Case Study: Software Selection – Specialty Engineering Contractor – Maryland


Large and growing ground modification Contractor

Client Size

$200M to $500M
(Annual Revenue)

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The company had an older software product with inadequate support. It was one of four installations of a software product that was on a different relational database than the main system. As a result, the support had waned, as had the interest of the vendor in supporting it. A potential Y2K problem existed. There was also a significant effort needed to produce reports on a side system that required manually entering data each week, most of which already existed in the core accounting system. The Challenge A special report, relatively unique cost and revenue recognition requirements, along with a Canadian payroll meant that the vendor/product short list would be limited. Also, the fact that many of the users needed to have access to the system over a wide area network or via telephone line meant that the user interface and software architecture needed to be considered in the analysis.
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Burger Consulting Group assisted with a system selection that included a Request for Proposal (RFP) sent to a select group of pre-qualified vendors. A host-oriented system with graphical user interface was selected and a custom report was negotiated as part of the agreement to meet the weekly reporting requirements. Burger Consulting Group assisted in developing the custom report specifications, negotiating the contract, and facilitating the implementation planning workshop with the vendor to ensure a successful project.
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The client has begun implementation of the new system. Custom report design was completed and a prototype testing approach included in the agreement revealed a flawed assumption. As a result of the approach taken, the software will be corrected prior to going live on the system.
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Lessons Learned:

  • Custom software is often risky. It should be avoided it if at all possible
  • Selections run smoothly with executive participation throughout the process
  • Effective contracts will provide a working mechanism for resolving issues before live processing