Articles by James A Robertson and Associates

Std 011 Procurement: 03 Business Information System Requirements Definition
Created by James on 10/22/2014 2:26:59 PM

The Business Requirements Specification is a strategically focused document, that is it lifts out the essence of the business and how it thrives in a structured and weighted manner so that there is NO uncertainty on the part of the bidders as to the exact nature of the business
The strategic essence must lift out the fundamentals of the busines and particularly what is unusual, the elements that deliver competitive advantage and which are therefore the most vulnerable to inappropriate action
This is NOT the place for generic industry definitions or for long lists of standard software functionality -- development of the requirements specification requires a mature and highly experienced consultant with a solid understanding of strategic essence AND a solid understanding of systems and how systems integrate with the business to deliver high value outcomes


The Business Requirements Specification is a strategically focused document, that is it lifts out the essence of the business and how it thrives in a structured and weighted manner so that there is NO uncertainty on the part of the bidders as to the exact nature of the business
The strategic essence must lift out the fundamentals of the busines and particularly what is unusual, the elements that deliver competitive advantage and which are therefore the most vulnerable to inappropriate action
This is NOT the place for generic industry definitions or for long lists of standard software functionality -- development of the requirements specification requires a mature and highly experienced consultant with a solid understanding of strategic essence AND a solid understanding of systems and how systems integrate with the business to deliver high value outcomes


Requirement Specification

Relating to an

Integrated Financial Solution

Comprising

A Financial Suite and Data Warehouse,

including

Data Sharing, Implementation and

Project Management Services


Release 1

                                                      

                                                            

                                   


Background

Client is a privately owned, Xxx based Xxx Company.

Client’s Head Office is in Xxx and the installation will be hosted there.

Client have a number of branches and franchises around Xxx as well as internationally.  While the solution must be capable of being deployed in these offices as required this tender is ONLY for deployment in Xxx.

The current financial suite is based on Pastel Partner coupled to an existing in-house developed operational software suite which will be retained.  The financial components of the solution are in large measure manual and based on Excel and will not support the business to achieve its strategic growth objectives.  It has therefore been decided to procure a comprehensive suite of financial business information systems including General Ledger, Debtors, Creditors, Fixed Assets, Cash Book and Inventory.  A Data Warehouse is also required.  These systems will share data to the extent necessary with the existing operational systems developed by Client.

This Request for Proposal is being issued with a view to appointing a single prime contractor on a fixed price basis to supply all required system components and integrate these with one another and with the systems that are already in use within the company.

This document constitutes the Requirements Definition for this assembly of systems.

Critical Consideration – Trusted Professional Advisors

In interpreting this document and the RFP it is vital to understand that Client are seeking to appoint a single firm as trusted professional advisor for the entire project.  This firm will be held fully accountable for delivering the required outcome on a fixed price, fixed outcome basis.

The Strategic Advisor to the CEO, Dr James Robertson, who has drafted these documents will provide quality assurance and contractual review advisory services to Client CEO but is NOT responsible for the outcome.

Bidders must fully satisfy themselves that they fully understand the requirement and are required to undertake comprehensive requirement definition workshops as part of the deliverable.

This document headlines the requirement at a strategic level in order to ensure that bidders understand the high level scope of work and therefore forms the conceptual foundation for the detailed design.


Client CEO

Chief Executive




Section 1
Strategic Business Systems Definition
The Essence of the Client Business Systems Requirement

The following points describe the headline elements that constitute the essence of the Client business requirement.  These are the points which if overlooked or compromised in the design and implementation of the solution will DAMAGE the business and the factors which if ACCURATELY accommodated will support the business in its strategic (growth) goals.

Percentages at the end of headings indicate the relative importance of these factors in achieving the project goals.  ALL components are required in order to achieve a viable business solution:

1.1  Business is growing rapidly -- Highly competitive business – xx%

Client is growing rapidly and systems are required to support that growth.  Client operates in an environment competing with 4 other major xxx companies.  The efficiency and effectiveness of its business systems is therefore of paramount importance.

