3 Mantras for Starting Your Software Selection Project on the Right Foot

TEC recently posted this article to their blog and I wanted to share it as we have found that many of our most successful customers have followed these Mantras when undertaking their enterprise software selection projects.

Enterprise software selection is a big undertaking, and is often much more complicated than many organizations plan for at the outset. The software evaluation and selection process can involve a great deal of an organization’s time and resources. The best thing you can do to avoid losing valuable hours and assets at your company is to ensure due diligence at the very start of the process.

Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) senior business systems analyst Denis Rousseau has helped dozens of companies with their software selection projects and has come up with three mantras to help you get your evaluation and selection process off to a good start. Keep them in mind when embarking on a software selection project—to ensure you minimize the costs to your company and maximize the chances for your selection success.

Software selection is a business decision, not an IT decision.

“Get me one of those ERP things, and tell me when it’s done.” Unfortunately, this is often the sentiment expressed by upper management, who mistakenly give the task of selecting an enterprise software solution solely to the information technology (IT) department. But what happens when a software solution is implemented that nobody knew was coming or had even been asked about?

To avoid coming up against huge resistance during implementation, or even worse, having to make a “bad fit” software solution somehow work with your business processes, it’s smart to realize from the outset that a software selection decision needs to be a business decision with high-level sponsorship. That means all of the C-level, and all of the people who are in charge of the affected departments, need to be aware and, more importantly, involved.

If it’s not a strategic decision, forget it.

Often when people embark on an enterprise software selection initiative, they make the mistake of focusing on things that don’t have anything to do with the software itself. Right off the bat many people ask “how much will the new system cost?” before they’ve even defined their requirements.

In the beginning stages, the only criteria appropriate to consider are the features and functions needed to support the relevant business processes. Everything else is secondary, including cost. What’s the point of getting a solution that is in your price range if it doesn’t actually do what you need it to do?

Every software provider is a professional software vendor. Professional software buyers are very rare.

Do you have professional buyers in your company to deal with the purchase of raw materials or components? Professional buyers have enough experience at what they do to be efficient and effective at selecting the right sources for the materials they need.

Software purchasing isn’t that far off from materials purchasing—in fact, it is likely even more important to your company’s business processes and bottom line. But very few companies employ professional software experts to select their next best-fit solution. It makes good sense to do so, as enterprise software selection on a large scale is a situation that does not arise that often—and as a result is something that most companies don’t have much experience with. Recognizing your limitations when it comes to evaluating and selecting software can be helpful. It will allow you to identify areas where you may need help, and to find experts who can provide that help.

Would you allow someone without any experience to do your materials selecting and purchasing for you? Probably not. Then why would you leave software selection to someone without the necessary experience? Consider who is in charge of your next software selection initiative, and if they don’t have the proper experience in this area, look to get them the help they need.

Keeping these three software selection mantras in mind will help you get off to a good start on your software section project, and increase the changes of a smooth selection process resulting in selection of the solution that best fits your company’s business needs.   

You can access the TEC Blog here.