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Don’t Repave the Cow Path

Whenever an organization indicates they are considering automating an existing process, Convergent Results always has the same advice. Installing new, upgrading or switching your system, document your current process, activities, roles and responsibilities, before you start shopping automation vendors. Implement and prove out any planned process improvements. Where we’ve worked with Gartner, they share this point of view.

This action allows your organization to develop system requirements that should be the selection criteria for your choice. The only people who disagree with this advice are the automation vendors. It was shared with Convergent Results, in very clear terms, by a Business Development Executive of one of the top five ERP/EAM vendors, that this delays the vendor’s cash flow…not desired by at least that vendor.

There are two advantages to taking the time to improve and document your process before you bring in automation vendors. First, you can develop detailed requirements, at the department level, that sort requirements into the “must haves” to conduct business, and the “nice to do’s” that could help but are not process critical.

The second advantage to cleaning your process house before calling the IT vendors is clarifying what the system can or cannot do to improve operations. Convergent Results worked with a client where over fifty percent of the “must have” requirements could not be addressed by the system, per IT Subject Matter Experts. These, instead, were included in the scope of process improvement projects. Money was saved by excluding non-system issues from the statement of work. And, end user expectations were tempered, understanding systems’ limitations before system selection…not after implementation.

This transforms the selection process from an IT Business Development Executive pushing features and benefits at the top, to picking what vendor’s system already has the necessary requirements, as described department by department. You avoid the phrase “repaving the cow path”, automating any inefficient twists and turns in the process you already have.

Convergent Results has assisted organizations selecting IT systems. After the process housecleaning, identifying requirements by department and culling the list of vendors down to the final two, the organization held a two week, head to head competition between the top two leading competitors. Each vendor presented to each group of department representatives separate from the other departments. Engineering was one presentation by one vendor in week one and by the other vendor in week two. Accounting was separate as was human resources, operations, etc. The representative groups then selected their preferred vendor, and the results tallied to make the decision, knowing clearly where any weakness may be in the selected system. Of course the internal IT group oversaw the entire process.

Sound like something that could benefit your organization? Contact us at


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