1.2  Own complex system includes invoicing, installation xxx, commission payments, etc – xx%

Client sister company Client Sister Company has developed a suite of software for Client that takes account of customer billing, installation xxx, commission and royalty payments, etc.

The new financial suite must be able to share data with these systems using simple data interchange formats such as XML, CSV or similar.

1.3  Throughout Xxx, Xxx, the World – xx%

Client operates throughout Xxx with both branches and franchises.  The system must be capable of being deployed affordably in both of these types of branch in time. Truck utilization – 16%

Client operates in the following countries in Xxx and expansion is expected.  Some of these branches are wholly owned and others are franchises.  The system chosen must be capable of being deployed in these countries as required on an affordable basis.

Client currently operates in … in the rest of the world, in some cases as wholly owned subsidiaries and in other cases as franchises.  The system selected must be capable of being affordably deployed in these locations on an as required basis.

1.4  High volume low value debtors transactions and credit control is a critical requirement – xx%

The nature of Clients business is that customers are billed monthly, individual invoice amounts are relatively small, there are a large number of customers and missed payments and defaults are significant.

The solution that is adopted must be geared to managing this sort of debtor environment including xxx accounts that have been handed over for collection.

1.5  Xxx device inventory management – xx%

Xxx devices represent a substantial stock holding with items being moved from location to location and country to country on a daily basis.  An inventory solution that can handle this effectively is required.  The existing in-house systems track inventory during the installation process and will continue to do this.  The inventory management solution is required to manage inventory up to the point at which it is handed over for installation.

1.6  Debit order processing – xx%

Client obtain most payments by debit order.  The system is required to provide comprehensive facilities for managing debit orders based on a payment instruction that will be generated in the existing systems.

1.7   Single Prime Contractor – Integrator / Implementer -- fully accountable – xx%

A fundamental business requirement is to outsource as much risk as possible for the system procurement and implementation on a fixed price basis.

We are looking for a service provider who can guarantee a successful outcome in terms of the final integrated business technology solution.

It is anticipated that the final solution will comprise a portfolio of software elements which must all be integrated at the DATA level to accomplish seamless single point of entry operation.

  1.8 Precision Configuration that models the real world

In developing the solution the entire solution must be configured with a high level of precision that accurately models the real world.  This requirement informs ALL the above items.

Implementers must evidence that they have particular expertise in this area, particularly with regard to developing an enterprise Chart of Accounts that will support global consolidation in the Data Warehouse and is coupled to a robust management model.




Section 2
Headline Business Requirement


The following components define the headlines of the business requirement and will form the basis of adjudication

Percentages at the end of headings indicate the relative importance of these factors in achieving the project goals.  ALL components are required in order to achieve a viable business solution:

1.1  Data sharing -- ability to integrate effectively with current systems    

The current in-house developed systems are very comprehensive with regard to the core operations of the business and the new financial suite is required to share data with these systems on an agreed basis.

It has been agreed that this sharing of data will take place using simple and reliable methods such as the transfer of data files in, for example, XML or CSV format on a regular scheduled basis.  The exact break point between the in-house system and the new financial suite will be established on the basis of what is technically optimum.  The following items must be addressed in the offer.

1.1.1 Low technology data file transfer in -- XML, CSV or similar

1.1.2 Low technology data file transfer OUT -- XML, CSV or similar

1.1.3 Track Record -- references -- software

1.1.4 Track Record -- references -- implementer                                               

       

1.2   Finance functionality                          

There are a number of aspects of financial suite functionality that are critical to this project, these are listed below:

1.2.1  Robust enterprise Chart of Accounts that supports global consolidation

It is vital that the bidders evidence experience and thought leadership with regard to the development of an enterprise Chart of Accounts that will accommodate the full complexity of the Client operation globally

1.2.2 Moderately high volume of low value invoices from in-house developed systems

The existing in-house developed systems will generate the invoices as at present but these must be handed over to the Debtors module for Debtor account management and debit order processing                  

          1.2.3 Very flexible debit order processing       

This will include the processing of debit orders.  The in-house system will raise the charges but the processing of debit orders must be managed by a module to be supplied as part of the financial suite solution.  It is envisaged that this will probably take the form of a third party add-on module for the financial suite

1.2.4 Credit Control including debtors dialer and synchronization of screens with in-house  system 

Because of the debit order based billing and the nature of the business default on debit orders is a frequent occurrence.  There is a need for a debtors dialer function that will assist with the follow-up of overdue amounts, lead operators through a prioritized list of calls and associate management screens in the Debtors module and the in-house system for credit control purposes through, for example, a common ODBC link.

