Understanding Your Fundamental Goals

It’s beneficial to state and have vendors understand your fundamental project objective and procurement goals:

  • How has your organization determined it will achieve its business transformation using information technology? How big is the scope of your project? What are your project timelines?

  • Has your organization surveyed the available software solutions – Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) vs. Custom Application Development – and made a commitment to the COTS type of software solution and the related implementation approach required? How will the system be supported once it is in production?

Understanding Your Project Scope


Your Current or Envisioned Business Scenarios


Provide an understanding of all in-scope, start-to-finish business workflows (the “As Is” or “Future State” business processes to be supported by your new software solution) and to what extent current or re-engineered processes have been documented. Provide any documentation that lists process descriptions and business rules or, in the event this is unknown, describe your organization’s willingness and expected process to define these important system design and configuration elements.

Whether your organization chooses to undertake a business process re-engineering (BPR) exercise as part of its business transformation or simply stays the course with its business “as is,” process and business rule documentation can be presented in the form of data models, object models, process workflow charts, or step-by-step grids or tables. A listing of all the distinct and unique workflows to be implemented, including the names of the different business processes, process types and/or workflows, is desired to enable accurate costing.

“Use Case methodology” is a recognized process definition/documentation best practice that lends itself especially well to a regulatory environment, and which will result in documentation that could be readily interpreted by COTS and/or Custom Application Development software vendors as they seek to understand system requirements described in a subsequent RFP.

The Use Case approach is primarily workflow-centric and, therefore, valuable to regulatory agencies undergoing transformation. Ultimately, when the time arrives, up-to-date documentation of your Use Cases will allow software vendors to understand your capability-oriented system requirements in the context of the in-scope business processes that will remain “as is” and those that have been improved through re-engineering.

Other Desired Information about Your Business Scenarios

  1. Provide a description of your organization’s internal and external users, or groups of users, and how they are involved in the completion of the business scenarios or workflows considered. This would include the number of business users by category (e.g., management, inspectors, cashiers, front desk clerks, plans or document examiners, contractors, external agencies that participate in your review and approval processes, etc.), as well as specifications for the tools they use in the completion of their respective responsibilities (software, hardware, methodologies, computer literacy levels, familiarity with certain products, etc.). This may include organizational charts, especially if there has been a recent change to, or amalgamation of, business units or the department organizational structure.

  2. Provide a description of the existing corporate Information Technology standards for operating systems, database platforms, technical architecture, software, protocols, major operating policies, and:
  • rules that will not change and reasons why they must be adhered to.
  • rules that are expected to change, and if the changes will occur at once or staggered over some time frame.


NEXT WEEK: Your reasons for software system change and your critical success factors.