Dynamic firms and organization often see the need of improving their service deliver and attainment of business goals though the upgrade of existing information technology infrastructure or overhauling of the entire system. There are many applications that a particular organization can acquire in favor of others in order to enable them align the organizational efforts and the objectives (Engelbeck 45). Whereas it may be deemed that the process of acquiring a system is straightforward and simple, there are numerous challenges that can be experienced during such a process. Nevertheless, a number of opportunities can be found in the process of undertaking this process within an organization of interest.
The term system acquisition is used in reference to the process where an organization makes efforts to produce a system for its use (Rouse and Sage 76). This term encompasses a number of steps that collectively geared toward the development of a given system that is intended to benefit the organization. The process of system acquisition has been defined by a number of phases that include conceptual stage, Definition stage, production stage, Operation stage and Divestment stage. By following this stages one after the other, an organization will be termed as having underwent through system acquisition process. Others have defined the system acquisition process as that takes place when an organization realized the need of a software all the way to the period when a deal for a given contract is signed (Wager, Lee and Glaser). The whole process will involve the contractor, the engineers and organization itself (Eisner 114).
According to Wage, Lee and Glaser (112) organizations go through the process of planning, selection, implementation and evaluation of systems in order to settle on an appropriate system that suits the needs of the organization. System acquisition commences with the planning process. This phase is characterized by efforts within the organization to identify problems that are known to prevail in the current systems in place. Planning as a stage of system acquisition provides an opportunity to reflect on challenges on existing systems that will provide new opportunities for improvement in new systems. The feasibility of the new system is also looked at this point determine whether the system is technologically or financially executable. The end of this phase leads to the selection process.
Selection process is part of the system acquisition process and entails the decision process where the designing of the system is given to either in house staff or other software contractors. Sometime, systems can be purchased from vendors who have made systems that can be purchased off the shelves for use. With numerous consideration options, a system is selected bearing in made on the needs and cost of the system with negotiations between the firm being finished with followed by signing of a deal.
The next step of system acquisition refers to the implementation process. This phase is intensive and requires a lot of resources that will be directed to carrying out of analysis, installation of the new system, training of staff, conversion of data into appropriate format and lastly taking the system online. This phase in critical and more intensive that the other phases.
On the system has been implemented, there is need to take care of changes that will be necessary. Evaluation phase also entails offering support to the new system by fixing bugs, carrying out upgrades which will be critical in making sure that the system runs well. The efficiency of this stage will ensure that the new system is well supported and running well.
The process of system acquisition presents a number of challenges that organizations strive to overcome as they engage in the process. Some challenges can be experienced during the pre-contract process while others after. Significant challenges may be felt in budgeting for the process and defining the requirements of then systems. Estimating the budget of system can be a daunting task particularly when the system is huge and extensive (King 185). With challenges in budgeting the process may be too costly or lead to loss of time if enough funds are not dedicated to it. In this process, the system might be delivered after schedule (Duggan and Reichgelt 205). Other challenges arise from unclear contract requirement which may cause lack of misunderstanding the stakeholder of acquisition initiative.
Whereas there are numerous challenges facing acquisition process, there are several opportunities which can be derived from this process. The replacement of an obsolete application with a new system gives organizations opportunities to implement new technologies in order to meet their needs. This is an opportunity that allows for growth and attainment of goals (Hancock 38). The use of electronic system has also improved the legibility and easy access to information from different locations within the organization. These opportunities are vital to the growth of the organization and a measure of success in the acquisition process. Opportunities can also be realized in proper negotiation contract where an organization is able to get the best deal from contractor perhaps at a lower cost (Vasilecas 231). This will save money to the firm. The process also give the workers of the firm a chance to familiarize themselves with the new system, this will present them with experience that might be useful in the future.
System acquisition can be a long process with a number of challenges to organizations in areas of budgeting, contract formation among other. However, the process can also give experience to organization in the process, improve output and reduce costs from deals.