Five Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Purchasing Business Software
May 15, 2012 1 Comment
With so much riding on any investment your business makes, it’s imperative that you select a software partner who will deliver maximum ROI. Here are five mistakes that your company should avoid when purchasing an enterprise solution.
1. Not Defining Requirements Clearly Enough
If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. This maxim is well-worn, but many businesses do not know everything they need in a solution. It’s important to set a clear list of goals before shopping for a solution, otherwise you may find yourself compromising with a solution that meets just 70 or 80% of your needs.
2. Not Thoroughly Quantifying Your ROI
This ties into #1 – when you’re making your goals it’s important to create realistic projections of the money, time, paper, fuel, and manpower you expect to save by implementing a solution. Go through your business processes with a fine-toothed comb – how many faxes are you still sending? How many people need to touch a sales order from placement to fulfillment? Every bit of labor has an associated cost and an opportunity cost. Your provider should help you add up all the pieces.
3. Excluding Key People From The Discussion
Obviously the IT department is going to be involved, but what about sales? Operations? Production? Executive management? Every business has a different decision-making process and the number of people involved can range from one to dozens. Any department or individual that is going to be affected by the implementation of your new solution may have input on points 1 and 2 above. What’s more, a salesperson in the field may have insights that a CEO or COO may not see on a day-to-day basis. These real-world insights may help you define the project as you move forward.
4. Failing To Ensure Your Investment Is Protected
So you sign the contract, the project’s laid out and the implementation team starts digging into the code. What happens when you hit an impassable road block and need to scrap the project? Are you protected or did you just invest in a dead end? Make sure you know what will happen if the solution cannot be implemented.
5. Not Allocating The Necessary Resources
Being in business means feeling as though you’re working on a hundred things at once. How often have you said or heard the phrase “He/she wears a lot of hats”? Before you move ahead with a new business solution, make sure you set aside time for implementation, testing, training, beta users and every milestone you’ll need to be successful. If you don’t give something the proper time, you risk the project lasting much longer than it’s supposed to.
Do you have success stories or cautionary tales to share? Let us know in the comments.