Managing Software Acquisition and Outsourcing

2 Day Intensive Seminar Workshop

Acquiring software, whether an existing package or outsourced development, frequently is disappointing. The software often costs more, takes longer to implement, and works less well than expected; and the acquisition process itself often is too costly and time consuming. Acquisition can cut costs, speed implementation, and improve quality--when selected, tested, and installed using an appropriate methodology. Invariably, though, many acquisitions are done by people who don't even realize they don't understand how to acquire software effectively. Merely replicating a prior selection, using the "textbook" approach, or engaging a consultant who uses it, can create a false sense of security. The "textbook" approach is necessary but not sufficient in today's competitive environment. This course presents it, along with the advanced critical elements which the textbooks tend to overlook, especially for successful outsourcing. Attendees receive an actual model Request for Proposals (RFP) which they may adapt for their own acquisitions. Case exercises reinforce learning.

Participants will learn:

  * Systematic reliable process for acquiring packaged or outsourced software that meets requirements.
  * Ways to minimize the cost and duration of the acquisition process.
  * Creating and using a Request for Proposals (RFP) to control what you buy and avoid "being sold."
  * Defining clearly, completely, and appropriately what the vendor should deliver.
  * Using reliable cost and performance data to focus on important payback areas.
  * Economical yet powerful methods for comparatively evaluating competing proposals.
  * Negotiating favorable contractual terms with vendors.
  * Managing the quality, schedule, and acceptability of installed software, even when outsourced.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: This course has been designed for systems and business managers, project leaders, analysts, advisors, quality professionals, and auditors who are or will become involved in acquiring packaged and/or outsourced software.



  • Make vs. buy, package/outsourcing strategies
  • Traditional selection process weaknesses
  • Role of methodology in succesful selection


  • "Textbook" weaknesses to overcome
  • Guidelines/pitfalls for defining requirements
  • Internal and external information sources
  • Outsourcing and remote development
  • Support and maintenance
  • Performance and complex environments


  • Components and flow
  • Defining requirements--typical approaches
  • Packages vs. outsourcing, maintenance
  • Request for Proposals (RFP) purposes/use
  • Identifying prospective vendors
  • Model RFP which you may adapt
  • Terms, conditions, licensing, pricing
  • Weighted scoring proposal evaluations
  • Analyzing proposal costs/benefits
  • Report to management



  • Getting "apples to apples" comparisons
  • Keeping responsibility on the vendor
  • Seven-step evaluation procedure
  • Outsourcing and sole-sourcing suitability
  • References, benchmarks, demonstrations
  • Risks and management considerations
  • Effective use of consultants for selections


  • Using feasibility analysis to advantage
  • Estimating costs, benefits, and performance Steering Committee role
  • Disciplined decision making that saves effort
  • Keeping control when sole-sourcing


  • Controlling quality, schedule, responsiveness
  • Negotiating changes, adjustments, corrections
  • Acceptance criteria, test plans, testing
  • Implementation planning, training, processes
  • Maintenance request, test, and distribution
  • Continuously improving acquisition process

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