Budgeting for CM solution?

Subject: Budgeting for CM solution?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, teched -dot- 38413409 -at- bloglines -dot- com
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 09:06:27 -0500

Wendy wondered: <<We've determined at this point that we need a CM solution for all our material, but are not yet shopping for one. We still have research to do. We do, however, want to get it in the budget for next year.>>

One of the first things to do is talk to the person responsible for creating the budget and find out how they handle this kind of thing. In my experience, the official and unofficial strategies accepted by an employer vary quite widely; for example, some budgeteers I've worked with simply told me to ask for considerably more money than I actually needed ("you can always use less if you don't need it all"), whereas others insisted that I ask for exactly what I needed, and live with the results. Obviously, you'll need a different strategy for each of these types of people.

<<Right now I know our implementation would be small-scale next year, maybe with the possibility of growing into more. Any suggestions on what to estimate for the budget?>>

The only good way to develop a budget is--you guessed it--to develop a budget. You can't do that if you don't know what you plan to buy: CM systems can run from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and no manager will accept the higher estimate without justification. This means that if you want to put a defensible estimate in the budget, you need to do your homework--now.

You mentioned that you've received good advice on possible options. Now you need to _precisely and exhaustively_ list your actual needs, not your wish list. One of those needs (as you note) is the ability to start small and grow the system as your needs increase; ideally, you don't want to choose a solution that is overkill now or that you'll have to replace completely in 2 years.

Here's an effective technique I learned from a couple really good managers: Make up your "must have" list, add a "it would be nice" list at the bottom, then submit it to the sales staff at each of the companies whose product you're considering. Ask them for a formal price quotation for a configuration that will meet your specific needs, and make sure they list the system requirements to use that configuration. Give them 1-2 weeks maximum to reply (unless they give you a credible reason for wanting to take longer), then figure out the pros and cons of the various offers; throw out the solutions that won't work for you. Finally, sit down with your manager and explain the pros and cons of the remaining solutions, and ask them to pick the price point that (for them) they're prepared to pay.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca

(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)


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Budgeting for CM solution: From: teched . 38413409

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