to managing stakeholders, requirements and candidate IT vendors, this practical 'how-to' guide will help deliver a rigorous, defensible decision within an aggressive timescale. As well as illustrating the techniques, this book includes case studies from business managers who have been through the process. Useful templates and additional articles are available by download from the supporting website.
Martin Tate is founder and principal consultant at Decision Evaluation Ltd, an IT consultancy that has specialised in selecting off-the-shelf solutions for over twenty years. A ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’, he formerly worked for an IT provider and was trained to sell software. BCS awarded him Chartered Fellow status for eminence in IT selection.
'Martin is the guru of robust decision making. The process he describes in this book combines intuition with rigorous, transparent logic. Good choices are easy to explain, sell and defend whilst spurious bias is left with nowhere to hide.'
Mike Berners-Lee, Founder, Small World Consulting Ltd

'Martin's book builds on his clear, detailed understanding of assessing and selecting off-the-shelf IT and provides a rigorous, practical method to get the solution needed.'
David Nickson, Author and Bid Consultant

'I've long experience of how newcomers react to the selection method in this book - they like it a lot. I'm very confident that readers will quickly appreciate the benefits and how to apply it to their projects.'
Professor David Brown, Lancaster University Management School

Introduction - purpose and principles

1 Introduction to off-the-shelf solutions

2 Talent management - supplier psychology

3 Initiation - shaping and authorising the project

4 Requirements analysis - capturing the organisational needs

5 Requirements document - documenting and agreeing requirements

6 Trawling the marketplace - establishing the longlist

7 Assessing longlist candidates - selecting the shortlist using the RFI

8 Detailed evaluation - assessing the shortlisted candidates

9 Scoring - establishing degree of fit and ranking

10 Demonstrations - proving the best fit

11 Reference sites - real customer feedback

12 Contracts - negotiation and agreements

13 Implementation - preparing the ground

14 Viewpoints by theme

15 Concluding - recommendations and resources


Customer Reviews.Add a review

Selecting a new IT Solution is a difficult choice for any business - with long term strategic consequences for their operational performance and profitability. Unfortunately, the selection process may be distorted by 'prejudice and misinformation' as suppliers exploit the client's ignorance and lack of technical expertise, frequently leading to poor system selection and a failed implementation.,At one extreme clients clients tempted to purchase 'state of the art systems' find they are too complex, over specified and ineffective - but very capital intensive - while those who buy on 'price alone' may be disappointed to find that the "solution" just can't do the job and quickly becomes their biggest "problem",In this practitioner's guide to the 'Selection of Off the Shelf IT Solutions', Martin Tate proposes and explains his systematic method for selecting off the shelf solutions that meet the requirements of the business and solve their problems - minimizing the risk of failure during implementation or use. His practical and down to earth approach to 'requirements definition', 'vendor management', 'decision evaluation' and 'contract negotiation' is refreshing to read - and shown to work.,Some of the content may be described as 'sanctified common sense' - which is a rare commodity in the public and private sector - and readers will wonder 'Why didn't I think of that?' - but the method works because it can be applied rigorously to prevent 'miss-selling' and the equally pernicious 'miss-buying' of complex IT products.,For executive sponsors, the book describes a process that can be adopted and employed to develop an effective IT and business strategy, that recognizes the 'needs of the business', the 'regulatory environment' and the 'technical capability' of the 'proposed solutions' as well as the commercial competence of the vendors. By applying 'objective decision making criteria' the method strips away the emotional prejudice and the misinformation - providing an objective business case to support the proposed changes.,Highly recommended for organisations and individuals who believe in 'evidence based' decision making - but if you prefer to trust your intuition and fly by the seat of your pants - well good luck!
05(Phil Stunell)

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