- To ensure you end up with a system which meets the key objectives set out in the business case
- Analysis and mapping of current business processes
- Identify future business needs
- Understand technical and other constraints.
- Process maps
- Statement of requirements
- Feeding into…
- Invitation to Tender (ITT)
- Evaluation criteria
- Test scripts for demonstration events.
Defining what it is you are actually setting out to achieve is one of the most difficult stages in a project of this type. At the two extremes you run the risk of:
- Describing exactly what you do at the moment and missing out on opportunities for change and development, or
- Constructing a wish list of objectives that no system can match.
The creation of a statement of requirements is however crucial. A carefully considered and well−constructed list will be invaluable throughout subsequent stages of selection and implementation. As well as formally stating requirements arising from a process review, the statement of requirements can be used as the basis for constructing a formal tender and hence provides a benchmark for initial shortlisting of possible solutions.
It can also be used as the framework on which to base detailed evaluation criteria, for insertion into a negotiated contract as a formal document of customer requirements, and can be used further in the implementation stage as the basis for user acceptance testing (UAT).
In preparing your initiation or scoping document you should have identified in broad terms what it is you are trying to achieve and what, if any constraints are imposed upon you. Where the nature of the project is essentially reactive eg, the existing system is failing, the supplier is withdrawing support, the hardware requires replacement etc you may have constraints such as a fixed timescale or budget imposed.
Where the aim is to improve upon an existing system, there may be greater scope to explore a range of possible solutions.
In the education environment, most procurement is subject to a formal tendering process and many business system replacement projects will be of sufficient scale to be subject to EU procurement legislation. Later sections of this guide deal with the process of preparing a tender document and with EU legislation; this section is concerned with starting to define the requirements internally.
For smaller projects, the process of getting the requirements clear by means of a small team or focus group may give you all you need to move into the procurement stage. For larger projects this will be a first step in preparing a formal tender.
Your requirements will generally fall under three headings – general, technical and functional. The emphasis of our approach is on finding the best business solutions and to this end the model concentrates on functionality. We will however begin with the other areas as they may impose constraints on the rest of the project.