Solution Design and Prototyping

What needs to be done to create a conceptual solution depends heavily of course on the availability of an existing software application.

A. Developing a Bespoke Solution

Designing a solution that meets the requirements in a cost- and time-effective way is a very complex task that requires the active participation of several stakeholders:

  1. Project management is needed to co-ordinate the process, to ensure timely delivery of the conceptual desing and, perhaps most importantly, to make sure that experts with very different backgrounds communicate perfectly and work with the same assumptions. Another important task is to keep monitoring that the solution that evolves will deliver the benefits, and will not exceed the cost and risks, as presented in the business case.
  2. The business owners of the ultimate solution need to be able to clarify functional requirements, and judge on trade-offs if meeting the requirements exactly is difficult for technical or financial reasons.
  3. Operations Research experts, mathematicians or statisticians need to provide initial views on the algorithmic aspects of the solution. They are also in charge of 'proving the concept' in cases where such proof is needed.
  4. The IT department is responsible for three things:

-  Initial estimates for hardware, infrastructure and system integration

-  Assessment of the availability and quality of data

-  Writing mode detailed software design and - ultimately - developing the software (naturally, this step can be out-sourced

In this kind of project, Pieter Dorhout Consulting has extensive experience in facilitating the communication and negotiation between the various stakeholders, and in representing the business owners. If the solution is not too complex, then the early OR work can also be carried out by us.

B. Turning an Existing Application into a Conceptual Solution

If the requirements are to be met by an externally sourced software application, then the solution design phase consists of configuring this application, and coming up with a strategy to fill a possible lack of overlap between requirements and application options.

This should be far less challenging than coming up with a design from scratch, but it still requires a very thorough dialogue between those that know the requirements inside out (the business owners) and those that are intimately familiar with the software application (software vendor).

Pieter Dorhout Consulting is well placed to facilitate this dialogue, also if one software vendor has to be selected from several bidding for the work.

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