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Selecting an IT/MIS Vendor Checklist and Timeline
An Eight Step Model for Selecting the Right Vendor August 2007 Selecting the right IT/MIS vendor is an important part of making technology improvements that meet your needs and will effectively and efficiently support ADRC operations. The experience of ADRC grantees thus far indicates that the process may take several years from the planning stages to having a fully implemented system in place. The chart below outlines the critical steps in the process of building a new IT system to support ADRC operations and was adapted for ADRC grantees from resources available on the ADRC-TAE website (www.adrctae.com), and from the TechSoup Learning Center Website (www.techsoup.org). We are aware that some ADRCs may choose to adapt existing systems and that they may follow some of these steps, but this checklist primarily details steps involved in creating a new system.

Step 1

Timeline 3- 6 months

Tasks Establish Leadership and Support
1) Identify core IT/MIS work group or team (drawing from key project staff at state and local levels, advisory board members, consumers) 2) Request input from and secure support of key management, grant staff, advisory board, professional front-line users (pilot site staff, partners, and/or consumers), other stakeholders. 3) First steps for your core IT/MIS work group include: a) Diagram key business processes and identify areas in which automation already does support or should support these processes. This may include suggesting where IT could lead to a total redesign of the business process. In some cases, the result of this planning will result in a business process model. For examples, see the resources below. b) Identify potential barriers (people, politics and systems), including developing strategies to address each barrier. c) Develop a communication plan for the project so everyone shares one message. Suggested Resources: “Selecting the Right Technology Vendor: NPower's guide to navigating the decision-making process” (NPower Network, February 2006) “What’s Involved in Technology Planning: Seven Steps to a Better Technology Plan” (TechSoup.Org, December 2002)

www.adrc-tae.org

1

Step

Timeline

Tasks
TAE Issue Brief: Business Planning Tools for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC-TAE, May 2004)

2

Up to 3 months

Assess Feasibility and Resources
1) Organizational readiness, program and IT staff availability a) Identify staff and organizational partners with technical skills. b) Consider hiring a technical assistance provider. c) Identify local volunteers or other groups with relevant knowledge. 2) Identify financial resources for initial purchase, ongoing maintenance and long term, sustainability (e.g. ADRC grant funds, other state funds, in-kind support, legislative financial support, public/private partnerships)

3

3-6 months

Gather Organizational Requirements (e.g., define needs)
1) Assess the current technology systems in place, considering how all systems work together to support the business process. What works well? What need improvement? 2) Conduct analysis of new system’s critical requirements such as: a) Web-based for professional and/or consumer users b) Search capabilities c) Client tracking features d) Reporting capabilities e) Capacity for data sharing with outside entities f) Capacity for online-applications and tools g) Data storage needs h) Security requirements i) Accessibility, limited English proficiency, and support for other languages (if applicable) 3) Draft an IT/MIS development plan that outlines available resources, budget, requirements/needs, and next steps for developing new system Suggested Resources: ADRC MIS Requirements Development (ADRC-TAE , June 2004) “Review of IT Systems for Single Point of Entry” (Randy Blume Associates, Community Living Exchange Collaborative, ADRC-TAE website, June 2004)

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2 – 4 months Research and Refine Options
1) Research technology options currently available on the market to answer the following preliminary questions: a) How well could this technology meet our project/organizational

www.adrc-tae.org

2

Step

Timeline

Tasks goals and critical requirements; b) What is the potential cost for implementing the system; and c) Where will this technology option position our organization to go next? 2) Establish evaluation criteria based on critical requirements (consider ranking criteria in terms of priority) 3) Develop evaluation matrices to document vendor capabilities and differences 4) Conduct research and define targeted list of vendors 5) Work with state or local contracts/procurement office to determine whether an RFP or RFI is needed or appropriate. If so, a) Use system requirements and time frame to develop an RFP (example RFPs are posted on ADRC-TAE website) b) Create and post vendor RFP or Sole Source Contract Suggested Resources: I&R/Case Management Software Vendors Survey Matrix (ADRC-TAE, June 2005) Wisconsin Software Selection Requirements (Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Family Services, ADRC-TAE website, February 2005) “The RFP Process: An Overview” Information Sheet (NPower Network, May 2006) "Technology Planning Guide" (Progressive Technology Project, April 2007)

5

Up to 3 months

Evaluate Vendors
1) Receive proposals 2) Use evaluation criteria and matrices to evaluate vendors 3) Schedule product demonstrations as necessary (including end-users, as appropriate, in demonstration process)

6

Select and Engage Vendor
1) Conduct negotiations 2) Develop contracts

www.adrc-tae.org

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Step 7

Timeline 6 months to a year

Tasks Manage Implementation
1) Work with vendor to set realistic timeline for development of customized features, review and revisions, implementation and user training 2) Assign implementation responsibilities among staff at state and local levels 3) Develop an evaluation plan for tracking progress of implementation 4) Implement, potentially in phases as appropriate (implementation is complete when all users are trained and using the new system)

8

Ongoing

Evaluation, Support and Maintenance
1) Update the technology plan as needed based on user feedback, new requirements, new target populations, expanded scope of services 2) Conduct ongoing staff training (for new staff and new features) 3) Ensure appropriate resources (e.g., technical support, patches/maintenance, ongoing training, upgrades) are available on an ongoing basis

www.adrc-tae.org

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