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A Selection Method for Cots Systems

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Historically, organizations developed their information systems in-house. Today, a large portion of information systems development is based on acquisition of pre-made information systems, so called commercially off the shelf (COTS) systems. This approach of developing information systems requires new skills and methods supporting the process of evaluating and selecting information systems. This paper presents a method for selecting COTS systems. The method includes the following phases: problem framing, requirements and appraisal, and selection of systems. The idea and distinguishing feature behind the method is that improved understanding of organizational’ ends’ or goals should govern the selection of a COTS system. This can also be expressed as a match or fit between ‘ends’ (e.g. improved organizational effectiveness) and ‘means’ (e.g. implementing COTS systems). This way of approaching the selection of COTS systems as viewing COTS systems as a ‘mean’ to reach organizational ‘ends’ is different from the mainstream view of information systems development, which view information systems development as a problem solving process, and the underlying ontological view in other COTS selection methods, which focus on selection of functionality not reaching organizational ends.

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Jonas Hedman

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