Now that we have made a case for the need to have an Enterprise Scheduling system, it is important that we choose the correct tool (software application) that will meet our needs.
If I were to take an analogy by trying to compare the selection of an Enterprise Scheduling system to buying car for a 16 year old, you would not want to buy a big gas guzzling SUV nor do you want to buy a very old car that is barley road worthy. You want to make sure the car is safe enough for your child and at the same time it meets the need.
There are multiple factors that need to be considered while making the selection. Cost is always an important factor. However, for the purpose of this post we will not focus on cost, we will focus on the functional and technical aspects that need to be considered for evaluation while making the selection.
I would strongly recommend that the team heading the software selection process comes up with a weightage-based evaluation matrix. We did the same and it helped us immensely in the selection process. Here is how the weightage-based selection process works.
Define a list of all the features (functional / technical) that should be evaluated.
Assign a weight to each of the features that should to be evaluated. This step helps in defining the importance of one feature versus the other as it pertains to your need for Enterprise Scheduling.
Score each of the features while evaluating each software as per the weightage scale. It could be on a scale of 1 to 10 or a scale of 1 to 5.
This is a calculation. Multiply the score for each feature with the feature’s weight and sum up the score for all features to come up with the composite score.
This weightage based approach helps in averaging out the overall score and also helps in selecting the product that fits the need.
Now that we have looked at the process for scoring, let’s look at the features that should be considered for evaluation. I will only focus on some of the major features as this list can go on and on…..
- Multi-Platform Support (Windows, Unix /Linux, IBM, etc.)
- Distributed vs. Centralized Architecture
- Out of the box integration with other systems (ERP, ETL, Database, etc.)
- Security – LDAP and Roles based security capability
- Job Scheduling – Time based, Event based
- Ability to define Job Dependencies (time based, inter job etc.)
- Queuing Concept for Load Management
- Scripting Capability
- Calendar and Support (Fiscal, Gregorian, etc.)
- Alerting Capability – Content and Alerting Mechanism
- Reporting – Gantt chart / Inbuilt Reporting Capability.
- Integration – Web Services, COM Interfaces
- Management Console – Web viewer capability
Now that we have talked about the process and the criteria that needs to be considered for evaluation, go ahead and put this methodology to use. I wish you all the best in your endeavor with selecting an Enterprise Scheduling system!