Contractor – New York
The company had been operating with an old proprietary accounting system and used it for little else. They were faced with a Year 2000 problem and a small budget and were torn between acquiring a popular graphical PC network based system and a host based package that would afford them an easier conversion and more robust software but keep them in a character based environment.
The company was leaning toward the graphical system because they were convinced the industry was moving in that direction and it would be necessary to be in that environment to stay competitive. Nobody at the firm had been through a system conversion and they believed that data conversion was an important part of the criteria on which a decision should be based. The firm had no IT staff.
BCG worked with the client for a day, interviewing key personnel and establishing a base line for their computer knowledge, their operations approach, and the general functional requirements. Through this process, the organization was determined to be rather conservative, relying on a centralized management style. There was little desire from project management staff to use the system, relying instead on a clerical staff. It was determined that there were no IT personnel and that reliability was a key need for the system. BCG also learned that the company had been looking at only two packages seriously and felt that either product could meet their needs functionally. The interviews confirmed that there were no unusual requirements. At the end of the process, the more traditional product was chosen over the network based product. BCG reviewed the proposal for reasonableness and the client negotiated a contract with support for its existing system through 2000 with an implementation set to begin on the new system immediately after the first of the year.
A very small investment in consulting services provided the client with guidance in the final selection and prevented them from buying the more popular system that would have ultimately proven to be more costly and difficult to implement for no functional gain.
- Host based stable software is sometimes a better solution than the high-tech PC networked systems.
- The way a company operates has a big impact on the type of software they should select.
- A small consulting engagement can help avoid significant mistakes down the road.