Current ITS Projects
Product Selection Methodology
The ultimate purpose of a software selection project is to provide the University with an information system that will address the current and future needs of students, staff and faculty. The Product Selection Methodology provides an overview of the steps and processes used to determine which product or solution set will best meet the needs of the university. This document is not intended to provide detailed guidance for each step; it is intended to give the user an overview of the process and each step. The Methodology is accompanied by samples that teams can use and modify to document their findings and criteria.
- Identify Business Need: Using information gathered from surveys, staff, governance groups, and users, define the business need to replace current solution or create a new solution. The business need is used in the Project Charter to describe the overall purpose and goals of the project.
- Form Team: Define the team that will participate in the selection. Include both technical and functional team members. Check with ISO and Purchasing regarding their desired level of participation. Define the Customer Steering Committee (CSC) - (list names and departments). Review committee membership with appropriate leadership and governance groups. This information is documented in the Project Charter.
- Determine Requirements: Project team documents functional, technical, security, accessibility and implementation/support requirements for the solution. The requirements are solicited, defined, documented and then approved by the CSC. Requirements should be prioritized and categorized (for example, as Mandatory, Optional, or Nice to Have).
- Example of Requirements Document: CASI requirements w traceability matrix v1 2.xlsx
- Identify Solution Options:Using benchmarks with other universities, industry research, solutions in use on campus, and other research, identify potential solutions that may meet the requirements.
- Look at packages, open source and software as a service options
- Custom solution is often an option that must be evaluated as well
- Perform Initial Evaluation of Solutions:Use product demonstrations, current user input solicited, and industry reviews. Analyze solutions against requirements and determine which may meet the requirements.
- Create RFP/RFI/RFQ:Depending on the size and complexity of the solution, an RFP/RFQ may be needed to perform the final selection. For smaller projects, or where there are low costs, this step may be optional
- To both refine requirements and narrow the choices, the team may choose to release an RFI first to determine what solutions and approaches are available.
- Define Core Evaluation Team and discuss mandatory requirements and scoring with Purchasing, including HUB and other contracting requirements. Purchasing RFI.
- Determine what weighting will be given to requirements, costs, references, support options, etc.
- Reference checks should be included in evaluations
- Create final evaluation criteria and selection process
- Define short list of any solutions that meet all mandatory requirements. Eliminate solutions that do not meet mandatory requirements.
- Mandatory requirement can be functional (the application must do 'x'), technical (the application must be in a java based technology) or support (the application must require no more than one day of training for end users)
- Conduct vendor demonstrations and information discussions to refine evaluation
- Evaluate Costs:Create cost estimates for implementation and on-going maintenance and sustainment, including:
- Application costs, build/configure, customization maintenance, conversion, and interface implementation; on-going maintenance
- Licensing: Initial and On-going maintenance/subscription costs
- Hardware and Operating System, Hosting costs
- User Support, help desk, sustainment, documentation
- Training: product, user, help desk
- Note that some products may have a low upfront cost but high maintenance or user training costs; others may have a higher initial costs but lower maintenance and user support costs.
- Sample document: Interactive Classroom Features Requirements final v2.xlsx
- Determine and execute BAFO (Best and Final Offer) process if needed for cost evaluation
- Make Recommendation: Using the evaluation criteria, determine the best solution for the university. Review recommendation and obtain CSC approval. Create an Evaluation Report indicating the recommended solution and the reasoning behind the selection.
- The Evaluation Report may include the following content, as appropriate for the type of selection effort:
- Background information and summary of the evaluation process;
- Summary of proposals received and their disposition (e.g., rejected due to failure to meet administrative compliance or mandatory requirements);
- Ranking of solution against high level requirements and other qualifications;
- Ranking of proposed project management and implementation staff;
- Ranking of project approach and methodology;
- Ranking of functional and technical requirements, together with documentation of pros and cons of each evaluation criterion.
- Documentation of reference checks;
- Description and Ranking of costs and proposals; and
- Recommendation for Award or solution implementation.
- Obtain approval from appropriate Governance group and complete contracting effort.
- Create Implementation Plan: Define the overall high level time-line for each phase of the project and detail out the next stage (for example, Design) for implementation.