Features

Fair and Square

By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant

A full-page story reported in the Weekend VOICE of February 10, 2018 should make very uncomfortable reading for anyone involved in the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, especially those evaluating the different submissions.

The eye-opening article from the owners of HRM Solutions Inc., entitled “Is the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Just a ‘Show’?” even substantiated one of its major claims! A screenshot was provided of the unused login account which was made available to the judges to assist with their evaluation of the ‘CUBE HRMS’ product, a home-grown payroll and HR solution.

If the claims made are true, then the Chamber of Commerce has a major credibility crisis to assure everyone, winners and losers alike, that the awards issued were fully deserving and were determined after some fair evaluation process was followed.

Assuming that the judges did not already have experience of using the CUBE HRMS product — perhaps from exploring the software via another person’s account — then there are many questions to be asked. Among them: (1) How does one evaluate a software product; and (2) What systems are required to provide assurance that a fair process was followed?

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When evaluating software, there are a number of dimensions that may be examined, for example:
1) Upfront purchase cost;
2) Ongoing running cost (including licences);
3) Complexity of installation;
4) Functionality provided;
5) Usability and ease of use;
6) Availability of support;
7) Adaptability, whether proprietary or open source.

These dimensions represent a subset of key areas that must be examined carefully to arrive at a conclusion. To do otherwise would undermine the quality of the research and analysis. As indicated by the CUBE HRMS owners, the judges could have sought the opinion or guidance of a respected ICT professional. We are fortunate to have the Saint Lucia ICT Association, which has excellent members who may be approached for discussion and counsel. I myself do so, despite my own expertise.

It is reasonable, therefore, to expect a judging panel of non-experts to seek guidance when performing evaluations of software providers and products. Still, this unanswered story does not inspire confidence in the future of the Business Awards.

To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.
(About the Author: Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant offering expertise in data management, systems design and analysis.)

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