Buying your next system

Design a timeline that fits around your programme and team

Download this guidance

Over 550 arts, cultural and entertainment organisations have made the choice to work with Spektrix.

These organisations tend to achieve a lot with small teams, leaving very little spare capacity. So we know it's vital that any big system changes are manageable alongside the actual business of running your organisation.

Plan for two phases, giving you a clear, achievable project timeline that doesn't stop you doing the day job.

Part 1: Running a procurement process and choosing a supplier

This phase begins when you start thinking about a change, and ends when you form an agreement with your new supplier.

You can call the shots on when you start and end this process. Regardless of the actual procurement method you use, this list of considerations can help you determine and commit to a timeline.

Icon of a calendarGive yourself enough time to make an informed decision. If you're up against a contract expiry deadline and know you are likely to move, ask your current supplier for a three-month extension so you can conduct a proper evaluation.


Icon of a cog, with an arrow pointing inwardsAsk potential suppliers how much time to budget. We often meet organisations who want to specify a fixed Go Live date at the start of the conversation. A good quality supplier should look at your circumstances and give you an honest estimate of time to get you set up and migrate data from your current system; we estimate a minimum of twelve weeks for a standard setup.

Icon of three peopleConsider how much time you and your project team can commit. If you want to decide quickly, you should expect to work fairly intensively; if you’re struggling for time, run the project over a longer period or use an express routes to procurement, such as the government operated Digital Marketplace (G-Cloud), if you're eligible.


Icon of a handshakeAllow time for contracting and forming agreements. It’s likely that your new supplier will offer you a contract and ask you to sign it before work starts. They should offer you the chance to review this agreement in advance and work with you to make sure it defines your mutual obligations. If you only see the contract for the first time once you make your decision, you risk adding several extra weeks to the process whilst your organisation reviews terms.

Part 2: Implementing your new solution and getting going 

How long implementation takes depends on your current circumstances, the complexity of your organisation and the approach of your new supplier. Before you start, ask for evidence of what's involved in a typical process and how long it takes. Take up references, and take time to think through the day to day impact for your organisation. High quality, contemporary suppliers will do much of the heavy lifting for you, but there are decisions about your unique setup which only you can make. 

  • Ask prospective suppliers for a sample timeline that highlights the key stages and time periods.
  • Be wary of suppliers who guarantee a Go Live date before the project starts, without knowing your circumstances or data. How can they be sure? 
  • Ask for implementation references. Suppliers understandably want you to know about their most recent and successful user organisations. Whilst this can be useful, make sure you are also given references of organisations that are similar to you and/or have moved from the same system. 

    Get started with Spektrix
A healthy plant growing on a vine