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Choosing Software Wisely - The New Testament   JMS article as featured in the APICS newsletter

Robust, Industrial Strength, World Class, and Scalable… These are some of the software purchase commandments brought down to us from analysts across the globe. While not delivered in the form of two stone tablets, these have become guidelines for almost every software purchase decision during the past few years.

Buzz words are great. They establish a common medium of communication, allowing us to share ideas more efficiently and with less effort. Unfortunately, the original intent of these guidelines sometimes gets lost as they are adopted by savvy sales and marketing departments.

Run a search in Google on all three words "robust" "industrial strength" "scalable" at the same time and you will get around 6000 hits of companies advertising software products. As those that came before them, the word is out and these guidelines are diluted beyond any value.

So we are left to fend for ourselves in this ever-changing technical world and back to the basics we go. In “Plain English”, a simple wish list for any software should be to:
 
  • meet business goals
  • require little maintenance
  • pay for itself
  • easily adapt to business change
  • be reliable
  • be well-supported by the seller
  • be user-friendly
  • offered with a free trial period

The next question is undoubtedly how much is something like this going to cost, and how long will it take to implement? Well, that part is up to you. Your options for any business system will range from under $20,000 to millions of dollars with implementation schedules varying from days to years. Would you like to see the ROI on your investment in months or years? Which solution does your budget allow for?

Beware of price tags that do not include costly components required to make the product functional such as additional database platforms, application server software, hardware costs, integration costs, consulting costs, etc. Good software should compliment existing legacy systems and utilize current data warehouses, not create new ones.

Some of us have had the unpleasant experience of an out of control IT project that exponentially overran estimated budgets, timelines, and resources, and was completed so late its technology was outdated before it went live. History shows that spending hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, on the latest technology does not guarantee success. More importantly, after all is said and done, some companies will never see a return on expensive software investments.

Reduce the risk of investing a substantial amount of funds and resources into a large project where success can not possibly be determined until months after completion. Consider a smaller limited-budget solution if it is available. Some of these smaller products will implement in a matter of days and accomplish everything you need them to do. In addition, business needs are bound to change over time. Smaller solutions can be adapted to meet those changes quickly and at a much lower cost.

Jada Management Systems (JMS) specializes in modular Supply Chain Planning software, driven by the philosophy of the 8 requirements noted above. Our Forecasting, Demand Planning, MRP, Capacity Planning, and Scheduling components can be implemented and integrated in a few days (thanks to our built-in integration module) and they are free to try out for a period of 30 days.

 

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