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"TEC provides decision support systems (DSS) that enable stakeholders
to objectively identify the software products that best fit their company's unique business and
systems requirements, and that contribute most effectively to superior business performance."
Source: Technology Evaluation Centers
Case Study: Gibson Consulting Group, for Katy Independent School District (ISD)
Decision Support Systems
is also known as :
Decision Support Tools
Define Business Needs
Decision Support Software
Ergo Decision Support System
Decision Support Engine Ebestmatch
Software Selection Services
Software Evaluation,Online Evaluation Tool Ebestmatch,
Ebestmatch Decision Support System,
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Decision Support Technology,
Decision Support System pdf,
Powerful Decision Support Engine,
TEC Ebestmatch System,
Ebestmatch Online Enterprise Software,
Group Decision Support System,
Marketing Decision Support System,
TEC Online DSS,
Decision Support Solutions,
Expert of Decision Support Systems,
Executive Decision Support System,
Gibson Types of Decision Support Systems,
Strategic Decision Support System,
Decision Support System Application.
-Gibson Consulting Group
Industry or service:
-Public education management and operations consulting, including efficiency
analysis, performance-based budgeting, and decision support
-based in Austin, Texas (US)
-based in the city of Katy, Texas (US), and encompassing 181 square mile (291 square kilometers) just west of
-an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, to be deployed in Katy's
finance and human resource (HR) departments, as well as in most
-locations in the district for purchasing and employee self-service activities
Software Selection Project Needs:
-wanted a partner to provide enriching technology support for its client's ERP evaluation and selection project, to reduce time and cost of the project
-wanted external help to take burden of task off its internal IT departments, as they had little experience in this magnitude of ERP project
-201 to 500 users across the district will access the selected ERP system/modules
Software Selection Expert:
-Gibson joined forces with Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) to help with
various stages of its client's evaluation, including analyzing proposals and vendor
demonstration scores with TEC's eBestMatchTM decision support system (DSS)
Benefits:To Katy ISD
- TEC's methodology, with Gibson's experience delivering projects of this
type, helped provide an objective and comprehensive analysis of prioritized
requirements and scores
- examination of the sensitivity analysis graphs prevented second-guessing
about the prioritization of requirements
- the results produced by eBestMatch are justifiable and so provide a stronger
business case to stakeholders (Katy ISD's board members)
- 25 percent decrease in time required to provide full range of evaluation services
- greater efficiency means Gibson's services can be offered at a lower cost,
to more clients
ABCs of the Companies
Gibson Consulting Group is an Austin, Texas (US)based firm dedicated to helping
K-12 school systems improve their efficiency and effectiveness. In addition to
analysis, the company also provides services for performance-based budgeting,
technology consulting, decision support, strategic planning, and more.
Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD) is a suburban school district located
in south Texas (US), with eastern boundaries reaching to within 16 miles
(26 kilometers) of downtown Houston, Texas. Katy ISD has a total staff of 6,786 and
an enrollment of 53,762 for the 2007-2008 school year, at 31 elementary schools,
12 junior highs, and 7 high schools.
" used Technology
Evaluation Centers for one project,
I didn't want to go back to doing
software evaluation the hard
way. Analysis that once took me
3 weeks with Access databases
takes 3 days or less with TEC's
- Kim Scambilis, Project Manager and
Senior Consultant, Gibson Consulting Group.
Reading 'n' Writing 'n' ERP: The Challenge of Software Selection Projects for ISD
For many independent school districts, one of the biggest challenges of a major software
project is the ongoing lack of funding for technology. Schools must place a higher
importance on instruction, and therefore instructional technology, than on other types
of technology (such as infrastructure or ERP systems), according to Ali Taylan, chief
technology officer (CTO) at Gibson Consulting Group. Although Katy ISD is unusual
in that it already has solid IT infrastructure in place and is, Taylan notes, considered
a "technology leader," the school district still had a few concerns about handling the ERP
selection project on its own.
Katy ISD has a skilled IT department, but IT staff had not implemented a new
finance system since the early 90s. During conversations with other ISDs that
were in the process of large-scale software selections or implementations, Katy ISD
became convinced that external help was essential. "We realized that a neutral third
party would take some of the burden off of our district," says Kerry Rampelli, senior
project manager at Katy ISD. "But also, we knew we had one shot to get this right,
and that defining our requirements and capturing our "as-is" processes were imperative
to the overall success of the project."
Katy ISD Seeks Help from Gibson Consulting
Because of the project's complexity, Katy ISD chose Gibson Consulting Group to tackle
the steps involved in the evaluation and selection project.
