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CMS Phase 2: System Selection
We began our search with an official report on CMS systems (see CMSwatch) to help distill the myriad of choices to a manageable set on a 'medium list'. We highly recommend this approach, as it saves *months* of research and trials and tribulations let the professionals do the work for you. In the end, spending a small amount of money up front guarantees a good investment later.
Using our various planning documents, we distilled the medium list of possibilities to a short list of six (6) possibilities, both commercial and open source (FOSS - free and open source software). We then invited each vendor (or a support company for the FOSS offering). At each demonstration we invited our committee members to attend and use standard evaluation worksheets to rate the software.
We compiled this data and used these ratings to narrow our field of candidates to the strongest contenders (in our case, two).
Pilot phase - final candidate evaluations
As part of our final evaluation, we installed two software systems locally and explored them from a technical standpoint (our group) and from an end user standpoint (inviting committee members to 'hands-on' sessions). Below you will find example scripts we used to test each system.
Another useful part of the final evaluation phase was peer review. We made conference calls with five (5) clients of each of the two final candidate software packages. These calls proved invaluable as we gathered information from real-world application of the systems, and also gained insight into implementation strategies.