            1.2.5 Manage accounts handed over for collection

The number of accounts handed over for collection at any time is considerable.  There is a requirement for a component, probably an add-on module, that will synch with the collection agency so that Client have visibility of the state of collections

            1.2.6 Bank reconciliation

Because of the very large number of small payments there is a requirement for an automated bank reconciliation – ties in to the requirement for debit order processing

            1.2.7 Standard Finance Functionality

The following are routine finance suite applications; the requirement here is for comprehensive functionality that supports the way that Client does business.  It is assumed that all mainstream financial suites will meet this requirement.  Vendors are requested to highlight what they consider to be particular strengths of their offering insofar as these relate to Client

                        1.2.7.1 General Ledger

                        1.2.7.2 Debtors

                        1.2.7.3 Creditors

                        1.2.7.4 Cash Book

     1.2.7.5 Inventory                                 

                        1.2.7.6 Fixed Assets


          1.3   Data warehouse and business intelligence capability

Given the reliance that exists on the in-house developed suite of software a fully-fledged Data Warehouse is regarded as essential.  This should comprise services and products relating to extract, transform and load as well as with regard to reporting and modelling (”business intelligence”).  The reference document pack includes examples of the basic reports that are required.  Provision must be made for more comprehensive and sophisticated models and reports.

Fully pre-mapped onto the financial suite

    Easily mapped onto the existing Client databases

            Easy to use

            Track Record -- references -- software

    Track Record -- references -- implementer


1.4   Compliance with overall tender requirements and project approach

Bids will also be adjudicated in terms of the following criteria:

            Have accepted terms of the bid as presented in the RFP, etc

            Proven track record

            Reputation

            Team offered

            Footprint


1.5  Satisfies other requirements                            

            Under our control -- do it ourselves, host ourselves

It is the culture of Client to do as much as possible themselves, the offer must recognize this and support this culture

            Standard Financial Suite should suffice                      

The following are routine financial suite applications, the requirement here is for comprehensive functionality that supports the way that Client does business.  It is assumed that all mainstream financial suites will meet this requirement.  Vendors are requested to highlight what they consider to be particular strengths of their offering insofar as these relate to Client

                        General Ledger

                        Debtors

                        Creditors

                        Cash Book

     Inventory                                

                        Fixed Assets

             Suitable for a business the size and complexity of Client  

                 

1.6  Global consolidation when required in the future -- in Data Warehouse

It must be possible to consolidate financial and other performance data in the Data Warehouse solution

            Different countries

            Different currencies

            Track Record -- references -- software

            Track Record -- references -- implementer


1.7  Global operation when required in the future 

Must be able to be deployed in other countries on an “as required” basis with the understanding that in some countries, such as those with xxx based tax systems, xxx and others, that systems that are unique to those countries may be used in place of the standard financial suite.  Ability to operate in those countries is a recommendation but NOT a requirement

Global footprint and growth although only deploy Xxxn head office at present                   

          Different countries

          Different currencies

Different tax regimes

          Track Record -- references -- software

          Track Record -- references -- implementer

Business is growing dramatically locally and globally, solution must be able to grow 

          

1.8  Additional modules offered by vendors (not specific to finance)                              

Vendors are requested to bring our attention to any other relevant modules or add-on components that they are able to offer


1.9  Hardware and network impacts are light and manageable

The solution should NOT place heavy demands on the network and hardware

The above factors are critical in understanding the requirement and specifying the solution.  If the above factors are NOT fully catered for this will constitute a significant deficiency in the overall solution.


Conclusion

The above constitutes the headline requirement.

Bidders are required to assess the suitability of their software, assemble the required portfolio of software and satisfy themselves as to the scope of work in arriving at their bids.

