Selection Management for Systems and Services: If only I’d have known!

As a growing organisation you will frequently find that what worked yesterday no-longer works today. As business functions grow, from maybe a single person to teams of many people, the way you do things will have to change, processes need to be formalised and systems upgraded. As the Internet Marketing Manager at IT Governance, I have experienced such issues, and many more, first hand.

Over the past 4+ years that I’ve worked at IT Governance, the business has transformed significantly. When I look back to how we used to do things in the early days I am sometimes astonished that we coped. Having said that, we were able to grow, try new things and move forward. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve personally faced have involved technology, and the capabilities that come with technology, moving from more-than-adequate to less-than-adequate. For example, our email marketing capabilities back in 2008 were reasonably limited. We were able to send emails to groups of people and analyse the results. The basic ‘core functionality’ of an online SaaS email platform was sufficient for us.

However, as a growing organisation,  our product range expanded and our subscriber database became larger and more complex. By January 2009 we needed additional capabilities that our current platform couldn’t offer. In fact, it was costing us time and money to stay using the existing platform, meaning we had outgrown the service.

I am an inquisitive individual and always looking to achieve better results and try new things (ok, I may be blowing my own trumpet a little here), I was very aware that we’d reached a plataue in our email marketing channel and in order to grow at the rate the business required I had to find a solution.

Looking back, I needed to do three things:

  1. Find a new platform that gave us the capabilities/functionality that we needed right away;
  2. Consider the capabilities required for the future;
  3. Get buy-in from my CEO.

Rather naively (and probably because I was in a hurry to try out some new ideas), I went first to my CEO to discuss the issues we were facing.  Luckily for me, my CEO is entrepreneurial by nature and I didn’t have too much of a hard time convincing him of the business benefit that all these new capabilities would bring.

So a tick in the box I thought. WRONG. I’d simply made him aware of the possibilities and missed opportunities. I had a long way to go before I was able to bring these ‘business benefits’ to fruition.

After 3 months of blood, sweat and tears …

OK, no actual blood, but real tears, after many hours of analysing our ‘current vs required’ capabilities/functionality, and sitting through numerous presentations from potential suppliers,  I had to weigh it all up and look at the various commercial models – as well as ensuring any potential supplier had an adequate levels of information security (specifically ISO27001 Certification). This whole process took about three months and I finally got what I wanted –  a new email marketing platform that gave us all the capabilities we needed for now and in the future, at a price that made sense. I learned a heck of a lot along the way.

Three and a half years on, to my surprise …

Today, our publishing team informed of an exciting addition to our portfolio of books. This is nothing out of the ordinary, except this seems right up my street.

Wait for it …

Selection Management for Systems and Serivces.

“Tell me more about this book”, I ask.

Formal procurement usually involves days, weeks or even months producing a specification followed by a tender and selection process, but this is rarely practical for an organisation that doesn’t have (or need) a full-time procurement expert.

Selection Management  for Systems and Services offers a simplified, tried and tested process based on a standard set of steps.  It helps the reader to reduce the time spent on the selection process and increases the chances of making a successful selection.

“So who is this book for?”, I ask.

The book is primarily aimed at anyone tasked with selecting an IT system or service, however the processes and techniques are generic and can be adapted for the selection of non-IT services or products.

You’re telling me! This book sounds great!

If this book was around in 2009 I estimate it would have saved me at least 2 of the 3 months it took to migrate our email service to the platform we use today.  Don’t get me wrong, the learning curve I went through was good, but I could have read this book in a weekend and used the tried and tested process for selection management to my advantage. Don’t tell my CEO, but it may even have saved us money!

I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone within a small to medium sized organisation that is serious about growth and wants to get things done quickly and efficiently.

 

Selection Management for Systems and Services Selection Management for Systems and Services
by Jacquie Wakeford

RRP: £24.95
Price: £19.95
You Save: £5.00

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 We have just received the first shipment of stock into our warehouse and I will be making the most of the introductory price of just £19.95. In fact, as well as getting a copy for my bookshelf, I will also be purchasing a copy for my Kindle so I can refer to it at my convenience.

You too should get a copy today and see for yourself how much time and money it will save you!