Software Acquisition & Supplier Management: Part 1 - Product Definition & Supplier Selection

Theresa Hunt & Linda Westfall
Date Published: 

This paper was presented at the American Society for Quality's Annual Quality Congress (ASQ AQC) in May 2003.  

Before the task of purchasing commercially available software, contracting a supplier to create a custom software package, or developing a “homegrown” software application can commence, adequate planning must take place.  Having a defined software acquisition and supplier management process helps insure that important steps in the acquisition process are not forgotten.  Predefined goals and objectives align the business needs with the mission of the acquisition.  The software industry is now several decades old, however problems including schedule slippage, budget overruns, missing functionality and poor quality and reliability are still prevalent.  These continuing issues make the need for good software acquisition and supplier management practices essential to the success of our organizations.  This paper discusses the first seven steps in the Software Acquisition and Supplier Management process, including:

    Step 1: Planning the acquisition

    Step 2: Defining the software product’s requirements

    Step 3: Determining the acquisition approach

    Step 4: Identifying and evaluating potential suppliers (and their software products)

    Step 5: Defining the contract requirements

    Step 6: Selecting a supplier

    Step 7: Negotiating and awarding the contract

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