Before embarking on a potentially lengthy and costly project, it is crucial that the business understands what it is they are trying to achieve. Without this it is impossible to quantify any required investment, plan, design and implement the solution and finally to measure success at the end of the project. 1. Business Requirements The overall business strategy should be fully understood before embarking on a requirements analysis study. Any information systems solution must underpin this strategy and its implementation and help management and staff contribute to the success of the business. Without this approach any solution implemented may become yet another information system containing irrelevant information. The key with any information solution is measurable success and return on investment. 2. Information Systems Strategy Once the high level strategy and requirements of the business are understood, an information systems strategy must be constructed that helps the business to deliver this strategy. It should not include low-level detail on individual key performance indicators, but should aim to construct an approach to performance management and its measurement and analysis. This process should be performed by the internal IS team with the assistance of information systems consultants if necessary. 3. Feasibility Study Often companies embark on system procurements and implementations before understanding whether the software and technology is available to support their information strategy. Any software being considered must be able to deliver the main requirements of the strategy and at an overall project cost that offers a tangible ROI. The IS team must work together with potential suppliers to understand and measure the ability of software to deliver requirements. This can be performed through a series of supplier led demonstrations or through a proof of concept exercise which will deliver an example of the final solution using the customers data. This will allow everyone concerned to review how the final solution will perform and whether it delivers what is required to support the IS strategy. It requires a relatively low investment and therefore removes all risk from the business
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