1st Edition

Buying Complex IT Systems Computer System Procurement for Non-Technical Managers

By Matthew Reynolds Copyright 2024
    216 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    216 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    216 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    Many of us have had experiences of using IT systems at work that just don’t work right or cause more problems than they solve. Even if we’ve been lucky at work and always had the opportunity to use well-built and functional IT systems, it’s common to hear in the press or in our day-to-day lives about IT systems that are "down" or "slow", or just do not work right.

    While it can be inconvenient to have to use IT systems that aren’t the best for businesses, buying an IT system that isn’t fit for its intended purpose can have devastating effects on the business itself and the careers of the people involved. The senior team of any business will know everything there is to know about their specific business or market, but their job is not to implement IT systems. This brings an inherent unfairness to IT systems procurement because it makes it very easy to buy the wrong thing at the wrong price. In essence, the buyers are amateurs but the sellers are professionals. This mismatch is at the root of the majority IT systems failures – a problem which might cost a company millions of dollars and negatively impact work.

    This book is intended to be a practical manual for senior leaders in small-to-medium businesses that will teach them how to buy IT systems effectively – i.e. to somewhat transform the non-IT senior leadership personnel such that they are more informed and capable buyers. There are a million-and-one potholes that can trip up a business, even when buying from an otherwise effective and reputable seller, and this book looks to make it far more likely that the reader will buy the right system, at the right price. The author uses his extensive experience to highlight problem areas and offer solutions to eliminate them.

    Chapter 1: Going shopping

    Chapter 2: Functional Specification

    Chapter 3: The Shape of the Solution

    Chapter 4: Finding the Supplier

    Chapter 5: Commissioning

    Chapter 6: Project Management

    Chapter 7:  Resourcing

    Chapter 8: Special Considerations for Bespoke Software

    Chapter 9:  Dealing with Variations

    Chapter 10: Testing

    Chapter 11: Dealing with Failure

    Chapter 12: Lessons from Fred Brooks


    Matthew Reynolds is a Fractional CTO with 30 years' experience at delivering complex software systems. He's written over a dozen books on software engineering and business, and has previously been a columnist for The Guardian newspaper. Today, he's a partner in Forge Startup Studio, a venture studio based in the UK that supports startup and scaleup businesses in delivering their digital solutions. He has a keen interest in technical project remediation and supporting companies who are experiencing challenges or failures with their IT suppliers.