In the first two parts of this series (part I, part II), Jim, director of IT at MegaResistCap, learned that the company’s recently rolled out enterprise resource planning (ERP) system would have to support global trade management (GTM) functionality more quickly than expected. He had sent an e-mail off to his chief information officer (CIO), Mike, suggesting a new project be set up and managed by the project management office, MegaPMO. Now, with some trepidation, he awaited the response from the CIO.
The week following Jim’s e-mail passed without a reply to his message. Was the CIO trying to distance himself from Jim’s message? Was the executive operational committee upset by the suggestion of another software project after they just got through the high-cost ERP rollout? Or did they agree with the suggested approach? At the weekly staff meeting with Mike, Jim brought it up but Mike quickly asked him whether he thought the Giants should consider moving Lincecum down to the minors so he could work on his fastball. What did that mean? Did it mean Mike and the executive committee might be considering moving Jim down to the minors? It was Friday, seven days after the initial e-mail, and Jim was ready to barge into Mike’s office. Just as he was formulating his opening line, the following popped up in his inbox:
Sent: Friday, 3:18 pm
Subject: RE: RE: FWD: Congrats, you are now deemed an exporter
The executive operating committee is in agreement with our recommendation to initiate with a project to enable MegaRistCap to become a fully compliant exporter. You have the committee’s (and my) full support to do whatever it takes to make this happen. They have approved an operating budget that I think you’ll be very happy with.
Of course, based on the expertise you’ve shown in this area, I want you to lead the software evaluation and selection part of the project. Nancy, the operations director, will be your co-lead on the project and will coordinate the business components of the project.
Mike was relieved to see the message. He wasn’t too sure what to make of the line “our recommendation,” but he would let it slide. He needed to proceed with the project, and once again, he knew the clock would be ticking.
Software Selection Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
Over the next month, the project team got up to speed very quickly. The teams had, for the most part, been part of the ERP project. The team agreed on the approach it would be using to select the software (whether it was new software or expanded functionality in their ERP system). It would follow the methodology that worked well in the past. In parallel, the team would also develop the corporate governance policies, procedures, and training required for compliance with various global trade regulations.
The team quickly researched its needs and pulled together its functional requirements. The functional requirements included those developed during the ERP selection plus additional business requirements and enhancement requests pooled and prioritized since the go-live. Jim was also able to impress with a list of GTM requirements he pulled from the TEC Supply Chain Management Buyer’s Guide. Jim’s team then put together a long list of possible solutions.
The team was able to narrow down the list to a shortlist of vendors for in-depth evaluation. With the shortlist in hand, the team went through scripted software demonstrations, pulled references, and reviewed the market data on the vendors. The team submitted its anonymous votes on the recommended solution via a survey. Francois, the company’s Legal counsel, tabulated the results and would make the announcement at the next scheduled meeting of the executive committee. Jim and the entire team were invited to an expanded meeting of the executive committee where the result would be presented.
Jim was waiting on the edge of his seat during the meeting and visibly more anxious than anyone in the room. A big reason for his anxiety was because one of the options in the survey was to rip out the recently implemented ERP system and move to an entirely different platform. Another reason for Jim’s nervousness was that he knew now that the software selection phase was over, it would soon be up to his team to move ahead with the implementation.
And the winner is? Tune into our next post in the series to see what the team decided.