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Designing method for client's self-service evaluation of cloud

Posted 7/1/2011

University-based, public policy NGO

Background to organisation

A third-sector research and advisory organisation that provides applied research, consultancy and organisational development to government, private and voluntary organisations in the health, education and housing sectors.


The client was evaluating new document management and desktop tools to use across their organisation. One candidate provided free online software, meaning a self-service sales approach, with no reseller to quiz about the software capability or how well it met requirements. Users were time-pressed and not always technically sophisticated. There was a danger that looking at software without a framework meant staff were unaware of opportunities in the technology or were overly impressed by a few features and missed gaps to the full requirement.

Project approach

During the routine follow up to a training workshop, we understood the disparity of information available for the different candidates. After a few days of thinking time, we delivered our recommendation in a single conference call.


We recommended reverse engineering: identify one feature-rich product and work backwards from its features to potential requirements. This provided prompts to users and reduced the risk of missing important features in modern software because staff were not aware of them. This provided a framework for evaluation of all the candidates and ultimately the selection.

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