Requirements Gathering and Selecting the Right Tool for the Job

Contributed by Technical Consultant, Matt Nicol

For most technology initiatives, there are many ways that a solution could be implemented. From a myriad of off-the-shelf products to a wide array of custom development solutions, there is no doubt that there is a way to successfully implement virtually any technology-based business application. In order for an initiative to be successful, however, many considerations must be made.

Above all, fully understanding the requirements of the business goal is key. Purchasing an off-the-shelf product or beginning development before the stakeholders have as detailed of an idea of how a system should operate as possible introduces unnecessary risks that can ultimately increase costs and reduce functionality. Gathering requirements is not always straightforward, however. Systems are typically used by many people, each with his or her own ideas for how to accomplish a given process.

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Before beginning to select a solution platform, it is often a good idea to organize the goals of a system into “need-to-have” and “nice-to-have” categories that are agreeable to stakeholders. To do this, it is also important to consider any broader business impacts the initiative may have. Answering questions like the following can help drive the best value that a system can provide: Will the system serve one specific need in isolation? Could any data, reports, or files produced by the system enhance or integrate any existing business process?

With a holistic idea of what an initiative should accomplish, it is now possible to begin considering how the system will be implemented. At this point, it is important for the parties driving the initiative to ascertain their own knowledge of the available solutions. Every person in an organization has his or her own areas of expertise, but those driving the initiative may not be subject matter experts on the inherent capabilities and limitations of various technology solutions. In such cases, the business and technological expertise offered by 4CTechnologies can be an invaluable resource for selecting and implementing an off-the-shelf or custom solution.

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