October 22nd, 2015
Starting your next B2B software selection.
You have identified a software requirement and won outline agreement on budget, but how are you going to approach product selection? There is an ever-expanding range of choices but, knowing that nearly half of ERP buyers feel their implementation was not a success, the task is daunting.
“We didn’t think to include payment functionality in the software spec”
Choosing products for a short list
It is easy to create a long list. A quick look at Google plus a little research will create very long list indeed, but how are you going shrink this to something you can properly assess? You need to be confident that you are considering the most appropriate options.
There are a number of aids to decision taking. Available resources include:
- Published surveys
- Software Analysts
- Review websites
- Industry sector specific publications
- Business networks
Rather less helpfully, there are likely to be Inherited stakeholder opinions and prejudices – more prominent than they should be in many organisations.
Before you start consulting any of this material we hope you will begin with a proper analysis of what you are aiming to achieve.
- Do you have a solid, detailed specification of requirements? There is little point in looking at software products until you are clear on what needs to be delivered.
- Do any geographical/cultural aspects need to be considered? Some US software doesn’t cope with multi-currency (everything’s done in dollars, isn’t it?). If you are trading in the Middle East you may need to record values with 3 decimal places. Not all software is happy dealing with multiple time-zones. Will you need to keep records in different character sets? And so on.
- How independent do you aim to be? Do you have the IT staff and user skill-sets to look after yourself, or will you be largely dependent on external support?
- Which stakeholders must you satisfy? What are their primary requirements? Are they being realistic? Are they likely to be obstructive or supportive? How are you going to involve them in the selection process?
- To what extent is your organisation going to be able to absorb change – both technical and functional? Every software project requires change management and, if you are replacing existing software, then you need to put this as a top priority. Even if the retiring system is slow and inadequate there will be features that people wish to retain. You don’t want replicating the past to be one of your key selection criteria but you may find yourself constrained by conservative attitudes.
Once you have defined your basics, you can start refining a shortlist, finding products that will enable you to achieve your targets. For a more detailed explanation of the resources that are useful and the pitfalls, please go to our resources page and download our free 4-page document https://www.the-consultancy.co.uk/consultancy-free-resources/.
Alternatively, our experienced, impartial consultants can assist you in the selection process and ensure the right questions are asked and answered by your team and the product suppliers.
Contact Jonathan Pressey, The Consultancy Company +44 7881 646840, *protected email*.