Electrical Contractor – California
The company was growing quickly. They were decentralized with remote offices that operated very autonomously and were not tied into the current system. The current accounting system was an older version of a construction accounting software product. It was no longer being supported by the vendor and had not been updated in a number of years. It also lacked Inventory, Human Resources, Equipment Accounting, and Purchasing, all applications important to this company.
Aside from this company being large, complex, and decentralized, most of their procedures were based on older systems. It was also necessary to get a number of functional areas of the company to compromise slightly in order to get them all operating on an integrated system.
BCG kicked off a standard software selection process with a planning session that included several top managers from throughout the company. A vision of the ideal information system was developed and then specific objectives were set. From there the selection process was started in earnest and included visits to two of the six remote offices. The site visits were to identify unique requirements at the remote offices as well as to begin to develop buy-in to the system from staff at these offices.
The company selected a software product from a smaller software developer (40 users in total) that focused on specialty contractors. The product was also more tailorable, which means it could be adapted as the company grew and changed. The software included a sophisticated Requisition and Purchasing application, which the purchasing department needed. Finally, the product would allow for certain functions to be pulled away from the central server, placed on remote workstations, and run from there with the option to connect and move data back and forth. This was a unique capability that really appealed to this company with their remote offices.
- Involving staff from remote operations in the selection process is important even when the functions will not be any different. It ensures buy-in.
- For larger organizations, many of the support functions are very sophisticated and must be considered carefully in the evaluation.
- Implementation planning is critical to establishing the implementation strategy and schedule as well as for establishing agreeable expectations for both the vendor and the contractor.