Client CEO

Chief Executive


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Table of Contents

Home

About Dr James A Robertson PrEng -- The Business Systems Doctor -- and Other Topics

Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures

About the Engineering Approach

James Robertson's Value Add

Attributes of a HIGH VALUE solution

Recognizing Business System Failure

The Critical Human Foundation

Old Software IS Viable

From South Africa

Competencies of Dr James A Robertson PrEng

About Professor Malcolm McDonald

Table of Contents

About my relationship with the Almighty Creator, Yah the Eternally Self-Existing

Comments relating to the Business Systems Industry and other topics

Testimonials and other positive material regarding James Robertson

Reference Articles

List of Articles

Article Catalogue

Achieving High Value Business Information System outcomes

Executive Custody -- What is it and HOW do you get it?

The REAL Issues in Integrated Business Information System Success

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2 -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody

Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration

Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it

IT Project Management

Pulse Measurement

CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement

No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service

Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes

Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™

The Pulse Measurement Workflow

The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement

Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations

What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?

Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business

Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years

Sample Pulse Measurement Reports

Strategy

Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems

Strategic Essence: Overview

Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined

Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation

Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different

Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure

Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence

Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?

Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment

Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual

A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting

Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works

Robust Business Systems Procurement

Part 1 -- Introduction

Part 2 -- Bill of Services, Laboratory, Go-live Certificate, etc

Part 3 -- Executive Engagement, Bid Compliance, Adjudication and other matters

Procurement Documents

Guidance and Advisory Services

The Art of Project Leadership

Why Regular Communication with the CEO is Vital

The Business Simulation Laboratory

Precision Configuration and Strategic Business Information Architecture

Precision Configuration based on Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies

The JAR&A Cubic Business Model

Highly Structured Strategic Chart of Accounts -- a Vital Element of your Corporate Information Arsenal

The Product Catalogue -- an Essential Element of any Precision Configuration

Attributes -- answers to the questions you have NOT yet thought to ask

Case Studies of Notably Successful Projects with high value Precision Configuration

092 Doing things differently and better -- ASCO Case Study 2-- BPM Summit 2013

088 Strategic ERP Invesment -- ASCO Case Study -- Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa

026 Information Architecture and Design of FIS for Rennies Group -- Financial Information Systems Conf

018 CRM Risk Control: Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Mgmt Sys -- Integrated Risk Mgmt Conf

011 V3 Consulting Eng: Benefits of MIS to Professional Practice -- SAICE 15th Ann Conf on Computers in Civil Eng

Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems

Part 1 -- Introduction

Part 2 -- Principles of Data Engineering

Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations

Simple Steps to increase the strategic information value yield from your Business Systems Investment

The Full JAR&A Taxonomy Manual

Part 1: Introduction, Problem Statement, Definitions and Examples

Part 2: Why Use JAR&A, Required Knowledge and Experience, Cubic Business Model and Chart of Accounts and Taxonomy Software

Part 3: How to do it, Case Studies and White Papers and other References

Example General Ledger Manual

Business Process -- Irrelevant, Distracting and Dangerous

The RIGHT Approach

Custom Strategic Software Design and Oversight of Construction

Standards for Custom Software Specification

What IS Software?

IT Effectiveness

Organizing Outlook

Critical Factors for I.T. Success

A Moral and Ethical Dilemma -- Systems that Fail

Case Studies examining Business Information System failures

The BBC Digital Media Initiative Debacle

The Bridgestone -- IBM Conflict

Speaking and Training

Showcase of Conference Presentations

Most Viewed Presentations

Briefings and Seminars

Why your ERP/BIS is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it

ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results

The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success

Other Seminars

Conferences and Public Presentations

Conferences 80 to 99 -- 2009 to Present

Conferences 60 to 79 -- 2005 to 2009

Conferences 40 to 59 -- 1996 to 2005

Conferences 20 to 39 -- 1994 to 1996

Conferences 01 to 19 -- 1989 to 1994

On-Line Seminars (Webinars)

Webinar on Preparing and Presenting Webinars

Contacting James A Robertson and Associates Limited