Business Software Selection Best Practices

On average, companies select new business software every 7 to 12 years.  That is not very  often, and just like anything else, practice makes perfect.  But due to infrequent purchasing nobody is given the opportunity to practice software selection skills.

So here are a few guidelines to help you through the process.

  • Make sure your requirements list is not too long! A majority of the software options out there will cover the basics (and then some) so there is no need to put them in a list of ‘wants’. The value in each option comes not from what it covers (because in general they will all cover the same stuff) the value is found in HOW the software covers it.  so develop a handful, no more than 15, requirements that are important to you so you can skip the fluff and get right down to what matters.
  • Make yourself a map of how you WANT your process to look like in the future- you are looking for new software for a reason right? So do not buy a new system that will continue the practices you have always done, buy one based on where it can take you in the future and how it can change your processes for the better. Your new software is an opportunity!
  • Prepare for your demos- be the driver. When you get on with your potential vendor they will probably ask you what you would like to see. This is your chance to make sure you get a peek at those critical requirements I mentioned in #1.  So rather than letting the vendor drive the demo- be prepared, speak up, and get into the details that will be your decision drivers.
  • Find a partner, not a vendor. Your software implementation is going to be a long process and you know how important it is to your overall success. Do not set yourself up for failure by choosing the wrong vendor. Do research on your options, ask for references, and be aware, every time you speak with potential vendors during your selection process, of their responsiveness, attention to detail, professionalism, and other attributes that are important to you.

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