Assessing Your Agency’s Readiness for a COTS Solution

Pre-configured Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) regulatory software products, including our POSSE Land Management SystemPOSSE Alcoholic Beverage Control & POSSE Enterprise Licensing systems, are developed based on a vendor’s experience with, and a best practices interpretation of increasingly uniform business processes, such as government-oriented licensing, permitting, inspections and enforcement. The increasing commonality of these regulatory processes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction across the U.S. and Canada enable COTS software vendors and their customers to move away from high-risk and expensive one-off “custom build” software projects to pre-configured business systems that featuring significant available functionality.

To achieve a successful COTS business system implementation, your  agency will need to be prepared to collaborate on several important tasks, including:

  1. Fit Assessment
    A Fit/Gap Analysis led by the vendor to understand where the vendor’s product offers a “fit” with the business and technical requirements specified in the RFP.
    Note: Requirements in the COTS solution may be met in a different way than your current system.
  2. Gap Closure
    A continuation of the Fit/Gap Analysis process led by the vendor to help the vendor’s Business Analysts and System Architect understand the remaining site-specific “Gap” items that must be configured into the system for a total solution—typically, the remaining 20 per cent of highly site-specific requirements.
  3. Change Management
    The agency working with its own business leaders and staff members (ideally, under the guidance of a Change Management professional or Human Resources consultant) to retrofit “As Is” or “Future State” business processes and requirements to align with the COTS software functionality. Outcomes of this exercise may include re-engineering of current business practices and processes, or even some corporate, department, or business unit re-design.

As you further consider a typical COTS system implementation paradigm, even in your project’s infancy, it should cause you to seriously evaluate such underlying factors in your organization as:

As you can see from the above statements, an executive sponsor-driven objective to streamline, improve business, leverage new technologies, and realize improved efficiencies–as well as an organizational willingness to change how you do business in order to get there–are fundamental considerations for a successful COTS project.

NEXT WEEK: A look at the outcomes realized from an effective approach to Organizational Change Management.