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We at SmartSite Technology hope that each of you had a wonderful holiday season. We hope that you had time to relax with your family and friends. We wish you peace in 2008!!
If you are like us, 2008 is starting with a bang.  The holiday down time has quickly been replaced with conflicting priorities and an overflowing inbox.  The to-do list is a mile long.
If selecting new software is one of the things on your to-do list for early 2008, the SmartSite Software Selection RoadMap is written just for you.  Selecting software is a complex undertaking, so we will cover the entire process in two parts. This month we will talk about how to analyze your software needs and next month we will talk about selecting the right software vendor. 
The Software Selection RoadMap will give you a step-by-step methodology to follow to help you determine what software best fits your needs and your budget.  It will help you ask the right questions and involve the right people in the software selection process. We hope that the RoadMap will make the software selection process less intimidating and give you the confidence to know that that you have chosen the best software solution for your organization.
Software Selection RoadMap
Phase I -- Analyzing your needs
1--Establish Your project team
Put together the core team.  Their job is to select your new software. Make sure to include someone from each stakeholder group.  Don't forget to include one or two users, the people who currently do the job that the software will be used to do.
2--Define the goals for the new software system
There are three things that you need to know before you can finalize your goals.  First, you have to understand the existing business process.  (How is the work done now?  Are their changes that we would like to make to the current processes?) Second, you need to document critical success factors (CSF) for the project.  (CFSs are those things that you MUST do well in order to be successful. CSFs define critical functionality that must be part of the new system.) Third, you need to define your measurements of success.  (Are you doing this project to save money? To do more with the same number of staff members?  Whatever you are trying to do, you need to write it down so that it becomes part of the project documentation.)
3--Define Requirements
Define the functionality that you want the new system to have.
4--Prioritize Requirements
Rank the importance of each requirement identified in step 3 using a number system such as "5" for critical down to "1" for NA.  Redo this step if most of your requirements are ranked critical.  Then, divide the list of requirements into two groups--"Must Have" and "Nice to Have".  When you have completed this exercise, you will have a pretty good idea of what functionality you need in your new system.
5--Determine Project Parameters
Since the project team now understands the problem they are trying to solve, team members need to agree on the scope of the project, the project budget and the project timeline. Create a Scope Statement, tentative budget and project timeline.
6--Select a Project Champion
The project champion may or may not already be a member of the core project team.  This person believes in the need for the new software and is well respected throughout your organization.  This person needs to be on board before the software is selected to ensure that they are committed and in agreement with the software selected. 
7--Define and Manage Risks
Spend time as a team identifying potential risks of the project and how likely they are to occur. Talk to people in the organization who are likely to oppose your project. Get their input early. Create strategies to mitigate the identified risks and roadblocks.  Stay on the lookout for unanticipated obsticles throughout the project, and act quickly to mitigate them.
8--Get Management Buyin
Take your completed analysis to Management and get sign off.  Identify other critical places in the project timeline where further management review will be conducted.
SmartSite Technology is the virtual IT Department for small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations.  We provide all of the information technology services that a business needs to compete in today's marketplace.
Our goal at SmartSite Technology is to help each of our clients to be a success!! We know that technology is not a core competency for many small business owners and non-profit professionals. We believe that every organization benefits when they automate their business processes. We work closely with all of our clients, especially those who are the least comfortable with computers and technology, to help them fine tune the automated processes used in running their business. 
Contact us today to discuss your most pressing technology problems.
Tech Tutor
SmartSite Technology 

January, 2008

In This Issue
Software Selection RoadMap
Your Tech Tutor Says...
Back-up Your Computers!!
tutor pic number 1
While you are organizing your office this month, don't forget that many of your important documents are stored on your computer!  Think beyond the office --does your home computer contain
personal financial or other critical documents?
January is the perfect time to back-up your computer to ensure that you do not lose any important documents should something unexpected happens to your computer.
Resolve to back-up all of your computers before the end of January. 
AND resolve to back-up every computer at least once a month during 2008!!
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