To Build or Buy? That is No Longer the Question – Part II

On a large project, consider bringing in some independent help to oversee the project, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the process, and remember you must commit not only IT resources, but business resources to get major projects done successfully.

In general, 80% of a project team or project management office staff should come from the business and not from IT. Having IT run a major business system project is a prescription for failure. Your team should include members from the mill, finance, operations, quality and every function which will be touched by the project.

Step 10 – Training

A major area where problems can develop is in training for a new system. You should prepare for three waves of training: The pre-implementation phase, which is generally to give an overview of the systems and create a “buzz” within the organization; the implementation phase, where the meat of the learning the system will be transferred to the organization; and a post implementation phase, where the training will have real value because end users will be able to relate to specifics they’ve seen while using the software in the business.

Step 11 – Post Implementation Analysis

Once you’ve completed the project, take time to go back and review the process. Having an independent audit of both the process and the benefits which were the original drivers is key to a process of continuous improvement in software selection, and reduces the risk in future projects.


Obviously, you won’t follow this methodology every time (some application selections are relatively trivial) but if you want to reduce the amount of “shelfware,” following this process has real value. On a major multi-million dollar project, you will certainly want to bring in outside help to insure that you get the most out of your selection, but the world now revolves around packaged software and the proper selection of software and systems is essential to maintaining a competitive advantage.

Daniel Gingras has been CIO of five major companies and is a partner at Tatum, LLC , a nationwide professional services organization of senior-level technology and financial executives who take on leadership roles for client companies.

He has more than 30 years of IT experience and teaches computer science at Boston University. He can be reached at [email protected].