News & Views

News & Views is published monthly by 180 Systems. Our objective is to provide recent articles to our readers on business technology topics. In some cases, our blog contains a title with a hyperlink to a source article, a quote from the article and our comments. In other cases, we have provided a blog without a hyperlink for original content by 180 Systems. We encourage you to post your own comments. You can also access our blog by topic.

What the cloud really is

Cloud Computing

December 1, 2015 from CPA Magazine – “…Below you’ll find a short primer on the cloud and how to decide if the technology is right for your business needs. We’ve also designed a short survey to see how many of you are using the cloud in business – and if so, how…”

180 View – I (Michael Burns) wrote this article with a lot of help from Margaret Craig-Bourdin who is the editor of the online edition of CPA Magazine. The first version of the article was considered by Margaret to be way too technical for the readers of CPA Magazine and she worked hard to simplify the article for CPAs. Hopefully it’s not too simplified for the readers of our newsletter.

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So the project has gone belly-up, what now?

ERP, Project Management

December 3, 2015 from LinkedIn – “…Most SMEs and many larger companies are not experienced in running projects. It is just not something they need to do on a regular basis and certainly not with this much at stake.  An investment in the services of a skilled internal Project Manager is rarely a waste of money. It will often cost you more to skimp in this area and then have to recover afterwards…”

180 View – The author, a business development manager for Pronto Software, makes a number of really good comments on why implementation projects fail and what to do about it. I have acted as an ERP expert witness and have seen just how bad things can get. It is far better to find a solution to the problems than to fight it out in court.

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Something Different

Personal

Hidden Miracles of the Natural World

180 View – Unfortunately we also don’t notice things that we can see.

Frostie Dancing To Shake Your Tail Feather!

180 View – I wish I could dance this well.

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Demonstration Scripts

ERP, Project Management

A demonstration script is critical to the selection process but there are huge differences on how to do this. Rather than criticize the techniques we have read, I will share our methodology with you:

  1. Two demonstrations – You don’t want to go too deep on the first demonstration unless you are positive that the vendor will not waste your time (or their time)
  2. 1st demonstration – We base it on a small subset of the most important requirements in the RFP and limit the time to about 3 hours. We allocate a certain amount of time to each requirement and then total the amount of time for each section. We provide an agenda that includes the agenda time for each section as well as the scripted time and try to leave a buffer in certain sections.  There are usually 4 vendors invited for this demonstration.
  3. 2nd demonstration – We base it on the AS-IS business process and include sample documents. We ask the vendors to prepare a prototype of the suggested TO-BE business process and to include a certain number of the requirements from the RFP. We are evaluating vendors not just on the strengths of the system but also on their ability to improve business process. There are usually 2 vendors invited for this demonstration which often lasts for a day for each vendor.
  4. Access to clients – The vendors have access to our clients before each of the demonstrations. We want them to have every opportunity to do a great demonstration.
  5. Evaluations - Our clients are asked to note the major strengths, weaknesses and follow-up items by section as well as scoring each section. We do a detailed evaluation which includes notes on each requirement demonstrated as well as an assessment whether it is a strength or a weakness.

Our process is always evolving based on the feedback we get. Recent changes include:

  • Reducing the number of requirements
  • Using Survey Monkey for the evaluations done by our client
  • Adding more buffer time so vendors can make the presentation flow better and let them show off some of the features in the system that may not be included in the script but which they believe are very useful
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