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Off-The-Shelf IT Solutions

A practitioner's guide to selection and procurement

By (author) Martin Tate

Publication date: 17 Mar 2015

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.
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.

Dimensions: 244x170mm

Print ISBN-13: 9781780172583

Ebook ISBN-13: 9781780172606

288 pages

Imprint: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

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 organisationalneeds

5 Requirements document - documenting and agreeingrequirements

6 Trawling the marketplace - establishing the longlist

7 Assessing longlist candidates - selecting the shortlistusing the RFI

8 Detailed evaluation - assessing the shortlistedcandidates

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


*OTSIS extras - available at

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
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

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