So now that you have decided to evaluate an enterprise software application what now, where to start, what are the steps, what time frame should this take, what is the budget to an evaluation are all questions that should be examined. When acquiring a potential system that can cost upto 8 figures it only makes sense to make the best decision possible by bringing in experts. A best practice approach for selecting enterprise software is about the 10% range of the overall implementation cost to be budgeted for the evaluation portion itself. A small price to pay on something that will shape your company’s competitive nature and affect the way you do business.
System integrators are great as the name suggest for integrating systems and the professional services around implementation. Consumers should ask themselves, what is their (the systems integrator’s) business model, how do these integrators make money, who are they partnered with and are they truly impartial ? Large SI’s are often affiliated with larger software companies and often recommend the software packages they are associated with or resell. This means that you are already starting at a disadvantage because you will more than likely be introduced to biases for software that these resellers resell.
Although many Si’s have very bright SME’s specific to one line of business they are usually lacking a big picture knowledge for the overall business strategy and how an ERP can solve what the company is looking for. To that end, big software packages are recommended and are not necessarily the correct fit both strategically and organizationally. If a company cannot align itself with a proper sized vendor that can accommodate, understand and provide value for the application usually it is not a good fit for the software selected and what was trying to be accomplished. This often results in too big of a solution for the company. The company is held victim by not realizing the scope, cost and resource strain that will unduly be put upon the organization if this scenario is carried out.
By reselling certain software especially the larger tier 1 applications the evaluation tends to favor a certain bias towards aspects of validity and functionality and value towards the software being resold. Usually a fully documented, tested, structured approach with actual tangible results is often not present as they are not properly quantified.
Software evaluation is an actual skillset that provides the big picture overview with the intent, to find what best suits the client needs. An evaluator should not sell software nor implement software, that way no biases can exist within the evaluation process. This best practices approach dramatically increases the customer’s chance of selecting the correct software to solve their business issues. A company where its core business is enterprise software evaluation will usually be a better choice as the consultants doing the evaluation will have the best interest of the customer at heart when assisting in finding the correct software. Normally, companies that evaluate enterprise software only are often more familiar with the market and can offer many more viable options to the customer without other compensatory factors that may affect the outcome of the evaluation. Because of the their market knowledge impartial software evaluators can help you architect your ERP and business platform strategy as they might also be familiar with complimentary software that extends functionality and that are tightly integrated to what you currently will select or that you may already have.
Remember that software companies don’t want you to be unhappy as they are also looking for happy customers that fit them and can become reference sites for future prospects. If a software is selected that is not the best fit the horror stories may prove more costly to their reputation as a vendor as word spreads about another unsuccessful implementation.
Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain strategy, social media and technology consulting. Eval‐Source is an industry leader in the analysis of software technology and our thought leadership has placed us in the elite of consulting/analyst firms. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and infrastructure planning of their technology systems. Eval-Source can assist organizations in any phase of their selection process.