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Harley Davidson: Software Selection Process

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 618
  • Category: Contract

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“This case focuses on a change program and selection of an enterprise software vendor. The decision of which partner to choose to help the company change the way it purchased raised fundamental tensions within the company”. Question 1

Consider Exhibit 10 on page 22 of the case; does it include the factors you consider most important in the selection process? Which factors would you be inclined to weight most heavily? I think Harley Davidson did a very good job selecting the evaluation criteria. From the functional criteria, I consider Receiving, Supply Management and Project Tracking the most important functionalities. The others are mainly supporting and value adding functionalities that should have a lower weight on the evaluation (actual weights suggested on a scorecard on next question). As for the qualitative criteria, taking into account the very specific culture of Harley Davidson and Business Integration Model, which highlighted People, Processes and Technology, I would value most the cultural bindings between the provider and Harley Davidson.

The processes involved in the purchasing activity will drastically change and people need to be leaded carefully in this process, to make sure they adapt to the changes. For that reason, the implementation stage and all the training and communication that are involved, will be of crucial importance. Taking that into consideration, I would value most long term relationship potential, training approach, understanding Harley’s requirements, change management methodology (Actual weights suggested on next question).

How would you summarize for senior executives the reasons for your choice (in 2 minutes or less)? All companies provided a very satisfactory proposal in terms of functionality. All of them met our requirements by more than 90%. What will definitely act as a tie-breaker is the cultural binding that they might have with us. This is a crucial factor, because we are proposing a bold change and employees need to be accompanied and motivated. We have to make sure the provider knows our philosophy and culture. That will ensure that implementation, training and the change management go as smoothly as possible. No matter how good is the software in terms of functionality, if change and people are not managed carefully, the whole project risks failure. For that reason, our recommendation is provider 1. As top executives are often very sensitive to money issues, I would also stress the fact that provider 1 is the most cost effective option. Question 4

What is your overall assessment of Harley’s approach to enterprise software selection? What (if anything) would you have done differently? Overall, in my opinion, they had an excellent approach to the whole process. They took the time to do it right. They spend almost a year indoctrinating the strategy, creating enthusiasm and commitment around it, within the company. As for the software selection, they made sure that all departments or groups that would be subject to the change, made part of the process. There’s, however, one thing were they lacked in my opinion. They made a very rigid set of functionality requirements. One may wonder if they did not neglect functionalities that they didn’t need at the moment, but might need in the future. I think they did not pay much attention to the future trends of the industry. They could also have done some benchmarking, looking at companies on the same sector or similar. Final Remarks

Harley Davidson could afford to take the time to do it right. And they did it. I would like to point out that reality is not always like this. Sometimes change is so urgent, that companies cannot afford to take the time to go through an extensive process. How should we act on those situations?

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