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Software Evaluation

Software Evaluation Planning

  • Before embarking on any system replacement, define the data to convert. Resolve yourself and the management team that this is a required component of the system replacement before you go any further. The reason for the conversion evaluation is the potential cost of and resources needed for data conversion.

  • Define a budget range to use to initially eliminate vendors priced out of your range; remember final costs can include: hardware, software, implementation, training, and modifications

  • Create a software evaluation project plan

Evaluation Team, Scope, Functional List

  • Select an evaluation team made up of cross department managers and users

  • Determine the scope and objectives (project charter) for the enterprise management project with proposed timelines

  • With each department, list the high-level functionality (don't over complicate) making sure everyone knows they will not get everything they want

  • We have a tool for this: Business Computing Assessment

  • Don't only look for a system to overcome what your current system does not have

  • Then again, don't try to match exactly what you currently have

  • Industry specific applications are not always your best solution; often these are not as robust and the vendor may not have the capital to continue to upgrade their product to take advantage of technologies as they mature

Search and Evaluation

  • Present this list to the vendors for their review

  • **Before discussing customization**, use the vendor's experience with other companies to see how your processes can flex to better use the software with the end goal of an improved customer experience

  • To start fine tuning your selection list, request estimated proposals with all dollars included: hardware, software, and estimates for professional services (these are difficult to estimate at this stage)

  • Conduct educational product reviews via Webinars with the high level team to evaluate the must haves, user interface, additional functionality not previously considered

  • Evaluate this additional functionality and the impact to your business

  • Filter the vendor list to a final few for full product demonstrations

Final Vendor List for Product Demonstration

  • Review the list that was provided to the vendor, allow the vendor to conduct a meaningful demo that flows well with their system so you can get an understanding of the capability

  • What to and not to do with the on-site demo:

  • Review your scopes and objective

  • Best to have the whole team involved in the demos to see the integration between all departments

  • Use this time to become partners with the presenter, use it as an education to get to know how the system would be used to improve your processes

  • Take notes for your after demo discussion; it is difficult to remember the differences in each demo without notes

  • After each demo, while it is fresh in your mind, with the team, openly discuss the pros and cons, discuss what processes would need to flex and the resulting impact

  • As needed, schedule follow up vendor conversations via a webinar to further fine-tune

Final Selection Process

  • With the vendor(s), consider data conversion, review conversion plan, estimate on data conversion

  • Request a final proposal that includes hardware, software, and professional services estimate with financing options

  • Request a proposed project implementation plan from the vendor

  • Make your decision, do not put it off, remember your scope and objectives