System selection services

Make the most of your data.

Make the right move for your organization.

JCA’s system selection services help you make sense of your options. Our expertise has always been helping nonprofits optimize their processes, and in today's world your technology is central to this optimization. Your system is the foundation of your work, and switching to something new shouldn’t be treated lightly. We know how important this is to you, and we want to help.

By defining strategic priorities specific to your team’s goals, we will perform an assessment of your system options and provide the recommended next steps. We will work with you to develop an RFP and evaluate submissions, coordinate and score vendor demos, and check system references. We’ll make sure whichever system you choose is the right one with ample time for your team to get on board.

Our work is tailored to your needs. We know what vendors will try to sell you, and we have the experience cutting through the sales language to get to the heart of each's system's benefits and drawbacks.

JCA's top priorities are honesty, accountability, respect, and excellence—and that's what you can expect from your system selection consulting. Here's some of what we can do:

Business Case Development

Do you need to develop a business case for replacing your current CRM? JCA will help build a defendable case to help your Board or your boss understand the benefits you would gain by changing systems. Plus, a solid business case can temper expectations that a new system will solve all challenges on its own.

Requirements Development

You need to understand exactly what your new system requirements are. What does it need to do on its own? With what other systems does it need to interact? How much can you afford to spend? How many users, records, and activities does the new system need to support? JCA will dive into all your business’ functional, technical, and cultural needs and document a comprehensive, prioritized requirements list.

Marketplace Review

JCA will provide a written review of the software marketplace, including “short-listing” recommended products that we suggest the organization evaluate. A marketplace review takes into consideration the organization’s priorities and most important requirements. JCA will comment on products excluded from the “short list” so that an organization can speak to the reasons why a particular solution might not be considered. Our understanding of your particular requirements and strategies provides the backdrop for our review.

RFP Development and Management

Your RFP explains the reasons for your selection, and information about your organization that will help the vendor understand how their product might fit. Your goal is to get the best system in place. You want the vendors to be able to prepare a great submission for you. JCA will create a comprehensive RFP that includes the details of your selection plus your comprehensive requirements list. JCA will also manage the RFP submission and collection process.

System Evaluation Tools

During the selection process, there is a great deal of information to evaluate. JCA will develop a Vendor Evaluation Grid (VEG) for use in the evaluation process. The VEG captures your organization’s distinctive requirements and provides a quantitative method to compare the vendor offerings in a format that is logical and clear. JCA will assist in the evaluation process by guiding your team through activities for weighting requirements and grading systems.

Demonstration Management

Demonstration Scenarios

It’s important for an organization to control the vendor demo process. In order to prevent feeling like you’re comparing apples to oranges, your vendor demos need to follow the same agendas. JCA creates vendor demo scenarios that enable your vendors to show how their product meets your top priorities and to show the areas where they believe their system has specialized or advanced functionality that makes it the best fit for your organization.

Demo Scoresheet

JCA will provide scoresheets for each of the demo scoring sessions. The scoresheets are based on the demo scenarios and are designed to help staff take notes on the demo in progress. The scoresheets are what you will use to figure out which of the demoed systems is the best fit for your organization.

Demonstration Oversight

JCA will attend and manage the vendor demos. Our consultants will ensure vendors stick to the script. We will document questions or topics for follow-up, and facilitate the post-demo grading sessions.

Reference Checks

Once you’ve seen the demos and think you’ve made your top choice, JCA will lead the process of checking references provided by the vendor. In addition, JCA will provide additional references who have real world experience using the system. JCA will develop a set of questions to ask each reference and compare the results so that you feel confident in the vendor and the selected system.

Staffing Model

We know that a key factor in selecting a new system – and getting the necessary funding – is understanding the impact the system implementation and upkeep will have on your teams. JCA will provide you with a model of personnel your organization will need to support the implementation and ongoing operations of a new system. JCA will describe the roles and responsibilities for each position and the workload at various phases of implementation. JCA will recommend new positions, a reallocation of current staff, and work you can contract with vendors.

Executive Briefing Memorandum

At the conclusion of the selection process, JCA will provide an Executive Briefing Memorandum. This memo will include a high-level strategic overview of the selection project. The memo is written with the board member or funder in mind, and it provides a written history of the rigorous process an organization undertook in order to make an informed, fact based decision.

Schedule a consultation with our experts to learn how we can help you improve your data quality.