How to select business software?
20 februari 2013
At a certain point in your life you realize that you need a (new) car.
Maybe because you just don’t feel like cycling to work everyday anymore, maybe public transportation just doesn’t do it for you or maybe you just want one because your neighbor just bought one and he can’t stop talking about how great it is.
Whatever the reason may be, there are different ways to go about the process of buying a car. Most people will think what the want and need regarding the type of car, e.g. SUV, sedan or 4×4, the budget they have and maybe speak with their friends about it.
Few people will go to a car dealer to compare the different models, and choose the biggest car for the lowest price..
Still, this seems a method that many companies use to select their business software; They speak with, say, 10 suppliers, have them demo their solutions, pick the 2 best and finally select the one with the best offer.
Now, have they chosen the best solution or the best of just those 10 solutions?
Here’s a list of steps to take after finding out that your company needs (new) business software. Many companies want, and need, an external and independent consulting firm to partner with during this process;
1. Define and refine your business processes.
2. Assess and prioritize your business requirements.
3. What is your current solution lacking?
4. Use the business requirements to define the project scope and goals.
5. Determine budget (based on users, timeframe, growth, hardware, support).
6. Send out RFI (Request for Information) to vendors/suppliers.
7. Use vendors feedback on RFI to create a shortlist.
8. Set up demo script using organization’s specific data.
9. Have shortlist suppliers demo using script.
10. Evaluate scripted demo’s and shortlist 2 suppliers.
11. Visit suppliers references.
12. Proof of Concept phase.
13. Fit-Gap analysis.
14. Assemble projectteam (both external and internal).
15. Send out RFP (Request for Pricing) to both shortlist suppliers.
16. Contract negotiation (cost, timeframe, training, support).
17. Select supplier and start (phased) implementation.
Some organization may need additional or less steps, or a different sequence of steps.
Be that as it may, the focus in a business software selection project should be on the organizations processes and needs, rather than on the solution itself.
The solution is merely a tool to support the company’s process; the means to achieve the objective.