Computer Data - XLerant

The Malcolm Baldrige Award Criteria and Better Software Purchasing

You’ve been through the drill before. Some process in your organization needs fixing and a team is formed to address it. Before you know it, you’re looking at software as a solution. That’s not a bad thing, but the way we go about it often is.

The team comes up with a requirements grid (often referred to as “wish lists”). Where do these lists come from? Well, some of them are dreamed up by team members. But surprisingly, many of these “requirements” come indirectly from software providers. Someone on the team does a Google search and, unbeknownst to him or her, a lot of the content they read originates from vendors or firms that vendors pay retainers to.

The result? Well, as a Deloitte Consulting Partner I used to work for once said, “It’s like people are told that when they’re shopping for a new car, it’s all about the number of ashtrays. So people wind up buying the vehicle with the most number of ashtrays and bragging, ‘Hey, my new car has six ashtrays, how many does yours have?'”

We all like to think it’s the other guy who will get fooled by shiny objects. But really solid, 3rd party criteria will make sure you make wise choices. That’s what the Malcolm Baldrige Award Criteria is all about. It’s the nation’s highest Presidential award for performance excellence, and it’s an effective framework to evaluate any initiative, including software purchases.

XLerant recently hosted a webinar event on this topic. The Budget Director from the Rhode Island School of Design shared how she used the Malcolm Baldrige Award Criteria to evaluate an initiative and investment in the budget process. While the example used is a specific one, the presentation will generalize the framework so you can apply it to your own situation.


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