Gibson was contracted to accurately capture all requirements with an organized
methodology, and optimize change management at all stages of the process. Also,
Gibson would provide efficiency analysis of "as-is" processes, prior to the requirements
gathering-to find ways that Katy ISD employees could improve the efficiency of their
Gibson started with as-is process analysis to document major processes and to determine
the school district's unique requirements. This process involved working closely with
representatives from each of Katy ISD's departments, to ensure all major legacy processes
were thoroughly described and documented. These processes, and any recommended
improvements to them, were then "translated" into software functionalities in order
to create a request for proposal (RFP) that software vendors could relate and respond to.
In prior projects, Gibson had found that trying to manage the considerable quantities
of data from clients such as Katy ISD, as well as the data from vendors, was challenging
with the tools it had in place. "At the time," explains Kim Scambilis, project manager
and senior consultant for Gibson, "I was using Access databases to evaluate vendors'
responses and match them to clients' needs-but it was very time-consuming and
complex to re-configure the database for each client."
Scambilis thought there must be a more efficient software evaluation methodology,
and started researching the options.
Gibson Partners with TEC for More Efficient Evaluation Expertise
After finding Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) on the Internet, Scambilis was
contacted by a representative who gave a demonstration of TEC's eBestMatchTM decision
support system (DDS). "I was very impressed with it," Scambilis remembers. "It seemed
to me that TEC's ability to pre-populate the vendors' prior responses to the requirements
was a big plus, as it would increase the response rates to our clients" RFPs."
TEC's eBestMatch system incorporates the information about the functionality
of vendors' solutions stored in TEC's knowledge bases. When a client provides its list
of requirements, these requirements can be compared with vendor functionalities'
saving clients valuable time at this key stage of software selection and evaluation.
TEC Helps Gibson Provide Accurate-and Speedy-Software Evaluation
"TEC provided Gibson with valuable technology support," states Scambilis. "TEC's
methodology was similar to our own, and the eBestMatch system was much more
and efficient than the tools I was using before. Once I used TEC for one project, I didn't
want to go back to doing it the hard way. Analysis that once took me 3 weeks in Access,
now takes 3 days or less with TEC's assistance."
Scambilis also explains that "the total cost at which we are able to offer our clients
a project of this scope has decreased dramatically, due to the increased
of using TEC's services. By using TEC's eBestMatch, we've been able to cut the time
required for our full-service option "including process mapping "from 9 months to about
6. The analysis of vendor responses to the requirements used to take one consultant
dedicated for 2 weeks, and two other consultants dedicated for up to 4 days each. Now,
one consultant can perform the analysis in under one week."
TEC Offers Resources and Knowledge that Gibson Can Build On
For Gibson, the benefits of partnering with TEC for key phases of software selection/
evaluation will continue for some time to come. For one thing, Scambilis analyzed
the project execution for efficiency and created documentation for future use.
The documentation details how and when TEC's project team interacted with Gibson's
during Katy ISD's ERP evaluation project, and how the related tasks can be effectively
accomplished. She then used this information to create a user guide or desk reference
manual for other consultants at Gibson, so that in her absence, "they can complete
a similar project with the same high level of service when they use eBestMatch."
TEC Helps Provide Analysis of Cost versus Functionality
When asked if she would be interested in using TEC for another software evaluation
project, Scambilis" answer is unequivocal: "Absolutely," she says. In fact, Gibson has
already partnered with TEC for three separate projects.
Why? "One of the major benefits of working with TEC for me-as a project manager-
has been that TEC's eBestMatch performs the parts of the process I don't like."
She laughs. "But to be more precise, one of the advantages of the eBestMatch system
is that your decision to implement a software solution is justifiable and presents a strong
business case. Board members like to see a logical representation of what value each
software solution offers-and the cost of implementation. With eBestMatch and "what-if"
analysis, you get the figures you need to support your case."
Gibson Plus TEC Equals Successful Project Outcome
Kerry Rampelli wholeheartedly supports Scambilis' view. "It has been so
for us to have every aspect of the process scored and input into software that can quickly
provide a breakdown with clear results that we can analyze as a leadership team, as well
as present to our Board and Superintendent."
"School district staff members are sometimes unsure of what their critical requirements
are," Scambilis adds, "because they perceive them all to be important. Because
of Gibson's partnership with TEC, prioritization of requirements is easier. And, the ability
of eBestMatch to provide what-if analysis takes the guesswork out of the equation."
Technology Evaluation Centers
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Phone: (514) 954-3665, ext. 404
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