With technology now underpinning every aspect of learning, teaching, research and administration, the range of technology options can be bewildering especially to the non-specialist.
This guide replaces the system selection infoKit (now archived) which was created when the options for administrative systems really boiled down to selecting and integrating a range of “best of breed” products, or choosing a monolithic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) type system with less specialised functionality and the range of systems supporting learning and teaching was limited.
The technology context has now changed significantly and the range of options is much broader. The underlying model on which the system selection guidance was based on remains valid. The model is about defining requirements and planning a means of evaluating different options. It is quite a generic model aimed at helping you take better decisions.
We have therefore refreshed the model to take account of a much wider set of circumstances in which it might be used. You can find out more about the range of technology options currently available in the suite of resources on improving organisational efficiency.
The core audience for this guide is those who have been charged with replacing legacy systems or infrastructure within their institution. The guidance does however apply equally well where you are selecting a tool to do something new. The model is applicable to any type of application/tool and any scale of implementation. We identify components which are key to the approach and others which are optional and generally suitable only in very large scale or costly projects.
The model was adapted by us from commercial selection models and has been used successfully by a number of institutions.
The basic model assumes that some form of formal procurement process will take place although a possible outcome of following the model is that you discover ways of using and adapting existing data, applications and infrastructure to achieve the same result more efficiently and effectively (more on this in the section entitled 'buy, borrow or mend?').
This guide assumes that the decision to select an IT application or tool is being approached as a project and that some form of formal project management framework is in place. Further guidance is available in our project management guide covering portfolio, programme and project management.